Category Archives: Ramblings

Just my random muses and ramblings.

My Reason For Being Late For Church

From my karate training over the years, I have learnt to be punctual, with the senior instructors at karate if you are five minutes early, then you are late.  As an instructor I like to start on time with a full class, it gets a little annoying when people come in late, so I make it a priority to be early, even to the point that I have been known to set my watch five minutes fast, then if I am rushing and glance at my watch I see incorrect time, then if I make it on time, I’m still early.

So yesterday morning I was on team, so as usual I like to be at Church around 9am to get the camera set up before everyone comes in for huddle, I set off from home with my daughter in plenty of time to be there well before huddle at 9.15am.

We got with five minutes of Church when we heard a noise in the undergrowth at the side of the road we were on, when we looked down there was a small deer trapped in the railings to a factory.

Trapped Deer

Trapped Deer

The poor thing was in distress, trying to get free, I’ve never heard a deer squeal before, but I can safely say it’s not pleasant to hear.  I crossed over the small fencing to the side of the pavement and went down to where it was, I tried to open up the bars, but couldn’t.

It was only a young deer, it had got it head and front legs through the bars, it even had the back legs through, but the hips were jammed in the bars.  It tried to wriggle and work itself out, but it couldn’t do it.  The grown was frozen, it was barely over freezing, the bars must have been cold as they had taken fur from the deer’s back where she had reared up against them, there were two patches of raw skin either side of it’s spine.

I rang the RSPCA  (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) to report the animal, they are responsible for injured animals in the U.K.  They took down all the details and the location, they asked if I was willing to monitor the animal until someone could get there, to which I agreed, there was no way I was leaving the animal until I knew it was safe.  As I made the call a friend from Church came past us, my daughter was getting upset seeing the animal trapped, in pain and squealing, so she went with Jo to Church whilst I waited.

A local named Pete came by whilst walking his dog, he wondered why I was just stood there in the undergrowth of a largely deserted road, I showed him the little deer and he said he would take his dog for it’s walk, then take it home and come back, if no one had arrived he would wait until they did so I could go to Church.

From time to time the deer would try to free itself and would thrash around while squealing, if I spoke to it, telling it to calm down it seemed to respond to my voice and stop, settling down for a while, then it would just look at me and I felt helpless.

I waited about an hour, Pete came back first and stood with me, then Jo came back with a cup of coffee in her hand, I needed that, of all the days to be in shorts and trainers stood in the frozen undergrowth, I was feeling the cold by now, my toes were freezing.

I agreed to leave Pete and we exchanged contact details so I could find out what happened, I walked back to Church with Jo, but then I got a phone call from a guy called Brian from the Lincolnshire Deer Group, he said he was on his way, he was only about ten minutes away, but did state that he had been sent to “despatch” the deer. He stated if it couldn’t be safely freed, he would have to put it down, this I didn’t want, I wanted the deer freed, so I went back and waited with Pete.

Brian arrived and assessed the deer, he had a small jack in his van, he covered the deer’s head and tried to use the jack to open up the bars.  A jack is made to lift cars when there is a flat tire, it wasn’t suited to the bars, but he made it work, the bars slowly opened, then he reached down and lifted the small deer’s back end up and out the bars, no sooner had it’s back legs hit the ground, it lifted itself up and bolted off over the road heading for the open fields from which it had come.

Brian felt that it should be okay now, if there was any serious injury it would have collapsed there in front of us.  The fur patches on it’s back will grow back, maybe not until it’s shed it winter coat, but probably with the new summer coat.  Now it was up to nature to look after this little deer, we had done all we could for it.

By the time I got to Church the service had started, someone had set up the camera for me and I took over after I had cleaned up.  I’ve never been late for Church before, but I was happy being late for this reason.

I am sure there is some reason why it was me who found this deer yesterday morning, there is some lesson I am to learn from it.  I could have walked on by, it wasn’t my problem, I could have made the call to the RSPCA and then left, but I felt the need to wait until I knew it was being looked after and not left alone, after all it was a tiny animal in a helpless situation, it needed my help.

This animal is as much a part of creation as I am, I wasn’t meant to cross over to the other side of the road, to just pass on by, but if I can stop and help to save a small deer, am I willing to stop and help other people when they are trapped and helpless, just like someone helped me.

