To be a part

There are times when I hide away. I often claim it’s because I’m not in the mood to talk to people, but I think it’s often more to do with not wanting to deal with what’s going on in my head.

We are currently in a time when the hiding away is a necessity, and I don’t like it so much, especially when the husband is working and I’m in the house alone – I know I’m fortunate to have the times when he is at home – believe me – but it doesn’t stop it being difficult.

However, it is over the last few weeks that it has become so apparent what it means to be a part of the Church.

All of the church buildings have been closed in accordance with government guidance, but the Church as a group of people is so active. Many Churches are live streaming or ore recording services on a Sunday; we are tuning in to a worship session that is led every morning, the food bank is needed more than ever, and I know of so much other stuff including delivery of letters, collection of shopping and provision of pastoral care. There also seems to be so much more sharing of resources and ideas – and it is clear that we are a BIG family under one God.

I was reading something the other night that reminded me that in order to gain wisdom about God, you need to spend time with the people of God.

So when I want to hibernate, or this weekend when the husband is doing nights and we will literally be passing each other, I can just look at social media and remind myself of what I am a part of because of the cross.

What does it take?

A group video conversation with friends I used to go to school with, continuing with group fb messaging since.

Video messaging with both mum and mum-in-law for the first time.

Worship happening in so many different ways

I have heard so many people who have had so many more conversations with people over the last week. What did it take for that to happen?

It took a Pandemic. I think we can all safely agree this is like nothing we have ever experienced before but it is also making us question what it is that is important to us. For many it is about relationships.

School’s closed; a limit on leaving the house and mixing with others; shops closed; worship buildings closed

What did it take? It took A pandemic but also rules from the government, as we didn’t appear to be able to listen to guidance!

Life is going to be different, we are going to need to be responsible, we are going to need to be caring, we are going to need to think differently.

It is scary what it has taken for us to get to the position of checking in with friends, following rules, being considerate, and thinking outside the box. But I pray that the good that comes out, may continue when we come out the other end.

To be carried

It always takes me a while to catch up on BIOY (daily audio of the Bible) after a school holiday – essentially because I tend to listen to it on route to work. However, after February half term break it has taken me longer. Today I was listening to the 3rd Feb and there is one sentence that has been playing in my head since ‘do you need to be carried today.’. My answer would be YES.

The reason it has taken me so long to catch up, is because I have been recovering. At the beginning of the break I had a seizure, in my usual fashion this was not just a seizure but a seizure over the side of the bath and my abdomen on the right side is not very grateful for this. There is a lot of bruising and pain which I am still very aware of. I attempted work last week, but learned rapidly that it wasn’t going to be beneficial for anyone.

So… more BIOY to catch up on, as opposed to listening to it whilst at home!

Then on Monday this week I was brought home in a police car having had a seizure at the side of a major road, amazingly people stopped to help.

Bubble wrap and cotton wool have both been suggested, although the pupils are set on an epilepsy dog!

I cannot put in to words how I’m feeling at the moment (useful for a blog) physically I’m in pain and I can describe that. Emotionally and mentally I’m a wreck, and a very scared and confused one at that.

Over the last week my relationship with E has been a mixture of silence, and frankness. I probably chose the silence at times to avoid the frankness. But one thing she always draws me back to is God, that He made me, He made my brain, and He loves me. We might not understand that at times but it’s true. I have to say that as scared, frustrated and confused I am I do know He’s there – I might not feel I want to go there but I know He is.

My Granny’s favourite poem was footprints, where the narrator questions God why there were only one set of footprints in the toughest times, to which the reply is ‘that is when I carried you’. I’m not sure bubble wrap or cotton wool are the answer, because I can always recover from the physical stuff and it will look stupid – but to know my God is carrying me, whether that is through friends, or through, words, or sentences from podcasts – it definitely brings some comfort in a time of turmoil.

Confidence

Two weeks ago my confidence took a battering. I had a seizure into the road… this isn’t anything new… I made a mess of my face and damaged my wrist… nothing new… I had absolutely no warning that it was coming at all – knocked out of the ball park!

