A church friend contacted me yesterday and I wanted to share how encouraging she was.
I was explaining how sad I was that I haven’t been able to get to church as much, although I have made it to life group a few times and the Christmas concert.
She said: “But you’re still part of the fellowship. Every single person who can’t get to church for one reason or another is still part of the fellowship.”
This is such a powerful thing for me to hear and I realised that the fellowship IS all still going on: texts, letters, visits, support, prayer, music, podcasts and reading.
There are lots of people who can’t always get to the services, through ill health or distance.
I just wanted to say it’s true: “We are all still part of the fellowship.”
Things have been very up or down here. I’ve just had a very busy week, busy for me that is.
JUBILATION I went to a prayer meeting at the tiny church on my new street. This church is linked to my usual church – they belong to the same family. I’m hoping to get involved in their home group whilst I am recuperating from my long health relapse.
I’ve had beloved visitors to the flat which has made it feel much more homely. I also met a woman and her partner at a social event. She invited me to her new home which is a palatial edifice overlooking the sea. The views are spectacular. They moved up from London six months ago. Gentrification is definitely taking place here.
I also went to a craft/technical workshop yesterday which I absolutely loved.
DESPAIR But there are downsides too. I went to my GP and asked to go back on antidepressants as being housebound much of the time has been really getting to me. I am feeling a little brighter for that. I am also going to be tested for Addison’s Disease. I don’t think I have it but it is a good place to start, to find out why I have had muscle wasting and weight loss over the last 3 years. Personally I think it is to do with hormones, lack thereof, after my hysterectomy. Low testosterone can be a real problem.
I am really struggling with my trusted mechanic, who is looking out for an automatic car for me. It’s taking ages and I feel that there is a breakdown in communication. I feel like a ‘problem’ to him, which is how my ex used to make me feel, whereas we have always got on brilliantly.
My relationship with my best friend, G, is also proving to be quite difficult. We have had some talks recently about how I feel the friendship is being eroded by his extraordinarily busy, stressful life. Much of his life is negative. I really do fear for his health – and he does too! He got defensive when I brought up this ‘fading of our friendship’. He basically told me to ‘get over it’ and ‘get on with it’. I believe he has lost perspective and sees me as attacking him rather than trying to sort the problem out. We have been friends for 31 years. I don’t think he has any conception at all of what it is like to be very often housebound and vulnerable because of that. Disappointing.
Therefore, I have jubilant times and times of despair. I have a large desire to tell a few people to sling their hooks. But I know that that will be self-defeating in the long run. I must master my emotions!
I moved into my new flat around 4 months ago. it is quite hard to meet somewhere as big as this feel like one’s own but I have put up my pictures and move my own things in here, obviously.
However, I don’t feel it will be quite mine until I have a bathed the space in my music – in my case mainly rock/hip hop/soul music. Maybe that sounds strangely spiritual. I know people do perform rituals when they moving to a new place. I was encouraged by someone at church to pray for the flat to clear it of negative energy, or dark stuff. I did.
As the relapse in my health – long-term condition – from hell continues I have dropped all regular commitments, including Celebrate Recovery at church in nearby city.
Not even sure I am going to go back to it. Not making any plans at all like that. Researching how to recover from this relapse a lot and thinking I may just stick to following my church’s sermons online while I recover.
CR is great but there are a lot of platitudes uttered from the manual. It is also a very tiring evening, especially if there are only two of you in the small sharing group. I will carry on doing my moral and spiritual inventory though. That’s useful.
Utterly fed up with the crowing Brexiters. What a mess. Hate crime up, the pound down, businesses in turmoil, and virtually no government going on here in the UK.
What’s worse is that my mum is here looking after me ‘cos I am having the relapse from h**l and she is making a huge difference and I am really, really grateful – BUT she voted for Britain to leave the European Union. I think she feels guilty though. She admitted that she and her generation are hankering after the Britain of the 1950s, but she knows deep down that this will never happen and that the world has changed too much for that.
Old people, Daily Express readers like my mum, have totally sold younger generations down the river -and they won’t even be around to see the mess they have landed us in! I feel sorry for the young, educated, passionate people. They are understandably bitter.
And even worse, nearly all the people I know at church, barr Pastor 3 and another leading light in the church town, were I gather, on the Brexit side. .
