about writing and life and God


on March 8, 2013

I keep a journal. I have done since I was in my teens. Once, in a passion of outrage, I burnt up the whole collection in an old jelly pan while sitting outside in the garden, feeding pages to the flames. That was a long time ago and I’ve built up a sizeable boxload since then.

I started writing my prayers a long while ago. I felt God deserved better than my interminable ramblings. Surely writing it down would be a worthy discipline? It became a written conversation, and resulted in some of the contents of my book Women of Prayer among others.

This blog was meant to be a discipline too. There was meant to be a plan: background on the novel-in-progress most of the week, then one Dementia Diary for the day I took my husband out, and then random ramblings about God and faith and life on Saturday and Sunday.

There’s a quote about ‘Life is what takes over when you’re making plans’. And it does. But the need to communicate somehow, out of the cloisters, drives the pen onto the page early each morning and late each night. Not to mention fingers to keyboard at 4 p.m. each afternoon.

Reading back, however, appals me! Believe it or not, I took a conscious decision at the beginning of this year to keep the blogs cheerful. I’m glad that wasn’t a New Year’s Resolution or it would simply have added to the failed heap! I reread and what I see is a manic switchback of high highs and deep lows.

Not surprisingly, what I would like most of all in my life is stability and serenity! During last weekend’s lovely conference, I had a picture of a large, round, red paddling pool, a couple of feet tall, filled with water. And on it a red LiLo. God seemed to be saying to me, ‘Climb on the LiLo and relax!’ The water in the pool symbolised His love. The invitation was to float. Rest. Relax.

And I come to the end of the week convicted of my own meddlesome, untrusting nature! I’ve been writing my own script in my head for how I’d like my life to pan out and getting upset when things don’t happen the way I want them to. That of course runs counter to the invitation to settle on the LiLo and watch God”s script unfold. No wonder there wasn’t much peace or serenity!

This is not a new problem for me but a recurrent one – and it’s time I sorted it! Here’s a poem/prayer from long ago in 1996:

Digital Image


Snakes and Ladders

It’s just as well you give us lots of time,

soul-making Lord. My way seems

more snakes-and-ladders than direct.

Yet each time I land – bump! –

at the end of another snake,

I find you there,


helping me start out again,

filling my tank with petrol,

washing the dead flies off my windscreen,

wishing me ‘God speed’ –

and so on I go,

knowing that whatever else happens,

I’ll see you again.


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