CREATION’S CALL by SOMETHING LIKE SILAS
All my voice
All my heart
Couldn’t capture the beauty of his art
Perfect Holiness

All the Glory
All the Light
Flows from his omnipotent might
Let the heavens sing

From hill to vale
They come
With shouts of joy
Sweeping over the earth
From distant shores
They cry
Like breaking waves
The unrestricted praise

All the silence
All the dark
Could not describe the mystery of his work
From age to age
I stand on this trembling earth
To feel his eternal worth
And with my hands I raise my all
To join creation’s call

From hill to vale
They come
With shouts of joy
Sweeping over the earth
From distant shores
They cry
Like breaking waves
The unrestricted praise

It Made My Blood Boil

It’s a strange to watch the TV at the moment, everything is dominated by this countries decision to leave the EU. Personally I leaned to the remain side, but having said that I never felt fully informed by ever side what the actual ramifications where for staying or going, I really didn’t know what was best for the country either way. It seemed to me though that much of the argument for the leave side was the immigration issue, that to me seemed the card they pulled out when the arguments got to hard to form.

I’ve just watched a news item where one of our Members of Parliament was discussing the decision, she was firmly on the remain in the EU camp, but she mentioned that around the country she was hearing talk that really hadn’t been heard since the seventies, the racist discussions escalated the more the EU discussion intensified over the last few weeks, she had noticed this and indeed I witnessed it first hand at work on Wednesday, it made my blood boil.

It’s no secret that over the last few years the UK has seen a lot of immigration from the former Communists states as one by one their countries joined the EU and the became eligible to come over here. This has caused resentment in the UK, that’s no secret, but many of these people are hard working individuals just wanting a better life for their families.

My surname is Maliszewski, it’s of Polish origin. My Grandfather was born in Warsaw, Poland, during the Second World War, his family were evicted from their home by the Nazis, they spent time in the Ghettos and Concentration Camps, until they were liberated. My Grandfather had two older brothers and an older sister. When the Russians took control of Poland after liberation, his two brothers were put onto the back of a truck by the Red Army and never heard from again. My Grandfather’s sister arranged for him to escape the country and come over here to England.

He settle just outside of Mansfield. Initially he tried to lie about his age to join the army and fight in what remained of the war, but he didn’t get away with it. He then got a job in Blidworth Coal Mine, until his death in 1982. My Dad says from the day he got here he lived his life as an Englishman, he never spoke Polish, none of my Dad’s siblings know any polish, he only ever spoke English. Dad says he never spoke much about the war, but if there was something on the TV about the holocaust, he just couldn’t hold back the tears, it affected him badly, I guess he had seen enough first hand.

I am proud to be English and British too, but I am proud of my name, I am proud of it’s heritage, I wish I hadn’t been so young when my Grandfather passed away, I was just eight, I didn’t really know him as well as I should, but I just remember he was always happy, always, so I wear his family name with pride.

So at work on Wednesday morning, the talk in the shop got to voting for the EU referendum, I stayed out of the conversation, but I could hear it going on between two of my colleagues, one of them was taking control of the conversation and was forcing her opinions, she got more heated and heated and actually in the end it was only her really talking, I think the others had switched off, it was now a rant rather than a discussion. Increasingly the issue of immigration was being pushed and that this country needed to control the issue. Then she said this….

“I don’t know why we let countries like Slovakia and other like it in this country, they are all horrible people!”

At that point I snapped, I wasn’t taking that, I was shaking and so, so angry, I responded with…

“So all of us that are descended from immigrants, we’re all fucking horrible people too are we!!!”

Apologies for swearing, but I was fuming, this was outright racism and my ancestry was being attacked and I wasn’t standing for it. After all the bible says this….

The good person out of the good treasury of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasury produces evil, for his mouth speaks from what fills his heart. -Luke 6:45

Needless to say the conversation stopped immediately. Others then tried to say they had immigrant descendants too, but none were of the East European, ex Communist regime countries like mine. We never spoke all day, I was shaking, for a while after, I felt like walking out, but I sucked it in and carried on working. I spoke with one of the guys, to explain why I had responded the way I had, that I thought it was out of order and damn right racist to the core. Yesterday, I got on with it, I have spoke to her in a civil tone since and got on with working together, I am bigger than holding grudges and I don’t like confrontation or animosity, I would rather let what had been said be said and get on with things.

But as I watch the decision by this country play out on TV today, I think this racist attitude has been stirred up by the vote out politicians and activists.

What ever the decision today, the country has decided and that is that, we live by that now, I just hope it has been made fully for the right reasons.

I have calmed down a bit now, I’m currently in a hotel room in Crawley, chilling out before a competition tomorrow, oh wait, I retired three years ago, oh hang on I started competing again last year, so National Championships number 32 here we go.

EARTH LIKE HEAVEN by JONATHAN & MELISSA HELSER
The dust that we were made of
Is calling us to free them
The earth that we were pulled from
Is crying, “liberate us!”

