Archive for the 'Christianity' Category

The man of metropolis steals our hearts

When I die (not if but when) you can take my organs and give them to other people as Christmas presents to replace their failing organs.

Now this will only happen in specific circumstances. Like if transfarmer beats me on the head with a hammer and I am brain dead.  If I wasn’t legally dead at that point I’d be screaming “take my organs and give them to the nearest cute child with kidney failure!”

When GOD says “behold I am making all things new” I’m pretty sure he’ll know how to find me, even if I’m in a few different bodies at once.

I am a proponent of presumed consent.

70% want to donate their organs, only 28% are on the register. Very few will ever die in the circumstances that let us take their organs, so it’s important that as many people as possible are on the register.

This guy reminds us of all the very obvious and ends with a theological exposition of the substitutionary atonement in relation to organ donation. Tom Wright gets everywhere these days…

Of angels and angles

We have established that from every angle JESUS Christ is the key to the secret of creation

Karl Barth in Church Dogmatics
[As quoted in Christ plays in ten thousand places]

This is why i do what i do – why i live how i do. Why i live life how I do.

The fullness of life – the sheer vibrant colour of it all is often overwhelming. The spectrum from sadness to joy is intense. The experiences from despair to exultation are often overwhelming.

But this is the life we are given. Its very nature and presence is quite simply staggering. Its greatest enemy is apathy.

But yet here in Christ we find all things brought together. Our acts of love towards each other, our acts of creation in the world, our choices, our thoughts, our emotions, our reasoning. All our (in)glorious humanity the outworking of this and a movement towards it.

I was thinking I could clean up for Christmas

I’m being drawn (kicking and screaming of course) towards this cult church in Maynooth. It may have something to do with Transfarmer but it’s mainly for tax avoidance.

Anyhow. Was there on Sunday and heard all about the advent conspiracy.

Now this really floats my boat. Imagine a theological reason to be a tight arse scrooge. You can tell I liked it.

Christmas is well known for becoming a holiday like Valentine’s day – invented by greeting card companies. Yes of course good and wonderful things are done – people get together and have a bit of a piss up and a party. My problem does not lie there, it lies with the rampant materialism.

The advent conspiracy does not say – cancel Christmas – indeed it says the opposite – come and celebrate.

Just imagine hijacking Christmas back off the greeting card companies.

[Now of course the global (though mainly western benefiting of course) economy would suffer in that no one would be buying all the stuff they don’t need but hey that’s kind of the plan…]

Just imagine providing clean water to the planet for 2% of an American Christmas.

[PS I have a vague plan in my head for a sister site called the matrimony conspiracy.]

Losing my religion

Two things:

First – just finished Malachi O”Doherty’s Empty Pulpits – a look at the decline of traditional religion in Ireland. Largely from a Catholic point of view, looking at the huge change in Catholic Ireland’s relationship with it’s mother church.

There are indeed many empty pulpits, there aren’t that many seminarians coming through St Patrick’s Maynooth as Zoomtard will tell you. As an aside – I used to play in a football league in Queen’s as a student (one of the many ways to avoid actually studying) and we had a good relationship with the Catholic chaplaincy’s team to whom we would sing “you’ve only got one priest” to the tune of “there’s only one (insert famous footballer’s name here).”

He rightly points many of the deficiencies in the church and our relationship to it – both in the past glory days and in the present times. Worth reading – if not necessarily always agreeing with. I understand Catholicism poorly so it was good for me.

Second –  just watched William Crawley’s Losing our religion on the iPlayer – charting both his own and Northern Ireland’s changing/declining relationship with religion. (Though you must forgive his James Bond pose on the front page of the iPlayer link)

I remember William from a few church events I played music at where he always played the role of the devil’s advocate and the provoker of deep thoughts and questions about so many basic aspects of faith. I must say I always really appreciated it as a chruch kid who took a while to own his faith.

He now describes himself more as a questioner and on a journey than a believer and has no affiliation with the institutional church. This is no doubt a growing segment in the country but the intellectualism that goes with it will not seem relevant to the majority of Northern Irish punters. Belief in God is still very popular (whether or not that’s a good or a bad thing depends on how you look at it) – though the definition of God is far less precise and people’s engagement with the traditions of religion have declined.

And while critical of our religious institutions (and there is no shortage of that these days – most often with good reason) he remains positive about the idea of faith – and even some of it’s more modern representations.

Northern Ireland’s relationship with religion is no doubt changing. I hope mainly for the better. We have not always been honest with our faith – too many of us choosing nominalism over engagement with a life-changing faith and tradition. Us Protestants have too often busied ourselves with defining what we are not (ie not Catholic), our belief as much a statement of identity as of faith.

Northern Ireland needs the church – in the Holy Catholic Church sense of the term. Though perhaps the decline of its institutions is no bad thing. The decline of the institutions unwilling to take ownership of former and current sin; unwilling to be redeemed and transformed as they would call their members to be –  for these institutions to be left behind is surely no bad thing.

Faith and Christianity will likely be here for the duration. If we lose out on religion as depicted in this book and this documentary then perhaps that is no bad thing.

Last days of my bitter heart

I have big issues with happiness. Not that I object to it in principle. Enjoyment is pretty much what Christianity is all about for me, joy is a moral good and all that.

What i mean is that i find myself uncomfortable with it. I am suspicious of it. I listen to too much miserable music, i read too many miserable books, i love miserable movies. But never mind this, i have eyes to see that life is a long (though occasionally brief) stream of pain and suffering interrupted by periods of peace and joy.

Perhaps i jest. Perhaps.

Not that i am describing my life. My life is a long stream of privilege and blessing interrupted by the odd major life event but mainly lots of melancholic wallowing.

