Monday, 9 March 2009

Getting Personal

When I began this blog, it was Lent 2008. With the cycle of the Church I am reminded that although I am on this journey towards… often the path spirals back on itself; allowing me, allowing all of us, to revisit a time, an experience, a preconception or two.

In the introduction to the blog I said that it would be about my faith, that there were parts of my life that I would not share, that I regarded as personal. And yet, as the year has gone on, this has shown itself to be false. If my reflections were only based on scripture study and preaching a ‘do as I say, not as I do’ philosophy then they would be no use to anybody- even me. Perhaps I do not report specific incidents, mention names, place and dates but my faith is my life therefore something of my life is surely in every posting. And that is as it should be; after all I do not leave God in the Tabernacle, at the door of the church, at the door of my home, at the door of my heart. God’s around and about me interfering with everything I do. So maybe this blog is experiencing something of a conversion.

God at the moment is in hospital with me. My fifteen year old son, having never had a day off school or barely a day’s illness in his life, has been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. A chronic and fairly debilitating illness that affects the digestive system producing symptoms that are pretty distressing to a teenager with a high sense of self-awareness and somewhat obsessive habits about cleanliness (not a normal teenage trait – I know).

We are in a Children’s Hospital, which, in itself is pretty weird; my son is not only fifteen but six foot three inches tall. The rest of the patients on the ward, put together, barely reach either his age or his height. The Playworker, running up and down with teddies, toy trucks and jigsaw puzzles apologises every day - there is nothing on the ward for him to do. But to be honest, he doesn’t have the energy or the will to do anything.

He is at the age where he should be fighting for independence; he needs help having a bath –
staying out late; he can hardly keep his eyes open –
arguing with his mum and dad; he tries to make deals with me not to leave him – at all.

The wonders of modern medicine mean they ‘wonder’ how this is going to develop. Crohn’s affects everyone differently, I have listened to miracle stories and horror stories and decided we will favour a wait and see approach. And pray…

And what will we pray? Should I be asking God ‘Why’?

I don’t know that I can do that. I have spent long enough learning not to believe in a God who enjoys making us suffer; who plays with us like a schoolboy using a magnifying glass on an anthill; who keeps knocking us down until we don’t have the energy to get up again.

My God wouldn’t do that. My God has a Son himself; he knows what it is like to be a parent; to be proud of his achievements; then to watch him suffer. And I do believe that. So I am not asking ‘Why?’ I just glad to have someone with me who understands.


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