One minute I’m in a stiflingly hot monochrome (shudder) dress and fur-hooded gown, frantically running through the steps of the Cambridge graduation liturgy, the next I am in the provincial backwaters of home. My village in south Derbyshire is lovely- it’s a more northern sounding version of a Midsummer Murders’ setting. Here we’re conservative in the sense of wanting to return to a pre-1914 lifestyle, prepping the sandbags as the bourgeois commuters filter in. Local headlines include ‘Man Crushed by Two-Ton Cow’, and planning permissions are a staple feature of village gossip. So it’s quaint and safe. But it’s lonely. The thing about my recent experience of Cambridge was that there was no time for counting, and very little for self-introspection. There was too much sunshine, and buzz, and new people parachuting into my life. And stories are so much more enchanting than numbers.
Months on mute now loom
And I fear the walls
That silence builds
And only numbers breach.
When you don’t need to bend and curve around people, there’s the opportunity for maximum control. I could eat bang on every four hours if I wanted; I could weigh every morsel; I could make a spreadsheet of calories. The days are long and empty enough for my mind to throw itself into full conspiratorial mode. But I don’t want to give myself that perverted sort of satisfaction. God has been too good in prising my fingers from that heartless rigidity so gently that the cost was barely perceptible for me to throw a spanner into His awesome works.
So, Jesus, I need you as my closest companion even though the waters are calm now. I need you all up in my brain-space.
My bedroom wall has the awkward mark of a fourteen year old Pop-Punk obsessive: the Enter Shikari lyrics ‘Home could be anywhere when I am holding you’. Let’s make it less about a hypothetical object of romance, and more about God: ‘Home will be anywhere for He is holding me’. Put like that, my physical environment fades into insignificance: my Google location is in God’s palm- where I always was, where I always will be. It’s like standing in the middle of a zoetrope (Wikipedia it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zoetrope): the images and the people are ever-changing, but I stand on the same rock.
And I think that God is going to use this time to teach me a valuable spiritual lesson: that by praying for people, I can be as much, if not a greater, help than I can be in person. I can trust God with the people I love most; their worlds are not going to crumble into smithereens because I can only be spiritually rather than physically alongside them. I think it’s a lesson that is going to sting, but if it leaves me with a greater view of God and a smaller view of myself, then bring it.
(so please, please chuck prayer requests my way- either via the email address on the home page, or Facebook if you know me in real three-dimensional life. You’d be actively contributing to my sanity).