I just want to be normal

I buy myself a medical/lab coat from Amazon because I am told I need one. I put it on and look at myself in the mirror.  I like the way it looks, but it feels like dressing up.  Secret dressing up.  I’m not sure I’d answer the door wearing it.  So how am I going to do this healing thing that I feel I’m called to do, and keep it secret at the same time?

I wear my white coat when I practise on my Mum. I take it with me in a Next carrier bag.  But just as we finish some visitors arrive.  I whip it off quickly and shove it back in the bag before they see.

Goodness – I can’t be doing with this carry on every time.

Maybe I could become a volunteer with at the Aetherius Temple, where all the other healers will be wearing white coats too and I won’t feel so conspicuous. But the Aetherius Temple is a long drive from where I live.  It isn’t a practical option.

Maybe I should join?

The thing is, I’ve already joined one organisation in my life – the evangelical Christian mission of which my family were members. I even became a minister within this church myself.  But when I decided I really wanted a life for myself,  and to be free to make my own choices, I left.

It was like the unforgiveable sin, because I’d signed up for life.

It wasn’t easy.  I wrestled with the dilemma for a long time.  Should I sacrifice my own desires (for a husband, a family) and put God and ‘the work’ first?

Then I heard the voice within.

Why do you find it so hard to believe I would want to give you something good?

The ‘something good’ was my freedom, my personal happiness.

This ‘word’ was enough for me. I accepted the fact that they would try (by their silent disapproval) to heap guilt upon me.  I had failed, given up, abandoned the ‘good fight’ and put myself first.

I knew that God didn’t think this, but they did. And I didn’t want a repeat of this sense of  failure.

 

Nevertheless I go along to Sunday worship at the Aetherius Temple, out of curiosity and because I genuinely liked the people I’d met.

The two lovely ladies are there. But this time they are wearing robes, as are all the others.  Helen leads the worship. Behind her is a wooden cross embedded with crystals.  To the left is a picture of Jesus.  I recognise it as the same painting we had in our family home when I was growing up.  How I loved that picture.  I had spoken to that face many times.  Poured my heart out and felt its loving response. To the right is a portrait of Dr George King.  For this face I feel nothing.  Both these figures are esteemed Ascended Masters by members of the Aetherius society.  But to give them equal status?

I’m not sure how I feel about this.

During worship I am allowed to join in with one of the mantras:

Om mani padme hum.  Om mani padme hum.

We had already been introduced to the use of this mantra for the purpose of distance healing at the training day.

But other mantras I can only listen to, and must not try to join in with.

There seems to be a lot of protocol. And it all seems very alien to normal everyday life.

The rules, the chanting, the robes…

 

The organisation to which I belonged before had a uniform. There was always internal disagreement about whether it was a bad thing because it separated us out from others, or a good thing because it identified us with a set of values and beliefs.

I don’t want to set myself apart as different anymore.

I just want to be normal.

Or as normal as is possible when you’ve decided you want to be a healer!

 

The Aetherius Society’s beliefs cover a wide spectrum of philosophy, religion, metaphysics and spiritual sciences, in a similar way to the Theosophy movement. Their particular focus is helping the world through dynamic prayer and spiritual healing, both incredibly worthy priorities and values I share.

I know, however, I cannot make a commitment to another organisation. I cannot take that spiritual ‘vow’.

I am grateful to the Aetherius Society for introducing me to healing, for giving me faith in myself and showing me I could do it. Through my encounter with them I met some wonderful spiritual people of real integrity who will remain life-long friends.

But I know this is not the way forward for me.

So what is?

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A Close Encounter with the Aetherius Society

It’s not long before I stumble across a book during an internet search that catches my eye. The book is called ‘You Too Can Heal’.  Its title answers my burning question, and what’s more, I can download it on my Kindle for £4.50.  Within minutes I’m reading about Dr George King, a bus driver who also practised Yoga for up to twelve hours a day (back in the day when it was hard to lay your hands on a book about Yoga in England) and became a Master.  He was also a trance medium, and was contacted by an ET intelligence known as “Aetherius”.

