The one about the ‘Magic Moments’

Hands up who remembers the song about ‘magic moments’, which graced a television advert or two some years ago? It might be a cultural reference which is UK specific. I have been thinking a lot about ‘moments’ recently from different things I have seen, and read. One is an e-book, another a blog post, and another, a campaign led by a daytime television programme here in the UK. Each has expressed a similar sentiment in different ways.

What is wrong with ‘take a moment’?

I think, judging by the success of the latter, this sentiment about seizing, or making the most of the moment, is having a ‘moment’ in the spotlight. I say this in part because our government has seen the bright lights of the’ popular vote’ and declared that for every ‘moment’ of their time This Morning show viewers give to someone in need (it if is then recorded on the show’s website) our government will donate £5 to ITV’s Text Santa campaign. They are asking for 50, 000 moments, which means a lot of donated money by the government, which sounds good in theory…This morning are doing this to celebrate their 25th Anniversary which asks views to select their favourite moment from their 25 years of the programme.

I am sorry that I sound such a cynic, but in my opinion the above is nothing but a gimmick. I get that the government’s donations to ITV’S Text Santa campaign will do some good, but instead of the Government donating this money to charity, I would rather they dedicate this money to supporting poor and vulnerable children and families in the long-term, and by safeguarding the services they rely on, rather than cutting or dispensing with the services they dependent on altogether. As ever, the Government is giving with one hand, and taking with the other, while those they are supposed to help suffer. So much for the ‘Big Society’ which ‘Dave’ (Cameron) was formerly so fond of.

The other major flaw I can find with This Morning’s ‘Take a Moment’ campaign is that by volunteering to help, the public is giving of their skills, time and talent temporarily rather than on a longer-term basis. This is ill-advised for a variety of reasons. If an older, ill, or disabled person needs help with a particular task, they are likely to need this more than just once. Therefore, to only help once smacks of tokenism. Additional benefits of offering help on a longer-term basis are, that vulnerable people are less isolated, vital in an age where families are fragmented from estrangement, geography or being time-poor. It also gives families surrogate grandparents, aunties, and uncles, while teaching children of the necessity of, and value in helping those in need, demonstrating kindness, compassion, and how to share what they have with others.

Why ‘moments’ matter…

Though I have expressed cynicism and found much to criticise ­­­­­­in the first part of this post I see much value in another aspect of the ‘moment’ – making the most of every single one of them. This is something I am coming to value as ever-more important, the more limited my energy seems to become. It has taken me multiple attempts to write this post as I keep falling asleep, or being unable to concentrate. In the times I can however, my Twitter friend Lou’s post on making the most of her time while she waited for her baby to be born really spoke to me.

I have a choice here. I can believe that as I am in a transition, I have nothing to offer until I become a mother or I can do all I can, as I can right now. I don’t want to miss out by rushing ahead. I don’t want to miss opportunities that I will not get to have again.

On my bad days, in pain and exhausted,  is easy for me to believe that I don’t have anything to offer, however this is not how my Heavenly Father sees me.  I too have opportunities that I should grab before they go. Other things I am reading at the moment are encouraging me to make the most of the little things, and to find adventure where I may not have seen it before. Normally, I try to do useful things in my support time, however, as a one-off, I went to see a movie with my main carer. Something I would not normally watch. We had junk food lunch, which I try not to eat normally, and popcorn, and settled down to watch the movie. ‘Rush’

Time
Time (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn)

directed by Ron Howard, is about the rivalry between Niki Lauda and James Hunt during the Formula 1 season in 1976. I love human interest stories, which this was, and the sense of danger in the movie just made it more exciting. I definitely recommend it, if you haven’t already seen it! By trying to find the things I can do to vary my life a bit, I am trying to make the most of my time. I’ve been inspired to do this by the sense of adventure in Wendy Van Eyck’s e-book Life, Life, and More Life, which s­­­­he wrote after she and husband Xylon found out he had cancer. They made a conscious decision to make the most of whatever time they have:

The reality is that life doesn’t wait for me to be ready before good and bad things happen. In the midst of life happening around me, in hospitals and on holiday, I’ve realized I can embrace life. I can live fully, and I can live without regrets.

Again and Again I have found nuggets within Wendy’s writing which not only encourage and inspire me to live a Godly life in the midst of my own messy life, but also teach me about the faithfulness of the God I serve and his unfailing love for me. I urge you to check out Wendy’s blog, if you have not already done so (http://www.ilovedevotionals.com). I am trying to find other ways to make my restricted life an adventure. The next of those was hydrotherapy with Community Physio, tattooed and pink haired carer, risk assessor … basically a hoot from start to finish. The next several hours of ‘moments’ will be spent comatose continuing to recover from hydrotherapy yesterday! Night night!

