Tag Archives: Brave Saint Saturn

Through Darkness to 250 Weeks Sober

If you have following my series of poems and verse of the day posts since the beginning of December, you may recall reading about my struggles during early December.  I didn’t elaborate on the issues back then, just wrote in my poems my deepest fears, my prayers and my pain.  In a way I have had to work through the issues before I could really write objectively about that period of my life and the changes that have happened.

If you have followed me for some time, you will know that a number of years ago I began to struggle in life, no work, no money and very little opportunity to get out of the situation.  Although even at that point I enjoyed a drink, I began to rely on drinking to get through, to the point I put drinking before paying bills and looking after my partner and our two kids, I was a mess.  That was until March 2012, when I began to realise that Victoria and I had severely drifted apart, I tried to put things right, to say I was sorry, but it was too late, it was unrepairable.

I went into a spiral of just drinking for a week, I realised I had no control over it anymore, it had control of me, I was trapped.  On 18th March 2012, I seriously considered taking my own life, I felt I was a burden on those around me and everyone would be better off without me around.  But I couldn’t do it, through all the thoughts of hopelessness I heard a voice, it told me “it is better that you kids live with you as you are now, rather than the memory of what they will find”.  I couldn’t do it after that, I realised my kids would be the ones who found my lifeless body and I couldn’t do that to them.

The next day I met with my now Pastor, I was reaching out for help, I wasn’t a Christian at that point, I had no real concept of God, He didn’t exist to me, but after meeting with Gareth, things began to change.  A few nights later I began praying for help and finally on Thursday 29th March 2012 I took my last drink and vowed never to drink again, three days later I walked into Church and found my home.

These past few years have had their ups and downs, but I’ve made it through sober all the way.  But I make no secret that I have prayed over and over again for the restoration of my relationship with Victoria, I have prayed and prayed for it.  We still lived in the same house with the kids, but in different rooms, we lived different lives, but made it work, in a way.  It was hard seeing her every day, but not being able to change anything, but I kept praying.

Earlier last year, she informed me that she would be looking to move out within a year, then later in the year she said her friends were doing up a house they had brought and when it was done she would be renting that from them.  In November she confirmed the date for her and the kids to move out would be the 10th December.

I did everything I could not to think about it, I believed it would never happening, I had been praying over this for years and there was no way this was going to happen, God would come through, wouldn’t He?

I didn’t tell anyone what was happening, I kept it hidden, until the weekend before, when a friend asked about the situation at Church, then I broke down, the reality that this could happen was sinking in.

On Saturday 10th December I went to work as usual, when I came home they were taking the last load of furniture and things, I was broken, the kids had already gone, I went into the bathroom and just cried, I could hear Victoria calling to me, but I just sat there on the bathroom floor crying with my head in my hands, then the house was quiet.

The place was a mess, I was a mess.  That afternoon I went to teach at Karate, I managed to get through that, it took my mind off things, then went to a friend’s from our Connect group to watch the boxing, again my mind was kept occupied.

It was the next day when the deepest pain come to the fore.  I was supposed to be going to a karate course down south, a few of my students were grading for their black belts, I was really needed to go with them, but I couldn’t face it, so I cancelled my lift and decided I needed to be in Church.

I was okay at home that morning, then I set off for Church, I was on team, so I always get there early, usually one of the first.  As I walked to Church I began to feel more emotional, like I was just ready to burst.  When I got there, a few people were milling around, I said hello and got on with my set up.  Then one of the guys asked how I really was, they knew what was going on, this time I couldn’t hide or hold it in anymore, I just broke down into tears.  I spent almost all the morning in tears, it all came out, I just cried and cried, every time someone spoke to me or asked how I was I broke down again, I cried on so many shoulders.  On this journey I have cried so many times, over so many things, but not like this and not in so public a way, so many people came past, people I didn’t even know, but they all reached out with a hand upon my shoulder, a gesture, but a welcome one.