George King is telling me that I too can heal if I have a desire to do so, and I can develop the skill through practise and following certain technique given to him by Aetherius. I test out my propensity by standing in front of a mirror and holding my palm about 6 inches from the surface as instructed.  Do I feel any sensations?  Yes I do –  a slight pulsating energy in my palm.  If I move further back, can I still feel it?  I take a few steps.  Yes.  And a few more until my back is against the bathroom wall.  Although its weaker, I can still feel some kind of sensation in my hand.

I am encouraged by this initial positive sign and race through the book, testing out the technique step by step on my husband. He tells me he can feel heat coming from my hands.  I watch a video on You Tube of Aetherius Society members demonstrating the King Method at a Festival for Mind, Body, Spirit.

All the healers are wearing white lab coats which is explained in the book as being mandatory (because white is contains all the colour energies) and preferably cotton not polyester. Volunteers sit on chairs on the stage.  The healers begin at the same time following the routine outlined in the book.  To begin they stand behind placing their hands on the person’s forehead and make seven passes across the forehead and right down the back with both hands still close together.   This is followed by seven swift strokes down the full length of the back.  This is done to stimulate the nervous system and charge it with your healing power.  Also adverse conditions are pulled away from the aura of the patient this way.  Following this the hands must be moved away from the person and shaken to shake off the negative condition.  Then they begin to work down the body starting with the head. Using both hands (one at the front, one at the back) they hold the position for about 20 seconds, then move to the other side and repeat. While this is happening they visualise white light entering the body. This pattern is repeated as the healer systematically moves down the chakras of the body to the base chakra.  The better your ability to visualise is, the more effective the healing will be, according to the instruction manual.

 

I am excited to discover a method that anyone can learn that I decide to sign up for a training day to be held at the Aetherius Society Northern branch.

When I arrive slightly late on the Saturday morning, I am warmly greeted by Helen and Emily (not their real names), whom I can only describe as beautiful ladies, not just because of their outward appearance, but the joy and love that radiates from them. Immediately I knew I was among friends.

There are only a few of us and we each introduce ourselves. The first hour is spent learning about the philosophy and teachings of the Aetherius Society. We are then asked to choose a white coat as the practical sessions begin.

Helen and Emily demonstrate, before we practise on each other. They observe our technique to ensure we are doing it correctly.  I begin, doing the passes as I had been doing them on husband at home.  Helen jumps to her feet and tells me I have my thumbs up!  I didn’t know I wasn’t meant to.  Thumbs must be down, flat against the index finger, she explains.  If thumbs are up, I am making a Mudra, which is a powerful spiritual symbol.  I could be inviting energies in without knowing.  Woops.  This is trickier than I thought.  I must be more careful.  Is the problem with my inadvertently forming a Mudra that I could bring in negative energies, or is it because I haven’t yet been initiated into the use of Mudras.  I don’t know.  But I do as I am told and quickly tuck my thumbs in.

It becomes clear as we progress that it is very important to follow the technique precisely.  This makes me feel under pressure, especially as they keep a close eye on us to ensure we are getting it right.

At the end of the afternoon we are assessed. I feel nervous; there’s a lot to remember.  I don’t want to forget any part of the technique, or make a mistake.  The timing has to be right, the position of the hands on the chakras, the closing shaking off ritual.  Nothing must be left out.  And at the end I must remember to wash my hands to cleanse away any residual energy from the last patient before starting with the next.

I pass. And I feel really pleased with myself.

I can’t wait to test it out.

 

The opportunity comes when I visited my Mother the next day. She had been complaining of a sore shoulder from a fall she had about six months earlier.  The Xray showed no fracture, but she continued to be troubled with a nagging pain in her upper arm.