But when I am joyful i always have one eye on the pain. You can’t have the sweet without the sour (baby) as i learnt from Vanilla Sky. Or rather, Vanilla Sky articulated what i already supposed.

This has become more of an issue in the past year. Since Da dying and all that.

I struggle to remember him without bitterness – not in the sense of anger or regret, more in the sense of sadness. I cannot have the joy and the thankfulness without the pain of remembering.

Yes i rant about this a lot. About memory and its effect on me. That the older I get the more memories i accumulate and the slightly more unhinged i become.

Lewis wrote in the great divorce about how people wanted to bring hell with them to heaven. That hell wanted a veto on heaven. That because there was pain, there could be no joy.

So why does my memory of pain (not only Da, but all the horrible things that happen to people i love every day) get to veto joy?

Surely it’s not a question of veto? That something or someone should be able to shout down the whole affair. Yes there is truth that it’s rare to find the sweet without the sour but they do at least get to co-exist, not one eliminating the other.

Anyhow.

I took a long walk here in the sun and i think i had my first purely joyful and thankful memories of dad. Toes in the ocean and all that.

One love people get ready

As Col 4:15 would put it, a few of us meet on a sunday morning, before all the real chruches get going and take a wee look at the book of Acts and spend some time trying to work out “what it all means” so to speak.

Today we were covering what i always thought of as Christian communism, (before i had much of an idea of what either “Christian” or “communism” meant…) and in particular its application to how we live our lives.

And the phrases that kind of struck us most were “…the believers were one in heart and mind…” and “…they shared everything they had…”

Which led to a few genius suggestions by Fin:

1) we’re in such disarray and disagreement as a body of believers that we spend all our time trying to reconcile the church to itself instead of spending time trying to reconcile the world to GOD.

2) we may actually be better (or at least more comfortable) with sharing our possessions than sharing our lives together.

As a group of people we are not particularly materialistic, we have the usual young, enthusiastic Christian aversion to money and materialism – not that we necessarily live that out particularly well, we’re just uncomfortable with it in a distant sort of way.

Most of us do have a bit of an issue when it comes to doing life together. The people i love the most and count as my closest friends are exceptionally busy people. Life is there to be lived, and the world there to be changed and they are doing their very utmost to bring that about. I envy and applaud them for it. They put me to shame.

As a result they are often quite tricky to get round for dinner or get out to the pub for a night.

I miss them.

Too often, i have no idea what is going on in their lives. Yes, i know they are doing this and that, and that so and so’s married, and so and so’s having a baby, and so and so’s doing this job, but that doesn’t tell me very much about what is actually going on in their lives.

We need to figure out some way of doing this better.

If we do not figure out how to love each other then we are useless to the world around us. Though of course it’s also true that unless we get round to loving the world around us we’re just a bunch of narrow-minded self-preserving bastards.

It is interesting that amongst us (in our wee group so to speak…), different folk have different issues. Some need to learn that loving those outside the church is no excuse to avoid loving those inside the church. And there are some (like myself) who need to learn to take it outside so to speak. Just because I find it exceptionally difficult to make contact and relationship in the current context does not give me reason to hide behind my books and blogs.

What i meant to get round to but will save for another day (it’s 1am, i’m on call and the only people sober in the department are the staff – at least they were when i left), is something that has been bothering me for some time. I love my theology, and my books and erudite ideas by what seems like the whole (or at least important part of the) population of Maynooth. But when it comes to the 23 year old with 5 kids, no GCSEs, a life time of benefits and an alcohol problem (never mind an individual, how about a whole community…) – how do i explain the gospel? And more than flippin words – what does the gospel even look like from their point of view?

It must be love

the cross of CHRIST should teach us that the only alternative to violence is self-giving love, willingness to absorb violence in order to embrace the other in the knowledge that truth and justice have been, and will be upheld by GOD.

Exclusion and Embrace

Miroslav Volf

[only 10 pages left, honestly…]

Theologians

Portadown is not exactly renowned for its night life. There are very few restaurants, no cinema, no theatre, no real music venues and no cafes that open at night. There are plenty of pubs, though they are more renowned for their bigotry and sectarianism than anything else.

McConvilles is nice cause it has lots of different types of Irish Whiskey that i never even knew existed, and even has its own brand that I’m yet to try. It’s also so old that it’s now a listed building and they won’t even so much as let them paint the snugs in case it ruins the atmosphere.

So it suits me and the amateur theologian nicely for a pint on occasion and a good old theological rant. There aren’t too many people i get to have a good old theological rant with  so i take the opportunity whenever i can get it.

My friends, as much as i love them, have little interest in reading books by dead people, and debating the finer aspects of soteriology,. They’re all too busy being decent, hard working, world changing, Christian people to get involved in all this abstract naval gazing.

But the world needs someone to sit in the pub and talk about it. Just imagine if there wasn’t…

We covered Volf’s theory on non-rememberance (onyl 40 pages to go…) to the liturgy of the anglicans, to vocation, to suffering and the state of the church. Not bad for a night’s work.

If there was nothing to remember

I quite enjoy getting older. Amongst most people I know this seems a bit against the grain. Getting old is something to fear and not to talk about. Something to (ludicrously really…) avoid at all costs.

Perhaps it is the fact I still look about 16 years old, the fact that I await puberty and facial hair to make it’s appearance, the fact that my basal metabolic rate keeps me as a skinny wee bugger despite the beer and burgers (have to say I’m glad of the last one…)

There will come a time when I start forgetting things, that I stop getting smarter, and more importantly when I can’t run or climb trees. That will be a day to lament. But not yet.

As animals, we’re on the down slope from our late teens, on virtually every level, from nephrons to neurons, we’re on a (hopefully slow) gradual decline.

The thing that does bother me about getting older is memory.

