Are held within the attics
Of our cluttered minds.
Suzi Rollinson (July 2016)
Are held within the attics
Of our cluttered minds.
Suzi Rollinson (July 2016)
The poet John Donne once proclaimed”No man is an island, entire of itself”. Poetry can be a tricky thing to interpret. Is a poem meant to be read in a literal sense or is it merely symbolism to convey an idea or subject the author is pondering? We can never know for definite and that is one of the things I love about poetry and art. It is left to our subjectivity and the interpretation we choose.
However in this case I think by reading further on Donne is merely saying that we’re not meant to live our lives alone. We’re meant to live in community with others and it’s only when we have that interaction we are truly ourselves.
The Bible speaks of us being members of one body, again portraying how necessary we are to each other and it speaks of us rubbing each other’s rough edges off”as iron sharpens iron”.
The truth is we need each other. I’ve said many times I’m an introvert. I find small talk painful. I don’t find social occasions easy. Often, even with people I know well I stand there frantically searching my mind for something to talk about.
But I try to persist because I value the people in my life, past and present, whether I have the courage to voice it or not.
I’m grateful for women who came alongside me in my lowest moments of depression. These women sat with me when I was afraid to sit alone. These women shopped for me so I didn’t have to think about what to feed my children and cooked for me too. They sat and sorted and folded my laundry pile when it was stressing me out to look at it. These women and men came up trumps the last few years when money was tight and the future looked precarious and uncertain.
Food gifts would appear on our doorsteps, money and coffee gift cards through our letterbox. They walked the walk. They showed they cared.
I’m grateful for those whose preaching I sat under, those friends who opened up the word and things of God to me, in church and in their homes. I’m grateful for the times of fellowship that went along with these times and the many people who fed our large family.
I’m grateful for the people who trusted me with duties and roles in the church and in the job world and painstakingly encouraged me the very many times I doubted myself and if I actually had anything to offer.
There were times as a teenager I felt I could die from loneliness, despite being surrounded by friends.
I felt like that island. Alone and isolated. Cut off from people and land. Left to fend for myself.
Today I live in a house populated by a small army I created myself, as the saying goes. I know every parent says it and thinks it but my kids are amazing.
All different characters, all different traits, all good at different things but all kind and helpful and loving. Don’t get me wrong, we have all the sibling rivalries and arguments and family dramas but we are a unit, a stronghold. And on the days I am seeking a little peace and a little solitude and the only place I can find it is the lavatory(normally with someone banging on the door asking if I’ve almost finished!) I reflect on the fact that I need these people. I’m not an island and I’m glad of that.
Till next time.
When I tell you that I love you I mean I love you for you, that funny,irrepressible you that hides sometimes behind layers of flippancy or Dad jokes.
I don’t just love you for the way you look, although of course that’s always been a part of it, that cute smile that drew you to my gaze.
I don’t just love you for what you can do for me although you do countless things for me every day and every week, month in and month out. Some things I take notice of and some I regret to say I probably take for granted.
I love you because you’re kind, to me and to other people. I love the way you go out of your way to help others sometimes. I love the way you father our children, the way you make them laugh or teach them to swim or read them Lord of the Rings endlessly.
You are a good man. You have been a good husband and I am proud to be your wife.
When we first began, even when we first married I was full of fear because I knew from childhood experience that love is not always enough to keep people together.
I came from a broken home. You did not. At times I worried for us. Who would teach us to navigate the difficult areas of life?
When we would first argue I would fall back on old habits and tell you to go. You would clear your head but resolutely stick by me.
We have weathered our storms. No more and no less than others perhaps but the things that might have broken us have not.
We have 5 wonderful children. It’s just that one lives in Heaven for now. And I want to tell you honestly despite our hard times I have always been glad you are mine.
I am so proud of you and the man you are, have been and are becoming.
I pray that God will continue to knit our married lives together because I have to say you are still my favourite person to be with and spend time with.
I love you honeybun.
It’s always hard as a parent to see your children struggling. You want to remove them from their stressful moments or live those moments for them, to save them pain.
And it doesn’t get easier when they get older and are struggling with different things. How do you stand back as a parent and let your child grow without a little pain or struggle or strife?
The simple answer is of course you can’t. You only have to hope that you’ve raised them with the skills that will equip them to navigate life’s difficult paths.
