Archive for January, 2013

Once upon a time there was a girl. She lived in a world where people were supposed to be different. They were supposed to be nice to one another and care about one another so that other people on the outside might look in and say “Aren’t they nice? I want to be like them!”

She lived with a group of people. Sometimes they asked how she was. Sometimes they didn’t. Sometimes they invited her to play with them or to eat with them, but sometimes they didn’t. Sometimes she would walk in and find them all playing together and no one had invited her. Or they would talk to the others around her and ask them about their lives and not ask her. It was like they would pretend that she wasn’t there. Some days no one would speak to her at all.

At first, it seemed accidental. I mean, you can’t always ask how everyone is can you? And you can’t always ask everyone to eat with you, can you? And you certainly can’t play with everyone all the time. But life got harder on the outside, and it seemed like no one cared. It seemed like the girl had become invisible. And the less that people played with her, the less people seemed to want to play with her, or ask her over for dinner. Or even ask her name.

Invisibility can sometimes be a gift. It can be a good hiding place,  helpful to quietly achieve things in the shadowy background. But sometimes it can be horrible. It made the girl feel like there was something wrong with her, but she didn’t know what that was. It made her feel like she had no value at all, and that there was no point in her even opening her mouth, because no one would listen anyway.

Sometimes it made her angry because no one cared. She knew that they should. Sometimes it just made her sad. Sometimes it made her wish that she was part of another world entirely, because at least then she wouldn’t expect people to care.

And that was when things unravelled. The patterns and habits of the past came back and behaviour and lifestyle changed. Because there was little point in acting like things had changed when no one else seemed to. Self-harm became a temptation – I mean, why not have something concrete that was actually wrong with her?

But then there was hope. Other people said they same thing, and decided to be nice to each other and play together with her and make sure that everyone and anyone was welcome to join in. They ate together, and it became the start of a beautiful friendship. Gradually, other people joined their group and no one felt that they were on the edges. Even those who had ignored her before decided that they had made a mistake and actually she was smart and funny and nice. And other people wanted to be like her.


Like it or not, God calls us to be in community with one another. We are also called to love our neighbour, whoever that might be. Are there any invisible people in your life, that would appreciate being cherished and valued for who they are? Do you ever feel invisible?

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law […] Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 5:22, 6:2).

Just imagine a world where that really happened. Somehow, I don’t think people would be invisible then, would they?

Yesterday, someone wrote something horrible about me on Facebook. It was in response to an old joke about the time when I accidentally stood one person up because I hadn’t realised they had bought tickets in advance for the football and I had already arranged to meet someone else….boring, I can already hear you yawn. It was years ago, and there has been forgiveness since.

But someone else decided to chip in with some unwanted comments, saying that I should leave my friend alone as I had already done so much damage, and that I didn’t deserve him. Half their words were capitalised AS WeLL, just making the whole thing a LiTTlE mOrE FReaKY. Hmm.

I know the stats are really quite something. Cyber-bullying is massive. And this would barely even qualify. But it had been a bad week and it just hurt a little bit more than it should have done. Yeah, so it was all in jest. After all, it was an old joke. But some things just aren’t funny when you don’t know someone or what their intentions might be, it just makes things worse.

It certainly made me think about what I post in the future. And just makes me want to pray more for those for whom cyber-bullying really is a daily reality.

About a week ago, I decided to go for a run. It was a bit on the windy side, but a good battle, until I was on the home straight, and suddenly, the ground was no longer beneath me. I fell over a stone. It hurt. A lot.

A semi-helpful passer-by who was out with his family on a walk, stuck out his hand to help me up, said “You’ve probably twisted your ankle” then walked off. It still hurt. In fact, I was so breathless that I couldn’t really say the ground felt like the most comfortable place at the time or even ask him if he could help some more.

So I hobbled home before I got cold, and hoped that the wind would hide the tears of pain. As my ankle swelled up, it became obvious that I would be condemned to lots of sofa time in the next few days and all my wonderful plans to travel the country and do lots of work would completely fail. And I’m not a very good patient.

By the weekend, it was obviously not improving as fast as it should, and so I decided it might be a plan to have it checked over properly, and got a lift with my Dad to the local treatment centre, where after about an hour, I was heading back home with some painkillers and some slightly conflicting and confusing advice. Although it was a minor injury, it was no big deal (ok, so no sympathy there then), I should sit with it up but still do minor exercise and even run if I wanted to, in fact I should (er? really?) and there was absolutely no committal about whether I should drive or not.

Understandably, I was a bit hacked off. I mean, really? I had gone wanting a set of answers as to how long I had to mope about the house for and came out with nothing.

And I said as much to my Dad. He pointed out though, that part of the reason I had gone was to check it wasn’t broken and get advice on treatment. Which I got. And some painkillers to boot. Was I really just complaining because they didn’t make enough fuss about it?

And the short answer is yes. Not everything is about me. The overworked nurses were doing their best and dealing with crap along the way. And I have had a lot of sympathy and allowances made elsewhere. So I think one of my prayers for the new year will be for some proper humility. Of the godly, and patient sort, that puts me in right relation to my Creator and to the rest of the world. And that stops me getting stroppy because people don’t do exactly what I want them to do. Hmmm.





words fail

Posted: January 9, 2013 in Oh dear
Tags: , , ,

A few days ago I had a phonecall from a friend to say an old housemate of mine, a good friend had died. We had known she had cancer, and that things were deteriorating, but she was only just 26 and somehow, we were hoping in something. It was a shock, but not a surprise.

It is just generally rubbish. Sometimes there is nothing to say. Things don’t happen as they should. L shouldn’t have died.

Another friend reminded me yesterday that no one should die. None of this is God’s plan. But I’m not sure that is helping right now.

There are no glib answers to this. I can only imagine what her parents and brother and boyfriend are going through, have been going through and will go through in the weeks, months and years to come. And pray, not only for them, but also that God’s kingdom may come and put an end to this. Soon.