God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.Psalm 46:1
My presence online has taken a very big dip over the past two months and a consequence of circumstances offline was that any motivation of things I use to enjoy doing ceased. Whether that was doing a bit of creative writing, my hobbies etc, it was weird to observe that I had withdrawn into a shell of isolation. And the reason? Starting a new job where I very much felt as though I had been hitting a social brick wall. It’s been well over 20+ years since I’ve been in an environment where I felt this way and so when I was then plunged into it I of course gas-lit myself, chastising myself that it was me, that I was missing something. The reality was quite different looking back. In other contracts, you would have what is referred to as an on-boarding experience – being introduced to your new team, introduced to any new software that you will be using, new logins, how HR worked in terms of booking annual leave etc. All I am prepared to say in this blog is that my experience in this current contract was not entirely that. Partly yes, but not entirely – and it had mentally exhausted me.
It left me mentally drained and tearful by the Monday of last week and as I began the previous work week, I recalled quietly staring out of my kitchen window and whispering “Jesus, help me”.
You see I’m very much a ‘crack on and get on with it’ kind of person and so was without ideas when I witnessed personalities who would deliberately and strategically try to sabotage one’s ability to work. For me it reminded me of a Britain from the 80s and 90s so to be witnessing and experiencing it right here in 2022, was completely foreign to me and I was out of ideas as to how to ‘fix it’
Except it wasn’t for me to fix (a duh moment, I know) – and it took a rainy gloomy Monday morning for a symbolic representation of this fact to be presented to me.
God communicates with his creation in a number of ways with obviously, the primary way being through his Word. Whether it is a verse that comes to mind similar to the beginning of this post, any Biblical accounts similar to one’s experience, He will remind you. Another way is from examples around us and in very rare cases, He will remind me through circumstances via movies, programmes etc. Last Monday it was a Heron or should I say – The Heron. Within the vicinity of where I live we have at least 3 different reservoirs and a plethora of wild bird life. Since I’ve introduced goldfish to my pond, a visitor would intrude into my garden to ‘kill, steal and destroy’ any unsuspecting fish. The heron is now quite mature, comes at any point in the day to the degree that the fish are petrified. That day, when I was so discouraged I looked up towards some trees beyond my garden and there he perched, untouchable, proud and unreachable – waiting for an opportunity to enter my garden and steal more fish. I looked on helpless and frustrated, until out of nowhere, a lone crow flew towards him. The heron was easily 3 times the size of this crow and initially was not threatened by the approaching bird but clearly noted its approach. The crow flew at speed and unrelenting, almost appearing as though it was on a collision course for the larger heron. Both myself and the heron were convinced that an impact was imminent but at the last minute, just as the heron dipped his head to avoid the crow, it swerved upwards to arc round and repeat the approach again. I watched as the crow repeated the swerve again and again with the heron dipping its head to avoid each attack. Another crow now joined the attack and together they took turns approaching the heron at speed and causing it to dip to avoid a collision. The frequency of both crows’ attack was sufficient to eventually force the heron to abandon its quick goldfish snack and to fly away.
What came to mind to me was that indirectly we can view a situation which on the face of it, appears to seem inevitable that something bad is going to take place that we have no control over to stop. This was represented by the heron perched on the highest tree branch – unreachable with me knowing that he is going to swoop down and snatch another goldfish away and there was nothing I could do to prevent him. But just as we feel so hopeless or accepting of the circumstance, an unexpected help will always come from the Lord. This was represented by the crows suddenly appearing to attack the heron. Without any action on my part to engage or intercept the heron, something else had seen him off from such a lofty position.
This realisation enabled me to focus and direct my prayer and more specifically to seek the Lord for guidance as to how I should deal with the situation at work for the coming week. The end result was that I actually didn’t need to “do” anything but to just be myself and let the light of Christ shine towards my work colleagues. Whilst I had no control over whatever my colleagues thought/ did, I know of One who is all knowing and who could influence change.
Needless to say this past week was arguably the first week where I felt more at peace, that my Shalom had not been stolen by outside forces and I could be back to prayerfully “crack on and get on with it”.