Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Fog in June

June is a busy month. I should really learn to expect it, but it creeps up on me every year.

June is that no-man's-land between Spring and Summer, starting with a half term and ending with the rabbit in the headlights realisation that the Long Summer Holiday is looming. June for me means my husband's birthday, Fathers' Day and my eldest daughter's birthday, as well as some painful anniversaries: my Dad died nine years ago on the day before hubby's birthday, and his funeral was two days before Elizabeth was born. Nine years ago, June changed for me from just another month to an emotional cocktail that seems to pack a more powerful punch every year.

So I should see it coming, perhaps, but I didn't. 

May ended on a bit of a high. A Writers' Weekend in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales, old friends, new friends, time spent laughing, crying and soaking up inspiration. It was one of those minor mountain-top experiences. Not an Everest of mountain-tops, but bigger than Ben Nevis. A Mont Blanc of weekends, maybe. I got some glimpses, scribbled notes and tried to pin down ideas, and came back home itching to explore further some of the things that God had whispered to me.

Some things about who I am/who we are as women of God, something about self-esteem and trusting the One who made us/about another way to live...freedom...peace...healing.

Big things, hey? Exciting! I was excited and energised. I felt as if I was on the edge of clarity. Not finding out the answers to all life's problems, but almost understanding that there was a place that I might get to where things are better than this. Where things I've struggled with for three-quarters of my life might start to be untangled and leave me a freer person; living in that peace that Jesus promised, that I've never been able to find. 

And wouldn't you think that right there would be the recipe for a period of great productivity, growth, spiritual exploration?

Some really good blog posts? 

Nope.

Just couldn't get going. I have a myriad of excuses; I was very tired by the weekend itself, the drive there and back, the early mornings and late nights, the emotional energy of all the processing, and of being surrounded by people, however engaging... I needed a bit of down time. A few days away from the computer. Too much to do, so little time. 

I find that I work through things best when I write. So often I start a blog post in one state of mind and finish in another; I understand things better when I write. I pick things apart and work out what's really going on and sometimes I surprise myself. I do this in my journal as well as on the computer, and so you'd expect that I'd be scribbling away madly after the high point of the weekend, wouldn't you?  As my computer gathered dust my notebooks would be jumping off the shelf? I'd need more ink? 

Nope.

That seemed impossible, too. Concentrating on anything seemed impossible. It all became terribly complicated until it was just too much.

Enthusiasm and energy leached away into lethargy. I put down my devotionals and started reading an old thriller. When I found out I'd read it before I carried on reading it anyway.

That just about sums up the last few weeks.

'Just too much' characterised June this year. Nine years ago I wept and wept and from a fog of shock and grief begged God not to let me go into labour and miss my Dad's funeral, and this year I've shed tears and begged God to help me fight my way out of another fog. He answered my prayers then, and I believe that in time He'll answer them now.

I don't know what's happening, but I know something is. I guess that sounds very odd.

I know there are lots of people who would advise me to stop thinking so much and get on with the everyday stuff, and I know they're right. I am a Myers' Briggs INFJ and I make heavy weather of everything.

I am not waiting for God to show me what He wants me to do with my life, I should get on with doing the things that He has already shown me I should do with it. I have a family, a home, school stuff, church stuff, writing stuff. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Yet I can't shake the feeling that it's a time of waiting, too. Active waiting, as a good friend said to me. Stopping, listening, trying to be still and wait until the swirling thoughts settle into something that I can see. I know He won't let me down.

So I'm trying to put something down, words on a screen, taptaptap on my little keyboard, fully aware that I make very little sense. I know that God won't leave me here. He is doing something - Aslan is on the move! - and perhaps He put His finger into the waters of my mind and heart and stirred them up until the pool is swirling cloudy so that in time something of worth that might rise up to the top.

I need to stop asking 'What? When? Why?' and just focus on who He is. There is peace in His presence, and I should nestle up close. Stop trying, and let Him get on with whatever He's doing. He'll tell me what's going on when He's ready.

I hope so. I do hope that the confusion and frustration of this month hasn't been for nothing; but He said that nothing is wasted. Not even the tears.

Well, there have been plenty of those.





Image credit:  whirlpool.jpg by pippalou
Courtesy of Morguefile.com. Used with permission




13 comments:

  1. I loved the image of the swirly pool. And the comparison of mountain tops made me giggle. Take heart, because you're getting it right, and anyway, it's nearly July.

