Twists and turns

I had a hospital appointment earlier in the week. It’s the first time I’d really been to this hospital, and had asked the husband how long it would take to walk. He said it would be about the same time it takes us to walk to church. The first part of the rout was the same but then I needed to turn left rather than crossing over the road.

I allowed a bit longer for the journey, but I was starting to get worried, as it seemed to be taking a lot longer. However, the husband was actually correct, it did take about the same amount of time.

Why my concern?

I think it’s because the route to church involves going down lots of different roads, lots of twist and turns. Whereas the road to the hospital was one long straight road. When it’s just one long straight road, it seems longer, you’re not having to think about where you’re going, crossing roads, there isn’t really a change in scenery, and don’t always feel like you’re actually making any progress. However if you’re going down different roads, having to turn corners cross roads, it just feels like you’re going somewhere and makes it go quicker.

So often we talk about a hope for our paths in life to be made straight. And in the Gospel reading today it was actually suggested that we should make our paths straight for the Lord. But I think there’s a difference between trying to live a good life, and hoping that everything that goes smoothly.

I’m not suggesting that we should celebrate and hope for the things that knock us. However, I think those twists and turns that take us away from the path we had planned are good. They add to the journey, and make us who we are. It is often through the twists and turns that we become more aware of what is going on in us, around us, and helping us on the journey.

Creating the joy…

This week has been… well… there was an utter breakdown causing complete embarrassment as well as a lot of hibernation. I have felt that I am living on a knife edge, and it really doesn’t take much to knock me off that edge. The problem is once I’m off, it takes a HECK of a lot to get back on to the knife edge again.

I’ve mentioned numerous times about hibernation, and about how I try to avoid situations that may exasperate anxiety etc. But this wasn’t working (not enough anyway) so I needed to think of something different, prevention…

Yesterday I made a decision… I needed to try to place myself in to a positive, to almost at least stick myself to the knife edge, avoid the knocking off in the first place!

How did I do this I hear you ask?????

I wore a glittery jump, to bring a bit of sparkle. And I only drunk from the mug shown above.

Did it work?

Yes! It was a GOOD day.

I have no idea how it worked, or if it will work again BUT hey I’m not going to knock it either!

Clearer

My mind seems clearer today than it has for some time.

Over the last few days the views have been astonishing. The sky has been clear, and the sunrises, sunsets and general beauty of the world has been awe inspiring.

It has also been a LOT colder than it has all year. Colder because of the lack of cloud, but that is what causes the awe inspiring beauty.

Today I had an appointment. It’s an appointment I’ve been waiting for for some time. It was a very frosty and cold walk up to the hospital, but it was also bright and sunny.

I didn’t get any answers at the appointment. My mind is clearer following the appointment because I feel like I’ve made the first step on the journey that will lead to some answers.

Sometimes we need to experience the cold, to see the beauty. We know we can get through the cold with layers, but we need to try and focus on the beauty.

In the same way as we go on whatever journeys we’re on we need to surround ourselves with layer of support, to be able to take the journey and see the beauty on the way.

The photo above was taken on route back from the hospital as I was processing everything that had been said – whilst I was wrapped up with loads of layers, listening to my music, and stunned by the beauty.

The hand I’ve been dealt

‘It’s the cards you’ve been dealt’

A phrase I’ve heard this week a few times. Therefore a phrase I’ve been pondering over.

Why the phrase? Without going in to detail there have been some knocks this week, not surprisingly associated with the brain, which has led to upset and frustration. I don’t think, with the sentence, there was an attempt to make me feel better about it but just an acknowledgement that this is the situation I’m in.

We played a LOT of card games when we were younger. One of my favourites was gin rummy. The thing with gin rummy is that you get rid of the cards you don’t want – the one thing I am unable to do and so further frustration took over.

It’s probably no shock to you that I’ve pondered this even more. When playing gin rummy as well as getting rid of the cards you don’t want, you pick up the cards you want, but I guess most importantly you sometimes have to change track dependent on cards that come up and cards that are taken by other players.

So what have I taken from this this week? Not a huge amount if I’m completely honest, at present, other than I may not like the hand I’ve been dealt, but it is what it is. I may not be able to get rid of the cards I don’t like, but I can keep an eye out for the cards available to me, and use those to make the best in the situation.

Light in the darkness

It is no secret that I make a very early journey to work. At the moment that is mainly taking place in the dark, with gradual lightness creeping in as I approach the place of employment. I’m really enjoying my walks at the moment, because of the beautiful autumn colours – but that’s another blog

On Wednesday I took the above picture, the moon was absolutely stunning, especially as I walked through this park in the final part of my journey. BUT when I walked through this part on Thursday (the next day) it was SO dark, and that’s because of the clouds. There was NO sign of the moon at all.

