Thursday, 9 August 2018

Sadness

Just now at 4 a.m my hearing dog Goldie had his second fit in 6 weeks.  I am at my mum's where she lives in a very small apartment in a retirement complex.  I share her bed and Goldie sleeps next to me on the floor.  It was my worst nightmare  as I had always hoped this wouldn't happen at mum's and indeed I always hope the fits will never return but to just have a 6 week gap is the shortest time span ever.  Its usually been one to two years between each one.
But what a business this one was.  Goldie always loses control of his bowels when he starts the fit and the result is very smelly!  The fit itself is scary to see and to listen to, especially for my mum whn its such a small space as her bedroom in the middle of the night. And then he goes disorientated and tries to get up but crahses down again and can't see what anything is, and then the barking phase which is the most scary bit of all as he sounds so manic.  It is post fit disorientation but scary to experience.  Now he is asleep, or rather restlessly dozing in the lounge while my mum is trying to rest in her room but I am so sad she has been so disturbed in her night.  It is worrying for the future if it is becoming more frequent.  How will we make it work with our itinerant lifestyle if there js the threat of fits?  So far it has never happened in someone else's home but now it has happened in mum's.  What about when we are travelling in the van or staying with hosts after doing concerts?  Usually vets don't put them on medication until the fits are really frequent.  I am so sorry for mum and she has been amazing but a horrid experience for her. And so sorry for Goldie too.  I will really need the Lord's wisdom.  But my poor boy who I love so much.

Sunday, 11 March 2018

If I'd been a mum

If I'd been a mum I may have been enjoying being loved today in a special way,
But God loves me every day in amazing ways.
If I'd been a mum I may have experienced being in intimate union with someone very dear to me, but not necessarily as relationships can be fraught and complicated.  But I am in intimate union with God everyday as He is part of me and I am part of Him.
If I'd been a mum I would have experienced the incredible pain and joy of giving birth or even if I couldn't give birth myself of having my own child placed in my arms and in my care.  Nothing can match up to the wonder and privilege of birthing and caring for something that is so absolutely unique yet part of me.  
But I have not been a mum.  Does that make me depleted  or less as a person? No, because all those qualities of creating, nurturing, loving, cating, guiding, cherishing and treasuring are still within me, ready to enfold or support any who need such love.  I will never hold my own baby or have happy family times with my grown up son or daughter but there are those all around me who need holding in prayer and love and given happy fmaily times as they have none of their own.
I am full of love and gratitude to my mum for all she has given and still gives me, but mothers day is all about how our mums have been there for us, loved and supported us, believed in us and made us happy.  Yet many others in my life have done those things for me as well as my mum and they need thanking and acknowledging too for I would not be who I am today without the input of all these dear people in my life, many of whom have never had their own children either.  In God's kingdom we are all family and while some may give birth and others not, the traits of being a parent are within us all and its our choice how we use those amazing mother/father gifts to bring love and joy into our hurting world

Monday, 1 January 2018

Deaf entertaining

Christmas is over for another year and New Year celebrations about to end. Tomorrow I will be returning home from my mum's where I came on the 29th having spent Christmas at home with friends.  The weeks leading up to Christmas had all been very busy with lots of people activities.  Marilyn doing little concerts, us hosting some pre Christmas events in our home all involving a lot of love, laughter, food and chat.  Then of course there were the actual days of Christmas itself followed by New Year with my mum.  So many dear friends who Marilyn and I love to be with and to open our home to.  And yet as always I am aware of a paradoxical sense of struggle and sadness within me and its to do with the friction between my desire to reach out and have an open loving home for the many lonely folk around us and my real inability to properly connect with any of them because of my deafness and sight problems.  I have such lovely friends and Marilyn works so hard to type for me on all occasions and others do the same and also finger spell.  I am so grateful but still there is that sense of lack.  I love to serve people and get absorbed in all the practical details of getting drinks, making sure the meal is ok and ready ,  offering things and clearing up .  All essential and I love doing it but still feel that sense of loss and yes inadequacy.  My mum types for me and does it so well but it is hard for us to just chat, hard to joke together or dhare a quick laugh over something on Tv.  Everyhing is more of a big deal.   I find out what someone wants for dessert but not so much how they are or the things that matter to them or that make them laugh or cry...conversation moves fast around the dinner table but it is harder for people to type then and I wouldn' want them to as they need to enjoy their meal and the company.  If I could lip read it would help although that takes enormous concentration and must be very difficult to tell the lip patterns when people are eating at the same time!   I think I found things easier when I could see more as although I still cuoldn't hear what was being said, i did know when someone was speaking but now I can't usually tell who's mouth is moving or if there is a general lull which may need filling or may just need respecting.....so here is the question, how does a deaf person who is full of love and the desire to make people feel accepted and belonging go about that?  How can I cross that barrier not just so I know I have connected with someone but so they can feel they have connected with me too?the answer isn't just practical solutions, after all the ipad and keyboard are wonderfully practical and so is the love with which dear people type for me....i guess the answer is in my own attitude too, understanding and accepting that while I can't be the force of interaction and connection between my guests and in my family, that I can still bring all that I long to bring, love, acceptance, belonging and safety for poeple to be themselves, just in my own unique way.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Nearly