That was the worst day.  From then I had to question my faith.  Over the next few days I had to work out what I was going to do from there.  I had prayed for our situation so many times, I believed I had God’s promise that we would be restored, the ruins would be rebuilt, now it seemed all was at an end, where did that leave me and how do I feel about it?

Though I didn’t cry much after that Sunday, it was still a dark place.  I have always struggled up to Christmas, it’s not a great time for alcoholics, drinking and partying is everywhere and you see all these families having a great time, all I can do is dream of having what they have.  So now it felt darker and the fears of slipping back into old ways was closer to the surface than ever.

I was in a place where my faith was severely tested, if God’s promise was for restoration, what is this place I find myself, how could I get this so wrong, did God lie to me, does He really exist or do I really believe?  But the only way through this was the thought that I had been to even darker places, I had been to the edge of life, but each time God had led me out, if He had done this for me before, then He would do it again, no matter how dark the situation.

Once I placed my trust in this belief, that God has my back, no matter what, then I began to pull through.  The emptiness of the house, the mess I was living in was nothing, just temporary, get through these next few days, get to Christmas, make it through New Year and everything would be fine.

A few months ago, I had one of those despair moments whilst walking to work, crying out for restoration, but as I walked God clearly said:

“Trust me, the seven year drought will soon be over, then prosperity will come”

I believed the drought was our relationship, but now I believe it is me, I was the drought, I was dry and barren within, He has repeatedly called out to me to trust Him, I have prayed for my desires, there’s nothing wrong with that, but I was also getting hung up on it, setting my life on it happening, letting it define me, that I believe was the drought.

As Christmas came closer, I began to sort the house out, so I had at least something comfortable when the kids came over.  Money fell into place at the right time, I got paid for all my extra work the week before Christmas, I could get the kids presents and get things for the house.

I have to say this, I have just got through Christmas over the last few years, not really enjoyed them, just been glad to get through them unscathed.  But this time around, I loved Christmas, it was the best Christmas I have had in a long while, for at least seven years anyway.  I haven’t felt so happy or optimistic in many a year.  As New Year came, my Connect Group friends came through with beds and other furniture for me and the kids.  Apart from items in the kitchen and one sofa, Victoria took everything else, which was fine, they needed it more than I did, I would rather the kids be comfortable and have everything they needed than myself.

My parents helped with many things too, they are going to help me decorate the bedrooms for the kids, they are retired and have the time in the day.  I am gradually getting the house how I want it, I am becoming domesticated too, I worked out the washing machine, the oven, all that sort of stuff.  I don’t leave pots on the side any more, I wash them straight away, in fact I am a little worried about how tidy I am becoming, this is not my natural self.

In this moment I am happier than I have been in such a long time.  I am more enthusiastic for my future than ever and fully content with where I am at the moment, today is even more special, as;

I AM 250 WEEKS SOBER TODAY, 1750 SOBERDAYS!!!!!!!

This could have gone so wrong over Christmas, but it didn’t, once again God led me out and now I place my trust in Him fully, I put my faith in Him and face my future with optimism and hope.  I don’t know what prosperity looks like, but I can’t wait to find out.  I certainly feel the drought is over.

I could never have got through this without God, the amazing people of my Connect Group and Church have been immense, without them this would have been so much harder, they have kept me going when it would have been easier to give in, I haven’t and I am still here by the grace of God.

And I am staying here!

I want to add thank you for all of you who continue to read, like and comment on my writings, I know I don’t always respond, but I do appreciate everything.

I considered stopping writing at one point last year, I even thought about pulling down my blog, I have also had a few issues with an ex student targeting my on Facebook, with so very insulting and obscene comments about me, my family and my karate club, this is currently with the Police, although I don’t believe they can do much, it was something I could do without, I add that to get through it, I have not responded or retaliated in anyway on Facebook or anywhere else, I chose to pray for them, for their heart and their soul, I prayed that they may find God and find peace in their life, it made it easy to get through and get beyond.

