Monday, 18 January 2016

the Deacon, the pause and God's timing

Today I had a wonderful long discussion at work with a colleague.  He is a Deacon but also has grown into a really thoughtful friend.  I did my Lifeline Counselling Course along with him and so through some very personal sharing and much counselling role-playing I got to know him a lot better. I have worked with him for a couple of years now and today again I realised the great gentleness with which he approaches others - do not think the word arrogant can ever ever ever be mentioned in the same line as his name.  He reminds me of the gentle lapping of a wave .... gentle and steady.   His wife is part of the Lifeline team and is often in the office as well and they are as well suited as cappuccinos are to almond biscotti :) 

He and I got into a discussion this morning about the mysterious ways in which God works, and how things always work in His time.  This is something that my friends know I say at least twice a week ... all in His time.  Something that occurred on Sunday had a knock-on effect on something else and so on and so on ... but the starting event set a chain reaction of good things going and a number of things fell personally into place for the Deacon, and then indirectly for me.  We laughed heartily at the fact that something that was so jumbled earlier in the week had all fallen together like a 100 piece jigsaw puzzle. I have thought about this timing often since my accident because I know had the impact been 30 cm further back the story might not have had such a great ending for me.  I often wonder, what if I had paid the parking quicker, what if I had not stopped to look for something in my bag, what if the shop attendant had not been so slow .... I would have been there 30 seconds later ..... or earlier.  How different things would have been. 

Today was a fantastic day.  It had all the P's in ...... peaceful, phones, parishioners and plenty (to do) .. the atmosphere was light and much laughter flowed between the two offices where he and I work.  In addition 3 different people came to visit me for 3 different reasons.  Two of them are close to me and their pop in left me beaming ... the other is a wonderful young lady I met last year who came for a chat.  All such special blessings.  All interested, interesting, caring and warm.  Much like my BFF. I wondered again about God's timing.  If I had not taken this job when I did, 90 % of these people and I would just be acquaintances.  But due to His timing, we have found a wonderful bond tied for a variety of reasons.  And my life has intermingled with hundreds of people over the past couple of years. 

I bumped into a lady yesterday who lost her daughter in an accident last year.  She was there with her granddaughter.  They stayed and chatted with me in the Repository and the little girl told me a few things.  It made me quite tearful, as it did her granny as well. The lady squeezed my hand and thanked me for my patience in something we are working on together and told me that I was where I should be in life. Again I marveled - I am not in a work space that I ever in my life imagined I would be in .... but once again in His time a meeting led to a job which led to my current position ..... I wish it had not taken so long to arrive in my life.  But He chose the time. And His timing has giving me so many many amazing and sometimes challenging people to work with.  A blessing indeed. 

When I had my miscarriage 19 years ago, I was heartbroken ..... but then there would not have been a Nic ..... so again God led me on the path.  And there are many other examples. 

I spend a lot of time thinking about the Year of Mercy that we are travelling on.  I read every bit of literature I can get my hands on to see what Pope Francis tells us about this, suggests to us as a way to live our lives in a way that demonstrates this.  It seems to have had quite a profound effect on me. 

I look too at life.  The arrogance, the hardness, the sarcasm, the better-than-you attitudes .... and then I see people of gentleness, kindness, love, interest, caring.  I hope to make this a starting point ... even more than I am trying now ...... to pause.  Before I speak.  Before I react.  Before I let one or two others know that their dismissive attitude hurts me greatly. 

I cannot change people who hurt me to prove a point.  Or hurt me with what they do or say or even what they deliberately don't say, perhaps to remind me bizarrely that I am the lesser in the relationship.  Instead I am going to pray for them from now on.  A friend who is also a counsellor asked me on Thursday when I spoke to them, "what does it say about a person who pats themselves on the back when they treat others dismissively, or in a way that suggests that you are the lesser person?"  I have decided that it says we should pray for them. 

So I will work hard on this concept of God's timing.  I will try my damnedest to live out the Year of Mercy suggestions and examples, and not just talk about them.  I will love. Because to have someone love you, the real you, is a great blessing.  I will try and live out the example that Pope Francis is giving us.  And that will be damn hard. 

And I will pause.  And pause again. 

till very soon 
c'est la vie xxx

so are you the laughing, crying, moaning, joyful, angry, silly or thankful one?

