The Ladder

On Saturday I went on a “Healing and Wholeness” course run by the Church of England for those of us interested in prayer ministry and healing prayer. It’s a two-day course and I’ll write about it next weekend after I’ve completed it ‘cos I know, I KNOW…it brings up all sorts of ideas about those awful American preachers who pray on the vulnerable and perform fake miracles and take people’s money. I know. But it isn’t like that (not when it’s done right) I promise. Anyway I’ll have more to say about that when I have actually completed the course.

i just brought it up because it’s a preamble to what happened as I was in Chatham (again, I know). For those of you unfamiliar with Kent based snobbery perhaps the below will help you:

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As they say in Croydon “it’s rough ends”, and I mean, that’s saying something ‘cos parts of Croydon aren’t exactly lovely.

I Digress. I was in Chatham, the church was obviously active within the community (always nice to see) and the people from Rochester Diocese all seemed very nice, the day ended I had to walk back to the station. It was about a 20 min walk along a busy road – the speed limit was 40mph and there were cars, buses and lorries. I was mostly thinking about the course and about the steak I was going to eat for dinner later. Food is never far from my thoughts.

Anyway, I suddenly became aware that on the opposite side of this busy road at the bottom of an approach road (which was residential) was a little boy, aged about 3, smartly dressed in shirt and chinos. He didn’t seem to be accompanied and he suddenly made like he was going to run into the road which was full of traffic. I shouted at him to “stay there, stay there!” a car that had luckily managed to stop slowed and thanked me as she drove past. The bus driver who was coming on my side of the road also had quick reactions and stopped to let me cross to him.

I realised straight away that the little boy had a disability, I kneeled down to his level to ask him “where’s Mummy and Daddy?” and he responded but with sounds rather than words, I tried several questions to try to illicit where he had come from, to no avail, two men walked past and said “he’s first house on the left love” in a tone that implied this wasn’t his first jaunt out alone.  I said “shall we go and find them (Mummy and Daddy)?” In an excited voice to which he seemed to assent before darting off up the middle of the side road – I followed managing to steer him onto the pavement before we rounded a corner and saw mummy/auntie/carer running in the other direction looking panicked.

As I had just finished reading Brene Brown’s “Daring Greatly” I tried to show this woman as much grace and compassion as I could, I informed her where he had been but in a non accusatory tone, I joked with him that he mustn’t run off as people would be worried and she thanked me before having to chase after him as he had darted off again.

It would be easy to have judged her, and if I’m honest, I did a little bit at first, but that is my failing and not hers.  I don’t know how hard it is to look after a disabled child, I don’t know that he has run off before, I don’t know her past, her struggles, how well she is managing or not.

Brene Brown writes that we all experience shame, an example of shame would be thus:

“let’s say you forgot that you made plans to meet a friend at noon for lunch.  At 12:15 p.m, your friend calls from the restaurant to make sure you’re okay.  If your self talk is “I’m such an idiot.  I’m a terrible friend and a total loser” – that’s shame.  If, on the other hand, your self-talk is “I can’t believe I did that.  What a crappy thing to do” – that’s guilt”.

Shame makes us act crazy, when we experience it we lash out, we say hurtful things, we try to deflect the shame.  I know I do.  Therefore, If I had shamed that woman, she may have responded in that way, and, as I said above, I don’t know her circumstances, so why do I have the right to judge and shame her?

I will re read this book, it is a “game changer”, I will try to build up my “shame resilience” as Brene calls it and move toward wholehearted living.  Brene says:

“Empathy is a connection; it’s a ladder out of the shame hole”.

We all need that ladder, because we all fall into that shame hole – I know I do.  On Sunday I was offended, it was unjust and unfair.  I have needed to talk about the incident with friends and family, so that when I deal with it I do it from a place of empathy, rather than shame.  I choose to believe that people are mostly trying their best but sometimes they react to things from a place of shame and if you do so as well it will only make the situation worse.