I decided to continue with the series of poems into this year, I have written at least one poem everyday for two years now, I thought I would be all poemed out, but no I decided I would carry on for another year at least, so I have created a number of bible verse images to write about and will continue for the next year at least.

So this next year, only God know what’s in store, but I am so enthusiastic, so happy and so content!!!

DAYLIGHT by BRAVE SAINT SATURN
Did you hear the news today?
I’m not coming home, no
And I wished it all away
I felt so alone, yeah
And the darkness crept it’s way
Like stars we know will die too soon
There is never any sunrise here in the shadows of eclipsing moons
Crawling on a tightrope
The bravest thing I have is hope

Daylight, save me
Daylight, save me
Tonight, tonight

Halogen, the lights will flicker
Incandescent burning lies
And the silence stands for nothing
Desperate I search the skies
Aching for a spark
Trembling in pitchest dark

Daylight, save me
Daylight, save me
Tonight, tonight

Mission Control: U.S.S. Gloria, this is mission control, do you copy?
We have lost contact with the U.S.S. Gloria

U.S.S. Gloria: Mission Control, this is the U.S.S. Gloria, do you read me?
Mayday, we have lost primary guidance functions

News Reporter: The crew is now out of radio contact.
Presently there is no way for us to know whether they
Are alive or dead.
Our hopes and prayers go out with you all.

Mission Control: U.S.S. Gloria, this is mission control, do you copy?

U.S.S. Gloria: Houston this is the U.S.S. Gloria.
Good to hear your voice
We are coming out of the eclipse now.
I see the sunlight. it’s beautiful
The sunlight is beautiful.

Jesus Christ, Light of the World
You never did forget me
And when I bled in darkness, You held me
Still held me
When desperate nights I cursed You
You loved me, still loved me
Jesus Christ, You dry the tears
You break my heart of stone
Your words are life
Cut marrow through
The darkness, to the bone
A heart of flesh You gave me
Only You can save me

Savior
Daylight
I am coming home

The Story So Far – Chapter 2 – A Venture Into The Unknown

CHAPTER 2 – A VENTURE INTO THE UNKNOWN

On 6th February 2011, our daughter had her dedication at Church, this time I made it there, we put on a show of being a family despite what was going on, we had family come back to our house afterwards, together with Victoria’s friends from Church, I knew some of them but not many.  In a strange twist of fate, all the family sat in the back room with Victoria, I got home and went straight into the front room to watch the football, it was all the people from Church that came into the front room and sat with me, I met so many people that day for the first time, but many of those that sat in my room would become pivotal to what was going to happen just over a year later, I don’t think anyone at that time knew the significance of the that afternoon in February 2011, yet when I look back I know now it wasn’t by chance or coincidence it happened that way, God moves in ways we can never comprehend.

The sad thing was that even though I really enjoyed everyone’s company that afternoon and I really liked everyone that I had met, I also couldn’t wait for them to go.  I knew I couldn’t start drinking in front of them and to be honest I had drunk everything I had the night before.  So I was beginning to get desperate for something to drink.  As soon as the last visitors had left, I made my way around the corner to the shop, it was gone 6pm now and it was invading my drinking time.  Even now I feel really embarrassed by that, these people stood by me a year later, they were there for me when I needed them, but back then I couldn’t wait to get rid of them, because I preferred a drink to their company.

At that point in my life the idea of Church was a big no, I wasn’t in anyway interested in being in a Church, if invited to a Wedding, unless it was close family, Victoria would go with the kids without me, I would go to the evening party, but Victoria would ultimately use the excuse of me being at karate, which in a way was true, but it was avoidable, I just hated in Churches.  At that point I had never been in a Church like Everyday Champions Church, church to me was a centuries old stone building, cold and uncomfortable, an old guy at the front speaking from a book I wasn’t interested and singing hymns that I just could bring myself to sing.  Was I a total non believer, I guess not really, I was fine with people having faith, I just wasn’t interested myself, I believed there was something more to this life, but I was nowhere near ready to accept a God or Jesus into my life.

