It’s ok

Having that trusted person that you can share absolutely anything to is really important. Crucial, in fact. And when you lose that, there’s a web of lost-ness that we find ourselves wrapped in; unable to find the beginning to peel our way out.

I love talking about important people in my life; sharing how they became important and what their place in my life means to me. I believe all of those people were intentionally sent by God to guide me through life. Everyone needs a shepherd to walk alongside them – only, sometimes Shepherds can only be present for small chunks of the journey. When they’re no longer available, we’re left searching for the next one; unsure if we’re headed in the right direction until we reach our new Shepherd.

I’d love to share some stories about my 2nd favourite person to ever grace my life (my sister is obvs no.1 & my parents tell me they don’t have any favourites, so neither do I).

He was a bangin’ guy – had all the chat, loved me unconditionally, encouraged me at every opportunity, listened intently to everything I ever had to say, said I sang better than Lulu, let me put curlers in his (very) small patch of hair, let me put tattoos of tigers on his arms, let me paint his nails, picked me up from school when I was sick and took me to Christie’s for a sausage roll, let me kick him in the bed when I stayed over, gave me the best sweeties out of the ‘car tin’, danced with me to the Vengaboys and Mambo Number 5, took me to school and picked me up every day for a year, made sure that me and my sister knew the love a grandparent even though we never had that, tickled my feet, held my hand when I wanted him to, hugged me when I needed him to, listened to me playing do-re-mi or the Eastenders theme tune on the keyboard for the millionth time that night, helped me search the Argos and Index catalogues for my Christmas list to Santa, played Frustration every week, let me play Lulu even though he didn’t like her, always had a smile for me, trusted me to go and buy my Aunt Beth’s Christmas present, took me fishing, told me all of his stories about being on various ships, never asked for anything from me, loving the crappy Christmas presents I bought him, phoning me on my birthday to sing happy birthday down the phone, allowing me to be there, being my confidant, being the person I could always rely on, teaching me to appreciate my worth, teaching me that time is precious and letting me be there to hold his hand until the very end.

From the very beginning of my life until the very end of his, he was there. He was mine. And I loved him.

For my sister and I, he was our Grandfather. He might have been called Uncle Jim, but he was so much more than that. It’s been 10 years and I still find it really difficult to express the grief – because that’s what it is. That’s what it is when the person you tell everything to dies. And he always kept my secrets – he would tell my Aunt Beth that I told him things, but never what they were.
Until this year, he was the only person I told that I thought I was gay – and even back then, he didn’t judge or stop loving me. His only hope was that I knew what it was to feel loved.

And my goodness, do I miss him! Just when it feels easier, there’s something – it just comes along and takes the wind out of your sails.
But that’s what happens when you’ve been living life without that person. My hopes are that it’ll become easier – I’ve met someone else that I can tell everything to, she loves me unconditionally and hopefully, one day we’ll have all of those wonderful memories together. For now, I’ll take the memories I have of my favourite guy with me.

But for today, it’s ok. I’m not daft – life has been different for the past 10 years, but I’m thankful for the 16 years I did have. For sure, we packed a lifetime worth of memories into those short years. So much love, laughter and happiness, many kisses, cuddles and singing sessions – and always there. Couldn’t ask for anymore because he gave it all – he gave us all of him, and that’s why the only sad tears we ever have about him is because that stopped. He ensured we all knew love, and we wholeheartedly loved him back – forever and always.

some photos of me, my sister, Aunt Beth and our no.1 guy!

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Denying Rainbows

Lately there’s been a lot of crap. I’ve not been in the best of moods for a wee while, tired all of the time and had a pretty poor time at GA because of this.Then I got ill – I exaggerate a lot, but at one point I was pretty sure death was imminent. Imagine the nasty stuff (aye, that!), not being able to eat, sweating it one minute then freezing it the next, not being able to breathe through your nose, not producing enough saliva to lubricate your gub, sleeping for 20-25 mins at a time, feeling like Alien is about to burst out of your abdomen, no one being able to understand a word you say because your glands & tonsils are that swollen, nearly fainting every time you’re on your feet for longer than a minute, not being able to walk further than from bed to the bathroom and permanently feeling guilty for letting everyone down.

Then, after almost 2 weeks existing with the symptoms above, my blood test finally revealed that I have glandular fever.
Champing at the bit to get back to work after 3 weeks, I was (and am still) pretty limited. Thankfully though, being back to the place God’s sending me and working with the people He has gifted me has been the best medicine.

It’s knackering, and I’m nowhere near being able to do what I could before.. but maybe the ‘before’ me was my downfall. 
I don’t do being sick very well. I hate it. It’s probably the only time that I hate having to sit on my bahookie! 
Virtually all of my plans have had to be binned, and taking life a few days at a time. Today is Thursday, and I’m not really planning past Saturday.

I’ve got some weird blood thing as a complication and hoping to not develop any further complications – so the slow lane is currently my friend, even though I’m champing for the fast lane. 
It’s coming. 
And then the rainbow? After the rain, there’s got to be something beautiful to counteract that.

My something beautiful came through the opportunity to reflect. To look at me, the way I live my life and what makes me happy. 
And with reflections come realisations. Some are easy, some aren’t so easy.

It’s pretty crappy when you’ve felt for so long that you have to be a particular kind of person to suit social norms… and sometimes that just isn’t good enough anymore.

Sometimes you just need to own your differences in order to realise your similarities.

