Tag Archives: Flyleaf

Verse of the Day – Jeremiah 15:10

Jeremiah 15:10

Jeremiah 15:10

In this world it is such an easy trap to feel the whole world is against you.  I have to remember that in these moments, when everything comes against, there is still the One that is for me.

BROKEN WINGS by FLYLEAF
Thank you for being such a friend to me
Oh, I pray a friend for life
And have I ever told you how much you mean to me?
Oh, you’re everything to me

And I am so lost for words
And I am so overwhelmed

Please don’t go just yet
Can you stay a moment please?
We can dance together
We can dance forever

Under your stars tonight
And I am so overwhelmed
By a thousand broken wings.
A thousand broken wings.

So close your eyes but don’t dream too deep
And please pass me some memories
And when I fall you’re underneath
A thousand broken hearts
Carried by a thousand broken wings
A thousand broken wings
A thousand broken wings

A thousand voices singing reasons
Of understanding why it happens
A thousand voices singing reasons
Of understanding why it happens
A thousand voices singing reasons
Of understanding why it happens
 

Verse of the Day – Psalm 88:6

Psalm 88:6

Psalm 88:6

It’s my mind that puts me in the lowest pit and darkest depths, but it’s the grace of the Lord that leads me back out.

I love this song, I had this as a ringtone on my phone four years before I became a Christian, God speaks to us in many ways, even if we aren’t listening.

ALL AROUND ME by FLYLEAF
My hands are searching for you
My arms are outstretched towards you
I feel you on my fingertips
My tongue dances behind my lips for you

This fire rising through my being
Burning I’m not used to seeing you

I’m alive, I’m alive

I can feel you all around me
Thickening the air I’m breathing
Holding on to what I’m feeling
Savoring this heart that’s healing

My hands float up above me
And you whisper you love me
And I begin to fade
Into our secret place

The music makes me sway
The angels singing say we are alone with you
I am alone and they are too with you

I’m alive
I’m alive

I can feel you all around me
Thickening the air I’m breathing
Holding on to what I’m feeling
Savoring this heart that’s healing

So I cry
(Holy)
The light is white
(Holy)
And I see you

I’m alive
I’m alive
I’m alive

And I can feel you all around me
Thickening the air I’m breathing
Holding on to what I’m feeling
Savoring this heart that’s healing

Take my hand
I give it to you
Now you own me
All I am
You said you would never leave me
I believe you
I believe

I can feel you all around me
Thickening the air I’m breathing
Holding on to what I’m feeling
Savoring this heart that’s healed
 

Verse of the Day – Psalm 33:5

Psalm 33:5

Psalm 33:5

Where would this world be if we didn’t have the Lord’s love?  Maybe not everyone has felt it, but it is there, there for us all, both the lost and the found.

JUSTICE AND MERCY by FLYLEAF
We can’t be oblivious
We are not ignorant

Blood in our hearts
Blood on our hands

We’re human
We reason
We’re breathing
Protecting
You’re living and dying, surviving, we’re trying
To breathe in safety
Come home safely

Mercy screams its violent love
Justice..
And mercy
Justice..
And mercy
The death of us created for
Justice..
And mercy
Justice..
And mercy
This is where they kiss

Life, here sacrificed
Someone who payed the price
Blood in our hearts
Blood on our hands
We cry out, we’re fighting, it’s warfare, we’re dying
Believing we’re winning, it’s ending, we’re singing
It’s already done
We’ve overcome

Mercy screams its violent love
Justice..
And mercy
Justice..
And mercy
The death of us created for
Justice..
And mercy
Justice..
And mercy
This is where they kiss

With a life on the line (the fire..)
That consumes or refines (the fire..)
To ascend or decline
To retreat or to climb
Out of sight, out of mind
’til attacked from behind
Will this fire..
Consume or refine?

Mercy screams its violent love
Justice..
And mercy
Justice..
And mercy
The death of us created for
Justice..
And mercy
Justice..
And mercy
This is where they kiss

 

Verse of the Day – Ecclesiastes 9:4

Ecclesiastes 9:4

Ecclesiastes 9:4

We have hope because of Christ, we have life because of His sacrifice, if we do not embrace the life we have been gifted by that great sacrifice, then we may as well be dead lions.

