Thursday, 27 February 2014

The encounter - part VII

...And what a talk we had! All issues passed the revue. Once we had agreed on a number of points and decided on a  new tact- my husband went outside, barefoot and all and pulled the for sale sign out of the garden, placed it on the terrace and said, " now let's have that drink. Gee that feels good!"

We have decided to take a step back and let the plans to shift go for the time being. We know and are realistic enough to understand the need for 'something'  which needs to happen to secure our future. Whether is be move, find a new form of income, or whatever- we need to 're-group' and take a step back. The past 3 years have brought many chances and challenges our way. We need some quiet time, some sober and clear headed time to get a clearer picture of ' what next Lord!"

Am I relieved? Well, it is a bit early for that. I am really pleased that my husband has finally relaxed some and that is surely worth something. Yes, there are many of life's 'issues' at hand but I will peace with those also. Space to have the opportunity to do what is appropriate and right for us.

And if you think- oh now all her ills will have disappeared too! Then think again. I still felt drained, squeamish, sore and ached all over. It will take some time to re-settle my mind as well as my body. It has been a rough ride.

A few days have since passed. My body is getting stronger and my mental state has improved no end. I did go for the medical checkup everyone advised me on- and yes, my fears were grounded. The kidneys are playing up, but now I know what the problem is I can attend to it. Due to my history my kidneys are under scrutiny- just to be safe.

Given the knowledge that I have The Book to dive into for wisdom and encouragement- and I do and did read in it plenty, I did find myself fighting a battle I wasn't 'man enough'  to win- not on my own. With God at my side I was able to conquer. His presence is something I don't want to take for granted and will  certainly concentrate more fully on. I know I matter.

The first morning I felt somewhat better and surfaced with intend to stay up all day- I picked up The Book and randomly opened it to find this passage:

Romans - The power of the Good News (1:6)

Greetings from Paul, a servant of Jesus the Messiah, called to be an apostle ( so am I) and set apart for God’s gospel, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son. He was a descendant of David with respect to his humanity and was declared by the resurrection from the dead to be the powerful Son of God according to the spirit of holiness—Jesus the Messiah, our Lord. Through him we( I) received grace and a commission as an apostle to bring about faithful obedience among all the gentiles for the sake of his name. You ( me ), too, are among those who have been called to belong to Jesus the Messiah.

I BELONG to God and no other. Hard work awaits me to restore my relationship to Him and show that I trust in His will. His mercy will be on me- as long as I allow it to be. His light will shine on the path I am to follow.

Jeremiah 29:11-13 
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”


Monday, 24 February 2014

The encounter - part V

Right at the start I explained that the past week had made such an impression and was so intense that I wanted to share all that transpired. I do hope you aren't bored and will forgive my somewhat longer than usual passages.

My most moving moment came that Wednesday evening. Now I had experienced my share of downs in my life ( who hasn't) but this one will go into my memory books as 'never to be forgotten'.  God had never felt so far away- so distant, and I had never felt so abandoned and alone.

Re-settled (again) on my couch I cried ( literally)  out loud to God. " A whole week is slipping by, all that you wrapped in those days to be gone and lost forever. I am sure that wasn't Your intention. I am convinced You had plans for me- I know I had plans Lord. Tasks to perform. How come I get the feeling You are preoccupied, not listening or at least not hearing my cry for help. Where are You? What am I doing wrong?

When I left New Zealand to return home to the Netherlands I left nearly everything behind except for a few personal belongings. In the small crate was one piece of furniture. My dad's old comfy chair. I 'inherited' the chair from him kinda official like, with a note and all, stating this 'handover' which made the gift even more precious. When I am down, or happy, or lonely, or filled with energy I sit in that chair and feel my dad's arms around me. It is a very special feeling. I close my eyes and dad is right there with me. This chair is upstairs in the office- and due to my state of mind and unwellness- out of reach. The climb just too steep, the energy not present to attempt to go and sit in my comfort chair.

The clock showed 23:00- almost another day gone, wasted. My husband slept, not surprisingly he was also becoming more unsettled due to my situation. My emotions and despair were penetrating the whole atmosphere of our home. Here I sat, on the couch, hands in my lap, shoulders almost on the floor- being as miserable as I could be.

