Monday, 27 October 2014

Us and Them

You never think it will happen to us, it's something that happens to others.
How often do people in the news say that statement?

I've been to two different mental health training sessions in the past week, the first one was trying to normalise mental health, giving the scary statistics that 50% of people the NHS is working with have a mental health issue. The one in four of us will have a mental health issue.

We hear it about physical health too – 1 in 3 people will get cancer in their lifetime.

The second lot of training – today – talked about us and them. This training was focused on self-harm, and the speaker talked about how “we” as “normal” people dealt with distress instead of “them” the people who react badly, which leads to self harm.

How does he know that in that room of 8 people who work with young people that we aren't or weren't self-harmers.

It's made me ponder two things:

1, we assume that everyone is like us.

2, we assume that noone is like us.

In the ways we are “normal” we assume that everyone else is like us. It's why LGBT people have to come out, but straight people don't. I met for the first time one of my fiancĂ©'s colleagues recently, and before I met her I asked him what she looked like. The picture in my head was totally different – I realised it was based on someone else I know who does a similar job to her – but also similarities to myself.

In the ways we are the “them” we assume we are totally on our own – not helped by the way that so many things are still taboo; mental health, abuse, some physical illnesses. We don't talk about things, we assume we are the only one. Sometimes though when you open up, let down your walls you find out you have more in common with others than you think.

I've always said “Everyone is a little bit broken.”

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Spinning plates in a snowy valley

Do you ever feel like you are spinning plates in a snowy valley, and you are one snowball away from everything crashing around you. Life is busy. That is generally how I like it. But right now I could do with things calming down. It feels like if it's not one thing it's another. With Work and Wedding, preaching and praying, faith and worship and a polite word beginning with f to describe housework (?)

My wedding has a DIY strand to it, which I think will be great but demands a lot of time.
My work seems to have me dealing with one thing after another, with many meetings, much worship preparation, huge amounts of admin as well as working with some wonderful families.
Preaching is something I love, but don't feel I can put my all in to at the moment.
Faith and worship is so near yet so far (that's my Local Preaching training if you don't know)
And then there is cooking, cleaning, loading the dishwasher, and all the other houseworky type things, to ensure I'm fed, watered and clean.
Then occasionally I try to have a life!

I don't think it would take much to totally knock me off balance from where I am at the moment. I like the snowball imagery, its more than just a drop of rain, but it's smaller than a foam-ball – and I've had one of those in my face recently (delightful 9 year old)

The one thing that is helping me keep my plates spinning is prayer. My spiritual director has challenged me to pray for 40 minutes every day. I don't tell you this to boast, but more to be supported and accountable. But also because I've found Psalm 121 very helpful. “I lift my eyes up to the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, maker of Heaven and Earth.” You know, to be able to lift your eyes to the hills, you have to be in the valleys. Sometimes it seems like its too dark, or too snowy to see the hills, but we should always raise our eyes, and find God. Through my prayer time I've found God to be close at hand, all around me in creation and that he cares for me.

I don't often blog overtly about my Christian faith. I've talked about MWiB and what that does. I've shared some of my passions that come out of my faith, but I don't often talk about the God who loves and cares for me. The God who is close. The God who knows everything about me, and longs for me to reach to out to Him.