How do you cope with change? Are you a person who longs for a different breakfast cereal every morning, or does the familiarity of sameness and routine soothe and steady you in a crazy world?
Or perhaps you're like me - often restless and in need of new experiences and people in your life. But when it comes to it and a change is looming - even a desired one - you panic or bottle out or both.
So far, we've had a year of changes involving work, family and health - all stable now, thankfully. But it made me think. The other day when it was sultry and still, with bees browsing in the buddleia, I sat on the patio inhaling the smell of warmth on wood and had a revelation - the world is never still. Obvious, you might think. It turns on its axis in a rotating galaxy among stars that move slow or fast, like scattered glitter. But even in my garden on a hot day when my back is glued, slick with sweat, to the wooden chair, there's always something changing - light, leaves, ants marching determined across the flagstones at my feet. Change happens all the time, either to us, or by us.
When my daughter first went to uni, I knew she would find it tough. York is a beautiful place and she was excited about reading English Language and Linguistics, but as a victim of social anxiety, the changes involved in leaving home were always going to be a huge challenge (In case you're worried, I've had her permission to share this). I racked my brains to think of things I could do to help her, at a distance of 200 miles. And I invented what has now become a family favourite - the Glad Bag. I went out and bought about 12 small gifts (mostly from the pound shop) and I wrapped each one up and put them all in a large gift bag. I gave it to her just before she went and said that when she was feeling down she could open one. She absolutely loved this idea and took it so seriously that she would even ring me and say. "I had a bad day today but not so bad that I have to open something. I want it to last for the really bad days". She came back at the end of the year with 2 unopened presents. We opened them together. I have since done Glad Bags for a relative in recovery and a friend in hospital. Here is the one I've just done for my daughter's final year.
|My daughter is brave and beautiful inside and out, and it wasn't only the Glad Bag that got her through. There was also prayer and her own courage. But I know it helped.|
Finally, if this isn't the most terrible effrontery, I dream that one day my words might be used by the finger of God, to nudge someone a little closer to His light.
What are your dreams for your writing?
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Deborah Jenkins is a primary school teacher and freelance writer who has written articles, text books, devotional notes and short stories. She also writes regularly for the TES. She has completed a novella, The Evenness of Things, available as an Amazon e-book and is currently working on a full length novel. Deborah loves hats, trees and small children. After years overseas with her family, who are now grown up, she lives in south-west London with her husband, a Baptist minister, and a cat called Oliver.