Back to reality

So I’ve been back from my mini retreat for just under two weeks and if the fact that I’m only now getting round to posting about it doesn’t tell you all you need to know I don’t know what will! πŸ™‚

I had such a wonderful time away at Mt Glorious. Obviously, there was the very real break from phone calls, texts, work, other work, uni and family (as much as I love them all!) but there was also the very real experience of just basking in being with God solely for those two days. Normally, during my time with God in the mornings, one or two hours fly past and I’m very conscious of having to be ‘finished’ in order to start the rest of the day. What I loved about my time away was the uninterrupted stretches of time that almost made me giddy with joy and excitement. Oh just to be and to be able to stay was so precious.Β It was like experiencing a sliver of heaven, when we will be completely surrounded and filled with His presence.

So, needless to say, I came home and landed with a bit of a bump. And instead of being light and happy for my time away, I felt heavy and, well, frankly, quite annoyed! It wasn’t until I went to bible study the following week and was asked about my time away that my friend gave me the reason for my disgruntled mood – I was grieving! Grieving the loss of being totally immersed in God without interruption. Grieving not being rushed. Grieving thinking about nothing but Him.

And the funny thing was, once my friend at bible study said it, I felt complete release and was able to move on. It’s funny how, sometimes, things just need to be identified before shuffling off. My mood lightened and I felt myself slip back into the groove of the life God has laid before me for this season.

And then today, after staring at the computer all day, I snuck outside and just stood and looked around me.

My backyard.

And the similarity of the view that greeted me to the view I enjoyed while away didn’t slip past me. It was the same sort of thing – gums, blue sky, birds and quiet just not as much of it but beautiful and there to be enjoyed and revived by, nonetheless. Just like the time I spend with God here versus the time I had with Him at Mt Glorious. Here, it’s bite sized with the knowledge that there is much, much more that we will one day experience but can’t see from this life, from this current view. And I’m so excited about that! But I’m also content to wait here, with this small view and rest in the fact that the big view is coming.

Day 301

Today I’m grateful for family. And especially that one in the middle. 

My sister and her husband are currently going through their gypsy phase. They have no fixed address other than “we’re in that big green truck over there” and are enjoying seeing more of this great south land than I ever will. 

It was great to catch up and I’m looking forward to more over the next couple of weeks πŸ™‚ 

Day 297-299

Only 67 days to go of my Grateful year! 

The highlight of the last three days would be yesterday – last exam of the semester! 

And my Charli girl bought me a bunch of lilies by way of congratulations πŸ™‚ They are still buds; lovely big pods of impending beauty and fragrance. And I kind of like the analogy…they’re not quite ‘there’ yet but they hold the promise of things to come. Just like me and my degree (if only it was only going to take a few days instead of years!). 

And the little basil plant in the bottom photo? His story will have to wait for another day πŸ™‚ 

So, yes, this week I am very grateful for the fullness of this life I get live πŸ™‚ 

Day 12 – mess

Being school holidays, there’s a lot of mess in the house. This shot only shows one area but I quite literally could have pointed that Polaroid anywhere and it still would have spat out a photo of disarray. 

And I’m grateful for it. Mess means living is happening. Mess means that more time is spent chatting when a meal is finished than clearing up. Mess means children are getting every craft activity out and doing it for half an hour before moving on to the next one. 

And mess means there are people in the house. That my life is full of all the right things. And it serves to remind me that life itself is messy and unpredictable and unordered and unable to be tamed. And that I wouldn’t want it any other way. 

Yes. Mess is good. And I’m grateful for it. 

And dishwashers. I’m also definitely grateful for dishwashers. 

  

Day 9 – the beach

So grateful today for easy access to gorgeous beaches that lift spirits and remind the soul to breathe. 

Although at the start of the day our moods weren’t the best and the traffic decided to try and make them worse, by the end of the day we all agreed it had been wonderful and just what we all needed. 

How can anyone stay in a bad mood with that view? 😊 

  

Christmas in retrospect

Despite all the preparations, excitement, and frivolities, I just couldn’t get into Christmas this year. And if you read the last post, you might be surprised by that, given my proclamations of love for the season.

This year, though, I have felt rather melancholy and unable to really enter into the joy of it all. The people who are not here to celebrate it have been heavy on my heart. And the unexpected recent passing of one dear, gentle man has really given me pause.

I tried giving myself the ‘talk’ about making the most of it for the very same reasons I was feeling sad – you never know how long you or your loved ones have. But even my own pep talk didn’t help.

I tried just ignoring my feelings and surrounding myself with lights, Christmas music and busyness. That didn’t work either. As soon as I was unoccupied, the bustling ceased for the day, I would lie awake at night remembering people. Aching with the pain their families are going through and wake up after fitful sleeps more exhausted than before.

I tried reasoning with myself, to get it all in perspective. That didn’t work. It only served to leave me feeling guilty about trying to have a good Christmas when others were in so much heartache.

There was just no way out of it. I was feeling down. It was quite unusual for me….I can normally talk myself around anything. Not this time. And, to be honest, I was a bit flummoxed.

And then realisation struck.

Go with it. Allow yourself to grieve. I needed to allow myself to feel the pain of the families of those no longer here. Let the feelings come, let them consume me. Deal with it. Don’t push it aside.

I have often said there can be no highs in life without the lows. It was time for me to take my own advice and accept the lows. Not accept death, I’m not ready for that yet. I still rail against the ‘death is part of life’ wisdom and stubbornly maintain that it is simply not right, whilst somehow still knowing fully that there can be no other way and that it is, indeed, part of life.

More, I needed to accept how I felt. Acknowledge it, embrace it even, and be present with the pain. Only then could I let it go and feel the benefit of its release.

I’m not sure I’ve done that yet. I have made a start but I think I have a little way to go yet. And that’s okay. I’m learning. Learning to ride the ebb and flow of feelings and roll with the waves.

Even if I did feel a little disconnected, it was still a wonderful Christmas, full of magic, laughter and family, for whom I am so, so thankful.