Category Archives: Walking

Finding The Green Fields Once Again

About a month ago I got off to a bit of a false start in terms of getting out each morning and walking as the sun rises.  At one time I was out every morning, regardless of the weather, the days when I walked seemed to have far more balance to them, then about two years ago it started to get a little sporadic, until eventually I stopped before slipping into a period of dark depression.

Over the last couple of years I’ve tried many a time to get out again.  Just like a month ago it starts out alright for a few days, but somehow I find an excuse to miss a day, then two, then three and so on and so on.  Last month it lasted just short of a week and then due to being busy with work, I decided I was too tired and caved in each morning.  But each night I would berate myself in my journal for not getting out, I would promise myself I would get out again the next morning, but it never happened and the cycle carried on.  This morning though, the alarm went of and there was no deliberation, within ten minutes I was out the house walking.

My plan was to walk the cycle track, which is about four miles long and then return, it a total walk of around eight and half miles, in around two hours, on the way I would just make it to the lake as the sun rises.

Blue Skies

Blue Skies

Hidden

Hidden

Beyond

Beyond

Over The Green Fields

Over The Green Fields

Before The Clouds

Before The Clouds

As I got to the end of the track, which up to the point where I turn around is tarmac, I noticed that the dirt path which continues for another few miles had been cut back, over recent years it has been overgrown, last time I attempted to walk it was almost three years ago, but it was so overgrown I couldn’t get through.  I walked it about five years ago and remember coming across a peaceful little spot where a small stream runs under a bridge, I’ve wanted to find it again so many times, but as I say the last time I tried it was impossible.

This morning for some reason, I just carried on, without even thinking I found myself walking the small path, until I found the bridge right at the end of the path, after the bridge it is still overgrown, but I wasn’t bothered about that, I had found what I wanted.

The Stream

The Stream

The Bridge

The Bridge

It’s Bank Holiday Monday tomorrow and I am not working this one, so all being well I intend to walk it again in the morning, although my aching hips may have something to say about that!!!

This morning I wrote “Green Fields”, I felt it was an answer to my prayers, to get up again and get out walking, I feel I have drifted a little for long enough, keeping some of the routines that help me along the way in this recovery, but abandoning others, like the daily walking.

There is a cheeky reference in there from a classic song, not sure whether anyone can spot it, there a clue included in the title too.

MERCY TREE by LACEY STURM
On a hill called Calvary
Stands an endless mercy tree
Every broke and weary soul
Find your rest and be made whole

Stripes of blood that stain its frame
Shed to wash away our shame
From the scars pure love released
Salvation brought the mercy tree

In the sky, between two thieves
Hung the blameless Prince of Peace
Bruised and battered, scarred and scorned
Sacred Hands pierced by our thorns

It is finished was his cry
The perfect Lamb was crucified
The sacrifice, our victory.
Our Savior chose the mercy tree

Hope went dark that violent day
The whole earth ‘quaked at love’s display
Three days silence in the ground
This body born for Heaven’s crown

On that bright and glorious day
Heaven opened up the grave
He’s alive and risen indeed
Praise him for the mercy tree

Death has died. Love has won!
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Jesus Christ has overcome.
He has risen from the dead.

Death has died. Love has won!
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Jesus Christ has overcome.
He has risen from the dead.

One day soon we’ll see His face
And every tear, He’ll wipe a way
No more pain or suffering
Oh, praise him for the mercy tree

Death has died. Love has won!
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Jesus Christ has overcome.
He has risen from the dead.

Death has died. Love has won!
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Jesus Christ has overcome.
He has risen from the dead.

On a hill called Calvary
Stands an endless mercy tree

Green Fields

Green Fields

As the sun slowly rose
You called me from my slumber
To walk again with You
Along the comfortable path
I’ve walked so many times
Yet there at the end
You called me on
To where my feet went further
Than my heart had planned

There the blue skies
Beyond the trees above
Took away the pain
And at the end I found
The green fields You promised
And there I let go
Of this cold steel rail
That I’ve held on to
For far too long

Walking Again

It’s seems like forever, but for the first time since last summer, I finally managed to get up with the alarm and get out at the house this morning for a walk before work.  I’ve been wanting to for so long, but just kept putting it off each morning, that “I’ll start tomorrow” kind of attitude.