She agrees to be my ‘patient’. I work my way through the King Technique, then I place my hands around the specific area of concern as we had been directed.  I kneel beside her and place one hand on her shoulder, the other beneath her arm.  Immediately I began to feel heat in my hands.  Then, after a few moments, to my amazement, I hear the unmistakeable sound of clicking coming from inside her arm.

CLICK, CLICK, CLICK.

Afterwards I ask her if she also heard this. No, she says, but she felt the bones inside her arm move!

What’s more, she felt some relief from the pain.

 

How did THAT happen?

This is momentous. I know that a new phase has begun.

I am on my way to becoming a healer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘In the name of JEEEESUS!’

So I resist the obvious Reiki route and decide that since I am a Christian I really should stick with the Christians and join in with their healing thing.   The only problem being, in your ‘bog-standard’ (is that irreverent?) church you don’t see much healing going on.  You have to go to one of these MEGA-churches like you see on the tele (or You Tube).

 

Now it just so happened that we lived within walking distance of one of these free independent churches that was well-attended and ‘alive’.  I also found out that this church had followed the US model of having associated Healing Rooms that people could attend mid-week.  So clearly this church prioritised healing as a central part of its ministry.

Excellent.

I went along to Sunday worship.  I rather liked the band – the electric guitars and drums, played by very talented musicians skilled at enhancing the mood; rousing and euphoric one minute and with a soothing and gentle sensitivity the next.  I seem to remember being rather mesmerised by the bass player who must have only been about 15.  These guys are clearly dedicated and put the hours of practise in.

The people were very loving, very joyful, glowing in fact.  Their love of God, their sincere worship created a sacred space. Tangibly so. The air became thick with the presence of the Holy Spirit, the Shekinah.  I recognised it.  Years earlier I had followed a calling into the ministry.  I was familiar with the Holy Spirit, and the intensity of experience that could be witnessed at such collective gatherings.

We sang.  And sang. And sang some more.

People were standing, arms in the air, eyes closed, swaying gently, and their was a sense of collective hypnosis that seemed to take effect and swell in magnitude.  Only I was on the outside.  I didn’t feel comfortable putting my hands up in the air.  Bit self-conscious maybe, but that’s just me.  So after the sixteenth repeat of “I will sing of your love forever,” (not being facetious btw – the chorus is that same line four times,  so after four repeats of the chorus it adds up),  I sat down and just bathed in the presence.  By now I was starting to get hungry.  I know it’s wrong, but I’m not used to these two hour services. I glance at the lady across the aisle who’s gone a bit When Harry Met Sally – her face is creased up, I think in ecstasy rather than agony, but it could be either.  Yet I’m not feeling it. My stomach’s rumbling and I can’t help thinking about roast potatoes and gravy…

I slip out before the end because it’s OK to move about here – all very relaxed and informal.  As I walk home I feel different.  I can tell my consciousness has been altered.  It’s how I imagine being on drugs to be like. A gentle sedation that softens everything along with a wonderful feeling of pleasure and deep peace. This altered state temporarily cushions me from the harsh reality of living in the world, this town that could be grubby and hostile.  The pavement seems more vivid, I notice.  And the litter….  And the blaring sirens of a police car racing past…  I don’t want my bubble to burst.  I’m enjoying this cocoon.  The contrast is striking and the wonderful inner feeling stays with me all day.

I decide to visit the Healing Rooms the following Wednesday.  Having had corneal surgery on both eyes, I am left with compromised visual acuity.  I give some details, fill out a form and three volunteers are assigned to me.  We go into a quiet back room.  I sit on a chair and after listening to me,  the three of them surround the chair, placing a hand on my shoulder, arm, back.  They are so gentle, warm, loving.  I feel the air in the room thicken with grace one again.  As they lay hands on me and take turns to pray I feel deeply blessed.  Beryl tells me she feels my healing will be gradual and I must just trust and know it will happen.

