If you’re not a religious person, by all means don’t read this post and come back tomorrow when normal service will be resumed. I implore (nice word) you though to stick around. This blog isn’t just about my physical health, it’s about my mental, emotional and spiritual health too. Basically, this blog is about me and I have something I’d like to tell you. We’ve become friends now and friends talk 🙂
I’ve touched briefly before about the last 18 months being the most difficult period I or my family have ever had to face. Someday very soon, I plan to tell you all about the tests and trials we have had to overcome, for now, I can only give you little snippets, so forgive me, but, I just must share something with you.
So, I lost my job in August of 2010. Now, as a family, our troubles, our trials, started in March of 2010, but, losing my job was unexpected. My job was wonderful. I was a music teacher, I taught full class vocal lessons to primary school kids and this job had everything I was good at. I was working with kids, working with music/singing, being fun, being loud, some administration and project planning, concert organising and even more, teaching gospel music, creating and developing full class ‘kids gospel choirs’. Wow. Can you see it, imagine it? Groups of 30-60 eight to ten year old’s, swaying and clapping, singing ‘Oh Happy Day.’ The end of year concert was spectacular, with a mass choir of 300-500 kids, just a sea of tiny heads and smiling faces, bringing down the roof of the cities Cathedral. I loved that job. On the 16th August 2010 (my Birthday – nice), it was gone and I was devastated, I was numb.
I tried to hold things together, but, it was no good. I tried to remain positive, but I couldn’t. “Paul, get a grip, it’s only a job,” I told myself. “You’ll, get another one.” I said it, but, I didn’t actually believe it. I became increasingly depressed.
Depression. Funny thing depression. A small part of me doesn’t actually believe it exists, but, I think that’s just denial. The rest of me knows it exists and has experienced it’s evil grasp. My Mother was a manic depressive, so I suppose I never wanted to become her. I’d seen the madness, dealt with the mayhem and I was determined that that was never going to be me. My depression was different though. It wasn’t manic or suicidal, it was just a general state melancholy, malaise and fear. I was super morbidly obese, I was 42, I had little or no qualifications and I had nothing to offer.
I’d wake up in the morning and get the kids off to school, trying to pretend to be ‘happy Dad’. They’d leave, I’d lie on the couch, eat junk, watch daytime tv, sleep, eat some more, watch some more and generally do nothing. Come 2.30/3pm, I’d shower, shave and get ready to be happy Dad when the kids came home from school. A sham.
This went on for months. I put even more weight on, I became even more depressed and everyday I waited expectantly for my heart attack or my stroke. My Dad tried to talk to me. “Can God?” “Didn’t He get you through the first six months of your ordeal?” “If He did that, can’t He help you get a job?” “Dad, just shut up, shut up, I don’t want to listen, you don’t understand, just leave me alone, I don’t want to hear this.” I went on and on and on. Screaming, ranting and shouting down the telephone. Blaming him, blaming me, blaming God. Accusing, defending my state of mind, my lack of action to get a job. I’ve never spoke back to him before like that, never been disrespectful to him. The situation was spiralling out of control.
During Easter, at church, we have a new tradition. At the top of the page you will see the photograph of the large simple wooden cross we made, with lots and lots of tiny nails sticking out all over it. We encourage people to write down their needs and nail them to the cross. This one particular evening over Easter 2011, I decided to nail my burdens to the cross. I was in no shape or mindset to write pretty paragraphs starting with ‘Dear Jesus’, instead, all I could muster were one or two word phrases that encapsulated everything I needed and everything I was going through.
I walked up to the cross, I nailed on my request and I gave it to God. I was desperate, I was sincere and I had nowhere else to go.
Maybe you think this is simplistic. Maybe you think… look, I don’t know what you think. All I know is this, God can, God has and God still is. In six short months since Easter of 2011, He has one by one been dealing with my list. Some things on the list needed me to take small steps, others, He has just been dealing with in a miraculous and wonderful way.
Myself and Jan (the magnificently and breathtakingly much better half) had a meeting today that potentially will cross one more item off that list. We could not have asked for a better meeting of minds and we are walking on air right now. One day I’ll tell you everything, I promise, but for now, just know that God is love and He cares about what we are going through. I’m not preaching at you, I’m not trying to convert you, like I said at the beginning of this post, I just had something I wanted to tell you because we’re friends.
If best wishes are your thing, wish us well as we await the outcome of today. If praises are your thing, Praise the LORD with me, for He is mighty!
“He Can Do It…!”