Thursday, 26 July 2012

There's a place for us.

Last night I went to my first ever amateur music and dance show. As Mum to 3 boys I'm more accustomed to standing in the cold and wet of a muddy football pich, but my nieces aged 5 and 8 had asked us to go.
I'll be honest, I wasn't sure I'd enjoy it. I was worried it would be stage school at it's worst with cheesy fixed grins and singing in American accents. But Nathan and I went along to support the girls who were very excited.

It was incredible! Entitled 'Showtime!' it included songs and dances from many of the West End musicals I loved. Beth was great as Oliver, while The Artful Dodger sang 'Consider yourself'. Abbie was really cute in her ballerina outfit and dressed as a little pig while they sang 'I'm a believer' (Shrek), and they were both lovely in school uniform as they sang, "When I grow up." from Matilda. My favourite line from that show was  "We're told we have to do what we're told, but surely sometimes you have to be a little bit naughty."!

But the moment that gave me goosebumps, made my sister blub, and when I found myself praying was during the section from West Side story. The sight of my girls, and many others singing "There's a place for us, somewhere a place for us," brought a tear to my eye and a prayer to my heart. A whole range of ages from teenies to young adults were expressing what is arguably one of humanity's greatest need, to find a place where they belong, and are accepted.

As Christians we live in the 'now and not yet'. We know God has placed us on this earth for a time, but we live with the eternal hope of heaven. I suppose my prayer would be that today, we may find for ourselves security in the love of God, even though our day/week/month or even year may not be working out quite as we hoped. May we know that there truly is a 'place for us', in the loving arms of our heavenly Father.

And remember, 'Sometimes we have to be a little bit naughty....' Go on. I dare you!

Friday, 20 July 2012

Digging deep.

I should be a great gardener. My Grandad was a gardener all his life, and kept a beautiful garden into his 90's. My Mum, my Aunty, and my sister are all good in the garden. Friends give me plants, and cuttings to plant. But no. Nothing much happens.

The truth is that I like the idea of a nice garden and growing my own vegetables, but once the seeds or plants are in the ground I forget about them. Until a few weeks or months later when I notice they've shrivelled up.

Today I decided it was high time I did something with the plants a friend brought round about a month ago. I needed to clear some pots of weeds first, and while I was there decided to clear last years potato plants that were sat in proper potato sacks near the patio. As I pulled them up I spotted a potato. So I dug a bit deeper. It was like digging for treasure as I brought out about a dozen good sized new potatoes. Guess what we're having over the weekend?

Life has been tough lately. There seems to have been a lot of darkness through illness and injuries and bereavement. You know when life feels as if you're just lurching from one crisis to the next?
I struggle sometimes to hear God in the darkness. But I believe that God loves me, and will make something beautiful from this time, even if I have no glimpse of it at the moment.

A friend posted this on Facebook yesterday
You Can Because He Can.
You can ask the Lord because He will not give you a wrong answer.
You can wait upon the Lord because His timing is always perfect.
You can trust in the Lord because He makes no mistakes.
You can hope in the Lord because He holds your future.
You can rest in the Lord because He is in control of your life.
You can lean upon the Lord because He is completely faithful.
(Roy Lessin)

In the meantime, I shall enjoy eating today's 'treasure'. Where's that butter?

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Owl Babies (The Mother's Tale)

I have three boys,
and when they were little I used to love reading them the story Owl Babies.
For those who don't know it I've posted it here.
If you know it, skip down to Owl Mothers (An alternative ending).
It's my response to someone who asked what depression feels like.

Once there were three baby owls
Sarah and Percy and Bill
They lived in a hole in the trunk of the tree with their owl mother.
The hole had leaves and sticks and bits of feathers in it.
It was their home.

One day they woke up and their owl mother was gone
Where’s Mummy? Said Sarah
Oh my goodness said Percy
I want my Mummy said Bill

The baby owls thought (All owls think a lot)
I expect she’s gone hunting said Sarah
To get us our food said Percy
I want my Mummy said Bill

Suppose she got lost? said Sarah
Or the fox got her? said Percy
I want my Mummy said Bill

The baby owls sat on their branches
A big branch for Sarah
A small branch for Percy
And a bit of Ivy for Bill

The baby owls thought (All owls think a lot)
I think we should all sit on my branch said Sarah
I suppose so said Percy
I want my Mummy said Bill

So they all huddled together,
closed their eyes,
and wished their owl mother would come.

AND SHE CAME
Soft and silent, she swooped through the trees to Sarah, and Percy and Bill.

Mummy! They cried
And they laughed and they danced and they jumped up and down on their branch.
What’s all the fuss? Asked their Mother.
You knew I’d come back.
The baby owls thought (All owls think a lot)
I knew it said Sarah And I knew it said Bill I love my Mummy said Percy

Owl Mothers (An alternative ending)
And the Owl Mother held her owl babies tightly to her as a tear ran un-checked and unnoticed from her eye and slowly down her beak. She couldn’t let her owl babies see how she felt, but she was so tired…
Tired of doing the right thing all the time.
 Tired of being the wise old owl for all the animals in the wood, even though she loved them and part of her knew that was what she was born to do.
Tired of holding it all together.
Tired of feeling she was all alone even though she had plenty of friends in the wood.
So tired she had no energy to explain to the other animals how she truly felt inside.
Tired of feeling as empty as the hollow in the tree.
Tired of not knowing how she would feel from one sunrise to the next.
Tired of being unable to plan forays into the wood, in case her wings were too frail on that day.
Tired of seeing the Father Owl getting more and more exhausted as he tried to help her.

She longed with every feather for things to be different
Longed to be tucked up on one of the branches so she could rest and be looked after and not have to think about anything.
Longed to be the baby owl tucked under her mother’s wing where it’s safe and warm.
Longing for someone to make it all right.
Longing for a saviour, but one with feathers on.
Longing to feel that she is precious and loved and that the work she does in the wood won’t go unnoticed

And sometimes…. Longing to fly on and on and on Never to return from her hunting trips.
As she held her baby owls under her wing, she loved them so much she thought she’d burst.
She felt the breeze ruffle her feathers.
As the leaves of the trees began to stir she heard them say “I know. I’m here. I love you. Trust me.”
It was just a whisper. She wondered if she’d imagined it.
But as she looked down from the tree she saw her reflection in the pool. It was a bit muddled and muddied and she couldn’t see it clearly.
But somehow she knew that today was not the end.
She may not have the energy in that moment to fight another day, but it would be ok.