That was the week that was, and I'm glad it's Friday. On Monday I was in both jails followed by an evening visit to a prisoner who is seriously ill in hospital, so was away from home for thirteen or fourteen hours, this on a day when the kids were off school. Don't panic, their dad was in charge, but of course I felt like a neglectful mum.
The children were off on Tuesday too - an in-service day for the teachers - so I took Tuesday off and we went down to the church cafe and they got, not only a hot chocolate and a scone, but the chance to play in the sports hall with various other random kids enjoying the freedom from school, while I had lots of chatting time with pals. However I had to "pop" into work in the afternoon (if half an hour each way is really popping) for my health screening. Hurray, I have a pulse and am officially alive!
On Wednesday it was the SPS Chaplains' Away Day. Yes, I know it sounds like buckets and spades and off to the beach but it's actually in a meeting room in the SPS college at Polmont, probably just as well in February. Wonderful talk on "disenfranchised grief". Grieving is very difficult in prison, and I will blog about that some other time as there's so much to say about it. I had to leave early, though, as Big Chief Him Indoors was at a CofS Special Commission meeting in Glasgow and I had to be home for the kids getting out of school. Of course I felt guilty for leaving early.
On Thursday I was in Edinburgh for a conference on Restorative Justice. Again, absolutely fascinating, and so much to say another time... I was planning to leave a bit early to be home in time for the first appointment (5.30pm) at our Firstborn's school Parents' Night, and I felt guilty about that. However it got worse than that because about 2.15 I suddenly remembered I had forgotten to go out at lunch time and top up my parking meter. I bolted and when I got to the car found I had a parking ticket for a cool £60. My distress at that was about to be put into perspective though when I looked at my phone which I had left in the car. There was a text message from Firstborn's school to say that she had not registered and where was she? It took me an hour to establish that she was in fact fine and had just been late and missed registration. It was a long hour!
Today, Friday, there was an all-day management meeting. I felt guilty for going because I hadn't had time really this week to spend with prisoners, which is what I regard as the bread-and-butter of my job, but I went anyway, and in spite of feeling guilty was finding it very interesting and worthwhile, when I got a text from Him Indoors to say that our Penultimate child had a sore tummy and had come home from school. It was so sore that although he had obtained a GP appointment for late afternoon he was now taking her up to the hospital's Accident and Emergency. So, I felt guilty for being at work and left early, feeling guilty for leaving early.
She's okay and home, with no diagnosis but the hope that it was "one of these things". She was hugely cheered by the arrival today of a Blue Peter badge the same as the one her brother got last week (the fruit of some pictures they did which their dad posted off for them).
Firstborn and Blue Eyed Boy are off for the weekend to Scripture Union camp, embarrassed no doubt by each other's presence but otherwise sure to have fun.
What a week, and I'm sure you're probably feeling the same about your own past week. Lots of our lives are the same. When you're dealing with the one thing, you're feeling guilty about neglecting the other things, and so on. But it's not an appropriate guilt, is it? Guilt's the thing you should have when you're sinning, not when you're just busy. So begone, false guilt! Cheerio! We don't need you!
Looking forward to a guilt free longish lie in the morning, and hopefully (!) a guilt free trip to the slimming club. Meanwhile I'll pray the end of Psalm 139 and ask to be shown the things I'm happily oblivious to that I OUGHT to be feeling guilty about and ain't!
"Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thaoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting".