If. If I was well.
If I was well I would go swimming with my children every single week. I would tell them stories every night and play games with them every day. I would chase them round the house and dance round the living room to Strictly with them. If.
If I was well I would earn money. I would earn enough money to be able to go on adventure holidays abroad. If I was well I would take them to Disneyland and queue for hours for all the rides and walk around the park all day with them. If.
If I was well I would have 2 labradors and go for long walks every day. I would climb hills again on family holidays and see the view from the top of Great Rigg once again. I’d run into the sea with them and play surfing. If.
If I was well I would run community groups. I’d PTA and governor and organise. I’d go on cub camps. I’d say yes to so much more and I’d be reliable. If.
If I was well I might take up running. Or faster swimming. I might go to Zumba. That would be fun. I’d take up dancing again. Rock and Roll was my favourite. I’d make a life of fun and laughter. If.
If I was well I would go in a church of a more high tradition and be able to stay when they burned incense. I’d be able to go along to cold churches and not scupper off home. I’d be on all the committees and make lots of decisions. If.
If I was well I would be busy.
But I am not. I am ill, and I cannot do those things, at least not on any regular basis. So. I am ill, but when I go swimming with my children, it is a joy and a pleasure, a treat. When I tell them stories at night they are delighted and tell me how much they love that time, and how they wish it could be every night. When we play games it helps us all appreciate how things can be so good even when things are bad.
When my children ask about foreign holidays and iPads I tell them how much more important love is. How all the money in the world would not make me love them more. Because I am ill my children are turning into compassionate and empathetic people.
When my children long for me to run into the sea with them they have learned to love it when I sit on the beach and watch them. Making memories of being with them. It is enough.
Because I cannot be on a thousand committees I have time to be. Just me, just who I am. Not what I do. I am teaching my children their value lies in their own selves and in who God made them to be. I am teaching my children that we don’t need to find worth in activity. I am teaching myself this, on a daily basis.
Because I am not reliable maybe I am helping others see beyond people as objects, as how useful they are. Maybe, hopefully, in some small way I am helping people to see people as valued individuals.
One day I will climb hills again and see the view from the top of Great Rigg in the sunshine. In the hope of such, joy and laughter is not banished from a life where such things cannot be achieved at present. Because of hope, there is joy. ‘Weeping may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning.’ And in the mourning?
Because I cannot go in some churches or be on some committees maybe I am doing my bit to dispel the Vicar’s Wife myth. Perhaps it is good for people to see we are not all of a mould, and not all there to be available at all times for all activities.
Because I am not busy, I am free to be who I was supposed to be.
Because I am not busy, I am free.
And in freedom, the ‘if’ becomes redundant, becomes empty. There is no need for an ‘if’ in this life, if we can embrace the hope and the value of knowing God, and understand the reality of who we are in God.
I still have If days though. I like being honest with you. And on that note, lets face it, I wouldn’t really do all those things even if I was well. Board games every day? Swimming every week? Um...nope. :D I like to dream, though, and believe in the higher possibilities...