They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
With a pink hotel, a boutique
And a swinging hot SPOT
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
‘Til it’s gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
I’m humming the tune now and Joni Mitchell’s lyrics read, to me, like poetry. She says some beautiful, meaningful, brave and true stuff – and she sings like no-one else, even though this particular song has been covered quite a number of times. There’s that little oft’ quoted phrase “you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone” but I think the whole thing is worth it – I’ll get to the point. And how I just feel in a different, not wrong, season, to those around me. I’m not talking about the literal hasn’t-it-got-cold and look-at-those-leaves sense.
I had orthopaedic surgery 9 days ago, reconstructing my right leg with lengthening my right Achilles tendon, to stop me walking on my tip toes, and plastics for the keloid scars that formed whilst I was really poorly, in the hope that my now healthier self will scar much better and it’ll be less obvious. I have a cast on my right leg, replaced once already, and had really very lacking care in the elective ward, meaning I had to withdraw myself off the painkillers at home in less than 3 days. Opiate addiction as replacement – no thank you.
I was looking to these days of immobility as a real chance firstly to read, especially a few books that are extremely relevant to this blog, and get myself to a well thought out point of being able to comment on them. Secondly, for creativity – except, rediscovering that I really can’t draw, and am not all that great at the kind of word based creating that I’d hoped to do, is not quite what I had in mind. Not even settling on those activities that seem ok to while away hours in hospital, crosswords and the like. Restless, except I can’t move. Flitty – in a chair.
September is so often a time of beginnings and it’s even more the theme in life of those around me because my church has a newly installed Rector, and a wonderful feeling of hope and fresh starts pervades. And then also the start of term, not just for the children but of courses, sabbaticals and diplomas in the lives of my friends.
For me, this last week or so has been a week of endings – the agonising pain that was my daughter’s final Adoption hearing in Liverpool Family Courts on Thursday, upon which I became no longer, in law, a mother. It was just a week after my elective surgery, after I ended my ability to swim, potter, bake, visit, attend. To be an independent person.
In trying to come to understand these feelings, and to live with them, I remembered something I read months ago via a close friend’s Social Media:
Sometimes you just have to keep going…I mean, just don’t give up, don’t melt down, do the opposite of what you feel.
It’s days like these that I have to fight to be thankful, stop feeling sorry for myself, and not let my feeling dictate how I am doing.
I remind myself that it’s a poor time to make a long term decision, tell someone what I am I really thinking, or buy something to help me feel better.
I just need a little time with God and a good nights sleep, Tomorrow will be a better day because I plowed my field of dreams today with faithfulness and perseverance.
by Kris Vallotton of KVMinistries.com
It’s just so true I don’t really need to add anything to it. That’s where I am. I reminded myself this morning that it’s ok to feel like this, to drag myself before God with a soul that longs to praise Him yet is bringing a great deal of weariness and pain with it. It’s a condition that sometimes lasts, feeling full of pain when you’re surrounded by joy, and with pain the depth that the loss of my daughter sounds, then it inevitably overflows. Its messy edges take up space where I imagined creativity and serenity might.
I thought what I had before was less than perfect, because of it’s lack of space, and time to do lengthy reflective reading and writing, to create for creating’s sake, and not spend hours in the water, and at least as many hours again, getting there and getting dry, and presentable. I was actually quite looking forward to this supposedly peaceful and serene time, after all, how tough can a lightweight fibreglass cast be?
But now it’s gone, many of the things that I thought hindered me are the things I miss. Don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone. Oh yes. And now I haven’t got what I thought I was going to have, emotionally, I feel all wrong. But that’s all right.
You know, it really is, because this morning in the company of God’s people I felt heard in how I am feeling, something I believe we all need, which gives me the strength to stand firm this week, and not give in to self pity, or despair. There is a verse in Lamentations that is often quoted:
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassion never fails. His mercies are new every morning, great is your faithfulness.
And with good reason, I think. It is true of my life these past weeks. He understands our frailties, that I want what I haven’t got, all the time, that I want to be what I’m not, that I dislike both my human limitations and my tendency to sinful thinking that I excuse by the strength or excesses of my emotions. But I have choices – the choice to say no to continued use of painkillers, because I can be fairly sure where that will lead, the choice of gratitude, the choice to praise Him in the darkness, to persevere. And… great is His faithfulness.