On the occasion of my MP coming to visit me

“After the king burned the scroll containing the words that Baruch had written at Jeremiahโ€™s dictation, the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: โ€œTake 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.

Joining with Lisa-Jo Baker for Five-minute-Friday. This was my best five, uh, actually fifteen minutes on ‘write’.
Over to you:

  • 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. ๐Ÿ™‚

, , , , ,

41 Responses to On the occasion of my MP coming to visit me

  1. Jerralea 4th October, 2013 at 8:46 pm #

    So nice to meet you Tanya, and visit your blog courtesy of Lisa-Jo’s blog. I admire your persistence in writing to your MP and I am challenged to write my congressmen more often. It has felt like my letters wouldn’t be noticed but your story has encouraged me.

    • Tanya 6th October, 2013 at 3:38 pm #

      I’m so glad my story encouraged you! Thanks for visiting!

  2. Mark Allman 4th October, 2013 at 8:37 pm #

    I admire that about you Tanya… that you put into action that which you are passionate about. I try to tell my children to not complain about anything if they are not willing to do anything about it; if they are not willing to take a stand. I have done this for years. I write letters too. I now smile to myself when I hear one of my kids upset about something and they start talking about “I’m gonna write a letter”… “we need to write a letter”. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I am proud on you and Jon and glad you got to take that stand with your representative.

    • Tanya 6th October, 2013 at 3:38 pm #

      Hurrah! I’m so glad you also write letters! I reckon your letters would be decidedly robust and well-informed. GO, MARK!

  3. Annette Stonger 4th October, 2013 at 8:10 pm #

    What an inspiring post! I live in the U.S., where we don’t have MP’s, but we certainly have much political turmoil currently. Thanks for the encouragement to write even when we don’t think it will matter, that all we’ll receive in return is a form letter written by an aide. Continue to persevere in standing up for right!

    • Tanya 6th October, 2013 at 3:37 pm #

      Oh yay! I’m so glad you found it inspiring! and yes – political turmoil in the US seems almost an understatement at the moment – praying for you all.

  4. Ros 4th October, 2013 at 7:41 pm #

    I haven’t done much recently, but I used to write regularly to my MP and also Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. In the last couple of years I’ve written maybe two or three times to my MP. I do it because I read somewhere once that they work on the principle that for every one letter they receive, approximately 10,000 people feel the same but don’t write. If you imagine your letter being replicated 10,000 times and dumped in a huge pile on the politician’s desk, it feels a lot more worthwhile.

    And if nothing else, it’s great that your MP has met you. Next time there is a debate about ME he will have a different picture in his head of the sort of people and the sort of issues he is talking about.

    • Tanya 6th October, 2013 at 3:36 pm #

      YES! I’m so glad you are also a writer to MPs. Thank you for the encouragement. And that last sentence is also what I am telling myself while I await to hear whether there will be any action arising from this.

  5. Fi 4th October, 2013 at 5:57 pm #

    Please could you post the briefing paper somewhere? In my ignorance I’ve never known the difference between ME and CFS (sorry…) and it would be really helpful to know – especially the bit about why the treatment for one is so dangerous for the other. That could explain why someone I know has suffered so much for so long. Thank you.

    • Tanya 6th October, 2013 at 3:34 pm #

      Mmmm – good idea! I shall take a look at it again (I wasn’t joking about one sentence ending in mid air…) and see if I can post it up somewhere. Failing that, I’ll email it to you. Remind me!

  6. Helen Murray 4th October, 2013 at 5:39 pm #

    Well done for seeing a need and actually doing something.
    Well done for writing, and for keeping writing when even the few other writers have given up. Well done for doing this even when life is a struggle.
    Well done for the briefing paper.
    Well done for even getting out of bed if you’ve had labyrinthitis. I get it often and I know how miserable it is.
    Well done for the meeting with the MP!
    Well done for the Blogger of the Year nomination!
    Just well done for all of it. You’re an inspiration.

    • Tanya 6th October, 2013 at 3:33 pm #

      Oh yay and double yay! Thank you so much for celebrating with me, lovely Helen. (Sorry to hear you get Labyrinthitis often – it’s not fun!) You know? Today I almost feel like an inspiration. I think it’s all the cheering. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Bianca Broos 4th October, 2013 at 5:06 pm #

    I am so inspired by your raw determination to never relent. You are brave.
    Rest, dear friend and know that angel armies surround you.

    • Elora Nicole 4th October, 2013 at 6:04 pm #

      Never relent. Yes. This is perfect.

      • Tanya 6th October, 2013 at 3:34 pm #

        ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you

    • Tanya 6th October, 2013 at 3:31 pm #

      Lovely Bianca – thank you so much for these words.

  8. Leigh Kramer 4th October, 2013 at 5:01 pm #

    Tanya, I am so happy to hear it went well and that you were able to get the briefing paper done. I’ve been praying! Love the way you demonstrate why we need to keep contacting politicians about our concerns. Hope you get some good rest. And congrats on being shortlisted! What an exciting day for you.

    • Tanya 6th October, 2013 at 3:31 pm #

      Thank you for praying!! and thank you for celebrating with me, friend – I really appreciate it.

Leave a Reply

Please send me my free ebook and updates