The dust that we were made of
Is calling us to free them
The earth that we were pulled from
Is crying, “liberate us!”

We won’t be satisfied
‘Till the earth looks just like heaven

We won’t be satisfied
‘Till the earth looks just like heaven

Like the waters cover the sea
Let the earth be filled with Your glory
‘Till the prayers You prayed become reality
And the earth looks just like heaven

We won’t be satisfied
‘Till the earth looks just like heaven
And the prayers You prayed become reality
And the earth looks just like heaven

Wake up you sons and daughters
You were made for so much more
Wake up you sons and daughters
Start singing, creation’s waiting

Your kingdom come, Your will be done
‘Till the earth looks just like heaven
Your kingdom come, Your will be done
‘Till the earth looks just like heaven

Wake up you sons and daughters
You were made for so much more
Wake up you sons and daughters
Start singing, creation’s waiting

She’s not dead, she’s just sleeping
She is waking us
She’s not dead, she’s just sleeping
She is waking us
She’s not dead, she’s just sleeping
She is waking us

She’s not dead, she’s just sleeping
She is waking, waking, waking, oh!

Like the waters cover the sea
Let the earth be filled with Your glory
‘Till the prayers You prayed become reality
And the earth looks just like heaven

My Christmas Internet Shopping Disaster

It’s safe to say that as December approached I wasn’t really in a good place, just ask my friends at my Connect Group, I couldn’t really explain what the issue was, it was just an amalgamation of a number of things. The last few years I’ve struggle at Christmas, it just seems there are too many bad memories that I dislike about myself and too many good memories that I long for once more. I know I was locked in my own mind and I was struggling to get out, my poems reflected this from time to time, none more so than The Cave.

By the time I got into December things hadn’t really improved, but my birthday did bring some relief, it was probably the best birthday I’ve had in many years. The next day for a brief period a big cloud that loomed large over Christmas was lifted, the money I was owed by the Architects came through. This was a big deal for me, it was money that was owed from the beginning of the year onwards, it was difference between my kids having the Christmas presents I wanted to give them and us just scraping through Christmas once again.

But then later that evening the clouds came back, I received a phone call from my Dad, his younger brother had finally lost his battle with lung cancer. Just before Christmas last year he had surgery to remove part of his lung, they also found the cancer had spread to his ribs, so they removed a number of them too. Earlier this year they found they hadn’t stopped it and gave Andy a year to live. Unfortunately he never made it that far.

A couple of nights later I dropped in to see my Dad on the way home from work, he said he was okay, but deep down he was struggling, he kept calling me Andy, he did it a number of times until he realised what he was saying. Andy had accepted his fate, he had prepared for everything, all my Aunty Sue had to do was register the death and arrange a date.

Andy’s cremation took place on Wednesday 23rd, just two days before Christmas, which was hard, but the family wanted to bring closure before Christmas and not have it hanging over them during that period, I think Andy would have wanted it that way.

The Online Nightmare

So with two weeks to go before Christmas, the money in my account I went onto the Internet to order presents. I logged on to the Argos website, chose what I wanted, arranged to collect in store and tried to pay for everything, then it all started to go wrong.

Firstly my bank got in the way, they stopped the payment, flagging it as fraudulent, so I responded to their security procedures and tried again, same problem! So this time I called the bank, they said it now wasn’t them, but Visa who were now stopping the payment, they sorted that for me and I tried again.

I should have by this point, just arrange to pay in store, but I persevered, this time though something was not right, after confirming payment details and my security details, nothing seemed to happen, the web page just returned to the home page and there was no order confirmation, something was not right, I tried again, same problem, so I called the bank again.

This time they said they weren’t stopping it, but as I was on the phone to them the transaction flagged up on their system and the money was reserved for Argos in my account, they gave me the authorisation details and suggested I speak with Argos, but at that time of night there was no one available to speak with.

So next morning at work I called Argos, no one could find my order, to be honest they didn’t seem that helpful in getting to the bottom of it all, I spoke to a guy who promised he would fax my bank and ask them to release the funds back into my account as they would not be collecting it, it he blamed their website timing out!

Later in the day I dropped into the bank to see I f they money had been released back into my account, it hadn’t and the woman there was totally unhelpful, it wasn’t a small amount to me, in total it was over £1000 that was tied up in my account, she suggested they give me a temporary overdraft, which she then said I would be charged for! Hang on a minute this isn’t my fault and I’m not paying for it, if they hadn’t blocked the transaction this probably wouldn’t have happened, I wasn’t happy when I left the bank, until I got that money back, Christmas was on hold!

