It’s been a weird old week around these parts. A fairly up and down week, and mostly a cold one.
We kicked off the weekend in style by enjoying a freezing cold beach picnic. The adventure was declared a success and gave us all a thirst for more outdoor fun. The next day the outdoor fun was met with tears and wailing by the small ones but 1 out of 2 ain’t bad for weekend adventure joy…
The snow that swept in on Monday night altered all my plans for the week and left me in a bit of a spin. I’m not so good with changes in routine. We enjoyed our first snow day together on Tuesday, we made snow angels, delighted in the novelty of it all and saw friends. Even so by the end of the day angry shouty lady had made a return. I’m not so proud of my behaviour as the day wore on. I was deeply, deeply thankful that we live in a world of grace, of the unconditional love of the Maker and that forgiveness is needed and real.
Wednesday’s sunshine brought out light in my soul and I delighted in new starts, blue sky, pretty walks on the downs and sleep. Phew. Thursday brought another dip as both boys were once more off from school and nursery. The grey gloom of the day didn’t help. The lack of ability to get out and enjoy the outdoors due to icy winds, below freezing temperatures and a smallest who was unimpressed with the cold by now, made me feel a little trapped. The lovely friend who invited us round for the morning did help. The day felt much more manageable and less cut off as a result. Still. By the very end of the day we were once more at logger heads and the return of the husbandface was very welcome. This morning I’m back on the hoorah for grace up of the roller coaster having enjoyed a long stomp over the hills around the back of our house. Cabin fever has been averted for a while.
Up and down, up and down swing my emotions.
In the midst of this week I’ve also despaired at the glut of information available to us. Douglas Coupland’s book ‘Bit Rot’ is still swirling around my head and some of his comments that we have the world’s knowledge available to us within seconds, via the internet, have been haunting me. I don’t know what to do with all that knowledge, it seems that it paralyses rather than sets us free. If I have a question about parenting, how to eat healthily, an aspect of my faith, looking after a pet, hiring a camper van or even the weather I am met with a wealth of conflicting information. There is no helpful way to deal with the vast amount of stuff that all claims to be well researched and the right way to do things. I am overwhelmed by the whole thing and wishing to be isolated on a small island with no internet. I know there are good and brilliant things about the internet but right now I just feel pressurised and paralysed by all this information that there is no consensus on how to process. Does anyone have any wisdom on this? Any idea how to deal with the flood?
In better news my brain has been blown by a distilled quote from John Swinton, a mental health theologian who said something along the lines that the essentials of being human is caring for others and being cared for by others.
To see being cared for as an essential part of being human strikes me as insanely wonderful. It means that we don’t have to be strong to be human, we don’t have to have it all together, that people who spend their lives caring for others are no more human than the people they are caring for.
This idea gives dignity to us all, whatever state we are in, whether stuck in bed unable to move or able to pour our energies into sustaining others. It also means that it is utterly good and human to be looked after, to be helped, to receive care. As someone who has received so much recently I find this so freeing. I don’t have to pay it back to regain my worth as a human. Part of being human is to receive.
For those of us who believe in a God of grace who has poured themselves out for us this is incredible news. We don’t have to work to earn our worth, part of us reflecting the divine is receiving from the divine. We are recipients of grace, unending love, forgiveness. We bend that out to others but we also receive it from others. We are just as human if we spend all of our life receiving. That I am so bowled over by this makes me think that I have imbibed a world view that says the people who are doing the caring have more worth and value than those being cared for. Putting it that starkly horrifies me and I want to say sorry. I feel so freed by this view of what it means to be human. So freed.
So there we go, it has been a week of ups and downs.
How’s about you?