On the occasion of my MP coming to visit me


“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.


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. 🙂

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

    1. Jamie 5th October, 2013 at 8:03 pm #

      I saw your FMF yesterday and opened it in a tab so I could come read it today when I had more time. Wow! Your determination and your encouragement to stay determined and keep writing is contagious!
      Rest, peace, strength to you today, my friend. Your words are fire, and they will travel well beyond this day. Hold on in hope. <3

      • Tanya 6th October, 2013 at 3:47 pm #

        Thank you so much, lovely lady! I really appreciate you stopping by and reading it later! 🙂

    2. Cathy 5th October, 2013 at 5:57 pm #

      Congrats, Tanya! Yes, sometimes I write, and sometimes I don’t, depending on the “fire”–and the ire, and the other ways I have to make an impact at the time. Everyone needs a voice; I’m glad you are it for so many.

      • Tanya 6th October, 2013 at 3:47 pm #

        Oh yes – the fire and the ire – I know that! Thank you for that last sentence – it’s something I passionately aspire to.

    3. Janice 5th October, 2013 at 2:25 pm #

      This is all so great! (And yay for being shortlisted for the Blogger of the Year! You deserve it!)

      You know, even if nothing happens politically, at least you were able to inform him as an individual. And that’s huge!

      Have a lovely day!

      • Tanya 6th October, 2013 at 3:46 pm #

        Thank you so much, lovely Janice (on both counts!)

    4. Nick 5th October, 2013 at 10:20 am #

      Well done Tanya, and well done Jon 🙂

      • Tanya 6th October, 2013 at 3:46 pm #

        Yes! and thank you! 🙂

    5. Jenn LeBow 5th October, 2013 at 5:17 am #

      I am SO PROUD of you, and so glad it went well. Very, very grateful for you and with you.

      • Tanya 6th October, 2013 at 3:45 pm #

        Thank you, friend!!

    6. Holly 5th October, 2013 at 4:48 am #

      Very inspiring. I just prayed that your recovery will be quick and that you will feel invigorated. I needed this reminder as we are struggling in the US with so many government issues with ME and we have been writing and writing officials. It is always hard to feel unheard. I think one of our most important needs as humans is to know we are heard. I digress. 🙂 I am encouraged to know that an amazing person (as I know you are) has represented those with ME so well to an official. Thank you for doing this Tanya. I truly hope you are spared the PENE this type of effort normally causes.

      • Tanya 6th October, 2013 at 3:44 pm #

        I am cheering you guys on as you battle with similar issues in the US. It so often feels like such a frustrating and disempowering battle to be in. I am totally with you on the need to be heard.

        Re: payback (PENE). It took 48 hours, but the tiredness has hit today like a wall. Thankful it doesn’t seem to include heart symptoms or too much muscle weakness/paralysis, though. This is a good sign!

    7. Mia 4th October, 2013 at 9:43 pm #

      Dear Tanya
      I cannot tell you how grateful I am to see you beautiful smile at FMF again. I have missed you so much and have been praying for your meeting with the MP when I first read of his upcoming visit. Tanya, in South Africa, our medical insurances do not consider Fm/ME as a serious enough illness to cover as a chronic disease and my medication costs us a big amount of money monthly at the moment. I am just grateful that my husband is able to do that and my heart goes out to all the sufferers in my country that cannot afford to be ill with this illness. You have encouraged me to start writing to more authorities as well and am planning to do write to a magazine that is widely read here and that do not hesitate to write about controversial issues! Thank for your encouragement and tenacity. It means a lot to me!
      Blessings XX

      • Tanya 6th October, 2013 at 3:42 pm #

        Argh! This makes my blood boil – to hear that SA insurances do not consider FM/ME to be a serious disease. This is crazy.

        I’m cheering you on as you write. Go, Mia!

    8. Mary-andering Creatively 4th October, 2013 at 8:49 pm #

      Congrats from across the pond on your recognition. I don’t know if you seen the US news? But my blood has boiled this week to about the health care issue. My family is currently $16,000 in medical debt ($13,000 of which accrued while we had insurance!) I wish Jesus would get is bull whip out and go to Congress and turn over some tables. We have had a start with the meager American Health Care Affordability Act, but all that did was put us at the mercy of the greedy insurance companines. See, you aren’t the only one who writers letters and feels let down by the lack of response. People die over here everyday because they cannot afford quality healthcare. I am foregoing meds because I can’t afford them. I had an issues blog at : http://marykatbpcsc45.blogspot.com but do not write on it much anymore. To depressing getting all fired up and no one caring. Glad I found someone who seems to feel the same way.

      • Tanya 6th October, 2013 at 3:41 pm #

        Oh boy. I can totally sympathise with where you’re coming from. In the UK at the moment we are really nervous because our government just effectively privatised our NHS, and we are still waiting to find out what effect this will have. We fear the very situation you have outlined. That sounds horrendous. I can totally understand your boiling blood. I am thankful that you commented – like you said, it’s nice to find someone else who feels the same way.

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