“I ain`t finished yet”-Hearing update

Thought that it was time to give you all an update on the hearing front. It has now been confirmed that I have lost 40% hearing in my left ear and about 20% in my right ear. Little chance of it coming back and when you consider that I only had 70% in my left ear before you can begin to imagine how much it has dropped.

Another way of gauging the level of loss is to realise that last year about 6 months ago I was chairing a meeting of about 60+ people WITHOUT any aids in at all and now if I take them out I struggle to hear someone a few feet in front of me. To add to it the infection in my left ear has returned !

“Eeeeeh,  ain`t life grand ??” as the great philosopher Wallace would say to Gromit

I`ve got an appointment with the specialist on Monday 30th January and in the meantime the Ropewalk hearing clinic, in Nottingham (fantastic clinic with great staff) have increased the volume levels in my existing aids to make hearing a bit easier; trouble is I now whistle while I walk ! I think my career as a stealthy secret agent may be over.

How do I feel about it ? Frustrated ? yes. Angry ?  surprisingly, yes. Worried ? Understandably, yes. Downhearted ? I have had my moments and Alison will tell you that life with me is a roller-coaster at the moment but by and large I am not downhearted for I`ve come to a stage of realisation that somehow and in someway God is going to use this and I still have a valid Ministry.

Already I`m beginning to think about how I can take up the cudgels re disability issues within my Circuit, use of microphones, loop systems etc for the deaf; large print publications for the poorly sighted and other facilities for those with mobility issues. We still live in a world where there is unseen and hidden discrimination against disabled people. Maybe this has to be a part of my work.

A very big thank-you to everyone who has prayed with me and for me; thank-you to you all for your patience, understanding and tolerance and above all else thank-you to folk from every circuit I`ve ever worked in who have taken the time to make contact and offer unconditional love. When Jesus said to Peter “upon this rock I will build my church” Peter had no idea of what would ensue but Jesus knew that a tremendous community of people would arise in his name and share that unconditional love, of which I have been privileged to receive a part of it.

All in all I don`t know what the future is going to be like, but this I know “God ain`t finished with me yet !”

Hopes/Fears in 2014

Happy new year to all of my readers. I wonder what you are hoping for from this year?

We all step into 2014 with hopes and dreams, fears and anxieties, belief and despair. Like everyone else I too have my hopes and fears for this coming year.

Amongst my hopes I find myself looking forward with expectation to the coming trip to Israel, only 11 more days, and the opportunity it will bring spiritually. This really is a once in a lifetime trip, thanks to the generosity of the Bishop of Derby and the Borders Mission Methodist Circuit; the chances of us returning are not too high, so we want to make the most of it, and it will be good to go with a large group of Alison’s Anglican colleagues.

I hope for my annual reunion with good friends William Armstrong and Tim Wiley who I meet with each year around about May/June time to relive school memories. This has be come a special trip each year and combined with a visit to see Dad is an opportunity of ‘catch-up’

Hopes are high for my return to Romania in September. I couldn’t go this year, and I’ve missed the village and it’s people so much. Angela, Tante Lena, Sebi and others are in my thoughts and prayers each day, so I really hope to get back to see and help them.

On a world front I hope for a peaceful withdrawal of our troops from Afghanistan, but fear that the country will slide again. I hope that South Africa can rally itself to continue to build the state that Nelson Mandela himself hoped and worked for.

I hope that the Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury will continue their drive to draw our Church back to what it should be, a community that reflects the life, values and work of our Lord Jesus Christ.

In our own country I hope that this year we’ll see the Government take action which will reduce the necessity for people to have to rely on food banks; the evil of our day.

I hope for this Trent and Dove Methodist Circuit that they seize the God-given possibilities of spreading his Gospel message in an appropriate way.

My fears are that my current hearing difficulties may spoil the Israel trip for Alison and that it is a further deterioration towards almost total deafness which I was told 10 years ago was a possibility, hence my learning of sign language.

I continue to worry over my children (28 & 26 years old !) but show me a parent who doesn’t. It’s a part of parenting, wanting to protect, needing to provide but at the same time giving permission to fly the nest and make mistakes.

So as we go into this year there is a healthy mixture of fear and hope, as surely there will be for all of us.

image

 

The picture is that of a statue representing people. It was given to me by a Zimbabwean refugee who had to flee the country with her husband. She gave me this as a thank you for helping to find a house for them to live.

It speaks to me about the need for community togetherness and for family relationships; Jesus said “Father, I pray that they may be one, as you and I are one” John ch. 17. Of course he was praying about the disciples knowing the coming persecution they would face, but I think he would still pray it today about his world.

So my hope for 2014 is quite simply that the prayer of Jesus be answered and all people will see others as God created and equal; that all people would show respect and tolerance; that the live of God will bring people together for it is only his love that can truly drive away fear and anxiety.