Sunday, 22 May 2011


I've been sitting here for a couple of minutes with my fingers on the home keys, waiting for inspiration. In the absence of inspiration, I've started anyway. 

I don't know what to say. The last week has been a rollercoaster of anxiety, joy, fear, relief, worry, happiness, insecurity and reassurance. 

The doctor said he thought things looked bad, I went away on a beautiful weekend by the sea for Mum's birthday and had a lovely celebration, I came back and sank into a bit of a swamp of worry, I rallied for Katy's appointments then was disappointed and apprehensive as the doctors stuck to their guns regarding the need for surgery. I braced myself for my breast clinic appointment, felt sick with anxiety and then lightheaded with relief. Friday was our wedding anniversary so we had a really nice day together that we wouldn't have had if Bryan hadn't had to come home to be with me at the hospital the previous day. Then Friday night I went for 24 hours away as part of the course I'm doing, spent Saturday inspired by you to explore the idea of vision in Christian ministry - then came home to find a friend ill and needing help. 

Today I'm tired. I feel as if I'm insulated from everything. Nothing is really penetrating; maybe I just need a Good Night's Sleep. Ha. But I thought on Thursday night that when I had the good news about my non-life threatening lump that I would feel euphoric and close to you and full of life and praise and positive emotions. Instead I feel as if I'm reaching for you through a fog. 

I know you're there, because you don't go away. I know that you were there on Thursday because I felt your presence with me. I know you were with me yesterday because there are aspects of the discussions about vision and your purpose for my life that have stayed with me, but this morning in church I felt sort of deadened; cheerful enough, not depressed, not over-emotional in any direction, but as if I'm outside myself watching and removed from the songs, the talk, the baptism, the prayers. 

Maybe it's what my Grandma would have referred to as 'Reaction'. The week has been pretty stressful and I've waded through it because I had no option, and so now I've stopped for a bit, things are catching up with me. Maybe I'm just tired. Maybe I have things that I thought about for the first time last week to do with illness and death - my death - and family that I need to process or something. It was indeed a heavy week. Or, I don't know, maybe something else is going on.

Where are you, Lord? I want to see you. I want that excitement back that I had a few weeks ago when I was on fire with anticipation and learning new things every day. I want to be like that again. I don't want all the stuff that happened last week to blunt it all. It feels blurred. That crisp, fresh revelatory experience seems to have disappeared behind and instead I feel numbed a bit. My prayer life is still in the staccato, abridged phase it was last week when all I could do was send up pleas and worries to you. I'm thinking, praying, singing, worshipping through a fog. Walking through treacle. How many metaphors do you need? The energy is gone. The electricity. The experience. 

Here's where all that stuff comes in about being able to worship and pray and lean on you whether we perceive you to be there or not. About experiences being unreliable barometers of your presence. I do know you're there, but I do like it when you make yourself known to me. It's nice to feel you. To get a glimpse of you, to catch a few bars of your music. I like it. It thrills me, feeds me, lifts me. Without it I am here, you are there, but there could be inches or miles between us. I know that you can reach out to touch me no matter how far away you are, but my arms are only short. 

Come back. I mean, pull me back closer to you. Or show me how to throw off the blanket and see things clearly again.  I like it better that way.

But here's the thing. You know what you're doing. There have been times in my life where you have shown up and changed everything, or nudged me in the right direction, or even picked me up and run with me, and never once did you do it to order. There have been times in my life when I've just got on with it and you've been as close to me then as you were when I was in your arms, except I didn't know it. You hold all the cards, I don't really know how to play without your help. Just give me enough light to show me the next step, Lord God. Even if it's a bit dim.

I keep wanting to know why all the time. Why, and when, and for what purpose. I love the experience of you, but I know that life isn't all high colour and exhilarating movement and cinematic widescreen. Maybe this bit is in black and white.  Maybe you've backed away for a bit to see what I'll do. Well, help me to do what you would have me do. Don't let laziness set in now that I'm not wide awake with experience. Don't let me grind to a halt and find somewhere to sit down just because the momentum has gone. I'm trusting that you are as much in charge as you were when I could see you ahead of me in the driving seat when I was clinging on tightly and laughing with delight. This ship is still moving, even though the wind has dropped.

CS Lewis, wise man, has this to say:

'Remember, He is the artist and you are only the picture.  You can't see it. So quietly submit to be painted - ie keep fulfilling the obvious duties of your station (you know quite well enough what they are!) asking forgiveness for each failure and then leaving it alone. You are in the right way. Walk - don't keep on looking at it.'

I'll keep plodding. 

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