11th August 2021

Sometime last summer, a healthy young man and his fiancée, deeply in love and on holiday, decided to put on their wet suits and go for a night swim. Despite being a strong swimmer, he was swept out to sea by the strong currents and tragically was drowned. So a couple of weeks ago I came to be at the memorial gathering arranged for a former student.

The loss of a young person (he was the same age as my daughter) is always tragic. Apart from the occasional picture on Facebook, we had not been in touch since he had left school. I remembered a friendly and enthusiastic boy who needed an extra year to get the A-level grades he needed for university. What I learned at the memorial day from his family and friends was that he had progressed to be a design engineer with a formula one racing team, an astronomer, a photographer, a woodworker and a deep thinker who was admired and trusted by those around him. At the time of his death, he had given up the F1 team to train as a watchmaker and was just setting up his workshop to keep the traditional skill alive. What a life to have been cut short.

We used to say at my school that we were preparing our students for “lifelong learning”. Here was someone who had really taken that seriously and had continued to grow long after his formal education ended.

Can we say the same of our own lives? How do I continue to learn on my spiritual journey? What do I do to get stronger in my service to God?

Nick Parsons