I make a return visit a few weeks later.  This time a different lady leads.  Before we go into the room she tells me she had a ‘word’ about eyes this morning, and that she feels sure a miracle is going to happen.  Irene (not her real name)  asks me to stand.  She places her hands over my eyes, but that doesn’t seem to be enough.  She places her index and middle finger together and presses them against my eyelids while she’talks’ to the cornea, commanding it in the name of Jesus.  I am then asked to sit down.  She begins questioning me about my past, my relationship with my first husband.  I answer truthfully, but am beginning to find it all a bit personal and, well invasive to be honest. My husband didn’t treat me right.  Did I ever wish he was dead?  I am astonished.  The others seem a bit awkward too.  It’s important, she tells me.  I need to repent of sin that may be blocking and preventing a healing.  I am asked to repeat certain phrases after her.  Not in my head, out loud.  It has to be out loud, witnessed by others.  I do as I’m told, but inside I’m squirming.  It’s embarrassing as much as anything.  I know all about using spiritual authority, but this is a type of aggression.  “I cast out this spirit of infirmity and disease in the name  of JEEEESUS!” she almost shouts,  pushing back my forehead.  I think this lady has been watching too many You Tube videos.  She is styling herself on the evangelical celebrity pastors with their theatrical stage tactics that I find such uncomfortable viewing.   The others are muttering “Thank you, Jesus” and “Yes, Lord” while she’s doing this, but all I can think is let me out of here, and I know I won’t be coming back for more of this – there won’t be a next time.  I found the experience unpleasant and humiliating.  It was so very different from my first visit to the Healing Rooms.

 

So what do I learn from this?   That Christian healing doesn’t work?  That it’s all hype and hot air?  No.  I believe that Jesus can and does heal through this followers today.  But more significantly I learn that there is a lot about the style, presentation and delivery of healing within the evangelical church that I do not feel comfortable with.  The emphasis on proclamations and declarations I believe to be unnecessary and fear-based, reducing a living faith to ritualistic superstition.  Why was it so important I had to say certain words out loud?  Who makes these rules?

I also know I cannot be certain what kind of experience I’m going to have when I ask for Christian healing.  Some will say, that’s because the Holy Spirit will do what he will, and we can’t predict or control what that will look like.  But I’m not talking about this.  I’m talking about the things we can control.  Making sure the encounter is user-friendly.  That a person would know pretty much what to expect when they made a visit, and there wouldn’t be any curveballs.  This doesn’t seem to be the case because the priesthood of all believers encompasses a diversity of personality types each with their own way of doing things.  And if someone says the Spirit led them to do it like this, who can argue with that?

 

So I choose Anglicanism.  The uniformity of the liturgy and communion service gives me the  ‘quality control’ and assurance against vigilante charismatics I need.  Every second Sunday of the month, the Communion service incorporates an invitation to healing prayer.  As the organ plays you can go forward, kneel at the rail, and the vicar will place his hand on your head and voice a personal prayer customised to your concern.  No casting out spirits, no raised voices, no undignified falling backwards on the floor.

But does it work?  I commented to a friend who happened to be on the church council, that we never seemed to hear much about healing in the Anglican church (surprising considering healing was such a central part of Jesus’ earthly ministry).  She told me something that made my mind up once and for all.

She told me of a lady (without disclosing the name), who had gone forward to the rail to receive healing prayer.  And had indeed received a miraculous cure.  I was fascinated.   Was this something that might have got better by itself, or could it really be classed as a ‘miracle’?  She confirmed the latter.  BUT the details of this unexplained improvement in symptoms was told in strictest confidence, and my friend had to promise never to disclose this information to anyone.

This lady’s healing was clearly a source of embarrassment to her.

No testimony.  No glorifying God for the sake of expanding the Kingdom and bringing others to faith.  Secrecy for the sake of respectability at all costs.

 

I feel disappointed.  Disillusioned. Saddened more than anything.   I realise that the stigma attached to healing has become a cause of real division within the church, an inconvenient political fly in the ointment.

