Tag Archives: father

The Pain and the Presence

Having suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome for a number of years has  given me a just an inkling of what it could be like for someone who has experienced far greater pain than me.

Lying here, Father,
I know You are there.
I don’t feel your Presence, but
I do feel the pain and discomfort
that tries to take over
and invade my fatigued soul.
Every aching muscle and sinew
vying for attention and
threatening to melt away the hope.

But as I look to You,
I know You are with me,
feeling my every feeling.
And as I keep on looking
and looking and looking,
reaching out to You,
minute by hour,
heart to Blessed Heart,
Your love seems to take over,
in a way I don’t understand.
Fear goes out the window,
faith and hope rise
and the pain grows dim
just for now –

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Filed under Christian, Christianity, chronic fatigue, healing, health, health & wellness, illness, lifestyle, personal, spiritual

Daddy Oh Daddy

This was a time when the child in me was deeply touched and moved by the closeness of Father God. I had never written a song before, but these words, simple and personal, just burst out as I walked along the beach. I offer them to you now, just as they came, unfinished. There was a tune too, but I didn’t write that down.

Father Oh Father
I love you I do
I want you to come and love me too
I want to feel you close to me
To walk and talk and play with me
How I love you Father I do
I love to dance and walk with you
I love to see the twinkle in your eyes.

Son, Oh son, I feel so proud
When you come and reach out your hand;
Something happens inside of me
When you want to walk and talk with me.

Daddy, O daddy, I love you too
I love to dance and skip with you,
Come and put your arms around me.

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Chronic Fatigue and Family

tn_family.jpgMy viewpoint as a husband and father – I’ve tried to keep it brief!

Chronic illness is a daunting challenge to a marriage relationship and family unit. Some say it can be make or break. In our case, we had a double whammy! Over thirty years ago my wife contracted a particularly aggressive form of rheumatoid arthritis and was told she could be in a wheelchair inside four years. Years later, long after our children had left home, I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome.

My response to my wife’s diagnosis wasn’t surprising, as my upbringing hadn’t fitted me out to deal with illness. In my childhood, any suffering or indeed any expression of emotion within the family, was kept mainly under wraps. My way of dealing with these things was to do something practical to try and hold things together. I put everything into my work, family and helping out where I could within the community. I did most of the shopping, including, for a time, buying my wife’s clothes and became an expert in the intricacies of M & S’s lingerie department. Our children attended the village school and we became involved with the some of the other parents and attended the church. I ferried our children and their friends to the various activities.

My wife made her role of wife and mother her topmost priority and gave her all, often sacrificially, she had high standards. She was a good listener and it was quite usual for me to arrive home to find the pile of ironing still untouched, because she had given several hours to someone in need. I found that difficult, as she was the one needing physical help. But apart from several notable exceptions, there was little of that.

As the rheumatoid activity increased, she became more physically limited and fatigued. It was easy for me to leave for work in the morning and bury myself in my work while she often spent the day lying down. This was the side most people didn’t see. She found the pain and physical limitations were hard to bear and there were frequent outbursts of expression. I found it increasingly painful to watch my wife, my loved one, in so much pain and distress and I felt so horribly helpless. One night when it got so bad I went down on to our beach in the dark and in desperation reached out to God from the depths of my being, imploring Him to help us.

I felt trapped by the illness and restricted, held back. Once, I was asked if I had thought of leaving and I can honestly say that was never ever on the agenda. We married because I loved her and was committed to our marriage. On the other hand I wanted to escape from the illness, I hated what it was doing.

In our search for understanding, we were led over the years along a path of Christian contacts. We learned new marriage communication skills and how to deal with the emotional pain that was bubbling away just below the surface. I also found healing and release from the grief and loss I was experiencing. Our attitudes changed and in particular people were noticing how well my wife was walking and the courageous way she was dealing with her illness.

Then I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome ME/CFS and I had a new battle to contend with. For the first time I was able to understand first hand what fatigue was like and I benefited from my wife’s experience. The effect this had was to draw us closer together than ever before.

So far as our children are concerned, yes, they did miss out on some things, they can hardly remember their mother well. But I believe the experience has enriched them and we are proud of the way they now handle themselves, their marriages and children.

