“After the king burned the scroll containing the words that Baruch had written at Jeremiah’s dictation, the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: “Take another scroll and write on it all the words that were on the first scroll, which Jehoiakim king of Judah burned up.”” Jeremiah 36:27-28
Sometimes I read the newspapers or my Twitter feed and I get so mad it feels like there is a fire burning in my stomach. It’s at those times, when the fire burns, that I get out my email and write. I write in my blog, but I also write to my MP*, because I know that this what you’re supposed to do if you want to see change. In this country, I have the privilege of a democratic political system, with at least some sense of accountability, and so I have a responsibility to let him or her know what I think.
I write while the fire is still hot. I try to be polite, and I try to be informed, and I try to be persuasive, but on the days that I don’t feel any of those things I write anyway, because I know that so many feel the fire, and so few put it into words. I write about how unfair it is that the cuts are falling hardest on the disabled and the poor, I write how pornography is coming unfiltered into our homes and how we need to protect our kids, I write how people with ME are being failed by the system.
And then, I wait.
It usually takes a couple of months, and then I get a dispiriting short letter, with a mixture of ‘thank you very much’ and the Party’s propaganda that I read in the Daily Mail two months’ ago. Those letters always come like a bucket of dishwater over my passion, and I sigh, and think, ‘what’s the point? When does anything ever change?’
But I write anyway.
God told Jeremiah to write down an important message He had for the king. Jeremiah wrote it on a scroll, which was taken to the king. The king read it – and burned it. He didn’t want to hear it. So God spoke to Jeremiah and told him to write it again.
You write again. You write even though they don’t listen. You write it anyway, because you crave justice and you have a voice when so many others don’t – and because of the fire in your stomach, which feels like God might have placed it there.
Sometimes it feels like a waste of time, and other times it feels like there is a change in the air, and something is shifting, and everything is possibility. Today felt like one of those possibility days.
My MP came to visit me today. One of my letters triggered a prompter-than-usual response, and he actually came to my house. All this week, I have been hammering out a briefing paper on ME, why it is different from CFS, and why the treatments for CFS are so dangerous for those with ME. I have had a case of suspected Labyrinthitis (an inner ear infection), which means I have felt more tired than usual and I have had ongoing vertigo, which means I feel like I am permanently on a boat, the floor moving gently up and down, my head sloshing about like a washing machine.
Yesterday I had half a briefing paper and my brain was furred up and I cried because I could do no more. Jon stayed up till 2am to turn my bulletin points into lucid prose, and this morning, fuelled by the prayers of a hundred friends, I chiselled out the rest. I actually had a briefing paper. I have a nasty feeling that one of the sentences ended midway, but the majority of it made sense, and was fully referenced.
My friend who works in politics told me my MP would probably be a good bloke because most MPs are, and he indeed turned out to be a Jolly Nice chap. And I don’t know if anything will happen, because it’s politics, and so often nothing happens, but – I did it, I did it.
I am still pumping with adrenaline, which is making me feel healthier than I am, and I will probably crash tomorrow in a heap of muscle pain and blurring fatigue, but for now, I am enjoying this moment. I spoke, and he listened; I wrote, and he read, and it is not the end, but it is a very good start.
*for the benefit of non-UK readers, an MP is a Member of Parliament, ie your political representative.
- Do you ever write to your MP/ political representative?
- What gets the fire in your stomach going?
P.S. Today I also discovered that I have been shortlisted for Blogger of the Year in the UK Christian New Media Awards. It has been a good day. 🙂