One of those days.

You know. One of those days. We all get them. I’ve had them before and I’ll get them again. Here’s a picture of one I made earlier – when I was about three, I think

We don’t have a right to trouble free days. ‘In this life you will have troubles.’ said Jesus, and he wasn’t wrong. Sometimes the trouble is external, sometimes it’s physical, sometimes it’s other people, but sometimes it’s just us. Today my trouble is me, the good old fashioned blues. But I know what the answer is, I know the remedy. The remedy is the deep inner knowledge that this will pass. That there is joy in the knowledge that everything is in God’s control, not mine. Thank the Lord! Hallelujah and all that stuff. If I was in control there would be a jolly good reason for the blues.

And tonight – as if planned to rescue me from the sludge of my mind – four friends are coming to dinner. ‘Dinner’ may make it sound rather grander than it is, as we’re having fish finger sandwiches with roasted peppers, followed by apple pie and ice cream and custard. Not exactly cordon bleu but the grub is secondary to the company. Already I feel my spirits rising. It’s a fishfinger version of Proverbs 15:17 ‘A bowl of vegetables with someone you love is better than steak with someone you hate.’

Hey – I hope that when you read these blogs you’re joining me for a chat and a maunder through possible ideas and memories and you’re not expecting wisdom or enlightenment, because some days you’ll get nonsense, some days there’s a story, some days a thought, and some days, like today, I just need to tell you something and I have no idea why. To my absolute amazement it seems that today I have to write about self-harm. I don’t want to write about it, but something, or maybe someone, is urging me on. So here goes.

I’m stunned really. Never in a thousand years would I have imagined that I had anything to say about this subject. Really. It’s always puzzled me, the whole idea of self-harm, and I didn’t know that I knew anything about it. But it seems that I do.

Why then am I going down this dark little lane? If I concentrate hard, I can come up with a couple of reasons ; Some of you may be struggling with the desire to self-harm and this may give you a new perspective, and let you known that you are not alone, and that you are loved. Some of you may be bewildered and maybe even judgmental about people who self-harm and this might help you to understand them. And I suppose that there is a third reason, entirely selfish, I am writing this because I am amazed and dazed by a new realisation.

When I was a child I went to live with my father and step-mother and my dad had a book of Victorian Art, a massive old thing, too big for the sideboard, too unwieldy for a shelf, and so it was kept under my bed, a large book full of dull paintings, battlefields, death beds and tragedy. Not a laugh a minute. One painting always fascinated me, the portrait of a soldier, saying farewell to his child. The man was on a high stool, the little girl on the floor in front of him, the colours were muddy and muted and there was nothing else in the painting but this man and this child. This grief. This love. This tragedy. This cruelty. It made me weep.

Here’s the strange thing, the thing I had never understood until yesterday when I was writing a short story – back then there were days when I needed to weep. Days when I needed to look at that painting, sentimental and maudlin’ though it was. Days when secret weeping was the only thing that would get me through. Isn’t that an odd thing to say? There were days when my inner pain was so overwhelming, when memories and images and self-loathing (at that tender age and all through my teens) were so painful, that I needed to cry.

Yesterday I realised, for the first time ever, what that was all about. Yesterday as I wrote my short story I realised that this was something others did, too, but in different ways. Now children take a razor to their poor soft arms, or turn to drugs or to alcohol, but it’s all the same. It’s all about creating a pain that is manageable, understandable, a pain that will end. It’s all about denying unbearable pain and replacing it with something lesser.

I know now that I turned to The Soldier’s Farewell because to step into the reason for my sadness and weep for it would have been unbearable. I would have drowned in the tears, been devastated by memory. So instead I’d drag the book out of the dusty darkness, and turn to the Soldier’s Farewell, and I would weep for him and for that little girl. I would weep deliciously, poignantly, sobs wracking my bones, taking away the pain of memory and replacing it with something softer. I couldn’t share it with anyone, because there was no one there and anyway the shame of the past was too great. But I could find a way to survive that hour or that day, and to carry on.

That’s what self-harm is all about. It’s about trying to manage unbearable sorrow, it’s trying to keep going.

If you are a trying to cope with it all alone, please know that there is help. There is. There is an end to this pain, and you are brave enough to find it.

If that’s where you are right now, if you’re needing to run away from the real pain of life to shelter in a lesser pain, listen, Jesus said ‘ In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.’

He has overcome the sadness and the loss of this world. You are loved, and precious. Regardless of your past, of what has been done to you or what you have done, you are loved and you are not alone. In the Book of Romans we read

“Neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” 

So nothing you have done, or lived through, or think, or dream, or dread, will ever be able to remove you from the love of Christ. He loves you now and he loved you then. He stands at the door and knocks, all you have to do is let him in.

Samaritans – there for everyone
Call 116 123

One thought on “One of those days.

  1. Oh Lucy this is a blog of mercy and love. Enjoy your dinner. I am keeping this blog bookmarked it’s beautiful 💞

    Sent from my iPhone


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