I needed a bit of headspace this afternoon so I’m sitting in a field mulling over a million thoughts. The grass is taller than my head where I’m sitting which might not be such a good plan since I’m allergic to it. 🤷🏼♀️
I’m grateful for the worship music in my ears. It reminds me where to put my hope. I’m grateful for the warmth of the sun. I’m grateful for the distraction of bees, butterflies, grasshoppers and other insects that I’m watching while they busily hop or fly from one flower or blade of grass to another.
Ever since I was a little girl I’ve sat in fields contemplating. Sometimes dreaming. Sometimes crying. Sometimes trying to make sense of life. Maybe there’s something that literally grounds you when you sit directly on the soil? More likely it’s the awesomeness of contemplating creation and God and things way bigger than me that makes me dream and hope for better things.
I feel small and insignificant sitting here. That’s okay though – it’s no pressure to be invisible. What is harder is knowing that there should be more and I’m not sure if I can ever be more or be enough. Part of me wants to turn this around and preach to myself right now. I know the ‘correct’ answer to that statement I just made but I need to sit with this emotion for a while. I need to empty out the pain once in a while. There’s no point in hiding the real me. That’s the whole point of this blog.
This is a bit of a verbal vomit type post so I know it probably won’t make a lot of sense to anyone but if you’re still reading I appreciate your time and that you cared enough to read this far.
Does anyone else sit in the middle of fields to process or is that just me? Where do you go for headspace?
The last week or two has been tough. Not sure why I got so low again just when I had started feeling like I was getting somewhere. I guess I wondered whether it might be at least partly hormonal. Anyway it got pretty bad and in the end I gave up trying to fight it on my own and went to the doctor (with a little encouragement from a couple of friends). Thinking about it now I don’t know why I waited so long. If I had a stomach problem I wouldn’t wait 8 or 9 months to see someone about it. Anyway the doc gave me a low dose of anti-depressants to take (probably for a few months) to see if it helps. It took me a while to think about whether I was up for taking them – again when I reflect on that it’s a bit strange. I wouldn’t be averse to taking meds for a physical condition so why for this?
I’m kinda glad it was a low dose cause already the side effects aren’t very pleasant. On Day 1 I just felt a bit squeamish. Day 2 and 3 I had quite bad headaches to go along with that and palpitations at one point. Then Day 4 I felt lower, more pain and more anxiety than I have done in a long time and even had a full blown panic attack. I really hope these side effects are short lived. I hope the pills do what they’re supposed to and I can start to feel more like myself again.
Today I have work all day so I’m praying that I won’t have any of these yucky side effects while I’m there (or at all). I’ll let you know how things go.
It’s been another up and down week. It honestly felt like a battle. A battle for my mind and my heart. A battle between hope and despair. I can’t explain why life feels so hard sometimes. I’m just exhausted with it all.
Life goes on through the battles. I had coffee with a friend, looked after baby B for an afternoon, sold my car, Skyped my cousin, binge watched the BBC series Bodyguard (which you should totally watch if you haven’t seen it), went to the local prayer group, worked (at school and on my business), visited a friend who’s been really ill, went out for dinner with friends from our street and for lunch at other friends’. I like to keep busy I guess. The busy-ness also creates a distraction from the battles. Gives my head a break.
Saturday was the worst day. I was really down. Felt pretty hopeless. At the worst point an old hymn was going round in my head. I’m not normally into the more traditional hymns to be honest so it’s kinda strange that a couple of them have really spoken to me in the last few weeks. I eventually got my guitar and started to play:
O Love that will not let me go, I rest my weary soul in thee; I give thee back the life I owe, That in thine ocean depths its flow May richer, fuller be.
O Light that foll’west all my way, I yield my flick’ring torch to thee; My heart restores its borrowed ray, That in thy sunshine’s blaze its day May brighter, fairer be.
O Joy that seekest me through pain, I cannot close my heart to thee; I trace the rainbow through the rain, And feel the promise is not vain, That morn shall tearless be.
O Cross that liftest up my head, I dare not ask to fly from thee; I lay in dust life’s glory dead, And from the ground there blossoms red Life that shall endless be.George Matheson, 1882
Even looking over those words now brings tears to my eyes. Especially verse 3. I guess it sums up how I feel. Whatever I’m going through or have gone through He’s always been there, He hasn’t let me go and I can’t close my heart to Him. Sometimes that very thing causes some of the pain. It can be painful to let Him deal with my heart. I just have to keep holding on and trusting that ‘morn shall tearless be.’
Today we decided to go bramble (blackberry) picking. It was a good day for it. The sun was shining (most of the time) and there were plenty of ripe juicy brambles on the bushes. Bramble picking can be quite therapeutic. I love being outdoors with the sun warming your skin. I kinda find it easier to chat to God outside too and I often feel like I learn stuff from studying nature.
I have been picking brambles at this time of year since I was a little girl. My granny used to make Bramble Jelly and my sister and two brothers and I would help her pick the brambles for it. Then when Granny decided to retire from making it all her equipment was passed on to my mum (who also took us to help gather the fruit) and now it’s been passed to me. My mum passed it on quite a lot sooner than Granny did. 😉
Inevitably when you’re picking brambles you get scratched – they’re thorny little suckers. You also have to try to avoid nettles and thistles, not to mention the flies, wasps and spiders! But it’s worth it. Even though you know it’s gonna hurt a bit, at the end of the day you’re gonna have some yummy fruit to eat. In my case it’s gonna make some of my granny’s awesome (hopefully) Bramble Jelly which goes perfectly with so many things but especially with peanut butter in a sandwich. There is beauty among the thorns too. Today I saw ladybirds and butterflies not to mention the less appealing bugs.
All this got me thinking about pain in life. Yes, I know it’s a heck of a lot sorer than a few scratches but it seems like it is also inevitable. Clearly you do what you can to avoid it but it happens anyway. I guess you can also make it worse if you dive right into that thorny bush (or trip up and fall in there). Even when there is pain though there is still beauty around. It may be difficult to focus on it when you’re hurting but it is there. Right beside the thorns there is fruit growing too. Often the painful experiences help us to grow. They might even be able to help us nourish others in time. And God can take that fruit and turn it into something even more amazing. I’m sure it’s not a perfect analogy but it made some sort of sense to me. Hopefully it makes sense to you too?
Oh and just in case you’re interested I’ll put my granny’s recipe here.
Bramble and Apple Jelly
Brambles – as many as you want to pick
Apples (about 2 big apples for 3lbs of brambles)
Sugar (1lb per pint of liquid)
Lightly wash fruit and cut apples up small including the core (you can remove the stalk and the little leafy bit at the bottom).
Put all the fruit in a large jelly pan. Just cover with water and bring to the boil. Simmer until it is all soft and mash with a potato masher.
Drain fruit through jelly bag overnight.
Measure liquid and add appropriate amount of sugar. Boil until it reaches 220 degrees C on thermometer. (Test on a cold plate to see if it sets).
Pour jelly into hot sterile jars (dishwasher and heat in oven). Place jam covers and lids on while hot (carefully).