Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Chances (Or Why I Walk Slow, Forgive Quick and Love Loads)

N.B. I have depression. Clinical Depression. I have since I was a teenager, but I only really sought out medical help when I was studying at Uni and everything just got far too much to handle: March 2012. Almost 10 years after I probably first began displaying symptoms of depression, I finally plucked up the courage and the know-how to visit my Doctor and get medical help. I've been to counselling. Several different ones actually. I've never really found it to be very helpful. In fact, I've had late night MSN conversations with friends that have aided me more than counselling ever has. But that's just the way of the world, isn't it? The reason I am telling you this is that I have never really publicly spoken out about it before. And I guess if someone wants to understand me and the way my brain works... it's pretty important that you understand that simple fact first and foremost. I'm not looking or asking or wanting sympathy. I just think that it's time that everyone started being more honest with one another... even if it is from behind their computer screen.

I love to walk. I guess that comes in handy, not being able to drive. But I don't mean walking is my preferred method of travel: I regularly use buses, trains, taxis and other people to get around. What I mean is, I love to just... walk. Wander. Hike. Meander. Dilly-Dally. Wherever and whatever I'm doing, I like to take my sweet time about it. Especially if I have no fixed schedule. There is a art in walking slowly. In observing every aspect of your surroundings. The birds. The trees. The clouds. The sun. The warmth. The breeze. The bugs on the ground. The traffic, or lack thereof. The feel.

There are some days when to wander around outside is like you are walking around in heaven. To be in God's world, but to know that it is only temporary, and yet to appreciate every aspect of that perfect day that God has gifted into your hands. He has placed you exactly where you are, and in whatever difficulty or circumstance you are facing... God has given you a chance to just BE. When I am walking slowly, I am not under pressure. I am not at anyone's beck and call. I am not being summoned, or bothered, or interrupted. It is just me and God, taking a stroll. A chance to chat over those ideas and dreams in my head, or listen to the one's in God's. A time to seek forgiveness, guidance, direction, calling and gifting. A time to rethink. A time to let go. Yes, walking slowly is an art form, but that is why I do it.

Some people find it easy to hold grudges. I don't. In fact, I find it's more effort than it's worth. If you hold someone's mistakes against them, you are basically saying that the relationship you had with them; whatever it was; is not as important as the stupid or horrible thing they did or said. It also comes from an assumption that the person is so perfect that they are not going to do anything that hurts or upsets you. And let me be frank: there is NO-ONE in your life who will never upset and hurt you. In fact, those closest to us are the most likely to hurt us. Why? Because they are whom we place on pedestals, assuming that they are so awesome they are infallible. Who is infallible but God?

I'm not advocating letting people walk all over you because they are imperfect and they are bound to hurt you. But if someone does something that upsets or hurts you: Talk to them about it. And then forgive them. And then move on. Holding on to our grudge and our hurt and our bitterness diseases none but our own heart. You may need help to forgive. You will most definitely need prayer. But the more we practice it in our everyday lives, the easier it becomes. I have had a number of people who have been very close to me do things that have really upset me. But I have learned to forgive each and every one of them, because I am incapable of holding grudges. They sit like an ugliness in my heart and a heaviness in my chest and it causes all normal function and life to cease until I let it go. So I have learned to forgive quickly. It's just something that has to be done.

The longer I work as a youth worker, the more I realise that I am incapable of not loving a child. There is something that happens inside of me, the minute I connect with someone, I feel a loving and caring feeling towards them. (Not in a romantic way....) Sometimes, it's from the minute I see their shining little smile looking up at me. For others, the love hits me the minute I see something of their character, or strength, or passion, or hopes, or dreams, or fears. But there is always something... something of God that I see in each and every child and young person I meet. I love that. I love that I love my job. I love that I love my young people. It doesn't mean that they won't annoy me, or frustrate me, or even make me angry. There are definitely days when I feel like throwing in the towel. But then I think about one smile, one laugh, one sparkling or tearful eye, and I remember. To feel loved and accepted for who you are: Surely it is the single most important and desperate search in every young person's life. And ultimately, the answer to that struggle is found in God. But what chance does a young person have in finding that in God if they don't see it in the ones who tell them about God? So I love all my young people. The ones I see weekly. The ones I see monthly. The ones I've met once. The ones I will pass on my way somewhere. The friends of the ones I meet and work with. I love them all. Because God does. What other reason is there?
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