And yet I know more than anything That I want yo be involved in healing.  I want to help people overcome illness and suffering because I don’t believe this s part of the Father’s design for us.  And I believe it s possible to heal through the same transformative power that was demonstrated in Jesus, and that he promised would be available to us.

 

I love Jesus.  Passionately.  Deeply.  And I know that my soul is eternally ‘in Christ’.

But what I don’t know, what I’m unsure of is whether I will find an avenue of service within the church.

 

Where do I go from here?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Andrea’s Kitchen

I’m sitting in Andrea’s kitchen.  The chairs are white, the table is white (although it’s covered in a red velvet tasselled throw for now) white voile drapes the windows, and the white shelves are prettily littered with clear polythene bags filled with pink and white marshmallows and tied with white ribbons.  “Sweets for the fairies,” she tells me.

I suspect Andrea is away with the fairies, but I decide to reserve judgement for now.

Andrea is a psychic and a medium. I’m here for a reading.  It’s not the sort of thing I normally do, but she was highly recommended by the girl who does my toenails. Let’s face it,  I was after all considering leaving my job without another to go to and moving to the other end of the country simply on a hunch. It would be interesting to know what clairvoyant Andrea had to say about it all.

 

She has her back to me as I sit waiting at the small table. She is taking her time filling the kettle at the sink.

“You’ve cried a lot of tears,” she says as she spoons coffee granules into the cup.

It hits me in the gut. I don’t know what to say.  My eyes fill, but I swallow hard.

What did she just say?  How could she know that?  I arrived all cheery and bubbly making small-talk about the good weather.  How could she possibly know about my silent years trapped in an abusive marriage; about the unexpected and untimely death of my first husband and the strange mixture of guilt and relief it left me with?  How could she know about the depression that swallowed the memories of that precious first year with my newborn –  the slow stream of tears in the darkness that no one saw?

 

Then another casual comment as she approaches the table – she’s hitting me with them hard and fast.

“Did you know you were a doctor in a past life?”

She pulls up her chair – lights a cigarette.

“No,” I answer truthfully, “But I am interested in healing.”

This seems to interest her. Something with a bit more juice than “will my new boyfriend be faithful?” or “should I buy the Corsa or the Kia?”

“Let’s try and find your guides then,” she says, rubbing her hands.

I’m scribbling in my journal. It’s a tapestry-bound special book I always have beside me during ‘quiet times’ in case I get inspired or hear a new idea.

But it’s quickstream and I’m struggling to keep up.

 

She tells me I’m going to live near the sea. She can see a house, a white house, ‘only small mind’, and she can see dark tall rocks, ‘what do you call them… cliffs’, behind me.  She can see green fields, countryside, open landscape,  and it’s  warm.  There’s a horse.  My son wants a dog, he will write songs and live next door.  Whereas my daughter’s a different kettle of fish altogether.  She will fly the nest and wants to travel.

She’s good, Andrea. Spot on.

 

She tells me the name of my main guide who has been with me since birth. (They can come and go at different times for different purposes apparently).   I write his name in my notebook…

Ortheus.

She is sitting across from me at the other side of the table. She sees him wearing a long, black hooded cloak.  He is a mythical creature who has never incarnated on Earth.  He is magical, and brings magic and fun into my life.  I need to talk to him more.   Now she’s pointing out the spelling of his name.   It’s P-H, she says. She’s nowhere near my notebook.  “He’s looking over your shoulder.  He’s telling me you’ve spelt it wrong.”

I look down at what I’ve written. I cross out the ‘th’ and replace it with ‘ph’.  “Of course, Orpheus… as in Orpheus and the Underworld?”  I say.

She looks at me blankly.

“It’s a Greek myth.”

Andrea’s never heard of it, but tells me again he’s saying that’s the right spelling.

 

She goes on to give detailed information about my family history, some of which I knew, some of which is verified later. My late husband tells me he doesn’t know what I was doing with him – that I was ‘out of his league’, and that he is sorry about it all.  He was mentally ill, and can see that now.