Yesterday I nearly had a nasty encounter with cars when I tried to cross a road but hadn't looked properly.
I was crossing the side road branch of a T junction.
The side road opposite had a pedestrian crossing which I could have used, but didn't.
I was confident this way was fine because after all it wasn't a very busy road.
But it was unfamiliar and I wasn't thinking much about what I was doing.
And the sun was in my eyes.
and I was in a hurry.
As I'd approached it I'd seen that cars were turning into it from the right so I diligently checked that right corner and waited till it was clear.
This was the moment, I thought, and walked forward, confidently, with Goldie.
After two or three steps something made me glance to my right and I froze!
Just a few feet away two cars were heading straight towards me
I glanced to the left,
But two cars coming that way too.
I was stuck
In the middle
with cars coming fast.
How could I have missed seeing them?
But somehow I'd only checked round the corner,
diligently.
Somehow I'd forgotten that the most important part to check was along the straight road I was actually crossing!
I froze like a rabbit, sure we'd be hit.
And if Goldie was injured it would be my own fault.
I hadn't taken care.
I hadn't given due consideration to my sight being poor.
I'd just stepped out after one check.
and nearly got hit.
But I didn't.
The cars did stop although it took me a few moments to realise they had, as I can't always be sure if something is moving or not.
But they had and I was fine.
God protected me and gave me a good lesson too.
I was shaken up and when I got back to my business meeting
found myself bursting into tears!
Embarrassing but it let out the shock
and the others were lovely.
but I couldn't believe I hadn't seen the danger for myself and Goldie, of the moment I chose to cross.
God was so good and held me safe.
And what nearly happened
didn't come to pass.
Instead I feel a joy in his love and protection
and a new commitment to take more care.
It's easy to deny that some things are not so good now,
that with the sun in my eyes I can be virtually blind.
and even without the sun, when I'm sure I can see all I need,
to remember that I don't see the detail only the general.
But why deny it?  Why not just take care?
It doesn't make me any the less Tracy
And I still have so much sight to be thankful for
And my God who helps me in so many amazing ways.
And I can negotiate areas that are unfamiliar to me
so long as I take care.
I can take my beloved dog for walks
and enjoy the amazing scenery
and discover new places.
And pursue my loves of books and friends and beauty.
And if I don't deny my weaknesses but acknowledge them and their place in my life,  then give them to Him and carry on enjoying life,
Then they will become true strengths instead, God's strengths
Of wisdom and peace flowing in and through me.

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Remembering

Sometimes we don't realise
the impact someone has had on us,
until they've gone.
And we start to miss their smiles
their warmth and kindness
and their love of God
expressed in their own unique way.
Sometimes those around us
pass like ships in the night;
We are aware of their presence
in a momentary way
but then they've gone;
suddenly we feel a deep lack
and we are bereft.
Yesterday I said goodbye to Don
a colleague and friend yet not someone I knew well
in day to day life.
I'd never been to his home
never gone out for a meal with him and his wife.
Never watched a film together or even worshipped side by side.
Yet I realise he has added so much to my life.
A true gentleman, full of gentle wit and care
A man of vision and mission with a heart for the deaf.
A lover of jokes, of language, of God.
Don, so strong and determined to forge path of love in his life,
the love of God, of others, of his wife and son,
of those in need in the third world.
A man with a mission to reach out and inspire,
to draw in and make at home with the message that 'you belong'.
A man who set his heart to go wherever God called him,
despite by struck down by deafness as a teen.
A man who struggled with the deepest questions
after losing his beloved son so young
And who contended daily with anxiety
but whose great joy was bringing laughter through a terrible pun.
You've inspired and impacted me Don,
And if I can live my life with a fraction of your zest and devotion
I will know this is fruit from my acquaintance with you.
Thank you for being you and for handling on the legacy of the love of so many things.
God bless you now Don in your new life of joy. 
Ruth will be held safe in God's care
And we will continue your legacy with the love and passion we've received from you.
So goodbye for now, till I join you there and we can dance and celebrate together and see the fruit of God's love continually unfolding still.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

