We'd been to the chapel yesterday evening.
Rewind that - I'd been on the run since leaving work. Got home, cooked dinner (Chris was busy, hadn't noticed the time and I cook faster than she does) thoroughly heated the food for Alpha, drove it over, took a portion round to the lovely Jane with a bad back, then drove home so Chris could pick up stuff, then drove to the chapel.
We'd been there a short while when someone I think we used to know walked in. *Richard* had long hair, a skirt, handbag, breasts and a smoothish chin. If I'd not know them before I might have overlooked the fact that *he* is about 6'3" and built like a rugby forward. But I wasn't QUITE sure enough to go up and greet them with the name they used to use, and in the end, to my shame I bottled it.
*edit* Ben saw his wife at the Tim Hughes concert in Oxford earlier in the week. Ben hadn't been aware about the change, although we had heard it mentioned. He asked what would make someone so obviously masculine try to change like that?
Meetings at the chapel tend to be short, in that the organised bit is usually max 1hr 15, often less than an hour. But people want to fellowship, so they just do it before and after the meetings. So people start getting together at 7.30, meeting starts at 8ish, finishes about 9.15 after which there is a discussion group. There were more back in the main hall fellowshipping than there were in the discussion group, and they were there still after the small group finished, up 'till about 10.40pm when the place really needed locking up.
There's a learning in there.
So we got home, unwound for a while, then went to bed.
But not to sleep.
Not at all, really.
So you try all the things that help to bring sleep, both individually and together. There's lots of stuff bouncing round in my head, and FWIW having a bad night after chapel meetings has become normal for me. I don't know whether it's the extra concentration required to work across cultures (and many Zim guys are holding hard to their culture) just the effort of trying to get to know people or if there's a spiritual aspect to this as well. No matter.
Eventually Chris went downstairs to the settee because she was coughing and I wasn't, probably about 2.30am
I must have got some sleep as there were definite gaps, but around 4.30am woke up again.
By 6 I'd had enough - it's when I'm rising now anyway, so just sat up, managed about 20 min very sleepy incoherent prayer in bed before shaving, bathing etc.
Today one of my staff is leaving, and I really want to be there, to say goodbye and thank you, otherwise this would definitely be a sickie. There's that feeling of pressure inside my head from blocked sinuses and insufficient sleep, and no amount of flu-strength paracetamol will clear it. :-(