To start with, last time I had close up dealings with Streaky, which was possibly the day before yesterday, he seemed to be limping. The second thing is that Streaky seems to be playing some kind of dangerous game with our neighbours' cat, Mo. I have it on good authority that Mo is a seasoned veteran in the small-animal-and-bird-catching department and coupled with Streaky's possible infirmity I am somewhat alarmed when I see him advancing in a menacing predatory manner across the lawn towards a small scruffy-looking blackbird with a white smudge on his tummy. All Streaky does when he realises the proximity of impending death is squawk at him in an angry sort of way and hop a few feet out of range until Mo gets closer. Perilously close. Within pouncing distance, actually, until I intervened and flapped around a bit to scare him off.
How come that little blackbird is so fearless? He's either daft or incredibly brave. Maybe he knows that he's loved by you and you won't let anything bad happen to him. Not while I'm watching, anyway.
Lord, heal Streaky's leg, please. It's not a level playing field at the best of times but he's got a gammy leg and I'm worried about him.
So here I am sitting in the garden in the sun and for now the children are playing beautifully and two loads of washing are drying on the line and I am going to plant out some more little plants in a minute but for now I have a glass of orange squash with an ice cube in it and five minutes with you while the going is good. I am carpe-ing the diem.
Please help the doctors find out what is wrong with Katy. We're waiting for a referral to a paediatrician now. The maxillofacial people and the ENT people have poked and prodded and aspirated and extracted blood and scanned and operated and hypothesised and tested and come up with nothing. Oh, and they prescribed too, but the consultant was keen to explain that it was because they needed to start some form of treatment but they don't actually know if it will work as they don't yet know what's wrong. So a new doctor in a week or two and then... who knows. Surgery is apparently very likely but without a diagnosis, we don't know.
Katy is still running about as charming and sweet and volatile as ever. Elizabeth seems quietly concerned about Katy and asks insightful questions that show that she's worrying about Katy's bump. I feel so tired at the idea that this whole palaver is far from over and we might have to do the awful operation thing again. It's hard with Bryan being away; on him and on me. It's hard for him because he can't come to every appointment and he knows that his little girl is poorly yet he isn't around all the time. It's hard for me because I can't talk too much about it because it makes it worse for him. I'm aware that it's very easy for our little house of cards to come tumbling down when communication falters. Things get tricky.
On a lovely day like this everyone should feel happy. On a rainy day in November or February it's easy to look outside at the weather and feel depressed, and on a warm sunny day when the sky is blue and the flowers are at their most beautiful I should feel happy and peaceful. The neighbours don't have music on too loudly, the children are harmonious, the birds are singing. We had a wonderful dinner (with roast parsnips and a breathtakingly delicious dessert of my Mum's involving butter and brioche and baked apricots and ice cream) and there is no party to take the children to this afternoon. It seems such a waste not to be on top of the world on a day like today.
All around me people are finding life hard. So many things are going wrong. I feel I'm in a loop at the moment where each day brings something else to make sure that my level of anxiety doesn't slip below a certain level. Rick Warren told me this morning that it's a test of faith.
'You may be facing some very real, discouraging challenges in your life. But what you are really going through is a test of faith.'
The Daily Hope
I don't know if it is or not, but I do know that for some reason that I can't explain I still want to be on this journey with you. I know that you're in control and so even if all is not as it would seem, you'll one day explain it to me and I'll understand. I am discouraged. I'm discouraged that Katy's bump is back after we said to her that the doctors would operate on her neck and make her better. It's discouraging that I look about me and see friends with huge mountains to climb and I don't know how to help. It's discouraging that I can't seem to get the better of my battle with anxiety. It's discouraging that the shower is still leaking and even after I clean the house it needs doing again in a few days time.
If you're testing my faith I hope I'm doing OK because I don't doubt you. I know that you are good and that you are good all the time. If you're testing me to see how I respond to troubles then I feel less secure because I know that I whinge and I moan and I get grumpy and ask lots of questions.
Rick Warren: 'Will you endure? Will you persist? Will you make it to the end? Will you be disciplined? Will you finish well?'
Will I endure? Yes. Do I have a choice? Will I endure silently and stoically? Hmm.
Will I persist? Yes. I am going to keep badgering you until Katy is well again. Then no doubt I'll badger you till you pick me up at the pearly gates to find out what meaning you want me to find in all this rubbish.
Will I make it to the end? Yes. Because you will help me. I can't do anything without you.
Will I be disciplined? Ah. I nearly edited this bit out. Not sure. Discipline is not my strong suit. Since last August I've lost two and a half stone in weight but in the last two months it's creeping back on. Do I do the chores I need to do regularly? No. Do I read the Bible and have a quiet time with you regularly? No. Discipline needs some work I think.
Will I finish well? Who knows, apart from you? I will keep putting one foot in front of the other and I will get there, I am certain. I will hold your hand, or get a piggy back, or tuck myself under your wings. I will dance with you, cling to you, shout at you, sing to you and give you all the love that I can.
Maybe I'm like Streaky; I'm running the race with a limp. When I approach the finish line I will listen for St Paul and the others and your good self cheering me on and maybe then I'll find the strength to run.