ALL AROUND ME by FLYLEAF
My hands are searching for you
My arms are outstretched towards you
I feel you on my fingertips
My tongue dances behind my lips for you

This fire rising through my being
Burning I’m not used to seeing you

I’m alive, I’m alive

I can feel you all around me
Thickening the air I’m breathing
Holding on to what I’m feeling
Savoring this heart that’s healing

My hands float up above me
And you whisper you love me
And I begin to fade
Into our secret place

The music makes me sway
The angels singing say we are alone with you
I am alone and they are too with you

I’m alive
I’m alive

I can feel you all around me
Thickening the air I’m breathing
Holding on to what I’m feeling
Savoring this heart that’s healing

So I cry
(Holy)
The light is white
(Holy)
And I see you

I’m alive
I’m alive
I’m alive

And I can feel you all around me
Thickening the air I’m breathing
Holding on to what I’m feeling
Savoring this heart that’s healing

Take my hand
I give it to you
Now you own me
All I am
You said you would never leave me
I believe you
I believe

I can feel you all around me
Thickening the air I’m breathing
Holding on to what I’m feeling
Savoring this heart that’s healed

 

Karate And Me – Chapter 5 – Success And Second Dan

KARATE AND ME

CHAPTER 5  – SUCCESS AND SECOND DAN

I guess after you’ve achieved a goal you set your heart on, there is a period of coming down, the next twelve months seemed to pass by with no real development, no real achievement, I trained, I continued to train five times a week, but just seemed to tread water.  It was one of those periods where I see where development was just slow.

The summer of 1985 was a strange one for me, I contracted some sort of virus which just didn’t seem to let go, I was constantly feeling sick, I missed about six weeks of training, there were times when I got to karate and then suddenly felt sick, my Dad thought I was losing interest, it wasn’t that way, I was still very much into training, I guess there was an element of that, but this virus did hang around for a while.

In either late 1985 or early 1986 Alan decided to add a special beginner’s class to the schedule on Sunday afternoon’s, but the revelation was the he wasn’t going to teach it, he would supervise, but it would be left to the junior black belts to teach new junior beginner’s the ropes.

At that point I was the fourth most senior of the junior black belts, so I was in effect just an assistant, but odd weeks I would lead the class.  I enjoyed this, one of us would lead the class while a couple of the other black belts or sometimes brown belts, would demonstrate in front of the class, the others mingled with the beginners, correcting them or showing them what to do.  The class started off small, but eventually it grew to over thirty students, this was in the hay day of the club, the overall membership of the club was well over 150, although at that time there was only one other karate club in the town and they didn’t take kids.

The junior black belts just kept coming, our the line up of black belts went from just the four of us at the end of 1984 and reached around twenty over the next few years, we had some promising students coming through, many showing much more potential than I had, many came through without getting any temporary grades and passed their black belt first time, in complete contrast to myself.

So 1985 passed for me with no real success, for the first time there were no gradings for me to take and in the competitions I entered, I didn’t find any success, but as Alan always said, the best lessons were in failing, that was where we really learnt about ourselves, not from victory.

The next year started pretty much the same way, but as our black belt section grew and we all trained together and pushed each other, things began to change.  In October the regional championships came around, four years previously I had taken part in my first competition in the regions, that time only in kata, this time I was twelve years old and allowed to fight in the competition for the first time.  At the time the current National Champion for my age group and height was from a club in Birmingham, he would be in the completion and he was a target for all of my club mates, he was the one we all really wanted to beat.

For some reason I decided to fight defensively from the off, I would just wait for my opponent to attack and either block and counter quickly or move in to hit them before they could hit me, in the early round it worked and I kept to the tactic, all the while listening to the instructions from one of my instructors behind me.  I was going well, so well in fact that Chris who was coaching me, missed the call for his competition, he wouldn’t leave the area whilst myself or any of my club mates were still in the competition.

