As a follow-up to Rob's oral history I should also mention his other recording exercise. At the end of their visit in 2015 he managed to compile a series of thoughts from all the family members (except us!) as they reflected on their time in England. Well edited, it combined humorous and off-beat comments combined with several poignant and heart-felt words. Listening to it reduced Carol to tears!
This time he produced another masterpiece. Recorded during our final Chinese takeaway meal it began with rapid fire interviews with somewhat eccentric responses asking how family members chose to eat their Chinese. I am not sure we needed to know some of the enthusiasms! But then Rob asked for their thoughts on all that had happened at Christmas with Nanny and Grampy! One by one our children and grand-children spoke with seriousness and kindness. Elliot (10 years old) said: ' I like that Nanny always plans ahead and prepares everything so carefully. When she told us that she had made the beds in the house we were staying it made me feel so welcome to England.' (What an insightful lad!) Our daughter-in-laws both commented on Carol's gift of hospitality. One of them said:' I love it when we come into the house and everything is so clean and ordered and right from the beginning we can relax.' Several other comments are too personal and it would be self-serving to report them (!) but you can guess how much we treasure this recording.
It reinforced the value of stopping to reflect and thank. This is not easy. Too often our busyness pushes us into the next thing without pausing for breath. But when we consciously stop in order to be grateful and, better still, express those thanks - to God and to each other - we share in experiencing more the 'now' and live a little more deeply. In 2017 we don't need a recording device to act on this.