Posted by: christinelaennec | March 11, 2015

Someone watching over me

Things have been challenging lately.  Since the Dafter fell ill three and a half years ago I have become pretty used to being philosophical, looking at the bigger picture, looking for the good.  But recently I have just felt so worn out!  In October, I was so exhausted that we had planned for me to take a short break the first week of November.  We all know that my own well-being is critical to our family’s functioning, and the Dafter’s recovery.  But a few days before I was due to take my autumn holiday, I received the news that my Dad had died, and I was headed in the other direction.

I returned the night before Michael went on the first of a series of work trips; then he fell very ill and I had two people to look after, though the Dafter was doing pretty well in the weeks before Christmas.  The holidays were busier than usual because for the first time in years she was able to get out and about.  And then her relapse came, and since the beginning of January my life has been almost completely tied to her needs.   I have also, since November, been working very hard to deal with my father’s estate, and it is still far from resolved.  And Michael has continued to travel every few weeks for work.

And yet, although I have lost some sleep worrying about how things will work out, I have also had the distinct feeling that I am being looked after.  Do you see the angels perched up on the building, looking down at us?

Cherubs looking down, Glasgow city centre, February 2015.

Cherubs looking down, Glasgow city centre, February 2015.

The Dafter has been pretty unwell, again.  But not so unwell as a year ago.  On bad days, she can be crying with pain, but that doesn’t happen every day.  On bad days, she can still move about the house.  About half the time she manages a bit of school, so for every day I have a Plan A, Plan B and Plan C, depending on how things go.  And I know the most important thing is that I actually be FINE with whatever happens, for her sake.  Because she is doing all she can.  On the days she’s able to go to school for a few hours, she is still feeling dizzy, exhausted, foggy, unwell.

The Dafter, unwell but trying to be happy.  March 2015.

The Dafter, unwell but being as happy as she can be. March 2015.

At the end of January I had to have some medical tests at the hospital.  It wasn’t the most fun I’ve ever had, but I discovered another Glaswegian Victorian park, and it was beautiful in the snow:

Springburn Park, Glasgow.  January 2015.

Springburn Park, Glasgow. January 2015.

I’ve since learned that all is well, and no more Procedures are needed.  Phew!!!

We all have moments when we feel we can’t take any more, and when we feel alone and perhaps even abandoned by God (if we believe in God).  This stained-glass window depicts Jesus in the garden of Gesthemane, his disciples asleep while he faces what he knows lies ahead.

Stained-glass window in St. Margarets Episcopal Church, Newlands, Glasgow.

“The Garden” by John Clark, 2002.  Stained-glass window in St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church, Newlands, Glasgow.

These moments of feeling forsaken are part of human life, moments which we all wish we could escape.  But, assuming we don’t crumble (it is a possibility), these times are what make us value the good in life.

For quite some time I have been praying for a worrying situation where I felt a friend was in danger.  The situation has now been resolved, to my great relief.  My friend said to me, “Someone was watching over me.”  “Someone was,” I replied.  It’s not that I necessarily believe that my prayers did the trick.  That would be presumptuous and anyway my own understanding is pathetically small compared to the workings of the universe.  But it was a great comfort to me that things turned out well, in more ways than one.

Crocus tomassinianus in the lawn, March 2015.

Crocus tomassinianus in the lawn, March 2015.

The hardest thing, for me, is to trust — really trust — all will work out well, and along with that, to be grateful for all that has healed and been good, and is good.  I know I’m not alone in this weakness; I’m human, after all.  I would quite like rock-solid assurances that the Dafter will completely recover, that she will manage not to melt down with stress about her schoolwork, that my Dad’s estate will be resolved without ongoing problems or another trip across, etc. etc.  I would quite like it if God would provide me a clear plan of the weeks and months ahead, if possible with ideas for meals as well, so I know where I stand.

But that’s not how life works, nor would I really, in my heart, want it to be.  How boring life would be if I really did know what lay ahead, and there was no sense of discovery or possibility.  Hope can only exist in a world of uncertainty.

Tilly came to us nine years ago.  She had been a stray and was skinny and very untrusting.  She didn’t purr for the first year and a half of being with us, though eventually with my encouragement she learned how.  She didn’t come on a lap for at least the first year — too frightened to trust.  But look at her now!

Tilly sleeping on my legs while I knit.  March 2015.

Tilly sleeping on my legs while I knit. March 2015.

