Rejoicing Again

I’ve found it really hard to write this post - it’s been ‘gestating’ for days, but I just couldn’t figure out how to say what I wanted to say - or how much to say. Some of what’s happened lately has been quite emotional. That doesn’t usually stop me, as long-term followers of this blog know only too well, but this time it’s very personal and precious, and I wasn’t sure how much of it, if any, I was prepared to share with the wider world.

A couple of weeks ago, we went on holiday to Scotland. We rented a little cottage near to Pitlochry, and spent a very relaxing week. One thing I was looking forward to was the possibility of meeting up with Izzy, who doesn't live too far away.

My mobile phone rang at 7:30am on Thursday morning, waking me up.

Izzy!!

She was full of apologies for waking me, but hey - after 33 years, I wouldn't have cared if she'd rung at 3:00am! It was lovely to talk to her. The long and short of the conversation was whether would we like to extend our holiday by one night, and stay at her house?

EXCITEMENT!!

I'm not going to go into much detail about the visit, except to say that it was absolutely lovely to see her and her husband Callum, and that what followed was one of the most blessed times I can ever remember. Sometimes, I believe, God grants us glimpses of heaven - for me this was one of those times. They keep a very relaxed home, and it felt heavenly - somewhere to curl up and feel warm, safe, and relaxed in the company of good friends. They made us feel really welcome and very special.

Izzy was just as I'd remembered, but more so. Caring, compassionate, chatty, loving, funny - just great to spend time with. The four of us went to church together on Sunday morning, and she and I sat side by side. We couldn't remember how many years it had been since we did that, but it was lovely.

And then, all too soon, it was time to leave. We parted with the hugest of hugs. We are hoping to meet again, God willing, after an interval which we hope will be rather less than three decades.

Since then I've been thinking about the visit. I have new memories now, to add to those from years ago. And somehow the visit added to my feeling of being cherished by God. A sense of dwelling in the very heart of God. Jesus said:

On that day you will realise that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. John 14:20

That is how it feels.

God was at work too. Somehow, Izzy always seemed to have an uncanny ability to draw things out of me - that hasn't changed. While we were talking I said something which I realised later I hadn't even thought before.

During the period before my healing, when I was trying to write all about the bullying, I questioned myself a lot; at one point I wrote:

"Do I need to forgive me too? And forgive myself for what? For being a victim?"

Those particular questions have sat there, since Easter 2016, without answers. I haven't bothered about them very much - they didn't seem particularly important alongside everything else which was resolved at that time. But, nevertheless, there they were. I didn't know what I needed to forgive me for... But now, thanks to a conversation with dear Izzy over the washing up, I do. I said to her something along the lines of:

I am so sensitive that retaliating for the bullying actually did me at least as much damage or hurt as being bullied had - it had a sort of corrosive influence on me.All that anger and violence damaged me. It would probably have been better if I had been able to just ‘take the punishment’ without retaliating. So I need to forgive me for inflicting pain upon myself.

I didn’t know that until that moment. A bit more ‘Revolution and Resolution’ to add to what went before.

When I finished my time as churchwarden, I took a short sabbatical. After that, I began to get more involved in church life again, but I had the sense that I was waiting for something; a feeling that I hadn't really finished my sabbatical - or a vague sense of something being missing or incomplete. As I said in my earlier post, at the same time a longing grew in me - almost a 'need' - to be able to contact Izzy and tell her all about what God has done for me.

Now I haven't just contacted Izzy - I've spent time with her and been able to tell her, face-to-face,about the things I felt as though I 'needed' to tell her; things for which she was, in a sense, the catalyst. That's a great relief and a huge blessing.

A feeling which has been growing in me since seeing her is a sense of completion; of somethinghaving been finished. That vague sense of 'waiting for something' since the end of my sabbatical has gone. It's almost as though I've been on a hugely long journey, perhaps better described as a pilgrimage, which has taken the whole of my adult life so far - and that I have come home again; I've 'come full circle'. Spending time with her, and telling her about the journey, and especially the healing which occurred near its end, was like crossing the finishing line. In a sense, she waved me off on the journey; her being there to greet me when I finished was fitting, and lovely. That was what I had, unknowingly, been waiting for.

Now I am at peace - even more peace! There is nothing to hurry for; nothing to be anxious about. The feeling I have is one of resting, waiting for God to speak and to lead me into something new - a further journey perhaps - in good time.

God bless you!

Copyright Phil Hendry, 2016