I rang the bank when I got home and after about three phone calls and numerous different people, I finally got through to someone who made sense and could explain the situation. He explained the money was held for Argos and if they didn’t claim it, it would be back in my account sometime on Monday, as it was now Friday, that wasn’t that bad, why couldn’t the woman in the bank explain this? He in the end put £50 into my account as a gesture of goodwill from the bank. He did say if they received the fax from Argos they would release the money immediately, but as yet there was no fax.

Later that evening I checked if the money had gone back in, it hadn’t, so I called Argos to see what was happening. Once more I was passed from pillar to post, finally I got through to someone who seemed to be interested in sorting the problem. She agreed that I could called her on Monday when the money was back in my account, she would put the order in for me with discount and free delivery, I couldn’t argue with that, now I just had to wait for the money to be released back into my account.

I checked numerous times over the course of Monday, the money finally came back into my account about 9pm, too late to call Argos, so the next morning at work I tried!

I couldn’t get through to the woman I spoke with Friday and once again no one seemed interested, I was passed around the phone system and not one person would help me out, so after losing my temper and swearing at the guy on the phone I hung up, livid.

As Argos weren’t bothered, I decided to try Amazon, I logged on and ordered the same items and proceeded with the order. I thought it odd that the website hadn’t taken any security details for my card, but appeared to proceed the order. Then later that afternoon I got an email saying they couldn’t process the order, they needed further security details, until then my order was on hold, I emailed back saying to cancel the order and decided to give Argos one more try.

After getting passed around once more, finally someone took my order with the discounts promised, everything was now sorted. Then later that evening, there was just one more thing I needed to order from the Internet, but once more the payment failed, here we go again, I called the bank to find I was overdrawn by over £300, no way! It then transpired that both Argos and Amazon had had their payments accepted and reserved in my account which technically left me overdrawn. I was mad because I couldn’t see how Amazon could do this with no security information, surely this was wrong, unethical and possibly illegal, how wonderful the banking system is that it allows for this loop hole, technically the money does leave the account until they claim, so once more if I got Amazon to fax the bank it would be released immediately, otherwise it would return into my account in three days, which would be Friday, one week before Christmas.

Next day when I got to work, there was an email saying my Amazon order had been dispatched, what? The order that had been cancelled, the one they couldn’t confirm the payment details, the one that required security details was now on its way and would be delivered later that day. The last thing I wanted was two of everything and no money, so I contacted Amazon and cancelled everything, which they did, but they wouldn’t contact my bank and wouldn’t explain how they could process the order without my full banking security information, surely this wasn’t right!

As the day progressed there was no sign of my Argos order, so at the end of the day I called them, only to find that they had cancelled the order because they couldn’t confirm my security details, they said they tried to call me, but at work I certainly don’t answer calls on my mobile with 0845 numbers I don’t recognise, so they cancelled the order without informing my. So I had gone from believing in the morning that I had two orders on the way and no money, to now having no orders and no money.

So I called Amazon, surely if they have that money, they can reinstate the order, no such look, not even interested, they wouldn’t contact my bank and wouldn’t do anything with the order, they said their complaints department would contact me within 48 hours, yet at the point of writing this they never bothered. To say I was livid was an understatement, I was back beneath the dark cloud which was my dread of Christmas, for the first time in years I thought I could get things right and now everything was going horribly wrong. All I could do now was wait for the money to drop bank into my account and then hope I could still get everything in time for Christmas.

By Friday afternoon the first payment had dropped back into my account and the by the end of the evening the other one was back too. In a small town like Newark, there aren’t many shopping options, I don’t drive and I was working Saturday morning, so going elsewhere wasn’t possible either, so I gave in and went back to the Argos website, reordered everything and arrange to collect and pay in store, not going through this Internet payment nightmare again. So Saturday afternoon I finally collected everything, all the money was back in my bank and things seemed to pick up. The other item I wanted I was too late to order, so I managed to pick up an alternative from town, everything was back in place.

So far I haven’t pursued either complaint with Argos or Amazon for their performance or treatment. I decided for my own peace just to order the goods from Argos and leave it at that. I’m still undecided whether to contact both parties or just leave it, I think I will just leave it, move on now, but I certainly won’t be ordering anything over the Internet with either of them ever again.

In the end my Christmas was the best I have had in years, members of my Connect Group made it so much better, one couple give me a gift that was unbelievable and another family insisted I join them Christmas Day, rather than be alone at home, I had a great time with them, it made my Christmas.