 

Most significantly she talks about healing.   ‘They’ are rubbing their hands, showing her I will use my hands to heal. Andrea tells me I have potential.  I have a lot of power. “You could be a ….”  She hesitates.

A what?

“… a Master” she says.

 

Later Andrea suggests I should take up Reiki. She gives me a business card of someone she knows to get in contact with.

 

Back at home I try to take it all in.

Was it really possible I could become a healer?

I had always thought it was a gift only for a chosen few.     And These select few were born with the gift and usually aware of psychic abilities from an early age.  About 8 or 9.

 

I was 45 and definitely not psychic.

 

I looked into Reiki. Read a bit of background about it.

But if I’m honest, I feel slightly indignant about this.  So now I’m dabbling in Japanese Buddhism?  Where’s my foundation, for goodness sake!  Why should I need to look outside my home tradition to become a healer when I was a follower of Jesus – The Great Healer?  Didn’t he say to his followers, ‘the things I do, you shall do also.’

In fact I seem to remember it says, ‘even greater things.’

As a Protestant I’m supposed to have direct access to Jesus and the Father and Holy Spirit and all his gifts.

Why then do I have to look up some stranger in the Yellow Pages to do some attunement initiation thing on me?

If I’m meant to use my hands to heal, God will need to show me how, and make it clear.

That’s what I tell him anyway.

Resisting ‘the will of God’

My interest in healing goes back a long way.

At a young age my father suffered a severe stroke that paralysed him, taking his speech which he never regained.  At the time I believed that he could be healed, yet the church to which we belonged didn’t seem to offer much hope. I couldn’t understand this because I had heard so many stories from the Bible of Jesus healing people.  I remember making a little notebook, copying out all the verses in the Bible I could find about healing and answered prayer.

“Ask anything in my Father’s name, and I will give it to you.”

“People came to him with their illnesses and diseases and Jesus healed them all.”

“Nothing is impossible with God.”

But I remember the minister telling me in a solemn voice that the Consultant’s prognosis was bleak. We were lucky that my father had survived the stroke.  It was very unlikely he would recover his speech or use of limbs and we needed to come to terms with the fact that things would be very different from now on.  We would have to adapt, and I would need to be strong for my Mum.

 

I remember feeling a terrible sadness inside, not just because of the doctor’s words, but more so the desolation that comes when hope is crushed. I felt isolated.  Abandoned with my naïve faith.

The minister meant well.  I could tell she thought I was in denial. She was waiting for some sign of acceptance from me.

Bible verses swam across my mind.

“A bruised reed he will not break, and a smouldering wick he will not snuff out.”

 

I didn’t want to look into that dark abyss. I didn’t want to face the reality of those long, long years of house-bound disability that were to stretch out in front of us.  And I didn’t want to be told I must ‘accept’ this by a minister of religion.

“The will of God is a mystery to us.”

“We don’t understand why things happen the way they do, but we must trust that God can use our suffering to help us learn and grow.”

I was familiar with this theology.  I’d heard it all before.  But up to that point suffering had never really touched my life.  Now it was happening to us I just couldn’t accept it.

 

Why should this happen?  My father was a faithful Christian all his life, working full-time as a social worker trying to help others, and in his spare time heavily committed voluntarily to mission and outreach.  We were already believers and didn’t need to be ‘brought to faith’ by some crisis.

I didn’t want to believe in a God that could’ allow’ or ‘will’ illness, disaster, disease, disability and all forms of suffering to teach us a lesson for our higher good.

That God would be a monster God.

Something inside protested. It was to stay deeply buried for many years.

But it started me on a search ….

From Yorkshire to Cornwall

And now Here I am.  In my new life.

I didn’t think it could actually happen, but it has.

 

The plan was always to move to Cornwall. Away from our oversized house and overwhelmed lives and move to somewhere gentler, easier where we would think more, react less, chew for longer, taste the flavours.

