Excerpt from Tadhg’s Journal: What a week this has been. Different. Hectic. Challenging. Emotional. Exhausting.
There are times as an Anamcara, working with (Celtic) Christians, Druids and others, when I can choose to ‘step in’, good deeper, or ‘swim’ to shallow waters, as I work with people, depending on their need – which may be deep or not-so-deep.
This week, I had no choice – that’s not a complaint – but a simple admission that the needs of others were many and varied, and deep. Very deep. Very personal. Very emotional. Very real. Very ‘life and death’. As I looked around, maybe someone to defer to, someone to take over, I found no one – not at that precise time. In such cases, if ‘fate’ hasn’t already arranged it, one can only but dive in, deep, to support those with needs.
Three incidences spring to mind:
Firstly, the passing-on of a dear friend, and only 42yo; a friend who liked coffee as much as me, and who could talk the hind legs off a donkey. Gone! My spirits were low. Some things, such as those wonderful photos and texts that appear all over the internet – which usually lift me up – had no effect. Saddened. His passing-on was like a kick to the stomach.
He loved to talk, and he was such a good friend; he loved to reminisce about the time I had got that new job and he had been a volunteer there for 18 years, and how his obstreperousness toward me at the time had only been a ‘test’ to see if I could ‘earn my spurs’. Apparently I did earn my spurs, but half-joking I always said he need not have been so through in his test. And, we became good friends. He’s gone. Gone home. He lives on. Part of my Caim prayer for him, that ancient prayer at the parting of friends about to go on a long journey, was:
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
This week, I learned that ‘release’ is necessary.
Secondly, a dear family member had to be taken to hospital, and several hours of tests ensued – my heartfelt thanks go to all those nurses and doctors in Accident & Emergency at the Charing Cross Hospital in Fulham who were very thorough, very professional and very courteous.
The family member had several bouts of gasping for air, and had two such additional ‘attacks’ in the hospital. I was there on each occassion to comfort that person as best as I could. But, my role was only to draw alongside them, pray inwardly, hold their hand, say words of comfort, but it seemed enough; the ‘attacks’ passed. It was the first time, ever, that I had heard that person appeal to the God of all! Ever.
Tests revealed no underlying heart or lung problems, and that family member was released from hospital to go home, later that evening. A visit to the GP soon after revealed something non-lifethreatning, albeit seemingly alarming to him when the ‘attacks’ occured, but something that could be (and now, has been) easily remedied.
This week, I learned that I don’t have all the answers for other people, but that maybe my role (and yours) is to sit with them in the ‘storms’ of life, suppport them in waiting for that which is about to be revealed, is revealed. Humility, is needed.
Thirdly, (and the following account is written with permission, and anonymised, like the last), a young man visited me: as a minister in the church who said he felt that God was a ‘million miles away’, and the more he prayed, the further God seemed to distance himself. ‘It’s as though I’m lost in a dense fog, looking for God….but I can’t see through the fog’, he said as he wept.
He talked. I listened. He knew all the appropriate verses and had a strong theolgocial understanding. He knew those promises about noting separating us from God, and vice versa; but he said, now, experientially, they seemed hollow and weak. He cried tears of exasperation, and some more.
I encouraged him to undertake a visualisation. He did so: His visualisation was of him walking on some deserted moor land, in thick fog. Walking. Lost. So, very lost. Walking through thick fog. Looking for God. After twenty (long) minutes into that visualisation, he said, in his minds eye, he had given up, and was now sitting on the damp grass in this visualisation. He said he could not find God, and it was hopeless. He wept, so remoresefully.
I asked him to stay ‘in’ that visualisation. If he could’t find God in the fog-ladden moor land of his mind, then as those lost in the wilderness know, it is best to ‘stay put’, and let the rescuers – in this case, God – find you!
He was quiet for ten minutes. And then he wept. But the cries were of a different order. ‘I asked for God to find me’, he said, ‘…..that I had no strength to carry on….and the fog just got thicker and thicker. Oh, my God. God is the fog!’.
This week I learned, that the Source of All is in control, and that we need only ‘surrender’. And more: with a different perspective all these negatives can be viewed in such a way as to learn from them. Does that make sense?
What a week this has been. Different. Empowering. Encouraging. Being-embraced. Learning-from-others. Insightful. But, still exhausting. Could it be that the Source of All is the storm?