Wisdom from the wise

Life right now feels more than a little crazy.  I do not understand the path we are walking, and what God is up to in this time as we look for what next.  I was clearing out our desk drawers today, and came across some old papers and notes from 4 years or so ago when we were at Regent.  Tucked amongst the Hebrew translation and exegesis notes was a hand written scrap of paper which was titled “Living well”.

At first I was a bit puzzled trying to work out where it came from.  Then I remembered.  It was notes I scribbled at a lunchtime Q and A session with one of the retired faculty members who continue to provide their services for Regent.  While I didn’t take any courses from this particular faculty member, I count it one of the great privileges of going to Regent to have heard him give one or two lectures, and take part in a number of panels (of which this was one).  It was wonderful to hear him speak (which he does in sentences as carefully crafted as his books), and sense that the writing comes from a life lived with God.   If you are a fellow Regent Alumni, or have heard the person speak you might be able to guess who it is (sorry, no prizes available…)

Right now I don’t have a sense of having much to say myself, but I sense that this is important so I wanted to present the jottings I took that lunchtime, because I think they are wise, and I wanted to listen to them again.  So here are the jottings I made:

To be a Christian is to be fully human – rather than acting.
Watch the heart
Let God search me often
Look hard at the Lord Jesus, read the gospels.  He is our Saviour, Lord and Friend.
Keep on begging the Trinue God to make me real, spontaneous, outgoing, sharing my heart with others, vulnerable.  (I remember this striking me vividly – and it still does – I think it is a particularly good prayer for those of us who are “marginally” more introverted than average.)
Live into circumstances other than resisting.  Keep quality of covenantal relationships – family.

Spiritual Disciplines – most profound, daily practice of bible reading.  Reading scripture, so that at critical moments is direction.

Tension between academic study and personal – pray about study, pray in what is learnt, don’t let brain work outstrip personal communion with the Lord.  Praying needs to match learning.  All truth is beneficial, yet also dangerous if used wrong.   Time and space to praying around learning.

Artificial environment of theological college, lots of input, less output.  Ideas about life.  Seduction of the spirit in academy – keep the heart with all diligence.  Grace in relationships.

Doctrine not to be taught without reflection on how it should change our lives.  Teacher of doctrine must be a pastor too.  Theology in context of worship and community

Vision often leads to risk.

Right now that risk feels a little close to the bone and I could do with something a little more tangible than vision. But the notes are an encouragement to prayer.


reflections on our home learning journey week 19 &20/2

There is nothing that beats that intentional time that we create for our children and the impact that has on their and our own states of mind and heart rates. Bob was out at Pitville having a ball learning about worms and expounding energy and Zog, Kanga and I curled up and had a lovely afternoon nap. When Bob came home he soaked his hip in a hot bath while Zog and Kanga helped me with getting dinner in the oven. Then instead of reverting to my end of day tired frame of mind  and allowing them screen time we played a memory card game and had so many laughs and lots of fun.

Recently I had started to realise that I had stopped having fun with the children. Lessons and attempts to stay on top of housework, nothing like having to keep the house in order as the landlords have put it on the market and the unknown of what is next for us has meant my mind is far from being present in the home. Screen time was an easy out, something they wanted, and meant I could escape in my mind. But I was brought up sharp this morning at the library. Bob and Zog both have had lots of story times with us and still go to the library for books. Kanga on the other hand went straight for the computers. Books just do not capture her attention in the way they do the boys. And yet she does love them but often intentional reading with her gets dropped off and so they are not a probity for her either. The idea of reading picture books, the same picture books a third time round does not grab me with excitement and we have moved onto lengthy chapter books with the boys. The Borrowers is our latest lunch time read. Some children I know can cope with screen time but we are becoming aware that right now for Zog in particular screen time just does not help him.

So today we played games and tonight Kanga and I hid in her bedroom at bedtime together and read books and she drifted off to sleep happily. I was struck though as she picked out two books and I know there was intentionality in her choices. She like her brothers were at this age dependent on other means of communication that words. And she choose Come On Daisy (given to me many years ago by friends) and Humphrey’s Corner. Both books speak of seeking to stay close to Mummy, that that is were they feel safe and where life is right. And Kanga pointed to the character of Humphrey and changed the name to her’s and pointed to the Mummy and pointed to me and then hugged me. She and I both have the same strong willed stubborn personality which has the potential to take her places but she needs to learn how to use it and I think at time the strength of feeling she has overwhelms her. I remember often my parents and wider family and parents friends spoke of my stubborn independence and how it would take me places but I do feel that no one taught me how to use that strength and in a sense I was not guided or directed in ways that might have been more constructive, in part because I masked my need for help with being so independent. I do not want the same for Kanga. I want her to grow up with a confidence in who she is and what she has to offer and what she could accomplish. She doesn’t need to be in a high flying well paid role. I simply want her to do what she is made to do and is passionate about and loves and that is going to require us stepping into her fierce independent stubborn ‘I do it’ streak and not backing off.

