Creating Encounter in Colour: Blue Butterfly

Butterfly

Pain and exhaustion are consuming me today, and my head feels as though it is drowning in a blue mist, killing me softly.  I see a small blue butterfly, flitting in joyous abandon through the chalk meadow, as though a fragment of the summer sky had broken free and was dancing between the waters. I too, should like to be clothed in heaven and mantled in such azure delight.

Perhaps then, I might in turn see my fractured self break away on wings of lapis, the weight of suffering gradually becoming less and less, a blue ballast taking flight and allowing all to fall apart, as it finally should: my ashes softly scattering themselves amongst the bluebonnets and carrying me home.

Text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt  Composite art by R R Wyatt  © used with permission.

Creating Encounter in Colour: Red Shoes

1 red shoes

The red shoes hang on a nail by their trailing ribbons, looking innocent for all the world, though no-one is looking at them today but this tired old ballerina. She knows them only too well and will not be fooled again. New, they were the colour of nascent shell, or the inside of a kitten’s ear, all velvet oyster pinkly grey. Nude as Eve’s Edenic soles, and probably as old. Once worn and worn once, they ripped en pointe feet to shreds and quickly filled with scarlet offerings.

The world will not cease its vampiric feasting, once it has begun to make you dance to its manic tunes. Our only hope is to rip the ribbons that seemed so delightful from our calves, and tear the suckering soles from our souls. In one wrench, band-aid like tossed aside, or hung here on the wall like trophy antlers, the hooks that barbed us.  Only the free can see them for what they are, and the rest gawp at the bloodied rags, astonished that we no longer wear them.

We refuse to dance ourselves to death, and now walk healing paths in streams and forests, barefoot. If we must wear red shoes, they will be ruby slippers that have sequins missing, and when tapped together, take us home.

 

Text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt  Composite art by R R Wyatt © used with permission.

On Not Being Happy Clappy

happy clappy

Recently on Facebook I put my status as “Fed up” and added a picture of Grumpy the dwarf from Snow White. What I really wanted to say was that I was feeling heartbroken, depressed, and really missing my parents whom I haven’t seen for six months since they moved to Worcestershire. But social media just isn’t the place for vulnerability, is it? It seems too harsh a place to be real about emotions, as though your heart might just as well be sat on a stainless steel tray under bright lights and prodded by various scalpels wielded by unseen hands. But can we, as Christians, afford to be anything but real? Isn’t time (hasn’t it always been time?) to talk about depression, sickness, mental and physical suffering, poverty, trials and all other kinds of genuine difficulties that many of us face, some of us every day?

It’s not that I’m against a bit of decorum, and we do have to be careful to whom we tell our problems, since not everyone is sympathetic, and words can come out oddly and be taken badly on screen (especially when we are low), it’s just that, well, I wish I could have been a bit more real the other day with my friends. But I genuinely didn’t know how, without looking like I was fishing for sympathy. The truth is, I could have done with some. And maybe the people who would have looked askance at that and passed on by are not really my friends at all.

One of the things I want both Christians and non-Christians to receive from our ministry here at Lakelight is the understanding that living out a life of faith is not all joy and wonder, and that this is okay. A lot of it is, of course, and a lot of that lifting your hands in the air in sheer awe and happiness is perfectly genuine. But we can be in danger of making an idol out of happiness, and also in turn, of making worship all about us, and how it makes us feel.

We can also put ourselves in a position where we are afraid to admit that we are having a bad day, or that we are feeling rubbish, put upon, down, upset, burdened, lonely, weary, or any of the other totally normal human things that we’ve classed as negative. When we do feel those things, there are reasons why. There is absolutely nothing to judge. And yet we do. More often than not, the happy-clappy-let-me-deliver-you-from-the-evil-of-sadness, “turn that frown upside down” brigade exists only in my head and makes me feel guilty for feeling down without any extra help. But when it comes from outside, oh boy does that make me mad!

If you are ever worried that you are not a “good” Christian because you are suffering a bout of depression (whether clinical or not), just take a good look at the Psalms, or the book of Job. It doesn’t get any more heartrendingly real than these writings from centuries ago.

“All night long I flood my bed with weeping     and drench my couch with tears.  My eyes grow weak with sorrow;     they fail because of all my foes.” Psalm 6:6-7

How’s that for a Facebook status? Well, okay, so it’s not wise to share all our woes with lots of people all in one go. Yesterday I shared mine with a dear friend, albeit also over the internet as being housebound means I couldn’t quite get to Vancouver, but it helped a lot. And we really ought to be able to say when we are struggling without fear of reproach. That is absolutely going to be part of our approach here at the Sanctuary. In fact, we will be talking a lot about suffering, because it is such a huge part of both life and faith. And if you are feeling down as you are reading this, or are overwhelmed by one problem or many, you have our empathy and solidarity. You are normal, and you are not alone.

 

Sadly we don’t have the resources to offer one-to-one help. If you need to talk to someone, in the UK please call the Samaritans: 116 123 or go to http://www.samaritans.org

 

© Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2017  Photo from Pixabay