The Wilderness Weeks
I lost myself these last few months. Ever since that pesky little Covid virus invaded my body in mid-June, I’ve put up a Situations Vacant sign in my brain. Whatever used to be in there, ideas, thoughts, creativity, inspiration, connection – took a hike out of the front door and disappeared.
You may (or most probably not – that’s my ego talking) have noticed I’ve been offline for a good while. In the hey-days of my blogging career, I was posting weekly and generally seemed to have something to say. Even if it wasn’t very much and always came back to the same thing. God loves me. God loves you. She doesn’t care if you don’t go to church or save three people a day, or switch off in the sermon, or neglect to say prayers and say them in the shower, because she loves you unconditionally and is closer to you than you are to yourself.
That sort of stuff.
But then Covid hit with its little double pink line one sunny Wednesday morning and I took to bed and moaned and threw handfuls of paracetamol down my neck and wondered if I would survive. I did, and graduated to the sofa, watching Escape to the Country on a loop and thought that I’d be better in a couple of weeks and then I could get back to being a prolific blogger who really wants to encourage others on their spiritual journey.
After the prescribed fortnight I couldn’t walk. My feet which have served me faithfully for several decades and showed up whenever I took them outside, gave up on me. We hadn’t had any obvious falling out. They just decided to have a really agonising pain whenever I asked if I could put any weight on them which confined me once again to the sofa. When diagnosed with post-viral fatigue, I at least had an answer and learned a lot more about nice places to live as I caught up with Escape to the Country. I then graduated to Come Dine with Me as there are only so many places you can go, carried on with the drugs and waited for them to work.
Several physio appointments later (big shoutout to Fiona and her healing hands), my feet stopped sulking and began to accept their job description. So, we hightailed to Holland where my daughter lives, for some much-needed R and R and to eat out bodyweight in pancakes. We enjoyed hanging out with out little four-year-old grand-daughter who has just started school and insisted on speaking to us in Dutch which caused confusion at times, especially which I mistook ‘doll’ for ‘popping candy’. Being new to the world of education, she was also a little walking petri dish bringing home every bug and louse doing the rounds in Class 1. She generously passed on her snotty cough and cold to us which settled on my post-Covid chest like a ten-ton weight and burrowed in there making the most of it.
After four days, we schlepped off to Amsterdam for a night alone – not that we don’t love our family to bits – but we wanted to be cultural and hike around the Rijksmuseum, and be tourists and sit on a canal boat. However, it was monsooning like climate change was going out of fashion, and after a desultory look around a sodden Liedseplein, we hurried back to the hotel for a bite to eat. Now this hotel had sliding doors at its entrance, as you might expect. They waited until I was right in the middle of them before they malfunctioned and hurled me, not into the past or the future, but onto the floor so decisively that my husband for one appalled second thought I’d been shot.
Not the best recovery plan post-Covid. And the hotel’s explanation that because I am short, the sensors hadn’t picked me up, rang a little hollow. Do they regularly throw kids and hunched octogenarians to the floor? we wondered.
Anyway, Back to Blighty and Fiona’s healing hands and I’m once more on the up, on the mend, and taking an interest beyond daytime TV.
But through this all, I have felt- shall we say – in the wilderness. I’ve found it hard to pray or to write or reach out to God and as for reading the Bible – forget it. I have had a big blank in my heart and head where my God-shaped hole was and I have just had to hang on in there and believe that God was there even if I wasn’t.
That’s my wilderness experience. And I feel guilty about calling it ‘wilderness’ when I have a comfortable, warm home, food in the fridge and Netflix. I haven’t been dressed in a hair shirt, eating locusts and wrestling with wild beasts. Except inside.
But I have written this! Do you know how good that feels? And if I still haven’t much to say, I’ll keep on saying it. God loves you. God loves me. God is closer to us than we are to ourselves.
So there you go.