I made it through to the semi final and was drawn against Andrew from Birmingham, I stuck to the same tactics, I would wait for him and counter attack.  It worked, I scored the first point, but Andrew went on all out attack as the time ran out, he didn’t score, but because he had managed to back me out of the area twice, it was given a draw, even though I was the only one to score.  So we had to fight again, still I would stick to the same tactic and it worked again, I picked him off, scored the only point and this time stood my ground, when time was called, I had scored the only point again and was declared the winner, I was through to my first final and had beaten the current National Champion to boot, I remember bowing off the area and jumping straight into Chris’s arms, I’m not sure who was more pleased in that moment, Chris or myself.

Come the final later that day, I would be facing my club mate Stuart, we knew each other quite well and knew how each other fought, he was still only a brown belt, but despite that he had already placed third in the National Championships.  I think I under estimated him, I thought being the black belt, this was mine, I was wrong.  The fight was over quickly, the first point happen almost immediately after the start, Stuart came in with a kick, which I still believe didn’t really connect and I countered, but his kick was scored, I was behind for the first time in the whole day.  For some reason then I switched tactic and went on the attack and Stuart beat me at my own game, he waited, blocked and countered, scoring the second point he needed to win the fight.

Still despite that defeat, I was still second in the region, there was over sixty kids in my category that day, I was second and had beaten the current National Champion, I had no right to be disappointed and I wasn’t, far from it.

As December come around it was time to attempt my second day, the grading would take place on my thirteenth birthday, down in Slough.  It was a long day, we left early and had to wait around so long before grading that, both myself and Darren who also went for his second dan, failed miserably.  I don’t think we were badly prepared, I don’t necessarily think the waiting around was a factor, it was just a hard grading, with a lot of good kids and on the day we hadn’t come up to scratch, we would both have to wait a few months before trying again.

It was only a couple of months before we would try again, so in February 1987 we went to Wellingborough to grade again, this time it was much closer to home and the waiting around wasn’t nearly as long.

There weren’t that many juniors going for second dan that day, I believe it was just six of us, I was naturally the youngest and by far the smallest, the others were all a couple of years older and all Darren’s size, so when it came to fighting, they pulled out a young brown belt who had just failed his black belt, it was a little unfair on him.  I wasn’t going to under estimate him like I had done a few month earlier, I went for it, I was all over him, in gradings it wasn’t acceptable to wait and defend like in competition, your were expected to show spirit and attack, so I did, I didn’t hurt the lad, but I never let him off the hook, I battered him a bit, the only time he hit me was with a kick below the belt, that just made me mad!

This time I had done enough, I had passed, unfortunately Darren hadn’t, that made things hard, we were good friends and it was hard not to show too much jubilant emotion, when you knew exactly what he was going through having failed before, to Darren’s credit, he never showed it, in fact the next morning I woke to find a congratulations card through my door, we had that much respect for each other, when he passed a few months later, I returned the compliments and put a card through his door too.

When May 1987 came around it was time for the National Championships again, as always at Crystal Palace, the junior catagories were getting bigger, there seemed to be more kids there each year and as usual, we were put in the smallest hall, out of the way of the crowds, but crammed into a small gym, hundreds of kids, not ideal, but we were all in the same boat.

I rode my luck to say the least that year, I made it through to round three and there I drew a lad called Ian, it was the first time he had competed, but he came with a reputation, his bigger brother was on the England National Squad and in the World Championships the year before had made the final, decisively beating the Japanese favourite on the way, so a lot was expected of Ian.

I was using the same tactics, wait and counter attack, but Ian didn’t give me chance, he was fast, he came in with a back fist, which hit me smack bang on my left ear, hard, I went down and the next thing I know he was on top of me, just punching away at my head.  He had gone over the top with his aggression and control, the referees disqualified him and awarded me the fight, I was through, but I would rather have won the fight fair and square.  I did get chance to fight Ian again a few years later, this time he fought cleanly and beat me hands down.

After that regaining my composure, despite the fact it felt like my ear had doubled in size, I made it through to the semi finals, there I faced a boy from Sunderland called Marc, he was good fighter and fought very similar to how I did, but he was faster than I was and beat me soundly, it was probably a fight to far for me, but I had made the semi finals and collected a bronze medal later that evening, it would be almost twenty years before I collected another medal from the Nationals, but I was happy with that one and Alan, my instructor was over the moon.