But on that day in February 2011, I actually found I enjoyed the service at Church and even the music there, some of what they sang I already had on my iPod, but at that point I wasn’t interested.

The music though I was really interested in, I don’t really know why, but even before things began to unravel, I had actually become interested in Christian music.  In mid 2008 I began listening to bands like Casting Crowns, Third Day and Tenth Avenue North, I actually really liked the music and sang along to many of the songs.  Over the previous three years I had been listened to as much Christian music as I had to secular music, I didn’t know why back then, I just did.  I remember one day singing along at home to Daylight by Brave Saint Saturn, in particular the lyrics…

Jesus Christ, light of the world
You never did forget me
And when I bled in darkness
You held me, still held me

When desperate nights I cursed You
You loved me, still loved me
Jesus Christ, You dry the tears
You break my heart of stone

Your words are life cut marrow through
The darkness to the bone
A heart of flesh You gave me
Only You can save me

Savior
Daylight

Victoria challenged me as to why I was singing along to such lyrics when I wasn’t a believer, I remember just saying that I enjoyed the music, it was good music and I liked to listen to it, she couldn’t get it into her head as to why I could sing along, if I’m honest then neither can I, as a total none believer I was singing of Jesus, the light of my light, my hope and my saviour, why I don’t really know, but I was somehow in the middle of all this turmoil and this pain and anger, me the total none believer, the guy who didn’t want to know about God, faith, religion or Jesus, was openly singing about all these things.

I had even set my ringtone on my phone to the song “All Around Me” by Christian band Flyleaf, I loved the song, I just thought it was about relationships in general, just about loving someone, it would take a number of years to find that it was about feeling the presence and love of God all around us, how wrong I was, but once again I don’t  think it was by chance that a song like this was brought into my life, eventually music would become a medium in which God would speak to me, but a lot of things had to break until I released just how long this had been happening in my life.

Later in the year a friend of mine offered me a full time job, one of the sales assistants at the builders merchant that he was manager of was leaving and the job was mine if I wanted it.  I was interested in the job, but something inside of me was afraid of change.  When this all started and I was applying for jobs, yet getting no reply, I just stopped bothering, I began to wonder if I was good enough to do anything else, I was being rejected without even being told why, not even given the courtesy of being informed I wasn’t right for the job I was applying for.  I became more and more demoralised and as I mentioned earlier began to withdraw even more.  Now there was job I could take if I wanted it, it would solve so many problems, it was a no brainer really, yet I couldn’t say yes, I stalled for a number of weeks, until I saw that he had in the end advertised it, Victoria challenged me on it and I contacted Bill and said I was interested.  I went to meet him at work and I agreed to take the job, I had to wait a while until the other guy had left, but in late November I started working full time, a regular wage and regular work, it was going to solve so many of my problems, or so I thought.

In this crazy, mixed up mindset that I was living my life with, I thought everything was retrievable.  But I actually thought that it was just the financial situation that was driving the wedge, it was the money problem that was causing the distance between myself and Victoria, having a job and a regular wage would take things right back to where I was before and I could get things back on track with Victoria, that was my mindset, that was what I wanted, I so wanted to make things right with Victoria, but just couldn’t bring myself to sit down with her and have a conversation about where we were and what we could do about it.

Every time my mind wandered back to a time shortly after the birth of our first child, Ben would be about one year old and just a few days before Christmas we were unable to agree what to do on Christmas day, it was on the face of it a trivial disagreement, but we were in a bit of a rocky patch, we were getting a little distant, it would seem that having a child was changing our relationship, I became second to our son as Victoria became super mum and in the midst of that argument I heard those words for the first time….

“I love you, but I’m not in love with you!”

Those words destroyed me, they broke me then, on that occasion we resolved to try harder with our relationship and we got things back on track.  Now this time, I dreaded hearing those words again, I knew I would have to hear them again, I knew they would hurt once again, but I still thought that if we could do it back then, get things back on track again, find a way through it all, then we could do that again, why not?

