Friday, November 24, 2006


I'm on an enforced period of rest.
One month.
Hopefully what I have is reactive and not rheumatoid arthritis, according to the consultant.
So in the first week I have written all my cards for Christmas, put all the addys onto the computer, watched cosmos and the DVD of monks that someone sent me from CF/II (my father has too- an amzing film), read several books, made cards and explored on the net.
The latter has been interesting.
Every now and then, something that I have always known about myself becomes apparant.
This case is no exception.
It led to a long discussion with hubbie and many issues that have been sitting half untouched since December last year were finally brought out and stood in the open for us both to see.
Because I have changed.
The thing that was a most important part of me, my faith, is now no more and I have to find out what that means in terms of how I live my life and how we live our lives together...
We both know one thing, we want to stay together, but there may be areas in which we now clash. But having got through 20 odd years of disasters together and ended up where we are now smiling, hopefully, even as I explore the world from the safety of my room, things will be ok...
And at least while I explore, I can have fun doing so and thus take my mind off my rest.
And my pain!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

This and that

Chris's funeral is on Monday afternoon. Keith, one of the Lourdes group people rang to tell me this morning. His group was planning to take Chris to Lourdes next Easter with their noisy, lively, exuberant young peoples group.
He would have loved it.
Tom doesn't want to go, but he keeps mentioning it every now and then. And Matt's class prayed for him in school.
As for me, I went to see the doctor this morning and she signed me off work onto the sick to REST! I hate REST! -it's always seemed pretty pointless to me.
So I've made a whole load of Christmas cards (perhaps that's why my hands are hurting), watched a DVD and chatted to a couple of friends from CF, who I love very dearly...
Mike's been in and out and is in work tomorrow and I will start reading some physics book to try and relax...
I actually am feeling very very fed up. My hands are so important to me because of the guitar and if I lose flexibility in them, it matters so much.
But when I look at what Lyn and Andrew and James and all the rest of Chris's family are going through, I should be thankful for so many things and count the good things I have and look at this as an opportunity to learn something new.

So, those who pray, please carry the family in your hearts, especially at 1.30pm on Monday (GMT) when they will be saying a sad farewell to Chris.
I know it will mean a lot to them to know people are praying...

Missing the road

I think a couple of things though that I have recently acknowledged have really helped me, which are too personal to go into here...yet...
But it is the decision to leave CF for a while (Christian Forums), which you'll have to forgive me for saying, is a very toxic place for people with doubts, that is probably my biggest step of divesting myself of things that wound.
It is a too dogmatic place to be, too certain for people grappling with uncertainty.
People wrestling uncertainy need understanding of that first and foremost.
They need to learn that uncertainty is a part of life to be grasped and celebrated, to seek truth, which may not be the truth they think it is and the answer they are expecting.
As Sidney Carter said of seeking his Jesus who was surrounded by a question mark, "You ask for dead certainties; all we offer is living possibilities"
But CF does not offer those living possibilities as an option, it allows, in its rules and structure, a board when members are encouraged to point towards the dead certainties and rebuke those who seek anything else and I think it is that in many cases that has killed many a seeker's faith dead.
Because people who seek may not be able to answer definitively if asked where they are, on which side of the road they belong, when often they're not even sure what road they are looking at.
Making them focus on the state of what they believe and what they doubt in the name of purity stifles their exploration even further, it makes them define things prematurely before they are refined and from CF's perspective, drives it further from where it is aiming.
And I think that was what happened to me. I do not blame anyone but myself, at any stage I could have switched off the computer and stopped the thoughts that the relentless probing of where I stood produced. It is probably, in the long term, good that I didn't, where I am now is more honest and open though terrifying, than I have ever been.
But I can't see a road at all now to walk on, just the landscape ahead. I miss the road like crazy, it was so good to know where I was going, but the trees and fields and distant mountains look inviting enough to explore them without that certainty that I once had.
And to explore without CF for a bit...
..and without the god I no longer believe in.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


A year ago I was exploring my faith.
I didn't see it as anything else than looking more deeply to banish the doubts that were lurking.
Doubts over things like giving out condoms to prostitutes- a sin, I was told, putting me out of communion with the church (though that post vanished not long after I read it.)
Like whether Bishops who made statements that contained information that conflicted with accepted scientific research should be subject to criticism of that research (isn't what the Church says good enough for you anymore?)
And to cut a long story short, the exploring led to a shattering of the foundations.
On November 21st, I sent the request asking that my icon be changed. I was in turmoil inside, and the decision to deprive a senior member of CF of a Christian icon because of her beliefs threw up the fact for me that I, too, could not state I shared those beliefs..
I originally sent this to one of the mods and was told to send it to a member of Alpha
I've been thinking about this over the last few days/weeks really. I cannot put my hand on my heart anymore and declare that I believe/affirm the Nicene creed in all it's aspects and therefore should treat myself the same way I would have treated someone else when I was a mod. I have a lot of doubts at present but also, the decision about "H" and a couple of other posts I have read have convinced me that I need to do this.
Thank you"

What was interesting was that although I could not at that point say that I had lost all my faith, in fact in a message to a friend I said this..
"Just wanted to let you know I won't be posting in OBOB for a bit.
Because of various things I've changed my icon to Other Church, which means I cant post in the CO section.
I'm still going to church and all that, I just don't like things about the way that CF has done some things lately added to which I am actually all over the place doubt wise
It hopefully will stop me being on so much and hey, it'll sure keep me out of Reilly's."
I prayed for people still, asked for prayers and held on, to what I wasn't sure entirely, but held on I did.
But as I explored more and could only read and not post, cut off, as it were, things got fuzzier.
Until finally, on December 5th 2005, after a weekend in which I had argued long and hard in GA about OSAS doctrine, I realised here I was actually talking about myself

"I think our understanding of another is difficult because we are coming from 2 different approaches.

