I few days ago, I wrote here about how I went through all my old school stuff and threw it out. Well, in among the piles of papers, lesson plans and sheets of starters and patterns, I found a note book. I love writing on little squared paper as they do in Europe, and I flipped through the notebook and thought - ooh look! I new book to write in! How exciting! (You have to understand it is a "thing" with me. Yes, I am odd. I know.)
I noticed that a couple of pages had writing on at the beginning, and I was about to rip them out and toss them when I paused to read. And page one was written on Father's Day 2008. The day I learned that I was going to be a Granny for the very first time. Oh, I can't tell you how excited I was (and still am) about being Missy's Moregranny.
I am not ripping that bit out. Of course not. And I turned the page.
I am going to write a little of what was on the next page. There were just two entries in the book. This is the last one, written over the course of the day at work.......
This is P1 at school. I have 2 covers today - P3 and P4, and I teach in P5. So at the moment, I have a little time to breathe. I truly hate this place. The staff I work with - not my friends - they are great. But the rest not. Thank heavens it is Friday.
I know. I am supposed to be thankful for so much and I truly am, but it is never simple or easy.
Constant rudeness, insults, lack of respect - oh enough. I keep saying it and I am sick of it.
It is now P2 and time is flying just because I am not in class. This weekend I need to sleep and rest. Not to mention finding David a suit and shoes for his prom as well. And he has lost his phone. Not a shining moment. Thank heavens it is a pay as you go one.
Soon, in 3 days time, it will be 2 years since Geoff was told his heart was leaking. In 2 weeks it will be 2 years since he died. How has the time gone by so fast? I am so caught up in the business of staying fed, clothed and sheltered that in a lot of respects I have forgotten how to really live.
But then, because I haven't had time to grieve yet, there is all that waiting. I wish I never had to think re hospitals, and lawyers again. I wish it didn't have to happen. I also wish the legal thing was magically over, in my favour and that I didn't have to worry for a couple of years.
Oh how I pray for miracles. It is all about me and I KNOW that, but I am only human. I am tired of worry. And yes, I know worry is a sin. Again, I am only human. I try. I really do. I need to be led by the hand along the right path for me. Guided, so I don't go off track. Humility. Love. Compassion.
Oh well. It is P5 now and time to teach. It is soon the weekend. I can't wait.
The date was Friday 20th June 2008.
10 minutes later, I blew out my knee in class and you all know the rest of that story. Apart from attempting to go to work the following Monday, I have not been back.
If I had found the book a year ago, it would not have actually meant a great deal. The time would not have been right. But right now, it does. It is. Because I am older, wiser and ready to slow down and see what is right there in front of my eyes. Now.
I asked for a miracle. And I got one. Not quite the way any of us would have wished for, granted, but a miracle, nonetheless. I have never had to endure the insults, lack of respect, and the sense of worthlessness that engenders since. That in itself, has been such a huge blessing. You see, I also, among the papers, found a list of all the incidents I had coped with while teaching, and it made my skin crawl. That part is best forgotten.
So that is the first part of the miracle. I was whipped out of the place that was eating me alive, and I never went back. And because I have been stuck at home, I have also had the chance to be there for my friends and family as they have faced crises, health-wise or other. I would not have been able to do that as well working full time.
Not only was I on the couch, but I was also incapable of doing the things I loved, like reading. The focus, people, the focus. Or lack of it. And zero concentration. But finally, I really understood what my friend with MS meant when she spoke of the same thing. I KNOW now.
So this miracle involves me off my feet and on a couch. Unable to read. Unable to focus. Unable to DO things. It doesn't sound much like a miracle, does it? But it was. Is. All that was left in retrospect, was time to rest. To breathe. To sleep. To think. To be. And heaven knows I did a great deal of most of those things. A great deal. Well, a variation of them, anyway.
Did I use that time wisely? Of course not. I seem to always have to learn the hard way. This is Linds here, the one who tries to fix everything for everyone. But another part of the miracle is just that. I realised that I cannot fix everything. Or anything, actually. I can try. But now I know it is out of my hands. So much I used to whizz through easily now appears to be written in some incomprehensible language. To me.
I have had time to listen. Time to learn from listening. Time to work out how to crochet. Time to play in my garden. Time for lawyers. Time for research. This is not a shining use of the time either. Because I try to control everything around me, more so than ever after Geoff died. Surrendering the control is very, very hard. But I try.
Refining by fire, perhaps.
I am not saying God made my knee explode that Friday afternoon. But I am saying that I really do believe He didn't stop it. He knew things had to change. And once they had changed, He has been extremely patient, as I have tried to work my way to the point where, instead of wailing and gnashing the teeth, I was ready to find the notebook. And realise just how prayers are answered in the weirdest of ways.
He has always had my best interests at heart, and over the course of the years since that Friday, I have fought so hard. Tried so many different things. Read, researched and experimented. But I was just putting off the time where I could see it as a true blessing, including the financial turmoil of losing an income. Because hey, Linds is still here. Different. But still Linds. Dreams intact. But subtly altered. With a new awareness which grows by the day of oh so many things.
When you have no option other than to turn round and say to God, hey, here I am. I have run out of all those options I was so sure would work. It was all about me, but now it has to be all about You. So what happens now? And you head for the couch to close your eyes and just rest. And listen. And you quieten the voices in the head (there are still elements of classroom control left in the far corners of the brain, you see) so you can hear clearly, as you tell your heart to stop racing, your head to stop worrying, and your body to stop hurting. Just rest and be present.
You see, once I stopped doing, and started being, so much has happened, become clearer. Friendships have cemented and grown immeasurably. Pride - oh the pride - has taken a huge hit, and saying yes to help is becoming easier. Even asking for help at times. Tough though that still remains. Thankfulness? Oh yes. Learning to say no. Another tough one.
So how can I not say that that Friday afternoon so long ago was not the answer to prayer? It has taken years to know this, recognise it. But it was, you see. I know that now.
And I will forever be thankful.
Edited to add: I have just been over to The Bloom Book Club to listen to Chapter Two. Well, my friends. Well. It could have been written for me right at this point. I tried to write what she was saying but go instead, and listen for yourselves. You will see what I mean. Grace. Acceptance. Thanksgiving. Joy. It blew me away.