There was a character called Brutha in a Terry Pratchet book i read as a kid (Small Gods) who had the odd talent of an eidetic memory. He just remembered things. Everywhere he’d ever been, everything he’d ever read. It was just there in front of his eyes when it needed recalled. He was always incredulous when other people said to him that they didn’t remember, as he just couldn’t quite grasp the concept of non-remembrance.

Now I have nowhere near a memory to that degree but I have a tendency to remember an awful lot of things. Mainly this is at work in patients. If I have seen someone before in work, I will remember where I have seen them and in which cubicle and what was wrong with them – though I will probably forgotten how I screwed up the diagnosis or something but maybe that’s just a selective memory.

Patients are how I remember medicine. They’re like a hook to hang your coat on. I only know lots about HSV type I encephalitis because of the guy we had in the corner bed of the unit in NZ who ended up as a bit of vegetable because of it. I remember his name, his wife, what they both did for a living, the son who was a dentist who I spoke to on the phone, where the lesions where on his MRI, the fact that the first PCR was negative, and the way he waved with a tiny bend at the right wrist cause nothing else in his arm worked.

I cannot forget this. Not that I have sat down and tried. If I’m honest I’ve probably done the opposite. I have nurtured the memory. So that I will get it right if I see it again. If you’ve seen the bit in Heat where DeNiro and Pacino have the cup of coffee, and Pacino talks about all the dead people from the murders then you’ll get what I mean.

I have hundred of images, all arranged like little movies in my head, of all the patients I’ve ever seen (well a substantial proportion anyhow). I remember scans and faces and places better than their names but I remember them. I remember the dead ones better than the ones who got better.

I have kept a journal since I was 16 (when I first found unrequited love and my Dad found a sister he’d never known existed – true story…) and if I read it I will have a memory for every day.

I used to get worried when I was younger that at some point I would have gone through so many new experiences and new memories that perhaps my head might explode when it reached some pre-defined bursting point. Or have a “break-down” which was what grown ups used to call what happened to people who had trouble with their “nerves”.  Neither appears to have happened yet. And I need no one to facetiously point out that it is because I have an exceptionally big head.

In Life After GOD, one of the characters gets scared in his mid-twenties crisis, mainly because he fears that once you’ve been through your teenage years and fallen in love that there won’t be any new experiences.

What I’ve found is that there still are plenty of new experiences (though driving the volvo will never give me the same thrill I had driving my 950cc white 205 the day I passed my driving test), though these are increasingly displaced by memories. And all the new experiences you come to along the way are affected by same memories.

Even more disappointingly I have discovered that my memory has a predisposition towards pain, misery and suffering. I find it hard to look at a happy toddler and not picture a hospital bed some 70 years in the future.

This has perhaps not done me any favours when it came to recently losing my Dad.

[Well it’s not that I lost him, I’m pretty sure he’s still in that big hole we dug in the graveyard, we did put an awful lot of dirt on top just to make sure… Though I have lost one parent, I do still have one left, losing two would just be careless…

OK so I’m taking the piss out of death, partly because, as a family we’re again somewhat predisposed to do that, but perhaps more that if Christians can’t take the piss out of death then who can? (i think i want Spike Milligan’s “i told you i was ill” on my grave…)]

Sorry, back to the main thread. I think there is one somewhere.

The problem is that I remember everything. I wake up every day remembering all this stuff that happened. And I will carry it around with me for the rest of my life.

And this is nothing to do with how you deal or process the memory – an important issue in itself – I hold no anger or doubt or bitterness in my heart. I just have the memory.  And how do I deal with that?

In the Great Divorce, it goes on about how we can’t expect to take anything of Hell into Heaven. It just won’t let us. And it has this wonderful bit in it when it says

that heaven, once attained, will work backwards and turn even that agony into a glory… and that is why at the end of all things, when the sun rises here and the twilight turns to  blackness down there, the blessed will say “we have never lived anywhere except in heaven…”

Volf goes a step further in talking about the non-remembrance and even the forgetting of memory, that is required for the process of reconciliation (both of us to GOD and us to each other). With the obvious backing that GOD remembers our sins no more and hinted at in Revelation (quoting Isaiah) as “the first things have passed away“.

He talks of GOD remembering our sins for the purpose of forgetting them. Leading us to do the same he states:

…forgetting the suffering is better than remembering it, because wholeness is better than brokenness, the communion of love better than the distance of suspicion, harmony better than disharmony. We remember now in order that we may forget then; and we will forget then in order that we may love without reservation…

Not that he expects us to achieve all this before the dawn of the new age, but it at least should give us the right direction to walk towards.

It strikes me as it does the character in the great divorce following MacDonald’s words about heaven working backwards:

is that not very hard, Sir?

Free Radicals

“the truly revolutionary character of JESUS’s proclamation lies precisely in the connection between the hope he gives to the oppressed and the radical change he requires of them.”

Miroslav Volf

Exclusion and Embrace

Love is a series of scars

“we try to make ‘love’ an individual emotion that does not ask someone else to suffer because of our love”

Resident aliens
Stanley hauerwas & william willimon

To protect the family name

I take part in a bible study on a Sunday morning in the house at the crazy early time of 0930. We’ve been running through the book of Acts and after 3 months we’ve made it to chapter 2. This could take a while.

Anyhow we’re at the bit helpfully entitled the fellowship of believers in the NIV. Which has this wonderfully radical bit about the believers holding the finances in common – which we have somehow managed to either spiritualise or edit out somewhere along the line.

But it also has this use of the word koinonia, translated as “fellowship” or by some as “the common life”.

I’ve been brought up in the culture where fellowship is either a cup of tea and a bun after church or merely as Christian banter – whatever that may be. So forgive me if i have a somewhat dim view of the word. Though I think we can redeem it a bit.