I’ve been wanting to write this rant since all this kicked off, but managed to resist, I think it would have been pretty angst ridden and I didn’t want this blog to be used for such purposes, but now I write just to bring closure to the situation and hope that as the New Year approaches all the darkness that led up to Christmas is a thing of the past and the New Year is going to bring some amazing things, not just for me, but for everyone.

I hope and pray also that everyone had a great Christmas and the New Year is an amazing one.

I am going to post this song today, normally I used Christian songs or songs of encouragement, this one though is the one my Uncle Andy chose to be played at his service, I thought I would share it.

MANY RIVERS TO CROSS by UB40
Many rivers to cross
But I can’t seem to find my way over
Wandering I am lost as I travel along
The white cliffs of Dover
Many rivers to cross and it’s only my will
That keeps me alive
I’ve been licked, washed up for years and,
I merely survive because of my pride.

And this loneliness won’t leave me alone
It’s such a drag to be on your own
My woman left and she didn’t say why
Well I guess, I gotta try.
Many rivers to cross but where to begin,
I’m playing for time
There’ll be times when I find myself thinking
Of committing some dreadful crime.

I’ve got many rivers to cross
But I can’t seem to find my way over
Wandering I am lost as I travel along
The white cliffs of Dover
Many rivers to cross and it’s only my will
That keeps me alive
I’ve been licked, washed up for years and,
I merely survive because of my pride.

So Here Starts SoberDay 1200

So here it is, SoberDay 1200, hard to believe that I’m still walking, by the Grace of God.

I thank everyone who has walked with me this far on the journey, it’s only the beginning.

I Will

I will walk
And with every step
Break the chains that hold me

I will run
And break through the walls
That have kept me captive

No longer will I be held prisoner by fear
Because He inside is stronger
Stronger than I could ever be

2 Corinthians 3:17

2 Corinthians 3:17

NO LONGER SLAVES by JONATHAN DAVID & MELISSA HESLER
You unravel me, with a melody
You surround me with a song
Of deliverance, from my enemies
Till all my fears are gone

I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God
I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God

From my mothers womb
You have chosen me
Love has called my name
I’ve been born again, into your family
Your blood flows through my veins

I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God
I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God
I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God
I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God

I am surrounded
By the arms of the father
I am surrounded
By songs of deliverance

We’ve been liberated
From our bondage
We’re the sons and the daughters
Let us sing our freedom

You split the sea
So I could walk right through it
All my fears were drowned in perfect love
You rescued me
So I could stand and sing
I am child of God…

Ups And Downs Of Working Life

I have to say the last couple of months have seen a real swing in terms of work, at the beginning of last month I was facing an investigation at work, we were caught out in a number of transactions by an individual that turned out to fraudulent, myself and a colleague, although in no way complicit, did not follow correct company protocol that could have minimized the risk of being caught out.

For a week as the investigation went on, we both could have been sacked, although our Manager was on our side and understood we were put on the spot, made a judgement call and got it wrong under pressure, he didn’t think we would get the sack, just a warning, but if he was pressured by his superiors, they could push for dismissal, as it was they pushed only for a written warning and that was what we received, we both breathed a sigh of relief.

My colleague feared the sack far more than I did, when I heard of the investigation, I was nervous about facing the interview about my part in it, but I was really not that bothered if I was to lose my job, I had prayed about it and each time I felt I was being told not to worry, whatever happens there are bigger plans for me anyway and things will be fine in the mean time.

We have been that busy over the last few months that it really is exhausting work some days, we don’t have enough staff and there isn’t enough time in the day to do everything that I need to do to fulfil my job, to say I have been a bit fed up with it at times is an understatement, I guess in a way I’m not that happy with the job at the moment, it’s just hard work and there doesn’t seem to be that much help for our branch from the company, due to budgets and finance etc, even though we are beating our budgets month after month.

I also find it hard in my job to feel as though I showing my Christian values.  It’s a builder’s merchants, most of our customers speak in a rough and ready fashion, with casual swearing the norm, I guess I used to swear a lot before, but since I became a Christian I try not to, but it’s hard not to when those all around are.  Even when we are busy, I sometimes think my colleagues aren’t really pulling their weight, they don’t go that extra mile, just do the minimum they have to do, I try to just get on with it and do whatever what needs to be done.

So all of this has been playing on my mind.  Until last night, it was our area’s regional roadshow, basically a meeting of all the branches in our area, to discuss how we are doing as a region and how things can be improved.

Part of the meetings there are a few awards handed out and last night I received an award from the company for all of our area, which is seventeen branches with over 180 employees, I received the most positive feedback for customer service from our customers than any other of the employees.

It could have been awkward, as most of the time the awards include a few vouchers and a bottle of something, thankfully my Manager had forewarned his Area Director that this wouldn’t be a good idea, so I just got a few more vouchers instead, which is fine by me.