Since I was diagnosed at 11 I’ve been encouraged to be independent, careful, sensible but independent! Two weeks ago I questioned if I was able to leave the house on my own. I had to take time off work and I was starting to question if I should even be considering teaching any more. It got to a stage where I knew that if I didn’t go in, I might never do so.

E has been inundated with ‘I’ve left the house’ ‘I’ve arrived at work’ ‘ I’m home’. On Sunday I needed to get home, but the husband wanted to stay to help tidy after a meal, but he could sense that I didn’t feel confident walking home on my own.

Over this week my confidence has started to build up again and I think this is for a few reasons

  • I’ve been in the classroom a lot with new groups so have had to speak about my epilepsy, talking about it from the perspective of 27 years and the challenges I’ve overcome changes things!
  • I’ve been teaching and have therefore been back into routine which has happened with little or no hiccups
  • My friends and loved ones have listened to me when I’ve cried about being scared, or when I’ve wanted someone to essentially hold my hand. They haven’t told me I’m stupid they’ve just walked beside me.

Confidence comes from our environment and our family and friends. All of us will have our confidence knocked and will know people who have been knocked. The question is… how do we respond?

Don’t know what you’ve got until its gone

Last week our new mattress was delivered, the following morning I woke up and my back wasn’t hurting. I don’t think I’d realised that I was having lower back pain every morning until I woke up without it.

So often the phrase ‘you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone’ is used in a negative way – when you’ve lost something good – for example I’m currently typing with one finger on my left hand as my right hand is in a splint with a queried fracture! I have definitely missed the use of my right hand today and how much I use it!

But the mattress situation demonstrates that we don’t always know the negative things in our lives until we see the affect when they are no longer there.

It is so easy to get caught up in life, to accept what is happening as the norm. Yet we need to take the time to reflect, and to see what affect things are having and if we are getting back pain, we need to change the mattress, and if we can’t use our right hand for a time, then we need to be grateful when we can!

I’m having to do a LOT of reflection at the moment, I’m having to think in ALL aspects and areas of my life about things that need to go, things that need to change and things that I need to be grateful for!

I haven’t got the courage to talk through any of the things, but I’m sure you’ll hear about some of them at some point.

Exhilaration

Not surprisingly it was a tough week going back to work, mainly due to having to wake up early and get back to the routine of things. Also a medical appointment, a parent’s evening, and additional meetings.

HOWEVER

On Wednesday, on return from the parents evening I informed E that I was feeling slightly exhilarated.

It’s fair to say this is not a word that I use on a regular basis, but it’s a word I wanted to use again later in the week as well.

Why?

I was going to say I’ve been reminded of why I do my job, but that’s not it. It is because I recieved some positive feedback from parents, pupils, and colleagues.

I cannot tell you what a difference it has made, not only making me feel good (inevitable) but also giving me a wake up call to try new things, and to put in the effort because I know it is appreciated.

I really don’t use the word exhilarated lightly, but boy did it feel good, but also had a positive affect on me.

We so often take things for granted, that we don’t let people know our appreciation. I was honestly surprised at the impact it had on me this week, and am challenged to pass on the exhilaration to others.

That is the reason…

My name means ‘bright one’.

For those who know me, you won’t find that too surprising – she says modestly!

However, as far as I know that is not the reason I have this name. From what I know my parents wanted a name that wouldn’t be shortened or lead to a nickname (that really did not happen) and I also know that my Granny did not want me to have this name.

For the third year in a row I have started the Bible In One Year, I listen to it as I walk to work. So with it being the beginning of the year I’m currently in Genesis. In Genesis there is a lot of

‘that is the reason…’

usually referring to why people have been given certain names, or why places have certain names. The picture above refers to Babel, and the reason it was given that name is because it brought confusion to the people (a very succinct version).

Young children will of ten ask why, why, why? Wanting to understand, as much frustration as that brings to us as adults.

However, do we really think about, or explain the reason why we do things? I have found it fascinating listening to why things are the way they are.

Maybe this links in to some of the other things I’ve been pondering lately, and we shouldn’t just do things because that’s what we do, but we should be able to say ‘and that is the reason…’

I’ve had a long day, and I’m tired – and that is the reason I’m going to go to sleep now goodnight!