Worn out with love- time for a recover job
My thoughts turned to my chair, I missed that ' arms around me feeling' I so desperately needed. I wanted to surrender, my energy level at an all time low. I fought and felt I had lost. Deep in my thoughts I suddenly felt the strength of arms around me, physically present and holding me. My father's arms- no, my Father's arms. Yes, as real as if they really wrapped themselves around me- I was being held up, comforted in my misery. Internal calm descended upon me and I reveled in this emotion, I sat as still as a mouse not wanting to break the spell. Not wanting to twitch a muscle in case I broke this moment of complete serenity. I sat, I enjoyed, I felt supported, comforted, understood, heard. All the thoughts and anxiousness I had experienced these past few days melted away into nothingness. Not a whisper, even a prayer passed my lips- I sat oh so very still....

His presence filled the room, He had come to be with me, to hold and comfort me, just me. I knew He was here, for me.

When I became aware of my surroundings again, awakening as if out of a dream- which it wasn't, I saw that 1 + 1/2 hours had passed. No I wasn't pain free, I did still feel nauseated and unwell, but different. I wanted to sing, dance, jump up and down. A joy filled my body- the room appeared filled with the brightest sunshine yet is was night and I had been sitting in a darkened room.

I crept downstairs, I wanted to sleep- at least I thought that was the best thing to do- so as to be fresh in the morning. But sleep didn't want me and after some time..... I returned upstairs. After making a cup of tea and buttering a cracker I re-captured the emotions and happenings of the previous hours. How absolutely awesome had this encounter been with my God. Right here in this room, on this couch after all my cries of woe, my prayers of despair. All those 'issues' I so struggled with had become mere 'things' to deal with. I felt unburdened and light.

Due to my pondering I hadn't heard the door open, or the footsteps on the stairs. All of a sudden  my husband appeared as if out of nowhere. He told me he had woken earlier and felt unsettled- so he came and joined me, poured himself a cup of tea also. Then he sat down opposite me and said " I have been doing a lot of thinking and I want to talk to you. Maybe this is the perfect time to do just that- would you come and sit by me so we can talk?"

Friday, 21 February 2014

The encounter - part IV

It was 6:30 am. After untangling myself off the couch I proceeded downstairs  crept past my sleeping husband to the bathroom and filled the bath. My aching muscles relaxed somewhat in the warmer than warm water which in turn relaxed me as well. When I looked on the clock a little later- I realised I had slept almost two hours. The tepid water had awoken me so I dived into my still warm bed and slept fitfully till 11:00.

Time to have something to drink and try to eat a little to gain strength, so I went to the kitchen. The disturbing memories that plagued me were still with me and I feared the return of my previous run in with my kidneys. It unsettled me no end.

Re-settling on the couch ( yet again) I decided to once again start my dialogue with God. My dis-ease with the situation had increased. Why wasn't I getting better? What was I doing wrong? Ask and you shall receive! I had prayed in thanksgiving for all I had, maybe not enough? But wait a minute! We aren't puppets who dance to the tune of the puppeteer. God had given us a free will. Presented with opportunities we were in the position to make choices. Take a right turn, left turn or by-pass the hurdle. Pray for guidance and wisdom. And yes, mistakes are made, paths that are best avoided sometimes taken. That is all part of our learning. Somewhere along the line it felt as if I was doing a trade off.

God made a promise, call on me and I will be there. I shouldn't have to do a trade off, surely?! I know I am not infallible and make mistakes. I do try to uphold God's laws to the best of my ability. I try to be the person I need to be for my fellow man. My humanness allows for mistakes but also for correction of errors by penance and admitting my mistakes. That's how I grow and learn.

It occurred to me I had started 'trading' in prayer. God if you... then I will...!! And that was never my intention. Wrong way to communicate. My head was spinning with all this ' heady heavy' stuff. No wonder I felt so ALONE in my struggle. Somehow I got the feeling I wasn't being heard- anywhere and by no-one at all.