When my children were younger I could heal their struggles or woes with a kiss or a cuddle or something to distract their minds. But what do you do when Band-Aids and ice pops don’t work any more? When they’ve outgrown them?
The hard answer is you take a step back, you take your hands off a little, you try to find the balance between respecting their privacy and over parenting them.
But, as I know from experience it’s a veritable minefield and it’s all too easy to strike the wrong note and get it wrong.
This morning I opened my mouth and the wrong voice came out.
What I originally meant as encouraging came out harsh and judgemental and unfeeling and uncaring.
I couldn’t bite the words back before they were uttered, much though I wish I could. All I could think of were the times I’d needed encouragement as a child and it was not forthcoming.
Of course I apologised immediately but what do you do when you know you’ve slipped up and you can’t correct it?
To be honest once you’ve apologised and sought reconciliation there is not much you can do. You have to forgive yourself and try to remember the times you did not slip up, the times you said the right word in the right season. The times you were there to extend the hug, the kiss, the Band-Aids, the encouragement.
But it’s never easy. Why is it we can extend forgiveness to others but find it so hard to forgive ourselves? I’ll never know for sure. I think it’s because we expect so much more from ourselves. We beat ourselves up when we get it wrong. I know there are many nights I’ve wept for the times I’ve got it wrong.
One of the greatest joys in my life are my children and the relationship I have with each of them. I would not trade that for anything.
In times like this and I don’t mean this as an excuse or get out clause, we need to extend ourselves some grace, and some compassion. I’ve never found that easy.
We are human. We are imperfect and we will always make mistakes.
We can only wait for the lull in our kids difficulties, raise them up in prayer and hope against hope we can help them next time they struggle.
Till next time.
Never underestimate that brief squeeze of your arm,
that kiss dropped upon your forehead,
that “text me when you get home so I know you got there safe”,
that ” Do you need a lift?, that “Call me if you need to talk”, that ” I noticed you’re quiet, are things ok? “.
Do not fail to appreciate that clean, folded pile of clothes left on your bed,
that bag of groceries left on your doorstep,
those bedcovers folded back for you,
that cup of tea or coffee made for you without asking.
Never underestimate those people who walk into your lives and make it home, however brief their stay.
The ” I saw this and thought of you “mention,
That breakfast in bed you were not expecting,
That sunny morning you awoke to and conversely that rain that refreshes the humid day.
The breathtaking splendor of a sunrise or sunset or thunderstorm when the skies put on their light display for you.
The unfailing love of a Saviour,
The times spent happily doing nothing much with your favourite people.
Slow down. You know the cliché ” Life is short”. But be grateful. Count your blessings even if they don’t immediately spring to mind.
All of the former are signs of love. People may not always voice their love and care for you but take note of what they do and what you do for them.
That is theirs and yours love language.
Do not underestimate it.
This is a picture of my youngest daughter.
I’m often told that she looks just like me, well I suppose one out of 4 kids isn’t bad! She’s a
happy little soul. This picture was taken in the holidays and she’s goofing around with a cushion on her head. This photo shows her character completely, sweet and loveable. With reference to this week’s photo prompt when I look at her I really do see my future. I would say excuse the dirty mark on the cushion but that’s just real life…..
Sometimes I want to stop the world and get off. Time hurtles by so fast it seems the days are done before I’ve had a chance to put my big girl boots on and deal with things.
I don’t want to waste time. I want to make good smart choices, wise choices but I don’t know what they are.
People think because you’re a mother and a wife that you’ve got your life sorted, that you know where you’re going next. How can I explain that so much of my day is spent just coping with the minutiae that I don’t have time to make big decisions?
I sometimes wish I was back in the days of my youth. The school clock would count down incessantly slow until home time. The hot Summers felt as if they lasted half a year. My biggest decision was what nail polish or music I was going to buy.
Now it is different. Other people depend on me. I can’t just do what I want. Or go where I want to go. And that’s ok. It’s part of being an adult. I know that.
The hard part is we enter adulthood but we’re still children inside. We’re not properly trained and equipped to cope with some of what comes our way. But we have to. The stabilisers have been taken off. Now we must pedal straight and true.
It’s just a pity that life doesn’t come with a road map and a clear set of directions.