If you are going through a hard time or in a prolonged stressful situation, it’s tempting to look at others and feel you are missing out. On the surface at least, they seem to be sailing through life and have it easy in comparison. Before long you may even indulge in a little self pity, which, if allowed to continue, can be a destructive path spiraling down to despair.
My wife is long-term disabled and increasingly mobility-challenged. Over recent years, I have been finding a way through two chronic illnesses and found the sudden physical restriction and loss devastating at first. There was so much stimulating and fulfilling activity, including Christian service, that I could no longer be part of. But slowly, as I painfully let go of all that, I entered into another world.
This was a world where we were in the slow lane Continue reading
Food was scarce in wartime Britain, so my father dug up half the back lawn to grow vegetables. As a small boy I loved watching him skilfully prepare and rake the soil. Then I would help pop the pea and bean seeds into the holes he’d made with his dibber. He even let me have a little plot all to myself, where I grew radishes and lettuce. I got very impatient and used to pull the tiny seedlings up to see if there was anything there.
We also kept chickens and I delighted in lifting the nesting box lids to see if there were any eggs. If there were, I would rush back to the house clutching my precious prizes. Hopefully they arrived unbroken. For a real treat we would have one of the birds for Christmas dinner. My father was surprisingly squeamish, so asked the milkman to do the dirty deed. I helped with the plucking. I remember the fluffy under-feathers floating around and filling the air in our small lean-to greenhouse. We fed the hens on something called balancer meal, which was mixed into a mash with cooked vegetable waste.
One day, the peelings were boiling merrily on the kitchen range, while I reclined in comfort on the floor just below. I don’t quite know how it happened; Continue reading
I had a good company position, that is until the firm underwent a major reorganisation. It seemed like all the jobs were tossed into the air and the way they fell to earth left me wondering where I fitted in. I couldn’t see the way forward, but stood my ground and eventually I was transferred to a different, lower paid job in another city.
My main concern for the first few weeks at least, was to ‘get my feet under the desk’, keep my head down and apply myself to my new role and whole range of working relationships. For the first time in many years I was back in a large open plan office, which took some getting used to. To be truthful I found it a bit humbling. The man at the desk next to me had a lot to say. You could say he was a ‘loud mouth’ and rude with it. However I liked him and we had a few interesting conversations, as you do. It wasn’t long before he had worked out that I was a Christian, so late one afternoon he stated in a loud voice, for all the office to hear, “I bet being a Christian isn’t as good as sex!” Continue reading
I grew up in a small mill village, which some might today regard as an idyllic childhood. We were free to roam in complete safety in the streets, vast parkland and surrounding countryside and get up to all sorts of tricks. My mother used to tell people that I was ‘such a good boy!’ Little did she know!
One day we were playing on the outskirts of the village. Continue reading
I wrote this very personal piece some years ago, when I was catapulted into chronic fatigue and loneliness that defied a human solution.
Whereas before, I was aware of the presence of God, it felt He had gone – this was my own Dark Night of the Soul.
I knew I had to trust Him to take me through the chasm of pain to the other side and that He did over a period of several months. Continue reading
For my wife to be given a ‘sentence’ of an aggressive and disabling form of rheumatoid arthritis certainly wasn’t on our agenda when we married. Neither did I expect to be diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome (M.E.) not long after taking early retirement. These chronic illnesses changed the direction of our lives for ever, but although they were the cause of much grief and struggle, we have so very much to be thankful for and strangely, I wouldn’t have it any other way. It has been a life-changing experience so far and this continues – we are still learning. What I personally have learnt and am still learning was on my mind today and these are just a few thoughts:
1. Fun. There are times when I have to remind myself not to take life too seriously and find time for fun. Yes FUN! It helps to have a sense of humour. Mine gets buried at times and I need to let it out and even take the risk of offending some. Continue reading
My wife is the Guest Blogger this week and writes about living with an illness long term:
The Thirty Nine Steps
We really welcomed our move to Cornwall. There had been some delay. We headed an ever-growing chain of interested buyers, so made the decision to arrange a bridging loan. It was risky, but John had to start his new job. We were separated for a time, but eventually moved on 5th November 1972 in the rain.
Our children – six and three – thought our new house was great, with bedrooms downstairs built into the hillside and 39 steps up to the front door. They ran up and down and in and out excitably. The beach was just down the road – a new adventure to be lived. Continue reading