Been thoroughly perplexed lately about what makes some people tick.  Or if they tick at all.  

I have a very diversified life ... besides the blogging and the being a wife and a mom and planning a party and trying to read a lot and keeping up with social media and drinking coffee, I also have a job that is very different ... it varies from the phone answering, to buying stock ... from receiving clothes and food for the Outreach to buying cleaning materials ... from Baptism, Funeral and Wedding records and marriage preparation of admin to buying coffee, returning newspapers to suppliers and polishing my desk.  No two days have ever been the same.
For fun I handle a mountain high pile of admin and 213 other things each week pertaining to my job. 

So throughout my life I know and meet and interact with so any people for so many reasons.

Some care a lot and show it
Some care a lot and will rather be pierced in the eyes than let you know it.  Do they tick at all?
Some do not care two hoots and you are very aware of it
Some do not care two hoots and pretend they do, usually whilst skinnering behind your back
Some are nice.  A genuine kind of nice. 
Some are nice.  Because they need something from the person they are being nice to
Some just take you for granted because they think they can
Some just take you for granted because they think you will always be around
Some love you to death 
Some appreciate you 
Some annoy you as much as they are annoyed by you
Some even say thank you when you do something special for them or give something special to them
Some are sad and let you be there for them
Some are sad and take it out on you
Some make you laugh until your sides ache
Some make you so angry you wish their sides would ache
Some make you smile every time you see them. 
Some are sunshine
Some are rain 

Which tick tock are you most of the time? 

till soon
c'est la vie xxx

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

We are the parents. And this is back to school.

You can recognize us.  We all look the same.  Some of us have a teenager or young child or several in tow.  Some of us come alone.  We are easily identifiable.  We are all clutching an A4 paper with a printed issued list.  We all wear the same expression.  A mix of excitement at finding most of what we need.  A certain look of desperation and tiredness about the items that are on back order.  Our eyes all carry the same look.  Fear.  In our heads we are adding up the totals.  We have had the same look in the other store.  A longer printed list.  More fear.  More pushing and shoving. 

We are the parents.  The former are in the book supplier store, buying textbooks.  The latter are in the stationery stores.  We all have similar needs.  Hardcover 192 pg Quire books, Flip files, Quotation folders, Highlighters, Maths Sets (have you noticed you can buy one every year and every year either the compass or protractor goes missing), Sticky plastic, sellotape and more.  

You find us in the school department of big stores as well.  We hunt in packs, looking for grey long pants, white shirts and black or grey socks.  Again we have that glazed look.  The totals are soaring ... the textbooks, the stationery and the uniforms.  The school fees are still coming along with all the extra costs for camps and other.  Not to mention sports kits and shoes as some of us with High School boys find that they just grow.  And grow.  And grow some more.  Towering above us.  

As we move from store to store we start working out what expenses can wait until February. Somehow no matter how well you budget your excess money in December, back to school always comes as quite a blow. 

And this year, as I look at what this has cost, I wonder how the many many people in our country living below the bread line, manage.  How do people who do not even have enough food to fill all the mouths in the family, manage to get together even a portion of the money to ensure that their child receives a decent education.  How do children cope when we see the pictures of schools where children learn under trees, or sitting 4 at a desk for 1.  Some of these kids deliver phenomenal results.  I look at the problems.  I wonder about a system that is not giving enough attention to funding in these areas.  And it is not a system that has a lack of funding available.  

I pray for school kids.  All of them.  I pray that they use the opportunities that their parents work to give them.  I pray that every child gets the chance to go to school and does not shun the chance when given it. 

And I pray in thanksgiving for my 2 children.  Who worked tirelessly and with great passion to ensure that the education we worked so hard to give them, was taken in both hands and achieved with great results and tremendous dedication.  

till soon 
c'est la vie xxx

Saturday, 9 January 2016

Angry. And that is ok.