Because I am still badly in need of rest, we’ve arranged that I’m going to go to the Isle of Harris for a four-night getaway next month, as I did last year.  I’m so grateful to my family for considering my needs.  I know there are many carers out there whose worries and responsibilities make my own life look like a vacation in the Bahamas.

So I am very grateful to feel that God is at work in our lives, and that we are all being cared for.  I am trying to learn from Tilly, and just trust and be grateful.



  1. Gorgeous photos! Keep hanging in there and all will be well.

  2. I’m glad you’re looking after yourself as well as others. I remember the post you did after that last trip to Harris, it looked like a beautiful escape. I hope your next visit is just as wonderful and revives your spirits. Thinking of you all.

  3. You’re right that trusting is important, and sometimes it’s hard. I hope so much things will improve for her soon. And that you get the rest you urgently need. The Dafter is looking lovely (and very like you!) even when she’s ill.

  4. How wonderful to be heading to the Islands again, that should certainly restore your spirits and give you a well deserved break.

  5. Thinking of you all, what a hard time of it you have had. Hope you all feel better soon, and have a great time on Harris. x

  6. It’s hard for me to understand the reality of your situation. As a regular (religious?!) reader of your blog I feel inspired and uplifted by your positive perspective in the face of such a situation which I would find incredibly depressing. I tend to respond to the comparatively trivial setbacks of my own life with anger at the injustice of the world. You, on the other hand, not only respond with hope and optimism to the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune that are fired at your life, but you also reach out with love and care to people many of whom you don’t even know – the readers of this blog.
    Yes, I do know what you mean when you say “someone is watching over me”. I’ve discovered the meaning right here.

    • And by the way, I love that picture of Springburn Park, Glasgow. On one level it’s bleak and bare, but at the same time there’s a feeling that the sun has a power which we’re just seeing a hint of – through a glass, darkly – but we will experience bright sunshine in a time to come, which is not too far away.

    • Thank you oldblack for such a deeply touching comment! I’m glad if my thoughts and outlook give you something. Believe me I definitely have my moments of anger and feeling it IS NOT FAIR. But overall, I tend to decide life is pretty amazing, if you choose what to focus on. Re. the bright sunshine ahead, I often say to myself, “Brighter days are ahead” – and not only when it’s the spring. I also believe that we were put on this earth to help each other. What is the point, otherwise? And I had a laugh at your description of yourself being a “religious” reader! Thank you again.

  7. Christine, I will move you further to the top on my list of prayers. God gives us only what we can handle, I am so sure of that. Know that god cares for you.

  8. the picture of your daughter is so great. she looks happy and contented and my goodness, she looks all grownup and mature. you have a lovely young lady living in your home. I am so happy for you that you are off to Harris. I hope that it will be life-giving and restorative to you. blessings to you and your family, Christine.

  9. While my mind affirms that I more fully appreciate love because I have felt hate, and hope because I have felt hopeless, the negative feelings and circumstances in and around me are wearisome…especially when they seem to go on for ages of ages with little break. I am so glad your health exams had positive results, Christine, and that you are looking forward to your time of retreat at the Isle of Harris.

    I found just the right frame for the ram viewing the comet card from the Isle of Harris. It is on the bookshelf next to my favorite chair where I am sitting as I type to you. It is a visual sign of encouragement for me…a prompt to look to and trust in the One who said, “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

    Thanks for posting 🙂 xx

  10. Thinking of you x

  11. I am glad you have a break coming up to rest and recharge. As you know, I have no religious belief, but I am glad that you are drawing comfort and hope from your faith. And a purring cat on your lap is a great salve for the soul!

  12. I read this thinking how much I like hearing about your thoughts (it’s the way you write them down) even though it’s obviously difficult things you are contemplating. I know what you mean about wanting certainty. Decisions are hard if you don’t know where they lead.
    I thought you were going to end by saying you are going to escape to Edinburgh for the Yarn Festival! I sent sent my States-side sister a brochure and made her homesick for the place. I’ll be going on Saturday with a friend, so even if I don’t see you there I’ll be thinking of you!
    Greetings to Michael and the Dafter. x Fiona

    • I am hoping to go on Saturday for a couple of hours! Maybe see you there. Thanks for your kind words – I hesitated before posting this because I felt it was quite self-indulgent, as obviously everyone has challenging times…

      • I don’t usually comment on blogs. However……Your reply to Fifona made me feel disappointed because I’d always felt you were writing from the heart, that this was a “real” blog. To now realise that you only write the things that you think make you appear “good” is a huge disappointment.