Hello....where are you? I am trying to talk to you. Another day lost, a week not being put to good use. I have no way of doing a catch up after such a long period out of circulation. Please, hear my plea! Opportunities are being lost Lord, help me. PLEASE.

I felt so ALONE, so utterly and totally ALONE.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

The encounter - part III

The past 16 hours were, generally, a huge onslaught on my normally healthy body. Physically I was drained and mentally I slowly lost the plot. I felt as if I was trapped in  a strangers body, not recognising any part of me at all. Now all this sounds mellow dramatic, I know. I hear you think- come on girl, there are worse things than this. People are really suffering out there with horrible diseases and illnesses that don't come anywhere near what you are experiencing. And I couldn't agree more! Even with that reasoning flowing through my head I felt struck down and lost in a situation I was slowly losing grip on.

Due to my unrest and not being able to get comfortable in bed, I decided to not disturb hubby any longer and crept out of bed like a thief in the night. I was thirsty and needed to walk to stretch my cramped legs. Cautiously I wriggled my toes into my scuffs, my hands managed to grab hold of my canary yellow bathrobe. Due to the chill factor as the central heating wouldn't be on upstairs,  I even managed to pluk a pair of warm knee length socks to keep me warm. This doesn't conjure up a pretty picture I realise and believe me I was a sight to behold, so let's leave it at that- I would be kept warm and that's all that mattered.

Once installed on the couch ( AGAIN) with my rug I started to relax. I had drank two large glasses of water- being soaked up like on a dry sponge. Man, I was thirsty. As it was dark all around me I was able to ward off all thoughts and distractions and started concentrating on my prayer. During this quiet time I told myself not to overreact, to be grateful for small mercies. I must have the flu, no big deal and in a few days all would be well. Stop feeing sorry for myself, was my message to ME. I think many of us have been in this place at some point or another. That a situation which arrises out of nothing takes on unreal proportions. Totally out of context. Buck up girl.

In all sincerity I spent time with God. I had every confidence in that HE was listening, that He would hear my plea, take my request for the return to health seriously and care for me. That's what I thought in that moment of CALM. Rethinking that moment I compared it to parenthood. No-one wants their child to be ill. When they are, as a parent you do everything for that child to ensure a return to wellness. As parent you want your child to be healthy, happy and full of energy and love. So, being a child of the Father, I thought that too. HE, as my Heavenly parent, would 'make me well'. Right?

I fell into a deep sleep during that prayer session, totally exhausted. I felt a sense of comfort and peace overwhelm me and I let go. There was work to be done- chores to do. Tasks to perform, projects to complete. I had a PLAN- My plan. I was to tackle my 'to-do list'. My gut feeling, which had been gnawing at me for some time now didn't abate. I couldn't explain it or place it- but I tried to convince myself- ALL WILL BE WELL.

My, how some weeks can just crawl on by....!

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

The encounter - part II

Monday started with great promise, with me fully charged and raring to get on with my chores, was it not that my health evaporated by midday and declined even further at days end. It wasn't in the planning for my Monday, let alone the possibility that my whole week might turn sour. As my energy left me and the aches started I submerged myself in a overly warm bath after which I draped off to bed. I dropped off almost immediately only to re-awaken at dusk. The day had also evaporated as quickly as my energy levels. What did bug me was that I felt no better after that nap- and I had somehow imagined I would have - seeing I had upped and ousted all that bothered me.

I gingerly placed my legs beside the bed and slid my feet into my warm scuffs, draped my canary yellow bathrobe around me and proceeded to climb the stairs to the living area- at road level. Just to explain, we live in a house built against the side of a dyke. Our bedroom and en suite bathroom are downstairs for the simple reason that in the summer it is cool and in the winter we don't hear the patter of rain or rattling of tiles when storms hit. It took all my newly gotten energy to reach the top of the stairs. It felt like I had reached the summit of some high mountain. I puffed and panted, my legs trembled and according to hubby dearest I looked like something the cat dragged in. And boy, does that give one a boost to the morale. Mind you, as I passed the mirror I had to concede, he was right.