But should we naturally see ourselves as different? Should we feel pressured to hide parts of ourselves to fit in? Should we be so far skewed by this that we shut off parts of our lives?
The answer is no. And I, stupidly but subconsciously, was doing this. Dafty. 
Once you know truth, you can’t un-know it. Once you love, you can’t un-love. When it’s her, it’ll always be her.
Bluebirds are flying. The rain is gone. I’ve found the rainbow. 

“Somewhere over the rainbow, blue birds fly

Birds fly over the rainbow

Why then, oh why can’t I?

If happy little bluebirds fly beyond the rainbow

Why, oh why can’t I?”

6 months in..

Today marks 6 months since I started my current ‘job’ – I use inverted commas because almost none of what I do actually feels like work. 
I don’t like leaving at the end of the day, and I’m excited to come back the next day. And I’m pretty sure I’ve transcended just feeling happy about it – I’ve reached a point that I can only describe as bliss.
Sure, I don’t want to stay in the same position forever but if someone said to me tomorrow that I’d be in Priority Areas forever I’d end up feeling a bit more than ok about it. (After I’d got over feeling pissed off that we had to exist at all!!)
And, I get to work with the coolest people. Legit. Jesus moves in them. You can see it, clear as day, and that’s what makes them an absolute inspiration.

(lol, I’d totally never tell them this though!) 
However, perhaps the biggest gift I’ve been given in the last 6 months is realisation. Realisation that we all have a form of Ministry, whether that be tied to the confines of structures; for some people it is and for others it isn’t. For me, I’m an ‘other’ in this mix. 

I tried to work within the confines of the system, and it didn’t work out for me. I’m pretty sure there’s another avenue, or pathway, that God has set aside for me to leap towards, but I don’t think that exists yet – perhaps in His vision, but not in ours. 
Maybe that’s my Ministry – to be a visionary, to have imagination, to live a dream and make other dreams possible. I’m still working all of this out, but clarity is coming…

If we can’t imagine a new life in Ministry, how can it become reality? 
If we accept the box, we’ll remain confined within it. If we accept the space the box is in, we can transform the box into a whole new vision. In doing this, we don’t lose the box – it’s just different.

And that’s what frightens people; difference or changes. Changes are an initial walk into the unknown, and changes require a level of imagination – otherwise, everything stays the same. 

The cycle never dies, but the potential for newness of life does.

The value of no

I’ve always been a person that made time for other people, moved things around to help out or cancelled social plans to make time.I’ve been a person that found a way of saying yes to things instead of saying no. I was brought up to be this way – it’s the example I witnessed from my parents; they taught me that the best gift I could give was time. And that’s what I’ve done. I’ve given my time in whatever capacity I could and things have somehow always worked out.

Sure, there’s been times where I’ve been absolutely ridiculous and totally overdone it. An example of this:

– taking three weeks holiday from work to follow Lulu around for a week, go to General Assembly for a week and then follow Lulu around for another week. I ended up horrendously ill, not totally recovering for a few months.

Today I find myself in a new cycle of saying yes all of the time (thankfully the no’s have been organic – otherwise this post could have been a whole other mess!) but now I have knowledge and experience of what it’s like when it all goes wrong.
And, there’s only so many hours in the day. There’s only so much energy that can be dispensed at one time. There’s only so much that a brain, and diary, can handle at any time.

And within that time, energy and diary, I’ve not been thinking about me – my needs, what I want and what I dream of achieving. 
So, here it comes.

I work within Priority Areas 25 hours a week, over 4 days. That’s where I’m finding energy at the moment. That’s where I walk away at the end of the day knowing I can do more and being excited to do more. It’s where I want to grow – flourish even. I want to be part of the vehicle that shares the extraordinary stories I get to hear everyday. I want to be able to do what I did today and create reflective, creative worship spaces for people to engage with. 

These are the things I need. I just need to find a way of making them much more everyday permanent than random. I need to be intentional about working towards this and realising the potential I actually have instead of penning myself into a box. 
So, where is the value in saying no to this?! 

I have a lot on my plate, and I’m letting stuff slip. Usually, I know I run a fine line between being on top of things and letting them get out of control, but lately I feel like I don’t have that control anymore. 

And, a very wise person once tried to encourage me to realise the value my time has – not only for me, but for those around me and the things I’m involved in. Ignoring what they said was easy because I could justify everything with “I love it so much”, but do I? Or do I do it because I feel like I need to? Or is it due to my desire to be involved – to make a difference? 

But where I am now, I’m realising that I might have a bit more value than I’ve previously given myself. I might just deserve a wee bit more, and with that, deserve the chance to explore it. 
So, I’m starting to say no. Some things will naturally come to an end in the next few months – NYA involvement for example, and then I get to claim my identity as a fully fledged adult within the Church of Scotland – and I don’t want it to be disorganised. 

I’m placing value on my time. I’m choosing to not be the person that can always be turned to when stuck. 
I’m choosing to become the person that people ask to do things in the first instance because I’d do a good job – not because someone else wasn’t available. I’m choosing to put my friends and family before other commitments – I missed my mum’s birthday last week because I was too busy. I’m not that person. I didn’t put a person that means everything to me first – instead I wrote reports, did research and felt like shit for realising that I was a bad person. 

I’m choosing to find my place within the world – maybe then, and only then, I’ll find the eventual place within the church I so dearly love. I’m choosing to find something to work towards – everybody needs a dream.

I have worth. I have purpose. I have talents. I have time. 

Please, God, guide me to use them wisely, realistically and in a direction that does what You need me to do. Help me to become a bit more selfish about being selfless – to give but not be afraid to take, to love recklessly and allow myself to be loved, to hope and dream – to live out the path You have set before me…. one day at a time.