So last night before bed, I actually put my walking stuff out ready, so I had no excuses, the alarm went off and the old reaction of just get up and get ready came back.  I loved the walk so much, it gave me chance to catch the sunrise by the lake and get in a good four mile walk too, a bit of time with God too, I had forgotten how much I loved my walks.

First Light

First Light

Breaking The Horizon

Breaking The Horizon

In The Trees

In The Trees

On The Horizon

On The Horizon

Across The Sky

Across The Sky

For the time being I have decided to take a break from writing “The Story So Far”, I’ve been writing it for almost two months and already clocked up almost 50,000 words, I will continue to write it and bring right up to this year, but it will be at a slower pace for now.

WHOM SHALL I FEAR (GOD OF ANGEL ARMIES) by CHRIS TOMLIN
You hear me when I call
You are my morning song
Though darkness fills the night
It cannot hide the light

Whom shall I fear

You crush the enemy
Underneath my feet
You are my sword and shield
Though troubles linger still

Whom shall I fear

I know who goes before me
I know who stands behind
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side

The one who reigns forever
He is a friend of mine
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side

My strength is in Your name
For You alone can save
You will deliver me
Yours is the victory

Whom shall I fear
Whom shall I fear

I know who goes before me
I know who stands behind
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side

The one who reigns forever
He is a friend of mine
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side

And nothing formed against me shall stand
You hold the whole world in Your hands
I’m holding on to Your promises

You are faithful
You are faithful

And nothing formed against me shall stand
You hold the whole world in Your hands
I’m holding on to Your promises

You are faithful
You are faithful
You are faithful

I know who goes before me
I know who stands behind
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side

The one who reigns forever
He is a friend of mine
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side

I know who goes before me
I know who stands behind
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side

The one who reigns forever
He is a friend of mine
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side

The God of angel armies
Is always by my side

A Brighter End To The Week

It’s fair to say that this week has ended far better than it started.  Last weekend was a tough one in many ways and I thank everyone who left a message of support.  I very often find that when I share my struggle on this blog, it lifts the weight of it from my shoulders, it was certainly the case last Sunday, almost immediately after I had posted the gloom began to lift and I felt so much better.

As the weather has improved also as the week has gone on and I have managed to catch a few sunrises by the lake on the way to work, it seems like so long since I managed that, so as I always used to, I share the sunrises with you all.

Pastel Morning

Pastel Morning

Beyond The Blue

Beyond The Blue

Fire In The Blue

Fire In The Blue

Breaking The Dark

Breaking The Dark

In The Blue

In The Blue

Between

Between

Breaking

Breaking

Highlighting

Highlighting

Risen

Risen

Skies

Skies

THANK YOU by JAKE HAMILTON & KIM WALKER-SMITH
Thank you for the summer
And thank you for the rain
And thank you for the pleasure
Thank you for the pain

Thank you for the flowers
That bloom in early may
And thank you for the winter
That washes fall away

I want to say thank you
Thank you for it all

Thank you for the deserts
Thank you for the trees
Thank you for the failures
And for the victories

Thank you for the pruning
That gives me room to grow
Thank you for the seasons
Where I learn to reap and sow

So come, let us worship
Let us release a joyful sound
Let us enter his presence
Let us all bow down

A Frosty Sunrise

It’s been sometime since I posted any photo’s on here, mostly because of the timing of my walks and the sunrise haven’t quite come together or in typical English fashion, the weather has been pretty lousy!

Despite the this morning being the first frost since the end of last winter, the sunrise was worth catching and sharing.

Beyond The Blue

Beyond The Blue

Two In Flight

Two In Flight

Rising Morning

Rising Morning

First Signs

First Signs

From Beyond

From Beyond

Blue Fades To Orange

Blue Fades To Orange

Rising

Rising

Distant Sun

Distant Sun

DISTANT SUN by CROWDED HOUSE
Tell me all the things you would change
I don’t pretend to know what you want
When you come around and spin my top
Time and again, time and again

No fire where I lit my spark
I am not afraid of the dark
Where your words devour my heart
And put me to shame, put me to shame

When your seven worlds collide
Whenever I’m by your side
And dust from a distant sun
Will shower over everyone

Still so young to travel so far
Old enough to know who you are
Wise enough to carry the scars
Without any blame, there’s no one to blame

It’s easy to forget what you learned
Waiting for the thrill to return
Feeling your desire burn
And drawn to the flame

