Sunday, July 29, 2012

Looking for God

I’m never gonna stop looking and hoping and dreaming and planning and working… for God too show up, to make a difference, to help me change for the better, to be the person he created me to be. Despite this being one of the most difficult weeks since I lost Jane. Yes I’ve been seriously weak with Chronic Fatigue and suffering horribly as I continue to walk through bereavement. I’m pretty sure the two are intertwined as stress exacerbates CFS and then I so easily just give in to the ever present call of grief. I miss the wonderful life I once enjoyed so very much, with the woman I loved so completely. And she was just right for me, we were always a good team, and totally in love, since the very beginning. She was my best friend and I miss her terribly. I long for the sound of her voice, the smell of her hair, the smile on her face. Her always gentle encouragement, her simple Godliness, the fierce determination to pursue God purpose, with total confidence in his ability to enable. She was a woman of unshakable faith, carrying an inner beauty to match her stunning good looks. And I’m really struggling without her. Everything feels broken. Nothing works properly. I’m not designed to walk through life on my own. I need a wife. I need the intimacy of a friend with no secrets, nothing hidden, no subject off limits. Total acceptance, no matter what. Someone to work stuff out with. To take risks with, to share success, to make mistakes, to enjoy family, to visit Barcelona and Florence, the Grand Canyon and the Vendee. Whatever. I never imagined being single again, I just expected to grow old with the wife of my youth. I really looked forward to being in my nineties and walking along holding hands with the love of my life. Every year for 40 years Jane and I continued to become closer and closer. And that could have continued. Now I feel lost with no-one to share anything with. A real loner. At best I might one day start again with a new relationship, and that would be great. Though there’d be some serious catch-up. For now though I’m a bit of an emotional mess. I need help.

I have to move on and I can’t stay in this horrible place of tears, feeling low and so very sad. So I’m looking and hoping and dreaming and planning for the day when I can take a hold of the new life that God has for me. I can’t have the old one anymore, it’s gone. And for sure I don’t want the life I live right now to continue for even one more day. I’m all done with tears. They’re too painful. Deep within my heart lives an indescribable joy and peace. Untouchable. I really need to take my eyes off my problems and look to the Lord, the answer to my every need and the author of every solution. He has prepared a pathway for me to walk down. I just have to start walking again. Sitting in this heap of self-pity is not at all a good idea. And I'm fed up carrying a tripod everywhere to take my own picture... I sure get some strange looks! 

1 Corinthians 2:9 ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.’ (NLT)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Walking with the Angels

I've spent the day walking with angels and it’s been wonderful! Ok, I’m not really talking about the ones with wings, though actually I almost felt as though I’ve been carried through the day with a supernatural strength. Yes the past few days have been rather challenging as I’ve been pretty much completely immobilised with Chronic Fatigue. But I’ve decided the relapse is mostly down to stress caused by specific challenges I have to face. In reality the issues do not warrant real concern, it’s just I’m struggling to cope with any new demands for action whatsoever. I just want a clear run to focus upon controlling my activity and maximising recovery from ill health. So often though circumstances make demands that cannot be sidestepped. Such as bereavement. I suppose I’ll be working that one out for some time yet. Like, today I visited Wirksworth and drove past the village shop where Jane and I bought organic rolls for a lunchtime picnic to distract from her afternoon oncology appointment. Next the factory outlet store where Jane bought a coat, and then the dentist where she was referred for root canal treatment. Nearby Black Rocks was a favourite walk when our children were very young and I couldn’t begin to share the many happy memories I have of that place. Somehow I have to press on through difficult emotions and find a way to move on. For sure though I am so very grateful for the treasured memories I have of so many different places that Jane and I enjoyed for so many years.

Anyway today I created some new ones. These are my eldest grandchildren and once again I’m the guy with a tree sticking out of the top of his head! I certainly needed rescuing from the trap of ill health and these two little ‘angels’ lured me out into the woods with mum as a jolly companion. I suspect she might not always describe them in that way, but I do. They’re wonderful. So it was probably the slowest walk I’ve had for a very long time as they insisted upon climbing every rock face we walked past, but that really suited me in my weakened state. I made it though and afterwards felt the better for the effort as well. But then again it would have been Jane who always initiated the ice cream thing, I’m just not tuned in properly to children’s ‘needs’. So my daughter worked that one out and at least I was able to open my wallet and pretend I was part of that treat!