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    1. July indeed. Onwards and ... onwards some more.
      Thanks Amy.

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  2. I love your openness and honesty Helen. Praying for peace, comfort and wholeness. It's a journey.... Sometimes the view is better than at others. Just been through a bit of a fog myself. Thank God that His light can never be overcome by darkness or fog. And He can cope with all our conflicting (and sometimes inconvenient) emotions. Looking forward to meeting up soon xx

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    1. Thanks, Mandy. I hope the fog is clearing for you. Looking forward to catching up indeed. :-)

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  3. Hi Helen, interesting, and not at all surprising. After a few intense days like Scargill, almost inevitable that stuff goes wrong, or awry. Indeed, our brains/emotions/spirits have only just adjusted to this amazing experience when, in basic physiological terms, it is 'snatched away' by coming to the end we knew in our intellects was there, but our feelings aren't ready. Like thinking one has met the love of one's life, gone on one date, only for him never to ask you out again or even explain. The feelings can't skid to a halt without some damage. Isn't it significant that Adrian's stroke & subsequent symptoms arriving coincided with that high octane weekend? For ourselves, we fell into some rows and uselessness, and I certainly felt stressed, especially as our son who is doing the book production had seemed to 'choose' to get on with other work when I was expecting an e-version to be in production ... and then discovered there was really more editing to think about! Yes, all this is based within our bodies as well as our minds and spirits, yet the Scargill experience is still there, and simmering away getting ready to be used in the quiet which comes as the whole person slows and returns to an even state. Hope this doesn't sound patronising (matronising?!) but the extra years (which I truly resent in age terms !) have taught me a great deal, esp through sorrow and loss. Nonetheless I still make big mistakes and said something on FB which deeply upset another ACW person, very soon after Scargill ... oh dear, the pitfalls of being too extrovert and too trusting that others understand what one writes!! That incident certainly threw me out, happening right after the amazing weekend. btw, you are truly blessed if you had what sounds like a close relationship with your father - not everyone does - I hope you have happy memories there? Hope this long comment is of some use to encourage you - it is becoming a blog post so I shall stop here.

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    1. Oh thank you for that lovely message. It's a comfort to know it's not just me - and that phrase, '...the feelings can't skid to a halt without some damage' feels just right. I was just about to take hold of the feelings when I realised I couldn't find them.
      Thank you for your kind words; they help. x

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  4. INFJ over here as well! I know how you feel; this summer is a big, emotional shift for us, and I was just contemplating an official blog break until September myself, just to get through this season without the added guilt. :} Active waiting! Been there for a long time, friend. Praying the Lord gives glimmers of Himself all through it, so we remember that the journey is the joy. Blessings, friend-across-the-sea.

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  5. Yeah - I need to remember that the joy is in the journey. I'm definitely in a hurry to get there. I tie myself in knots with the analysis and 'what if...' but I guess as a fellow INFJ (I should have guessed!) you know what that feels like.
    Thank you for the 'Me too'. Hope things settle down for you soon. Lots of love from over here. x

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  6. "fully aware that I make very little sense" Helen, you make a great deal of sense. You helped me remember where I was about 20 years ago (and more recently), trying to balance so many different parts of life and writing - or not. What does INFJ stand for? I know it starts with introvert and I could Google it... Although I have always been an introvert, I am not sure how many people would guess now! (I talk too much!) I gave up writing for years, but now I have come back to it I have found peace and joy. (I'm not suggesting I was right to give up - rather, what I was missing!) Sue

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    1. Thanks for that encouraging comment, Sue. I'm not about to give up, but sometimes it feels a little bit like wading through treacle, doesn't it?
      INFJ is one of the groups in the Myers Briggs' Type Indicator (MBTI) which is a personality test of sorts. I'm Introverted (as opposed to Extrovert), Intuitive (rather than Sensing), Feeling (rather than Thinking) and a Judger, as opposed to a Perceiver, which means that I like to plan and don't like spontaneity. I found it amazingly liberating to understand why I think the way I do.
      Thanks for your lovely comment. x

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    2. Thanks for the explanation. I'm not sure I understand some of the distinctions. There is another test which involves concepts including nurturing parent/critical parent - I've forgotten what it is called.
      I like to plan as well. Sue

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  7. Mmm, that sounds familiar and needs more than a few trite words. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt and here for you if you need me to be xx

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    1. Thank you, my lovely friend. It's such a relief to be understood. Thank you. xx

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