I had a broken and frustrating night last night searching for answers and trying just to hold on to thoughts. My thoughts are just running away from me at the minute. As I tried to pray last night every thread of the prayer would skitter away into the darkness and as I tried to grab at the disappearing thought, if I caught a hold of it, it would leave me only with a wriggling and rapidly withering tail or would become like a cloud of vapour on which I could gain no purchase or would become as sand and flow through my fingers.  I would then fall to sleep and wake after another 2 hours with a thought skittering away only to be lost until another thought came into view and skittered away. Then another. Then another until I fell asleep for another 2 hours and then woke to start the whole process of thought catching again. And failing to either catch a thought or even a decent stretch of sleep. 

I gave up at 6am, had a shave and a shallow bath by just splashing the water over me in case I was to have a seizure, before popping some more anti seizure pills and going for a walk. The sun was shining bright but I walked along half blinded by fuzzy sight much akin to being able to see the shadows of images behind the black and white fuzz of a half tuned TV. Behind the war memorial I stumbled and on into the elephants graveyard of the deforested area behind the memorial with paths made from the white withered branches of the pine wood that once stood here. My tinnitus, which for months had been silent, was roaring adding the fizzing soundtrack to the half tuned TV picture of black and white fuzz. As I tripped and stumbled on into the deforested zone my vision started to improve and as it did so I was stopped in my tracks by the beautiful sight of 3 Roe Deer Does stood poised, ears up and facing me ready to flee but eyeing me suspiciously with their large warm brown eyes. They were only 10 metres away, their musk glands clearly visible on their faces. We all four stood stock still staring at each other, the only noise the roaring of my tinnitus. I was in awe at this beautiful sight but all too soon the deer turned and their powder puff tails popped 2 or 3 bounds before turning to watch me again. It felt oddly as if they were here to keep an eye on me. To make sure I was okay because they stayed so very close as I walked past with my empty shopping bag and litter pickers. This was a rare treat and a very welcome distraction as I tried to comprehend why I had been feeling weaker and weaker both physically and more startingly cognitively over the last couple of weeks. It was only the smallest of things that I was noticing in myself but ignoring and papering over but I was noticing it and last night was the horrid culmination of this seeming degradation. A few times my legs had felt a little tight or weak for no obvious reason. I was feeling as if all was getting a little too difficult. I couldn’t even pray and without prayer, the greatest power on earth, what was left. I started to fear for my scan results on Wednesday. What if this subtly increasing weakening of my cognitive and motor capabilities was an indicator that God had forsaken me and was leaving me to my fate. What if I was losing my battle with the beast to slip quietly into an ever weakening trajectory towards the realisation of my original prognosis in 5 months time. The date that I had previously said that I wasn’t only going to just reach but instead sail past under full sail, banners flying and saluting guns firing. Suddenly I was frightened of the results. What if I wasn’t even going to make it that far? All this was compounded by the fact that I had been mistaken for a guy named Peter last Thursday. I didn’t know anybody called Peter other than the son of a friend so the only Peter I could think of had denied he knew Jesus 3 times, tried to walk on water and sank when he lost his faith. I had started to become frightened of the results of my last scan. I hadn’t been praying as much as I used to. As deeply as I used to. I’d been too busy to stop. Too busy to think and pray. Had I lost a true belief, beyond words, deep into my soul, that God wants me well, that the brilliant oncology team and their treatment when coupled with my journey of faith on the challenge could heel me? Was I sinking like Peter?

Breakfast settled me a little as I listened to the Sunday service from Wales but I was tired and felt as if I might be coming down with the bug Heather had had. I had to go to church and search for some answers. 

During the service, as I knelt in prayer, trying to ask for forgiveness of any sins I had made in thought, word or deed, for the previous week, the same problem arose. I am not perfect and am bound to have sinned. Even if only in thought briefly. But each time I tried to grab at a thought it skittered away again and became as sand flowing through my fingers. The colours and patterns of the flowing sand through my fingers gave me clues but I couldn’t grasp a hold of them. I was distraught. Here I was in God’s house, surrounded by the fellowship of his people. My brothers and sisters. But I couldn’t hold on to a thought long enough to pray. During the next hymn my eyes watered and my nose ran. I blew my nose gently as Alison prepared for her sermon and tried to focus on her every word. Three times in quick succession I found my mind had wandered but then I heard Peter’s name. I grabbed hold of a giving envelope and frantically scribbled some notes. I felt very rude in doing so but it seemed to be the only way to keep focused on what was being said. To learn something. And thank goodness that I did. Alison’s sermon delivered the message for today that I had been searching for. I realised why I was introduced to Peter through a mistaken identity. He lost his faith and sank. He denied he knew Jesus three times. He was like a seed sewn on rocky ground that sprouted roots and grew tall quickly but then withered without bearing fruit. But when he reaffirmed his believe in Jesus. When he invites Jesus back into his life he rose again and bore fruit. Now I understood it. I was tired. These regresses I was experiencing were probably as a result of the tiredness caused by the physical and emotional stresses and cognitive demands on me over the last three months. I had lost my rhythm. I had lost my momentum and therefore positive focus and true belief in the challenge. I had lost my true, unquestioning faith despite all the incredible moments God has given me. I, like Peter needed to find my discipline in my faith, my discipline in my daily routine delivering on the 5 F’s of Faith, Food, Physical Training, supported by Family and Friends and all driven by the Focus of the challenge, making sure that every day that God gives me is lived to Beat the Beast and improve the lives and life chances of so many more people for as long as ever I can.  The Greek word for Peter means Rock. So perhaps the story of my journey could become like a rock onto which people can pin their foundations finding hope, inspiration and encouragement for their own particular journeys.

I need to stop worrying about the results and have faith. A friend has offered to come in with me to get the results. An offer I declined just in case the results were bad. Well I have reaffirmed my faith, my true belief, so if my friend still wants to come in with me? Well thank you and yes please. I need someone to share a celebratory Mocha with. But first I need to recharge the batteries with a spicy bean pie made from cannellini beans, butter beans, onion, curry powder and mashed potato with spinach, rocket and watercress salad followed by an orange and a horlics before an early night to get over this cold. 

So today I Took time to think because it is the source of power. I took time to read, it is the fountain of wisdom. I took time to pray, it is the greatest power on earth. And in the future I will continue to take time to love and be loved, it is a god-given privilege. Take time to be friendly, it is the road to happiness. Take time to laugh, it is the music of the soul. Take time to give, it is too short a day to be selfish. Take time to work on the challenge, it is the price of success. Take time to do charity, it is the key to heaven.

And while I am doing all that I will remember to:
Believe in the Lord to renew my strength;
I shall mount up with wings as Eagles;
I shall run like a deer and not be weary;
I shall walk the long path and not faint.

I am however exhausted and need to be sensible. Tomorrow I am going to try and sleep, eat and walk this cold out of the system so I am not planning to write a post. But you know me!!

Yours aye