The last two years have been the most difficult for us, our lives being battered by accidents and illnesses. But in it all we have continued to experience wonderful strengthening and enabling to do what seemed impossible. I don’t know what the future holds, but we know God is with us and the best is yet to come!

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Filed under Christian, Christianity, chronic fatigue, disability, family, healing, health, health & wellness, lifestyle, M.E., personal, relationships, seniors, spiritual

Father’s Touch

tn_boy-and-hands-2.jpg

This is a pencil sketch I did, based upon an old magazine cutting that really caught my imagination.

This is a pencil sketch I did, based upon an old magazine cutting that really caught my imagination.

The boy is looking directly into the adult’s eyes – let’s assume it was his father – and it’s clear he sees total loving acceptance. See how his father gently touches the boy’s cheek and places a reassuring hand upon his shoulder.

It’s as if his father could be saying:

I am really proud of you
I’m so glad you told me this
I’ve often felt the same
There’s no need to feel shame
I know it’s hard for you at the moment
but you’ll come through
You are doing so well
and I am with you all the way.

I know I am an adult but there have been times when the fatigue has threatened to overpower, and I have wondered how much more I could take, when I have need to hear similar words from my Father God. They spur you on, lift the shame, encourage and empower.

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Healing Memories from the Woodshed

The Carpenter and the Glue Pot

tn_carpenter.jpg Childhood memories can effect our lives as adults – this is one of the better ones.

My father wasn’t a demonstrative man, nor was he given over to emotion or displays of affection. Some of the times I felt closest to him were when he was in his woodshed. This was a modest weather-boarded, felt-roofed lean-to in our back yard. Often, if he found that things got too ‘hot’ for comfort in the house he would escape there. He would close the door of his refuge and immerse himself in the latest project. It was one of the places where he was at his happiest.

As a small boy, I regarded it as a man’s place. It was somewhere away from the women of the house and where you didn’t have to worry about a bit of dirt. I would love to watch him, perhaps creating an item of furniture in oak, skilfully handling his old wooden jack plane. Curls of shavings would cascade over the bench and floor. Occasionally he would pause to instruct me how to check for line and square. His large hands would guide and steady mine as I cast my ‘expert’ eye along the length of timber. These were special times for me. Father and son – a ‘chip off the old block’ – together.

It was like an ‘Aladdin’s cave’ of treasures to me. The tools of his trade adorned the walls – saws of all kinds, spokeshaves, bradawls, pincers… a rack of chisels sharpened and oiled ready for use. The patina of the old handles of ash or beech gave out a comforting glow in the light from the small window.

In the corner, a cast iron glue pot simmered away. These were the days before pva or resin adhesives. This was scotch glue, made from animal bones. It came in dark honey-coloured slabs or pearl-like beads. These were melted down with boiling water. The resultant hot sticky goo was satisfyingly applied to the joints with a brush. The pungent odour mingled with the sweet smell of sawdust and wood shavings. An unforgettable experience to rival that of freshly mown grass or the new leather of satchels on my first day of school.

He wasn’t just a good carpenter, but a Jack-Of-All-Trades. A hob iron and box of leather strips stood ready for repairing the family’s shoes, a valve radio needing attention or a broken toy requiring loving care. Some things however got him beat as one box contained old discarded clocks beyond repair. Lengths of timber hung from the roof, oak, mahogany, ramin and pine, salvaged from old furniture or buildings, waiting for an appropriate use. The real treasure trove was the bottom drawer of the bench. It was crammed with fascinating but mainly useless items and bits and bobs, kept ‘just in case!’

These are very good healing memories for me – something to savour. You can’t choose your memories of course. I had to allow them to come, good or bad. Is there really such a thing as a bad memory? Nevertheless, I sorted them through with Jesus, the Master Carpenter. The transformation involved taking responsibility for my feelings and forgiving where necessary.

I loved my father and though he died years ago, I often think of him. He did his very best for me, sacrificially at times, you can’t ask more than that from a man. We don’t have a shed now, but I can still go into my ‘woodshed’ anytime and be with my heavenly Father. He’s always there for me with open arms, ready to comfort, guide and steady. They are special times, Father and son together.

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