Bob’s writing though not something he is passionate about is coming on and this week has really taken shape as far as uniformity in letter size which has been encouraging to see. He continues to be lost in a  world of history and was putting my church history knowledge to the test. He is also getting his head around numbers with more confidence after a break from it all. Again showing he needs to be given time to percolate and allow things to simmer on the back burner. Another reason I am so thankful for this opportunity to let them learn at home. He can go at his speed and allow his skills to be grow and develop as they are ready and nurture those subjects he is in love with without limit or restrictions due to other skills not being necessarily up to speed.

Zog who has showed little interest in letters seems to have started to get the idea of them though I would have preferred if he could have waited till day time rather than in a state of delirious happiness induced by a high temperature while we lay on the sofa at 3 in the morning last week. He suddenly started excitedly asking me if certain (correct) sounds were the first sounds of lots of words and checking what letters those sounds went with. I have been trying to get him interested in letters since September and we have not got past D and then I would have had no confidence he would have remembered A, B or C.

While they are always learning though play, watching us, helping around the house though not necessarily at the most useful point, and in lessons, I think I have been the one who has learnt the most important lesson these past two weeks. That they are learning from my example more than anything else and I need to be present and intentional in my actions and the way I am living this season of unknowns out. To choose to read with them, to play with them, to enter their worlds and allow them to enter mine and to stop living parallel lives alongside them in the same house.

A God worth arguing with

Traditionally when I preach I post my sermon up here.  It is usually easy to do as I preach from a fairly full script.  This Sunday was a bit different for various reasons, and so I ended up using notes on index cards rather than a full script.

I had struggled massively to get my thoughts in order.  My instructions were that I was to unpack how Moses’ responses to God in Exodus 3:7 and following contrast with the “correct” responses of the first 6 verses of the chapter – all in the context of a broader series looking at listening to God.  I wanted to say something about the God Moses meets in the scene, and how he is worth listening to.  All my efforts at explaining what I wanted to say to my wife as we did the dishes on Saturday night failed rather dismally, until she cut through to the chase and said something like “I think you’re trying to hide from the way the subject is too close to the bone right now.”

As usual she was right.  I knew that what needed to be said was something about Moses arguing with God, but, given our circumstances right now, it felt rather too personal.  So, emboldened by my wife’s comments I went back to the passage and my preparation and reworked things a bit.  I didn’t need to change much – just stop striving for the perfect message and let a little more heart into it.  What I said went something like this:

So, from Exodus 3:1-6, you would expect Moses to do what he is told – but it doesn’t quite happen like that.  Let’s look now at what happens next.

In Exodus 3:7-9 you can imagine Moses being quite happy – God is declaring his plan to rescue Israel and affirming that he will give them a land.  But then comes 3:10 – after declaring that he has come down, God turns to Moses and says “now go – I am sending you to Pharaoh”.  This must have been a shock to Moses, to put it mildly, and it is not surprising that he objects.

His first objection is “who am I?” Perhaps Moses is thinking of his own failed attempts at rescue 40 years before and perhaps he has become happy with his exile in a strange land.  It seems that he does not know who he is, and he certainly isn’t up to this task God has for him.

God’s response is “I will be with you – and I’ll give you a sign” – he doesn’t answer Moses question, and he gives him a sign that is useless until Moses has done half the job.  Not surprising that Moses asks another question: “what is your name – who are you?”

God’s response is again somewhat obscure “I will be who I will be” – which again does not seem particularly helpful (we’ll unpack this a bit more in a few minutes) – before giving the more expected answer in 3:15 followed by further instructions.

Moses still isn’t convinced – “what if they don’t believe me” – so God gives him some signs for now – including turning his staff into a snake without warning.  Moses still isn’t for going – so he says “but I can’t speak” – to which God replies – “I made your mouth – I’ll be with it…” Moses final attempt is “please send someone else” – to which, after getting angry God replies “I’ll send Aaron to help – and I’ll be with his mouth too”.