Everyone is trying their best, so am I.

 

A quick Q&A

My friend Madge said she’d like me to answer some basic questions about myself like “why do you go to church?”  Trouble is the answers to those sorts of questions are a bit complex!  I’ve done my best below, without writing an essay in response to each one.

Why is the blog called Nack and Nace.com?  What does it mean?

Nackley and Nacey were my imaginary friends as a child, more affectionately referred to by two year old me as “Nack and Nace”.  I was thinkng along the lines of imagination, thoughts and writing and thought it had a nice ring to it.

Why am I writing a Blog?

It’s a way to be creative, my job is not creative at all and I needed an outlet.  I enjoy writing, also I wanted to expand on my 100 days of gratefulness posts that I’d done on Facebook a while back and expand on the short little posts that I did there.  I found keeping an online “Gratefulness Diary” helpful, it’s very hygge which is something I intend on writing an entire post about!

What stops me from writing?

Time, or lack thereof!  Also, sometimes, wondering whether what I write will be interesting to others, so a bit of self doubt I guess.

Why am I a Christian?

Well, because I believe in God.  I try to avoid debates about whether there is God or not because I know there is in the same way that I feel and know love exists and I appreciate that others will say exactly yhe same thing for why they feel there isn’t a God.  Does this mean that I never doubt? No. does it mean that I have all the answers or find some things about Christianity easy to accept?  Hell no.  Does it mean that I can’t see things from the point of view of an atheist or that I don’t have atheist friends – nope.  All are welcome in my circle, so long as you are trying to be good, wholehearted person.

Why do I go to Church?

A lot of people, including Christians struggle with Church.  I get this, I do too – it can sometimes seem hard to find God there.  It can be rigid, judgmental, unaccepting and self righteous.  The thing is that Church is not God or Jesus, it is the meeting of imperfect people in a place (any place) where they come together to meet with God and Jesus.  Sometimes those imperfect people forget why they are there and they forget what the face of Jesus looks like (that’s love, by the way).  It can also be a bit magical though when you have a community of imperfect people trying to do wonderful and loving work and supporting eachother in their faith, they might not get it all 100% right but they can do a lot of good.

Why do I read the Bible?  Do I believe everything in it?

I read it because it is how I learn to know God and Jesus better, how I grow in understanding my faith.

I believe every word in it is inspired by God and God breathed but that doesn’t mean that I believe that it can be read at face value.  So much of the Bible needs to be read in context, with an understanding of the time in which it was written and the culture.  I am not a Theologian and I know there are many ways of interpreting texts.  I do my best and I try to remember what Jesus said and did and I take that as the basis for how I should behave and also how I should try and interpet stories, looking through a “Jesus Lens”, if you will.

Why do I call myself a Jesus Feminist?

I am a Feminist, I believe that women have the right to be treated as equal to men and that they aren’t a lot of the time.  I believe that Jesus thought so too.  In the Gospels there are countless examples of Jesus treating women with respect, allowing them to learn from him (unheard of before that time) and treating them as equal to men.  It is what I believe that God intended and what should be the natural order of things.

Why am I interested in Hygge, Mindfulness and Hapiness?

I think it is human nature to search for happiness and purpose in life. I struggle with time management, saying “no”, people pleasing and generally being “busy”.  I can find that I am suddenly existing rather than living, that I am stressed, tired and anxious.  It is so much better to live and to enjoy this wonderful, crazy life journey, noticing it and not having it just pass you by.  Using Hygge, Mindfulness and exploring my Faith help me to be more centered, more present and happier.

Christian Mindfulness is bascially just another term for being still and listening to God, Hygge is all about comfort and security, things that you also get from being mindful and from having a faith.

Essentially all of these things are about living in the present, being still and connected.  I am a big believer in human connection and making time for you; it is instrumental to our mental health and well being.

Do I have any vices?

Chocolate.  Specifically pralines.

Any other questions?  Shout.