Later that day though I took part in the kata, in the first round I was against probably the smallest and youngest boy there, the judge announced the kata and told us both to begin, I started and then glanced across at this kid, he was doing a different kata to me, then I realized I was wrong, I had heard the right kata, announced the right kata, but was doing the wrong one, I stopped and just stood there as this kid finished, rightly he was awarded the win.  When I sat down, one of the corner judges turned to me, he said to come back next year when my head was on straight, well to be honest it didn’t matter, I was getting that bronze medal later, that was all I was bothered about!

After that period of treading water following passing my black belt, I had now in just over six months, come second at the regionals, passed my second dan and won bronze at the nationals, I was beginning to achieve a potential, that had you seen me when I first started, you wouldn’t think anyone like me could achieve.

NEW HORIZONS by FLYLEAF
So you’re tired but you’re alive
So open up your eyes
And you can get your sleep when you are dead
Kill the clock inside your head
Bring your normalcy to the edge
And watch it drown in new horizons
New horizons

You said I’d only have to wait until I die
And that’s in no time
How did we come to thinking this was funny?
Cheering and laughing at the dying
While we’re riding the line in You

Wait
You said I’d only have to wait until I die
(New horizon)
There is no such thing as time
Inside this moment no sun rising
Wait until I fly
(New horizon)
Wait until I fly
(New horizon)

Life floods in with a conquest
Life floods in with a new quest
He’s a voice for the voiceless
And a song for the soulless
Life floods in

Wait
You said I’d only have to wait until I die
(New horizon)
There is no such thing as time
Inside this moment no sun rising
Wait until I fly
(New horizon)
Wait until I fly
(New horizon)

When the times keep going wrong and we go right
When the times keep going wrong and we go right

Wait
You said I’d only have to wait until I die
(New horizon)
There is no such thing as time
Inside this moment no sun rising
Wait until I fly
(New horizon)
Ah!
(Wait until I fly, new horizon)
We need you here!
(Wait until I fly, new horizon)

There is no such thing as time
Inside this moment no sun rising
Wait until I fly

When the times keep going wrong and we go right
We go right

The Story So Far – Chapter 16 – Numb

CHAPTER 16 – NUMB

By the time March 2013 came around I was doing really well, I was well clear of any urges to drink, I was out walking every morning and getting my life back into some sort of order.  I had taken the last few days of February off work, I had a little bit of drawing work to do for the Architect’s, but I also intended to help out at Church on Friday 1st March in preparation for the Raise Conference the next day.

On the Friday I got up early as usual and set off for a walk, I remember shortly before 7am being sat at the side of the lake and watching the sunrise over the water, in a spot I had found to be very peaceful.  Then my phone rang, it was my Mum’s mobile number, this was odd as she never rang at that time of the day as she worked early morning’s, so something had to be wrong.

It was, she didn’t sound right on the phone, then she told me my Nan had died during the night.  I guess at first I didn’t really respond to the news, I wasn’t sure how to, she started crying on the phone, I had never seen or heard my Mum cry before, she’s not that sort of person, my Dad’s more emotional, but my Mum’s not that way, I didn’t know what to say, the phone call didn’t last long, there was not much more to say at that time.

I felt quite calm, but the peace of the moment was shattered, so I stood up and turned to walk home, by that time it had hit me, I rang Victoria as I began to walk home and instantly began to cry as I told her.

Overnight Eve my daughter had been sick and couldn’t go to school, Victoria was working in the morning so I had agreed before going out to walk to look after her.  When I got home I was a bit of mess, I just sat crying, Victoria asked if I was still okay to have Eve, if not she would rearrange things, I said it would be okay, I would look after her.  I decided that I actually needed to get out the house, so I was going to nip into town and then set off to Church to help set up.

It actually helped having Eve there with me in those hours that morning, I picked up a few things form town, got her something to keep her occupied and we both set off to Church.

