It was the 26th February 2010: for many, just a normal Friday and the beginning of the weekend. I was, as usual, being underwhelmed by the significance of this date. Another birthday and little to celebrate! Why would I celebrate?
There was nothing to be really happy about. Life had been miserable during the preceding winter where my most dominant illness – I have several – imposed much negativity on my spirit and made me a near recluse. All gone before me perceived as of no value.
The winter was seemingly turning into a long nightmare of sheer indecisiveness that impacted on my inner thoughts and outer moods. What had I really accomplished?
The September trip to Belarus had turned out to be a survival of a huge clash of characters, sufficient to test any one’s resolve. I came home feeling good about myself but somehow the dark nights of winter had completely eroded away entirely the positive emotions. I was empty and listless: personal matters were suffering, issues been left to the last minute and thus causing me more anxiety.
So on this day of birth I had an interior resolve to break the binds of indecisiveness. I would go out this evening and do something. I would tackle a problem that had been left to float upon the growing lake of anxiety.
So that evening – with little planned for the coming weekend and the ensuing week seemingly laden with idleness – I set off on a quest, to meet a certain person, a plumber by trade to see if the rumours were true, of a possible return to charitable work in Belarus.
So with an elderly friend, a compatriot of escapades and rewarding work of previous Belarussian journeys, we pair journeyed down to a very quiet Omeath.
I was on time for the meeting and the plumber was so pleased once again to have the opportunity to travel to the remote Institutes that needed so much work for the resident patients in that engaging country and culture of Belarus.
I drove back to Newry leaving behind the plumber, with a little sense of achievement and thus my birthday had a resonance of importance. I felt I could afford myself a smile in the darkness of the car. We pair of a few shared episodes of charitable tales and fables decided to stop off in McCoys Bar in Newry, a local watering-hole for us. We had rarely visited during the winter because my elderly friend was also coping with his own illness.
In certain parts of the bar, a mobile phone is redundant, unable to receive or send signals. My usual resting place! Yet on this night I sat elsewhere and did not mind.
If the reader has any notion that my mobile was in constant use, well the opposite was the truth. It rarely operated with in-coming calls messages or texts. It could be deemed as a fashion accessory which rarely left my pocket.
So we chatted away among ourselves, the bar staff and the few dart players when I felt a movement and a muffled sound from my pocketed phone.
I was in no hurry to answer but when I did extract the phone I saw I had missed a call and there was a text message waiting for my attention. Oh the hectic nature of my life had me wondering about those who would be seeking my attention!
So I opened the message and read the immortal line ‘Are you doing anything at the moment?’
Such text messages and oral statements from my previous years of experiences were laden with a level of positive expectation and of being truly needed. The last few years had altered this thought entirely, with the enveloping of my illness upon my spirit, to sheer dread.
I saw who the sender was but my mood had been lightened by the events of the evening and so I rang to find out what I was about to sign up for. I wonder now about the invisible workings of the spirit and how things can conspire to bring about a good experience.
My hope was for a task that was simple and easy anf that would not add to my anxiety levels as Belarussian charitable business was coming out of a quiet period to be more prominent and pressing.
So Kerry Rooney answered my call and as I stood in the dimly-lit yard of the pub where smokers enjoyed the luxury of inhaling and exhaling various scents and comments, I heard what he was looking me for. Stunned had quickly gone to shock which rendered me nearly speechless. Perhaps he took my silence as an indicator of real interest.
The sales pitch from Kerry oozed with the idea of easiness and simplicity. I listened and somehow my brain and mood saw me saying the immortal word, okay.
All would start the next day!
Those words, the next day, sent the nerves into overdrive in an instant.
As I finished the call and stood lonely in the smokers’ paradise, the thought ran through my mind,
‘What have I done! This could bite my ass big time. I have dug myself the biggest grave ever!’
I had just committed myself to involvement with a drama group with a proud history of producing great dramas and filled with legends past and present. I was going back into drama activities after a spell of exile of near five years.
I could not even summon a smile to lighten the growing trepidation. Somehow I had been decisive, somehow I had said yes and here I was drowning in a deluge of anxiety. How, why, had I let this happen? I stared at the wall and mouthed the following sentence a few times and with each mouthing I sank lower in the ocean of anxiety.
‘I was going to be involved with Lislea Drama.’
… more later …