Monthly Archives: December 2006

Reflection

Whilst I agree that New Year is very much an arbitrary date, I feel the need to relflect nonetheless. Nothing if not inconsistent, me.

As my ‘I am angry’ rant of a couple of weeks ago shows, it has not all been rosy for me this last year. However, it has been far from totally s***ty, too. I am fond of commenting that roses grow best in s**t and I hope that this proves true. Both in my life, and those whose lives have had more than their fair share of merde this last year (both on and off wib).

My aunt commented to me the other day that she wondered why she had not had any real crises in her life. This took me aback a little as I had assumed that the normal pattern of life was going from one set of problems to the next, whilst making the most of the good bits. I had concluded that this was true, to a greater or lesser extent, for all people.

This set me to thinking. My aunt was brought up by her grandparents and has been unable to have children. Surely this would be raw ‘crisis’ material for many people. However, she has always struck me as being very level-headed and practical. Quite pragmatic, really, whilst not being uncaring. I think that sometimes it is the attitude with which we approach life that determines whether we sink or swim. Or alternatively, flap about madly whilst making little progress, or just float for a bit.

This brings me to the main thought of this reflection – it has to do with seasons. Spring is, for me, the true start of a New Year. In all honesty, I am inhabiting winter at the moment. I feel as though the ground is frozen and I am doing all I can to conserve my energy to survive until the Sun brings some warmth and a thaw. I feel as though there is promise of growth, and potential, but not yet.

It can be cold, it can be dark, it can be lonely – but it is as it should be.

Too much effort now would mean frost damage of the new shoots and possible loss.

So, I rest. I wait. I consolidate my resources and look forward to warmer, brighter days.

They are coming, you know. For me, and for those that are also in Winter at this time.

Get your heads down, Winter-dwellers, hibernate for a bit. Spring is on the way.

Happy New Year, all. Both now and when the ‘real’ one comes. Thanks for all your warmth and support in the cold and stormy times. It has helped. 🙂

The mayhem of kittens

Last night. A sound was heard. Thud thud thud slither slither thud.

I ask Husband ‘What was that?’

He replies ‘The kittens coming down the stairs together.’

I say that I think it was more than just kittens, but do not act on my hunch.

Later, I pass the bottom of the stairs. Husband’s jacket is lying on the floor. I ask him where his coat had been. He said that it was in the bedroom. I carry it into the lounge saying something along the lines of,

‘I thought that there was more than just kittens in that noise earlier!’

We laugh, lots.

I am a little sad however. Our feline friends sledging down our stairs atop Husband’s coat is something I would love to have seen, as well as heard.

Ah well, the imagination is a pretty useful instrument at a time like this!

Dropping in…

Hello. Just some news.

Started my new job on Tuesday. All a bit chaotic at the moment but it feels ‘right’ somehow.

Am managing to keep on top of Christmas preparations and actually beginning to enjoy the whole thing.

Visited Swansea for a Christmas party at the week-end. Was a bit of a miserable git, but the honestly of good friends (tempered with the love and trust of long and valued friendship) has given me a bit of a wake-up call.

Perhaps I’ll still be miserable at times, I probably will to be honest, but I trust that I am committed to dealing with it better from now on.

Well, one can but hope…

(Thanks to the unwitting recipients of my ‘bleeeeurgh’, you know who you are and I luv ya! Why can I not say that without turning it into slangy shorthand…? Ah, heck, one can analyse too much 😉

Stiff upper lip, ol’ chap!

Nah, sod that!

That should give you an idea of where I am at the moment. This is a rant, so be warned. If you are easily offended and expect people, especially Christians, never to become angry, disillusioned and utterly bewildered, then don’t read on.

The other day, I got angry with God. In doing so, I realised that I had been angry with him for the past year or so. Maybe longer. The thing is, there is a difference between being angry and allowing yourself to express it, which I will term getting angry.

I was brought up to behave. Not to get upset, angry, frustrated or any other ‘negative’ emotion. It was never said, in so many words, but the implication was always there. After a while, you learn to bottle it all up, to become a ‘people pleaser’ and to not let on how you really feel. Eventually, you begin to believe your own PR. What is more, you think that the whole world, not just your immediate family, expects you to behave acceptably i.e. don’t make a fuss.

Now, after a few years in the company of good friends, most of whom were Christians (as was I by this time) I learned that being upset was okay. So I would let myself feel and be unhappy, and found that many people were not only ready to try and understand, they would also help and, get this, still want to know me afterwards! Quite a revelation.

So, how about anger? I am only beginning to let that show, and it is not a pretty sight when I do. Imagine that every time I get angry, it is tainted with the bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness in my heart that has resided there for many years. Also, I do not know how to be ‘healthily’ angry. I’m still conditioned to sit on it, (as lack of conflict is a good sign, yes?!?) so when I do express it, things are alot more nasty and explosive than I intend. I also have the guilt to deal with in the aftermath – ‘Sorry. Sorry. Sorry.’