Anyhow we were chatting through today what we thought was meant by the common life of the believers in the early church (so early they hadn’t even worked out the name Christian or the word Church).

We figured this was a lot of things, including the financial aspect but perhaps the analogy of the family was the best. [Another clue that all the basic things than human beings do (marriage, family, kids etc…) point towards something bigger than themselves.]

When something in a family situation goes spectacularly wrong – divorce, alcoholism, unwanted teen pregnancy, unemployment, financial crisis – then it is the whole family’s problem, even if it is only the mum that has the drink problem or the son that got some girl pregnant. Families (in general) do not walk away from each other. They do not hold each other at a distance and view an individuals problems as just that – the individuals problem. Your problems become our problems. This is simply the way families work. Blood is thicker than water and all that.

And so when it comes to the church then is this the model we should be striving for?

[as a brief aside I am not so naive to think all families are like this – I just see this at work in mine and lots of others]

Salvation Tambourine

Just finished A Community Called Atonement.

Wonderful book. Despite coming under the banner of being “emergent” it managed to avoid all that horrible confabulation and neologisms that are so frequent in everything associated with the category. Or maybe I just find it all a bit technical and obscure.

Anyhow.

Take home message – and this is pretty basic here – it turns out that there was more going on in the death and resurrection of JESUS than just substitutionary atonement. I almost feel like a heretic saying it. Even more shocking is the realisation that perhaps I don’t have this thing all sewn up and on a neat little theological plate.

This of course seems staggeringly obvious when i think about it, but for some reason this comes to me as kind of new. I try to blame this on Sunday school –  i try to blame everything I learnt about theology on Sunday school – but that’s kind of unfair. I’m pretty sure it’s not what I was taught in Sunday school but it seems to be what I’ve picked up all the same.

The book says far more useful and interesting things than that, but in my theoogical ignorance that seemed enough to start with.

Give Up

Lent is upon us. And despite missing the preceding pancake carry on I’m all up for the rest of it. I’ve always been a big fan of lent. I’ve always been a big fan of the cycles and rhythm in the faith and all the ceremony that surrounds it.

I’ve previously gone off coffee and got the associated headaches. This year i’m off the wobbly water, which I imagine will have some degree of social problems – they don’t really serve coffees in my local pub, it’s not that kind of place. But i’ll cope I’m sure.

Good news is it turns out that you get Sundays off (sundays always being a day of celebration) and if you’re RC you end on Maundy Thursday instead of easter morning. I’m also reliably assured you get St. Paddy’s day off just for being Irish, and if you get a birthday then you get it off too. Though perhaps I’m trivialising it now.

The housemates suggested I went off reading which I thought seemed a tad extreme.

My secret is my silence

On “JESUS wept”

“To sentamentalise something is to savoyr rather than to suffer the sadness of it, is to sigh over the prettiness of it rather than to tremble at the beauty of it, which may make fearsome demands of us or pose fearsome threats.

Not just as preachers but as Christians in general we are particularly given to sentamentalising our faith as much of Christian art and Christian preachingbear witness – the sermon as a tearjerker, the gospel an urn of long stemmed roses and baby’s breath to brighten up theftont of the church, JESUS as gregory peck.”

Frederick Beuchner
Telling the truth
The gospel as tragedy, comedy and fairy tale.

So here we are

I usually have rules about coffee after 7pm. Generally it all goes wrong when I don’t follow them. I end up awake all night with the head buzzing. Oh well, too late now, the coffee’s in the system so I’ll do whatever I usually do when I can’t sleep. Clean or blog. I’m not sure the lads would appreciate the former.

I’ll start with a bit of background.

I live in Portadown. More specifically I live in the middle of the Garvaghy Road area of town. Portadown is famous for very little – though we do seem to do a good line in sectarian violence. Most people know Portadown most famously for Drumcree and the Garvaghy Road came at the centre of that.

It is just far enough in the past (at least the worst bits) for it to become partly history. It doesn’t inflame the same passions it once did. Most are thankful for that.

Whether I like it or not, I am in Northern Irish terms a Protestant. This is how I would be viewed by many definitions. Again I say – whether I agree with that definition or not. As a Protestant I am also expected to subscribe to a number of national past times – being British, Bible bashing, and wanting orangemen to walk down the Garvaghy Road.

I travel on an Irish Passport, politically speaking I’d prefer a united Ireland, I think a lot of people made a lot of mistakes about Drumcree. I think the church in Northern Ireland was either co-opted into the loyalist agenda and in other cases was simply drowned out in the noise.

Portadown has issues in its past. All of Northern Ireland does – in many ways ours maybe aren’t even as big. Reconciliation is a big, tough word. We’re not there yet.

So as a Protestant living in the midst of the Garvaghy Road I realise there’s a bit of history and background that I can’t simply walk away from.

More background.

About 6 years ago I got involved in helping to run a youth club in town for a bunch of kids – from both sides of the spectrum. This was back when it was simple, you were either a Mickey or a Prod. Nowadays we’ve all the overseas guys are making our bigotry all a little bit more complicated.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before – I grew up in nice sheltered middle-class suburbia in a stable 2 parent family with endless opportunities ahead of me. Some of these kids weren’t so lucky. It was somewhat of an eye opener.

I remember chatting with two other folk in particular thinking that why is it that all the Christians live in certain areas of town, while very few live in others. Thinking that if the church was doing what it should then maybe the church should be moving into certain areas, and indeed maybe I should…

So that’s how I ended up here. 6 years but I made it here eventually. Good thing GOD isn’t in a rush.

Now I’ve never quite understood the concept of calling or vision in the Christian life, maybe I’m a bit better with vocation. Most of the time I am doing what I think most people are doing – making it up as they go along.

