i was reminded the other day how important this icon has been in my spiritual journey over the last ten years. on my first day at spurgeon's my doctrine tutor made us think about the images of God which we carry around with us and which form our ethics. i remember him saying that we all have pictures of God in our heads and he was just concerned that we have the right one. rublev's, for him, and then for me, is the 'right' one.

the doctrine of the trinity articulated in this icon has pretty much carried me through some rough times and given me great joy in a God who invites me in to a life of dancing and feasting and welcome - real welcome, welcome that gives room to the the person God made me to be.

i'm a bit sad that i've lost something of that joy over the last 8 months. i find myself at the end of the year with a somewhat smaller god than i used to have.

i find myself without the 'happy ending' to this yet, and a great desire to share that with somebody. we talk too much, sometimes, about our happy testimonies, or those painful ones which have already resolved. well, i don't have that yet. oh, did you see - i put a 'yet' on the end. it's so deeply ingrained. i don't even know actually, if there is a 'yet' in which the end will be a happy resolution. we'll have to see. do you want to walk with me on this journey? i can't promise it will be jolly. i can't promise that it will even be that frequent - as you've seen over the last year, to talk about life as an ordinand is something of a tricky situation, i can't, clearly, divulge specific information, and as much as i struggle, i know that there are just some things that you don't share. but, if you want real, well, i think that's what i can give you right now.

at the moment i am looking towards the summer holidays. these are coming as a blessed relief. i reckon that they will refresh me. i am slightly concerned that they will still leave me with a deficit of emotional exhaustion and so i won't start the year at the same place i started last year. as i am only just about holding on to sanity at the moment, i vaguely wonder what i will be like at the end of next year. this is not an idle comment. some people, i have become aware, do not survive this process. some barely survive it. not mad, bad people either, people who will be wonderful priests. i begin to wonder whether i will survive. thriving isn't even on the agenda. this thought sits in the back of my head.

as i look back and try to grasp the chinks of light, i remember that my deepest desire, the thing that i asked God for most, were friends. so i thank God for the six people who have become anchors in my somewhat stormy sea. college is stormy for four of them too, in ways i cannot share here. one day if i ever meet you in the flesh, i can talk about them as abstracts - but for now, be joyful for me that they keep me on God's behalf.

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