Finally Moses goes to Egypt, and at 4:31 everything is working as it should.  But then we get chapter 5 – and it all falls apart once more.  It doesn’t seem like Moses does anything wrong in 5:1-3 (footnote: some commentators take Moses to task here and do think he has messed up – I am not convinced, and have a page devoted to why I am not convinced in my thesis), but Pharaoh’s response is to make life worse for Israel – bricks without straw – and so the Israelites turn on Moses, who in 5:22 turns on God and criticises God for his lack of action.

(Again, some of the commentators think Moses is going wrong – I’m not convinced – I think his response is firmly in the tradition of the prophets and the Psalms in particular).  God now responds with a declaration of what he will do next.

The first thing to note from all this is that God doesn’t seem to have a problem with Moses’ questions and arguing.  It is in response to Moses’ questions and arguing that we learn more of God.  So I want to pause and say that it is OK to question God.  It is OK to not understand.  Because sometimes God’s ways are just hard for us to get.

When a loved one becomes seriously ill, even to the point of death
When unemployment hits, or the job is going nowhere.
When you can’t find the right job – we know all about that right now, as we try to work out our next steps after the PhD.

In all these situations, and many more we scream out to God – “Why?”  And that is OK. God can take the questions.  And as we do that lets listen to his answers, and especially to the first two answers he gives Moses.  These answers are rocks we can build our lives around.

First “I will be with you” – Moses’ identity or lack of is irrelevant.  What matters is that God is with him.  God equips to do his work.  There are no ifs, and no buts.  Quite simply God is with us – that is reaffirmed all the way through the bible.  It is what Joshua hears as he enters the land, it is what Gideon hears when he hides from the Midianites.  It is the name of Jesus in Matthew 1 – Immanuel – God with us.  We don’t have Moses’ mission – but we do  follow Moses’ God.  He is with us come what may.  In the silence and the darkness.  Through the tears and through the pain.  He is with us.

Second “I will be who I will be” – God’s answer affirms that he doesn’t need anyone else in order to be the God who is with us.  He isn’t defined by anyone else.  He isn’t defined by the grandeur and glory and order and control of Egypt.  He isn’t defined by Moses’ stammering lips.  He is defined only by himself.

This answer is an explanation of his name – Yahweh – by means of a word play on the verb “to be” – “he will be” looks and sounds similar to “yahweh” in Hebrew – and Hebrew names are often given because of words they sound like.  What God is saying is that his name cannot be controlled by Moses, instead it defines God in relation only to God – God will be with Moses as God chooses to be.  Yet God is also saying that his name means that he will surely be with Moses, and Israel, and us.  The meaning of God’s name says both “God is in control” and “God is with us” – and so we can be sure that God will keep the promises he makes because he is both able and willing to do so.  (footnote: there is a lot of discussion behind every word in that paragraph – but I think it is all there in the text…)

That promise continues in Exodus.  In Exodus 6 God affirms that he is the one who will rescue Israel. Exodus 6:5-8 contains a great crescendo of verbs declaring what God will do for Israel.  This God brings about an unstoppable rescue.

Even when his people keep on messing up he keeps on rescuing.  After the exile he declares to the people, in words we were reminded of a few weeks ago, which come with extra power in the context of the exodus, in Isaiah 43:

43:1 But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
3 For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour.
I give Egypt as your ransom,
Cush and Seba in exchange for you.
4 Because you are precious in my eyes,
and honoured, and I love you,
I give men in return for you,
peoples in exchange for your life.
5 Fear not, for I am with you;

(footnote: I once heard a speaker recommend that, if you doubted God’s love for you, you should go and read that passage to yourself until tears came)

Notice there the Exodus language, and affirmations – especially that God is with us – and think of the fact that God gives, not simply “men” in exchange for our lives, but “the man” – Jesus, his only son, for us.  That is what we can build life now on.  That is the affirmation we root our lives now in.

God is with us. Not in a way that I can control.  And how I hate that at times.  I want to be in control.  But events continually remind me that I am not.  Yet God is with us.  Even in the darkest times he is with us.

At those times we need to remember words like this from Isaiah 50:10

 Who among you fears the Lord
and obeys the voice of his servant?
Let him who walks in darkness
and has no light
trust in the name of the Lord
and rely on his God.