One of my many skills…

Only writing three times a week now means I have my pick of the ‘daily prompts’. This one is from the 18th, and it goes like this:

What have you been putting off doing? Why?

English: an animated clock
English: an animated clock (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are all sorts of things I put off doing, and all sorts of reasons for it. On my ‘good’ days I get a few things done, and I have resolved to also do a couple of things on those days which I may have put off. On bad days however, my “shoulda, woulda, coulda” list just gets longer. Things that I think I can put off I do. The trouble is, not being an organised person there is no logical reason things end up on that list, even things that should only take a short time to do. Even on the good days, I never know when I will need a nap. At the moment this is a ‘good’ day, or at least a good morning. I will be exhausted by the afternoon. If I only prioritised things that really needed doing I might be more organised, but I would never get anything done that was just for me. Other days, like yesterday, I fully intended having a writing day, as horse-riding was cancelled. However, I craved company, and sat watching day-time television for several long hours.

This morning, I finally attempted a short story, which I had put off doing, as I genuinely didn’t think my efforts would be any good. The last one I wrote was more than ten years ago in my first year at university. I have other writing projects to attempt. The magazine Tear Times is running a writing competition, and their editor Peter Shaw tweeted me to let me know, and ask if I had seen it, and if I would think about entering. I was very daunted to even begin, and I at this point I have only written a very rough first draft, having forced myself to write something very late one night, having taken several days to think about the brief. I am worrying my entry will not be up to the standard of the others! This is something that plagues me and one of the reasons I put off starting a blog for so long. However, some lovely people have said some lovely things about my writing, so I am beginning to have a little more confidence with it.

I also have a 500-word testimony to write for Christian disability charity Through the Roof which I have put off as the deadline is after the one for ‘Tear Times’. I have a head start on it as I previously wrote a testimony of the same length for Christian Radio Station UCB, which was read out by Mike Rimmer as part of a section called ‘My Story’.

The big project I have really been putting off doing, however is this: For several years, various friends have suggested I write a book. The very idea terrified me. Who would want to read it? Now I have written a blog on and off for a year, and a had a not very subtle push from specific friends, I am beginning to think about it. However, old habits die-hard. I am still tempted to shrink into the background again. Even short blog posts are such an effort most days. However, others who have recently submitted first drafts, or who are currently writing them, have inspired me too. I have yet to decide what style of book it will be. This I do know; that I will write about what I know… and my faith in Jesus will also play a part. Without measures of healing throughout my life, I would not be here. I am on roughly my 7th or 8th chance at life.

While at university, particularly the first time round, my ability to procrastinate was well-known. I was the Queen of Procrastination. To my shame, I admit I submitted some essays late which horrifies me now.A friend once bought me a ‘little book of procrastination!  Were I to start over, I would want to do things completely differently. I would always start each year, or even each semester with that intention, and every semester I would fail spectacularly. Ill health had a part to play in this, as this was round the time hospital admissions began. I was also starting to struggle with my mobility and be in more pain, and it was three years before I sought help from a learning assistant for things like typing, accessing the library and so on. I didn’t think my disability was ‘bad enough’. I did not want to admit to myself how much I was struggling. However, I began to have panic attacks. Eventually I gave in and accepted some help, however, it did not really help with my lack of organisation. Even during my Masters degree I had all the same struggles, despite best intentions to the contrary. Ill health also had a part to play as I got poisoning which put me in isolation in hospital, and exhausted me for months.

However, none of this ever sat easily with me. I read a bible study about procrastination very recently which said Christians have no excuse for putting things off. Even though I know this, it still has a hold over me. Whenever I do manage to complete a ‘To-Do list, or even the majority of one, I do feel a sense of achievement. Failures from the past still haunt me. I think “I managed so and so, but I didn’t manage this, that or the other…”. I have started to use the ‘schedule’ feature on WordPress, so I can write posts one day, but they are not available to you until a couple of days after that.

I hope one day, to  conquer this bad habit of mine, with Jesus help. Until then, however, i will still have my “shoulda woulda, coulda” list. As for when you can expect the book, your guess is as good as mine. You do have my word I will start on the book soon, though just remembered a monthly writing commitment…! Will I ever beat procrastination?!