This, along with the fact that most of them are Tories plus some of their beliefs is making me seriously consider leaving this church. As it happens I am confined to quarters and will be for some long time. I will sped the time thinking about what to do and where to go if I ever get out of this relapse.
Just having that extra night at Celebrate Recovery has shortened my week which means I have less energy to do other things. CR makes for quite a long evening but it is helpful.
I’ve decided that as God is making me wait here in this town due to the ridiculous house move delays I can use the time to go to this more local church where Celebrate Recovery is. In this way the waiting becomes useful.
If I had moved to the next town 6-8 weeks ago I may not have started the course as I would have been busy settling in and trying to forge a new life for myself there.
Hearing yesterday about a beloved friend’s terminal cancer (could be weeks, months or years – not sure yet) has made me aware that I’m spending too much time living in the past and the future and not concentrating on the now.
I’m determined to make some changes in my life, even just little ones, like not being involved with too many things on Facebook! I do the Christian business club page, update my church’s public page, then there is our prayer group, where I am the admin, and I also am admin on a client page plus have my own business page. Time to do something else I think.
There are some bigger changes I want to make too but I’m working my way through those and how I might proceed.
Have hideous cough and thus I felt it was not fair to breathe over my brethren at my usual church and that the long service and the drive was not a good idea.
Instead I went to a local church (Church of England) for 30 minute evensong. There were only six of us (not much chance to pass on germs) as opposed to the 50 that usually go on a Sunday eve at my church but it was nice. But I DO miss my usual church when I can’t go.
Having said that, I feel it’s better to go somewhere than not go at all. It focuses the mind.
Well, we said a final goodbye to pretend ‘auntie’ a few days ago. A long journey in the funeral limousine over the stunning, wild moorland to a gorgeous crematorium (sounds odd, but it was). Very personal and religious service led by auntie’s friend, who’s a lay preacher, then back over the moors to a methodist church for fish, chips, mushy peas and homemade cake.
I don’t think auntie was especially religious, actually, but it was a great service.
Mum and I did not really know anyone but I talked to quite a lot of people and my step-brother and his wife came to the crematorium, too, which was lovely of them as they hardly knew auntie. I think they just wanted to support us.
We had a film night at church tonight. We watched the Christian film, The War Room, which I had never seen. (Hence, it was NEW to me).
I did enjoy it but found its lack of subtlety difficult, and as my friend, JH, said, the ends were all very neatly tied up, rather unrealistically.
I found this review from The New Yorker interesting: http://www.newyorker.com/culture/richard-brody/the-sanitized-christianity-of-war-room
After the Celebrate Recovery session tonight I went to one of our fast food outlets and instead of scurrying back to the car I sat and ate at a table indoors and watched people passing through the town. It was around 10pm.
A lot of them looked like they were heavy drinkers and I did think that some of them might benefit from Celebrate Recovery! Mind you, you have to be willing to encounter Step One – Denial – to begin CR.
Town at night is not a pretty place and I thank God that despite my own sometimes torturous issues I don’t have addictions to alcohol, drugs or similar.
Though a garrulous person in every day life when it comes to church services I am a quiet person. I do love to sing but I don’t feel any need to proclaim my devotions in any other way. I keep everything pretty low key. Quiet. To do anything else at this stage would feel so false.
In a similar way, I mentioned to Ex once that I was going to a baptism “You’re getting baptised?” he asked, incredulous.
“No, of course not. I’m going to see a friend be baptised,” I added.
As I discussed with male friend, B, some months ago, you don’t just go and get baptised like it’s some fashion statement. B said it was akin to getting married; you do it if or when you feel it is right – if ever.
As I am away from home I had to go to a new pet shop as opposed to the little, independent shop I usually go to. Encountered some ghastly people outside the shop who were rude and quite scary to me. Reminded me why my friends and I chose to get out of this place as soon as we could – to universities and different lives. Mmm. Was a reality check.
Mum and I had a different type of curry this evening. A mild, creamy affair instead of our usual Rogan Josh-type curry. Hold the front page: we decided we preferred the latter. I know, the excitement continues!
As I have not been very well today my experimentation with new things has been modest. Let’s hope and pray for better things to come!
Life-enhancing activities for today (have to be new things):
- Listened to my hero David Bowie singing title track from Buddha of Suburbia. Not on of his best but okay.
- Listened to Pearl Jam singing ‘Jeremy’. Never heard it before!
- Listened to Pitbull. Switched it off halfway through!
