Christmas eve

24 12 2010

For some of my readers Christmas is a time of rejoicing. For others its a time of heartache and sorrow.

Its a time of rejoicing for some; for you will spend time with your families; friends and enjoy the holiday break. For others its a time of rejoicing for faith filled reasons as we celebrate the birth of Jesus; God come in the flesh granting hope for the nations.

For others its a time of sorrow; you suffer loneliness. You may not have a family to celebrate with. You may not have access with your children. You may not have family around you for reasons of divorce, death and perhaps you are away from family because of work reasons.

What ever Christmas means to you this year. I pray that you will know the Joy that comes from knowing God is for you and not against you. That in your sorrows you will be comforted. In your times of joy you will be strengthened. I pray that no matter how hard this year has been; that next year will be better. That next year will be a year of hope. And for those who are celebrating Christmas with joy; I pray that you and your families will be kept safe over this holiday period and through out next year.

So this Christmas eve I want to bless you with a merry Christmas and say may God truly bless you.

craig b,

It was never enough; until it became enough!

20 12 2010

It’s increasingly becoming clearer that a sign of abuse is that no matter what someone does, it is never enough. Not only is it never enough; it rarely if ever is good enough.

It was my own experience that rarely could I ever do enough. When I become sick and started to regain enough strength to start to mow the lawn; it wasn’t good enough that I was trying to mow; although it would take me three days to finish it. If I mowed the front; I would be criticised as to why I hadn’t finished the back. Or if I did the back; it would be why the edges were not done. The term “A real man would do more…” would always accompany those criticisms.

I started to do some basic work for a business at that rented an upstairs room at church. Basically it meant sitting down and putting some equipment together. Slowly and awkwardly I would do so. My co-ordination not the best. Often I would fall asleep in the chair; or drop tools and pieces as my hands started to shake uncontrollably.

I appreciated this time which was more beneficially to me on a social basis then it was on an economic level. One day I arrived and found no one was downstairs in the church office nor upstairs in the business area where I worked.

On my way down the stairs I slipped and slid down the stairs. I was reminded of the time I had collapsed at work and it had taken an hour and a half before someone found me. It also reminded me that I was being silly for trying to negotiate stairs with a walking stick and with the mobility and balance problems that I had. This incident shook me up pretty badly and in the interests of personal safety I decided not to continue doing what I had been doing.

I was told by my ex wife that that wasn’t a good excuse to stop and that the wife of the business partner also agreed with her. Of course I believed her at the time. In hindsight I now believe that she had lied about what this persons wife had said.

It was nearly 6 – 8 months after I came home from hospital that my GP put me on prednisone to help control the affects of asthma. The steroid helped me to feel stronger and I self medicated myself to 30 – 40 mg every 2 days.

During this time I started to do some plodding work for some friends on their hobby farm. I was able to paint their fence with sump oil. Do some basic fence repairs. They also drew on my past experience working with animals to show them how to ear tag, drench; and castrate the young calves and goats.

I would normally have enough steam to plodder along for about an hour and then have at least an 1/2 hour break before getting back to it. After 3 hours I was totally exhausted and I would have to stop on the way home for a sleep in the car.

I would normally go there once or twice a week. I enjoyed my time there and appreciated the help that was given to me. One particular day when I came home dead on my feet and totally exhausted my ex wife greeted me at the door; her hand held out for the money and said to me “…Your not doing enough; you never do enough… you have to do more…”

. These words killed me inside. They totally dried me up and internally I died. It was soon after that experience that the specialist found out I was self medicating on prednisone and she had a metaphorical fit at me for doing so; ordering me to slowly wean myself off it.

In doing this my strength waned and my endurance fell back to what it was before and I found my health back to what it had been previously.

There came a time when I head those words That a real man would do more, combined with the words you don’t do enough! too many times. And one day enough did become enough and because enough was enough; I told her I was going to divorce her… which is a topic for another day….

Grieving the death of friendships.

13 12 2010

As time goes on I find that I dwell on the past less. There are times however when the past does seem to catch up with me and this morning was one of those times. What I mean by the past catching up with me is how I label when the pain of the past causes me deep fear; causes me to barely able to move and causes me to curl up in bed crying out in an internal pain that I can barely voice.

I don’t know why this happens. Perhaps its part of the grieving process! This morning I woke up thinking about the destruction of past friendships. There are three friendships in particular that my ex wife destroyed which cuts to the bone. While there are others she caused to become distant within the marriage; I have in some ways resumed some contact with them, but in particular the loss of these 3 friends really hurts.

2 are a couple whom I have known for 25 years. We spent time together, helping each other out; got drunk and in general had a good time. Another is married and though I know her husband and got on well with him;  I was closer to her then he.

These friends were there for me when my dad died. They were there for me during many other times. I went to their weddings, children’s baptisms, anniversaries, birthday parties. We went on holidays and went interstate with each other.

There was one time when we went on a road trip to Melbourne. I was driving my friends car, he was in the back with his wife and I found myself stuck behind a tram… his words of advice to me were...there is another tram coming up behind you. On the trip home we caught up with other friends at Albury where we stayed for the weekend… and we left as a group and his car broke down… being the adventurous type and having done much hitch hiking in the past I was sent off to try and catch up with the others. … some time later I find myself 50 kms up the road hoping for another lift, having waited for some time….and they come trundling up the road and he cheekily stops and asks if I would like a lift.

There was a time we both were sick; I found he had the day off and we decided to drink 2 bottles of port. Our reasoning being if we are going to be sick ,we might as well enjoy it. Another time he borrowed my lawn mower and told me that as he was mowing the lawn; the disk and blade unit came of and scattered across his backyard. By now you can get the drift that we shared a lot of good times.

Years ago one couple moved up to Queensland. We saw and heard little from them, apart from a yearly visit and phone calls. Despite this I still considered them friends.

8 months ago I discovered them on face book. They have my two brothers on their group of friends and rejected my contact with them. The other friend has done likewise; though she doesn’t know my brothers…I have since found out that when I separated from my wife in February 2009 she rang all of my friends telling them lies about me.

Losing friendships hurts. It makes you wonder what was the point. What was the point of those past experiences.  And so deep grief raises its ugly head about deep losses and not only is it a loss; it goes deeper then just loss. It comes from the helplessness and hopelessness that comes about from death. It’s the death of friendship. There is pain from rejection.

And this pain of rejection feeds on the pain of abuse. For abuse is all about rejection. It’s all about the rejection of your right to be treated with dignity and respect. Abuse is all about control and manipulation. Its all about destroying who you are as a person. And so this morning I found myself under the weight of the past abuse. The memory of the hopelessness. The memory of the despair.

Yet there is hope. There is joy. There is new purpose. I find when I hit rock bottom like this; I try to take my thoughts captive and think about mercy and justice. I think about when I met my current wife and when we married 6 months ago. I think about the new friendships I have made since. I think about the hope I have as a Christian. And this morning I found an email in my in-box from someone who is taking the issue of intimate partner abuse of men seriously and is going to promote it via the media.