Strength and Self Pity

Strength and Self Pity

Yesterday I indulged in a nice little Pity Party, all by myself.

Adventure Bloke had come home from an hours run and had rather nice calf definition, if I may say so. But there was me, deciding that it was Not Fair that I could not go out on an hour’s run and have calf definition. Because I have messed up lungs, and because yesterday was a Bad Day. I did get the Adventurous pair to the park after school, but paid the price. Breathing? Bonus!

This led to me wallowing in a bit of good old fashioned self pity. Many of you lovely people say to me that I am so strong and brave. But I’m not, really. I cry and I scream and I rant at this disease, and I don’t feel very strong at all. I indulge in some envy fairly often. Last night it was envying the midwives on One Born Every Minute. You see, I would love to do that job, what an exciting place to be (I know, sad, exhausting and draining too) But I can’t. So I envy their strength. Then I start envying the Adventurous Pair’s teachers at school, because they are doing the job I used to do, and used to do rather well, really. Then I start envying people on the street, people at the gym, checkout people in Morrisons. Because they are strong (or seem so to my narrow view) Because they don’t have screwed up lungs. Because they can work. Because they can run and have Calf Definition.

Adventure Bloke demurred my kind invitation to my Pity Party, but let me attend nevertheless. Afterwards, he hugged me, and said it was OK. I think that’s kind of like God. I don’t think God expects me to be calm and stoic at all times and to smile at my disease and say ‘it’s fine, these things come to try us.’ I rather think instead that God hurts with me. That when the pain is so bad I cry that God cries too.

I have learnt that life is not fair. My parents used to tell me this a lot. And to my disgust I now use the same phraseology to my children, which annoys them just as much as it did me. But it is really not. Is life fair for those in Japan affected by the tragic events lately? Life fair for those caught in conflict in Libya? Life fair for the Mumsnetter who lost her darling 2 year old son to cancer last week?

Some say when we talk about suffering that it is God’s will. But substitute that phrase for the ‘is life fair’ phrase in the paragraph above. Can that really be said of God? I don’t think so. I don’t believe God wills this stuff. But I do believe God is in it with us. My understanding is flawed and shallow and tinged with self pity. But my experience is of a God who hurts, who knows what it is like to lose a child and knows what it is like to not be able to breathe through pain. And who has done something about it.

So I’ll still engage in the occasional pity party, I reckon, if only to justify chocolate eating. But then I’ll remember the verse from Psalm 73: “My health fails, my spirits droop, yet God remains! He is the strength of my heart, he is mine forever.”

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