Where two or three are gathered

I was not feeling great and had gone in to hibernation mode, so much so that I was on radio silence with E. I can’t really explain why, other than overwhelmed.

I knew that I was going to have to ‘put on the face’ after all I was meeting a friend for coffee and then having house group.

I was dreading it, I just wanted to curl up, but I had no need to worry. I was with people who knew me, and actually as I felt more at home with them I relaxed more and felt better generally.

I know that people are good for me, but that doesn’t help when you want to hide away from it all. Sometimes we have to make choices that go against it instinct, because we know they will have a better impact on us. It’s just about finding the strength to make those choice in the first place – that’s going need to be my job this year.

As E reminded me when I broke radios silence ‘where two or Rhee are gathered…there I am also’

Precious

I recieved an email from a friend this morning, and it made me stop and think.

I regularly email a group of awesome women who pray for me, and support me. Celebrating the highs and walking with me in the lows, lifting me up where necessary. I had sent out an email this morning about the start to term. It’s been a tough week but it’s been an exciting one as well.

The email received said ‘there’s a lot here, pace yourself precious’ – why did this stop me in my tracks?

Precious is a term used by E when messaging me when I’m struggling, usually with the words ‘take care my…’

I recall last week when I’d messaged E as some anxieties were going through my mind and as soon as she’d used the word precious I knew there was trouble! So when someone else used the term, when I thought it was a positive email – the alarm bells started ringing.

There aren’t many people I know who see themselves as precious, I know I don’t. I might say that I’m created and loved by God but I don’t think of myself as precious.

Both of these ladies are friends who have seen my journey, they can spot the things, the warning signs that lead to dark times for me, but they see me as precious and remind me of this as well, when I need to hear it.

The definition of precious is… of great value, not to be wasted or treated carelessly

We are all precious, we need to remind ourselves and each other.

You are of great value…not to be wasted… not to be treated carelessly.

Finding the sun

It was a bit chilly as I walked to work this morning. The sun was in the process of rising, and it was absolutely stunning. I would have taken a photo but my hands were full with it being the first day back!

So… it was rather chilly. It reminded me of the mornings in the caravan, when you’d put your leg out from the duvet and quickly huddle back up again. But then as soon as the curtains were open the sun came streaming in. It was lighter and almost immediately it was warmer.

The sun is quite phenomenal, it brings us light, it brings us warmth, it brings us life.

Over the last few days I’ve had some real surprise sunny moments, whether that be a 84 minute phone call with E, unexpected lunch with friends, or walking in to a room and seeing some people’s faces that literally made my heart leap. Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying I was in a dark place, but it was like those sudden bursts of energy you get through a cloud. Little forces of energy that help you along the way.

Sometimes though, we have to make the effort to find the sun. That may be opening the curtains, or going on holiday where you know it will be sunny. I have a number of things that I know bring me energy WHEN I do them, emphasis being WHEN – playing the piano, reading, spending quality time with the husband. But I know that I need to be the one who chooses to do them.

I also know that I can sometimes block out the sun, getting caught up in myself, my thoughts, my perceived inadequacies and inevitably hiding myself away. That’s when I need to open the curtains. I might not be able to open them fully straight away but gradually I can let the light in.

I’m not sure I’ll ever be a sun-chaser but I’m going to be trying to recognise the spontaneous sunny moments, and choose to let the sun in when things are a bit dreary.

Choosing to not control

I don’t know about you but it’s rare that I watch live TV anymore.

This is especially if it’s not on the two channels that frequent the two spots on most people’s menu – why? Adverts. I rarely watch them any more, and will choose to start a programme late so that we can fast-forward through the adverts.

However, this was not an option in the caravan, or in the B&B we’ve just stayed in. And actually, we survived. In fact I found the commercial breaks quite helpful, a good time to go and get a drink, put the PJs on, have a conversation without disturbing the programme, or, of course, the comfort break!

Breaks are essential in all aspects of life, we see it from the beginning and creation. I’m probably pushing this a bit far now, but we get to choose how we use those breaks, we can rush through them because there’s so much more we need to get done in that extra 10 ,minutes of time, or we can choose to just go with the flow, and make the most of the breaks as they come along. In our household we’re inevitably going to have to pause at some point anyway, so why not use the breaks we’re given?

On a practical not, this also stops the frustration with the person in control of the controls who isn’t paying attention and not fast-forwarding!

This is linked with wanting what we want, when we want it. Another reason we don’t watch a huge amount of live TV is because we have things recorded, or we use streaming services. This means that we can watch what we want, when we want it.

Again, not a possibility in the caravan. We had to rely on the scheduling of the people who’s job it is to schedule. Trusting that they would know what they were doing. If there wasn’t anything on, turning the TV off.

This again, helped with Switching off to power up

We have so much power over things like what we watch, that we can worry when that power gets taken away. But this can easily transfer to other aspects of life.

We think we could be in control, rather than trusting those people who actually have training and expertise.

Am I going to stop watching Recorded programmes? Probably not. But I’m not going to be afraid to turn it off, and do something else rather than finding, something, anything to watch, or take the time through the breaks rather than fast forwarding.

It’s handy to be given power and choice, but it’s often more liberating to hand that over to others, and just enjoy the experience!

Ripples

I usually use other’s photos for blog posts but this is my own, taken at Rye Harbour when I was away.

I find it beautiful, although doesn’t do justice to the vastness in real life.

The sea was quite far out, there was what felt like a pebble mountain to get down, and in between was the vast sand.