Because there is a day coming when the darkness will become light.  On that day we will be with the Lord, and there will be no more sorrow. No more sickness. No more sin.  No more death. On that day everything will be right, and everything will be light.  (I stopped at this point – but Revelation 22 springs to mind)

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3 No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign for ever and ever

Until that day we live with the questions and the confusions and the darkness.  In those times bring the questions and the doubts and the fears to the God who made you, the God who loves you, who bought you and is reshaping you.  Come to this God, and look forward to the final rescue from all sin, and all sickness, and all death.  Amen, Come Lord Jesus.

Postscript: At least – that’s something like what I said – maybe slightly re-ordered.  We have a God worth arguing with – not because he necessarily answers our questions – but because he always has more questions  of his own that reshape us into who we are meant to be.

As I thought of the concept of God’s ways being hard to get I had a line from a Rich Mullins song which has been a significant encouragement at key times in my life in my head – have a listen here: “hard to get”

There are a number of poignant lines in the song – but two that always hit me are “and I know that it would not hurt any less, even if it could be explained”.  So often I want explanations, but God is more interested in being with us.

The other that hits me, and strikes me now is “lost enough to let myself be led”.  At that point my mind draws in a line from another song from the same album – “so hold me Jesus, cos I’m shaking like a leaf, you have been of King of Glory, won’t you be my Prince of Peace”.

In all that he is with us.  God is with us.  He hears. He sees and he knows.  And one day all will be well. As one pastor puts it, “it will be all right in the end – so if it is not all right, it is not the end.”

Signs of Life

A friend called this evening to see how our home group could be praying for us. I am not sure she was ready for out pouring that followed. She had phoned because she had heard I had been under the weather and wanted to see how I was doing. I reeled off all the places we were feeling stretched in, places that on their own are hard places in and of themselves, mixed in together, overlapping with each other means we feel even further stretched.

Friends have said that God doesn’t allow this level of stretching unless He is preparing us for something significant and better. That line doesn’t wash with me these days. He is the giver of life and I believe that strongly but I also know that we are living in a broken hurting mess, immediately, locally, globally. I believe He is going to put all things right in His time, but I want all things but right in my time, now, yesterday. I guess I am no longer confident that the better means any time this side of Christ’s coming and therefore I battle with Him in it all because suffering is not what He intended, it is wrong, it is right that we sense and feel that wrongness and I don’t understand His waiting. I don’t see what He sees and I don’t understand why He appears to be holding back.

Medically we are being stretched, not with any life threatening situations, but with new and unexpected, unknown situations. How do you ask an active 6 year old that we need to keep walking, running, jumping to a minimum? Cycling and swimming thankfully can be kept up. How do you do that when it may be 2 , it may be 5 it may be 10 years before those limitations are lifted for him. How do you know what is best when it seems that no two consultants have the same take on treatment. We continue seeking the best way forward to support our 4 year old where sounds and swallow still trouble him. Thankful for the new consultant this past week. Throw in one already wearing glasses and eye apts every 2 to 3 months and waiting for our 2 year old to have her first test and the high likelihood she will need glasses. That though will solve one of our other questions we have – where do we move to? Straight into an opticians as she has the ability to break her brother’s glasses on a regular bases and if she has her own then we might as well just take up a permanent place  in the opticians. And broken sleep has worn us down and left me open to this viral ear infection.

Sleep has not been something we have been blessed with in our children and we are coming up 7 years of waiting for that night where we can go to bed confident that we will have an evening to ourselves after bedtime followed by a nights sleep. To be fair to our children they have not been prone to wake up for no clear reason or simply out of habit. There have always been genuine reason for their battles with sleep; sleep apnea, night terrors, reflux, and now hip pain to name but a few that interrupt their night as much as ours.  So with little sleep behind us we face this season with foggy perspective, confusion and at times crossed wires with each other and the world around us.

As far as a home goes He seems to be taking us to the line. There are so many overlapping and unknown circles at play in regard to where we are to call home. The only certainty is that we have to be out of our current home end of May. There are circumstances though that come to the fore next month that means it would really help us if we knew by then were the next season of living was to be. And realistically we want to avoid a temporary move but that is partly because I don’t want to have to make a temporary move away from friends so we can find a place we can live, breath and afford or move to an even smaller space so we can afford to stay in the same location. And I then think I should be grateful that we have a place to call home, a job to pay for it, and I argue once more with God for making be someone who is impacted by her personal space so much. I wish I could make any place a home and be content in that space but I cannot and I have tried time and again to come to peace with either side of that and failed either way. If I try and be content with the space we have it only blows up as a bigger issue as my attempts to be content fail at the first hurdle of standing up out of bed and hitting my wall on the 4 ft high ceiling. But then when I make peace with the reality that space is a place that matters to me I don’t get why no doors of any sort have opened for us to move to a better fit.

