The day after tomorrow

Here at the end of tired August, life is a little like wading through treacle – so I have decided to blog everyday to keep myself going – and hopefully create some good habits for the coming months! I deliberately set myself up last time by finishing with the stated intention: ‘that is for tomorrow’s post…’ Who noticed this post is happening the day after what was actually tomorrow at the time? 😉

There is always a balance between making myself sit down and write, telling myself – and perhaps others – ‘I will do it’, putting it in the diary or on the ‘to do’ list, having good intentions – but then when it comes to it…do I actually feel like it, is there enough time, have other responsibilities taken precedence so I can’t enjoy it and get into a flow? Or, more sinister than this, there is a rebellious weariness that says, “oh for goodness sake, I don’t want to do it!” – that part of me that shrinks away from the work required or the vulnerability of the exercise, feels stupid or inadequate, tongue-tied and blocked up…

I am experimenting with times of day – morning is definitely best for clear-headedness and connecting with how I feel – but as with any discipline, especially one that takes an hour or two from starting point to ‘publish’, something else has to give. We talk about taking Jesus’ easy yoke and the unforced rhythms of grace, but as Paul found in Romans 7, there is always an inner resistance to doing what we know we should, even if the yoke is easy! I have to choose to align and allow myself to do it – and sometimes also allow myself off the hook – without feeling guilty…

‘Allowing’ – that is another ‘A’ word. Becca came home yesterday, unexpectedly, at the end of her tether, in need of a weekend break – she has problems with what I call ‘allowing’ as well… both my kids do. Duty versus pleasure, obligation against freedom: my counsellor says just BE, just LIVE, just do what you WANT to do each day – be kind to yourself – and that is what I say to Becca!  That is all very well, but what about giving myself a kick in the right direction, doing things that will make me feel better – like going to the gym when I don’t feel like it, or making time to write painful posts?! No-one ever wants to clean the loo, or change the bed, or give 2 hours to a pile of ironing – but these things have to be done to make life work! That’s why we need to know the grace of the Lord to help us do the things He has already planned for us to walk in (Ephesians 2v10)… but even that can be hard when you feel physically ill, tired or upset. It means I have to take time out for myself – for the inner journey – to allow room and space for what matters: think Mary versus Martha. It’s a daily choice.

Anyway, I have found that not writing never helps – at least if I get something out it feels like progress, an analysis, an expression, the catharsis of creativity.  So yesterday I did want to write about ‘acceptance’ – but didn’t get time until the evening – and then I had to backtrack, give it a context. In fact that promised post ended up on my other blog, Longing to Escape, as The 5 stages of grief. I DID IT, I DID IT! – and I was really pleased the flow took me in that direction in the end, as that is where I want to be a lot more, a place where complete strangers find access to and follow this journey: strange but true!

Well if you want to understand my train of thought, you too can go and read it there, but to summarise… acceptance is the final stage of a series of emotional responses to loss, change and bad news. When someone is told they are going to die soon – or if a child has to cope with parents’ divorcing or if a relationship breaks down – the responses of grief will follow a similar pattern in different individuals (see this very interesting Wikipedia page for my source material!) First there is denial, then – not necessarily in this order or one at a time – anger, bargaining, depression – before acceptance brings peace.

I think this process often applies to the way we respond as Christians when we hear bad news – eg someone has cancer. There is an immediate assumption – based on widespread bad theology! – that we can immediately claim the Scripture: ‘You will not die but live and will proclaim what the Lord has done!’ Psalm 118v17. It is classic denial if that promise has been snatched from the air and not truly  given by revelation of the Spirit!  Much of our prayer is also bargaining, using Scriptures to try to prove to ourselves that God heals – of course He does! – but wrongly applying them.  Jesus notably didn’t do this when tempted to throw Himself off the pinnacle of the temple so that angels would catch Him, just as Psalm 91 says: his answer was ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test’ (Luke 4v9-12); we use every cancer victim as a test case! It is not very loving or genuine or even honest… but I digress (I am good at that! This old post has more around the subject if you want it!)

Anyway, it’s worth thinking about: what IS faith, really? Martin has recently been saying it is like ‘going for a walk holding Daddy/Mummy God’s Hand’ – and I think that is the best definition I have ever heard! For me, this is acceptance: I trust and I have peace. I won’t pretend, refuse, fight, assert my rights, try to twist God’s arm or fall into the pit of despair: it just IS and here we are in the middle of it.

However, it is not my life at stake, but Sam’s. Acceptance of the inevitable may be my way of coping – counting all the blessings, grateful for the years we have had and knowing it will all be alright in eternity – but that is not enough for him yet… and may never be.  So all I can do is sing this Mumford and Sons‘ beautiful song for him and lean into love and the hope we have for the day after tomorrow when we get over the hill of death into heaven…

And after the storm, 
I run and run as the rains come
And I look up, I look up, 
on my knees and out of luck, 
I look up.

Night has always pushed up day
You must know life to see decay
But I won’t rot, I won’t rot
Not this mind and not this heart,
I won’t rot.

And I took you by the hand
And we stood tall,
And remembered our own land,
What we lived for.

And there will come a time, you’ll see, with no more tears.
And love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears.
Get over your hill and see what you find there,
With grace in your heart and flowers in your hair.

And now I cling to what I knew
I saw exactly what was true
But oh no more.
That’s why I hold, 
That’s why I hold with all I have. 
That’s why I hold.

I won’t die alone and be left there.
Well I guess I’ll just go home,
Oh God knows where.
Because death is just so full and man so small.
Well I’m scared of what’s behind and what’s before.

And there will come a time, you’ll see, with no more tears.
And love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears.
Get over your hill and see what you find there,
With grace in your heart and flowers in your hair

After the storm, Mumford and Sons, from the album, Sigh no more.


About Sally Ann

True-story teller - words and pictures
This entry was posted in Life choices, Personal, Sam's journey, Suffering, The process, Writing about writing!. Bookmark the permalink.

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