What most people might take for granted, choosing to upgrade a phone at the end of a contract, turned out to be an uphill task for me, punctuated with so many emotions. I used to get told what make of phone to sign up for. Now, I had the choice…the freedom, to pick and choose what model of upgraded phone I WANTED. That felt so good. And I think a little bit of my spontaneous nature, was creeping back.
Next, I remember taking a trip to Calais. It was a matter of ringing a bus travel agency and making a booking. It was that easy apart from other small matters like paying for the ticket and getting up early enough on the day. Again I was making a decision to do something for me….
Around the time we parted, I was back in the same church and after a month of festivities and goal setting for the new year, I decided it was time to take on the development of a ‘new me.’ One time earlier, my mum asked if I had not realised how big I had become because I was sporting a size 20/22. I was asked if I ever looked in the mirror to see the changes in my body. The last thing I did in those days was looked at myself in the mirror. Why? I knew I would see and have to face what I did not want to deal with.
This time I had had enough. It was time for the weight to go. Taking the fruit and vegetable requirements a bit further, I began to drink fruit smoothies, more vegetables and water. Not much a fan of exercise, I walked a little more in those days and was richly rewarded with a dress size drop to 16! Only I put weight back later on as I was missing other elements of my diet and began to add them back again. So I learned its best to eating to live and be healthy rather take the weight off quickly.
Mum invested in Elizabeth Arden cosmetics so I would take interest in my appearance, an art I had lost for a few years now. It felt good to be able make some small changes to me and appearance.
I remember in those days how I would sit and talk to mum every night. It was like a talking therapy session with your usual shrink! It happened without any bookings and she would listen as I talked and talked my heart out…. The first night after the separation I found it hard to cry as I think I was more in shock and in a ‘let -things-happen’ head zone. It felt like I was an observer in the mess unfolding before me. You may understand that for years I had not had a proper conversation with my mum. But that night I was talking so much, like a someone had taken the lid off a tap which had so much to release. I remember being offered some alcohol which I kindly declined – that would not look good for a christian anyway.
I talked with mum regularly until it came to a point where I told her I had no more to say! So I think when that tank became empty it left room for the entry of good things but that did not happen immediately.
A few far-from-cordial exchanges in the church setting with accusations, threats and more when I was with the kids or they were with their other family, which was much worse, cemented the idea that it was time to change churches.
Seriously, my mum thought it was time for me to listen…She calmly explained that my passion for God could be served elsewhere as the current worship centre did not have a monopoly on God. Really? But l love that church, I argued. Now, I was beginning to think for myself and make decisions that suited me. Well, mum reminded me that it was not the best atmosphere for the kids, watching exchanges with their parents in God’s house (or something to that effect). OK. So yes I had found freedom but now I was going to exercise it by differently by taking advice and making an informed decision. After a few Sundays away from church at the time, I began searching for another place of worship.
It was not long before I found a place which has become home for 13 years to the children and me. I think the first shock I had was when I witnessed the simplicity of praying and asking for Gods intervention in matters. What was that? They simply read the prayer requests, asked the congregation to pray and it was done. No shouting or dramatising or changing postures, pacing back and forth, no drama or theatrics. Just prayer. Ask. Believe. Expect. And done.
We quickly settled into a new supportive family and the kids loved it. They were receiving lessons in skating, keyboard playing, dancing and singing. There were so many exciting activities that kept them wanting more of church, week after week. So we stayed in Hillsong. It took about an hour travel by car but I believe it was an answer to prayer.
Driving lessons were next on the agenda. It would be handy for school runs and the juggling of after school activities. In those days it was a mad dash from work to after school club then to music keyboard, swimming, first aid, guitar and all others thrown in – kids enjoyed these. Later years, I remember my PA reminding me to leave the office early to pick up kids for their various activities.
The driving ‘thing’ was fraught with drama and a crisis in confidence because I remember being told I would never be able to drive a car with a manual transmission. It was good that I was learning then I could choose to believe what I wanted and act according to those beliefs.
As a man thinks in his heart so is he….