I’m not sure what it is about life in the hard times that makes me turn once more to writing, maybe the good times just need to be enjoyed whilst the hard ones need to be processed, maybe it’s a cry for help, to be seen and know I’m not alone. Maybe it’s all of those things rolled into one.
Whatever, it’s Friday lunchtime and I’m feeling that need again to reflect on our week, to put thoughts in order and dust down the corners of this blog.
There’s a good prayer from Brian McClaren which is incredibly simple and rests on our front door. It says. Here am I Lord, Here you are Lord. Here we are together. It’s a reminder that whatever we are going through there is Another who we can turn to and who is present in the midst of it all. It also provides a helpful structure to work out what’s going on in our lives, if we are the kind of people who live life in reference to the Maker of us and our world.
Here am I Lord.
After 3 months of pretty good health and some helpful times of refocusing our life, fun in America, me having space to crash for a bit and a month of being able to interact with more people socially, we are back in the lands of husbandface being in a fairly bad state. Sorry you didn’t get to hear much about the good stuff. It was pretty good. Especially taking the small ones to America. Especially getting them to invite people around for Sunday lunches and enjoying deeper friendships developing. It was pretty sweet. The last three weeks have been less sweet. We have had some good times in the mix- we went to Northern Ireland and although travel etc took it’s toll it was, as well, full of lovely interactions with family and enjoying seeing the boys delight in life over there. Mostly though I have been scared, numb, unable to process the transition back into this world of unknown uncertainties. Easter weekend brought much sunshine but also much terror as I wrestled with where our world seemed to be going. The good bits were sitting with others in silence on Good Friday, the silence of suffering shared helped me remember we are not alone, that we walk with others in the pain and we are not unique. This life is hard and long for most of us. The bad bits I shall skate over. Numbness ruled.
Here you are Lord?
When things don’t go my way I generally throw my toys out of the pram and act like my wonderful 4 year old son. I scream and shout and glare (boy does he have a good glare..). I rant and rave or I sullenly mooch away, scrolling endlessly through the screens in my life to prevent my brain from thinking anything. I fear silence, I run from any kind of stillness. Weirdly I avoid the thing I most know will help. In a conversation this week I realised I was acting like a person thirsty, knowing they need water and yet not drinking the clear fresh water right in front of their face.
Thankfully we have a God who takes initiative in reminding us of reality, who pours water into the glass and puts it into our hands.
In another conversation I talked again of being back with the disciples in the storm, desperately wondering if Jesus cared. I was asked what I wanted from Jesus in this storm. I broke down in tears as I answered. I just want a hug. I want to know he’s there and has got us.
Here you are Lord.
Here is the One who is present. That moment switched my brain away from being numb and back into being able to live and be present in the world again.
Here we are together.
It’s together we can journey on. Together with the One who loves me most. Together back in the land of not knowing how long this particular blip will last. Knowing that there are moments where it’s all ok and remembering to go slower, learning to adjust the pace again. Trusting that this isn’t a forever space, just the one we are in now. Trusting in the One who is my enough, the One who holds my hand as I walk on. Trusting that there will be a one day forever end to this pain. Trusting that living well in this pain is possible and that we stumble on with others who know how to walk with heavy burdens themselves. Trusting in the arms of love that will not let us go. Thankful that my Maker knows how to look after us and wondering at initiative taking love which doesn’t wait for us to come but comes looking for us.
There you go. We are back in a strange land for a bit. It won’t last forever, it may only last another week or so. But. Thankfully. I feel a bit like I’ve been given some Lion’s strength (we are reading Narnia to the boys at the moment, full of small boys asking if they are happy tears as I weep my way through incredible descriptions of Aslan and delight in the similarities between his interactions with the children and us with God) to reform, to refocus and go back to my self care strategies. Writing, exercise, reading, journalling and getting outside are making their way back into my days in a more intentional way. I’m putting on the Oxygen mask and hoping a slow weekend and some gentle weeks ahead may help us flourish in this world.
Your correspondent, just been reminded by a friend to look for the stars in the dark night. Hope is lurking. That’s a good place to be.