about writing and life and God

Good riddance to bad rubbish!

on February 20, 2013

I live a double life: six days out of seven (approximately) as a cheerful single woman, writer, lay preacher etc enjoying all I do; and one day of the week in fear and apprehension when I enter a kind of Iron Maiden device. You know, the hinged top-to-toe metal overcoat with spikes on the inside.

No Iron Maiden but plenty of spikes

No Iron Maiden but plenty of spikes

I know there will be spikes. I just don’t know when or where or how many.

Today was this week’s Iron Maiden day. An appointment at the Hearing Aid clinic in a nearby hospital was required because he had broken and then lost his left-hand hearing aid. When you’ve got dementia and are considerably confused about just about everything, good hearing makes a huge difference – to you and the folk around you who are trying to help you. So off we went.

The young man we saw was kind, helpful, tolerant… up to the point where his time pressures kicked in. He was still kind but firmly ushered us out, and I felt guilty that we’d taken up so much of his time. And embarrassed, of course. (I know: some of the spikes are self-administered.)

Then we went out for lunch. Our waitress (I know that’s not pc being gender-specific, but I hate wait-person/server etc!) was kind and helpful and tolerant. Until, after I’d paid the bill and we were leaving, her time pressures kicked in just as my husband launched unsteadily into a long story. Because he is finding it difficult to find the words he needs, all his stories are halting and slow now. The restaurant was busy, the waitress was busy. To my horror I found myself shushing him – and at once I felt I’d made everything much worse – for the waitress as well as for him. So both guilt and embarrassment kicked in again. More self-administered spikes.

Iron Maiden day bathes me in a toxic mess of fear followed by guilt. What a waste of energy. And how unnecessary. Reading this morning in Hebrews chapter 1 in the Amplified Bible translation, I was struck by the words ‘”When [Jesus] had by offering Himself accomplished our cleansing of sins and riddance of guilt, He sat down at the right hand of the divine Majesty on high.” (Hebrews 1:3b)

I believe He offered Himself for me. I believe He accomplished my cleansing from sin. I believe He then took His place at God’s right hand.So why am I hanging on to the guilt when He accomplished “riddance” of it?!

There’s a saying I recall from my childhood: ‘Good riddance to bad rubbish!’ Hebrews 1:3b tells me it is already done. I just need to believe it! But why is it so hard?


6 responses to “Good riddance to bad rubbish!

  1. Day says:

    This was so touching. May you be encouraged by the verse in Isaiah 40:28b: “The Lord is the everlasting Lord … No one can measure the depths of His understanding”. (NLT) God bless you.

  2. Carol Kingston-Smith says:

    Thank you for your honest and excellent reflection…the things which strikes me in your moving account is how ‘time-pressure’ features quite highly as the trigger point of suffering. I have found that living with disability myself (sibling, offspring… where to stop…if I’m honest my own as well in less visible form) that ‘time-pressure’ is indeed, often the ‘suffering point’…it has made me realise how our humanity is sadly shallowed by the way we shape our interaction with time. People, by and large, it seems to me, are not meant to be efficient robots, but it is only when we encounter our utter inability to play (act) that role on the modern stage that we realise how society has become so structured around a mechanised ‘clock work’ culture of participation….which then alienates and demotes those of us who can no longer operate (even if we wanted to) like clockwork…

    • Thank you. Yes, I think you’re right. In both cases I became aware of the other person’s time-pressures and also that my husband, because of his dementia, was not – and I basically reacted first with embarrassment, and then a kind of panic because it was out of my control and I couldn’t think what to do (by then I was exhausted so not at my best!)

  3. Carol Kingston-Smith says:

    Yes, I know that feeling…embarrassment often comes when the script we think we ought to read doesn’t fit the stage set which is unfolding and encountering us (I’m thinking aloud on your blog here…I hope you don’t mind…this is such a helpful post which is helping me process some of my own struggles in this area!)… which renders us speechless (without a script) and we find ourselves at a loss (doubly.Of suitable script and of suitable action) …and embarrassed and out of control. But I don’t think we are to blame (yes…we manage our alternativity better when we are not tired), because our cultures have taught us to fear broken things (and people) that no longer ‘work properly’ and become unproductive and time consuming… because somehow, they will prevent us (or the waitress or the audiologist) from doing what really needs to be done… yikes… which is, at its core, an anti-wholistic mindset. I guess what I’m saying is that a lot of our suffering (be it with our own or close ones disabilities) comes from the contexts and peoples reactions within those contexts, in which we experience brokenness don’t they?

    • Yes! And yes! Carol, your thinking aloud is helping me too! We have these socially acceptable scripts and when they’re fractured, we don’t have alternative strategies… Unless we’ve given it thought. This is helping me play back the video of yesterday on slow and freeze-frame so I can see that there were alternatives – and maybe, oh I hope! I’ll have them available for next time. Thank you!

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