My intention was to cook dinner- yes you can laugh and think me naive. I really thought I would be able to. During my 'good' hours I managed to get quite organised. Once I approached the kitchen bench I realised I was fooling only myself, dragged a frozen package out the freezer of some unidentifiable left over meal and proceeded to re-heat this for my sweetheart. Not that he can't cook himself. But I felt a need to 'do'  something making my presence worthwhile. It had taken so much effort to get here- now I wanted to make it happen.

Totally drained I toddled over to the couch, perspiration trickling down my spine, where I thankfully sank down onto it and covered myself with my favourite rug. I had just completed my first marathon. Not that I know how that really feels, but this is how I imagine it to be. I grabbed the remote and thought I would watch my cooking programmes- but my eyes had other ideas. All I can say is, my eyes felt as it someone had been moulding them and rolling them between their fingers. They were SO sore. I turned my back to the screen and just listened.

" Wouldn't it just be beter if you went back to bed?" said hubby, " you are bound to feel beter in the morning".

I conceded defeat. Descending was less stressful than ascending and before I knew it my body enjoyed the comfort of a warm bed - thanks to my electric blanket. My thought was to turn my thoughts to God and prayer. I do believe I can ask for anything- and often do, I also thank Him for all I have- just not his time! I believe my prayer cannot have lasted long- as I quickly dropped into a deep and temperature nagged sleep. When I next awoke it was 3 am and I was shivering.

Monday, 17 February 2014

The encounter - part 1

It has unintentionally been a while. But I am back. The happenings of the past week deserve more than a quick mention so I am going to write a 'series' Entitled " The encounter". There is so much to tell, for me to dwell on and to digest that I will do that in installments. One of the reasons I write is to be able to 'put out there'  things that I experience, think about or want to share. It gives me the opportunity to 'stand back' and take another look at the subject at hand. And in my book, the past week deserves such a treatment, such attention.

So here goes; part one from The Encounter.

Monday morning and all was well. I made an early start on my daily chores as I had a number of 'pressing'  items on my to do list. As I had also changed my start up routine I wasn't surprised my body was 'out of sorts'  as breakfast had been moved from it's normal time line spot.

Around 11 -ish I had to concede that I wasn't feeling the best. It had nothing to do with breakfast, lunch or dinner. I felt queazy. Being winter and being free from all ills till now, that could possibly mean I wouldn't experience winter unscathed. Still, I had stuff to do so onwards and upwards, a queazy tum wasn't going to get me down.

A friend, with whom I Skype message most mornings, had said she was going to pop in late that morning and she did. Her stay was short as within minutes of her arrival my queazy became YUKYUKKY and I went from not well to SICK  in minutes. She dived for cover and left and I also dived- straight to the bathroom. THIS beautiful Monday was turning into something I had not counted on.

No way was this part of my plan. There was work to be done. I had a PLAN. I had been working on a project these past couple of months, new information and options were at hand. I was going like a train- to get this project up and running. NOW was the time to get serious NOT ill! Where I needed to be was on my chair, in my office, in front of my computer screen. Working on, out and at, my project. Instead it was a week of in bed, on the couch, in the bath, pacing the floor and trying to find a way of being comfortable in my aching body. 

Why did this have to happen NOW?

Did this have to happen? Well, that was my reaction. Why me, why now? I tried to cheer myself up by telling myself that it was a 24 hour thing. Gone before I knew it. What is one day, I thought? Surely one day wouldn't matter? I probably needed the break as I tend to not notice the signs telling me to slow down, back off and take a step back. This warning system seemed to have been disengaged after my burn-out and it does happen every now and then that I need a wall to stop me in my tracks. This, I said to myself, is probably what it is. But it wasn't...!

Monday became Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. The week progressed, so did my unwell-ness, my indignation, my frustration. Bother, Yuk and YUKYUK. What's going on? Then another emotion entered the game. I became ANGRY.

All sorts of thoughts flashed through my mind like; POOR ME - WHY NOW, it's not fair ( how is getting sick ever fair!) I downed on myself and on everything around me. Including GOD. How on earth did He expect me to do the stuff required if He kept me ill and didn't interfere and make me well. How come the 24 deadline didn't count? What do you mean " ask and you shall receive"? Weren't I, my prayers, my situation important enough to be heard?