- Planted new primula plant in large planter outside.
Tried new perfume – La Petite Robe Noir by Guerlain.
Reading a new book – The Soundtrack to My Life by Dermot O’Leary (very dull!).
Met a new person (business-wise).
PIC: By Graham Lowe.
I went to my first ever session of Celebrate Recovery this week. It’s a Christ-centred 12 step programme for anyone with ‘hurts, hang-ups or habits’ that are holding them back in life.
I’d been thinking about going for a while and a guy from my divorce group suggested that I give it a go. A lot of people think it’s just for addicts and alcoholics but that’s not the case. Anyone who’s battling with various issues (and who isn’t?) is welcome. Some examples would be: perfectionism, debt, guilt, divorce, anger, abuse, insecurity, gambling, anxiety, emotional abuse and other abuses, overspending, coming form a dysfunctional family, grief – plus lots of other things.
I realised that I do suffer from some low self-esteem issues emanating from childhood, my long-term illness and the divorce. Also, I think I have a tendency to co-dependency. Not like I used to but it could still be an issue. I know I am not experiencing as much joy in my life as I used to and these things are barriers to joy or freedom.
Not sure how much I can commit to the course (it runs for a year and some people go for many years) but I’ve at least made a start.
What a fascinating programme on BBC One just now about loneliness. I truly believe this is the affliction of our age. I loved how they profiled people of all ages and walks of life, including those who feel lonely who are surrounded by people.
One guy summed it up perfectly: plenty of people to do things with (friends) but no-one to do nothing with – after, say, a bereavement or relationship breakdown.
As 42 per cent of marriages in the UK will end in divorce it is no surprise that loneliness is on the increase. I have lots of friends who seem to genuinely care about me, and my mum, but loneliness is an issue in my life. I may not feel as bad as some of the people profiled, and I am quite extroverted, but I definitely have regular bouts of loneliness. Sometimes daily, sometimes just at weekends. Male Platonic Friend has helped me in this respect.
However, church groups and church attendance really help. This is not just because one is with people but also due to the fact that we talk about our vulnerabilities – in Life Group, for example. Also, in worship you are communing with God, even if at times you feel somewhat disconnected from God. Singing worship songs helps us feel connected to each other and to a greater being. (The great I Am).
I think some people I know may feel less lonely because they have a deep spiritual connection. But I may be making assumptions there.
Feeling awed! Mum and I were standing on her front doorstep in the town of my birth, waving off my very old friends, Bristol-based P and J, who I see just 1-2 times a year, when who should drive down our fairly out-of-the-way street but my friends/former neighbours, E and S, from the town where I now live (about 50 miles away.) E and S had NO IDEA my mum lives on this street and that this is the family homestead. Sheer coincidence.
Then… At the very same time my old hairdresser drove passed them in the same make and model and silver coloured car as E and S own, waving, AND at the same time mum’s neighbour, Brian, came out to tell me that I had a flat tyre – I had not noticed. There was a nail in it. He pumped the tyre up for me and I rushed off to Kwik Fit and got it replaced. Brian probably saved my life ‘cos I’ll be driving on the motorway tomorrow.
Coincidences or not?!
I had been feeling tearful and forsaken earlier in the day but these coincidences made me feel like there was some sort of pattern work going on!
The Last Judgement 2 Bosch (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
There’s such a thing as compassion and also we must confess that we too are not without fault or ‘sin’ but here are some things that I’m not giving energy to:
- Couple of church friends came to my house and more or less insulted me – in my own home! Well, one did. I am sure they have absolutely no idea I feel l this way. Talk about feeling judged! The grown up thing to do would be to mention how judged I felt but I have not, partly because they are under a lot of strain themselves. I think people act all ‘hissy’ when they feel like they have no power in their own lives. I’ll just back off from these people for a while – and also take into account that actually these people can be very judgemental. (And kind too. It’s not all bad.)
- Male Platonic Friend consistently disrespects my boundaries. I am furious with him too! No matter what I say he tries to push the boundaries in the amount of time and energy I have to devote to him. He knows I’m chronically ill. Whatever I give, it’s not enough, as far as I can tell. I talked about this to a great friend yesterday and that helped. She totally gets it. I don’t see him IRL that much but when I next do I think I will say something. I think he says all the right things but his actions don’t always match his words. He wants things that I can’t give. And he needs to get some therapy for the things he’s not dealing with in HIS life.