Three wishes

I have posted this before but I can’t remember where.

I got soaked right through today not so much by the torrential rain as by the cars whizzing through puddles at the side of the road and sending massive sprays of fithy water all over me.

I am deeply weary tonight on all levels. One of my colleagues who I value highly quit today. She quit for the same sort of reasons I would quit were it not for sheer cussedness and determination not to be forced out.

Anyway, those over a certain age in the Uk may remember a brand of bubble baths and soaps called Three Wishes, which was marketted as being something from a fairytale. Mine are from a rather Grimmer Fairytale, I think.

Three wishes.


Every time I reach breaking point,

I find that I do not break.

Every time I reach the end of my tether,

I find that the tether is made of elastic.

Every time I think in pain I can’t go on,

I find that somehow against the odds, I do.

Sometimes I wish that I might break,

Shattering into a million relieved fragments,

Sparkling like road-crash diamonds

Both beautiful and horrible at once.

I wish that when I feel that collar

Press and pull my aching throat,

That it would snap, burst asunder

And leave me sprawling on the ground.

And I wish more than anything,

That when I feel I can’t possibly go on,

Tired and worn from trying too hard,

I might be given grace and space to stop.



13 thoughts on “Three wishes

  1. Painfully beautiful…

    You say if it wasn’t for cussedness and determination not to be forced out you would quit.
    How do you find the strength?

    • I haven’t the foggiest idea, to be honest!
      I really don’t want to give someone the satisfaction of winning(a battle I am not actually fighting as such; I’m working by a kind of relentless cheerfulness and smiling in the face of adversity)
      That said, I did get very annoyed and swore when I discovered we’d run out of paper, halfway through photocopying my worksheets for the morning with two other staff in the queue. The person in charge KNEW paper was running short on Monday and did nothing.
      I think sometimes it takes more energy to quit than it does to carry on regardless…

      • Since I read the poem, I’ve been thinking a lot about how incredibly resistant human beings can be. I myself, in times of hardship, when things feel utterly unbearable and there seems to be no point in going any further, find something meaningful to cling to in my own feeble way to endure through it all.

        You sound like a really strong-willed person and I’ve no doubt you will make it. Life wasn’t meant to be easy, they say, and we learn most from bad experience. But I often wonder, when we are put through trial, whether we really gain more than we lose. We do learn, that’s for sure. Hoever, something precious, some pure and innocent part of us goes away. Or am I wrong?

      • I’d agree but I think in many ways at 43, I’m still an appallingly naive person. Not exactly the same as innocent, I know. I still want to believe in the best in people.
        That said, what are the alternatives to going on?

      • “Appallingly naive” in the sense you put it, though not exactly innocent, still means pure at heart and unalloyed and generous by nature to me.

        Well, the alternative to going on is simply giving up. It may be regarded as cowardice and defeatism, but sometimes this is the way out.

      • Thank you Shiona.
        The Bible has a rather wonderful phrase- “As cunning as a serpent and as innocent as a dove” (my own version cobbled from several translations).
        I have been referred to by my boss as being ” a very sweet lady” which always makes me want to break out in a fit of cussing and obscenity… which shows I am contrary as the proverbial mule too…
        I don’t think giving up is automatically either cowardice or defeatism; sometimes you have to know when to quit. And being too resistant to change can make you refuse to give up, on the principle that “better the devil you know”.
        I’m looking forward to my weekend away. My husband and daughter have gone to tesco’s to get her supplies for the weekend (she has M.E and isn’t able to get to the supermarket on her own) and then I think we may have a bit of late breakfast and hit the road. It’s about 3 hours drive to my friend’s house in Sussex.
        Have a good one everyone! I may check in over the w/e.

  2. Yes, why are we so set on endurance when a little unraveling is in order? We seem to have something against grace and space to stop when it finally arrives.

  3. More biblical wisdom: Whatever is from God –don’t fight it, you can’t win. If it’s not from God, don’t fight it, it will die on its own. May God grant us the grace to know the difference and live by that grace even when we feel we cannot go on, as appearances are/can be deceiving and what sometimes seems to be what we’d like to avoid may teach us and lead to growth, health, healing and blessings.

    • Thank you, Dimlamp.
      That said, there’s a great tradition of fighting with God and wrestling with angels….
      Good of you to visit!

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