One of the places which is very special for me is my friend Caroline’s beach hut at Portland near Weymouth. Unlike the less interesting but useful rows of nearly identical painted little huts which you sometimes see along promenades, Caroline’s hut is one of a group of huts several minutes walk away from Chesil Beach which are scattered at different heights alongside some narrow paths below the cliffs and within sight of the sea.
Caroline’s hut is hidden from the others by a giant fig tree and has its own area of grass ideal for summer barbecues and a beautiful view over the bay. Each of the huts has its own character with differently coloured shutters, shape and size. The interior of Caroline’s small hut is brilliantly organised with everything in it which you could possibly need for an enjoyable and relaxing time at the hut no matter what the weather. Caroline loves spending much of the summer at her hut which is the source of inspiration for many of her paintings.
This year Caroline had a very interesting encounter when out of the blue the son of her hut’s original owner turned up with his Australian wife.
Although their life together is in Australia this man had made a special journey in the hope of showing his wife the lovely hut which as a boy in the early 1960s he had seen being built, and where he had spent many happy days with his family. For him the hut has a significant and special part in the catalogue of memories which are his remembered childhood.
Caroline’s hut is important to me because it’s in a beautiful place and it is somewhere I have spent many hours relaxing with Caroline and her family who have been part of my life since I was a toddler. It’s also a peaceful place I associate with great friends listening to each other and with times of reflection.
In the gospels we read about Jesus listening to people and about him healing and helping.
He comes across as very caring and as someone always willing to give time for people. But what may be less obvious is that Jesus also definitely liked to spend time with his friends and sometimes felt the need to get away from the busyness of his everyday life. We are told that he liked to go away somewhere quiet with his friends in order to pray and reflect.
For those of us who are often very busy these descriptions of Jesus sometimes retreating from the crowds are an important reminder that we all sometimes need space away from the challenges and responsibilities of our lives and that it is good to relax with people we love and that it is good to make time for reflection and prayer.
God is someone who will always listen to us.