Saturday, 27 June 2009

Healing in the streets

Our local corner shop is situated, rather handily, opposite our local church. This means that every Sunday morning you will find a number of church goers slipping in sheepishly for gravy, stuffing, bread sauce mix, or other essentials without which the Sunday Roast will not be complete. Small children, released from the confines of Sunday School, roam the aisles shrieking for chocolate or bemoaning the fact they only got one broken biscuit after the service because the big boys took all the Jammy Dodgers. Larger children wait outside enjoying private chats, broken periodically to call into the shop "come on Mum I'm HUNGRY", or alternatively "but I don't WANT to go now, I'm still talking". How the staff must love us.

That's Sunday. For a long time now, that's been pretty much the sum total of the involvement between church and the shops; well, that and the mad midmorning dash for emergency milk and biscuits when stocks run low between the services, repeated midweek during the various toddler groups, prayer groups, and other church activities. Periodically on a Monday night girls all dressed in blue will run in to buy marshmallows or matches, boys in green might do the same thing on a Wednesday evening, and every so often small groups of non-church Youth tanked up on underage alcohol will shuffle from the shop forecourt to the churchyard and back again as they debate where to scribble their next piece of graffiti or which bench is better to vomit on.

A short while ago (or possibly a longer while ago; I'm not terribly observant about these things) a group from the church decided to embark on a "Healing in the Streets" mission. Saturday mornings, a time when the church is usually pretty quiet, a small group gather and base themselves in the shop carpark where they offer prayer ministry to any shopper who cares to ask for it. They seem to have had a fair bit of interest and support from the community, always good.

Whilst I've been vaguely aware this has been happening, I've not actually experienced it myself yet - Saturdays are traditionally the one day in the week where we don't have a carer come in in the mornings, so they are therefore by extension the one day in the week where I feel entirely justified in hanging about in pyjamas doing nothing very much. We have carers every morning at the moment as it takes two of us to get Little Fish dressed, so we're up and about somewhat earlier than might otherwise be expected. So far though we've been happy to either hang about at home doing a whole lot of nothing (and doing it well), or we've been away.

This morning our carer came, both girls were raring to go, and we decided to brave the 200yard dash to the shop to post a letter. It's not a difficult trip; one big road to cross with two exciting buttons to push to make the traffic stop for you*, one slightly awkward bit where the path narrows and too many sloping drives make for a wobbly push, but the rest of it is nice level tarmac without any sandwich boards, dustbins, parked bicycles or other pavement impedimentia furniture. Nevertheless we are brave to attempt it. I am told this at least once every time we do. Depressingly, most often by people who know us and see us regularly - perhaps we are brave after all, who knew? Leaving the house and remembering the front door key is a bit of a challenge, finding a window between sleeps and catheters and med times can be tricky, but once we've done that I'm not convinced that shopping for a load of bread is a particularly brave thing to do. Unless I haven't had my coffee of course. Still, brave or not, it was time to go, and go we did.

Amazingly we managed to shut the door without incident (chasing Goway and his dead pet sparrow out ahead of us doesn't necessarily count as an incident; I didn't have to touch the bird so it doesn't count and I can pretend it never happened and that he's a sweet harmless fluffy thing). We walked down the path without being mugged or shot or even halted by people stopping immediately in front of us to remind us of our bravery. We pressed the button, the red man went away and the green man came, we shouted hurray (and by we, I mean Little Fish), and then we waved at the cars and shouted our thanks to them for stopping (and again, by we, I mean Little Fish). We went single file for the wobbly bit of the pavement without either child needing to go backwards, and then back into formation (two children in front, yours truly behind, one chair in either hand, for anyone reading who is presently thinking "I don't know how you do it").

And then it happened. Gradually we noticed soft and gentle music wafting through the air. And we saw two men staring at us with a strange gleam in their eyes. A kind, concerned, caring "must-be-gentle-and-polite-and-make-inane-joke-to-pretend-I-am-comfortable-with-the-fact-there-is-a-woman-pushing-two-children-in-wheelchairs-walking-towards-us" kind of a gleam. I'm used to that, what I'm not used to is the mild panic I noticed hovering about the edges of the kindly gleam. And then two women approached too, causing us a mild problem as the pavement is a little rutted here, and any stopping makes it inevitable that a wheel will get caught in a hole and our progress will be halted. Little Fish dropped the letter at this point, a car ran over it, and we paused to retrieve it, escaping the women with nothing more than a brief hello and acknowledgement of our mutual existence. Not, however, without hearing the "I don't know how she manages"/"however does she do it?" conversation which echoed in our wake. And then I realised what the panic was all about - underneath the casual concern was fear that we might be coming in for a spot of healing.

You're safe lads; the girls and I are not in search of healing just at the moment. Or at least, not from their disabilities anyway. I'll take all the prayer anyone feels inclined to give us that Little Fish's hip has knitted itself back together enough for her brace to come off and stay off on the 6th. I'll take plenty of prayer that Mog's seizures stay stable and that she can shake off a little of the sedating effect from her current drug cocktail. And if you feel inclined to pray for me then pray for my wrists and back, so that they stay strong enough to do everything we need them to do for the three of us. But just for now we'd like to post our letter and buy some bread, and that's all thanks. Apart from anything else; I'd be out of a job if we had too many miracles.

We went in, we bought our bread, we left the shop and dodged another huddle of marvellousers. Ruining the competent effect, we got wedged on a kerb and I tilted Little Fish nearly out of her chair as Mog giggled. Oh well, dignity never was anything I valued particularly highly.

And then we got home, and Little Fish got into a strop because Mog went into the house first. And she threw the shopping onto the ground. And then she poured macaroni onto the floor once inside, and then I realised her feed pump which had been unaccountably slow had reset itself to be running at 1ml/hour rather than 300. And then I discovered our cleaner has hidden our matches, so macaroni is definitely off the menu. And then I thought to myself "they're right, you know, I don't know how I do it".


*exciting when you are four. The thrill has palled somewhat for me these days


Michelle said...

And you'll get up tomorrow and do it all over again.... and everything will come together as it nearly always does (and maybe you'll have found the matches by then!)

Doorless said...

You will remain strong because this is a God given calling and He will give you all the strength you need. I love that we are able to push two chairs at one time! Great exercise and we don't need to belong to a health club to get this sort of workout every day.
Hope you find the matches and have a great day.

Anonymous said...

Reminiscent of when the boys were in intensive care and lots of people who know were telling us of all the candle that were being lit for them in various churches to which someone replied 'those boys are a fire risk'!!

Now if the 'healers' had offered you a biscuit that would have required a third hand!!

Tina said...

Having smiled and nodded in agreement and recollection of similar I am afraid the gufawwing laugh was reserved for Val's Boys being a fire risk!!!

hugs and hope you find the matches in time for tomorrows Lunch!

HennHouse said...

Your writing is amazing... And I hope the excitement of pushing the buttons to make something happen NEVER wears off for Little Fish. That she always see the awe in the things around her. Especially in you.

Jacqui said...

Oh I know how that goes - couldn't possibly enter the house last / get out of the car last / get fed last. I don't know how you push two wheelchairs at once either ;-)

Tia said...

Thanks guys,

Jacqui is that a Minny chair in your profile there? I will be so glad when Little Fish can get back into hers. And once she's in it pushing two chairs at once is even easier; I can hook the pushing pole from that one into the crook of my elbow and have both hands free for the other chair (or chairs...).



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