Patrick was competing in the Primary Inter-School Sports day today. It was a very cold day and not the kind of day one wants to spend outside watching kids running around. Different Primary schools had been groupd together to win different cups or shields.
Patrick was in just two of the races - both of them quite late on in the afternoon. He came second in the 150 metres and first in the 4x100 metre relay. The school didn't accumulate enough points to take the trophy, but they gave us a run for our money!
To while away the hours and deal with the boredom of waiting for Patrick's races, Joe and I bet 10ps on the outcomes of the earlier races. Some of those children can run very fast. I think we just about had an even number of wins and losses.
Then Joe disappeared to watch Celtic playing Dundee United in the cup match.
After the sports were finished, the children and I went up to visit Shona. Patrick may have been doing a sprint - but Shona is involved in a marathon! I don't think we are any closer to seeing an improvement in her condition than we were four weeks ago! I think to some extent that seeing the children helps to remind her just what she has to get better for. She enjoys seeing them, and they have a family time together while I sit outside and gaze out of the window and read old magazines. One magazine - Closer - was so image obsessed it was frightening! It is no wonder that so many women have poor self images when they are confronted with diets, wieght loss and glamour. They feel that they will never match up. To see these magazines in a mental health hospital seemed to be even more offensive!
Actually, I don't really think that Shona is competing in a marathon. I think she is just a spectator! She is not a participator at all. She knows that so much depends on her in terms of getting better, but she is not doing anything about it! She says that she is waiting for something to happen or click or something.
I think it is us - the children and us - Joe and I - who are competing in the marathon! I suppose that there gets to a point in a race that you hear the bell that tells you it is the final lap, or you can see the finish line coming up ahead so you speed up a little! I don't see anything like that with Shona - there are no last lap bells or finish lines on the horizon. We just keep putting one foot in front of another and keeping on moving!
I know that what we are doing is appreciated, but there is a little voice inside that tells me that we are being taken advantage of. Knowing that the children are safe, knowing that we will not let them be taken into care, I feel that Shona is just sitting back and letting us do it. There is no incentive to get back on track because we are there looking after the children. I am not so sure that I can talk myself out of that thought! Then I think that it is such an ugly thought that I shouldn't be thinking it at all. I guess that just goes to prove that I am human!
Talking it over with God, or should I say mumbling about it in God's presence, I felt God was not judging me for the thought, or looking at me with disapproval, but saying "If you can't look after the children for Shona's sake, then just do it their sakes, and for Mine!"
Does there come a point when what you do to help another person really just adds to the problem? When does helping become hindering? Then I think that it is not just Shona, but the children. Whatever theories I might have about Shona, it seems unfair to abandon the children to the social services. Perhaps I just need to make Patrick and Shannon's welfare my one concern and stop worrying about what Shona is or isn't doing.