I do think it a little ironic that the same company that last month could have sacked me, this month is giving me an award!

This morning as I walked to work, I was thinking about what this award really means, then I had this real sense that I was being told that this is how I stand out as a Christian in my work place, you go the bit extra for people and they recognise that and they obviously appreciate it, that’s why you got the award you did.

So even in a place where I find it hard to be the Christian I would like to be, to stand out as different to the others, in a place where I felt I wasn’t doing what I should be doing, it seems I am standing out to my customers and they obviously recognise it.

I came across this version of the song Brother by NeedToBreathe the other day, I thought the original off their last album was good, but this version with Gavin DeGraw is even better and well worth a listen.

BROTHER by NEEDTOBREATHE and GAVIN DEGRAW
Ramblers in the wilderness we can’t find what we need
Get a little restless from the searching 
Get a little worn down in between
Like a bull chasing the matador is the man left to his own schemes
Everybody needs someone beside em’ shining like a lighthouse from the sea

Brother let me be your shelter
I’ll never leave you all alone
I can be the one you call
When you’re low
Brother let me be your fortress
When the night winds are driving on
Be the one to light the way
Bring you home

Face down in the desert now there’s a cage locked around my heart
I found a way to drop the keys where my failures were 
Now my hands can’t reach that far
I ain’t made for a rivalry I could never take the world alone
I know that in my weakness I am strong, but
It’s your love that brings me home

Brother let me be your shelter
I’ll never leave you all alone
I can be the one you call
When you’re low
Brother let me be your fortress
When the night winds are driving on
Be the one to light the way
Bring you home

And when you call and need me near
Sayin’ where’d you go?
Brother I’m right here
And on those days when the sky begins to fall
You’re the blood of my blood
We can get through it all

Brother let me be your shelter
I’ll never leave you all alone
I can be the one you call
When you’re feelin’ low
Brother let me be your fortress
When the night winds are driving on
Be the one to light the way
Bring you home

Brother let me be your shelter
I’ll never leave you all alone
I can be the one you call
When you’re low
Brother let me be your fortress
When the night winds are driving on
Be the one to light the way
Bring you home
Be the one to light the way
Bring you home

The Story So Far – Chapter 4 – The Cracks Become A Canyon

CHAPTER 4 – THE CRACKS BECOME A CANYON

But then on Monday 12th March 2012, a few things happened that woke me up.  When I got into work that morning there was an obvious atmosphere, my Boss was acting anything but himself, then he came to talk to me, I had known him over twenty years and been a friend of the family and a karate instructor to him and his kids for many years.  Then he began to break down, he told me his partner had been seeing somebody else behind his back, he told me how much it hurt and I could see the pain in his face, as he tried everything he could to hold back the tears.

He spoke of how much he wanted to make things work, how he had been so busy with everything he had neglected to pay attention to his relationship, he had no idea what had been going on.  That set me off thinking how much I was letting my relationship slip, how I needed to get a grip on things before it was way too late.  But I didn’t know where to start or how to approach it, the fear of not being wanted anymore was so strong, I couldn’t face it.

Then later that evening something happened at home which hit home just how bad things were.  My daughter let something slip and straight away Victoria hushed it up, don’t get me wrong it was nothing like another relationship, but it was something that made me realise we just don’t talk anymore, we just don’t have anything between us anymore, only distance and now secrets.  That evening and all the next day I came to realise I had to sort this out sooner rather than later.

The next evening I caught her as she was taking the kids to her Mum’s for tea, I asked her if we could talk when she got back, to which she agreed.  When she got back I started by apologising for everything I had put her through over the last couple of years, for how bad I had been to live with, that I was sorry and how much I wanted to get things back on track and sort myself out.

But it was too late, with no emotion she said it was over, there was no going back, she had made her decision and nothing was going to change that.  She had tried to make it work so many times in the past, this time it was one time too late, she couldn’t do it again.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t blame Victoria for any of this, I couldn’t blame her for taking that stance, not after what I put her through, I guess over the last couple of years she had tried to make things work, but I wasn’t interested, in the end she did what she had to do, look after the kids, make sure the bills were paid, made sure we had a home and made sure we had food on the table, everything I couldn’t do, everything she tried to build, I tore down, could I blame her, no I would probably do the same thing in her position.