But being here, living here is about the one thing I’ve ever felt called (which is a big, complex, hard to explain type of a word and I’m not gonna try that)… to do. That and medicine. I think so anyhow. Glad that’s as clear as mud then…

In particular I’ve always been excited about the idea of a church based on the Garvaghy Road, filled with and for the people of this area.

The evangelicals involvement in this part of town in the past has largely been “ship lots of folk in to do something and then leave at the end of the week.” Which has not been all bad by any means but hardly satisfactory.

More worryingly we have often committed that most heinous of crimes and tried to make good old fashioned Northern Irish Protestants out of them. We have not always covered ourselves in glory in that regard.

We are very bad at grasping other people’s point of view. That maybe not everyone is as keen on the Union with Britain as we are. Maybe not everyone is a big fan of the orange order and maybe everyone isn’t a big fan of some guys coming in and telling them that their mother Church is the anti-CHRIST.

So maybe if we’re talking about church and JESUS and all that we need to see it from their point of view.

People, generally known as missionaries, have been doing this in the church for years, but generally in some foreign country where us Prods can’t see them doing it. We’ve never quite learned to apply the same lessons at home.

And so that’s what we’re kind of about. To put it simply – trying to plant a church here. That term of course carries a lot of baggage and you will no doubt have pre-conceptions of what I mean by that. We are in the process of working all this out.

I think I’m beginning to understand what “working out your salvation with fear and trembling means”. None of us claim authority or all the answers. Anything we proclaim, we proclaim with humility and an acknowledgement that what we are doing we have not always done well in this place.

I get very excited about church. I mean the concept of the church, the big, universal, holy catholic church that they used to talk about back when I was growing up anglican where they had nice things like liturgy.

There are not very many people in Ireland doing this. At least not that I am aware of, though that’s maybe not saying very much. I know Zoomtard does this for a living in many ways in Maynooth and seems to be doing very well.

The North is one of the most churched places on earth though we’ve not always been renowned for being innovative in how we do church.  Hopefully we’re learning.

At the minute we’re still only beginning. There’s a group of us living here, with the same vision, the same heart for the place and the people. We meet on Sunday mornings in this house to chat and pray and eat bacon. Kind of simple but it’s a start.

(Ooh) Heaven is a place on earth

So I suppose I better follow up on the last post and the bit about “not going to heaven when you die.” Before the crowd of pitch fork waving believers break down the front door and burn me at the stake for crimes against orthodoxy.

I can only recommend NT Wright and “Surprised by Hope” as a great unpacking of the idea of the Christian hope (where almost all of the following is plagiarised from) and what the Bible actually says about “the resurrection”. There were no mental or theological gymnastics, just a little recognition of a world-view that is assumed without reference to GOD’s word.

The central point of GOD’s redemptive narrative is the death and resurrection of JESUS. I suppose all of us could be happy with that. Some of us will focus a bit more on the death, some a bit more on the resurrection, but we could all agree that neither works without the other.

The central part, to the Christian hope is that CHRIST was raised from the dead. That he was bodily raised in physical form, a physical form that was undoubtedly different from the one he’d so recently been in, but physical all the same. The Bible is quite clear about the resurrected JESUS’s physicality, along with the fact that it not so simply physical as it had been before. And what was so stunning about this is that it is made quite purposely clear that JESUS did not return as a ghost, like Casper the friendly ghost or Nearly Headless Nick. This was something quite different. Indeed a big reason why the beliefs of “the way” in the first century were so unique. Lots of people had a notion of some “spiritual” non-physical continuance of existence. No one had anything like a body physically raised.

JESUS then leaves. Where he goes the Bible is remarkably unclear about – yes to Heaven – but what/where Heaven is is left undefined. Instead we have defined as somewhere “up there” which is why Yuri could (apocryphally) say that once he got up there that there was no GOD cause he couldn’t see him anywhere.

This is where the cultural assumptions come into play. That heaven is a place (somewhere else) with white fluffy clouds and fat babies with harps and bad aim. GOD has a white beard, and a James Earl Jones voice, everyone wears sandals and JESUS never, ever looks like he’s middle-eastern. Heaven is therefore the place where we go when we die, when we will finally be free from these terrible, nasty body things and we’ll float like spirits, free from such boring demands of physicality.

These are ideas that of course have developed within the Christina tradition (centuries of Christian art will give that away) – that does not mean that they are Christian ideas. The idea that we can discard our bodies and float like spirits is good old fashioned platonism (at least a Christian interpretation of it). The idea that the soul is the only important bit of life is not a Christian idea. The soul itself is rarely mentioned in the Bible, yet it is so prevalent in all our talk from salvation to resurrection. This is gnosticism revisited. These ideas are firmly embedded in our belief system but they are not Christian.

Let me emphasise then what is Christian. In CHRIST we have the example. When we die, he promises resurrection. And this will be bodily, physical, in some form not entirely different from what we already have. Though of course there will be some fundamental differences. When we are resurrected we will be resurrected, guess where? Right here. This is the key point. We get new bodies. On a new earth. Rev 21 tells us that CHRIST returns in glory not to snatch us from the evil jaws of the creation but that he returns to rule over the redeemed and renewed creation.

