in pursuit of slow

Sunday, 5 May 2013


I feel that I’m pretty busy at the moment.

If I was a clown and I was juggling (which would be hilarious to watch) I would have the following balls in the air: full time work and its related stresses and deadlines, church commitments, time for God at home, time for my husband, time for family, time for friends, the lurking background knowledge that I need to get some form of exercise going soon. I’m happy and blessed to have these things, and aware that they are commitments that most people have to meet and cope well with.

The problem is, I don’t rest properly. I know this, and it’s something I’m praying into. My brain is constantly whirring, even when I’m sitting at home on the sofa. My brain can be exploring some pretty diverse topics from one moment to the next. For example:

‘I should go back to Asda and buy some more baby stuff while it’s on offer. I wonder if Mum will come around and do some painting for me next week. Oh no … look at the plant. He’s all droopy. I’m sorry plant. I’ll water you in a minute. I’m such a bad person. The fence needs painting outside too. I wonder if it’ll be nice this weekend. I never told Chris that we were meeting up with my parents on Saturday afternoon. I should paint my nails later, they look gross. I wonder if we should start watching Lost again on Netflix?’

Seriously. It’s like that. All the time. Until I drive myself mad and get up and do something.

So when I found myself stuck in A&E for four hours on Monday night, (all is well now, by the way!) once the pain had subsided from insane-crying-and-vomiting levels to fairly-calm-and-ignorable levels, I quickly cycled through all the topics in my brain and was left with … nothing.

Stuck on a bed waiting for results, with Chris in another waiting room, I was forced instead to take a deep breath, stop looking at the time and look around me instead. I watched several people coming in via ambulances – a drunken man who didn’t know where (or who) he was, an elderly man who had just been in a minor car crash (and was surprisingly smiley about it) a couple of small children with high fevers. I listened to the conversations between the receptionists and smiled a little at the blatant flirtation between the nurses and the ambulance drivers. I watched baby squirm around in my belly, seeing little jumps of movement. I spoke to her under my breath. I stroked my belly and told her that we’d find Daddy soon and go home. I thanked God that baby was okay.

I felt things again after the hysteria of a few hours before. Hungry. Tired. Desperately wanting to go and see Chris and just have him with me. Consequently, when after quite a while I went out to get him, my heart literally leapt with happiness at the sight of him.

It was nice. To slow down. To feel. To watch.


A few things occurred to me while I waited in limbo:

1)      I am so thankful to God that my body works properly most of the time, that I live in a country with round-the-clock healthcare available to everyone, and that I have a husband who responds quickly when I need him the most
2)      I don’t have much, if any, control over my life or what happens to me.

That sounds quite dramatic considering I was hardly in a life-threatening situation. But watching everyone around me being wheeled in from ambulances, and looking at bored and worried faces in the waiting room, I realised that nobody in that room particularly wanted or planned to be there. You don’t plan to break your little finger or fracture a bone in your foot or suddenly come down with a hideous UTI. You don’t plan to have a car crash. You don’t plan for your baby to come down with a high fever.

Things just happen. Life just happens. Bumps and grazes happen, as do major hurts and traumas. Things change in a heartbeat and all your confident and carefully laid plans come tumbling down around your ears.

I believe firmly in a God that has a great plan for me. I also believe that He allows me free will. I believe that He doesn’t wrap His children up in cotton wool. I believe that there are dangers and evils in the world and we’re not exempt from them.

I believe that life is beautiful. Sometimes it seems fragile. But it’s beautiful just the same.

So. How do I respond? How do I respond to knowing that God’s plans for me are God’s plans and not mine to know? How do I respond to knowing there are dangers afoot that I might have to face? How do I respond – more crucially – to the thought that my loved ones face those same dangers? That the life growing inside me that I speak to and sing to and already love is still fragile, growing, precious, not yet safe? That when he or she arrives, I’ll be on a constant process of letting him or her go and face risks and challenges too?

I remember to be slow. Stop thinking, planning, daydreaming, processing, list writing. Start looking. Watching. Listening. Breathing. Catching my blessings, counting them, savouring little moments in time, and anticipating the next.


Count them and catch them, from top left: flowers from my parents blooming, cookies en route to my belly, good morning playlist, finding old photos I forgot about

God bless x

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