Archive | October, 2017

Help me stand

27 Oct

Help me stand. These words have been playing around in my head for about a week now. They come at a variety of times and for a variety of reasons. But in different formats they just keep popping up.  Given it’s been a while since I wrote a blog about something other than my training, I thought just maybe I would try and get some of my wandering thoughts down again.

I don’t know how things are with you right now.  I’ve got a few friends currently going through some significant life events at the moment and sadly not all of them are positive. I’ve got friends and family looking grief head on, facing loss, illness, separation and so many other challenges.  No-one’s life is all roses, and while I don’t know what your situation is, no doubt you too have a few trials to face.

As I sat with a friend only recently I wished with all my heart that I was wise. I wished that I could offer words of encouragement. I wished I could ease her concerns. I wished I could make her problems go away. Unfortunately, I couldn’t. I just couldn’t. So often in life I face situations that are completely out of my control. I wish I could fix it, make it better, be that person who knows exactly what to say, how to say it and delivers it flawlessly. I wish I was the person who had that sixth sense who knew what someone needed when they needed it and was able to (perhaps with divine intervention) meet the needs of someone else – before that person even realised it was a need. I wish I was a person who was an amazing cook, who could create tasty dinners to deliver to friends at just the right time.  But do you know what, I’ve been thinking about it, and I don’t think that this is where my strength is… well actually I know it’s not where my strength is! No amount of wishing could make me better at those things.  As I stop and reflect though, I think my job is to help you stand…

In my paid job, I take care of people when they physically need a bit of extra assistance. There are many times where there simply is nothing you can say to make a situation better. People get ill – sometimes really ill.  In some moments, when as part of a medical team you’re doing all you can, and you just hold on for the ride and hope that the illness will change its course.  In times like that, beyond what we are already doing, there is little I can do for visiting family and friends but stand next to them. Literally stand next to them. Sometimes we actually don’t need someone to say the right thing. Sometimes we know that situations can’t be fixed. Sometimes my silent presence is all I have to offer. But sometimes, that is actually enough.

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Do you think that sometimes we just need someone to help us stand?  I watched a video this morning where a father’s advice to his grieving son was “just stand”. Don’t you dare quit! Or as David Meece sings – “Help me stand, when adversity’s on every hand, when I’ve done all I can, help me stand”. Sometimes the weight of our situation, our challenges, our grief, our loss, our heartache can make us feel like our knees are going to buckle. That the weight on our shoulders is simply too much to carry.  Sometimes continuing to stand is just really hard to do. Today I feel like my role is to encourage you to keep standing. I want to help you stand.

If you’re having trouble standing. If the weight of your world seems too much right now, can you see in your mind’s eye me coming up next to you? I want you to picture yourself throwing your arm across my shoulders (or me taking it for you if the effort of that feels too great), and I’ll wrap my arm around your waist. It’s harder to fall when you’re supported like that – two of us would have to fall that way.  You might have seen an

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example of this with the Brownlee brothers – two triathlete brothers – one suffering the effects of heat exhaustion and only moments from the finish line of the world series… but collapsing. When his brother came around the corner and saw him in trouble, he threw his arm around his shoulder, and essentially carried him over the finish line. Do you need help to make it to the finish line? Do you need help just taking one more step?

If you’re a Christian perhaps it would also help to picture Christ on your other side, in the exact same way. With someone under either arm even if you just can’t stand, you’ll be supported.  You don’t have to do the journey alone. God has promised to never leave us, nor forsake us. He goes before us. He is beside us. I’m so incredibly thankful that.

So next time you’re struggling to stand. I hope you know that I stand with you. You don’t have to journey alone. The journey could require other people’s words of wisdom, someone else’s cooking (take-out anyone?), and some other amazing people to fill the gaps you didn’t know you had… BUT if you want someone to stand with you I’m here. I can silently listen. I can help you compose your thoughts. I can literally stand next to you if it is at all possible. I can pray for you if you want me to. I can cry with you, and I can sit with you. I want you to know that you do not have to do it alone.

