13 December 2017

Reality: Bathed in Tranquility

Have you ever tried to do something ‘in peace’?

You know – tried to get something started or finished without interruption or hassle. It might be something quite complicated that demands a bit of brain power or it might be something as simple as taking ‘time out’ with a magazine in one hand and a coffee in the other! I don’t know what your success rate is like, but mine’s not so hot! In order to get some peace I’ve escaped to the study to write this article but even in the short time it’s taken to jot down these few thoughts I’ve been discovered!

When my disappearance registered with those whom I love I could hear them asking downstairs:

‘Where’s mum?’

‘Did you see mum?’

I held my breath, I didn’t move about in the seat and even kept the light off just to throw them off the trail but I could hear the questions getting louder.

‘Where is she?’

‘Dad, do you know where mum is?’

‘She was here a minute ago’ and so on. Eventually I was located with an eardrum shattering scream that must certainly have encouraged even the neighbours to set about looking for me, ‘M – U – M?!’

And the reason for this search party being organised? Vital questions needed answered! Questions like; why isn’t the electric shower working? (try switching it on!!); how do I know which lines in this rhombus are perpendicular? (ask your dad); where are the green hockey socks? (one is in the tumble dryer the other has been eaten by the washing machine sock monster); and what’s for dinner tomorrow night? (something with mince in it!)

You see, in my house, I seem to have some sort of magnetic power over the inhabitants. Where I go, they go, what I eat, they would like a bite of, who I talk to on the phone, they feel the need to vet, asking me mid conversation, ‘Who’s on the phone?’ I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve had to say, ‘Sorry, I didn’t hear you there, the kids are right beside me’!

If my friends call for coffee, they join us and we resort to speaking in the sort of coded language adopted only by the best MI6 agents! (When their friends call round however, no such code is needed – I sit like Norman no mates at the kitchen table watching a portable tv that would test the vision of Joe 90!) I tried to have a bath a while ago. Now before I go any further, I should explain I don’t really do baths. My patience isn’t great and I find all that waiting for the bath to fill up, getting the right temperature and mixing the hot and cold water malarkey just too much bother. By the time the bath fills up I could have the equivalent of three showers and have moved on to making the lunches!!

Anyway, I decided to run a bath. I’d been feeling very tired and exhausted and thought I might try one of the warm bubble baths, with music, candles and a book described in just about every magazine I picked up! It took forever, but finally it was ready!! I took the plunge and sank back into the bubbles willing myself to chill out and enjoy the experience.

I had just managed to conquer the how-do-you-read-a-book-withoutgetting-

it-wet-and-covered-in bubbles-problem when I heard the all too familiar question:

‘Where’s mum?’

Several repetitions later and my absence was narrowed down to the bathroom.

‘Mum, are you in there?’

‘Yes’

‘What ya doing?’

‘I’m in the bath’

‘You’re in the bath?’

‘Yes’

‘What ya doing in there?’

‘I’m just having a bath’

‘But you never have a bath!’

‘I know, but I just felt like one!’

‘R-i-g-h-t………….you ok?’

‘Yes I’m fine…………………………..just having a bath!’

I then heard another set of footsteps and a muffled conversation.

‘Hey, something’s wrong!’

‘Why?’

‘Mum’s in the bath.’

‘Mum’s in the bath?’

‘Yes…………………I know, weird isn’t it.

Like mum doesn’t have baths!’

‘I know…………………do you think she’s

alright?’

‘I don’t know!!’

‘Mum, are you alright?’

‘Yes, I’m good thank you!’

‘I know, but you’re in the bath!’

‘Aha I agree (frustrated that I haven’t reached the end of the first page of my book yet and the whole bath experience has already taken at least twenty minutes!)

I then heard some whispering and the sound of the lock being picked! I scrambled to maintain my dignity dropping the book and nearly setting the towel on fire with a candle! I suddenly felt like Orca the whale sitting in a basin! ‘What are you doing?’ I spluttered. ‘Just checking you’re okay!’

Before I could say anything my protectors had established themselves on an old wicker chair to the left of the bath and the toilet seat opposite– Sea World eat your heart out I thought! Peace, quiet, relaxation and chilling all went out the window as I became the object of conversation and everyone settled down to chat! I couldn’t quite believe it and I knew my ‘me’ time had definitely become ‘circle’ time when another child appeared saying, ‘Oh here you all are, I wondered where you’d gone. Mum, what ya doing in the bath?’

In re-telling the experience of my quest to escape from my children to a friend, I jokingly quoted a verse from Psalms, chapter 139, that very much summed up my feelings at the time:

Where can I go from Your Spirit?

Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.

Later on though, the verse came back to me again and I thought about its real significance. Like me, you wouldn’t seriously want to escape from your children, you love them to pieces (even on the bad days!) and it’s flattering to know that they want to be such a part of your life, even though sometimes it’s on their terms. How much more reassuring however, to know that as God’s children we cannot be separated from Him – our heavenly Father is always with us – we cannot lose Him. Sometimes, in the middle of troubles or trials we might question where He is but there is nowhere we can go that He is not there. There is no problem we face that He is not able to help us with and as His children, He is always present with us. As unbelievable as it seems, a mother can try to ‘lose’ her children, even momentarily, but God will never lose us!

I gave up – closed the spectator gallery, blew out all the candles, left my book to drip dry and made a mental note to buy a padlock as I shivered all the way to the shower to get warmed up!

Ruth Ravey