I can see what you are saying. From a viewpoint that does not believe in the type of spiritual rebirth you are talking about, I would say that if you examined a "born again" Christian in minute detail- their thoughts, beliefs, attitude, prayer life, and their intimate view of their personal relationship with Jesus and compared it with the people who are posting on this thread when they were calling themselves "born again", you would find no difference.

To you, I think you are saying, it is because either they were not truly in a relationship with Jesus or that they were and will one day return, being inevitably drawn back to that which they cannot resist.

To someone who does not believe in Jesus anymore, they have experienced a great loss, because whatever you say cannot undo the fact that their beliefs, their relationship to them was genuine, full of meaning and often the be all and end all of their life. And not believing as you do in this spiritual rebirth, they quite rightly point to you and say, R, I was once like you.

Until suddenly, one day, it all became so much straw."

So I wrote once more to the patient alpha member and asked to be designated a non Christian.
"Sorry S.
I've come to the conclusion that the only honest thing I can do is ask for a change to a Seeker icon.
I cannot really say I believe anything anymore, which is probably the saddest thing I have ever written.
But I will keep seeking and hoping that one day what I had will return."

And now- I'm exploring again but in a new a totally different area of my life and this exploration is fascinating, frightening, at times exquisitely painful but leading me on relentlessly.
Who knows where it all may lead.
I don't think, sadly, it will lead back to faith, but as I bid a fond farewell to CF, a place where I gained so much friendship, but lost so much, I hope at least to be led to a place where I am not afraid to talk and tell about what I am thinking or feeling for fear of being condemned and rebuked, as happened at CF. Because that may lead to change, but not in a good way, in a painful, twisted, nightmare, where things plunge so far down so rapidly, so out of control.
So here is to exploring, but on my terms...
And here's to the "celebration" shortly coming up, of my first anniversary of that nightmare day when I looked in the sky and realised I no longer saw God there...
And in that celebration (ironic word) realise the pain of realising it was all so much straw is the same today as it was nearly a year ago.

Monday, November 13, 2006

A sad day

When the boys were little, we lived round the corner from my sister in law. Next door but one to her lived Chris, the same age as my Tom. He had a chronic skin condition and was very small for his age but oh so lively! He and the boys and the girls from down the road spent every dry day outside together and every wet day inside, usually in our house. Tom didn't mix well, and I would sit on the step or on the wall with a book, to keep an eye on proceedings.
One day Tom had a chest infection and I took him to the doctor. Chris was there with Lyn, his mother just before us with what she thought was the same thing. He'd just gone on a wonderful new drug for his skin, which had left him bald and in need of creams several times a day.
But it wasn't a chest infection, it was heart failure...
And tests led to the sad news that only a transplant would save him and as he was so small and in need of such a quick result, it seemed unlikely.
But two days later, they got the call, while dad was in church on Good Friday.
He recovered well and was back in school in no time, up to his old tricks.
Well we moved away and Tom went to the special school and we lost contact.
And today I heard the sad news that Chris was dead, after spending a period of time in hospital.
And as I think of those summer days, sitting on the wall, the kids annoying the life out of all the neighbours, I weep for his wonderful parents and his brother, who gave him so much of their time and energy and loved him so very much and now are in sorely in need of everyone elses comfort and help...
A sad day...
Please remember Chris and his family as you see fit, I am sure they will appreciate it.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Missing hugs

I am missing hugs
And touching
And shaking hands
And moving quickly around the place, bending, turning round to look at something funny behind me
Walking long distances without worrying about getting back to the car
Lying in bed without being bothered about how I'm going to get up again
Cuddling with Mike

It's been 4 months now and I just want to wake up one morning and not hurt.


However, it is teaching me what others have gone through for a far longer time...
I think I would have prefered a virtual lesson though rather than the full written interactive one.
Still, got to laugh, hey?
At least I've done 40,000 words!!
And tomorrow I've got a lunch break (don't tell anyone, they may find a way to fill it...)
and the day after is saturday and I plan to finish the book this weekend.
Faint heart never won fair lady after all.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Walks and words...

Well I managed 5 miles.

Was probably not wise, my knees and feet are still hurting. My neck was bad too, I dressed several peoples feet and the odd positions I stuck it in are still causing me grief.

But the joints have told me not to worry, that they'll settle down.

So I've gone straight from that into nanowrimo and I'm up to 17,000 words already. It's spured me on to finally leave CF, to empty my blessings bank, tear up my character, symbolically say bye to all there. Lost so much!

So at the moment, I think I'm written out, I've done about 6,000 words today and my head, hands and fingers hurt!

So I'm on a break, listening to Lindisfarne and drinking coffee while the boys watch the rugby.

And I'm trying not to think about Monday or week Tuesday...

After no deaths for ten years, two in two weeks and two inquests in 8 days.

I think that neither will be pleasant, for me and certainly not for the families, wrapped in grief.

Rest in peace.