  13. wow.. moving story.. you have so much to contend with .. so many worries.
    You’re almost there.. 🙂 We must believe in the hearts .. to pray & yet be unsure is only human… Please get deeper into the Truth of God & Christ. There really is no other .
    Pray like you mean it.. Pray until something happens.. ! 🙂
    the times we are living in are a wake up call.. Please don’t sleep through it.

  14. I may have already commented this but as I don’t see it and I had a bit of a carry on with wordpress I will comment again! Note to self, when you clear out all the cookies on your computer you lose all the ‘remembered’ stuff too and have to log in to all the sites you forgot the passwords for!! Anyway, sorry about that, I just wanted to say I’m sorry to hear things continue to be so challenging for you, your faith must be a good comfort for you. I’m sure a few days in the Isles will renew your strength and stand you in good stead for the next challenge to come along. With any luck you’ll get some good weather into the bargain! If you feel a coffee morning coming on please don’t hesitate to get in touch, I’m very happy to come over to your patch – the coffee’s good there lol. xx

  15. I sometimes wish for a switch off button. Reading your words have shown me how stupid that wish is. Love to you all, and of course Tilly.

  16. I believe in prayers being answered and that we are watched over. God is near and a living hope. May the road straighten out before you and your family. Blessings, Pam

  17. You are trying to learn from Tilly… Be sure, I’m learning from you !
    Thanks, Christine for this sincere, couragous and so inspiring post.

  18. Thinking of you and keeping you all in prayer.♥

  19. Thank you for sharing this. It’s a beautifully written, honest, thoughtful and thought-provoking post, and it chimes with much that I have been thinking and feeling recently regarding prayers for a sick friend.
    Wishing you and yours rest, laughter and good health. All shall be well, and all shall be well…

  20. Dear Christine, I just want to say that you have such a talent for writing and making others feel at peace. I know there is a lot going on in your life but you are so positive. It’s as though through your writings you let others feel positive. It’s a blessing. Maybe we need to be more like beautiful little Tilly and have trust. I wish you a wonderful, relaxing holiday. With my best wishes to you and your family, Pat

  21. Thank you for sharing. This is what Jesus Calling says today, March 13:
    “Learn to live about your circumstances. This requires focused time with Me, the ONE who overcame the world. Trouble and distress are woven into the very fabric of this perishing world. Only My Life in you can empower you to face this endless flow of problems with good cheer.
    As you sit quietly in My Presence, I shine Peace into your troubled mind and heart. Little by little, you are freed from earthly shackles and lifted up above your circumstances. You gain My perspective on your life, enabling you to distinguish between what is important and what is not. Rest in My Presence receiving Joy that no one can take away from you.

    “These things I have spoken to you that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; But be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NKJV

    “So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.” John 16:22

    God be with you. 🙂

  22. I usually don’t comment, which is probably rather bad of me, but I wanted to comment now, because this post really touched me. I do hope that you are able to get the rest that you need, and have a lovely break… and I will keep you in my prayers too. There was something in this post that just resonates within me… Wishing you and yours the best!

  23. What a lovely example of Tilly and trust. I am so glad you will be able to have this getaway next month. Praying for strength and grace for all of you.

  24. Glad you’re going to get the break you need. Love & prayers for you all xxxx

  25. Thank you all very, very much for the encouraging and heartfelt comments, and for your prayers. It means so much to me, and to our family. I can’t really put it into words. Thank you again.

  26. I’m new to your blog but very touched by this post and can empathise with so much of what you’ve shared. Caring is hard and the uncertainty is probably the hardest bit of all in not knowing where things are going to end. Faith is both a comfort and a test of our nerves.

    I’ve never visited Springburn Park either and it does look lovely in the snow. I’m curious though to know where the little cherub is located, if you have the time to share this.

    Sending love and prayers your way and hoping your break helps bolster you when it comes.

    • Thank you, RedSetter. Next time I’m in the city centre I’ll try to find the cherubs and if I do I will reply again here to let you know where they are!

    • Hello again – I have finally located the cherubs! They are on a building that is on the corner of Renfield Street and Gordon Street, in Glasgow city centre.

  27. Sending love xxx

  28. I’m so glad I found this post today….for about a year, my life has felt like it is flying out of control. Your words are very encouraging…..

  29. […] necessarily a steady downhill route into the grave. It’s partly a question of perspective. Some people are much more optimistic in difficult circumstances than others – and maybe I’m seeing with slightly more hopeful eyes now. But also […]

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