When your seven worlds collide
Whenever I’m by your side
Dust from a distant sun
Will shower over everyone
Dust from a distant sun
Will shower over everyone

And I’m lying on the table
Washed out in a flood
Like a Christian feeling vengeance from above
I don’t pretend to know what you want
But I offer love

Seven worlds will collide
Whenever I’m by your side
Dust from a distant sun
Will shower over everyone

As time slips by

As time slips by

Under Blood Red Skies

This morning, despite a problem with my hip, which I will explain in another post, I managed to get out walking again this morning, no inner arguments or excuses, today marks a new start and a new season, so it was time to get walking again, spending time with God and it was a great walk, I came home with numerous ideas for posts I would like to draft, so over the next week hopefully I can get to them.

There wasn’t a great sunrise this morning, but the rising sun did turn the clouds a deep red, at times blood red and at others a fiery red.

Under Blood Red Skies

Under Blood Red Skies

When I looked at the skies I was reminded of two verses, firstly from Matthew 16.

He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.  (Matthew 16:2-3)

Where Jesus has been asked by the Pharisee for a sign from heaven, he talks about the saying which we are all taught at young age, although I know it as…

Red sky at night shepherds delight, red sky in the morning shepherds warning.

But having said that most of the time I find this to be wrong, I have many times walked under red morning skies and found the day to turn out to be great.  When I walked under this sky this morning, I was as far away from the lake as I could be on my walk and wished I had been at the lake to capture the reflection of the clouds upon the lake too.  That started my thinking about a story from the Old Testament that has always intrigued me, this time the signs were definitely interpreted incorrectly.

Now all the Moabites had heard that the kings had come to fight against them; so every man,
young and old, who could bear arms was called up and stationed on the border.22 When they
got up early in the morning, the sun was shining on the water. To the Moabites across the
way, the water looked red—like blood. 23 “That’s blood!” they said. “Those kings must have
fought and slaughtered each other. Now to the plunder, Moab!”24 But when the Moabites
came to the camp of Israel, the Israelites rose up and fought them until they fled. And
the Israelites invaded the land and slaughtered the Moabites.  (2 Kings 3:21-24)

The Moabites just got it wrong, they simply saw the reflection in the water and saw what they wanted to see, not the reality of the situation, they simply saw the sky in the water and jumped to the completely wrong conclusion and this lead to their destruction.

By this time my mind was thinking back to a number of things from last weekend, starting with my poem, Faded Mirror.

FADED MIRROR

I’ve been looking in the faded mirror
The face I see I do not like
I don’t see the one You see

When I see ugly
You see only beauty

When I feel old
You call me child

When I feel alone
Your arm reaches around me

When I see failure
You proclaim my victory

When my scars begin to show
You wipe away my guilt

Forget that old faded mirror
Who I see is not who I’m made to be
Because You created me for greater things

I wrote this partly out of how I have been feeling at times over the last year, but mainly out of deep memories of some of the lowest moments of my life, the times when I looked deep into the mirror and saw only a life not worth living.

As an addict looking back, I guess you never really see the signs of who you are at the time, they’re easy to see now, but when you’re deep in this cycle, while your addiction does everything it can to hide it from those around you, it hides itself from you also.

But there were moments of strange clarity, painful clarity, when you knew who you were, but had no control of how to free yourself.  For me these moments came on Thursday evenings and Sunday afternoons, when I was alone in the house and was forced to stay sober as I had karate later.  I never drank before karate, maybe one pint or so, but never so I couldn’t carry out my duties, I drank after karate, but somehow this was the only thing I really kept sober for.

But being alone in the house brought out my most sinful nature, then I would go to get ready for karate, probably take a bath, but whatever would find myself in the bathroom, facing into the mirror with a penknife in my hand, questioning why I existed at all.

At those moments of sinful guilt, so many thoughts of how I was just a wreck of human being and not worthy of a place on earth, dark thoughts ran through my head, telling me it was time I just ended it all.

EVERYONE WOULD BE BETTER OFF IF I WAS DEAD!

I’M JUST THROWING EVERYTHING AWAY, I’M NOT WORTH IT ANYMORE!

I’M JUST A WASTE OF A LIFE!

IF I’M DEAD THE SYSTEM WILL PROVIDE FOR THEM, BECAUSE I CAN’T ANYMORE!

And so on and so on….

These dark thoughts ran through my head over and over again, there was no light only darkness and death of a life not worth living anymore.

