Moving to Southampton - a new chapter begins (part 1)
My long residency here in Liverpool is coming to an end. I've started the slow process of deciding what to take+box/leave/bin in readiness for my move (in 19 days time) back to my home town of Southampton and the school I attended from the age of 12 to 18. It's official: my nose does NOT like dust!!
I arrived here in Liverpool as a fresh-faced university student in 1987, the songs of a (coincidentally) Liverpool band The Icicle Works to sustain me (especially "Hollow Horse"), wishing to try out life as a De La Mennais Brother whilst studying for my Music degree. Since then I've had 5 years of formation/theology + philosophy study in France, but for the remaining 17 years since then this community house and this room I am currently sitting in has been has been my home.
If you'd asked me 9 months ago if I wanted to return back to Southampton, I would have said that I had no personal yearning to return and nor did I feel that God wanted me to, at least not just yet, despite still having many relatives and close friends in the Southampton area. I was, however, finding it harder and harder to motivate myself in school here in Liverpool: nothing to do with the pupils themselves whom I think are a fantastic bunch, full of life and energy, always ready to smile, to laugh, cheering you up if you feel down. The last 4 years have at times been very difficult for different reasons: a good friend's court case, conviction and then successful appeal... the darkest possible family secrets being exposed, bringing almost unbearable pain for some of us... a suicide in my family... etc... This cumulative burden has taken its toll on me. But I have been VERY lucky to have received the support and love of fellow Brothers, close friends, family members (our suffering has drawn us closer) and thanks in no small part to this I was still ready to keep up the good fight here in Liverpool despite everything.
But in October of last year everything changed during a visit to my parents in Ireland... "Tune in next week to find out how!" Actually, it should be tomorrow.