0

Anniversaries and that kinda stuff

So, I was sitting in rehearsal today (come to Symphony Orchestra concert on Wednesday, hint hint!) and was thinking very much about today’s date. It is the 30th November and exactly a year ago on this date, me and my best friends went up to London to celebrate our 18th birthdays. We saw Wicked and went down Oxford Street and Regents Street and Covent Garden, taking in all that London has to offer at this christmassy time. It was an AMAZING day and I have so many happy memories from it. [You can read more about this and other November/December events here: https://afterscoliosis.wordpress.com/2014/09/05/novemberdecember-2013-wicked-and-assorted-christmas-events/]

Thinking back, yesterday was the 29th November. It goes to show how much time has passed because it was four years ago, on a Monday, that I went down to the hospital for a check up that I thought was just going to be a routine “You’re fine, go home”. Alas, it was not, hence I am writing this blog on everything to do with scoliosis and my life. [You can read more about this here: https://afterscoliosis.wordpress.com/2012/12/05/being-referred/]

29th November was also the date that I started this blog, two years ago! So that’s me on my two year anniversary already – and up to date as well!!

Sadly, 1st December is tomorrow, and that holds less happy memories. This time last year we were coping with having my grandma, newly blind, in hospital and then suddenly, as I woke up on 2nd December, I learned that we didn’t have to anymore. So, that was very sad for us all, and stressful as I had the school awards ceremony in which I was playing in the orchestra for the majority. [I touch on this briefly in the post about Wicked] Said awards ceremony is taking place again tomorrow, making 1st December another landmark anniversary as this will be my last year attending said event.

I think that’s all I can muster today, so I guess I will post again soon.

Advertisements
1

Why I went to Church today

So, if you have seen me today you will know that I overslept. I woke up at 8:15, thought “Oh, it’ll be fine, my alarm will go off in 45 minutes”…the next thing I knew, it was 11:15. Now, it’s a Sunday today and that means church…the church service that starts at 11 o’clock. I was fairly panicked as I’d never overslept that much, but Elodie as usual told me to stop stressing and that it was fine to miss church, a sentiment reiterated by George when he saw me. However I was determined to go for the end, especially as it was a student lunch day.

Now, part of me thought “well, I’ll just go to Christ Church in the evening” but I didn’t really want to do that. Nothing against Christ Church, but I just didn’t ‘feel’ like going, especially not being used to having a day in on a Sunday, and going to an evening service is still very alien, and will probably remain that way. I still figured I could make some of the service at St John’s! And I did make it, albeit missing the sermon (which I will be listening to if it goes online!), and I was there in time for communion.

But why did I bother at all? Why did I not take Elodie’s advice and have a day to chill and sleep? Well it’s hard to explain in a way, which is why I’m blogging and didn’t say all these things to people I saw half asleep this morning. But I’ll do a list, because that’s easier than forming coherent sentences!

  1. Seeing church family – Church is not a building but people! There are verses in the bible to say this, but I cannot find them at this present moment (definitely something in Acts about “when two or more meet together Jesus is there”). Therefore, I want to be able to connect with the other members of the church family and encourage them, even if it’s just by being there. I have friends at church, particularly fellow students, and I would hate to miss out on spending time with them.
  2. Hearing God’s word – Granted, I didn’t actually get to do this today because I was so late! But I got to hear encouraging things about the sermon and usually I also get to hear what a particular passage means and how we can apply it, which will help me live as a Christian.
  3. Worshipping God – I’ve discovered anew how amazing it is to worship God with others and sing to him. It’s a great way to remember who he is and what he’s done – the one song I actually made it there in time to sing was Better is One Day by Matt Redman, and the chorus really reminds me of how amazing heaven will be!
  4. Eating food – OK, it was a student lunch day, which meant that there would be free food. But even when it’s not student lunch we usually get food as a group of students, so that’s not really the point. It’s great to spend more time with others and building relationships too!

OK, yes I did get a bit of stick from the other students for being so late, but it was light hearted and encouraging. It was great too to wake up to a text from the leader of the walking bus to make sure I was OK – it’s like we’re all puzzle pieces and great to realise that it makes an impact when someone is missing.

So yeah, here are my spontaneous musings on why I did make the effort to go to church this morning. Please do comment and ask me questions off the back of this – I still probably didn’t explain things eloquently enough!