Psalm 91:11-12 For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go. They will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.’ (NLT)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Change for the Better

I was reminded this morning that even the best coffee tastes pretty grim… until you add hot water! They say just below boiling point is the best temperature, and when made properly I love it. Like so many things in life, just a little change makes all the difference. My holiday snap is a prime example where it would be so easy to talk of my time under the storm clouds last weekend. I got absolutely soaked on a couple of occasions, not a lot of fun on my summer holiday. Yet just 20 miles or so across the English Channel, France is enjoying a beautiful day. At least for an hour or so. Maybe I should have hopped on a ferry and gone chase the better weather? But no, the immediate excitement was right there on my seafront bench and about to unfold. Quite suddenly the ground began to shake, and folk walking past stopped to look up at a pair of wing waggling WW2 Spitfires flying directly overhead at little more than rooftop height. Something to do with a Royal Marine Band concert half a mile away. If only I had not been in MP3 land, listening to the likes of Bruce Springsteen at a rather too loud volume, I could have captured a great photo. But didn’t! Next time…

I really don’t want to even delay let alone miss God’s best for my life. I know he has a plan, I know it’s a good one and I know it’s designed specifically for me even at this emotionally stormy time. Yes no matter the challenge of personal loss, no matter my ill health, God is able. Able to work for good, able to change things for the better and if the Lord is for me, what can stand against me in my pursuit of his favour? But I do still sometimes look to the end of my life journey and it’s heavenly destination. Yet I am continually aware, that despite the promise of eternal paradise and a life of unimaginable perfection, we enjoy a privilege that no-one currently inhabiting heaven can any longer experience. God’s grace in the face of the severest earthly trial or the greatest adversity is sufficient… for us to live with the most wonderful peace, filled with God’s joy, and having a hope beyond compare to strengthen as we reach out in faith for the power to overcome. And so when trouble comes, I no longer complain as I once might have, and for sure have no excuse for feeling down; yes deep within resides a heart of thanksgiving giving voice to a song of praise. Put quite simply I love the Lord, he is my life and I trust him. Things are getting better.

Ephesians 1:11 Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan.’ (NLT)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Choosing Priorities

Deciding to the ‘right’ thing can sometimes cost us something. Ok I’ve been on holiday and here’s one of my more traditional holiday snaps of my parents, eldest sister and hubby. All my siblings are actually younger than me. And I’m the guy with a pole sticking out of his head! If you’re gonna lose all street cred and share family photos let’s do it properly… but hey it was a self-timer from a nearby table. Yes I really, really needed a break and for most of the time it worked really well. Just resting by myself, doing very little, ignoring my watch and letting each day take care of itself. I’ve watched a couple of dozen episodes of West Wing, done proper cooking most days and walked round and round Deal pretty much every lunchtime. But then about this time last week I took ill with Chronic Fatigue and everything ground to a halt. So frustrating! And I can’t really see that I did anything wrong with over activity which forces a relapse; it just seems to cycle round every couple of weeks anyway. The headaches and severe fatigue dominate, and then I begin to feel a little low. I had company over the weekend with the aforesaid family and another couple of sisters and husbands as well. Quite a party, though a particularly rainy experience. But I paid the price and did the right thing by stepping away from opportunities to eat out and socialise with long days. Yes, I limited my family activity to a couple of hours or so each day and then retired to my campsite and lots and lots of private space. I needed to for sure as come Monday, my initial choice of returning home, I was still too ill to drive and had to stay another couple of days. It’s so weird how some days I can walk a couple of miles whereas others I can barely function at all. I hate Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Slowing my blog writing productivity has also been the right thing to do. I’ve been writing primarily as a way of processing my bereavement journey, whilst hopefully encouraging a few others to persevere through the ups and downs of emotional trauma. The daily journal of my ongoing life experience has kept me sane. Sort of. And I’ve certainly not completed my journey of recovery into wholeness though I’m on the way. But I’ve decided that my health has to be prioritised, so when I feel particularly ill I’m gonna reduce the time I sit at my laptop.

Luke 10:27 ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind. And, love your neighbour as yourself. (NLT)

Friday, July 13, 2012

Waiting on the Lord

Some days everything is just too much. And I really do need to meet with God. I had a horrible dream, in which Jane was dying of cancer and I was crying out to the Lord with every ounce of strength I could muster. Asking him to heal her and not to take her away from me. I woke up totally exhausted from the effort involved, I was totally ‘there’, and then as I gradually began to stir I recognised the reality of today… yes the trauma of Jane’s passing is very much still with me. So it’s no wonder that I struggle to find release from chronic fatigue syndrome. Stress avoidance is my number one goal. But how do I deal with continual bad dreams? Although today I barely have the energy to walk more than a hundred yards or so, at least I have made it to a beautiful cliff top car park overlooking the English Channel. I’m not a happy bunny though, for sure.

And yet… deep within my spirit, hope remains. I am completely secure in my walk with God; my life is devoted to serving and honouring him. But while I have no doubts about my destiny in eternity, I have plenty to work out between now and then. That’s the challenge, running my race without faltering, and without hesitation yielding to the still small voice of the Lord. My physical and mental capacity may be damaged because of CFS, my emotions may be in turmoil as I walk through bereavement, yet I will remain steadfast in my determination to seek his face and engage with Godly plans. In the meantime I’ll walk as far as my legs will take me, and then sit awhile to dream of things not yet passed, but worth pursuing.

