Does that make sense? I say this a lot, with various responses depending on the context: at work (usually a nod – thank goodness), at home (Yep – they know me), to friends (Absolutely! Bless them.) I can’t always hear and understand others correctly because of a strange condition I’ve explained before but I do like to be heard and understood myself.
There are so many things in life that don’t make sense. Here are some of mine: –
- New jeans that already have holes in. I mean why? I can understand the familiar feel of old ones that have developed holes. Long-loved jeans, repositioned around your body through years of breathing in/bending down, are like old friends. Everything about them is comforting so when they become worn and flawed, you still want them. In fact, you love them more. But why would you want to buy new ones, unknown, unyielding, AND with holes? It’s beyond me. Someone please explain.
- Resealable packs of Kitkat Bites. A nice idea in principle, demonstrating worthy ideals. But, really, they need to put more in there if they want us to share. You don’t need the resealable part, which must surely be an added cost and entirely expendable, therefore reducing the price to the consumer. That, or make them bigger.
- Pieces of clothing in the road. Now this is utterly perplexing. I’m on a wintry walk and there’s a random adult-sized sock lying in the middle of the pavement, limp and lonely. How did it get separated from its spouse? Why is it lying on the pavement? Did some bloke in a hoodie listening to Hip Hop on a stroll into town, suddenly decide one foot was too hot? I picture him dropping to the ground, mid-Hop, and removing his left trainer, ripping off the sock and dropping it on the cold pavement. Head still nodding to the rhythm, he flexes his sweaty foot in the cold air, sighing with relief, then slides the trainer back on. Then he jumps to his feet and keeps Hipping. Or, you know, someone just rests a while in the sun and then forgets to put a sock on?
- Stuff down the back of the sofa. Dice, sweet wrappers, a conker. A conker! No one in our house has collected conkers for years! And coins – who uses them any more? Are you seriously telling me no one has turned the big sofa cushions since March? (OK, fair enough.)
- Facebook videos starting as you scroll. I go into my settings to change my preference. This, in itself, is torturously complicated and random, the pathway seeming to vary each time. One day it will be Settings – pet hates – visual hates – energy consuming hates – videos starting as you scroll – change preference, but we will change it back when you’re not looking… Honestly!
Of course, there are far more serious things I don’t understand. I’m happy to query a sock mid-pavement, but, when given no answer, move on and forget about it. I don’t lie awake at night wondering about said sock, hoping it’s OK.
But sometimes I lie awake at night and ask God about things: Coronavirus, well, why? I remind him that lots of people have died, others are ill and nearly everyone is fearful. I’d like him to give me some pat answer that will help make sense of it. Better, I’d like him to stop it. I lie awake at night and say, ‘Hello, I trust you, I really do, but none of this makes sense. And I’d really like it to, so can you please explain?’
But He just says things like, ‘Pray, and sleep. Then wake up and love people.’ I tell him that this doesn’t really answer my question. It still doesn’t make sense. He reminds me, a lot of what I do doesn’t make sense: my tendency to be hard hearted, selfish, mean spirited. But he continues faithfully to believe in me. He reminds me that How can I? and What can I…? are better questions than Why? because this is the way of love.
So I pray protection over our family, our town, our world. I name the people I’m worried about or my friends are worried about and ask him to give our leaders wisdom ( I say this part slowly and loudly with emboldened letters in my head). I count blessings instead of sheep. And slowly, surely, I feel held, and sleep tiptoes up and taps me on the shoulder…
And in the morning, there is blueness and brightness and falls of sun on frosted glass. WhatsApp tells me a friend’s dad is out of hospital, another’s daughter has slept better. I savour coffee with caramel syrup bought by one friend, a piece of fudge made by another. I thank God for these things. Though so much seems senseless, a little light dawns: blessing should breed blessing. I ring someone who lives alone. And bake for someone sad.
I walk. Up the alleyway, past the parish church, there are birds perched on a wall like old men. On the pavement, I see no socks, but all at once it drops like a stone in my head: They blow off people’s washing lines.
Before I sign off today, I want to thank those of you who have come back regularly to read my stillwonderings this year. It has meant an awful lot to me. Hoping and praying 2021 is a good year for you, filled with joyful and memorable things. Things you would not even ask for or imagine.
Happy New Year! See you on the other side…