Yesterday I had to cover my eyes in the car on the way home (I was in the passenger seat) because there were some cyclists approaching us. Cyclists are having to use fights at the moment, both to see and to be seen – why they have to flash I don’t know!

In the darkness we need light, sometimes we rely on the light being produced by other things, and possibly don’t realise how much we need it, or appreciated it until it’s gone. Sometime we have to make conscious effort to provide light for ourselves and for others.

For regular blog readers you will know I’m not just talking practically here, but also metaphorically! We all go through times of darkness in our lives, sometimes we don’t necessarily realise what a dark place we’re in until someone or something shines some light into our lives. Yesterday I have three examples of people shining light into my life,

1. A message from my ex work colleague saying that she’d heard ‘build me up buttercup’ on the radio and thought of me.

2. A phone conversation with E calming me down after a frustrating appointment.

3. Arriving home from said appointment to post from my mum, which was the service sheet from a memories service I was unable to go to, and some seeds that were given to plant.

They are seemingly small things, but in times of darkness only the smallest amount brings a great amount of light.

Sometimes though, we have to seek out the light. In the same way as cyclists choose to put their lights on, or we use torches, there is some effort involved in bringing light into our situations. This may be through avoidance of further darkness, or making more contact with people or things that we know bring light in to our lives. I know, for me, at the moment I am doing a mixture of these things. Things that bring me light are contact with friends, cross-stitch (actually this is another example of light being brought into my life this week when a friend gave me a simple cross stitch to complete, a bit of piano playing for no reason, and pjs on the sofa is always good! I am also trying to avoid situations that bring me further darkness.

I want to end, possibly controversially, with fireworks! Now, fireworks are not the friend of someone with photo-sensitive epilepsy. However, I am aware that fireworks would be pointless during the day, or in the height of summer. To be able to fully appreciate fireworks you need darkness. Sometimes we don’t recognise and appreciate the light in our world until we are in times of darkness. That is not to say that we should seek darkness, but to me, it is a comfort to know that light can be shone in dark places.

Yesterday Canterbury centre was full as people came to see the lights being switched on. We are approaching the time when we celebrate light coming in to the world. That light was 2000 years ago, but is still shining strong today, in and through us.

In a world full of darkness, we have the opportunity to receive and give that light to others. Are you going to take that opportunity?

Handing it over

This afternoon I was sitting in my classroom singing ‘he’s got the whole world in his hands’ with year 11 pupils – obviously!

Over the last couple of weeks I have given talks, and listened to talks about faith – it’s our theme for this term.

And yet… I struggle to hear the words for myself.

I’m hoping through typing it might sink in!

I imagine we’ve all had to carry something that we have needed help and support with. There’s probably even been times when someone has had to take something out of our hands because we just cannot manage to carry it any further. Then of course, there are the times where we are holding up people because we are being weighed down.

This happens, not only physically, but metaphorically!

Sometimes it will be friends, family, colleagues that wee Ned to seek support from, or who might take things from us.

However, sometimes we need to recognise that actually there’s nothing we can do, we need to hand it over, we need to trust that our loving father has got it in hand, and have faith that good will come out. We need to focus on what we can do, where we can make a difference, and not worry about tomorrow – after all, tomorrow will worry about itself!

Stop… look… listen

We have probably all been taught how to cross a road? I still remember the team coming in to my primary school, bringing a zebra crossing, and beacons, as we were taught.

Taught to stop… look… listen…

This is more than a lesson for crossing the road. This is something we should be doing in our daily lives.

I haven’t kept it much of a secret that I like a routine. In the morning I’m pretty much on auto-pilot as I walk to school. Last week I was shook out of my zombie-like state as I was stopped in my tracks by the beauty of a tree. It had the most gorgeous red leaves, I was overwhelmed by its beauty. And today it was similar with a single leaf on the ground.

Also over the last week I have been listening to my music and have really heard some of the words in the songs which I have actually then sent links to friends. I’ve also felt prompted to send messages of encouragement to friends. This was something that used to happen a lot, I felt prompted, and it turned out that prompting came at just the right time for that person BUT…

I’ve been getting caught up in life, focussing on surviving each day that I haven’t been noticing what’s going on around me, I haven’t been listening to those prompts

If we just cross a road without stopping, looking and listening there is a possibility we will be knocked over.

If we go through life without taking time to stop, to look around us and to listen to what’s been said, we can become overwhelmed by the stuff… we can miss the beauty… we can miss opportunities to use our gifts to be a blessing to others.

Can I just encourage you in the next few days

Stop… and take some time for you without thinking about the stuff that’s happening

Look… at the beauty of nature, of family, of friends

Listen… to people, to music, to the voice in your head – what’s being said?

I’d love to hear if you do it and what happens!