As long as I was busy I was fine, as long as I put my mind to something I was calm, when I stopped and actually had time to think, I would just break out into tears.  I had not had to deal with a death of a family member, not since I was eight and my Granddad died, I really didn’t know how to deal with it, I guess nobody ever does, we all cope in different ways and there’s very little that can be said to people right in the middle of the grief.

I stayed at Church as long as possible, it was keeping my mind busy and free from dealing with the pain.  When I got home later that evening I just sat there blankly staring.  I remember Victoria coming into the room, the Inland Revenue were calling regarding my outstanding tax bill, I took the phone but couldn’t deal with it, I politely told the woman on the end of the phone what was going on and thankfully as I quietly broke into tears again, she kindly agreed to call back in a few weeks.

The next day I was on duty with the A.V. Team at the conference, I was on video camera all day, which was fine, it kept my mind busy and throughout the morning I was walking around with a camera on my shoulder getting footage as the event took place, it was tiring work, the camera feels quite heavy after a while, but it was keeping my mind off the grief that was really still waiting to hit me.

We broke at lunch and I remember going outside and speaking with Ally from my Connect Group, I felt okay at that point, I couldn’t eat anything, but I felt fine.  Then I went back inside and it hit me, I remember walking into the A.V. booth and crouching down, holding my knees to my chest and just crying, there was so much going on around me, nobody heard, but it was all beginning to catch up with me again.

It was a guy call Dale who found me, I didn’t know Dale that well, we had met a few times over the previous weeks and I got to know him a little more on the Thursday night when we were setting up the lighting for the event, he didn’t know what was going on at the time and jokingly patted me on the head, until he realised I was crying and in a bit of mess, I don’t think he knew where to put himself at the moment, the next thing I know James came in and sat beside me, Dale had obviously fetched him or someone had anyway.  James had that amazing way of calming me down, I had been there for me in the toughest parts of my recovery in the months before and he was the one clearing up the mess that was me once again.

It did the job though, I calmed down enough to clean myself up and get back to my duties.  Dale took over the roaming camera duties for the afternoon, I took over the static camera, which was a little easier, that was until another member of the team joined us later on and I was allowed to stand down.  I was so tired and worn out, I guess by this time both physically and emotionally.

After the conference I didn’t have the energy to stay and help clear up and get the Church turned around for Sunday’s normal service, I normally would have done, but the other guys made it clear that I had done more than enough over the weekend, especially considering the situation.  I walked home, slowly, I never walk slowly, but on that day it was all I had.  I cried a lot more when I got home that night, I also noted in my journal that my temper was getting the better of me, maybe that was the tiredness or even the onset of guilt which would hit me over the next week or so.

The next day I was a real mess, I tried walking in the morning, but it felt like I was just dragging myself along, I think I got as far as the lake and turned back.  Whilst at home I was in a real state, the temper that had risen the night before had taken over, I was on a real short fuse and clashed with Victoria because of it, I guess I was being completely unreasonable, regardless of what was going on there was no need for me to act like that, to take my anger out on everyone else.

I went to Church early that morning, I wasn’t on team, but I knew that it was better to be around people who could help me.  I broke down so many times during the morning and spoke with so many people.  The good thing about speaking with all these people and speaking out about the situation, is that eventually the truth starts to come out and the source of all this anger was routed deep in remorse I held for my actions over the previous few years, the anger was aimed at myself.

My parents were both working parents, they left school with no qualifications, yet neither had been out of work for more than a few weeks.  So as a child I spent as much time with my Nan as my parents.  I would go to her house for dinner instead of school dinners, I was a fussy eater when I was younger and refused to eat school dinners, so my Nan cooked for me everyday.  I would then go there afterschool as my parents worked until early evening.  My sister and I, together with my four cousins would spend every school holiday at my Nan’s, we took over her little one bedroomed bungalow, we ran her riot, but although she may have complained to our parents, she would have us every time.  Despite being as old or older than some of the other pensioners in the neighbourhood she would go shopping for them, cut their lawns for them, she would do anything for anyone, she was always happy when she was doing something for someone, though she didn’t like people doing things for her, she preferred to just get on with it and stay busy.