But as the tears fell, there came just one thought that put an end to it all…

“THINK OF YOUR CHILDREN, THEY’RE BETTER OFF WITH YOU AS YOU ARE,
THAN LIVING WITH THE MEMORY OF WHAT THEY’RE GOING TO FIND IF YOU DO THIS!”

Then I knew that my daughter, who then would only be about five or six when all this was happening, would probably be the first person to run up the stairs to look for me, she would find me in the laid in a bath of my own blood.  Oh yes, I had planned it all, cut the wrists, then get in the bath and just wait to die.

But this one thought that I still had two little people that needed me, even like this, broken me, I put down the knife and turned away from the mirror, darkness lifted for a while, until the next time that is, oh yes, there were plenty of next times, but every time the same process, alone, sober, the knife, the darkness, the dark thoughts, then the “think of the kids”, the same cycle every time.

But the worst feeling then was the feeling of nothingness that followed, the hatred for oneself, the self loathing, the limbo I found I was in.

I WAS TOO MUCH OF A COWARD TO LIVE AND TOO MUCH OF A COWARD TO DIE!

I hated that feeling, it hurt, it was painful, it was as though I didn’t belong anywhere anymore.

Somehow I always managed to get in the bath, wash away those feelings for a while and go and do what I needed to do at karate, then afterwards ply myself with as much alcohol as I could.

The last time this happened was the day before I started this journey, the day before I called Gareth and put in place the changes in this life that would see me find God, stop drinking and start a journey I never thought I would ever take.

In that mirror, the reflection I was seeing was a lie, a deception, the darkness was telling me I wasn’t worth it, those voices in my head lied to me, now I know what was happening each and every time.

Over all the dark thoughts that wanted my death, a single voice shouted louder, a whisper in the ear which was heard within the heart not just in the head, a whisper from God saying hang on, there is a life worth leading here, just hang on.

Last weekend a friend from Church, who descended into a depression around the same time as I did last year, discussed how this depression brought him to attempt to take his own life, to cut his wrists, he said to everyone that maybe they wouldn’t understand, but he felt God was holding his wrists, keeping him safe.  Maybe many couldn’t comprehend that, but I could, because I now know that I could never get my hands to move in those moments, I know now that my wrists were being held safe too, I know God held my wrists and whispered in my ear, He did this for me and I didn’t even know Him back then, but He did it anyway.

It seems that like those Moabites, who saw a reflection that deceived them to their death, I saw a reflection that deceived me, I didn’t see what God saw, I saw a life not worth living, He saw one with a great future, I saw a life that was waste to the world, He saw a life that was needed by others.

That day, when I last found myself with that knife in my hand, facing the deception in the mirror, I gave that knife away, I left it on Victoria’s beside table, with a note saying “I don’t need this anymore”.  Though this last time was painful, I felt that nothingness of a life in limbo, afraid to live and afraid to die, I knew that this time it was different, I didn’t know then I was going to call Gareth the next morning, I had asked Victoria to ask if I could speak to him, but I didn’t know what was going to happen, even if I had his number, I doubted I had the strength to actually call him, all I knew was that this cycle wasn’t going to happen again, it couldn’t, this time I thought….

If I couldn’t kill myself, then maybe it’s time to start living.

But that said, when I fell into a depression last year, I had moments, bad moments, moments when death seemed better than living.

At my lowest moments, I didn’t want to go upstairs into the bathroom and cut my wrists, no I saw myself, carving words into my arms, I always saw myself cutting the words “I WILL NEVER BE ENOUGH” deep into my arms, yet once again, as the vision played out, the thought that once again, my young daughter would be the one to look and find me, shut down this thought process, for a while at least, until the next time anyway.

Through November and December, I had trouble sleeping, I just couldn’t sleep, I would lie in bed, pleading with God, not praying, pleading with God not to let me wake up in the morning.  If this was life, I didn’t want to live it.  I wanted Him to take me to heaven now, because I felt nothing here on earth.  Night after night I pleaded to fall into a sleep I would never awake from, because I felt so empty.

I don’t think I have ever told this to anyone, not even my Connect Group or my closest friends at Church, I guess I am ashamed of this memory, ashamed that after everything the Father did for me, I was letting Him down.

He warned me I would fall, He showed me that in a vision, then He showed me that I shouldn’t run away from Him either.  Although I never ran away, I did doubt Him, I argued with Him, I fought Him, I ignored Him, I let Him down, yet He never left my side.

