Sitting here in the back garden of a hospitable home on this balmly summer’s evening in the north coast, I am dog sitting for a couple of weeks, amidst writing, and freshly thinking of the absurdity of modern day life and who we honour.
Without embarrassing the couple whose home it is by naming them here, I can tell you these people are pretty special, humble, hard working, fab people. It’s truly an honour and blessing to know them and then to be entrusted with not only their home, but their amazing additional member of the family: their beautiful, fun-loving, affectionate dog!
My recent honest musings have seemed like a bit of a brave risk, initially yes, but not at all when one is free and able to ‘pick up the pen’ and go again, as a freelance writer and journalist (now more fully embracing this!), pushing doors to see what opens. I have been humbled and honoured by the messages and people whom I’ve reconnected with in recent times, directly as a result of that honest article a couple of weeks ago.
Like I wrote before: stories are powerful. Stories are impacting. People like you and I love a good story, especially in a land full of creative talent and multiple media musings. Rightly or wrongly, if we admit it, we also love a ‘good gossip,’ right?! Admit it – that’s why you read some of these! Honestly, I am just teasing.
Many might think I was recently extremely vulnerable, and yes to a certain degree I was, but in truth, there is plenty more where that came from(!) and plenty more that I have not shared online, so overall, I’m going to be honest again: it was not as vulnerable as you might think.
Brene Brown’s recent writings, though, have struck a chord with many, spending ten years studying vulnerability, then writing, ‘Daring Greatly’, her TED talk (‘Google’ it, if you’ve no idea what I am writing about) has been viewed by over 25 MILLION people!
Additionally, and in line with this, I know my writings which are honest and vulnerable have been getting a higher view from many corners, because deep down I have a suspicion we all long to be ‘real’, but the Western world we live in is not a great facilitator. We crave community where we can unmask our real selves, and still be loved. Still be lovely. Still be ‘me.’ Sadly, all too often, that ‘real me,’ is soon rejected and not so loved when one unmasks, or so I have found. Sadly, if we’re honest in Northern Ireland at least, even (or some cases perhaps especially) in the Church.
It’s got me thinking though. Clearly, too, I am not the only one. Many people are quietly telling me they deeply value honesty and vulnerability. I’ve removed the original link now on my social media page, but it alone was a classic expression of this, with all the statements from all sorts of people I am friends with, taking time to stop and thank me for this honest and vulnerable update on life. There are many amazing conversations which have already come out of the ‘Silver Lining’s article viewed by hundreds of people so unexpectedly 2 weeks ago. It has been amazing also to consider again, so much, what many take for granted. We are more than what we ‘do’.
In our society we live with the constant daily introduction of one person to another with, “What do you do?”
It’s a question, really, about one’s identity. Do I define myself by what I happen to do for income, or do I define myself by my actual identity? You are who you are regardless of what you do.
The truth is, I went on a journey (a rather long one might I add) a long time ago now into identity and what that was/is, and therefore now, in transition and do not have necessarily a simplified definition to define me, I am more than okay with this. For some, I’ve realized, that would be entirely devastating – send them spinning, and might perhaps send them into psychiatric unit. Fear of man may prove to be a snare.
For me,though, no, I am much more than what I do. It’s been settled in the quiet in a time long before any recent trials came along. Thank goodness. Or I might not have come through the past year so unscathed. I’m all the more aware and convinced that contrary to Northern Ireland Christianity’s view, God is much more interested in character paths than career paths.
Another entity that would not have allowed to me to come through the past year so unscathed, were the several true amazing friends, as I alluded to in a prior article, who were absolute ‘rock’s to me this past year, God-given gifts. This weekend was amazing to simply honour some of them with a simple but sincere meal. Friends and family matter more than anything we do. It’s not Northern Irish people’s’ ‘norm,’ but I’m not a normal Northern Ireland person haha.
Another perhaps side note: In the past week alone, I have sat with over four people, who have close family members with cancer, at various stages. All of them desperate for a compassionate ear, and it was a privilege to be able to listen to their sufferings. Honestly sharing my story, enabled an easier entry point to connect through. Humbling and privileged territory to say the least.
Reflecting on one of the conversations this past week, also highlighted the absurdity I began with. Pop stars like Beyonce – or whoever – are lauded for their greatness, over the greatness of someone like my house owner nurse, who recently successfully completed a grueling 3 year children’s nursing degree. The latter is a phenomenally noteworthy achievement I understand more than most after this past year. This latter lady’s amazing abilities will now allow her to serve – compassionately and wholeheartedly – sick children in the local community with a very high degree of skill and scientific care. Yet our society honours the former, and forgets the latter. Absurd but real life.
Honest honour where honour is due: _u_h you’re amazing! What an achievement to complete, amidst still being a fab wife and Mum to your two special daughters.
In the current climate of world change, and great uncertainty, and daily massive news events, its enlightening to think compassionate medical professionals do exist. I don’t hope to be needing another anytime soon, other than the Consultant I already have, but I want to honour those who are out there, and consider yourself appreciated if you’re a medical professional of any kind reading this. You do the phenomenal jobs our world does not honour. Your years of study and preparation deserve double what you get paid.
Unlike what the world tries to tell us, there are some absolutes. I’ve leave you to ponder and decide what those are. Relatively.