no need to fear

  1. I freaked out a bit when coming home from our conference last Sunday.  The whole week had gone so well and I'd felt kind of up on cloud 9 and relaxed in nyself.  So much so that it didn't seem to matter that I couldn't hear to follow the various conversations.  I felt I knew what I was meant to be doing and that gave me confidence and flow and I was excited at the steps people had taken and many finding the wonderful love of God for themselves.
However on our journey home we stopped off for lunch at a service station.  Marilyn and Heather fancied a Subway sandwich but I preferred the idea of a KFC.  The problem always with these kind of fast food outlets is that the menuss are on boards up above the counters and I can never see them.  Of course I can't hear their responses either and in situations like that it isn't always easy to use a notebook and pen as there is usually a queue behind me.  So Marilyn came up to help me after she'd ordered hers from Subway.  We queued for quite a while then when we got to the counter I ordered my chicken and chips.  The man responded saying something and waving over to the side.  I didn't know what he said but Marilyn wrote on my hand, 'we have to serve uorselves'.  
I felt thrown.  How were we supposed to do that, it wasn't a buffet, it was KFC!    The man waved over to the left again and Matilyn said 'he's saying you go over there...'. But when I looked over in that direction there was nothing to indicate to me what he meant and people seemed to be queueing up just as we had.
So I panicked
Not the best course of action I know
But I couldn't grasp what I was meant to do and that scared me.
Do you ever feel that?
So I said to Marilyn, 'I'll leave it, I'll get something else'
I turned my back and walked away.
And had a subway sarnie I didn't fancy.
But I just felt overwhelmed with the sense that I didn't know what I was meant to be doing and I didn't know how to get past that when the man was so uncommunicative and it was so noisy and busy.
Later I said to the Lord, why did I feel so panicky about tting a KFC?  I only needed to persevere in finding out what he meant.  (When I walked away i saw a computer screen that I think I was meant to use to place my order, but still didn't try as felt too panicky and likely to get it wrong.) 
The Lord said, 'you are always afraid of getting things wrong or not doing things the right way. But there isn't s right or wrong way most of the time.  You are judging yuorself because you have been judged, but as a result you are liviing in a restricted lifestyle only doing the things you feel safe in knowing how to do.  But I want you to be free and enjoying new things without fear of being judged.'
As I reflected I knew this was true and how often I make choices depending on how safe I feel to be ok with how I do a course of action.  
I have lived so much of my life inside like this.  It may not be obvious from the outside but I am aware of it within me.  But the Lord wants me to be free and will help me as I listen for His voice rather sn that old judging and fear inducing voice.  
I will always do things differently as I can't hear and can't see much so don't pick up like others do.
But that doesn't matter
Because I am me and my way is valid.


Saturday, 26 August 2017

Manure on the path

I didn't expect to see horse manure on the path, as I walked my dog.
It was a public right of way off a main road;
A narrow little path linking the walker to the fields beyond.
Not a path that horses go down,
Only walkers.
So what was manure doing there this sunny day?
When I was strolling along enjoying the sun and negotiating the brambles.
I was looking forward to the beautiful fields I would soon be walking in,
Seeing my dog frolicking in the long grass,
Enjoying the peace and fresh air after working hard at my computer.
I certainly didn't expect to step into a heap of manure!
How could it be there?  The horse was in an adjacent wired off field Separate to the public path.
So why had its owner not dealt with the manure on his own turf
instead of throwing it into my path?
And as I stopped short in my dismay,
the thought came to me,
That everyday we can experience an unexpected manure pile in our paths.
Not the kind that comes from horses, but from life.
A hurtful word, a rejection, an illness, or loss,
A crippling fear, a break up or betrayal of love;
a prayer unanswered, a shattered dream..
so many things but all causing dismay
and the shock that where we've happily been anticipating what lies ahead.
the way is suddenly barred by ...this!
And then I thought, how on this walk I kind of froze,
not sure what to do: try to get round the manure?
To step through uncaring?
To give up my walk and go home?
But I refused to do that as Goldie needed a walk,
and so did I.
And despite the manure being in my path, I knew there was beauty ahead.
So tentatively I edged my forward
and found a fence post to balance me exactly where I needed it.
There wasn't an obvious route round,
it seemed too difficult to manoeuvre,
But I made it,
Without falling in.
There was a way through.
and there always is,
if we keep looking for the beauty ahead
and know that it is right there in front of us.
And I did get there and enjoyed it and saw Goldie frolicking in the long grass;
I loved the peace and beauty.
And what was on my shoes soon came off in all the long grass.
So nothing need stop us, and nothing need remain on us,
If we keep our eyes on the beauty just ahead.
And there will always be a handy post to lean on as we edge our way around.
to get to the beauty just ahead.