These last few weeks especially, I’ve had to deal with an awful lot of truth: Companies you depend on let you down, equipment you rely on breaks irreparably too often for comfort, people you thought you could trust let you down, others you knew for a long time betray you or move on, illness takes its toll, so where once you could cope, you now feel you are hanging on by your fingertips. Migraines, pain, dehydration, fatigue; it all takes its toll, and suddenly you find yourself running… running to the only One who is big enough to take your burdens from you, and in time reshape and reuse them for good.
Fleeing to the One who is Truth has brought comfort and rest – ten straight hours of it in one 24 period. Books of morning prayers, a devotional on pain, daily devotional notes of various kinds and other Godly books have allowed Truth to seep into my soul, and to know the One who is Truth is helping me through days of illness, appointments and fatigue in ways I thought I could never do… Truth is, I know One who will never leave or forsake me, and who has not allowed me to drown in the water.
If you are struggling today, seek out the Truth, the only One who can help. The website www.lookingforGod.com is a good place to start.
This post was written for Five Minute Friday. Do check out the ink and have a go yourself, I’d love to read it. Comment below with your link!
Yesterday’s daily prompt caused me to look at it twice! I have often be told that my story would make a good book, or that I should write my story down one day. I guess I have done this in partial way as some of this blog includes memoir style material. As I know who I would love to play the lead, I would love my story to be a book and a movie. Carey Mulligan would be perfect to play the lead in the movie version of the book. Great actress who would draw in the punters, and who has played characters in movies belonging to the drama genre before, including but not limited to her role in the likes of An Education.
This biopic certainly includes plenty of drama. More than one near death experience, disability, illness, life-saving operations, love, romance, faith, and miraculous scenes, including a couple of appearances from royalty…. There are also many supporting roles, with a great support cast. There is also potential for future movies given the relative youth of the protagonist… However, let’s focus on this particular movie for now.
It begins with my early life, with me being rushed to a special care baby unit, having been born 12 weeks premature at 28 weeks gestation, following an emergency birth. There is a touching scene early on, and the first of the miraculous moments, which shows the story of how I got my name. Some of the crucial scenes in my early life will keep you on the edge of your seat; including visits to resus, and touch-and-go operations where I was the smallest baby the surgeon had ever operated on.
My early childhood was no less dramatic, as my brain was starved of oxygen at some point before, during or after birth, resulting in a diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy. The diagnosis was certainly bleak, as it included intellectual delay as well as physical disability, and the extent of these was unknown at the time. Consequently, from a few months old until I was 3 or 4 I attended a centre for babies and children with special needs. Here i received input from a pediatrician specialising in Cerebral Palsy, physiotherapy, and specialist care. The next miraculous moment shown on film would be that I had progressed enough to be one of the first children with a disability in my region to attend a mainstream nursery. I would later meet 2 of those who had attended this nursery at secondary school!
Some time after this, there was a house move to Dunblane, where I attended nursery, and went to the same school that Andy Murray, tennis player extraordinaire would later attend!! In my first two years at primary school I had a full time assistant with me due to my level of need. When I was six, we moved back to Aberdeen.
In some respects, my primary school life was largely uneventful when compared to the events of my early life, so this would play no part in the review, though would occupy a few scenes in the movie. Miraculously, I caught up intellectually, and when I was 11, had no further need of the assistant who was with me for four years, as I was able to continue primary school on my own. This caused a ruckus at the time. Secondary school too would play no major part in the movie. There was a house move at age 14, where I stayed until I moved to central Scotland to begin my first degree in 2001. It was here I would meet some of the friends I still have today, and where I would meet my current ‘Special Someone’… though a little more of that later!
The move to university was one of 5 days which changed my life forever, and the events of these 5 days, or even periods of my life, would be the focus of the major part of the movie focusing on my adult life. The only exception to this would include a scene with my childhood ‘adult baptism’, in which I explain why Jesus became the central focus of my life, (or certainly should have been!!) from then on. The next part of the movie would include university days, which showed the beginning of adult illness.
Further scenes became more dramatic, including a move across the border, a life-saving operation, the scene in which I was told I would now require an electric wheelchair full time, and the scene in which I was told I had no choice but to have the ‘care’ I had tried to avoid from age 22 when other disabled friends begin to suggest it, Other scenes include a couple of romances, one on/off romance with a childhood best friend, and another with a former Paralympian!
