Oh ye of little faith ~ Doubting Thomasina faces immense changes

Oh ye of little faith ~ Doubting Thomasina faces immense changes.

My favourite of Jesus’s main men was Thomas. He and I have a lot in common.

Doubt, for one thing.

I have shockingly little faith, really. I can’t get on board this “The Universe will provide” kind of stuff. The Universe is probably sublimely unaware of my sorry existence. More than that, the concept that somehow the very fabric of space and time will shift to bring me what I want is outrageous. As for God, well, I have trouble accepting that he/she loves me, let alone cares what happens to me. That’s my problem, probably not God’s. It’s lack of self-worth, in all likelihood, and a very clear understanding of just how very small I am in the grand scheme of things.

Thomas and I need evidence. He needed to touch Jesus to accept he was truly there, alive and yet pierced with wounds that were mortal and dreadful. I need to feel as though, small cog in a grand old Galaxy as I am, I actually have a place, that I am not one of those odd bits of metal that you find,and stick in a drawer somewhere because you daren’t throw it away in case it is something crucial for something. It’s a mark of this aspect of my psyche that means I collect these stray bits and pieces, and store them just in case. My plan is one day to gather them and turn them into a work of art.

So I live in a state of constant existential conflict: the need to believe I have a place, at odds with the fear that I probably do not.

I think Thomas and I would have been good pals. I’d like to find a icon of him, or a statue, to position at the entrance to my new house.

Oh sorry, that’s the news. I’m moving. Not till September probably, but after a couple of weeks of uncertainty about whether saying yes to the change was a good idea, it appears that the die is cast. Thunderbirds are GO!

This is not just moving house, which is hellish enough. The distance from our current location means my teaching job will end. I’m ambivalent about my job anyway, for various reasons, but generally the actual teaching and tour-guiding I enjoyed a lot. It gave me a slightly greater sense of self-worth and a small addition to the family finances. And after the massively reduced summer school in August, there will be no more work till March 2013.

After almost six years working as a scientist in a secular job, my husband is returning to full-time ministry and we as a family are returning to living in a rectory. When we left our last one, in October 2006, I had found a measure of peace with the pressures and aggravations of that life. If you have read my novel Away With The Fairies, the scenes from Isobel and Mickey’s rectory life are no exaggerations. I chose not to include any of the more extreme scenarios we experienced of being spied upon, pestered, phoned in the middle of the night, or any of the breathtaking liberties people took assuming that we were public property and our home equally public. It had taken me since my husband was first ordained in 1994 to learn to cope with it. Ironic that just at that point, the diocese we lived in made decisions that made it impossible conscience-wise for my husband to continue working there and we left. We carved out a new life, here on the coast, and despite the fears of being both homeless and penniless, we achieved a great deal. House, jobs, and a totally new way of life for me.

I’m six years older now. Six years older. That makes it that bit harder for me to find employment. I’m flexible and adaptable, maybe more so than people half my age. But my age is something that goes against me because of simple, unconscious prejudice. I don’t want to do nothing outside the home. I NEED to work. Not merely for the money but for the other benefits of bringing new experience to my life, of meeting other people, of exploring the world outside my window. My travel job will continue, as that is not location dependent, I am thankful for that. But it is intermittent and sporadic and I cannot make any financial decisions based upon it.

During the five and a half years we’ve lived in this house, I’ve found it desperately hard to write. Non fiction has come much more easily than fiction. The room I have as a study is a small, rather cramped room that doubles as a guest room. I cannot look out of the window as I work. The new house is much larger and lighter and I am hoping that my writing mojo will come home properly. It only visits for short spells, like a fickle lover. In all honesty, now would be a wonderful time for the wild magic of a book going viral to occur for me. It would give me some sense of a future for me. The last two months, I have seen exciting growth and a significant rise in sales of my books that gives me hope that I might just make it as a writer. But even successful writers need their day-jobs, for more than just the money.

Now when it comes to belief, I do not believe in anything to do with the law of attraction. It’s a nonsense. My thoughts do not create reality; my wishes and desires do not draw their fulfilment to me. Thinking positively is a good idea, because it makes you look for opportunities and helps you stay cheerful and optimistic, but it does not make things happen. That’s both illogical and egotistical.

Right now, when I try and look into the future, I can’t see anything. Perhaps blind panic is obscuring my inner vision. Perhaps, as the future is not fixed, things are still in motion. Perhaps, and this scares me most, I don’t have a future at all.

That’s where Thomas comes back to comfort me. I’ve stood in this position a good few times, standing on the edge of a dark abyss where nothing is settled or certain, and things could go horribly wrong. I stood there almost six years ago today, when it became clear to us that our position was untenable and we’d have to make a leap of faith into the unknown, and just hope that it would work out.

I’m forty six. I’ve leapt into the unknown more times than many in my life so far. And so far, it has worked out.

Thomas demanded evidence. When I demand evidence, I am directed to look at the past and review it. Each and every time I’ve made that leap, I have survived. In some cases, I have even thrived and made huge strides forwards as a person. I know the next few months are going to be so stressful I’d like to go to sleep and wake up in mid September with it all over bar the shouting. But Thomas tells me that if I cannot believe in the future, I can believe in the past and let that be my guide.

Oh and if you’re a praying kind of person, I’d appreciate a few on my behalf. Thank you.