Saturday, 17 September 2011

What do you hide?

I am reading a novel at the moment which is giving me pause for thought in many ways as it is written using the inner monologue. It's fascinating, shocking and sometimes unsettling to read these fictional characters innermost thoughts.

It is also a little frustrating to read because I can see how what they are thinking and what they are saying are so very different at times. This works in some ways as they do the sensible thing of speaking once their brain is engaged, and fails when they misjudge the other person's response and keep silent when they should speak out. All very human indeed.

I then started reflecting on the idea of the inner monologue. If my inner monologue was recorded for all to read, how would I feel?

I once swore as a child. Take a deep breath and prepare yourself for the words I uttered at a mere 14 years old in the presence of my God-mother. If you think you will be able to cope read on, for I said:

"Oh Sugar!"

The response to this deeply disturbing utterance was:

"Watch your language! I know what you were thinking."

My Godmother was probably right, I can't remember, but there is a shorter word being with S I tend to favour in adulthood. What was supprising for me was the suggestion that I needed to be admonished for even thinking a bad word let alone saying it.

That utterance is certainly not all that I would wish to keep to myself, I am sure that I have thought far more shameful things in my 31 years on this earth. I have certainly said a lot worse.

It is good to be reminded of my inner self, the thoughts that pass through my head but are never aired. I find when I come to repentance, it is the things that are left unsaid that are larger in number. Thanks be to God for forgiveness.

For I may not have my inner monologue written in a bestselling novel for the world to read but far more importantly in the words of Psalm 69:5

O God, thou knowest my foolishness; and my sins are not hid from thee.

Memories and Confessions

I have just read an article in today's Guardian entitled "When IVF fails".

I realise when I described our journey to adoption I glossed over our decision to abandon IVF/ICSI and thought I would revisit it.

On May 5th 2005, we made our way through the hospital past the maternity wing, the balloons proclaiming "It's a girl" and the new parents with their precious car-seated cargo, into the office of the registrar to receive the results of our many and varied tests. As I was sat closest to the desk and staring pleadingly at the doctor in front of me, she in turn addressed all the findings to me. In a nutshell, we were told we had a 5% chance of a natural conception. ICSI was recommended and a 2 year waiting list for one cycle was offered, in desperation I asked how much the treatment would cost privately (we could never afford it anyway) and took away a breakdown of costs. We agreed in the office to go on the list, and we agreed in principle then and there to consider donor sperm as the best chance of conception. Then for the first time during the consultation she turned to my husband and said:
"If you wish to consider ICSI you need to go downstairs and give blood now, so that we can rule out chromasonal abnormailities." We thanked her politely and left the office, walking in silence to the clinic to have a blood test. As I sat and waited on the plastic chairs outside the clinic, I wept, I wept bitterly. A passing nurse asked "What have they done to you down there?" in a jokey fashion and I didn't respond, I had no words.

The one cycle was in front of us, if we could bear the wait and the weight. The wait for a cycle and the weight of expectation - would this be our pregnancy, our baby? We cried and talked and debated, we expressed hope in our 5% chance at least it wasn't 0%. Finally we decided that we couldn't go ahead.

The experience would be too draining, too clinical. We worried for our infant marriage and our states of mind. The chance of failure were high even with ICSI and donor sperm we would still only have a 25% chance of success. I decided my need for a pregnancy was not more important than my husband's desire to be a father - we didn't want to use donor sperm. Eventually the need in me became less for a pregnancy and a baby and more about never having a family and watching it grow and blossom as a unit.

For all the pain and heartache we once endured, I have never once regreted our outcome. Thankfully God's grace was our guide and as long as I trust in him it all (in the words of a family friend) "comes alright eventually".

Now is confession time. This month this all became pertinent again. My normally clockwork cycle was no longer clockwork and along with other symptoms, I had cause to stop and think. What would Little Bear do? How would he feel? He do I feel? Of course it was all my body playing tricks on me, and of course because I never really believed it, there was no great crushing disappointment like there had been all those years ago. It's funny though as I look back on this paragraph there is a word that is absent, and that is because it is a word that despite all that has passed under the bridge, I do not, cannot and will never associate with myself. Thanks be to God that this realisation does not bring with it tears but a sense of closure.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go - 9/11 10 years on

O Love that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.

O light that foll’west all my way,
I yield my flick’ring torch to thee;
My heart restores its borrowed ray,
That in thy sunshine’s blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be.

O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain,
That morn shall tearless be.

O Cross that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from thee;
I lay in dust life’s glory dead,
And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be.

A very well chosen hymn from this morning's service - which I also happen to have on my Ipod as it is just so beautiful.

George Matheson's words from 1882 are as relevant for a the tenth anniversary of 9/11 for any Christian as they were when they were written.

Christian hope and God's astounding Grace abound, and the words form a comforting blanket a reminder of God's presence always.

No more of my words are needed.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Happy Sunday

This morning at 6.40am I wished my Twitter followers an Happy Sunday! I thought it would be good to reflect on what that short phrase has meant for me over th years. This is where it all began:
St Lawrence in the Square, Winchester. This church was my spiritual home during my first few years away from home - the university years. I used to call home every Sunday and wish my Mum and Dad a Happy Sunday after worshipping at St Lawrence in the morning and my only decent meal of the week, a pub roast! Sundays were for me then at least, a time of joy and sadness. I loved to worship at St Lawrence' but I was at my most homesick on a Sunday too. Occasionally after having been deep in prayer I would glance up towards the altar and be surprised to see it was not Dad presiding. I would enjoy a pub meal with friends but actually would have preferred to be at home at my parent's table. So with the advent of mobile phones, Happy Sunday was easier. Instead of waiting untill after worship and lunch to queue for the payphone and call my parents I could send a text. As Mum and I continued to do long after the Winchester part of my life had been completed. So Happy Sunday one and all, whether you are presiding, leading, serving, reading, interceeding, singing, playing music, worshipping in the congregation. Happy Sunday also to those whose Sunday does not involve a time of worship.

A prayer for all those who are off to university, and leaving their 'home' church behind for a time:
God of all, Protect and stengthen all those who are at transitional phases in their lives, Be with those new adults who are venturing into the world alone, May they find a spiritual home from home, and feel your presence with them, May all their Sundays be happy ones! In Jesus' name, Amen.