Someday’s I still look in the mirror and feel I’m still “NOT ENOUGH”, but I guess that we all feel that sometimes, I let the mirror deceive me still.

But something changed this weekend.

This time last year, I started my descent into depression, it pretty much started on the week before I went to our Church’s Unleash Men’s Getaway, there I realised I was falling and got the vision of being swallowed by a whale, God was telling me not to runaway, there I began the process of discussing how I was feeling with friends, so I had support as I walked into the deluge that was to wash me away over and over again.

This weekend saw this year’s Unleash Getaway, but this year over the weekend I got the overwhelming feeling that God was telling me, that what started here on this weekend last year, ends this year, my sins are forgotten, the battle, the struggle is over, now it’s time to start walking with Him again.

Which is why, despite the hip pain, I was determined to start walking again this morning and I loved every second of it, the pain faded as I walked in the presence of God.

 YESTERDAY by MAINSTAY
Watch my mind grow legs and wander
What did I expect to find out here, out here?

I am only halfway here tonight
Say that You can take this off of my mind
Every time I go back I realize
That yesterday is never as good as it seems

I’m lost in the feelings that I thought were gone
Come in and make all of their light fade out, it fades out

I am only halfway here tonight
Say that You can take this off of my mind
Every time I go back I realize
That yesterday is never as good as it seems

Oh, make their light fade out
Oh, make their light fade out

I am only halfway here tonight
Say that You can take this off of my mind
Every time I go back I realize
That yesterday is never as good as it seems
Yesterday is never as good as it seems

But I’m Glad I Didn’t Hold My Breath

I have a couple of days of day job, I have quite a few days to get in before the end of the year, so I took a few whilst there is nobody else off.

So I started the day at 5am, determined to get out walking again, I actually planned on doing around 8 miles and catching the sunrise at the lake, after getting to the point where I was planning to turn back, I actually forgot to turn around and carried on all the way up the cycle track, eventually completing about 12 miles.  Which actually turned out pretty well, as the sun never broke through the clouds at the lake, although it did turn the sky and the lake blood red, but it did break through by the time I got to the end of cycle track.

It’s not been an altogether lazy day either, I’ve got a survey drawing to do for the Architects, I’ve not measured it and there so many measurements missing, it’s a real tough one to do and the deadline it tomorrow, although I actually feel like finally saying stuff the deadline!

But the end of this month I’ll be owed 12 months of work, I’ve been patient, there are other circumstances which are beyond my control and are not as straight forward as simply not being paid, but I’ve been as fair as I possibly could.  I was promised some of the money a couple of weeks ago and that I would be paid up to date by the end of the month, I didn’t hold my breath.

At the end of last week I was promised a substantial payment today, but once again, no sign of anything and yet again, I’m glad I never held my breath.

I’ll finish the drawing tomorrow, I have said I would and will keep my word, but after that, we’ll see.

But before that I will get out walking once again, another 12 miles should do the trick.

Early Glow

Early Glow

Fire Skies

Fire Skies

Red Over The Water

Red Over The Water

Horizons

Horizons

Breaking The Cloud

Breaking The Cloud

From Behind

From Behind

Illuminating The Power Lines

Illuminating The Power Lines

Higher Power

Higher Power

In Flight

In Flight

WE DANCE by STEFFANY FRIZZELL GRETZINGER & BETHEL MUSIC
You steady me
Slow and sweet, we sway
Take the lead and I will follow
Finally ready now
To close my eyes and just believe
That You won’t lead me
Where You don’t go

When my faith gets tired
And my hope seems lost
You spin me round and round
And remind me of that song
The one You wrote for me
And we dance

And I’ve been told
To pick up my sword
And fight for love
Little did I know
That Love had won for me
Here in Your arms

You still my heart again
And I breathe You in
Like I’ve never breathed ’till now

When my faith gets tired
And my hope seems lost
You spin me round and round
And remind me of that song
The one You wrote for me
And we dance
And I will lock eyes
With the One who’s ransomed me
The One who gave me joy for mourning
And I will lock eyes
With the One who’s chosen me
The One who set my feet to dancing?

We dance
Just You and me
It’s nice to know I’m not alone
I found my home here in Your arms
It’s nice to know I’m not alone?
I found my home here in Your arms
It’s nice to know I’m not alone
I found my home here in Your arms