Another Sunday

Prayers for another Sunday

“Lord, make me childlike. Deliver me from the urge to compete with another for place or prestige or position. I would be simple and artless as a little child. Deliver me from pose and pretence. Forgive me for thinking of myself. Help me to forget myself and find my true peace in beholding Thee. That Thou mayest answer this prayer I humble myself before Thee. Lay upon me Thy easy yoke of self-forgetfulness that through it I may find rest. Amen.”

– The Pursuit of God, A. W. Tozer

“The beloved of the Lord dwells in safety. The High God surrounds him all day long, and dwells between his shoulders.”‭‭ 

– Deuteronomy‬ ‭33:12‬

When it’s quiet – part one

It’s hard to write about med things without feeling bitter. So first, let’s get the bitterness out of the way. Even when the day to day is fine, it’s difficult to accept a career trajectory that feels forced upon you. I always thought people close to you come before work. But sacrifice come at a price. Maybe I’m particularly selfish, but I’m finding it a real struggle each day.

The darkest times have often been the minutes and hours before bed. I’ll spare you the creative details but I wrote a story years ago about the monsters Pain, Loneliness and their master Despair – who always visited “at night, when silence and darkness prevailed”.

Apparently I’m not the only one.

The woman in her mid fifties whose husband left her for a younger woman some years ago. “The kids adored the other woman and didn’t understand why I was so bitter. He took my frequent flyer points to take her to the US! He said I didn’t need them anyway. He died suddenly, at the gym on the treadmill. You know, impressing her. He used to say that no one would love me and if another man would sleep with me, he would shake his hand. I used to hear him taunt me, now I don’t. I’m still single and tried dating but it hasn’t worked. Work isn’t as creative as I’d like it to be. The kids are grown up and I flew over to visit them last Christmas. I was sitting in front of the telly eating by myself on Christmas Eve. They love me but I know they have their own lives now… I have a bedtime routine. Read a book, do some relaxation exercises. Then I would turn off the light but flip over and be wide awake. At night I think about these things. About my life, where it’s going, the big questions.”

Often it comes in the form of asking for sleeping pills. Another woman left her ex-husband and three kids back in her country for him. They used to call each other every day before she migrated, though the phone bills were very expensive. They’ve been together for the last two years but now he’s moved to a new job interstate. They still talked but were slowly drifting further and further apart. She kept thinking and thinking and couldn’t sleep.

Occasionally men cry during consults too. The tough looking bloke had workplace troubles and had been feeling down. “I have the missus and the kids. I don’t want them to see me like this. But when it’s quiet, I was thinking,” he grabs a tissue, “…what’s the point. It wouldn’t even matter if I wasn’t here…”

A patient I saw for spirometry results. They were normal. She attributed her symptoms to stress and grief. “It happened last year. He was so healthy, still doing fly-in fly-out months before he got sick. He had mesothelioma and it all happened so suddenly. There’s nothing there for me now. Oh I know I’m not the only woman to be widowed… I know I need to stand on my own feet. But I’ve done nothing, I’ve just been a vegetable. I came here to stay at my sister’s. I’ve only just started to cook a little. My sister and I have different cooking styles, I use a bit more flavour and my brother-in-law is thrilled. We go for walks. I tried a bit of adult colouring-in to relax. But at night when I close the door, I’m all alone and it’s really hard.”




So not thankful

For church life (I don’t mean in general, but here and now, for this period of time, in this set of circumstances).

For the wearisome burden of communal life.

Church. Conflict. Callous. Casual.

“Even when sin and misunderstanding burden the communal life, is not the sinning brother still a brother, with whom I, too, stand under the Word of Christ? Will not his sin be a constant occasion for me to give thanks that both of us may live in the forgiving love of God in Jesus Christ? Thus the very hour of disillusionment with my brother becomes incomparably salutary, because it so thoroughly teaches me that neither of us can ever live by our own words and deeds, but only by that one Word and Deed which really binds us together – the forgiveness of sins in Jesus Christ.”

– Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together

Day after day

“Back at my surgery I contrived to be cheerful and encouraging until the last patient went through the door. Writing reports, answering letters and even driving home was drudgery. Day after day it went on. My clinical work was up to ordinary standard but concentration was bitterly hard. It was so difficult to give to others the support I lacked myself.” 

– Paul White, Alias Jungle Doctor

Itsumo Nando Demo – Cover

One more song before I return this device. I’m not sure what the training organisation envisaged that we would use this for when the app they made never worked. But recording on GarageBand has been fun.

I watched my sister draw on her iPad earlier this year and was amazed at how quickly she finished one picture after another. Imperfect line art and shading didn’t worry her at all. And what does it matter anyway. I’m the opposite and am often so bothered by imperfection that everything takes ages and I hardly create anything.

With the last song the squeaky piano pedal (even after trying to oil the apparatus) really bothered me but I did stop noticing it after awhile. With this one, I might wish that I could play some real instruments (other than a cheap recorder), had an actual microphone, had set a quicker tempo, or transposed the key to one that suited my voice range better. But I’m trying to learn something from my sister’s approach.