I remember falling on the floor at her feet, begging for another chance.  I even threatened to kill myself, I don’t think she took that seriously, but then again she didn’t know that I had held that blade to wrist so many times, the indents it made on my skin without actually cutting into it, no one knew, only me.  I cried, I begged, I pleaded, but it was all too late, I had left it too long, I had had my chances to sort this out so many times before, this time is was too late, it was over.  We agreed that as we had managed to live separate lives for the best part of two years, then we could carry on that way, it made financial sense and practical sense, if it got heavy or stressful then we would cross that hurdle when we came to it.

I cleaned myself up, brushed off the tears from my face, but then I realised I needed a drink, I couldn’t cope with all of this, I needed to drink, because this was too much to carry.  I put my coat on, got to the door, Victoria’s bedroom is downstairs and you have to pass it to get the back door, as I walked to the door to go to the shop, I apologised for what I was about to do, I said I couldn’t help it, I needed a drink, I was so sorry, but I wasn’t strong enough to beat it, the beast had me, it had defeated me and it had taken the one thing that meant the most to me, now it had me, I was powerless.

The next day at work I was I mess, I went straight into my Boss’s office and told him all that had happened the night before, we were both in a mess now.  What he didn’t understand was the drinking, he had sat in the pub with me many times, he knew me in and out of work, he knew I liked a drink, but nether suspected that I had a problem, let’s face it, apart from Victoria nobody knew I had a problem, not even me, I did now, but I was powerless.

I never ate that day, I couldn’t.  When I got home Victoria had made tea, I couldn’t eat it, I couldn’t eat anything, I had no appetite, not for anything other than drink.  All I wanted to do was drink, I tried not to, I really did, I paced the house, rubbed my hands together continuously and then started scratching at my skin, I tried to beat it, trust me I really did, for the first time ever I realised I had a big problem, I think this was the first night that I realised I was an alcoholic, I just couldn’t beat it, I walked to the back door, I apologised to Victoria on the way, I didn’t want to drink, but I had too, she said she understood, I’m not sure whether she really did, but I hated myself for doing it, for giving in to the thing that was destroying me, but I just couldn’t help it, I went out brought a number of cans and a couple of bottles of wine and come home and settled back into the same routine that had robbed me of all that was good in my life.

The next day I still had no appetite, I didn’t eat at all once again, by now I hadn’t had anything to eat since Tuesday morning, I tried, but everything felt tasteless, like cardboard, I just spat everything back out as I couldn’t bring myself to swallow it.  After work I had to nip into the architects, she knew there was something wrong and once again I ended up breaking down and telling her the whole sorry story.  I had worked for her for over twelve years, she knew I liked a drink and drank regularly, but she also never suspected there was a problem, again I had managed to pull the wool over someone’s eyes.

But that was where I managed to hatch the most selfish of plans. I knew Victoria really respected her Pastor, she often said how she found herself moved when he spoke to her.  I knew Gareth, I had met him many times over the last four years or so, long before all this turmoil started, he was also one of that ones that sat with me in my front room, watching the football, the day of my daughter’s dedication, he had always been really nice to me and I actually really liked him.  I decided that if I was to speak with him, tell him just how much I loved Victoria and how sorry I was, then he could talk to her and get her to change her mind, he could mediate something to get us back together, there was no intention of getting help for myself, just to get him to sort out our relationship.

When I got home I asked Victoria for a quick chat, I told her how much I was struggling and to be truthful, I was, I told her I needed someone to speak to and asked her if it was okay with her if I could speak to Gareth.  I would never have gone straight to Gareth without asking her first, I would never go behind her back like that, even though ultimately I had these selfish motives for asking for this meeting.  She agreed and said she would speak to him at the weekend.

It wasn’t until Friday evening that I managed to get a full meal down me, I still didn’t have much of an appetite, but I knew I had to eat something, we ordered a takeaway and I managed to eat it.  I did wash it down with a few pints of cider and a couple of bottles of wine, I still couldn’t stop drinking and each night I drank a little more, I apologised every time I left the house to replenish me stocks, I couldn’t help it and I had to let her know that, I was powerless, I was weak.

DEAD MAN (CARRY ME) by JARS OF CLAY
January 1, I’ve got a lot of things on my mind
I’m looking at my body through a new spy satellite
Try to lift a finger, but I don’t think I can make the call
So tell me if I move, ’cause I don’t feel anything at all

So Carry Me,
I’m just a dead man
Lying on the carpet
Can’t find a heartbeat
Make me breathe,
I want to be a new man
Tired of the old one
Out with the old plan

I woke up from a dream about an empty funeral
But is was better than the party full of people I don’t really know
They’ve got hearts to break and burn
Dirty hands to feel the earth
There’s something in my veins,
But I can’t seem to make it work… won’t work

So Carry Me,
I’m just a dead man
Lying on the carpet
Can’t find a heartbeat
Make me breathe,
I want to be a new man
Tired of the old one
Out with the old plan

Can you find a beat inside of me?
Any pulse?
Getting worse?
Any pulse?
Getting worse?
Inside of me, can you find a beat?