When I think about that I realise I already believe that. This is hardly any new kind of heresy, it’s just that my thinking has been muddied on the whole issue. Because of the underlying cultural (not biblical) assumptions, and all the terrible songs and hymns that we sing that lead us up the garden path in terms of resurrection theology. Let me put it this way. As Christians we believe what non-Christians think that we Christians believe about life after death:

Love of mine some day you will die
But I’ll be close behind
I’ll follow you into the dark

No blinding light or tunnels to gates of white
Just our hands clasped so tight
Waiting for the hint of a spark
If heaven and hell decide
That they both are satisfied
Illuminate the no’s on their vacancy signs

If there’s no one beside you
When your soul embarks
Then I’ll follow you into the dark

Death Cab for Cutie (I sang this song in my cafe gig in NZ cause I like songs that reveal what non-Christians believe about the meaning of life. Though only now I realise how far apart we are in our beliefs)

Most of you will have realised that I’ve left a bit out. That yes we die, and when CHRIST returns and makes everything new and rules on the new earth (not in heaven on the clouds with the fat babies – he’ll be bored with all that by then) that we will be with him in our cool new resurrection bodies, not floating round like disembodied shadows on the cave wall.

But what happens when we die? Do we not actually go to heaven when we die? This is where the tricky bit comes. The Bible actually has quite a bit to say about the resurrection and where it fits in. But it doesn’t say quite so much about the in-between. Is it some kind of cosmic hibernation? Paul speaks about preferring to depart and be with CHRIST. Which at first glance sounds like “going to heaven when you die” but surely he must mean something different – as it is he himself who goes on to say so much about the resurrection. Indeed CHRIST does the same. Leaving the disciples and telling them he will return. So where does he go in the mean time. He goes to “heaven” which is loosely defined though perhaps most useful as “with GOD” or “in GOD’s presence”. Beyond that the Bible does not have that much to say, at least not in specifics.

Again let me emphasise that when we die, and go wherever JESUS went to when he left the disciples, it is vital to realise that this is not the fulfilment of the Christian hope. The resurrection is the fulfilment. As NT Wright says. It is not simply life after death, but life after, life after death.

There are lots of implications of this. It’s important in that it’s a proper understanding and articulation of what the Bible says, and reveals it’s uniqueness in the hope that we cling to. That the body and the physical world itself is not evil – it is fallen, but not evil. When we die of cancer it is not that mitosis and cellular division and ultimately (well until CERN tells us otherwise) particle physics that is ingerently wrong – more that it is fallen. Our DNA itself seems part of the fall. Indeed it seems that even that will be redeemed.

[As an aside, there was also in the book a “factoid” about the human body that the actual particles (in terms of atoms and so on) are completely exchanged for different ones over a course of around 7 years (undeniably true to some extent –  though impossible to accurately measure). We (quite literally) are what we eat. And to be delicate – dispose of, in terms of skin, sweat etc…). Fascinating. Well if you like that kind of thing.]

It means that we are not to lock ourselves into Christian self-righteous ghettoes and pray that we’ll be raptured (whatever that means…) before this horrible sinful world gets the better of us. It tells us that GOD is in the business of redemption and renewal, and that both we and the creation itself are going to be renewed and redeemed and that it’s our role to inaugarate and announce the Kingdom of GOD by decalring that JESUS is Lord over all of it.

It’s important for lots of reasons, few of which are outlined here, so perhaps it’s just an exhortation to read the book, and more importantly read the Bible, and read it withoout the Plato-goggles on.

Conventioneers

Tonight I want to be anglican again. Not that i was ever properly anglican anyhow. And not that the anglican church i went to was ever particularly anglican either. Which i suppose was one of the nice things about being anglican – that they weren’t always that easily pigeonholed.

And now that i’m presbyterian – well sort of. The people I love happen to be part of a presbyterian church. I am more presbyterian by accident than choice. Anyhow, now that i am whatever i am (which is of course different from being “i am who i am), whatever that may be (goodness this has started badly) I realise more and more how the presbyterians seemed to get stuck with all the crappy old buildings (though i confess I quite like church house). I suppose it’s their own fault, in over-reacting to catholicism by being petrified of anything even remotely pretty in the church in case some one mistakes it for some kind of a idol and before we know it we’re selling indulgences to evil, rich English kings…

At least the anglicans have retained some of the sense of mysticsm and importance of aesthetics and location and architecture. Though I suppose us presbies think that they’re what my dad used to call “the thin green white and gold line between protestantism and catholicism” (my dad was anglican, again more by accident of birth than choice. His dad was probably more of a socialist).

I blame this on all the heretical, hairy lefty books i’ve been reading (tom wright and brian mclaren both have beards) which have no doubt left me with something of a reawakened appreciation of lots of the other traditions of the faith. This along with the fact that it turns out we don’t go to heaven when we die (a statement which requires some qualification which I’ll not go into right now, but it’s OK I’m not a heretic… honestly… ) which came as a bit of a surprise but is actually remarkably clear when you read the bible without the old plato/gnostic goggles on.

So anyway.

Tonight was the first night of the Portadown Christian Convention

[we do odd things, a convention to most people is a business or work thing. (On the one occasion i met zoomtard he said that he wasnt going to a New Horizon meeting cause if his dad found out he went to hear a christian preacher in a big blue tent that would be a step too far). When you think about it, we do a lot of odd things, like all meeting together in a big building on a sunday evening, singing a few random songs, listening to a guy talk about an old book and a “dead guy” and then doing this remarkably strange thing where we all close our eyes and “think stuff” – this whole religion thing really is most bizzare when you look at it from the perspective of those outside the church. That implies nothing about it’s value or truth, simply that it’s unusual.]

Anyhow it’s laudable, most of all for the fact that it’s one of the rare opportunities that the Church of GOD in this town manges to (mostly) get together without bickering and moaning quite so much as usual. There’s always so many people (most of the churches cancel their evening services) that they normally hold it in the big church of ireland in the centre of town.

And i suppose this is what makes me want to be Anglican. They got all the nice buildngs in protestantism. Huge arched ceiling, stained glass, a sense of awe and presence associated with, i suppose, the presence of GOD…

Makes me feel a part of this place, this community (perhaps my favorite word of the moment, along with resurrection), this group of people who love and struggle to follow JESUS. Reminds me I’m a part of the Kingdom and I have a role to build it, to help see GOD’s justice and mercy goodness begin to rule here in part, as it one day will in totality.