Between the 1st of January and now, there have been a dozen different blogs flitting through my mind and I have written the first paragraph of each one in my mind whilst driving, working and passing my days.  However after my accident (yes I am alive, yes it was not a major calamity, yes my car can be replaced, yes there are many in a worse position ... but I am still sore, still traumatised, still battling) and I find it challenging at the moment to focus in many aspects. I cannot and will not be bombarded with a dozen questions at a time about my life because I simply close myself off when I feel I am being pushed.  I will not be forced to deal with any other issues right now because I have enough on my plate and will ...... simply close myself off.  I have a friend who always tells me he focuses on one thing at a time and only that thing.  A lesson I am being forced to learn. In a world that expects me always to be focusing on twenty. 

I learnt a valuable lesson through this all though.  Trauma is real.  And it is different for each one of us.  Having said that I also need to comment that none of us have the right to decide when and how someone gets over something.  Be it death, illness, retrenchment, breakups, suicides, accidents, financial problems or the many many other things that cause us trauma. The timekeeper is simply us and us alone.

One of the hardest parts for me over the past 19 days is those who expected me to be fine after 19 hours.  Or after a week. Or at a time determined by them.  Like there is some sort of schedule - if your car is probably written off .... if you are hit at high speed and with a colossal impact - if your have soft tissues injuries ... if you have nightmares .... well then 6 days, 4 hours is the recommended time ... and then?  Please pull yourself together. Because it suits me?  No, because it suits you. 

I think the level of trauma is greatly determined also by what preceded it.  What did your last year look like emotionally?  For every one great thing that happened did you suffer one very serious blow?  Or for every ten great things did you suffer a blow?  But what about if for every one great thing you were hit by six serious blows?  Where then?

I have a great counsellor that is helping me talk through this ... one that has blessed me with her presence in my life for a few years now.  We met by sharing and exploring a common interest and since then I have turned to her or been marched off to her in her professional capacity many times.  She allows me to be me.  When I am angry she does not try and tell me why I shouldn't be. When I am sad she works around it to why.  She hears exactly why I am so angry and lets me be.  This does not mean that she lets me rant and go crazy in her office in an untamed way, but what she does is offer a magnificent level of gentleness, of listening of looking at things through my eyes.  She is one of two people who are making me see reason through this all.  The other one is also someone who has been part of my life for a few years and listens, but in a different way.  Sees things through my eyes but encourages me to rather concentrate on other aspects.  Watches my pain but does not allow me to sink away in it. Tells me to own how I feel but to do so by also always considering others.  There could not be two more completely different approaches, but somewhere in the middle I always find myself.  Blessed by both.

So I am angry.  Angry at the driver of the other vehicle.  Angry at being alone for so long afterwards.  Angry that I got hurt.  Angry because I know this back and neck are going to plague me a lot in the years to come. Angry at the probable loss of my car that I had for only 2 years and was well looked after by me.  Angry that I only got to give my son one driving lesson in it before it was trashed.  Angry that my head hit the window.  Angry about the pain I am in all the time ... all day every day at varying degrees.  Angry at those who clearly think I must "get over it now" ..... angry because it would help if I could just hear "I see you are sore", "how are you" from those I most expect to hear it from but who are more hellbent on making sure they don't ask (I wonder what pleasure that gives them) .   Angry that I have to pretend I am ok.  Angry that I have to hide how sore I am so that I do not inconvenience some others.  

I am joyful.  Because I am alive.  Because the car was insured.  Because my injuries will eventually mostly heal.  Because I could eventually find an old friend who raced to hold my hand even though it was an hour after the accident.  Because I have people who listen to me and are helping me work through the trauma of the impact.  Because I have people who understand how cautious I am about traffic in the opposite direction to me at intersections - how my heart beats when I see someone jump a robot.  How I jump if someone hoots next to me, because that is what preceded them slamming into me.  Because many call me or reach me via social media or seek me out in my office or the Repository to simply check on me.  Because parishioners have been so loving. Because on Friday afternoon two very unlikely people stopped me to offer suggestions on Arnica and other such helping things. Because I have learnt what an impact I have made on some people's lives. Because I have seen who turned a blind eye and that sometimes those we suspect only acknowledge us for "show" are really doing just that.   

So yes, this is an angry blog, and that's ok.  Because someone told me it is ok. 

till soon, with love to all who showered me with love. 

c'est la vie xxxx

Mo Salah, My car and other stuff

Each year a group of bloggers circulates a questionnaire around this time, intended to be answered by bloggers on Google and other forums, t...