It's a funny thing with losing. Sometimes you lose something very valuable - poof, it's gone! Not there any more. Vanished. Disappeared. Lost. And yet it's not all gone. It's as if something invisible has remained and keeps living its intangible life in the middle of all this lost-ness.

I've lost a great deal this week.

One of these things that has disappeared is my computer. Last Sabbath we were careless about locking the conference office door, people had to come and go and so we didn't check the door when we left for a couple of hours in the afternoon. When we came back for the evening service, the office door was open and my laptop was gone from my desk. I'm not sad about the computer itself, it belonged to the conference anyway. But I hadn't backed up my documents and materials which means that I have lost a huge amount of work. I get really sad when I think about the Sabbath School manual which I was in the process of translating, or my sermons, or the Revelation seminar, or all my Greek materials. Oh bloody thing, I lost so much. Not to talk about my photos and some important private letters of which I kept manuscripts saved...

But I think about my most precious intellectual property - my sermons. Did I really lose them? Yes, of course, the manuscripts are gone and there is no way I could get them back. But I've preached them all! I've spoken to people and shared my experience and thoughts and the Word, I've seen people respond, heavens, I've seen them cry in the pews! So they can't be totally lost, these sermons, can they? I don't know. Or the photos - they might not be in my possession any more, but the experiences and people and the nature - they did happen. They had an impression on me. They changed me. So they can't be really lost, can they? Can they?

It's the same with people, it turns out. Sometimes you lose someone important - I just have - but they keep living a hidden life in your heart, even after they're gone. So are they really gone then?


Life seems like a complicated balancing act these days. Normally I do not have to think too much about how I do the stuff that I do, what I say, where are the lines drawn and how I can keep a healthy balance between different things and different ideas in life. The balance comes rather naturally. But these days everything seems like out of balance, so doing things in a right way requires a lot more conscious decision and consideration and balancing than normally.

The work vs personal time balance is the main thing right now. My obligations and tasks, as their number has grown over the past few months, have started to wear me out. I'm feeling increasingly inadequate when it comes to my work and that's not exactly a good feeling. I get stuck. I get frustrated. And sometimes I even feel like a failure. So I have to be very careful about finding time for relaxing. I haven't done well when it comes to taking days off these past weeks but at least I try. My recent achievements in this area include:

1) A classical music concert with my dad last week. It had been way too long since I last sat in the concert hall, enjoying good quality music. We went to hear Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and it lifted both of our spirits a great deal that evening. EPCC is probably one of the best chamber choirs there are out there right now, the level of their professionalism is absolutely outstanding. I ought to go and listen to them more often.
2) A photo exhibition (the challenge with Dr A. N. is very much on). The exhibition is called The Measure of Humanity. 45 Years of Documentary Photography in South Africa. It went so well with recently read Mandela's autobiography. But the photos were tough ones. They made me rather sad, at moments I was just disgusted. It is not easy to stand and see a photo like this one (I secretly took the picture, don't tell anyone), it's harder still when there are dozens of images like this:
3) A tea date with brother S. I think it was the first time we two went out since he got married - and well, that's more than five years ago! So I really enjoyed chatting with him. We drank a lot of tea that evening. :)

4) Visiting A. and her cat (who is so bright white I need sunglasses when playing with her). I was once again reminded that you can't possibly know what really goes on in someone's life unless you take time to sit and listen properly. The topics we had to discuss that evening were terribly tough - they included depression and suicide (one of her friends committed suicide just a few weeks ago) - but once again, it was all worth it. I thought to myself when I left her place the next morning - I need to see my friends more often. I need to.
Here's A.'s cat.
5) I've picked up the gym again. No pictures though, lol.
6) I finished my 27th book yesterday. I've done well this year.

But on the other hand there is Greek. When I start to feel like I can't get things done or I'm not qualified enough, I only need to go to the Seminary and teach Greek. If there's one thing I know, it's Greek.


And here's a song dedicated to yesterday's Nobel prize news. It's Katie Melua's version of Bob Dylan's Blowing in the Wind. Gotta love them lyrics!


I had a free Sabbath yesterday. It's something that doesn't happen very often these days and I was unsure how I should use this day. Should I ask any colleagues whether any of them require help with preaching somewhere or should I just attend the church service here in Tallinn and sit in the pew? On Friday afternoon, when I was really tired of work and of the office, I actually considered the possibility of not going anywhere but staying home for the whole day. But things turned out quite differently. And I'm glad they did.

My dad started his ministry in Põltsamaa church yesterday. It's a small church in the middle of Estonia. What made the occasion remarkable was that it was the first time my dad was sent to a church where he has worked before. Our family lived in Põltsamaa and my dad served that church when I was a kid, I started school there in 1992 (heavens, I'm getting old!) and I have only the fondest memories of that place. I had a great childhood and Põltsamaa with its church played a big part in it. We left Põltsamaa in 1998 so my dad has returned to the place 18 years after we moved away.

It was only late on Friday evening that K. and me decided we would drive down to Põltsamaa on Saturday morning and would be there for dad's first church service. I had asked S. sometime last week if his family was planning to go to Põltsamaa this Sabbath but he wasn't sure. So it wasn't even a proper plan or anything but in the end all of our family turned out to the service there - we came from Tallinn, S. and H. with little (but oh, growing so quickly!) E. came from Tartu. Dad didn't know anything about us going, he didn't expect us to be there so it was a really good surprise for him. He may have started crying, seeing us there.

You can't help but think of all the lost times on a day like this. I was thirteen when we left Põltsamaa, S. was three years older than me and K. was only eleven. No-one had any ideas what we'd grow up to be, whether we'd "turn out well" or not. We couldn't have guessed that in 18 years we would have studied in different universities in different countries and that we would work with trucks and computers and people. We didn't know dad would be a grandfather by that time. And obviously none of us could foresee that we would lose our mom so early.

But most of all - after 18 years of good days and ordinary days and terrible days, we're well, we love each other, and we actually do well in life. It was a rare and precious moment to be together yesterday morning. I'm grateful to the Almighty, both for our little family reunion yesterday and for all these years He has given us in His mercy.