Things to make and do

This, I think, is the gist of it when it comes to our role in the new creation, what it means for us to be in, and help build the kingdom of GOD:

“Every act of love , gratitude and kindness; every work of art or music inspired by the love of GOD and delight in the beauty of his creation; every minute spent teaching a severely handicapped child to read or walk; every act of care and nurture, of comfort and support, for one’s fellow human beings, and for that matter one’s fellow non-human creatures; and of course every prayer, all SPIRIT-led teaching , every deed which spreads the gospel, builds up the church, embraces and embodies holiness rather than corruption, and makes the name of JESUS honoured in all the world – all of this will find its way, through the resurrecting power of GOD, into the new creation which GOD will one day make. That is the logic of the mission of GOD.”

NT Wright
Surprised by Hope

Bad diary days

[Following is some of the stuff I’d been writing over the past 6 weeks or so, leading up to the surgery and finding out the cancer was back. At one point it was titled “the curious incident of the chinese seaweed in the anastamosis” but that was back when I was a bit more optimistic.

This does not make for pretty reading. So it goes. I tend to write only on the bad days. And they are not all bad. GOD is good. I have no doubt. How and why he does this I’m still working out. I will be for a while.]

I don’t seem to have either the grace, strength or understanding to deal with all this. Be it life in general or life in the specifics. I used to think when I was 16 that there was only so much my little mind could take and life continued on as crazy as it seemed then, then my head would explode with overload. I suppose that’s just universal teenage angst and paranoia. But maybe I still think the same. “Life is funny but not ha ha funny, peculiar I guess.”

The older I get the more perplexed and bewildered I seem to become and find myself in frequent awe of the chaos and bitter-sweet experience of life. I cannot handle this, I cannot handle the ups and downs and the continual pressure of a mere 27 years of memories. I’ll never make 50. Unless I get a jacket without sleeves and some valium.

Maybe it’s only today I feel like that. Sitting on a bench on the edge of Craigavon lakes, which on a day like today could be lake Garda it’s that pretty. Post-night shift, of a week where I’ve worried as much as I have done in a long time.

Dad is not well. The past month has not been good. Pain, sickness, loss of appetite, loss of energy. He remains a textbook of cancer diagnosis. This is like watching a tortoise approach you from a mile away through binoculars. Slow, inevitable.

We were never given any guarantees. And seeing as he was so well I took the optimistic side of every piece of clinical info. Not that it matters a jot. Not that there’s a single thing we can do about it. The sheer helplessness and impotence of the situation. Of waiting to be told that this will not end well.

Every day has been a fight to trust that GOD knows what he is doing. To trust that his love is more important and has more of a call on my heart than anything I can cling to. Every day I lose that fight many times over.

My head floods with a hundred images of people I have known or treated. The slow inevitable decay of time as things get worse. I know (as much as one can) what this will be like. Anticipation of the needle is the worst bit I think. When the needle’s in it’s never that bad. Maybe that’s optimistic.

Everyday life goes out the window. I could care less for what happens in anyone else’s life. All I care about is what will happen to our little family unit. Everything changes. Everyone goes eventually.

——

I find myself continually angry. At who or what I do not know. At friends when they ask, at friends when they don’t ask. At mum and dad, at GOD, fate, karma, at whatever I latch onto.

All of life is so desperately fragile. That we live and love, grow attached to each other and learn how to love each other and then we do not know what to do when they are no longer there. We love each other desperately, though I doubt that this is how we’re meant to.

The older we get the more entrenched we get in our own personalities and lives and loves and tendencies. And we do not like change.

All there is left is emptiness and bitterness and long grey silent afternoons staring at the walls with a heavy heart.

All that I devoted and gave myself to goes out the window. The books, the music, living here, working in the hospital, holidays, relationships, commitments. Everything is off the table.

You make plans and say GOD willing, and then he wills otherwise.

Vonnegut said that the reason everyone was so lonely and unhappy was that we had forgotten about extended families and our families were shrinking and becoming more and more separated and independent and all of a sudden when part of family goes then there’s nothing left to fill the gap, and that everyone would be happier if we just had bigger families.

Mum and dad are there to look after me and Simon. And then Simon and Ruth are there to look after each other and when Dad’s not there then me and Mum will look after each other and Simon and Ruth. And Si and Ruth will look after us. Families are there to stop people being alone.

All this gives me a dismal view of love and relationships. If any of us gets sick and dies then we are all affected. We have no choice to be dispassionate about each other’s fate. We are all in this (life that is) together.

Which makes me want to avoid loving anyone. As soon as you love someone you end up in the same shit together. So that whatever happens to them affects you and whatever happens to you affects them. The fact that loving someone hurts so damn much makes me want to sever all ties to anyone who may possibly care for me or who I might possibly care for. Cause that way I can’t hurt them (however unintentionally) and they can’t hurt me.

This is a miserable lonely view of life. As much as it appeals I will have no part of it – though it is a fight to run from it.

——
I don’t plan too far ahead. I say no to every request for appointment, commitment or meeting. Thinking I’m too fed up of letting people down at the last minute. I’ve applied for a job I’m not sure I want any longer and living in a house I’m not sure I’m gonna want to keep and going on trips I’m pretty sure I don’t even want to go on.

I’ve committed myself to a life of bitterness and sadness and holding onto all my grief and resentment as I neglect every opportunity and gift that GOD leads me too.

I’m OK alone. It’s just everyone else I worry about.