 

We decided on Cornwall. It was a whimsical dream at first; a cottage in the country, close to the sea.  But dreams seed, and the more we played with the idea, the more it grew until it compelled us to action.

It began on the internet, as many things do.  An impulsive click on Right Move, a casual subscription to a mailing list, and before we knew it we’d fallen in love.

 

The house didn’t look much from the outside. Someone, at some stage had sprayed it with cement and UPVC-d the windows and doors.  But beneath hid a 200 year old cottage, part stone, part cob, just waiting for someone with an astute eye and lots of TLC.

 

And Oh, we had lots of TLC to give. Hours, days, weeks, pulling off render, re-building the chimney, re-routing plumbing, re-doing just about everything and creating a home.  The sort of home you never want to leave.

 

Back in Yorkshire.  “What will you do in Cornwall?” they would ask me in the staffroom at break.  “Will you look for a teaching job?”

Er…, no. That wasn’t part of the dream.  Not that I didn’t intend to work.  Far from it.  But I wasn’t willing to disclose my plans just yet.

~There’s a lot to do on the house,” I would say. Or “I will be helping my husband set up his new business.”

And both of these things were true. But I knew perfectly well what I wanted to do, and had known for quite some time.

For almost twenty years in fact I had been interested in healing.  And now it was time to choose what I really wanted.

Yes, I still want to help people.

But I don’t want to teach

I want to help people heal.

I quit my job and I like it…

And not just any job. A real job.  One I had to study hard for, get a degree – a profession.  The sort of job that makes your parents proud.  I was a grown up, with a family, children, a house, a car, an Amazon account.  And an itch.  An itch that needed scratching.  That uneasy, irritating feeling that things aren’t just quite right.  I loved my job, in many senses.  It was one of those jobs that can be immensely challenging and therefore immensely rewarding.  But I’d done it for fifteen years.  I was bored.

I was a teacher.  It still sounds strange in the past tense.

Rewind. Here I am on my last day.  My desk is littered with little gifts.  Little hand-made cards from bits of paper cut into heart shapes containing little misspelt messages.  ‘You are the best teacher ever.  I will miss you’,  signed one child.  ‘will miss you more than him’, signed another.  Carefully woven loombands, tiny flowers made from some coloured elastic band thingies that are all the rage.  A Macdonalds toy.   And a couple of big gifts actually – a bottle of Prosecco from a colleague, a beautifully gift-packed mug from the Head Teacher (with the Cornish blue and white stripes).

Last day, at last. How long have I waited for this day.

I’m feeling good. No more marking – all the books have gone home.  I’ve printed off some colouring sheets of Minions and the characters from Frozen.  Some of the children are tapping away on laptops.  There’s a pleasant ambient buzz.  Maybe I’ll treat them to a bit of my favourite film later. Then Krypton (not his real name, obviously) enters the classroom holding a wad of papers in the air he has just collected from the photocopier.

“Who wants a colouring sheet of an assassin?”

I look up. Grab the papers from him.  There is an outline of a masked gunman wielding an enormous machine gun.  Kypton can probably tell me the exact make and model.

I glance across at the “Today I choose” board. Words such as ‘peace’, ‘kindness’, ‘helpfulness’,  ‘compassion’  ‘determination’, are mounted on tissue paper and pinned onto a drape of shiny silk.  It doubles up as an RE table.  There is a cross and a candle which we light every morning as we think about making right choices for the new day.  And a sign printed in large letters:

Wrong is always wrong even if everybody is doing it. 

Right is always right even if nobody is doing it.

 

And here is this 10 year old boy handing out pictures of armed assassins to colour in.

I feel tired.

I’m ready to abandon ship..

A felt tip pen flies through the air and lands on Elsa’s face. Elsa’s the one from Frozen, remember, who sings the climactic song everybody knows and joins in with.

Let it go, Let it go….

And that’s what I must do.

The bell rings. It’s playtime.

And school’s out.