But things weren’t going to plan, yes I was working full time, which was healthy, I was a better person when I had a purpose to get up for, something to put my mind to.  But the sad fact was that by working and having a regular wage, it meant that I had more money to spend and more money meant more alcohol.

DAYLIGHT by BRAVE SAINT SATURN
Did you hear the news today?
I’m not coming home, no
And I wished it all away
I felt so alone, yeah

And the darkness crept its way
Like stars that we all know will die too soon
There is never any sunrise here
In the shadows of eclipsing moons

Crawling on a tightrope
The bravest thing I have is hope

Daylight, save me
Daylight, save me
Tonight, oh, tonight

Halogen, the lights will flicker
Incandescent burning lies
And the silence stands for nothing
Desperate I search the skies

Aching for a spark
Trembling in pitchest dark

Daylight, save me
Daylight, save me
Tonight, oh, tonight

“U.S.S. Gloria, this is Mission Control, do you copy?”
Repeat, “U.S.S. Gloria, this is Mission Control, do you copy?”
“We have lost contact with the U.S.S. Gloria”
Repeat, “We have lost contact with the U.S.S. Gloria”

“Mission Control, this is the U.S.S. Gloria
Do you read me? Do you read me?
Mayday, mayday, we have lost primary guidance functions
Mayday”

The crew is now out of radio contact
Presently there is no way for us to know
Whether they are alive or dead
Our hopes and prayers go out with you all

“U.S.S. Gloria, this is Mission Control, do you copy?”
“Houston, this is the U.S.S. Gloria, good to hear your voice
We are coming out of the eclipse now
I see the sunlight, it’s beautiful
The sunlight is beautiful”

Jesus Christ, light of the world
You never did forget me
And when I bled in darkness
You held me, still held me

When desperate nights I cursed You
You loved me, still loved me
Jesus Christ, You dry the tears
You break my heart of stone

Your words are life cut marrow through
The darkness to the bone
A heart of flesh You gave me
Only You can save me

Savior
Daylight
I am coming home
Home, home, home, home

Jelly Peppers

My Son turned thirteen a couple of weeks ago, he’s growing up fast, even if he isn’t growing that tall, unfortunately it looks like he got the short ass gene just like his Dad.

But I do have to smile when I walk to work at this time of year, my route through the cemetery is lined with Horse Chestnut trees, so the pathways are littered with conkers.

When I was young we spent hours here collecting the biggest conker to take to school, with an old shoe lace tied through it or indeed a new shoe lace, just don’t tell my Dad!

These days the Great British game of conkers is banned in most schools, too dangerous!! The only tears I remember from school during a game of conkers, was when someone’s beloved unbeaten conker was suddenly smashed into dozens of pieces.

But not only remembering my school days makes me smile, but my Son had his own special word for conkers when he was little. We don’t know why but he called them….

Jelly Peppers

We never knew why or where he got the words from. We always called them conkers, but he insisted they were Jelly Peppers, he wouldn’t call them anything else.

He doesn’t remember calling them that anymore, we remind him, but he “claims” he doesn’t remember it.

He also doesn’t remember calling aliens “meppels”, again no idea where that came from, but he insisted that they were called meppels and not aliens.

It’s funny how kids pick these odd words up for various different things, I can understand if they sound like the actual name or they had trouble saying the word, but these two names were just straight out if a child’s mouth and still make me smile.

I guess if you have kids too, they probably had a few of these names also, ones which still produce a smile.