I guess that’s why she lived until she was 95, she stayed busy and even when she was well into her late eighties my Mum and her sisters tried to slow her down, but she would have it.  Victoria used to tell me that she would see her in town shopping, she would tell her not to tell my Mum, as she wouldn’t like it.

She used to come over to our house every Sunday and help cook Sunday dinner, even when I was in my mid twenties and still living with my parents, she would go into my bedroom on a Sunday afternoon, whilst I was out at karate and clean it, I couldn’t stop her, there was no stopping her doing anything.

I was her youngest Grandchild and in a way her favourite, again even until the day myself and Victoria moved out of my parents house, she would bring my crisps and cans of Cherry Coke every Sunday, she had done it for years and there was as I say no stopping her.

A few years earlier though she had had knee replacement, it was at that point that my Mum and her sisters insisted that she move into a home, as looking after her bungalow would be too much now.  But this was around the time when I was beginning to struggle.  My Mum would often ask me to go and see her in the home, but I kept making excuses, I always said I was busy.  But to be honest, at the time I was only working a day or so every now and then, maybe a week here or there, in reality I had plenty of time to go visit, I just couldn’t do it.  To this day I can’t really explain why, I just couldn’t bring myself to go to see her and I was her favourite Grandchild, all my cousins went regularly and my sister, but I never went.  I just made my excuses and went back to my life in the shadows, with my alcohol and my self pity.

So now my Nan had gone and I hadn’t seen her in so many years.  When I began to get sober I still made excuses, I didn’t want my Nan to see me how I was, I wanted her to see me at my best, to remember me that way, plus I wanted her to see me with Victoria by my side, not on my own, I didn’t want her to see how badly I had failed.

But now it was too late, she was gone.  All of a sudden this remorse, this self pity was materializing itself as anger.  But the more I discussed it with my friends and supporters at Church, the more I came to terms with it.  They made me see that my Nan wouldn’t want to see me this way, she wouldn’t blame me, she loved me.

Later that day I made it to karate, where I saw my Mum and Dad for the first time since I had received that phone call.  They seemed to be doing pretty well, but in truth I was still struggling and there was still an amount of anger bubbling under the skin.  I managed to get through it and teach the class, again as long as my mine was occupied I was fine.

Over the next week I picked up a bit, I got out walking each morning and felt a lot better about the whole situation,  I was tired, very tired and began getting a few headaches, but I was doing a lot better than the previous weekend.

But by the end of the week I started to suffer from panic attacks, which slowly got worse, until on the Saturday afternoon I had a real bad one.  I’ve never suffered from these before, I don’t know where they came from or why, but they were worrying, the worst one was that Saturday afternoon and after that they seemed to go as quickly as they started.

The Sunday morning though, everything came crashing down once again.  I got out walking and made it to the lake, I sat there just looking out over the water, then I began to think about walking out into the centre of the lake.  Just taking all I had with me, wade out into the middle of the lake and just disappear under the water.  I was convinced that nobody would notice if I just disappeared, nobody would be bothered by it.

I knew I had to leave that place and quick.  It was Mother’s Day again and for the second Mother’s Day in a row I was threatening to kill myself, why was this happening again, why did I feel this way?

I went home and did what I always did after my previous suicide tendencies, I went in the bath.  I remember lying there convincing myself that I couldn’t go into Church that day, there was no way I could let them see me this way, they had all worked so hard to help me, that me being this way was just letting them all down, I didn’t want anyone to see me like this.

But then I heard this voice in my head clearly telling me…

IF CHURCH IS THE ONE PLACE YOU DON’T WANT TO BE,
THEN THAT IS THE ONE PLACE YOU NEED TO BE.

That morning I dragged myself to Church, I was supposed to be on A.V. Team, covering lights, so I had to be there early.  I slowly walked to Church, fighting the urge every time I came to a point where I had to turn a corner, not to just keep walking by, somehow I made it to Church.

On the way in I met with Paul and Jo Tilley, immediately I think Paul could see there was something wrong.  He calming asked if I was okay, I not sure I really wanted to discuss what had gone off that morning with anyone, but eventually I told him what had happened.  He told me that after Church I was to go back with Jo and himself for dinner, I declined, it was Mother’s Day and didn’t want to intrude on their family dinner, but he wouldn’t have it, he insisted and I wasn’t allowed to say no.

