Saturday, 10 October 2015

It's Ba-aaack! by Susan L.

  There's a knot in my stomach that feels like I swallowed a medicine ball. There's bands of tension wrapped tightly around my ribcage. It's been like this for a few days now. It's hard to ignore. It's disheartening to say the least. Maybe meds aren't the answer to getting rid of this devil on my back: anxiety. Lord, guide me. Help me. I so desperately want to be free of this.
  I had a panic attack at worship team rehearsal last night. Sigh. I sat there looking at the sheet music that suddenly became absolutely foreign to me. It was only a bunch of dots on the paper. Then the tears came. And the shakes. It was a piece I was to toot my flute for.
  There were three flute songs planned for tomorrow's Thanksgiving service. One had some difficult timing. We did sort that out last night by giving me places to breathe. That's kind of important. The other is an accompaniment to a soloist, the third was this one. I opted to sing it instead although, because I'd been practicing the flute part, the words and melody are unfamiliar. The two others have enough of a performance element to them to make me want to do my best.
  I had said to the team leader that I'd be okay with learning three pieces a week. I think paring it back to two would be a good example of self care. I still have to learn the words and tune of all the others as a singer. Usually there's five songs.
  It doesn't sound like much or perhaps I am expecting too much of myself.
  So I am rather teary this morning. Teary and weary. And frustrated. And there's a good whack of anger in there. But there's also a good whack of gratitude, too, for the miracle the Lord works in my life every single day...He gives me the strength to leave the house when sometimes it would be so much easier to stay isolated, to give up the fight, to let the anxiety win.
  I know doing that is only an illusion of being safe. It would make the anxiety worse in the long run.
  H and I are going for a hike later today and getting together for dinner. A couple of hours in nature with the autumn colours kissing the trees will be a delight and restful for the soul.
  "Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance." Ps 42:5

Friday, 9 October 2015

NIMBY by Susan L.

  There was an article in our local paper about one of the small neighbouring towns just north of here. Everyone was all in an uproar about a potential, privately run, alcohol and drug rehab treatment centre that is hoping to open their doors in their community.
  It took me a while to remember what NIMBY stood for...Not In My Back Yard.
  The organization has only put up a sign about their plans. There's still a lot of red tape to work through because the site they purchased wasn't zoned for such an endeavor.
  The calls flooded the mayor's office. People were afraid.
  "Imagine the nerve! Bringing those kinds of people who would use such a place, here! Druggies, drunks and criminals! It won't be safe to walk down the street! I have children and don't want them exposed to those types of people!"
  I can hear them. It's the same sort of attitude that greeted the methadone clinic before it opened its doors here in town. Not in my back yard! Thankfully the clinic was able to open anyways.
  It's the same sort of ignorant prejudice that even the Krasman centre faces. "Those people should all be locked away!" (That is an actual quote taken during a public survey.)
  So here's the truth. These are human beings: men and women who could be mothers, fathers, brothers, sons or daughters who are trying to improve their lives. Rural communities are incredibly under resourced. We need these places. People need these places.
  They save lives plain and simple.
  Mental health and addictions go hand in hand. Until an addiction is addressed, it is hard to get out from under the mental health challenges. It's a long and winding road to recovery. I celebrate the sheer courage and determination it takes to begin that journey.
  The persons I have met who face these dual challenges inspire me. I am honoured to be called a friend by many of them.
  "Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him. And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, "This Man receives sinners and eats with them."" Lk 15:1-2

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Challenges by Susan L.

  Last night we began a new study on the book of Revelation. It's the third week but we've been trying a couple of different studies until we found one that helps make the book connect to our present circumstances. I confess it's a struggle for me. The biggest challenge is becoming excited about Christ's return. It's a future thing and my life is such a moment to moment embracing of the now that it's hard to imagine a tomorrow.
  That, and it's like speaking a foreign language; talking or imagining what the future might hold.
  Is my reluctance to think about the future because I am afraid? Afraid of what?
  Rug pulling. Forgive me Lord but I live with an expectancy of disappointment. It's easier not to get my hopes up. It's more than having been let down by others, it's that I've let myself down, too. We do live in a broken world with broken people. May God's grace save us from ourselves.
  I think I also need to stop thinking of goals as ghouls.
  There is one future tense passage in the scriptures, not sure exactly where it is, that has helped me get through some really tough days. The one where, one day, God will wipe away every tear from our eyes. There will be no more pain, nor sorrow, and the former things will pass away. There will be a time when the Lord holds me close and everything, mind and body, will be healed.
  Anxiety will vanish like the mist.
  If that's all I can hope for at the moment, I think that's a pretty good place to start.
  "Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom, thanksgiving and honour and power and might, be to our God forever and ever, Amen." Rev 7:12