I’m someone who tends to believe that if there is a problem I will be able to think my way out of it. It’s my Ace. My skill. I use logic and reason to analyse, and the analysis provides me with the knowledge I need to find a solution and success.
Recently I found myself answering a therapist’s questions, and in the course of that phonecall I felt feelings I’d not allowed myself to acknowledge for a while. They flattened me. By the end of the call I was bent over with my head on my desk. The feelings weighed so heavily that I didn’t even have the strength to sit up.
Over the next few days I worked at reasoning my way through the feelings. I wanted to get rid of them, and so I needed to understand them in order to work out how to dispose of them. Firstly I tried to work out which of the various complicated issues in my life was causing the feelings. They were linked to the other and a feeling of imbalance and unfairness in the way things have been communicated to other people about what happened between us, and the consequences of that. I began to think that if I could have the chance to say some things to him, not directly, but via another person reading him my words, then I would be able to let go of the hurts and the anger and the difficult feelings would disappear.
I sat in church on Sunday morning thinking about the letter I would write, and realised as I scoured my heart and mind, that it was going to be a very lengthy epistle. My brain kept turning over ideas and thoughts, and occasionally I’d feel a stab of pain as another jagged fragment of the past would slice at me as it made its way from my memory to my present consciousness. I thought I was coming up with a good plan. It seemed to me to be the way to find some of the healing which has eluded me so far. I would reason my way to redemption.
That was two days ago. Today, writing a letter is not on my agenda. It seems laughable that I thought that my own redemption was within my skill set.
I don’t know how or why, but without any action on my part, other than being rooted in my family, God ambushed me before I had a chance to attempt my own redemption.
Because painting walls was not just about painting walls. It was about investing in a shared life; trusting each other enough to make decisions about colour; knowing that each was doing their best and if the painting wasn’t perfect – that was ok. It was about committing to the future and repairing damaged spaces which held difficult memories.
As I painted I couldn’t get the radio to work and so I turned to the music on my phone. I’ve not listened to most of it for well over a year, because much of it was purchased at the suggestion of the other, and the songs held messages and affirmations which first thrilled me and then destroyed me; but my hands were covered in paint and I needed music. The songs which had once been so familiar to me had been forgotten – I didn’t recognize them from the 4 bar intros. They became like songs I was hearing for the first time. The music was just music, and became the soundtrack to the day I painted walls and another part of my shared life was restored.
‘Faith is work.
It is a struggle.
You must struggle with all your heart.
And on the way God will ambush you.’
In the most unexpected ways.