If I didn’t understand Pascal’s Law before, I most certainly do now. From nursing frozen pipes, I’ve now turned into a mopper up of water from, until now, unsuspected leaks in the utility room/lean-to roof. Still, the condensate pipe did not freeze up over Christmas, and the one pipe that did freeze unfroze pretty quickly and wasn’t an essential pipe. I was going to have a grand housework day, but I’ll wait until things are less soggy! It’s still all far less soggy than last year’s dramatic terminal explosion of the boiler, though. And, I am cautiously checking the state of the (now becoming less numerous) icicles at regular intervals!
Looking back over this blog, my journal, and other blogging endeavours, I don’t think I’ve had trouble-free Christmas for more years than I want to think about. For the last two years have had
- serious work related issues rumbling in the background
- house maintenance issues, (um, me reaping the results of minimal maintenance for far too long prior to me living here – I am, apparently, a tolerant and model tenant, but I’m not entirely sure how much longer my tolerance is going to last!)
- an on-going church related issue (can’t live with it, but can’t live without it either, it would seem.)
Included in the last few years have been
- sheer exhaustion from overwork on the church front, (though this year was the first time for many I’ve not been playing for church services or carol singing/playing)
- this year – sheer exhaustion, full-stop!
- life changing stuff
I’m not someone with huge expectations of Christmas, either. I have lived with others with such expectations, and as a result have enjoyed the lack of them these last two years on my own. Certainly, I’ve enjoyed eating food I’ve wanted to eat, not that which has been forced on me because it’s traditional. Explaining to one of my students, who has been very worried about what a vegetarian who is also allergic to alcohol does in the way of having a “proper” Christmas, food and drink-wise, has been one of the mini-themes of life for a few weeks. I’ve also enjoyed the solitude, even if it seems to have worried a good number of people that I’m isolating myself unnecessarily. (Actually, folks, if you want me to be functioning in my main job from 4th January, I desperately need the mental and emotional space. Plus more sleep.)
Thing is, this big life changing stuff has taken it all out of me far, far more than I’ve been prepared to admit until now, and my capacity for many things just isn’t what it once was, mostly because almost all my emotional energy is spent in ways I wasn’t expecting. Annoying really, because in many ways, until the summer, it looked as if I was managing the changes remarkably smoothly. So, no, I don’t have the energy to maintain relationships and friendships that have long been dependent on me being the lively, cheerful, reliably supportive person others have come to know – that side of me is still there, just in hibernation for most of the time. I haven’t the energy to establish new friendships, either.
And, um, actually, the least helpful folk are those who all have suggestions for how I could be regaining that energy –
- “You need Christian fellowship” yes, I’m aware of that. Unfortunately, I’m a bit emotionally battered by the experiences of living in a Christian environment over the last 20 or so years, and am adjusting to living differently. As a result I am deeply wary and suspicious of it all at the moment. I’m not really up for being someone’s pet rehabilitation project, or being gossiped about (all for prayer, of course) or being made to feel guilty that I’m not using all my gifts and talents to their fullest extent in the service of the church at the moment. Or being made to feel guilty that my ability to be sociable seems to have shrunk to virtually nil. The best I can manage is getting myself to church for the service, hoping I don’t spend it in floods of tears, and escaping rapidly. God understands, I hope.
- “You need friends”. I do. Oh, I do. However, the aforementioned ability to cry easily, a hitherto unsuspected gift and talent, has been blossoming of late, and I see no reason to inflict it all on people I don’t really know and unfortunately my best friends all live too far away.
- “You need to…. “Well, there’s a never ending list of all the things various well-meaning people seem to think I need to do. Some of which I agree with, and others, quite frankly, I do not. I do need to live closer to my work place, or change my job. (After the shocker of just before Christmas, that may well be on the cards sooner rather than later.) I do need to finish this qualification I’m working on, despite my suspicions it’s not really worth doing. I do need a better balance of work/social life.
Somewhere, somehow, just taking tiny baby steps, it will work out – in God’s time.