I took our son to see Paddington and was struck by the joke they made of how Mr Brown had changed since having kids, and turned into a boring, sensible dad, that the kids had got frustrated with, and how their mum was overcompensating and being really embarrassing in trying to be cool. It’s easy to think about safety and practical issues all the time when you’ve got little ones, and then not to get out of the habit if you are child free, or when they get older. Sometimes I really can’t think of anything to talk about that’s not to do with work or my family when I’m out and about. Also I think we can so easily try to live our lives through our kids, not leading by example but berating them for not taking up opportunities that we wish we’d had. It took a bear to move in for the Browns to start relaxing and having fun, and I’m not sure what the equivalent is in your house, but this Christmas, we’ve had alot of time together at home through being ill, and watching old movies and playing card games has really helped me relax.
Through the sessions we’ve had at Inspire at church, we’ve heard from women who’ve conquered really difficult challenges in their lives, such as coping with the death of a child, divorce, mental illness, living with disability, moving away from home. It’s inspiring to hear how they have coped. Nearly every good Disney movie we’ve watched recently seems to involve some awful trauma happening to the hero or heroine in the first 10 minutes, and this then sets the tone of the rest of the film.
I certainly see some of the more challenging experiences I’ve had as life changing and part of my DNA, and in some ways I’m thankful they happened. I do think though that in dealing with trauma and challenges, we can lose sight of the fun there is to be had, and the enjoyment of life. This doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated, and of course children are really good at finding ways to play! As adults though we don’t just have to do the sensible things as new years resolutions, there are other things we can try and make time for like enjoying a sunrise, or reading a good book, watching a good movie, or finding a good view.
I’ve decided this year to try and say “yes thank you that would be lovely” more often, if offered help, and to say “yes” generally. Last year I said yes to doing the 3 peaks with my sister and brother in law, and despite thinking I might put myself in hospital, I actually managed it in record time. So this year I’m going to keep saying yes to challenges. Some of the people who’ve come along to Inspire have shared with me the things they’ve changed since participating. One lady stopped volunteering and got a paid role, someone else said yes I’ll be chair of the governers at school. Another young lady went off to london, with courage and conviction to start a new career. On a personal level, I’ve been chair of our family’s local playgroup since someone asked me in 2014. I may not be any further on at work, or any better off financially, but it’s been great to give something back, meet new people and see what skills I have I didn’t know about!
This year so far I’ve said yes to some help through counselling for issues that have come up at work, and to giving up alcohol for January. There will I’m sure be more opportunities to do things that I wouldn’t have thought were possible as time goes along. I am busy planning some exciting trips and fun things for us as a family but also planning to relax as much as possible in 2015. This is one of my favourite passages from the Bible, which shows me people have been worrying too much for a long time…
Matthew 6:25-34New International Version (NIV)
Do Not Worry
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[a]?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.