I’ve had a bit of a grumpy weekend as I didn’t quite get everything done that I wanted, and last week was just long and tiring, so by the end of it, the last thing I wanted to do was get up at the crack of dawn on Saturday and Sunday to write assignments. At church on Sunday night, I was listening to a sermon on kindness – which is always one of those topics we all think we have covered but are usually more in need of guidance on, than anything. I know I often think, I’ve got kindness down – not patience, never patience – but kindness, surely that’s something I’m pretty ok at? The crux of it was about showing that you value people by investing time, and effort, and any other resources you might have in them, but for me, this isn’t entirely accurate – in some ways, the people I ‘invest’ my time in give me the most back – I spend an hour visiting a patient with no family, and invest that hour, but the joy I get is worth it. Also, I don’t like the word ‘invest’ – it’s so full of economic suggestion, as though you can chose to invest more in one person whom you value more, than another, and that you expect something concrete in return. I want to be someone who values everyone. I don’t want to invest. I just want to give.
At the end of the day, the faith I follow teaches that we can never repay God for the gifts He gives us – we can never repay it, and He knows that. It’s ok. Breathe a sigh of relief. When I think of people I would say have ‘invested’ in me this year, they certainly haven’t gained much back, except for the fact that without them, I probably wouldn’t be here to write this. I’ve had a group of people who have got themselves around me when I needed it, who have written encouraging letters and kept me going, who have sat over me and made me eat and waited for me outside doctors appointments and medical school meetings. They’ve listened to me ranting about counselling and hugged me as I cried, and when things got worse, stopped crying altogether, with depression. They invested their time and I can’t repay that. I don’t want to be someone who expects payment when I am someone who needs grace every day, more, every day.
I was speaking with a consultant this week about his view on the assisted suicide bill (don’t even get me started on that) that is once again being brought before Parliament and what he said greatly fitted in with this. He was talking about how you can judge a society on how it treats its weakest and most vulnerable, and I believe this is true, at both a national level, and smaller – I love my church, for how it reaches out to the vulnerable groups in our community, but Britain doesn’t always bring home the bacon when it comes to caring. The best example I’ve seen of ‘Christianity in action’ is my learning disabled small group, where each person is truly valued for who they are, and where I was welcomed, regardless of not knowing the words, or the parables, or the structure. So often, society places value on those who contribute, who push boundaries and speak out, and leaves those who cannot do this. We enforce our own definition of value on them, and box them in, when really, who are we to weigh and measure each other? This doctor said, ‘ask yourself every day how you value your patients’. I want to value them. I want to care for them. I want to be someone who enables and does not disable, who reaches out and does not hem in. I want the extra mile to be the mile I do every day. I want the extra mile to be the one I am known for.
I have my issues with father figures, as you’ll know, if you’ve read this for a while – but as much as I struggle to accept it in my heart, my faith tells me that we are all children of God, and the egalitarianism was something I fell in love with in the Bible early on – if you can’t sacrifice a bull, a pidgeon is fine, if you can’t bring a pidgeon, some grain is fine. We are all equally loved, the Jews, the Gentiles, the lame, the blind, the greedy, the lusty, the faith-ful and the faith-less. And as much as we have our value and inheritance in sonship, we also have our burden in sin, equally tarred, equally stained, equally, terribly, in need of redemption. We are equally sinful – the Jews, the Gentiles, the lame, the blind, the greedy, the lusty, the faith-ful and the faith-less. In the teachings I follow, I need Jesus as much as you do, as much as I did yesterday, today, tomorrow and after. I deserve Jesus, as much as you do, as much as we all do and did and will do. Who am I, to give and take value when my own value comes from above?
I’m in counselling again tomorrow. It’s been a bit of a jolt, really as I wasn’t due back in till next week but some timetable issue meant I was put down for tomorrow, which actually works better for me although it’s thrown me a little. I’ve had a month off and it’s been nice, not to have it marking my week, not having to rule out the evening of the day I go as I just won’t be up to much and will be feeling pretty blue. It’s so hard. I’m not looking forward to it. An hour of bravery is sometimes a little tricky to find.