So please, know that I’m here to help you stand. Don’t quit. Just keep standing.

 

The week that was…

16 Oct

I’m now 3 weeks out from the Noosa Triathlon, and my body has decided it needs to do a complete system reboot… well that’s the way I’m referring to the acquisition of a cold.  The week started okay, then I had a roaring sore throat, then it went and I felt better so went back to training before a head cold hit two days later… so now I find myself looking at the traffic light of training in my program.

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Green is good, yellow means I attempted something but not exactly what was planned (ie was too fast, too slow, not far enough etc), and red means I didn’t attempt anything.  As a Type A personality I like it to be all green, all the time! On the whole, that has been possible this year – as my health has been pretty good.  Therefore my training has been pretty consistent and I have made some big improvements this year under Em’s guidance. I’m hoping to shake this cold and be firing again for Noosa soon, because more than anything I want to go out and show myself how far I’ve come at the Noosa Triathlon.

If I’m honest with you I would say that this week was hard for me from an emotional point of view as well, and I’m sure being sick hasn’t helped that.  I was blessed beyond measure to have my sister, brother in law and two gorgeous nieces visit for a week, and they went home Monday last week. I come from a wonderful family, and most of the time we fly home to see them (after all, there are only two of us and lots of them), but it was fantastic to have some come this way. It was nice to show them where we live and what our life looks like here.  We even managed to go up to the Sunshine Coast for a couple of nights as this is another favourite place of ours. It was such a great week off for me. We did lots of walking and exploring. We went for swims, caught a ferry, got to see whales and dolphins playing in the wild on one of our walks, found every playground remotely close to us, and of course shared in lots of meals together.  It was special to be walking along and find a little hand slip into mine at various points throughout the time. The tired hugs, the colouring in, the precious conversations… it was quite simply wonderful. Many suggested that I’d probably need a week off work afterwards to recover, and while I found that to be true (because I’ve come down with a cold) – it wasn’t recovery in the way they were anticipating.  I loved every minute of having my family here. My recovery was more of an emotional one.  Because I hated to see them go. The tears fell.

Having family here was like an oasis in the desert. I am blessed with a wonderful husband who is great company for me, but beyond him we live a pretty quiet life. I have a great job, and I enjoy the company of those I work with, but we don’t really catch up out of work hours.  I have a great church, but my closest friends no longer attend (for various reasons) and I don’t really catch up with people outside of a Sunday (and that’s when I can actually get there around my shifts).  I have some great triathlon buddies who I am blessed to train with time to time, but again we don’t really catch up outside of training. And while I have a wonderful family, none of them are in the same state as me, and therefore I can’t drop in to see anyone when I feel like it. So, while I go about the activities I call life I am blessed to often do it with company, but when I’m not “doing” one of those things I can feel pretty lonely.  It’s perhaps why I like the bigger training weeks as it takes me out of the house and gives me something to do.  I often refer to my training as my mental health strategy and it very much is – I find the fresh air, the wind in my face, the reminder that I can get out and do something offsets what can be a mentally, physically and emotionally tiring job.

So this week has been especially “interesting”… because I’ve not been at work (annual leave), I’ve not been able to train as much as I would have liked (sickness), and I didn’t make it to church because I was feeling unwell.  Add into that the fact that family went home, and that really doesn’t leave me with much… What it did leave me with was too much time doing very little, feeling very miserable. I felt lonely, disconnected, isolated and alone. It is a bit of a hard space to be in if I’m honest.  I think it’s also a fairly hard space to get out of. It certainly isn’t something that is easy to “fix”.

Anyway… this week I’m hopeful my cold disappears, and I can return to work, and with that I’m hoping to get back into the final weeks of training before the Noosa Triathlon on 5th November.  Mum and Dad are also coming up for the Triathlon and to stay with us for, I don’t know how long, so it will be nice to see them again soon too. So, hopefully last week will be nothing more than a dark patch as I press on, returning my focus to the positives and not dwelling on the negatives. I really do lead a life that is full of blessing and abundance and I need to chose to be thankful more often than I do!