But there are signs of life. I was struck by this as I looked at the photos Bob had taken last week on our nature walk looking for signs of life. At first glance around the park it seems like a bleak wintery day when all is dead, when life is absent, when hope and joy are missing. But children do not see the world as we do and when given a camera they are able to capture those glimpses that remind me that new life is coming, that there is a beauty in it all, there are vistas that open up but are hidden by life at other times of the year. There are signs of life and there are further seasons of this year to unfold and be discovered. These images will give me the hope that even in our life when I see confusion and uncertainty and no way forward that underneath the fallen leaves are new bulbs pushing up, shoots stretching outward, glimmers of fresh white, yellow and green. New things are happening. I still don’t hold that God is allowing all of this for something greater, but I do know He has not abandoned us, immediately, locally or globally.

Returning to books

In my current (temporary) job I catch the bus into Cheltenham each day.  This means I have around 30 minutes reading time each day (how else would one pass the time on a bus after all?).  For the past few weeks I’ve been buried in preparing and delivering a short Exodus course at church, but the final session was on Wednesday so on Thursday morning before dashing out of the door I looked at our bookshelves and pondered what sort of book I should read.

In the end I grabbed a book I haven’t read for a while, but which profoundly influenced me first time round when I read it as an undergraduate student at Durham.  The book is “A call to Spiritual Reformation” by Don Carson.  It has a cover almost as off-putting as the title – although slightly less off-putting than the original cover.  The subtitle is “Priorities from Paul and his prayers” which gives more of a clue as to what the book is about.  After a brief introduction to prayer, and some practical tips, Don Carson expounds several of Paul’s prayers to see what we can learn for our prayer lives.

First time round the whole concept of praying for other people based upon passages of scripture struck me as extremely useful and gave me plenty of ideas for praying.  I was intrigued as I opened the book this time round to see what might strike me this time round.  This time round I was struck in the introduction by the importance of prayer, and the need to make time for prayer.  One quote hit me forcibly: “many of us in our praying are like nasty little boys who ring front door bells and run away before anyone answers”.  Too often it feels like that is what I do in prayer.

In January 1995 when I read those words the answer was easy.  Get up 15 minutes earlier and write down my prayers.  If I do that now a 2 year old will be screaming for my attention, and grabbing the pen in order to write her own prayers.  I can just about manage to read a few verses of the bible, but even then I have half an eye to make sure that the 2 year old has not decided to wake up the older ones while Daddy is distracted.  Today I have to make more of an effort.  So this time round the reading convicted me once more – and I think my aim now needs to be to pray at lunchtime – so combining my half hour leg stretch with a prayer walk is my intention.

I moved into the first main chapter – based around 2 Thessalonians 1:1-10.  Here I was reminded of the need to remember Jesus’ return.  This life is not everything.  This life is the start of something much bigger.  Marriage, parenting, work and even job hunting are all just the start.  Jesus’ death and resurrection introduced God’s kingdom, and one day Jesus will return.  All we have done for him, in obedience to his call and for his glory will have been woven into his new creation.  Every sacrifice we have made for him will be seen to have been worth it.  Having been immersed in Exodus for a while I can’t help but remember in this context that the promise of Revelation 21 – he will be our God and we his people is the fulfilment of God’s promise back in Exodus 6 of the very same thing.  The land Israel were promised was a foretaste of the new creation believers will be a part of for ever.  I read about this new creation recently in Isaiah 11:

The wolf will live with the lamb,
the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling[a] together;
and a little child will lead them.
7 The cow will feed with the bear,
their young will lie down together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
8 The infant will play near the cobra’s den,
and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest.
9 They will neither harm nor destroy
on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.

No more harm.  No more destruction.  No more sickness, suffering or death.  Living for that world does not lessen our usefulness here – rather it enhances it.  It was either Wilberforce (ending the slave trade in the British Empire), or Shaftesbury (laws stopping child labour) who said “I have not lived one single day without being influenced by the conscious thought of Christ’s return” (or something similar) – and it was one of Wilberforce’s friends who said “I would be as happy as he is, if I had the hope of heaven that he has”.

