‘I don’t think I can cope with anymore changes.’
These were the words a family friend spoke to me recently as they were going through some challenging changes in their life. Transitions can be tough. It’s the start of a new academic year, a new season as autumn greets us with darker, cooler mornings and evenings, the start of a new job…
A couple of days ago I had a mini-meltdown linked to all of the changes in my life and feeling that I just couldn’t keep up. Life was just becoming one quick blur. “Welcome to being an adult” I can imagine my mum saying…!
When I melted, I began to slump – literally like a melting ice-cream. We all know the look of horror and sadness that comes from a child (and yes, adults too) when the ice cream falls to the floor. I just felt drained. Tired. Hormonal (maybe). Literally, sad and wanting to curl up in bed at 2:30pm. That was Monday. Great start to the week.
After a meeting on Tuesday morning, I was walking home and I always go through this park as part of the journey back. IPod plugged in, head down, that’s me. Normally. However, Tuesday was different.
I felt like God had picked me up. How can God pick up melted ice cream? Well, besides walking on water and turning water into wine amongst other things to his credit, my mini-meltdown melted away and God made something better out of it.
Vanilla ice cream is great but God added the 99 flake. Yes! Eating ice-cream out of a bowl is alright, but God gave me a choice of wafer cone, sugar cone or waffle cone. Now we’re talking! Have I gone completely ice cream crazy? Maybe. But listen…
God whispered ‘Slow down… Enjoy this moment. Take it in.’
Cold, cold, cold, HEADACHE!
So, we all know what happens with melted ice cream. It’s a pretty sad moment. However, what happens when we eat ice cream too quickly? Brain freeze.
A similar experience occurs when we hurry about from one thing on our schedule to the next. Rushing through life at a hundred miles an hour is quite common in our culture. Always planning the next thing without fully being present with the current thing.
What is that about? If it’s not brain freeze, it’s melt-down. Usually the melt-down happens because of the brain freeze. Lord, please make my life’s ice cream good again!
When I felt God say ‘slow down’ I deliberately started walking slowly through the park. I went and sat on a tree stump and stretched my legs out in front of me and stared at my shoes. I wandered around looking at the autumn leaves, taking photos to capture this moment of slowness. I listened to the wind as it brushed through the branches. I appreciated the people that I walked by. Everything in that moment was as it should be.
You know something else? It’s OK to not do everything right now, for that week, for that person, because of that reason, otherwise that will happen, then the sun will implode because I didn’t do that original thing… NO! Bring your weary self to that tree stump and sit.
A Summery Summary for this Autumn Day…
Ice cream is delicious, refreshing and comforting when it’s not running down your fingers or giving you a headache. In a similar way, life can be delicious, refreshing and comforting when you’re not having a melt-down or a brain freeze. Melt-downs and migraines may occur when changes take place and life seems a tad more overwhelming.
However, God is the Ice Cream Maker. He makes and he creates good flavours and places them in suitable cones. He has placed you and me in the places we are now (the cones), with our own personality, passions and individuality (flavours), with different people that are a part of our journey (nuts or nutters, chocolate chips etc.) to make that ice cream we call our life.
When we feel our life starting to melt or our head starting to ache, we go back to the Ice Cream Maker because he supplies the freezer for our melt-downs and the reassurance and comfort we need whilst that brain freeze starts to take shape.
Take a walk. Look out the window. Put your feet up. Lay down. Close your eyes. No distractions. Just be. Let the melt-down melt away and the brain freeze thaw.
...That reminds me – there is Viennetta in the freezer…
Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
my hope comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I shall not be shaken.
My salvation and my honour depend on God;
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, you people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge. Psalm 62:5-8