ACW

ACW

Monday, 11 September 2017

Change, Writing and Glad Bags for the Soul, by Deborah Jenkins


How do you cope with change? Are you a person who longs for a different breakfast cereal every morning, or does the familiarity of sameness and routine soothe and steady you in a crazy world?
Or perhaps you're like me - often restless and in need of new experiences and people in your life. But when it comes to it and a change is looming - even a desired one - you panic or bottle out or both.

So far, we've had a year of changes involving work, family and health - all stable now, thankfully. But it made me think. The other day when it was sultry and still, with bees browsing in the buddleia, I sat on the patio inhaling the smell of warmth on wood and had a revelation - the world is never still. Obvious, you might think. It turns on its axis in a rotating galaxy among stars that move slow or fast, like scattered glitter. But even in my garden on a hot day when my back is glued, slick with sweat, to the wooden chair, there's always something changing - light, leaves, ants marching determined across the flagstones at my feet. Change happens all the time, either to us, or by us.

When my daughter first went to uni, I knew she would find it tough. York is a beautiful place and she was excited about reading English Language and Linguistics, but as a victim of social anxiety, the changes involved in leaving home were always going to be a huge challenge (In case you're worried, I've had her permission to share this). I racked my brains to think of things I could do to help her, at a distance of 200 miles. And I invented what has now become a family favourite - the Glad Bag. I went out and bought about 12 small gifts (mostly from the pound shop) and I wrapped each one up and put them all in a large gift bag. I gave it to her just before she went and said that when she was feeling down she could open one. She absolutely loved this idea and took it so seriously that she would even ring me and say. "I had a bad day today but not so bad that I have to open something. I want it to last for the really bad days". She came back at the end of the year with 2 unopened presents. We opened them together. I have since done Glad Bags for a relative in recovery and a friend in hospital. Here is the one I've just done for my daughter's final year.
My daughter is brave and beautiful inside and out, and it wasn't only the Glad Bag that got her through. There was also prayer and her own courage. But I know it helped.
My dream for my writing is for it to become a kind of Glad Bag for people. Some ordinary things from the pound shop of life  (my thoughts/observations) wrapped in coloured tissue paper (simple, striking words) to engage people and take them to another place. When I'm struggling with change, or stress, I turn to things like a warm bath, a latte, a soft throw, a favourite story. Could my stories, my articles be like that? Writing can be a vehicle for change. And maybe the best stories chart how humans - who both long for and resist change - deal with those unexpected things that life flings at us, often with no warning. While God, who chose unimaginable changes to His untroubled existence as 3 in 1, models to us through His story how it should be done - humbly, quietly, imaginatively.

Finally, if this isn't the most terrible effrontery, I dream that one day my words might be used by the finger of God, to nudge someone a little closer to His light.

What are your dreams for your writing?

Click on the link to see the novella on amazon

Click here and below to see my articles in the tes Inspiring Greatness series

Unlocking Potential

Deborah Jenkins is a primary school teacher and freelance writer who has written articles, text books, devotional notes and short stories. She also writes regularly for the TES. She has completed a novella, The Evenness of Things, available as an Amazon e-book and is currently working on a full length novel. Deborah loves hats, trees and small children. After years overseas with her family, who are now grown up, she lives in south-west London with her husband, a Baptist minister, and a cat called Oliver. 












18 comments:

  1. What an amazing idea. Thank you for sharing this, Deborah

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    1. You are so welcome. Thank you for reading 🙂

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  2. I am one of those reckless souls who love change, and in my unwise youth instigated it, sometimes with disastrous effect! I hope I am more prudent now; as you say it happens all the time anyway, and I have grown a bit more to appreciate the stable things in my life. I don't see it as effrontery to hope that God can use your writing. I do too. A brilliant post, as always.

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    1. Thank you. You are very kind. I need to spend more time with you Aggie! Perhaps some of your brave, change - seeking spirit will rub off on me!

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  3. What an inspiring post Deborah! Love your idea of a Glad Bag, going to tuck that one away in my memory for future use. And your mention of God showing us how He dealt with change, just wow. Thank you so much. And amen to your prayer/desire for your writing - and for mine! x

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    1. Aw ta Mandy ☺️ So glad you liked it. Looking forward to hearing about your glad-bag plans sometime! X

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  4. What a fabulous idea! Might just have to borrow it...

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  5. No way am I showing my own kids this post ;)

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    1. Haha! Just remember, I know all your kids. Might send them the link 😉

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  6. Great idea making Glad Bags for the people we love; as a writer I LOVE the idea of words as Glad Bags for the soul. Brilliant!

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  7. This is just wonderful (like you, I think). A great idea and just what I needed this morning. Thank you. x

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