The movie ended with an update to the present day, showing some of the complexities of life as a wheelchair user who needs help with the basics of life, but has a stellar supporting cast, including the events which explain the introduction of ‘Special Someone’, and the reliance on faith to survive, and thrive through every day, eventful or not. The movie therefore fits the ‘Christian biography’ category, but is far less cliched than some representations of the genre!!
This daily prompt caused me to do some soul-searching before I found it, hidden in the murky depths. Long forgotten save for when it occasionally resurfaces, stinging my conscience, the regret welling up from within, Horrible consequences which stem from the one horrendous act. I’ve just counted up how many years it is since it happened – 18 long years. oh how I wish never happened.
I had a few best friends at primary school, one who died when we were 12, between primary school and beginning at the local comprehensive. Most of my friends were, obviously never the same after that. However, the incident of my making was the year before. A sweet girl had made me a best friend card. I half remember it now.
Which path to take?
I was in the corridor at lunchtime, the area on the right hand side where the benches were, along with two boys. I don’t remember why. What I do remember is the taunts, telling me it wouldn’t matter if I wrote something nasty. I don’t know why I didn’t just refuse and walk away, be the better person. The toss of a coin, or the fork in the road, which path to take, left or right. Anyway, I veered right. I don’t remember how the girl saw the card, if I was so callous as to hand it to her. I don’t remember the rest of the afternoon either, except a friend of the girl running after me, threatening to thump me. Nothing less than I deserved.
Next thing I remember is how I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. I think I told my mum I’d done something terrible and I hated it, the tears welling. My mum isn’t huggy particularly, but I remember she just held me while I cried. I remember my mum taking me round to the girls house. I was desperate to apologise, to make everything okay, or at least as okay as it could get. The girls response the next day, that she couldn’t forgive just like that.
I don’t remember us ever really talking after that. I remember her in the comprehensive though. I caused trouble for her then, stirred the pot. I heard her slating my old headteacher who had been very good to me. Instead of deciding it was nothing to do with me and leaving well alone, I went to another girl who shared the same religion as my old headteacher, and told her what I heard so she rounded on the girl. The first girl approached me in the playground, her eyes flashing with anger, telling me she wasn’t talking about our mutual friend but the old headteacher. and running off again. Why oh why, what is it about teenage girls, most of us have to gossip about this one and that one, separate in to cliquees to keep out one and not the other, and more besides. I remember my current bestie being by my side, who stuck by me even that day, and is still my bestie now, though many years have passed and we are many miles apart, and I have moved several times since then.
I still wonder about the girl I originally hurt. Where is she now? What is she doing with her life, is she happy, does she have children, a partner. Hoping and praying she is happy. The worst thing of all was the way I brought my Saviour into disrepute, No way for a Christian to act. I have done many hundreds, perhaps thousands of bad things since, thought this one of which I have written is the biggest regret of my life. Had we staying best friends, there’s every possibility I may have led her to Jesus, transforming her life and her confidence levels for once, and pointing her to the loving Saviour, to the love she was seeking. But all of that is history. I will never know. until one day, I will search for her in heaven, hoping someone else was a far better witness of Christ than I. Until then, I feel haunted by the mistake. Forgiven by Jesus but I cannot forget. I don’t think I ever will.
For the record, this, and one or two other incidents made me always decide to be a better friend than I was that day. I have tried, as far as possible, to use it for good. I guess that’s as much as I can do. The damage is done. Erase it? Yes please!
Today’s daily prompt: Write about what you did last weekend as though you’re a music critic reviewing a new album.
This was one of those that only come along once in a while. So good you replay it over and over, every detail, every nuance. The First have was The One with The Wedding. Great music for a party, the sort of music everyone loves and can join in with. That everyone loves, with few exceptions. So good you want to dance. It makes your body move and your spirit sore, and wish you could write music like that. But hey, let’s leave it to the experts, the ones who meet The One, and can show it as such, appreciate it and grow it, and protect it, and mature it for years. This is their gift, just as others have the gift of making music. Some of the songs on this album are traditional, but the music does not suffer, rather it is all the richer for it. This album could be the sound track to the kind of party that goes long on long into the night, but it is so good nobody cares.
Part two. Another day, a plan for another party
The second half of the album sparkled, full of excitement and promise. The final couple of tracks sang of a future full of love, fun and good times. They are as much a part of a good party as great food and good wine. This is one that will stick in the memory for a long time to come, a success that will not be easily repeated.
