Developing on my process of where I am 5 ½ years after Mike’s death, let me chat about “what do I focus on?”
Whilst I was spinning out of emotional control, trying to make sense of life, trying to get a bearing, I found great comfort from grief & pain. I know, that may surprise some of you but it kept me close to Mike. Whilst I was doing that, it could have prevented me from seeing the evolving Redemptive Story. At that point, I would say that is natural and not denying my humanity. To be focused on the Redemptive Story would have shown emotional instability. Of course the very first words I said to Kathy was “I don’t believe they will find anything wrong with Mike, God took him!”. If you have not read Kathy’s book “Breadcrumbs in the Storm” then please get a copy. There you will see in the proceeding months how God revealed Himself to us through “amazing God-incidences”. Here for my integrity I have to add, some people were concerned in the first few months that we were too “spiritual”, i.e. in denial. Our good friend and founder of our organisation, George Verwer, heard about the concern and asked to have a day with us. We so enjoyed walking along canals and eating good food with him. At the end of our day he simply said “I believe you have the gift of faith”. I had no idea what that meant so over the next year I did a study on faith. I brought my many pages of notes down to one statement: “faith is believe with legs on it!” Faith is very much linked to focus.
Scientist have come to the following conclusion after some tests. “When your environment is cluttered, the chaos restricts your ability to focus. The clutter also limits your brain’s ability to process information. Clutter makes you distracted and unable to process information as well as you do in an uncluttered, organized, and serene environment.” I would suggest, that a dramatic event is “clutter”, it occupies our minds 24/7.
Watch this short video and hopefully you will see my main point.
Now it does not have to be a significant event in our lives that stops us seeing change around us. The point here is that what I focus on is what I see. If I focus on the bad, I see bad. If I focus on the good, I see good. If I have filled my life with “clutter” or an event outside of my control brings “clutter” then I will most likely miss change around me. This is why its important to “Jump out and look in”. We may not like taking time to be analytical or reflective, but it can allow understanding and if we choose, course correction. So we mentally jump out of our current situation and ask simple enquiry type questions. As I did that and continue, I see a larger picture being revealed, I see His Story coming into view, I see the positive, in fact jaw-dropping good events in people’s lives happening. Of course I also saw and see new pain and heart ache in other’s , but that too was/is positive as I stopped focusing on self.
The reality is we do tend to focus in and we miss the change around us, only to wake up one day and wonder why the world around us in unrecognisable. So whilst I focus on one aspect, it does not correlate that other aspects are not changing in front of my eyes, its that my brain is not processing the change. Hence the feed back is not there and I lack cognitive enlightenment and then I may well of missed some amazing God Story. Its also true that over the years we allow “clutter” to build up. Unfortunately it often takes radical change to clear it out, incremental change does not motivate us!
So 5 ½ years on, I see some wonderful changes, growth, new beginnings, levels of new maturity, opportunities and on and on, in people’s lives that have had contact with Mike’s story through our story but all in the context of The Redemptive Story. How can I focus but not miss seeing that change that is simultaneously happening? There are the two realities, the human story and the Redemptive Story. I cannot tell you one in isolation of the other, that would lack honesty. There has been swearing and praise, sadness and joy, tears and laughter, confusion and clarity, fog and blue skies.