The luck of those born in the Year of the Tiger is legendary, though they are also destined for stormy times and even at times deep despair…
Think of the mummy tiger who has lost her cubs. The bravery, the courage and endurance she shows as she single-mindedly searches the jungle and the forest for her offspring.
Look at what’s happened to me folks. I lost a best friend and a partner last year. This led me to utter desolation and out of that despair was born a faith in God that exceeded what I had before.
I picked up my rather dusty Bible and read aloud from the Psalms, espectially those of King David. I also learned to pray ‘Jesus Christ Son of God have mercy on me a sinner’, over and over again.
I realised that despite my powerlessness over my manic depression, I was a sinner at the end of the day. I offended God with my grandiosity and arrogance, peeps. I often felt like God, believed everything was my responsibility, was paranoid as hell because I felt I was single-handedly fighting the war between good and evil. I encontered the Devil in many forms.
My behaviour when high hurt people, folks. The single one to feel it the most was very likely my own mother. I tended to turn my rage on her and she became my personal scapegoat for all that was going wrong in my life.
Luckily for me she had a steadfast, loyal and unselfish mother’s love for me, and she never gave up. She showed me great compassion on many occasions when I turned in my despair and isolation to her for comfort.
In fairness to myself, it should also be said that she lacked a full understanding and empathy for me simply because she had never herself experienced the ravages of manic depression.
I was a woman in dire need of a partner, someone special I could call my own. I did the best I could with R and he likewise but in the end circumstances forced us to make the final break. After much grieving and emotional and mental anguish last summer I encountered the Polar Bear Community and their Connections Coaching programmme. This helped me to build up my strength and courage again.
Then I met two Romanians, L and D who were to play a key role in my life for a couple of months. They were angels for me at that time even though our relationship became stormy and broke down relatively quickly. I will however always be so thankful to this very special married couple. They prepared the way for an ideal partner to enter my life the way they had entered each others’.
This perfect partner came in the rather unlikely shape of a guy I had known on the local mental health scene for about 16 years. In some ways he was far from the Most Eligible Bachelor material. He is an ex drug addict (four years clean), and had been locked up in a forensic mental health unit for ten years as well as doing time in Her Majesty’s Prison Service. He had a fairly extensive criminal record prior to that, for burglary and street robbery (to pay for crack).
While the guy was on drugs I didn’t see him as boyfriend material although I liked him and enjoyed his company.
But this time around. We were slowly and carefully introduced to each other over a sequence of meetings over late summer, autumn and finally Christmas when he began visiting me at the house while the Romanians were there. I began to see a side of him that was not visible to me before. A side that I could trust. A nurturing, caring side. A side that was honestly trying to do his very best to redeem himself in the eyes of God and other people.
A very powerful and pure faith in God that is only granted to those who are marked to endure great suffering.
It seems that God really does favour those who suffer the most and is less interested in those who have a pretty nice time of it.
As the Bible tells us, ‘The first now will later be last and the last, first’ or words to that effect.
Being rich, successful, having many friends and an enviable life is not all it’s cracked up to be. We can’t take that with us when we go. But what we can take is a steadfast faith in God and it will be that which pleases Him most on the Day of Judgment.
As a footnote to that statement I am talking symbolically. God is neither male or female and is hugely nurturing and compassionate as well as, on occasion, judgmental. My partner M has helped me understand the cruel, terrible and dreadful side of God, and God’s ferocious anger.
I do my best to help M understand that although the fear of God is indeed the beginning of knowledge, it is not the middle or the end of knowledge. While many people need to learn to fear God in order to correct their mistakes and tendency to sin, others relate to God in quite a different way. With boundless respect, yes, but not necessarily fear.
It’s like the Indian story of the wise man and the elephant. If you are blindfolded and feel the different parts of an elephant, some will (feeling the leg) say ‘it’s a tree’. Some will (feeling the tail) think it’s a snake. Question. What will those feeling the trunk think it is? I forget! But you hopefully get the point of the story. God can be anything he wants. That’s His strength.
All very serious. M tells me often and emphatically that God is ‘very serious’. But you and I and even M would admit that He can also be uproariously funny.
And we are made in His image. Sometimes laughing and cracking jokes. Sometimes angry and wrathful against injustice. Sometimes filled with a deep nurturing love for all humanity and every living creature. And so on. Whatever we can do, count on it that God can do it better and par excellence.
This post is turning into a bit of a sermon, folks. But rest assured I am well, not high, not grandiose, happy to finally have my darling son home with me, and beyond joyful to be engaged to marry my soulmate (despite my a long history of decrying marriage!)
Love you. And to all my atheist or agnostic readers, please bear with me and keep reading, because this blog is not all about God. There’s a fair bit of human drama mixed in. It’s my hope that there’s something for everyone.
Many atheists please God way more than many so-called believers. It’s by their fruits that we know them, not by what they profess.