Wednesday, February 22, 2012

22nd February

Wikipedia Commons Licence in the Public Domain from here 
I went swimming again first thing and that was good. But it’s usually more the challenge of getting there than the actual swim itself. I guess it’s all about perseverance, pressing through the discomfort of winter weather and doubts about being able to cope. I remember thinking a couple of days ago that come what may I would go swimming and expected to only manage say ten lengths. That would have been fine and just reward for overcoming fatigue to get there, but in any event on that day as well as this morning I managed more than double that. I’ve been surprised at what I can achieve once I have a go, though I remember twenty years ago I could easily swim 50 lengths or more without real effort. And that was when I’d damaged my back with a ruptured disc, so I barely used my legs to swim at all. I developed great upper body strength in those days.

Actually I’ve had an interesting few days getting into all manner of conversations with a number of different people. And topics have been particularly diverse touching on medieval British History as well as speculating on the potential future foreign policies of the Syrian opposition should they ever gain power. I’ve been embroiled in the practical details concerning the nature of unity in marriage; so how important is it for a man and wife to find agreement on major issues? Can God's calling sometimes bring division in that very special relationship? And then it was a discussion concerning human diversity… is it possible for the world’s races to have descended from the few people on Noah’s Ark who the Bible suggests are ancestors of all? Then, today apparently Richard Dawkins shot himself in the foot whilst exploiting a survey of Christians which revealed many had very poor knowledge of religion. So 64% of Christians were unable to name the first book of the New Testament and Richard Dawkins attempted to major on this fact… until he was challenged to give the full title of Darwin’s ‘Origin of Species’, the evolutionary biologist’s bible. The bizarre thing is that not only did he fail to recall it but he even made an involuntary cry of ‘oh god’ in the midst of his stuttered attempt. The church canon who’d challenged him very graciously suggested that that type of question was just not a valid measure of belief.

But today I met a guy at the swimming baths who I found quite inspiring. It seems he’s recently been released from 10 months in hospital with a spinal problem. And his problem was caused simply by a good night’s sleep. He’d been a fairly active sportsman playing rugby, football and cricket and the guess is that old injuries had suddenly caused a problem as he stretched in bed. Anyway he woke up on a very ordinary day completely paralysed from the neck down, as vertebrae had moved to trap his spinal cord. He’s regained limited mobility and wears a morphine patch to help manage the condition. We swapped spinal injury stories and our experience in the hydrotherapy pool which I visited for a different problem. But here was this guy who had been good enough to test for Manchester United youth team, and was now disabled, yet he persevered by swimming a number of lengths, quite slowly but he did it. He’s out of hospital and slowly walking into his life again.

I find that an encouraging reminder of the rewards for perseverance. When I damaged my back I spent 3 months on my back in the most extreme pain. I was off work for 7 months in total and returned almost bent double using a walking stick to get about. For a short time I’d even used a wheelchair. Epidural injections as a day patient were well scary but brought wonderful relief! Basically I then swam and prayed my way into recovery. Today I am 100% recovered from that problem and now I have a very different problem to overcome… bereavement. I’ll get there I know and I will make a full recovery, life will not just be good it will also feel good once again. In the mean time I will simply press on by persevering in my faith journey. And God will direct my steps.

Hebrews 10:36 ‘Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.’ (NLT)

No comments: