Strange Times

I was in Helsinki last weekend, attending the Christians for Biblical Equality conference. I gave my presentation and survived all the small-talk and networking and business card exchanging (not that I have one) that always takes place at international conferences, and felt terribly tired by Saturday evening. When do they start organising conferences for introverts, I wondered. The ones that won't scare me with the classic conference hits like "Now form a small group and discuss..." or "I really liked your presentation, could tell me some more..." So. I was pretty done by Saturday night and had just arrived at the place where I was staying, hoping to put my feet up and enjoy the bliss of silence and non-communication.

Just then I received a text from, uhmm, let's call him X. Do you have time to speak? And I text him back, saying, sure, I'll be back to my office on Monday, let's find time and speak next week. And he's like, can we do it right now? I need your answer for an important question by tomorrow evening the latest. This sure got my attention. So we spoke.

I can't quite say I was offered a job then and there but I was offered a chance of my candidacy being considered for a certain position. There are many people involved in the complicated and time-consuming decision process and an important meeting was to take place on Sunday for which they needed to find out whether I would be even interested and whether there was any point for them to discuss my name in the committee.

And I felt physically how the terrible burden of having to make an important decision was put on my shoulders. And how the carefully created equilibrium of my life was shattered to pieces.

Now, I'm really bad at making decisions. I can't even make up my mind in a restaurant. It's a wonder - and a grace of God - I've gotten anything done in my life. So when big decisions need to be made, I just brain freeze. So I brain froze on Saturday night.

The position/job itself is really interesting. It involves tons of hard work but also a good team and a lot of potential. The place to which I'd have to move is wonderful. It's something that would have made me jump through the roof in excitement, had such an offer come a couple of years ago.

But now I don't know. I've started to grow some roots, it seems (or I'm just getting old, go figure). I can't bear the thought of leaving this country. My family is here. Most of the places and people I care so deeply about are here. My work is meaningful and interesting. There's potential here too. There are people I can be of service to here. There are churches who always invite me to preach and who are happy when I come. I work in a wonderful team. I am a member of a church plant. And I also want to continue my singing classes and review writing, although they're not in the Top 10 of my Remain campain list. Heavens, I want to see my niece grow up! And I naturally want to stick to everything that is familiar and safe.

I came back home on Sunday afternoon and when the ferry approached Tallinn and I saw the city and all the beaches and the Old Town silhouette from the distance, I thought, "How could I leave this behind?"

This week is my Concert Review Week. The heartily anticipated Tallinn Organ Festival is finally here and every evening I make my way up to St Nicholas' Church in the Old Town. I sit for hours on end, listening to heavenly organ music and looking at 500 year old art that's on display. Of course I have to think about the review and what I'd say there, but most of the time I'm just thinking existential thoughts, really. Who am I? Why am I? What am I doing here? What would it take to make me leave? What would it take to make me stay? Why would I stay? Why would I leave? Is this the life I want? What would I say if I could send myself a message from my death bed? What makes life meaningful? What about risk and adventure? What on earth (and in heaven) does God think of the whole business?

I've never had concerts so deep and existential in my life, people.

My brain is still frozen. But if you say a prayer for me and if God comes through, it'll get better. Eventually, anyway.