BINARY by BRAVE SAINT SATURN
Blessed is the man who does prevail
Doomed are the peacemakers when they fail
If hope springs eternal, it never get here
I guess I lost all my hope last year

I tried to steal the moon from the sky
I am lost and lonely, I drift in space
My dreams are haunted by her face

Blessed are the drifters, the stars that die
Whose light expires, before goodbyes
Goodbye, goodbye

Binary star, you’re the brightest blue by far
And up against the starry sea
I thought that you were meant for me

Blessed are the meek who shall inherit
The throes of death for all their merit
The right to stumble, to wear and perish
Doomed are those who hold and cherish

I tried to steal the moon from the sky
You hide behind your broken wings
Your dreams are all for better things

And in the dark we climb this slope
‘Cause the bravest thing is always, always hope
Goodbye, goodbye

Binary star, you’re the brightest blue by far
And up against the starry sea
I thought that you were meant for me

Binary star, you’re the brightest blue by far
And up against the starry sea
I thought that you were meant for me

And up against the starry sea
I thought that you were meant for me
I thought that you were meant for me

My Year So Far In Music

Back in June I started thinking about songs that map out my journey, I was listening to a lot of music, Christian artists mainly or just music that was inspiring, on my Baptism day I posted six songs on my Facebook page, six songs mapping my life from February to July, one to describe each month and a quick reason for each, now I have expanded the list for the whole year and I will describe the reasons in more detail:

January : Dead Man (Carry Me) by Jars of Clay

So carry me
I’m just a dead man
Lying on the carpet
Can’t find a heartbeat
(Dead Man (Carry Me) by Jars of Clay)

Back in January I was oblivious to what was happening in my life, I was working now for a couple of months, Christmas wasn’t that bad (the year before I was ill over Christmas up to New Year), so the drink had been flowing well, work equalled money, money equalled beer, so I was slowly becoming a Dead Man, people were carrying me, I just couldn’t see it, my friends, family and workmates didn’t know it, it wouldn’t be long before I was dead on the floor.  When I first heard this song following the breakdown of my life, the lyrics hit me right between the eyes, I was that dead man, I was carried longer than I ever realised, I had been dead on the floor for years.

——————————

February: Monster by Skillet

My secret side I keep
Hid under lock and key
I keep it caged but I can’t control it
(Monster by Skillet)

This is a song I had played many times, infact it was one of the most played songs on my Ipod over the previous three years, but I was again completely oblivious to it’s relevance to my life.  The truth is there was a monster in me, I did keep it caged, but I couldn’t control it, I never let anyone see it, but it was there, I tried to fight it but lost everytime, it had control, I was it’s slave, a body and a soul consumed in torment.

——————————

March: Daylight by Brave Saint Saturn

Jesus Christ, Light of the World
You never did forget me
And when I bled in darkness, You held me
Still held me
(Daylight by Brave Saint Saturn)

To understand the song you have to know the concept of Brave Saint Saturn, the band have released three albums that tell the story of a space mission to Saturn, the first album deals with the departure, the second the mission and it’s failure, the third the rescue and return.

Daylight is from the second album, the mission has gone wrong and the crew are stranded in darkness with no contact with mission control.  The song is meant as a metaphor for that feeling of isolation, that feeling I was going through, feeling lost and alone in darkness, unable to reach out for help.  The crew members try desperately to reach mission control, but fail, then they hear a voice, as their ship comes out of the darkness.  I felt the same way, I was lost, until a voice came through from mission control to bring Daylight to replace my darkness, Gareth Morgan came through bringing the light of Jesus with him, I truly made contact with mission control when I prayed for the first time on 21st March 2012.

——————————

April: Healing Begins by Tenth Avenue North

Afraid to let your secrets out
Everything that you hide
Can come crashing through the door now
But too scared to face all your fear
So you hide but you find
That the shame won’t disappear
(Healing Begins by Tenth Avenue North)

I’ve posted before about the song Healing Begins and the message I received to listen to this song, all through April this song was my guide, it stood by me through the pain and my struggles, it kept me on my path, even when I felt like falling back into the darkness, it kept my striving for the light.

