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CHRISTIAN LIFE IN LONDON | SPRING 2024 EDITION
Today's Revelation
CURRENT COMMUNITY STORIES
Pulled Out of the Rabbit Hole
Meet the Conspiracy Theorists Who are Turning to Christ
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“Take Me For A Spin”
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Reflections on Aurora Borealis and the Solar Eclipse


By Helena Smrcek

Photo by Yuval Zukerman

Let me start with a confession. I do have bad days. Here and there, I struggle with feelings of loneliness, self-doubt, and fear. At the wonderfully mature age of almost 55, I should be well-grounded, established, and confident. Yet, from time to time, the voices come back, reciting the endless lists of all that is wrong in my life. Imagined or real, the triggered torment of my mind and soul is brutal to cope with, not only for myself but also for those around me.

Over the decades, I learned to seek help. Whether it be a coffee with a friend or an appointment in a mental health professional's office, I do credit myself with reaching out to make sense of this reoccurring cycle.

In my younger years, one such amazing doctor shed some light into my circumstance. At that time, I have dealt with severe PMS. Most women suffer every month, only to be labeled. I wanted to know why the people closest to me failed to understand the cause of my fight for sanity and seemed to try extra hard to aggravate the situation.

Her reply surprised me. She explained how those irritations are actually always there. Still, when I feel strong and my body doesn't have to deal with other issues, such as rapid hormonal changes, I can tolerate, correct, or put up with such behavior. But during times of additional stress, whether physical, emotional, or even spiritual, my abilities diminish, and I tend to interpret the circumstances in a different light.

This reasonable reply stuck with me for decades. As time passed, our home dynamics changed. We are busy empty nesters, and as much as I loved raising our children, I admit that this season of our lives is delightful. We still have responsibilities but of a different kind. There is much less guilt attached to finding a dog sitter for two weeks than there would be to dropping off the kids at a babysitter and flying off to Mexico.

Yet, I still have bad days and search for answers. And that is why I reached for a book by Saundra Dalton-Smith, M.D. The title Sacred Rest did grab my attention, but what made me pick it off the shelf was the two lines that followed: Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy, Restore Your Sanity.

And here comes another confession. For decades, I have lived by the motto: Who needs rest? That is for lazy people, and I am definitely not one of those. Multitasker, high-achiever, workaholic – I could own any of these labels with pride, but rest? Well, that was until the big Five-O. The need for sleep became evident when I needed to pull over into a grocery store parking lot and set my phone timer for 37 minutes – my afternoon nap time allowance.

My naturopath assured me that if I could work in a nap in the middle of the day, there was nothing wrong with that. What bothered me was that most of my contemporaries still held jobs, and a regular 9-5 doesn't really accommodate such luxury.

Doctor visits, blood tests, online searches – I wondered which one of the many diseases could be mine. And then I got the book.

Strangely, the author recommends flipping to the middle and starting there. I did as she instructed. As I enforced yet another break during my busy day to read a couple of paragraphs here and there, the light of understanding slowly dawned. Yes, I was getting older, as everyone on this planet. Still, I also neglected my emotional, physical, and spiritual needs for rest.

And as I near the last pages of the book's first half, I need to answer the critical question. What is my excuse for running my life this way? I acknowledge and own my behavior. Sitting in my Lazy-Boy, I grabbed my journal and sketched an image. Don't try to imagine something spectacular here; I'm talking about stick figures. But when I looked at the two-page spread, something significant dropped into my soul.

My little stick person stood at the edge of a mined-out gorge, trying hard to fill the chasm while exhausted, holding onto her big shovel. No one was on the other side of this giant hole, for those who collected all the ore left long ago. Waiting for them to come back and fill the deep crevasse with something of value proved futile.

I noticed a little hole at the bottom of this canyon and wondered if all those shovel-fulls of effort fell through that into oblivion. And here is the revelation. Under neath that bottomless pit wasn't nothing. What was there was a river of God's grace. And when my stick person finally stopped throwing in her stuff, the water gushed upwards.

It filled the gorge. The hole was no more. But what astounded me the most was my little person, now sitting at the edge of a beautiful new lake, still throwing things in. Only now those things, the fruits of her labor, didn't sink down into that bottomless pit, but they floated, like little boats, to the other side of the lake. And then, there were others there, fishing them out and using them for whatever God intended them to be used for.

This may make sense to some, or perhaps no one. Maybe it is time to look for professional help here because things like this don't happen to me often. But I feel that God was trying to show me something fundamental here. Every one of us encounters miners throughout our journey, and they take what they want without reservations. May it be our trust, self-esteem, courage, strength, or health. None of these robbers ever return with anything good to re-deposit into the rifts in our souls. We can wait and wait; if they do come back, it is only to fill up their own buckets. So, I waited for years, trying hard to understand and forgive, yet the hole never filled again.

Today, I finally understood. I was looking for the wrong fill. I have no use for someone else's leftovers or refuse. I believe God has something much better to fill the canyons carved by pain. Once we understand and permit, the living waters of the Holy Spirit will freely fill up the quarried-out parts of our souls, creating something new and wonderful.

When I see my new lake in my spirit, I envision beautiful water lilies made of books yet to be written, the stories to be shared to bring freedom and healing to the hollow places of people's souls. You may not see books and stories, but treasures are sailing on the surface of your beautiful Spirit-filled Lake. And once you can see that, your God-given assignment will no longer be exhausting labor, but a beautiful art created by Him, through you, to bring His glory, healing, but most of all love to our world, filled with hurting people.

About the author...
Helena Smrcek
, a journalist, author, and screenplay writer, believes in the power of a well-told story. Her readers can expect a captivating page-turner, filled with thrilling suspense, and heartwarming romance.

She started in publishing as a high school student, freelancing for Mississauga News. Her journalism carrier took off in 1999. Within three years Helena accumulated over 100 by-lines and interviewed Ann Graham Lotz, Carol Lewis, Cec Murphey, Kelita, and others. Her stories, many of them covers, have been published in Canada, the USA, Bermuda, New Zealand, and Australia. In 2002 she accepted a position at Listen Up TV, a current affairs program.

Helena became a founding member of Write!Canada, and The Word Guild, a Canadian national association of writers and editors. She is a graduate of Jerry Jenkin’s Craftsman Class, Act One, Donald Maass’ Fire in Fiction, Writer’s Police Academy, and several mentoring programs.

She regularly attends writers’ conferences and is a past or current member of such organizations as Word Weavers, American Christian Fiction Writers, Sisters in Crime, Toast Masters International, Boni, The Writer’s Guild, and others. Helena loves to participate in NaNoWriMo and hosts a writers’ group.

Click HERE to visit Helena’s website.