Also, still looking for Christian student experiences (hint, hint! I have none…)

1

RHUL Drama Soc Unscene Festival Review (particularly On the Spectrum)

On Monday evening I rather spontaneously went down to the Drama Society Unscene Festival. I say rather, it was actually VERY spontaneous because I literally agreed to go about 5 minutes before I left – my flatmate was going to support his girlfriend (who I actually vaguely know) and didn’t particularly want to go alone, ergo I agreed to accompany him, on the condition that I finished my dinner (which I did).

On walking into Jane Holloway Hall it was certainly remarkably different to how it looks every other time I’m in there for a lecture – fewer chairs and no tables for a start! We saw Katie (the girlfriend) as we came in and she automatically assumed bribery had been involved; however she was in fact incorrect and I was genuinely interested in seeing what the drama society had to offer, albeit not enough to have considered going alone or roping anyone else in.

Anyway, after an awkward seat situation where we were accidentally allowed to sit in someone else’s seat, we settled down to enjoy the show. I want to focus on the first piece, On the Spectrum, because of the poignant subject matter (and also I was most interested in it because it was the only section to include someone I actually know)

Before it began we listened to an audio clip of what an autistic child hears:

Enlightening as it was, I did find it to be generalising autism somewhat, and in a way restricting such an experience to children, but I digress. The video served its purpose as a simple introduction to a particular aspect of an autistic person’s life.

The staging of the piece was very simple – two actors (I believe it is improper to refer to people as actresses these days, although they were both female), two chairs and meagre props. They spoke together and then separately, representing how we all have the same situations but ‘normal’ people respond differently to those on the autistic spectrum (although as it is a spectrum technically we are all on it).

We saw various situations which emphasised different aspects of student life that could cause a problem for the autistic:

  • Moving in – social skills
  • Students Union – hypersensitivity, reaction to loud noises, crowds
  • Lecture – slower comprehension, picking out what’s important
  • Seminar – communication

There may have been other situations but my memory fails me!

Anyway, after all this, Katie delivered a fantastic monologue (she was playing the autistic character) on the challenge of university when you’re on the spectrum, and I feel like she portrayed the character very well (not being biased because I know her or anything! Hi Katie if you’re reading, which you probably are because I will tag you in this on Facebook…) I don’t actually know anyone at university with autism, but I could see traits of those I know who are younger reflected in the acting and writing.

I especially enjoyed the end of the piece, where the two characters interact and there is understanding between them, rather than struggles and misinterpretations as were shown earlier!

Anyway, I feel I should leave it there as I have written far too much! The rest of the show was good, particularly the second half where there was a longer drama (although I did feel it could have been slightly shorter by about ten minutes) which had a great ambiguous ending. I have certainly written too much, so well done to all involved and I look forward to seeing more of your work!

0

Plugging…

So, I found out yesterday that someone from church has started a blog, and I found it really encouraging and thought provoking to read. Therefore I’m sharing it here! There is no scoliosis or back relation but if you’re a Christian reading this then it is definitely worth taking a look…

http://cathiewatsonfrombibletobaking.wordpress.com/

Also, I’m still looking for Christian student experiences, so comment or contact me directly to contribute…please?

0

11/11

“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.” For the Fallen, Laurence Binyon 1914

Today is Remembrance Day, or Armistice Day, the day on which we remember the casualties of war. It originated from the day on which the armistice of the First World War took place, and instigated the following year to look back at the tragedies of that war and remember the fallen. Since then there has been multiple other wars: the Second World War, the Falklands War, the Iraq War, but also the war on terror, the Cold War and the Afghanistan conflict among many others.

Apart from today, there is also Remembrance Sunday, which was two days ago, and I found this especially exciting this year. In Egham there is much more local commemoration than I have seen at home and I was really delighted to see the end of the Remembrance parade down the High Street. The Egham town band and the uniformed groups and everyone else proceeded into the church and we had a lovely service full of old hymns (lots of brass) followed by two minutes silence at the mini memorial in the churchyard, including the National Anthem.

Today, after my 9am lecture, I went over to the Air Forces Memorial next to Kingswood with two friends, where we again observed a two minutes silence along with flag raising, mainly retired people and some policemen (albeit without brass this time). It was greatly poignant, although we were told to cheer up as we left!

“When you go Home, tell them of us and say, For your Tomorrow, we gave our Today” John Maxwell Edmunds 1916

0

Fantastic Acts

On Saturday evening, I had the privilege of seeing Fantastic Acts, a production by the Riding Lights Theatre Company, as part of a group of students from St John’s Church. We are looking at Acts in Student Life Group, so when Clem found out that there was a show based on the book touring round the country, a trip was quickly organised.

