Rising from the ruins

By | 15/11/2019

The Shattering and the Supernatural

Apart from the two astounding and mysterious but very positive experiences that I’ve written about (the OOB and the ‘smoke ring’ cloud), 1985 was without doubt the worst year of my life. The effect of the illness on me was seismic, shattering all my carefully constructed confidence.

But the illness is now in the past, and I need to put time between me and it, do something useful, generate a social life, put out the feelers for a life-partner… and read the Bible. I’m interested in everything it says but at the moment I’m keen to find anything in it that might shed light on those two experiences.

It seems God chose to use a supernatural hammer on me, like taking a sledgehammer to crack a nut. I’d been like Paul in the Bible, an atheist and ripper-down of believers. Paul had his life-changing experience of God 2,000 years ago on the Damascus road. I had mine 32 years ago on the M6.

The effect on me: how can I not believe? Well, while I’d had a lot of delusions and I had to think through the whole collection to work out what was truly of God and what wasn’t. This was a meaty task.

When I’m happy with my level of understanding I’ll share it with you.

Launching a social life

I wrote about Rotaract earlier in this blog. It’s a kind of junior Rotary Club: a social and community-assisting club for 20 to 30-somethings. I discovered the Chester group after discharge from Mercia Ward.

A good Rotaract group is worth its weight in gold. Even a recently discharged, still wobbly, nervous, uncomfortable-anywhere mental patient like me could find a few great people who I got on well with. I hoped this was true also in Coventry.

A bit of research quickly led me to two Coventry Rotaract Clubs.

A washing of hands

I never bothered with one of these clubs, Rotaract (b). They couldn’t comprehend why new people only came once. I can easily say why I didn’t return, not from a spirit of bitterness, more as a guideline to any group, social or otherwise which wants to grow.

The twelve members of Coventry Rotaract (b) had happily coalesced into six couples. They all seemed cosy in their relationships, so much so that actually greeting someone new required more effort than they could be bothered expending.

Not one of them saw any need to talk to me, and presumably to any other newbies who might happen along. The moral is simple. If you’re in a group which wants to grow, you have to genuinely welcome visitors, even if it doesn’t come naturally.

Coventry Rotaract (a) however welcomed me warmly from the start. I stuck with them and great times were had by all..

Interviewing local characters

Through a work colleague I got involved with a talking newspaper for the blind. I did a series of interviews with interesting local people, including:

Stan Bacon, the unofficial (and only) Coventry Town Crier,

Rosie Breconsfield, an impressive lady who had a collection of huge silver trophies on display in her living room. She was a sporting all-rounder. Her achievement was all the more impressive because she was blind.

I also spent a fascinating afternoon interviewing a stonemason who had worked for decades maintaining the ruins of Coventry’s old Cathedral, largely on his own. The Cathedral was bombed during the blitz in the 2nd World War. A large part of his work was fighting weeds, which often sprouted out of crevices in the walls. If they were just left, they’d make the ruins even more ruinous.

The hypomania recedes

Gradually the effects of my hypomania – and of some of the medicines that I’d been put on seemed to be receding into the past, hopefully never to return.

Do drop in again, the story is only just beginning.

Best regards, Marc