I’ve always hated roller coasters. Or anything that vaguely resembles a roller coaster. When I was little and my Grandparents were up staying once, we went to Alton Towers for the day. I don’t remember much about the day, but I do remember (or have been reminded of enough) the rapids. It was decided that my Grandad, Dad, sister and I would all go on the rapids. The boats held 4 people each, but unfortunately our group was split in two – my Grandad and my sister went first, followed by my Dad and I. I basically screamed the *entire* way down. I was terrified. And my Dad was stuck with trying to calm me down. My sister and Grandad on the other hand, had a fantastic time.
I’ve not been much better since either. I’ve always avoided the really big rollercoasters, because the little ones are bad enough. In secondary school we had several trips to local adventure parks, and after finding the mini-kiddie rollercoaster horrible, I didn’t go near the big ones. And nobody could persuade me otherwise.
Its the tension. The constant ups and downs. Having completely *no control* over where your body will be flung to next. The sickening feeling in your stomach as you approach a big drop. The anticipation. The sheer dread of what will happen next.
Of course, you’re not the only one on the roller coaster. There are many others going through similiar ups and downs. And plenty of friends to support you through the down times and to rejoice with you in the up moments. You’re certainly not alone.
I just want to get off this roller coaster. Now. Please.
As promised, below is a reflection I used in morning prayer during the SCM conference. It is my adaptation of a prayer Garth Hewitt wrote for Greenbelt 04, based on Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a Dream Speech’.
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, and the glory of the Lord will be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.
Let freedom ring for our own preconceptions of the bible and of this world, so that we may overcome the barriers that prevent us from grasping the true freedom provided by Jesus' message of peace, love and equality.
Let freedom ring for our hearts and minds and lifestyles, so that we are part of the community of love and justice that reflects the message and ways of Jesus.
Let freedom ring for the refugees and asylum seekers who are fleeing to this land for safety but are treated first as criminals.
Let freedom ring for the forgotten children on the streets of Africa, Latin America and Asia so that the street children of today, may find dignity and a hopeful future.
Let freedom ring for the Muslims initially accused, and presumed guilty before being found innocent.
Let freedom ring from behind the wall in Palestine and across to the land of Israel so that all may live in safety, dignity and justice regardless of religion or race.
Let freedom ring for all those suffering with HIV and AIDS, so that suitable drugs will be made available to them.
Let freedom ring for our church and society so all are included with justice; regardless of ethnicity, gender or sexual preference.
Let freedom ring to every corner of our world.
This is our hope – this is our faith – and when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every town, we will be able to speed up the day when all of God's children, black and white, women and men, young and old, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old spiritual: Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty, free at last'.
I had some good news this morning – I got 76% in my literature review!!! Its the first half of my dissertation and counts for a major part of my degree!! 😀 😀 😀 I read it on the board and noted that I was top of my group, and then tried to walk away calmly, but couldn’t – broke into a skip/run within seconds! I then rang a few people, just to go ‘YAY!!!’ and ‘WOW!!!’ down the phone, lots. Which made a nice change to recent phone calls I’ve made to friends and family. I just can’t stop grinning. I don’t care about anything else at the moment – all the stress and worries have been forgotten for the time being and I’m just enjoying being as high as a kite! 😀 😀 😀
Recently I’ve realised just how lucky I am. And how grateful I should be for this. I have an active life in a beautiful part of the world. I’m healthy, or at least a lot healthier than many people. I have amazing friends and family, who surprise me with the amount of support they are willing to provide when necessary. I am nearing the end of a degree which (should) enable me to get the job I would like. And I generally feel I have a lot to be grateful for.
Sometimes I think its all too easy to get into a ‘life’s crap’ rutt. When you can only see your perspective. Say you’ve had some bad news – yes, you need some time for you to get your head around it, but often its helpful to take a step back. Look at the bigger picture. Think about others in worse situations. How bad must it be for them? There is *always* somebody in a worse situation than you.
I dunno, maybe it wouldn’t work for everybody, and certainly not for every situation, but I have definately found it useful. It suddenly clicks how lucky I am, compared to many people. Enabling me to look at life more positively and it is a good prompt to remember those who are less fortunate in my prayers.
Long distance relationships, are of course, never easy. But long distance worship planning, I’ve discovered, is great! It does have the added complication of having to type out options, instead of just passing a book or paper across a room. But considering that most things need typing up in the end anyway, it doesn’t make much difference when you do it!
I think trying to decide what music should be played, is the best bit. We were on the phone together, discussing options, and then he played various options through his laptop. I was listening to well known songs down the end of the phone, with frequent comments from John, chipping in now and again. It was surreal but v.funny. It was as if it had been re-recorded with his voice making random comments about the song… V.odd.
In a couple of weeks, after we’ve done the worship, I will probably share some of it here. Am reluctant to do so earlier, as I don’t want to spoil the element of surprise, for those readers who will be there. So, you’ll just have to wait.
Everybody who knows me, knows that I don’t do patience. Well, believe it or not, I am trying. Thankfully, I’ve got quite a lot on to distract me, but it’s always there, somewhere. Niggling away. As I said in my last post, I am coping. I’m getting on with my dissertation, preparation for my mock interview and improving my CV. All the important things. But the whole time, I can’t completely forget it. It’s always at the back of my mind. What if…??? And I know thats its going to get worse before it gets better.
Coping is a funny thing. You can truely believe in your heart that you are coping with a situation and then everybody suddenly turns around and says ‘no, Jen, you’re not’. Which is a bit of a shock really. And then within days of that, you can be told something that you *never* thought you’d be able to cope with. And yet you do.
How does that work?? I really don’t know. Although possibly, recently remembering His presence and power, had something to do with it. I don’t understand how I’m coping with this, but I am and I know that He is definately helping lots.