A good friend of mine recently blogged about the seasons, both meteorological and personal, and how topsy turvy they are, how you can have sun in the winter and darkness in summer(find it here), and after my funny-kind-of day I have to say, it's been summer here in Auckland, boiling hot, but we've been under the cloud cover... and yet in the middle of our dark summer we had a day of lenient weather... as it were - oh silly metaphors. So: if you haven't been reading along, life has been pretty rough here but today it wasn't so. And I thought I should write about it, seeing as how I only write on the bad days, and everyone assumes that my life is shite, and my children are monsters and that I am in the depths of the doldrums.
I thought this week would be reeeeally hard - my loyal sidekick Josh has been away from Sunday and won't come back til Friday, and it's not yet Wednesday - and I prepared mentally for the crapstorm. Funny thing is, in hindsight, I wasn't that worried, you know, in my Core, about it. And that's where I usually feel the worries. But I expected a lot of tears and tantrums, on both the kids and my sides. I expected sleepless nights and rushing around madly in the mornings, snapping like a fox terrier. Instead, here I am in a serene household, with two sleeping children, feeling almost, well, smug! So what am I doing right? What's going on, that's working? What the heck?
I think it comes down to a few things, and I think I should write them down so that I remember on the next Day of Poop, which may be tomorrow even.
- My village.
I feel grandly supported at the moment. I have had phonecalls from people who care(I hardly ever get a call normally(except from my mother which is another whole story)), who have talked and listened. I have had emails and I have had people praying for me. I'll talk about the Prayer with a capital P in a second, but for the moment let's all just acknowledge, whomever or whatever your personal god is, that a bunch of people who love you, gathered around you with their arms around you speaking lovely words of encouragement and hope for you is quite lovely, yes? Not only that but I have had friends turn up with meals, who have driven for 25 minutes and stayed for a coffee and bitched about the world in general(that's Jaimee), and have been invited to someones place for dinner WITH the kids in a couple of days. I mean, who does that? Really? Jenny does. I have had my toughest advocate, her name is Anya, turn up on my doorstep with a sheet of paper covered in notes from all the people she has called on my behalf and demanded things from. She is an incredibly busy woman with a lot on her own plate and she lives far far away, and yet she did that. Village. I have not felt lonely, or worried, or sorry-for-myself for TWO WHOLE DAYS because people have popped up out of their own lives into mine. VILLAGE I tells you, get one now.
For a person of faith I lack lots of it. But, as was pointed out to me by a good friend recently, when I pray for people, I have faith that my prayers will get answered, that they are heard, that they are even quite reasonable requests, and yet in my own life, in my own head, I don't even consider praying for what I want or even need. Why? Partly good old missionary's-child guilt. If I'm not talking to God when life is good, if I'm not thanking him for the great stuff or 'walking' with him on a daily basis, how can I just turn up when times are bad and demand help? But if I think too deeply about that for too long I realise that deep down I'm thinking(quite wrongly, I know in my head) that I have to earn my requests, my relationship, that it first takes a bunch of work on my part to deserve a moment of the masters time. Way wrong I know. But I think it's also my incredibly twisted self-loathing misery-guts inner self, who also whispers(ok, maybe screeches a bit) that good things won't happen to me, that God loves quite a lot of other people, but not me, well maybe a little, but not that much, not enough to listen to, heed and respond in a positive manner to all my little quibbles and grumps. So while the former reason can be knocked on the head by my knowledge of theology, the latter is still quite hard to budge. And yet, and yet, I feel like this week has been an answer to prayer. I know that lots of people pray for me, for us, anyway, but I don't usually hear them praying, and I did... and I have been seeing amazing results! Strings pulled, lists dramatically shortened, new paths opened, 'coincidences' of timing all over the place. I feel like something is happening, that there is some tread in my shoes now, some grip on the hill. And maybe, just maybe, it's God pushing from behind a bit, and probably dragging up from the top a little, and apparently urging from beside me. Who knows? We can't rule it out.
Soo. I haven't yelled at the kids. Much. I mean, come on, relatively speaking, yes I may have yelled at them about three times today properly, but thats wayyyy down - and not only because they've been good, but also because when they haven't been, I've been quite patient. Because I don't feel alone.
A small voice, the slithery one in the back there, says that of course when everything is good again, the people will disappear again, the village will fade back into the trees, and the prayers will be left like unopened letters, gathering dust on the hall table.
I wish I could get rid of that small voice, but I don't know how. Maybe I'll see if someone can come out from the village and give it a tweak. Or maybe, maybe I'll pray about it. Maybe.