This time last year the word ‘hermit’ could have easily been used to describe me, and yet the last week I’ve had friends over for dinner, been to friends for dinner (whilst drinking my friends very tasty home brew), been shopping, and ended the week leading a service at church and then going to a friends and spending about an hour on a bouncy castle!!!!!
Is hermit too strong a word? The more I think about it, I really don’t think so. As I was walking to the gym today I saw a teenage boy wearing a t.shirt which would have been perfect for me last year… Achievement unlocked 100% got out of bed.
I’ve always been an early riser, and have never really had the capacity to sleep in. But I’m not sure why I bothered, as I never did anything. I would sit on the sofa and I would watch TV and that really was about it, a walk into town would constitute a busy day and would be one episode of a box set missed!!!!!
Now, by 10 on a Saturday I’ve normally been for a run, had breakfast, made soup for the week ahead, put a load of washing on and out, and tidied up. This means I can then get on with ‘social saturdays’. Since making the decision to not work on Saturdays, but to do all my school work on Sunday’s, I have made a point of meeting up with people on Saturdays. I regularly head over to see different friends, spend time with them and their kids, have lunch or breakfast in town. Just having fun and friendship.
I’ve noticed that a lot of my relationships have developed over the last year, and that is mainly because I haven’t been leaving it months between visits. This means my friends children see me regularly, and also half the visit isn’t spent talking about everything that has happened in our lives, but just what has happened in the last couple of weeks. If I’m completely honest, as well as being slightly hermit like, I think I also didn’t feel that I belonged, as much as I made out that I was ok, I was very aware that I was in my 30s had been married for a long time, and yet didn’t have children. I know none of my friends judged me, but that didn’t stop me judging myself, and I think that did affect me meeting up with people.
Last summer me and my husband decided to move church, this wasn’t an easy decision but it was something we both felt God was calling us to do. We were part of a large church, with a lot of our friends. This was a very easy way to meet up with people. We would see our friends every Sunday, we would chat, say Hi, ask how the week was etc… We are now in a much smaller church, but many of our friends go to the previous one. This again has meant that we have to meet up outside of church, and when we do the time is much better spent and the friendships develop.
I know that I would not have got this far without the support and love of my friends. They have done nothing but encourage me, which was evident at my birthday this year when I was given, graze box vouchers, hair mousse for curls, new clothes, and vouchers for new clothes.
The other thing that moving church has done is to help me realise who I am, and what my identity is. I am finally happy with who I am, and I know that that will continue. Rather than worrying about the fact that I don’t have children, I’m making the most of being fun Helen who is chosen to be on a 6 year olds football team because I’m better than his mum, or Helen who buys toys for the kids, Helen who bounces on a castle for an hour with a two year old because I have the energy to do so! My identity before was Helen, the epileptic, who didn’t do anything. Now I’m Helen who has epilepsy, but does not let it rule her life because she is a child of God! I’m also involved in so much more than just Sunday church, which is helping me to realise what is really meant by the fellowship of Christ.
My friend who has been my main encourager and confident from the off, and will from now on be referred to as ‘E’ was telling me at the weekend that she had been talking about me. She too has lost a lot of weight over the last couple of years and would be first to say that she has done this purely by changing eating habits as opposed to exercise! She told me something which has stuck with me since Saturday. Whilst talking about me she told her friend that she has seen a COMPLETE change in me, with the hair, the weight, the exercise (possibly the most shocking for her) and also the church things, and the quote that has stuck with me is ‘God clearly had a plan for Helen and she is where and how God wants her to be’
Today I was up early, I read my book, ate my breakfast, got dressed, washed up, did school work, ate lunch, did school work, went to the gym, had a swim, did school work, chatted to a friend, had dinner, wrote a blog! It really is a holistic thing, knowing that I’ve probably done the same amount of work today that would have normally taken a week, which gives me hope for heading back after the summer holidays.
Life is great – the core being fun, friendship and fellowship.