Today is… 27th May 2021. It’s my brother’s birthday, my cousin’s husband’s birthday, and is the first anniversary of my father-in-law’s funeral.
What I’ve been up to today… lots of admin and preppy type stuff. I’ve created a music video for Sunday’s services, attended a webinar on how to do digital church better, led a Bible study, cooked tea and managed to straighten my hair so it actually looks presentable today.
What I see from my window… up until a few minutes ago I could see the children playing on their bikes in the street. It is so lovely to be seeing and hearing children do what they do best – PLAYING OUT! Their shrieks of delight when they race each other, their laughter, their moans, their tantrums when they don’t win… It takes me back to a time in my life when I had that same freedom to just be a child, playing out on my bike until it went dark. It was bliss then and I hope it’s bliss for these children today too.
On my mind is… there seems to be so many things that are a battleground at the moment, nothing seems straightforward. For instance, I have a clinic appointment in the morning to see about surgery on my arm. It might seem not much of a battle to have, but to get a face to face appointment with an actual person who will examine me rather than talk to me over the phone and try to figure out why I can’t move my arm properly has taken about two and a half years now. The first 12 months were spent in physio (which ended up with me detaching a tendon), and the next 18 months have been spent on the phone and at various scans and x-ray appointments in dodgy car parks (but the NHS is fully functioning you know…), battling for a doctor to take my pain seriously enough to actually see me. At the last phone consultation I broke down in tears and said enough is enough, and the doctor agreed to see me FINALLY. However, I got a letter then telling me that he was discharging me because “I was happy with the outcome of the consultation and that my pain had disappeared”. I kid you not. And then THAT was a battle to get me un-discharged and be back on the books again. This appointment tomorrow is the result of that battle, and today I received a text message very helpfully telling me that the consultant would “call me at the appropriate time” to talk to me about my situation. It was a battle then to get through to someone to talk to to check that the appointment really was for a face to face appointment, not another phone consultation. And yes, it is face to face, thank the Lord.
But the point is that everything at the minute feels like an almighty battle to do anything. My son’s car park fine that couldn’t possibly have been his car because he was at work at the time the SIP Car Park people said he was parked on their premises is a battle – they said the evidence we submitted (a still from his work’s CCTV showing his car in the car park with the date and time on) wasn’t good enough and he has to pay the fine.
I have broken a tooth and it desperately needs repair, but can I get to see a dentist? Another battle.
Medication that needs to be altered at the GP? Another battle.
Why is nothing straightforward??
So to answer the question what is on my mind, it’s all those people who are not able to fight battles like these. The people with no voice, or a voice in a different language, or a voice that doesn’t work well with the technological demands all these systems have. The people who for one reason or another give up the battle even before it has begun because it’s just too hard. The people who find the battle so difficult that their situation gets worse and they don’t have the strength to see it through.
That’s what’s on my mind.
My prayers are for… those people who I have mentioned above, the weary, the voiceless and the beaten down people. I am praying too for those who are approaching the day in a couple of weeks time when they are ordained deacons or priests in the Church of England. And I am praying for those children from my street, that they get to enjoy the freedom of childhood while they can.
My hope is that… 21st June really does see the end of this whole covid thing.
A recent lesson I have learned… just how stubborn I can be! Long story short: salesman in Halfords tried to sell me a £1000 bike on Saturday when I’d only gone in for two new tyres. His attitude really got my back up, so when I plucked a new saddle off the display and he said “you don’t want that, you want a gel seat cover”, my inner “stubborn” came to the fore and I stuck to my guns. I firmly and politely said I was having the one I’d just chosen, thank you very much. And then lived to regret it on my first ride out on it because guess what? Yeah, I should’ve got the gel cover….
I am thankful… that I can laugh at my shortcomings…. and bloody well learn from them.
Lately I have made… this crocheted blanket for my sister-in-law. I’m determined to use up all my oddments of wool from previous projects and this is the second one I’ve made from just one little box of wool. She saw it just as I was doing the last couple of rows and said how much she liked it, so it’s hers. Or it will be tomorrow when my son delivers it for me!
Top of my reading list is… “Beloved Poison” by E. S. Thomson.
I didn’t like it at first, but I’m glad I pushed on with it. It’s set in the 1840s and involves a lot of skulduggery with an apothecary and some doctors in a London hospital. The central character is a woman who is passing herself off as a man – not very successfully, because some people can see straight through her ruse – and she is on a quest to find out who is killing those close to her, and why. I’m about 80% of the way through and might just finish it tonight. If I do, I’ll do a book review tomorrow and tell you more about what I made of it.
I am getting square eyes from watching… not much at the minute to be honest, but I am super excited to see that Lucifer is back tomorrow to finish series 5 on Netflix. Woop woop!
My relaxation sounds are… at this point I would tell you some music I’ve been listening to, but I’m sat here now with my window open at dusk and I am listening to the sounds of the birds as they begin their goodnight routine. We are blessed with a very vocal blackbird this season, and at this time of night, just as he’s finishing a song thrush joins in and I love listening to them both singing their hearts out in the peace of the evening. I’ve been listening to them all week and it is absolutely lovely.
My plans for tomorrow… apart from the clinic appointment, I don’t have much else planned. I might go for a walk up to my favourite place (Castleshaw Res) in the afternoon if my arm isn’t too painful from being prodded and poked about in the morning, but if not, I have a sermon to write for Sunday and another to write for an online service for the Open Table on 12th June. I have to have that filmed by 4th June so I might do that tomorrow if all’s well. Let’s see what the day brings.
At the Bible Study tonight, we were talking about modelling Godly character, and what it means in the light of fruits of the spirit (love, joy, patience, kindness, gentleness, self-control, generosity), and we were given this quote from Tom Wright to think about:
The Christianly virtuous person is not thinking about his or her own moral performance. He or she is thinking of Jesus Christ, and of how best to love the person next door.Tom Wright, “Virtue Reborn” 2010
It poses a challenge for me today, not least in light of my confessions of “battle fronts” above. But as a Christian, I hope that my patience and forbearance on those battle fronts makes a difference to the people who I encounter there. If I wasn’t a Christian who was trying to model Godly character, I could easily just be angry and hostile all the time – on the phone to the GP or the appointment people, in the shop at Halfords, in the pharmacy when my prescription isn’t ready and I’ve run out of painkillers etc. I would hope that at least trying to walk with the spirit of God in my heart means that I make the world a bit better for those around me, even when it feels like it’s all going wrong and there is much to fight for.
I’ve a long way to go though, as we all do. But small steps are better than no steps, and I’m sure God honours even the tiny steps on his pathway of love.
Grace and peace