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Jesus and me. The A Team

A recent SMS exchange between my husband and me:

Husband: What enneagram number am I?

Me: Three. The nasty one. They can all be pretty nasty actually. Especially ones, which would be me.

Husband: Definitely a redeemed one then.

Me: Jesus and I are working on it.

Husband: The A-Team.

 As my 60th birthday fast approaches, I am aware of a gentle but profound revolution in my heart and soul. For much of my life, the last way I would have described myself was as a member of any A-team. Despite being surrounded by loving people and good things, I have been plagued by self-doubt and even self-loathing. There were – as there always are – good reasons for this. A complicated childhood largely spent a long way from parents. Exposure to a certain kind of religiosity. Growing up as a nice Christian girl in the 60s and 70s; not allowed to be sad, certainly not allowed to be angry. Self-negation was the way to salvation. Jesus came first, others next and ourselves barely at all. I had a strong, smart, loving parents but even so, self-acceptance was not part of my psyche and any real sense of the unconditional love of God was foreign to me.

But over decades, a combination of a few things has gently, slowly, agonisingly, wonderfully, changed me utterly. These things have been:

  • ·         Seasons of counselling, off and on, over the last 25 years;
  • ·         Spending time with a great many wise people, of various religions and none;
  • ·         A gifted spiritual director;
  • ·         The lifelong practice of weekly worship;
  • ·         Forty years of love by a good man, 32 years of love from our children, love that I have finally learnt it is my birthright to accept and return, joyfully;
  • ·         Decades of contemplative prayer; and
  • ·         Suffering.

These days, like the oft-quoted monk asked what they do in the monastery all day, said ‘We fall over and get up again’. Falling simply makes me human, not evil.

These days:

  • ·         I acknowledge that my instincts are mostly sound, so my first impulse is to trust, not suspect them.
  • ·         I know that I’m hopeless at some things, but that that doesn’t make me an idiot. I am good at others.
  • ·         I have stopped weaselling out of things because ‘I’m no good’. I realise that I’ve been around a while and done a lot of stuff, and I have a lot to offer – my work place, my friends, my family.
  • ·         It’s not my job to fix anybody else, but I can work on my relationship with them.
  • ·         I acknowledge that mostly I have made wise and decent choices, and that my life has been shaped accordingly, and trust that I will most likely continue to live that way.
  • ·         I have learned that deep grief will not destroy my faith, my sense of humour or my openness to wonder, or not for long.

 Thanks be to God, Jesus and I are working on it. The A-team.


 This wa published in the October issue of The Melbourne Anglican

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Reader Comments (2)

Thank you Claire for your truth, hope and love!

October 24, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAnnie

As usual, thank you Claire!

October 24, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJay Robinson

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