Jeremiah 29:13-14 If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. I will be found by you,” says the Lord. (NLT)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

My Help Comes From the Lord

Today I needed the Lord’s help with a completely mundane crisis involving my motorhome. Nothing to do with the local coastguard patrol, that’s just a pretty picture involving someone else’s problem and lots of water. And so my story today begins with a long hot shower… and a blocked plughole! Why are they all so small in caravans? So the rather shallow shower tray flooded and I needed my plunger to sort it out. But as I was mopping up I realised the water pump was still humming nicely despite all the taps being turned off. Don’t panic David! I’ve had messy problems with burst pipes in the past. Isolate the pump first. Pray for a simple resolution to the problem second. Yes, I’ve learned to carry a repair kit but fixing stuff is not my idea of a holiday. I really didn’t want it!

What was that? Immediately I’m sure I hear the Lord say to check my water heater drain down tap. Why? I only use it infrequently. So I check it out and decide I’m imagining things, it’s not that. Then I remember it’s an unusual tap so I check it in the other position and my problem is the same, though I then overlook the almost empty water tank. I even check outside the van. Nothing; the humming continues, the taps are dry. So I proceed with a much prolonged diagnosis of trying to find the leak, refilling the tank, removing bench seats and all the rest of it. I find nothing wrong whatsoever. So where is the pump sending my water? Not through the taps that’s for sure. I look outside again and sure enough there’s a stream of water flowing from the drain down tap outlet! Hey maybe God does know what he’s talking about after all. Then I remember my sink plunger was jammed against the drain down tap. Silly man. Fill up the tank, again, flick the tap in the direction it should be and all is well.

One day I’ll listen to God and believe that he is well able to speak in a way that this half deaf man should hear. And of course he’s just as interested in the minor details of my life as the bigger ones. So if he can help me fix my plumbing he can walk me through the challenge of bereavement.

Psalm 121:2 My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth!’ (NLT)

Monday, July 09, 2012

Pick Up Your Mat and Walk

It’s hard when God won’t say what we want him to say, or do what we want him to do. I’m glad he doesn’t, but it’s still hard. I’ve never watched it all the way through, but Jim Carrey in Bruce Almighty clearly shows the mess any of us would get in! But I’m feeling so very sad again and I don’t want to live like this. I want God to make everything alright again. Like it was for most of my life, only better. I’m still away on holiday, for at least another week or so, and that helps. I’m feeling a lot stronger physically. But still too sad. I keep ‘seeing’ Jane walking across the campsite, I dream about her quite regularly and really don’t like it when I wake up and… remember. One day I sat on the bench outside the shower block just ‘waiting’. She never came out. At least I found a new church to visit yesterday and felt completely at home there, just about every song we sang is on my MP3 player. They’re doing stuff I understand. Anyway they prayed for me so that was good.

Yes I want God to heal me, physically and emotionally. I want to move on with my life, I want to work again. I want to make music, I want to share the Lord and his goodness with all who cross my path. I don’t want to walk along the seafront anymore with tears rolling down my cheeks. I want to live and share love again. I’m so very lonely. I have great kids and a few other folk around me, but that is nothing compared to the love of a wife. I miss her so very much. I want the Lord to take away that pain. I want him to fill my heart with his love, maybe even to lead me into a new relationship. That could work… or not. I have no idea. But no matter my tears, no matter my prayers, the Lord is saying only one thing to me at the moment ‘walk!’ So that’s what I do, though I never seem to catch Jane up. She’s gone too far ahead for that…

John 5:8 ‘Jesus told him, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!”’ (NLT)

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

The Peace of God

It is here that I find peace, here that I meet with God. This is the view from my motorhome cab on a beautiful afternoon, defying the recent weather forecast. Yes, I’ve been sitting on Deal beach, albeit transported across the galaxy with my latest sci-fi novel. Kindles are great. But nothing happens here, I speak to almost no-one, do very little, and yet I feel completely relaxed, totally at peace. The presence of God is so very special, and he is surely with me, as always, but somehow even more so as I spend time alone with him. I can feel the burden of grief being lifted off my shoulders and dare I say it without any hint of guilt… I almost feel happy again. And that’s weird, it doesn’t make sense, it’s illogical. I’m gonna stay around awhile longer. A couple of weeks or so, and recover as much as I can. Time for a long cold drink… again.

Philippians 4:7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.’ (NLT)

Sunday, July 01, 2012

1st July 2012

Time for a break. I plan to travel tomorrow, back to Deal, though I still need to pack and book and all the rest of it. And I’ll make a final decision then, as I need to make sure I’m well enough to drive that far. Yes I’ve been quite poorly with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for some days and so have focussed all my attention upon recovery. I feel a little guilty about not posting for some time, though after 510 consecutive posts I shouldn’t.

I’m hoping to make a good recovery within a few days as camping usually works well. We’ll see. I’m thinking maybe Twitter and Facebook would be easier than playing with Blogger until I recover… follow at if you like, and perhaps I can update there more regularly.

Psalm 18:1
For the choir director: A psalm of David, the servant of the Lord. He sang this song to the Lord on the day the Lord rescued him from all his enemies and from Saul. He sang: I love you, Lord’ (NLT)