——————————

May: Right Beside You by Building 429

When the walls are closing in
And you think you’d rather sink than swim
When you think there’s nothing left for you to lose
I’ll be right beside you
(Right Beside You by Building 429)

Another song that I had listen to many times, but this song became more important to me as my journey with God took more significance and relevance in my life, I was still coming to terms with the pain and withdrawals, I realised when I was at my lowest, so close to succumbing to temptation, if I asked for help from God it was there, he was right beside me, it just hit a chord with me, it didn’t matter how low I was he was right beside me.

——————————

June: Dear X, You Don’t Own Me by Disciple

Dear shame, I was safe in your arms
You were there when it all fell apart
I would get so lost in your beautiful lies
(Dear X, You Don’t Own Me by Disciple)

This song was another I had listened to over the last few years, I really liked the song, but again never looked at it’s relevance to me, but as I became stronger and moved further away from the drink, I felt like I was gaining some element of control over it, I knew how to handle most of the feelings of temptation.  So X, which in my case stood for alcohol really didn’t own me anymore, it was still there trying, but I was fighting it, I had an element of control now, DEAR X (ALCOHOL), YOU DON’T OWN ME!!!!!!

——————————

July: Unbreakable by Fireflight

Now I am unbreakable, It’s unmistakable
No one can touch me, Nothing can stop me
(Unbreakable by Fireflight)

On the day I was baptised I posted this list of songs on Facebook, without any real explanations, I was looking for a song for July that described how I felt that day, having been baptised in the amazing circumstances that happened that day, well I was so high on the whole experience that I felt Unbreakable, nobody could break how I felt that day, that feeling would last for sometime.

 ——————————

August: Rise Above by Fireflight

Counting scars and losing track
Afraid to crash we never spread our wings
And with every chance we take we find a reason
To give up on the hope that we all need
(Rise Above by Fireflight)

With my control over my problems gradually improving, out of the blue I found this song, it said everything I was feeling at the time, whatever came my way, I had to rise above it, keep going on my path, whatever was throw at me, I could not afford to let it bring me down, I simply chose to rise above it, so this song just said everything.

 ——————————

September: Run to You (+ Meet You) by Parachute Band

You are calling you are calling me to you
And i run     and i run to you
I need you i cant get enough of you
I come alive when im in your presence oh God of my salvation
(Run to You (+ Meet You) by Parachute Band)

This was again another song I had added to my Ipod well before my world changed forever, but one morning on way to Church it randomly played, I was blown away by it’s beauty and the simple message, the song just hit me.  Walking home from Church I listened to it over and over again, I just felt the song, it says everything to me really, it didn’t matter what I did or where I tried to hide, he would meet me, Christ would find me and I am so grateful that he did.

 ——————————

October: Times by Tenth Avenue North

My love is over. It’s underneath
It’s inside. It’s in between
The times you doubt Me, when you can’t feel
The times that you question, ‘Is this for real?’
(Time by Tenth Avenue North)

Of all the songs on the album Over and Underneath, this song originally I didn’t really like, I still wasn’t a big fan when my world changed, then after listening to their new album The Struggle, I revisited this song and I finally understood it.  The song basically has two parts to it, in the first part the singer questions his relationship with God, the second part God replies that no matter what you do his love will always be there.  At a time when things in my journey became real and I questioned if I was ready for it, I got my answers, this song played out in my life, I questioned, he answered.

 ——————————

November: Don’t Change a Thing by Seabird

Waking up before the sun came up, was a fight that I would lose
To fall in love without a heart must be the hardest part for you
If I could change anything I’d change everything but you
Please promise me you won’t change a thing
(Don’t Change a Thing by Seabird)

The reoccurring theme here is that all these songs were on my Ipod well before my fall, they were there, I had listened to them many times, they were on my regular play list, but I hadn’t heard them, I hadn’t taken their lyrics and questioned them or their relevance to my life, now I feel them, I see the words, I hear them, at times many of these songs still reduce me to tears, I just can’t believe I never really heard them before.  If I could go back to that darkness I was in, with what I know now, I would change everything but Christ, in fact I have, the only constant is Christ, I have with his help changed everything.