I stood in the team meeting before all the teams split to begin their setup, Dominic my team leader that day could see that I was in no state to fulfil my duties and thankfully excused me, which was a bit of relief.  I spoke with a few other people that morning, in particular James and Gareth, but I didn’t tell anyone else what had happened at the lake, I didn’t feel like reliving that one all morning.

My headache had go worst that morning, I struggled through the service, if I closed my eyes, I drifted off to sleep, if I kept them open my head felt like it was going to burst open, I was struggling, for the first time in almost a year I was on the edge.

I went back with Paul and Jo, for lunch with their family, it seemed to make all the difference, whilst I was there the headache disappeared and the gloom seemed to lift, by the time I left later that afternoon I was beginning to feel normal once again.  I went home and slept the rest of the afternoon, which I think I really needed.  Later that night I posted on my blog what had happened earlier that day, I posted about the moments at the lake and how low I felt at the moment, once again the more I shared the problem, the more it seemed to be lifted from my shoulders.

Come Tuesday it was finally time for the funeral, I so wished it had been sooner, I really wanted it to be out of the way, to say my goodbyes and get some closure.  I made my own way to the funeral, I walked alone, refusing lifts from other members of the family.  During the service and the burial I stood alone, I didn’t want to grieve with anybody else, I wanted to grieve in my own way on my own, I guess I’m still very much prone to do things alone and in my own way.

I didn’t really speak with anyone until my Aunty came over to me at the wake, I know she could see I was struggling in my own way, she hugged me and quietly told me just to remember all the good times I had with my Nan and it would all be okay, from that point onwards I came around a bit.

The funeral really did bring closure, the pain of the last few weeks days was finally gone, as the wake went along I became more social again and even started to laugh as myself and my cousins recounted all the stories of our childhood and how we ran our Nan to despair.  It made me see things in a different way and as I say put all that remorse and self hatred aside.

I spent a few hours with a few friends from Church later that evening, discussing my feelings over the last two weeks, it helped to put it all behind me and begin to move on again.

As a tribute to my Nan I put together a lyric video to the song Mama by the band Flyleaf, which I posted on my blog.  A few months later I got a message on my blog from Lori Mosley, the Mum of Lacey Sturm, Flyleaf’s lead singer, she had found my video and blog, she congratulated me on my journey and told me how Lacey had asked her to sing with her on the song and how proud she was of her daughter too, she can be heard in the final part of the song, which she wrote and sang. It may have been a random message, but seeing as Flyleaf had been one of those bands that I listened to as a none Christian and they had become a band I got a lot of inspiration from in the early days of my recovery, it became a great motivation to receive such a great message of encouragement, especially at that time I received that message I was really beginning to struggle again.

With that all behind me and as March moved on it would soon be time to celebrate the first anniversary of some of the most memorable moments of my life.

MAMA by FLYLEAF (ft Lori Mosley)
What makes you happy
What makes you smile
And when you smile please
Is it for real

I know you’re not one
One to pretend
Even when I was a child

You grow up too fast
And have to be brave
Braver than most strong men
That I’ve ever seen

Sing your song mama
Sing it out loud
I wanna hear your voice
It’s lovely sound

Little girl
You can come out now
The danger’s all gone
You can come out

All that you’ve held
Was too much to hold
So let it all go now
And you will become gold

Sing your song mama
Sing it out loud
I wanna hear your voice
It’s lovely sound

Sing your song mama
Sing it out loud
Dance freely singing
You’re beautiful now

Laughter and tears
Gracing your face
The music of your strength
Held up this place

Your daddy’s right here now
You can let go
He’s holding it all now
And healing your soul

Sing your song mama
Sing it out loud
I wanna hear your voice
It’s lovely sound

Sing your song mama
Sing it out loud
Dance freely singing
You’re beautiful know

There’s something
I’m trying to tell you and
I’ve tried to tell you before and
Each time that I profess it
It just leaves me wanting more and

I think you are beautiful
And I’m proud of you
What I’m trying to say is
I love you
I love you

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