The beach was covered with these ripples, the result of the sea. I don’t know about you but I often associate sea with washing things away, building sand castles and fortresses only for them to be washed away. However, we sometimes forget the transformative power of it as well.

Under foot these sand ripples were rather hard, and I could tell that after the. Ext tide they would still be there. They would change, but they would still be there.

It is so easy to think that things in life will just go away. We may feel like we’re under water, but once the water goes away then it’s over, it’s done with. BUT we forget about the effects, and how long standing they may be. Yes, over time, they may seemingly disappear, but really it’s just become a part of who we are.

There is no one thing that defines who we are. We are a cumulative result of our many tides of life. We may think that some of the tides are harmful and damaging, but we need to remember that we are beautiful. We are also unique. No one has experienced the same tides that we have, therefore no one will have the same ripples.

Switching off to power up

I’ve just got back from a few nights away in a caravan with my mum. It has been lovely. Just what I needed.

However, when I arrived I realised I was going to have to switch off.

Don’t get me wrong, we weren’t completely roughing it. We had electricity BUT we had to watch what was on, and although there was good 4G access, streaming was not an option. I contemplated paying for wifi but E persuaded me that switching off was my best option.

Shockingly, E, was correct.

My biggest concern was going to sleep, as I normally watch stuff, and have had to have noise as I go to sleep for as long as I can remember. But I had my MP3 player, and after my first night of falling asleep with ease and sleeping straight through I realised it wasn’t going to be an issue.

I have read more this week than I have in a long time, I’ve even had two books on the go. One for my book group (I actually can’t remember the last book group book I finished) and one for interest, that will help with work.

So, I’ve switched off, and it has been great, but I’ve also powered up.

It’s not rocket science but I’ve realised I don’t read as much as I used to, because there’s so much else to do. TV to catch up on, rubbish binge watching, finding the next box set to watch. But because that wasn’t an option I’ve been able to find the time to read. I’ve been loving my book of interest because it has reignited a flame, of why I love teaching my subject so much.

Whilst we were away we caught the light railway to Dungeness. I love the irony of Dungeness, that there is barely anything there, there are a few houses, and untouched beautiful beach…. and, of course, the power station. You almost need a barren place, to be able to have a space big enough to provide that power.

At the beginning of the holiday I took a walk, and sat under a tree, and I listened to what God was saying to me. I read a psalm that I have never read before (that I remember) and I had a clear sense of what I needed to do, and what my oath was going to be.

Our world is constantly moving, it requires power, but sometimes we need to make that conscious choice to step away, turn it off, and power ourselves up to empower others.

Scabs and Scars

I am a picker of scabs.

I have lots of scars.

I am yet to really learn that the two things are related.

For as long as I can remember I have picked at scabs. I find it somehow therapeutic, the pain eases, and there is a weird relief. This has been especially problematic in recent times due to the way I ‘deal’ or should I say ‘react’ to anxiety.

However, I may have finally learnt the lesson.

Nearly two weeks ago I went for a run. I haven’t been for a run for ages, and when I found myself on my backside on the pathway I remembered why. Over the last year I have found myself having more myochlonic seizures which sometimes mean I lose my footing. This is annoying when walking, and it turns out to be quite dangerous when running.

In true MrsN fashion I got some injuries, including a rather large cut in the bottom centre of my right palm. That is a really annoying place to get a cut. Over the last two weeks I have not picked at it once. I have felt it healing, as the skin has stretched and tightened, and I have seen it healing.

I’m a picker of scabs, so why haven’t I picked at this one? I think it’s purely because of its location. It is in such an awkward place, that my knowledge of letting it heal and not picking at it seems to have finally kicked in.

You know me though, it’s no surprise that I managed to get such ridiculous injuries in the summer holiday, but it’s also no surprise to hear that this has got me thinking about metaphors for life

Last week the husband and I were watching a travel programme in Bosnia, where everything seemed to be focussed around the events of the war. I do not wish to belittle those events, and I know I have no idea what it must have been like to experience. However, it was as though they did not want to let it go at all. It didn’t seem to be about remembering the events, but about constantly experiencing it again.

The day after my meeting with the path I was battered, bruised and extremely shook up. I was really apprehensive about leaving the house in case I should lose my footing again. Eventually I dragged myself up to the local supermarket – mainly because E was telling me I couldn’t let my knee get stiff. If I hadn’t gone out that day, I now worry whether I would have made it out that week. I was still in pain, I did lose my footing a couple of times, but I did it and I didn’t fall.

We all experience things which throw us, they are likely to cause wounds of some description. But do we dwell on them, keep picking over what has happened, possibly creating longer term scarring. Or do we live with the pain of the moment, and allow it to heal in it’s own time.

The wound on my hand has gradually been getting smaller, it’s still there, it’s still hurting, but it’s smaller. I have been grateful for antiseptic creams and tubular bandages to hold the dressing in place. I have also been grateful for people willing to open bottles, push down toasters, and generally help out the invalid.

As I was thinking about this blog, I was reminded of a Matt Redman song, ‘Never Once’ the pre-chorus says

“Scars and struggles on the way; but with joy I gladly say; never once did I ever walk alone”

We are going to get Scars in life, that is inevitable, but we can choose how bad those scars are. They are going to be smaller if we allow ourselves to experience the pain, to allow the scars to heal by themselves, knowing that we are not alone and allowing others to help us out when our scars are inhibiting us.

I know I have a long way to go to get this embedded in my life and the way I process things. But I am hoping that when this wound finally heals completely, I will see that it was worth the wait, the pain, the resisting of temptation, and that it may stop me physically picking at scabs, even if the mental and spiritual process may still need some work!