Today I participated in the final part of a training course I’ve been attending on Core Skills for Children’s Work.
This is the point where you say: wait. I didn’t know you work with children? Well, I don’t, strictly speaking, but we do host a 14+ youth group (Andy leads, I help). Much of the course skills are transferable and, aware there were a few of us working with teens, the leader has been very adaptable and keen to apply the course materials to us as well. It’s been great on so many levels- and I hope to post further reflections on this at some point.
But, a more personal reflection for today. We arrived at the church early so Andy could help with setting up. I went into his office and started digging around the theological and biblical tomes to follow up some thoughts I’d had – enjoying the opportunity for a bit of study in a ‘studious’ atmosphere! I then joined in with the main session. It was an interesting morning. But barely an hour into the session and I felt my energy start dropping. There wasn’t a great deal I could do about it, so I struggled on. At lunch time I got a cup of coffee and took a brief rest on the senior minister’s sofa (knowing she wouldn’t mind!).
But I’d started feeling frustrated. Sometimes when the tiredness hits I take it in its present form, simply applying it to the here and now. Today, it became an everything about me and It moment. I started on the ‘why’ questions. I don’t entertain them often, but today I couldn’t help it. Why can’t I do things? Why can’t my energy last? Why do I have such passion and enthusiasm and no energy to use them?
And, most of all, the question blaring through my mind was: why can’t I be myself? I feel like the tiredness squashes who I am and who I was made to be. I feel like I have to be someone I’m not just in order to cope. Becoming withdrawn, not contributing, not able to build relationships with others or dig more deeply into life because I’m simply focusing on maintaining my own strength.
Today, it was driving me mad.
It also made me well up. I hate the way I cry. As soon as my tear ducts tickle even slightly my nose says: wahey! I’ll join in! And then in no time at all I cannot breathe and I’m streaming. My face thinks: what the heck! And I turn bright pink and blotchy. I don’t need to wail to look like I’ve been wailing. And my nose blow is like a trumpet.
So, a quick weep on the side was not an option.
I struggled through the afternoon holding back those infernal tears, and then started thinking about all the other things I couldn’t manage doing (bad move).
When I got home, I took myself into the garden, sat on the step, and finally allowed the tears to spill out of me.
This helped somewhat. I realised that it wasn’t frustration that I was feeling, not really. It was disappointment. Un-distilled, jagged disappointment. Disappointment really hurts.
After a while, a little suggestion popped in to mind about how to deal with the ‘other things’ I’d been agonising over. I kicked and punched a bit before caving and admitting – yes, that’s a sensible idea. Then peace started trickling in, relieving and restoring.
But I had to go through the whole process of expression and release first.
Sometimes, telling myself ‘don’t let it get to you’ doesn’t work. In the end, I have to do it – let it get to me. Then, after the sobs and the prayers and the clenched fist offerings, a still small voice is detectable, right on the edge of consciousness.
I need to de-clutter sometimes, simply in order to hear it.
Image: Lesley wrote a post on Chronic Fatigue today, which I found soothing. I’ve used the same picture.