My frustrations and anger took a hold, just like the bug and other aches that my body struggled with. It took charge and created a life of it's own!

I felt it was going to turn into a sad and tiresome week and I would be struggling to get through it!

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Getting organised- or getting sidetracked.

As the title says- getting organised could be construed as being or allowing one's self to be sidetracked.

My intention was to 'progress further' with a project I have been working on for a wee while. Recently I have gathered more information and required the much needed enthusiasm, ideas and a technical support person who has offered to guide and advise me.

Turned on my computer, worked through a few messages and mails and thought I would just quickly read a couple of the blogs I like to follow. It was, for many including myself, lunch break time. And there it was- my invitation: To organise or get sidetracked in the form of a blog entitled: Motivation for following the dream, part 3 of a 4 part series. Funnily enough I had missed part one and two- so skipped back a tad and there it was: Part One: Staying organised.

And you know what, Jen was right. I need to get the unnecessary clutter off my desk, out of my drawers and baskets and have a fresh and clear space to work in. I need to create an atmosphere where I feel comfortable in and not be confronted by unfinished odds and sods that divert my attention from the real issues at hand.

Now I don't work in chaotic surroundings, but I have to admit to having wee piles of this and that's - which end up on a to do list and go no further than that. I somehow don't get to do the 'to do list' because I am busy 'doing' other things.

So today, tribute to Jen Cudmore. A big THANK YOU! Because the transformation that is taking place is worth the effort and gratitude. I already have completed a few tasks which have been waiting quite some time and oh dearie me, do I feel unburdened and light. How wonderful to have emptied those few baskets- and not have anything to fill them with!

By the end of the day I hope to have achieved total freedom from my to do's and have gained a sense of satisfaction. Now don't let me dilly dally..... I must get on!!

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Life's quircky moments

I very seldom write two days in a  row- or there has to be a real need or thought provoking issue.

Today again my day started with gratitude- even though it is raining quite heavily and I need to 'get out there'. It is also a bit of a shame as I happen to know a group of about 20 participants are braving the weather for the annual 'winter walk' which isn't as light as it sounds. More like a trek through rough unchartered fields and dens shrubbery! Still, having taken part myself in the past I am convinced they will endure their hardships with a smile- stopping for the odd 'nip to keep warm'  on the way. I am expecting a wet and tired husband home around 6pm- wanting a LONG soak in a warm bath!

Yesterday I wrote about my blessings- and they are numerous. A couple of weeks ago I wrote a piece called  'Facing the end, alone'.

It was a piece about an elderly neighbour, someone with a difficult personality, who was nearing his end. Whilst there were plenty of good willed people reaching out wanting to be there for him- he had the almost natural knack of pushing them away- and I experienced it myself and believe me, he was good at it.

While I was elevating my day- yesterday! He experienced his last day. Thankful are all of us around him that his suffering, which it had been for a few weeks now, was over.

Wim died in his house a few doors down from where he was born.

As it is my custom, when someone in my circle dies. I write something about this person- to not only announce their departure, but as an eulogy to raise awareness of their being.

Today I honour him here, despite the fact I found it hard to make a dent in his wall. You need to know, I didn't think he was all bad- just that he was so hard to 'get close to' and I struggled with his negative look on life- I have known him for about 11 years and never heard him say anything uplifting, joyful or even funny in all that time. It made me sad, no to mention frustrated.

His plusses, he tended a large vegetable plot with gusto, his chooks were well looked after and he made it possible for many to purchase fresh eggs for a small sum. He always raised his hand in a greeting when he drove past- acknowledging ones presence. He kept his home tidy and after his wife died- about 8 years ago- he did his best to learn to cook. Which, by the way, did give us something to laugh about- after he related the way he had cooked his can of beans!

I pray that he now does have something to be happy about, it will be very strange not to see him in his vege garden or round the table drinking coffee at one of the neighbour's homes we all call into regularly.

R.I.P. Wim you will be missed, truly!