Wherever I write about food it’s never that well read. I don’t know whether I lack the skills to adequately describe it, or people don’t expect me to write about it, but this time this post is to do with food. For me though, the important bit is the people I am sharing my favourite meals with. I generally love something I have not had to make myself!
My favourite meal about 4 months ago was fairly simple. I was at my favourite pub, at a table at the back of the restraunt, in the corner. Someone I thought I was in love with was holding one of my hands, and chatting away, leaving me free to eat with the other hand. To save myself some embarrassment I had picked finger food I thought I could eat with one hand. Perish the thought that I might have to spoil the first date/meal out/pub date by asking my date to cut my food for me! I had taken a risk and chosen messy food. Risky strategy for someone with cerebral palsy. Dare I take a risk and say there is something a bit sexy about messy food?! (TMI??!!) cheese, nachos, salsa, sour cream, guacamole. A huge plateful meant there was no need for chips, a starter or a desert.
I do not remember what we talked about. I just remember the general things. How it felt to finally hold hands, to see the face the voice belonged to, to have the opportunity to do such a human thing and feel ‘normal’. The food sounds remarkably plain, even if you add in a half of draught cider. In my opinion, good company can make the plainest of food taste amazing, especially if it’s something I make for others and it turns out well, no matter how simple it is. It is often such a delight to do something for other people for once, instead of me being served.
I have no idea how long we stayed in the pub. I remember the minutes we waited for the taxi. I will spare you the details, save to say I was glad I hadn’t eaten a massive meal when my date decided it might be fun to lift me. We are no longer in touch, because things came to a natural end. I hope one day I get to have a first date with a gentleman who may be ‘the one’ as this person did not prove to be. For now though, I remember it with fondness and satisfaction, and somehow separate from the rest of it.
The next time I went to this pub, I went with friends, and had what was my favourite meal from my childhood. SCAMPI, (shrimp?) and chips. Homemade scampi no less, and the obligatory half pint of cider. It more than just satisfied my hunger, as it proved to live up to the memories too, of countless childhood fish-shop suppers. Hot, salty and delicious. I wonder who I will visit my favourite pub with next time?
I wanted to write a short story based on this picture, but I lacked the courage! I noticed the couple first, then the graffiti, then wondered what the buildings were further down the street, are they shops? They certainly look inviting, whatever they are. Then I looked at the couple again, but then I looked away, as in embarrassment, as though I was staring at something private. To me they look like they are clinging on for dear life, time has stopped, all they are aware of is each other.
Gate-crashing a private moment
I haven’t ever felt like this… not as fully anyway. Somewhere near it recently, though not the real deal, as the feelings have faded. I cannot get the picture of the couple out of my head. It was some time before I noticed the ground they were on was actually steps. They almost look pretty. I briefly wondered how long it would take me to descend them, if I passed the couple. I can’t shake the feeling of looking in on a private moment. It’s almost a PDA (Public display of affection. I HATE PDA’s, for the record.) Everyone else in the picture looks as though they are going about their business, tourists on the other side, deciding where to go, what do first. Still I cannot forget about the couple.
The picture makes me…
Looking at them makes me feel wistful. A bit wistful that I wish I had what they have, but mostly because more than one friend I considered myself close to has recently found The One and with the exception of one, haven’t seen the other for ages. They were, are, friends I relied on partly because they’re ace and I loved them to bits, partly because they were sympathetic to my semi-housebound state and would visit gladly, and often.I’m having to readjust my feelings, make other friends, find other ways of coping. Does that mean I relied on them too much? This doesn’t necessarily mean I am lonely, it just means I miss them, LOADS. When I wrote about my friends last year, two of them were most definitely in that group. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy for them, I absolutely am. Which I why i am leaving them all alone for the most part, to get on with it, and missing them from a distance. Sometimes, I leave a voice-mail, and sometimes I suggest meeting. Mostly, it doesn’t help with missing them, but hoping this feeling will fade. Of course, I’m also hoping it’s my turn one day, as I wrote in an earlier post. For now, I will let the people in this picture get on with their day, and I will go back to mine, leaving the couple in the picture to enjoy their embrace in peace.
p.s. It also makes me want a holiday somewhere in Western Europe. Definitely time to go back to my day!
This post is in answer to the ‘Weekly Writing Challenge’. If this picture inspires you, why not write your own post, I’d love to read it!