Friday, October 20, 2006

Long day in Belfast

Yesterday I had a 21-hour day that started with me having to get up in time for a 5.15am pick up from my house. A trip to Bristol airport and my first ever easyJet flight later and I was in Northern Ireland for the very first time.

The organisation I work for was running an event at the very swish Waterfront Hall in Belfast, but first we had a visit to our regional office in Lisburn. I've met the NI contingent a few times and they had NEVER told me that they had a coffee shop on the ground floor of their building. Good thing I work hundreds of miles away from those delicious tray bakes otherwise I'd be several stones tubbier!

The event itself was very good. Jeff and Kay Lucas were the speakers and they're both excellent communicators. Having been depressed myself, I particularly valued Jeff's honesty about how annoying Christians can be when you admit to being depressed:
"It seems you aren't living the victory!" "WELL, OBVIOUSLY NOT!" "What can we do to help you, brother?" "HOW ABOUT DISAPPEARING FOR EVER?"

I think I was luckier than most - I had sensible friends who knew that sometimes people get depressed and it is a real illness in the brain that needs to be treated properly. But I know where Jeff was coming from. It is hard to talk to otherworldly religious people about being slightly squiff in the head. And as a respected leader/speaker he might have felt that a lot more than a low-profile bodlike me.

After the evening came to an end we drove to the only Indian restaurant in the city that had agreed to stay open late. When we got there we discovered that someone who will remain nameless (not me!) had agreed to meet the Lucases at the front door of the Waterfront and forgotten them.

Eventually everyone got to the restaurant, and once we'd eaten we had the "short" trip to the Holiday Inn. I was quickly learning that when someone in Belfast tells you it's a 'short' trip that means 'the other side of the city, stopping at every traffic light on the way'. But we got there and, 21 hours after I got up, I gratefully collapsed into bed.

1 comment:

  1. I heard Jeff Lucas speak at Spring Harvest a few years ago and he remains one of the best speakers I have ever heard.... you should hear him on Grace...