 ——————————

December (hopefully): Merry Christmas, Here’s To Many More by Relient K

I made it through the year and I did not even collapse
Gotta thank God for that
I’m torn between what keeps me whole and what tears me in half
I’ll fall apart or stay intact
(Merry Christmas, Here’s To Many More by Relient K)

I know we are only in November, but I love this song, it is my all time favourite Christmas song, narrowly beating “Fairytale of New York”.  I just hope that I make to through the year with out collapsing (again anyway), I will certainly thank God for that, though not everyone I love will be there to greet me, I will be thankful to have at least reached Christmas, things could have gone horribly wrong this year, between contemplation of suicide and being a heart attack waiting to happen, whatever happens for me this Christmas, I will be glad just to have made it.

Fireworks, Well Homemade Ones!

I am lucky that 28 years ago today I escaped with both my eyes fully operational.

As a youngster both my parents worked full time, so during school holidays myself, my sister and my four cousins spent the days at my Gran’s small bungalow.  Schools around here break up for a week in October, so the boys spent the week collecting wood and old furniture, in order to build a bonfire in my Gran’s large garden.  We went everywhere around the estate collecting anything that would burn, we would make a bonfire in excess of two meters high, ready for the November 5th bonfire night celebrations.

Our parents would chip in with fireworks, my Mum, Aunts and Gran would make the food and toffee, the girls would make a guy (an effigy of Guy Fawkes), the whole family would then come together for the first time each year, the only other time would be Christmas Day.

And the fireworks fly
And the fireworks fall
But I have seen the best of all
And it’s true, after every charge is through
I can still hear the thunder call
(Fireworks by Brave Saint Saturn)

That year however, myself and my older cousin had spent the holiday’s not only building a bonfire, but building homemade banger fireworks.  I won’t go into the full details of how we made these and the ingredients, but you do need to know that they included sellotape.

We made them in varying sizes, which had differing results, generally they just exploded with a loud bang, louder than the bangers that were available to buy in the UK in 1984.  They had power too, one large banger could provide enough force to lift a galvanised dustbin lid several feet into the air!

As the night went along, our parents set of many legal fireworks and my cousin and I set off our homemade bangers, everyone was enjoying themselves, the 10 year old me included, but then my eye started to itch, it gradually got worse.

It itched more and more, the more I rubbed it the worse the irritation and then the pain got, so I had to show my parents.  Inside, in the light, it was clear that something wasn’t right, both my eye lids were raw, not just from the rubbing, but something more sinister.  There was no alternative, hospital, so off I went with my parents whilst the others continued the celebrations.

For a bonfire night, the hospital was rather quiet, so I was seen almost immediately.  The Doctor said it was clear that there was burning to both the upper and lower eye lids, but amazingly no damage seemed to have been done to the eye itself, he said I was lucky, I must have blinked as a spark or whatever it was had shot into my eye, in doing so protecting the eye from impact and an almost certain loss of some or all the sight in that eye.

It would appear that the sellotape used in the construction had melted on ignition and shot into my eye, I never notice the impact, only the itching sometime later, but luckily as the Doctor stated I must have inadvertently blinked, which save my sight.

I was the only bonfire night casualty in the town that year, I made the local paper, although due to my age at the time they didn’t mention me by name.  I would make the paper again, only five days after this event I passed my black belt grading, so I made the local paper two weeks running, although the second time they did name me!

Last weekend at the Church getaway, it was the first time I have been close to a bonfire since that very night 28 years ago, it brought back a few memories, luckily no one brought any fireworks, never mind homemade ones, although the youthful exuberance was still evident, as the younger members of the group proceeded to jump over the fire as it died down.

Unleash Campfire

Unleash Campfire

Twenty eight years later, I thankfully still have perfect vision, despite this event and my many hours spent wasted staring at a computer screen, either at home or at work.  So now I thank God for these moments in my life, that without me knowing it, he was there looking out for me, saving me from my own arrogance and stupidity.