Through the Window to Redemption
In England, I was not a member of the local church community, and had lost my faith.
My wife, Patricia, and I decided to move to Spain for a better way of life and after my 60th birthday, I took early retirement and we moved to Benidorm in October 2006 with all our remaining possessions packed into our car. The journey from Lincoln to Benidorm via Portsmouth, Bilbao and Siguenza was eventful, to say the least. But that’s another story .
Patricia had said many times that she would attend the little church near Levante beach, having been persuaded of its many joys by our friend, Theresa, who we had met on holiday 2 years earlier. On that Sunday morning, I dropped Patricia off near the church, said I would pick her up in an hours time, and went off to park the car. 10 minutes later, I found myself entering the church door. Didn’t mean to, it just happened.
Stanley showed me to a seat on the front row, and I whole heartedly joined in with what little singing voice I have. At coffee afterwards, Dennis and I were giving each other the ‘I know you’ looks, and indeed, we had met some years previously in a business capacity back in Lincoln, and talking to Dennis and Jenny. I began to feel that this was where I belonged. During the next few weeks, I was constantly drawn to the illuminated window inside the church, with its vine leaves and bunches of grapes. Counting up, counting down again and again, 28 grapes and 84 leaves.
In February, Christine and I were discussing the new postcard, and I mentioned in passing that the window should have a place on it, as it was special to me, but couldn’t explain why. A week later, I was counting the grapes again, and I finally opened the hymn book to the grapes number, 28. I was shocked and a little frightened as I read the words of the sinners prayer, and I thought, “That’s me, He knows all about me”, I turned to the leaves number, 84, and realised that I was saved, Praise the Lord.
Some may say that it’s superstitious nonsense, but, by coincidence, or by design, that window had helped to open the door to my soul, and made me see myself for what I truly was, a sinner, but now a repentant one. To someone else, the window may mean something completely different, or just be so many pieces of coloured glass, but I thank the artist who designed it, and I thank the Lord for making me study it and showing me the way forward. Praise be to God.
Malcolm Robinson 5th March 2007
I was born in 1943, a war baby, and Sunday school and the church were important in my upbringing. I married early and found that with being a young housewife and mother, the church slowly took a back seat in my life. Recently, I lost both my parents and older sister, and suddenly I was the head of our side of the family and my brother and sister began to regard me as mother. There was a void in my life and although I did not attend church regularly, I learned to pray again.
We started going to Spain for holidays in 1985 and began to appreciate the slower pace of the Mediterranean lifestyle away from Benidorm’s tourist area. Eventually we took a month holiday in 2 consecutive years, and were reassured to find that we liked each other’s company , even within the confines of a hotel room. I had said many times that I would like to retire to Spain and Malcolm agreed that we should do it as soon as possible, while young enough, so he took early retirement at 60, and we moved to Benidorm.
Our friend Theresa had persuaded me to join the English Church, and my husband dropped me off nearby and left. I entered nervously, but the pastor welcomed me warmly at the door and I sat with another first timer. The service was under way, when Malcolm came in and was shown to a seat on the other side by Stanley. I was surprised but extremely happy that he had turned up to support me. Now, when I have been to church, or in the company of other members of our fellowship, I get that inner glow of contentment because I feel that this is where I belong and these are the friends I want to be with.
I have always tried to do the right thing throughout my life, but not always succeeded in that as well as I could have, and I know that I am a sinner, but believe that I will be forgiven and that the Lord will be my saviour if I follow in his footsteps.
Thank you Lord for opening my eyes and coming into my life again.
Patricia Robinson 5th April 2007