So then – my aim is to pray and walk during my lunch half hour – and to remember Jesus’ return and live out my responsibilities in that light – a concept that needs a bit of sharpening up, and hopefully reading and pondering this book will help.  I’m looking forward to reading on in the book, and seeing what will strike me this time.  You can get it from the Good Book Company at reduced price right now – its well worth it – maybe as a book to read for Lent: https://www.thegoodbook.co.uk/a-call-to-spiritual-reformation.


reflections on our home learning journey 17 & 18/2 and into our week off

So Friday evenings and reflection and writing have not happened either intentionally or through a lack of smooth running evenings. Life has felt up in the air, on hold and confusing for the most part and with that comes tiredness and uncertainty of what to write if anything.

We have been looking for a new home locally for various reasons and no door has opened for us. We have reached a new stage in parenting where Sunday lunch times after church feel like a space to spend time with friends and opening our home to others which my heart has delighted in being able to do once more. We are no longer trying to rush to time naps and meals times so as not to have significant knock on effects during the day. The boys are tolerating and discovering they can enjoy Mummy’s desire to invite guests over and Kanga loves to play to the audience who seem only too willing to encourage her.

Learning has been focused around science, thanks to the great BBC documentaries on i-player and history by listening to Story of the World CDs which we have just got. We have also kept our grammar ticking over and maths has come into everyday life events. Sports days have carried on as has nature walks and a day at the museum. New friendships are being made as another family from our village has joined our group. And some of the mums from our group even managed an evening get together which was a real treat.

All 3 but in particular Bob and Kanga have wanted to help with meal preparations over the last while. This is great on days when all is running smoothly and I long for everyday to be like that. There are other days when our tempers alone could cook the meals. Zog is usually lost in his world of colouring and numbers with letters being a completely unnecessary interruption in his otherwise creative day. If I do bring letters into his day he would far rather tell me how many sides or lines make up the letter than tell me what the letter is, so I am just hoping that behind this numerical front something is going in and being filed away and he will use when he is ready to.

Musical beds has been a theme of late also in our house and late nights. This has had a gradually increasing knock on effect to our days hence learning through audio and documentary to keep us all on an even keel and keep some structure of learning on board. Sleep disruption has come about because Bob has been battling a painful left hip. His limp has gone but the pain has remained and nights are often the hardest for him as he cannot get comfortable. It all started just over two weeks ago when he woke up on the Saturday morning in pain and limping without wanting to put any weight on his leg. We thought he must have pulled a muscle even though none of us could pin point a moment of injury that might have led to it happening. As he was still in the same state on the Sunday morning I checked with friends thanks to the wonders of Facebook and the advise from a GP friend and physio friend was to get it checked out as there was no injury. Following X-rays he was referred for an appointment two days later at the fracture clinic where we were told that his left femur at the top which should be nice and spherical to form the ball part of the ball and socket joint was flat. We were told this could just be one of those things or it could be a condition known as Perthes Disease which we had never heard of and to come back in two weeks time. From the reading we have done no two doctors seem to have the same opinion on diagnosis/treatment of Perthes and that became apparent today as he was seen by a 2nd doctor. The first doctor was happy for him to carry on with all physical activity and if it turns out to be Perthes they would deal with issues that arose. Today’s doctor said that it was so hard to give a definite diagnosis as it has so many manifestations of the condition and each individual was different but was less confident in just letting him do sport and wants him seen again by the paediatric orthopaedic clinic. So we are no further on with a definite diagnosis and while he is weight bearing again, he is in pain most of the time. He finds being active helps him forget about it but he did confess after a fairly major melt down this afternoon after sports that it was then more painful following activities. As I have mentioned before he is also our book worm and is having to work hard to find a position that is comfy enough to be in to read. So the history CDs have been great because in moving about and shuffling about he has not had to worry about holding a book and not losing the page he was on and can just let his mind drift. Having had my own battles as a teenager with painful knees I am struggling to watch my 6 year old deal with bone on bone pain.

So I am trying to balance our days with alternating active and quiet and there is a definite reduction in the amount of pain medicine Bob asks for on quieter days but he wrestles with being at home. I am letting go of our timetable of lessons and my tick box in a big way. I am on the look out for those moments which can be turned into learning moments with out spoiling the moment, of seeing board games as a means of learning and reinforcing skills without needing to specify that we are learning a specific new skill, lesson. I am going to have to learn ways of teaching around his difficulty to sit and concentrate for any length of time. There is also a big journey to help him walk through in learning how to handle this situation whatever the diagnosis and length of time it is going to last for. Once more I have been reminded the learning at home is so very different from learning at school and so the way maths and writing etc are brought in looks very different to a school day and that that is ok.