I’m not going to say very much about the show itself because I don’t want to spoil it. However, I will say that it was a lovely evening out and a really enjoyable, bible centred play. It was not what I expected, but that’s not a bad thing! The cast are really talented and there is very clever use of props and a great storyline.

Anyway, I am particularly writing this for my readers in my home town (although the tour continues throughout the country until 29th November) because there are 2 shows in Worthing on the 21st and 22nd and I thoroughly recommend that you go and check it out – it’s a steal at only £10!

You can find out loads more at the website: http://ridinglights.org/acts/

Before I finish, I do need to relate the trip to the general subject of my blog – my back. Lower back pain had greatly flared up over the past week (also known as reading week for most people except myself) particularly because of stress. So I ended up spending most of Saturday in bed, watching TV – nice and relaxing but not encouraging me to go out anywhere! I did venture out actually, to Egham to take someone back to the station, but apart from that I was in all day. I was also pretty stressed about travelling over to Reading to see Fantastic Acts, especially as it was in a minibus. I didn’t have any of my usual travel sickness preventative measures (neck cushion, newspaper, front seat, avoidance of minibuses…), apart from my iPod and noise cancelling headphones. DESPITE ALL THIS I WAS ABSOLUTELY FINE! I think stress is something I really need to work on!

Also, I am still looking for Christian student experiences to share on my blog…it will make my next post on Christianity and University a LOT easier – comment or message me to contribute!

0

Club Mission: God works through the few

Originally I was not supposed to be doing Club Mission last night. However, every single person I spoke to who had signed up to it was both in Group 1 (last night’s) and was going home yesterday. So that presented us with a problem – how would it run when there was only one person able to do it. Answer: draft in as many volunteers as possible at short notice. I wasn’t particularly keen on doing it this week at first, not so much because of doing it but because of the physical repercussions (e.g. tiredness) for today and the fact that I have two essay deadlines next week and today is my day to write a bulk of that! However, I couldn’t face the idea that Club Mission would be cancelled on one of the busiest SU nights of the year, or perhaps worse, that there would be very few people trying to help out the masses.

Therefore, this time 12 hours ago I was outside the Student Union. There were four of us at first, and we started an hour later than normal because we had been told that the queue was massively long and this could have put us at risk and depleted our supplies before the night had properly begun. When we arrived there were a LOT of people making their way down the hill having been turned away and a LOT of people in the smoking area outside the SU (I have no idea what the situation was like inside but I imagine it was packed). Luckily two more people joined us soon after we started!

When you look at what we have at the beginning of the night it’s hard to think of how we can give out so much water, doughnuts and crisps. I don’t know the exact numbers of what we have but we cover two picnic benches and more with provisions and then have bags underneath to ‘restock’ too. I guess with it being a 1250 capacity venue (and trust me we don’t have enough to hand out water and food to THAT many people) I shouldn’t be surprised that we don’t have enough for everyone though! And it’s sad in a way at the end of the night that we have to tell people that we’ve run out of water – last night I think we had about 50 doughnuts left when we’d handed out all the water and I definitely thought ‘how are we going to shift all of these without water’. But less than an hour later we’d finished.

Of course, it’s not just about giving out water and food, but being there for people. I felt so privileged last night to get to chat a little with some of the people who came over. Sometimes it was just reiterating that it was free – we got many thank yous for that. A few people asked why and were pretty surprised that it was to love people at the university because of how Jesus loves us. Everyone who came over was quite drunk but no-one said a bad word to us, which is really surprising but a great blessing. One of the nicest things about doing Club Mission is the people who stop and talk to us for longer. We had one girl come over and chat to us about the loss of a family member and then she kept going on about how she was sorry about being an emotional drunk – she didn’t need to be sorry at all, it was great to chat to her and make sure she was OK! I don’t think we really see drunk people, we see vulnerable people who could do with some water and food and a helping hand. Other people came over and chatted about churches and how they wanted to go to church and CU, and some wanted to discuss the Christian response to issues like homosexuality – a challenge at 2am but good to talk through!

Before we headed down to the Student Union we had a time to chat and pray about the night. Gideon came up, and after seeing what happened and how many people we were able to help even though there were only six of us it really did remind me of Gideon. He was outnumbered in his fight and God decided that his army actually was too big, yet he still won despite having far fewer troops than his opponents and indeed that he could have had. We weren’t fighting a battle, but we were certainly lower on manpower than we would like, yet God still worked in us. And he is always at work, even in the smallest of ways – like making me surprisingly awake this morning!