Now, that is the background. Given that I have long interpreted the injunction not to let the sun go down on my anger as being a command not to express it, I have alot of repressed yuk to deal with. Thing is, I reckon that I have been letting the sun go down on a gradually accumulating heap of anger for many, many years.

So, to come closer to the present day. I got married last year. Hurrah! My Mum and Dad were not there due to Mum being ill. Angry. Just before Chirstmas, my Mum had a stroke. She has recovered alot physically and some of Real Mum has returned, but she will never be the same. In effect, I have lost my Mum, but someone who reminds me of her still lives on. Can I grieve? Not sure, and people seem to expect me to be happy that she is still around. In fact – I’m angry. My Mum is so depressed that I’m sure she would rather not be around sometimes. So yes, I am angry.

Also, where do I turn? As a trade off for the privilege of marriage, God expected me to move from a place full of people that knew me so well that, emotionally, I always knew where to turn. He put me in a job where I could not settle, given the nature of it, and thus not form meaningful relationships. Also, the job itself meant dealing with the more awful side of life. My chapel is small and, tho the people are lovely, my lifestyle has meant that I have not formed proper links with them. My new family by marriage are brilliant but, in my internal ‘rule book’, family is to be behaved for and not upset. (To those Parrys reading this, I apologise for that.) Husband is also fab, naturally, but one person with stresses of his own can’t be expected to bear the brunt of all my disfunction. Is neither right nor fair.

So the anger of these events has had nowhere to go.

I noticed very recently that my ‘Quiet Time’ (hate that phrase!) has become non-existent. I put this down to change of lifestyle but then realised that alot of it had to do with the fact that I had no real desire to talk to God. After all, all this was his fault! As my Heavenly Father, holy and blameless, I could not say this to him. I would be wrong to do so! So, instead, I said very little to him at all. I’m not saying this was a conscious decision, it just happened.

Then, some really awful stuff happened at work and the undercurrent of ‘This is not RIGHT’ began to break the surface. I began to tell the Lord what I thought. Then Mike was killed. It was all too much, and the dam broke.

(CENSORED)

Afterwards, I felt better than I had in a while. The questions are still unanswered, the pain is still there but, somehow, God is with me. I’m not saying for a moment that I am no longer angry. In fact, I am saying quite the opposite. I AM angry.

Angry with injustice.
Angry with the fact that this world is fundamentally screwed up.
Angry with illness, death and pain.
The list goes on….

But get this, I am ALLOWED to be angry!

Anger is God’s way of letting us process the fact that life don’t make sense, it does hurt and that sometimes there is nothing else to say…..

As is grief.

By denying ourself this process, we internalise it all and it comes out in other ways. The amount of road rage and stupid little ailments I have suffered this last year does not bear thinking about.

In this life, esp in the line of work I do, there is alot to make us angry. We owe it to ourselves, and to those who would support us in our grief and rage (incl. our Father in Heaven), to let it flow. Not in a maladjusted and selfish way*, for the command not to sin in our anger still stands, but to let ourselves feel it. Only in acknowledging and ejecting the crap and rubbish, can we make room for forgiveness, peace and hope in our hearts.

So, what will I aim to do from now on? Firstly, I will acknowlege that learned behaviour of 35 years takes a good while to unlearn. So, I’ll accept that I’ll still fail to get it right! However, I hope to be more open and honest with those near and dear to me. Primarily, tho, I am not going to don my figurative fig-leaves and hide from God. He knows where I am, after all!

*On reflection, this ideal ain’t always possible either. That’s what forgiveness is for, yes?

For Mike

Jesus Gonna Build Me A Home
by John Davis

Lay me down next to my kin,
Some day when that trumpet sounds I’m gonna see ’em again,
Everybody’s gonna reap what they’ve sown,
Jesus gonna build me a home.

Don’t you cry, baby, please don’t you mourn,
Everybody’s got to die as sure as they’re born,
But the Bible tells me Death has no sting,
Jesus gonna make me a king.

What’s the use in believing?
Satan overjoys in deceiving.
We’ve gotta run the race,
If we’re gonna see His face.

There’s nothing I’d rather do.
Oh no.

Lay me down, baby, please let me go,
Someday when that trumpet sounds, like I told you before,
Everybody’s gonna reap what they’ve sown,
Jesus gonna build me a home,
One I never could’ve built on my own,
Jesus gonna build me a home.

Was listening to this not long after I heard the terrible news. Made me cry, but somehow helped me feel better too. Hope it helps those who knew and loved Mike – to know without loving was somehow impossible.

Save a space for me, mate. I hope to come home someday too.