Carry Me,
I’m just a dead man
Lying on the carpet
Can’t find a heartbeat
Make me breathe,
I want to be a new man
Tired of the old one
Out with the old plan

Carry Me,
I’m just a dead man
Lying on the carpet
Can’t find a heartbeat
Make me breathe,
I want to be a new man
Tired of the old one
Out with the old plan

Finally A Really Encouraging Week

I have to say that this week has been by far the best week I’ve had in such a long time, apart from one thing not going the way I wanted, well let’s be honest it was down to the ineptitude of the Inland Revenue, other than that it’s been a great week, with a number of those what just happened moments, when I look back I can see the touch of God.

I had decided last week that as this month sees the third anniversary of the day I quit drinking, I would prepare a full testimony.  I’ve written many different posts about various moments that have happened over the last few years since I started this journey, but I’ve never written one full testimony.   I have written an abbreviated version, which is basically my about page, which hasn’t been updated since I started this blog back in October 2012, so I thought it would be a good time to write a full testimony and post it in segments over a few days around my Sober anniversary.

Then Monday afternoon I got a text form my friend Sarah, who used to run our Church Connect Group, before she and her husband Paul left to start a new Church under the Everyday Champions banner.  They are holding a special weekend at the end of the month with a fun day on Saturday and a special service on Sunday, they would like me to come over to help on Saturday and to share my testimony with them on the Sunday.  I made sure I could get the time off work and I rang them that evening and spoke to Paul.  I am really looking forward to being part of it and sharing my testimony, I am so pleased that they asked me, when I was really low and struggling with the onset of depression almost eighteen months ago, they were there supporting me all the way, an ear for listening and a shoulder to cry on when I needed it, there was no way is was going to say no!

Since Monday night I’ve been writing my testimony in any spare time I get, I written quite a bit so far, about 8500 words and I still haven’t got to the part where I find God or stop drinking, I’ve got quite a bit to do yet, but I hope to get it somewhere near finished by the end of this week.

We had a great Encounter evening at Church on Wednesday, I felt so encouraged when I left, like everything was coming together and I had a big part to play with my testimony in bringing people to God.   In the past when I have prayed, when I have felt like I’m not sure about things, I’ve felt a hand on my shoulder, gripping tightly, telling me it’s all going to be okay, that I’m exactly where I should be, I felt this on Wednesday, I am where I am supposed to be and I have a part to play, a job to do, as I say I felt so encouraged.

There was a downer on Thursday, but I soon got over it.  At the end of January I finally made my last payment on the £8000 debt that I had owed the Inland Revenue, I rang them to cancel future payments, which they agreed to, they told me to go on to their website to reclaim my over payment, I did all of this and felt like come March I could finally begin to find some financial security.  Tomorrow is my daughter’s ninth birthday, so I told her I would take her to Lincoln to treat her, she could have an amount of money and she could go to her favourite shops and pick what she wanted, that was the plan.

When I checked my bank account, as for some reason I had this feeling that although I knew I would have sufficient money, I had to check, that’s when I found out that the Inland Revenue hadn’t stopped my agreement and had taken out another payment, neither had they repaid me what I had overpaid!  Needless to say I wasn’t very happy, but I wasn’t going to let it spoil the day, yes it was a bit of a downer, the ineptitude of our Inland Revenue is I guess to be expected.

We had a great morning in Lincoln yesterday and Eve loved everything she brought, this morning she went out in her complete new outfit that she picked for herself and on the new skateboard she insisted on buying too.

It’s been a slow start to the year, with the virus I had just before Christmas hanging around for so long, I still have a bit of a cough, but it seems to be going, slowly, but it is going, this month things seem to be moving forward for me again, I feel far more positive and optimistic for the future, I really believe that things from here will get so much better.

O FOR GRACE by BRADY TOOPS
Oh for grace to lay down all my dreams in Him be found
O for faith to keep it true and never stop believing you

And when it’s strong or when it falls through
Oh lord to know my answer is you

And oh for love to trust some more to fix my eyes on heaven’s shore
And for hope with every step every word my every breath

When it’s strong or when it falls through
Oh lord to know my answer is you

For your light I lose my all, cause I’m not staying here, I’m moving on
So give me strength to hold on tight through stormy gales ‘til morning light

When it’s strong or when it falls through
When it’s strong or when it falls through
When it’s strong or when it falls through
Oh lord to know my answer is you