I wake up with pain all over. After 2 pints of husband’s best brew my body is more awake and the ache is concentrated in my jaw and face. The tears collect in a threatening well of misery behind my eyes and in my throat… I just feel dreadful. I am a container full of grief, oppressed under a dark cloud of pain and smothered by a blanket of grey – even though the sun is actually shining this morning. Oh dear… how to to find relief, to throw it off, to rise above? Pass the paracetamol, sit in the chair – let the sun fall on my face and wait in silence for God alone: my hope is from Him – as in Psalm 62.
Why is this happening now? Yes July has been very busy since return from holiday and I have also been trying to cut down my prosac over that time, while simultaneously setting new goals and juggling new balls, doing more writing about writing than actually writing…but as I said before, deciding to give serious time to putting together a whole book-sized project is not really compatible with having the house in disarray while workmen are putting in a new bathroom. In fact, I am only able to post this today because they have a day off: because they didn’t arrive at 8.20am, I sat in bed and penned it long-hand and now have a nice, quiet house to type and edit – hurrah! But to answer the question ‘why now…?t At 3 in the morning the deeper causes of my underlying sadness seemed quite clear: it’s because so much has died.
It is a new era and that means there is an old era that has passed. I’ve been aware of it for months but the reality is perhaps only now beginning to hit home… For me that old season involved about 12 years of activity and purpose as I played my part in networking, connecting and leading prayer across England. I loved those years, but looking back, it’s hard to believe I had the energy for all the travelling and meetings I was part of! All my desire to participate in those events, conferences, consultations has gone – evaporated in the new morning air; I just don’t want to do those things, make those journeys, see those people or make my mark in that sphere anymore! It’s over and they will have to carry on without me – as they are doing! – and in time I’ll find out how many friendships remain beyond function and who misses me now I’m not around… There’s nothing I can do about it but accept the truth: for me it has died: I no longer have energy, grace, enthusiasm for the same things. It may be depression or weariness speaking, of course – but I rather think my season change – which I realise I have been talking about for quite a while! – has been deliberately engineered by the Lord as a repositioning and a new beginning.
How encouraging to get a glimpse of a future and a hope – that there are more things I can do, contribute, give – a legacy to leave. But mourning is a part of that as well, and one that I’ve already been told in a dream that I need to face – so perhaps this is that? We always think “a new day now” is something wonderful to embrace and often forget the pain of labour to bring it forth, the utter change it brings to everything. There are painful decisions that must be made to re-align relationships – what I must let go and what I must utterly refuse to relinquish, the experience and commitment that are treasures worth carrying through the narrow door, what U2 called ‘all that you can’t leave behind‘. So… a time to discard the dirty water, but be sure to keep the baby!
I really want to be sure that I have carefully and faithfully finished well and release nothing but blessing on those who are still positioned in their places and have not seen what I have seen: they still have their purpose to fulfil in a work that serves us all. But then it’s back to basics for me, as every new start is – using new building blocks and learning new skills – a humbling journey of being a small fish in a big pond again as I put my hand to another plough. Resurrection after death doesn’t look like the seed that died anyway – and it’s also easy to forget about the germination time required, the waiting and growing hidden underground. Then when new vision is conceived and the shoots of fresh direction begin to show themselves, the challenges always come with it – contesting of the call and the deep examination of heart and motives in the spiritual wilderness of isolation, inadequacy and fear – the place where character is forged and fired.
So here I am and I’m stressed out. It seems I’ve started clenching my jaw while I’m asleep – the source of this morning face-ache – a certain sign of stress: ‘back on the double prosac’, says the doc… No doubt the deconstruction/reconstruction of our bathroom has been the final straw when added to having to field numerous problems at Sam’s house (a leaking shower, an internet argument, a stroppy neighbour, missing cats) – as I’m still his no 1 support and first port of call whenever he hits bumps, whether practical or emotional. But on top of that I’ve put myself under additional pressure to get on with my own stuff, so am feeling a guilty failure because I can’t seem to carve out the time! To be honest, I’m completely tired out and writing feels like just another battle ground simply making me angry and frustrated! Martha Martha, you are worried and upset about so many things…!
Yes, Lord, I am! And even making sense of everything has become impossible, ground down by so many obligations and stymied by a lack of peace. Even when I try to blog, it stutters out of my head instead of flowing from my heart, becoming an extra burden of half written drafts adding to all the other unfinished business. I’m not exactly ‘blocked’ but too many ideas are almost as bad as none – and there’s just no time to let it settle and reflect, allow the stream to carry me along. Close to panic, I’m realising something’s got to give – that this great lake of thoughts is probably my book’s worth of ideas coming to term: no wonder all my blog posts are too long!
I am not in control and I cannot fix it, anymore than I can fix my temperomandibular joint disorder – so here is my lament, my wail, my unshed tears of pain – the necessary deconstruction of what was and all the ill-effects. Just like my bathroom, it’s not staying like this – it’s just a stage I have to go through to get to where I’m headed next.