——

I’m sitting here in the house with Dad’s medical notes (shh don’t tell anyone) and my computer searching journals, pinning together all the scan results, all the info, putting it altogether to form a “probability judgement”, or in essence an educated guess as to how worried I should be.

I have spent all day fluctuating between optimism and pessimism (always ending up pessimistic of course…) over what might lie ahead. I am no oncologist, indeed I’m not much of anything but I am at least obsessive. There are 6 cases per million people of ampullary cancer. It is not top of our list of differential diagnoses. People say “glad you told me what that was” when I give my little Ronnie spiel. The ampulla of vater is a long forgotten piece of anatomical trivia lost in the memory banks of medical info.

I am somewhat of an (relative) expert. When it comes to Dad then I am the expert. I know all his scan results, all his blood tests, what his scans look like (little pictures in my head), all the procedures he’s had done. I know whose opinion to trust and I know whose to consider lightly (or simply ignore). This is only partly arrogance on my part. Though it may be largely denial.

——

A few days down the line and I “woke up feeling hungover and old” though I am neither. Two weeks of near constant fretting and anxiety, fluctuating between thinking dad is going to die horribly like all the other cancer patients (though they do not all die horribly, that is just how I remember it)- and thinking that he’s gonna be OK (well it’s a relative term). Not that there are ever any guarantees. “Medicine is not nearly as scientific as you think” as I tell all my patients. It’s “complicated, multi factorial and varies from patient to patient” as one of my old registrars told all his.

I had somewhat of a revelation on Friday, when dad told me he’d been vomiting up 2 day old food. All of a sudden light bulb’s pinged on above my head – a gastric outlet obstruction. A narrowing at where the stomach enters the bowel – possibly a complication of all the surgery (and all the associated complications) dad had 10 months ago. And so I descend into a frantic search of medical journals, books and google trying to find reasons to believe he can still be fixed. He went to hospital and they put a tube in his nose into his stomach and drained over 2 litres of green fluid that hadn’t been going anywhere, along with recognisable green Chinese seaweed that he’d eaten almost 3 weeks ago.

One of my Paeds colleagues was chatting the other day about the relation of personalities to doctors choice of profession. That paediatricians choose paeds cause they generally had stable childhoods and find themselves empathetic to kids. Though that got us thinking towards all the screwed up specialities (like EM and ICU) and what that made us. I think I had a pretty stable childhood, yet how come I ended up in the screwed up specialities, lying awake thinking about the continual tragedy and pain of all the people I deal with everyday.

I think I can fix everyone, I think that just given the time and the space and “let me do everything” then I can save everyone. Again and again (and again) I have been proved wrong. Yet the megalomania continues.

and after 10 months we’re back where we started. Waiting on decisions about surgery. Hoping above else that it’s fixable, hoping that this surgery will be the last, that this one will be a bit more straightforward. We try to joke and quip but this is harder. Or at least it seems that way.

——

I’m not sure I’m entirely well. All this thinking has done me no favours, the perpetual worry has changed nothing. I always find myself thinking is it worse or better to know what I know. Tonight it’s worse.

Is this what an “anxiety disorder” feels like? Is this what “not coping” feels like? I am too used to being invincible, I am too used to taking responsibility and bearing burdens and looking out for people. I know how to do that. I think.

My fear, or maybe resigned acceptance, is that maybe this is just life, maybe this is just what loving someone means. That this is just the way it works when you love someone.

I am back to fearing hearing the phone ring. Though he’s so much better now than he was 10 months ago. This is supposed to be easier. It just seems like it isn’t. Or maybe my memory is just that bad that i don’t remember what it was like.

GOD says trust me. I say I’m not so sure I do. Medicine is a losing battle.

——

It is hard to sit there everyday and watch him slowly come to pieces, losing weight, losing energy, losing hope. Or maybe that’s just me. My heart breaks to watch him. Yet I can’t do anything else. It hurts more not to be there. Tonight I’m not hopeful, tonight I’m not optimistic. Tonight I worry. I doubt anyone else’s ability to look after him properly, that each night I leave him, some muppet might screw up or miss something. I want to go on the ward and scream at someone that why don’t you fix him. Though this is all nonsense I know.

I’d be shouting at the wrong person. I was thinking how this would all be so different if he hadn’t got pancreatitis following the surgery. How he’d be so well and have none of the complications. But then I slowly realised the stupidity of the question. It shouldn’t be “why did he have to get pancreatitis?” but “why did he get cancer?” We ask the dumbest questions when it comes to fate and providence.

——

I find myself often as the appointed representative of the medical profession, of health care in general. I find myself standing in defence of all the idiots and all the mistakes that get made when you’re in hospital. I’m not sure quite why I feel the need to defend these people, and above all to defend “the system”. The system sucks. I know that.

I don’t find myself stuck in the middle, I put myself in the middle, defending an inefficient system, defending assholes who don’t seem to have the grace or wit to give patients the dignity they deserve. Maybe I’m just too much of a part of the system to criticize it, that somehow I’d be criticizing myself.

——

when anything happens to Dad, I withdraw. I give up on all the commitments in my life, all the relationships, everything goes on hold, down to all the little random jobs like buying loo roll. Yes of course I want the time and effort to dedicate to those I love the most, but do I occasionally use it as an excuse to simply withdraw into my little isolationist world? Yes I do.

——

Everyday we fail our patients. We get stuff wrong, we forget the dignity and respect that they deserve. We communicate badly, we ignore (instead of respectfully lay aside) their concerns. We blame this on a system which neglects the health of its citizens in pursuit of efficiency and budgets. And we are partly right to do so. But then we fail patients merely because we’re lazy, inconsiderate bastards. There are certain ways that we can’t avoid failing our patients and there are certain ways that we can. I have given up being the appointed representative of the medical profession. Shower of bastards the lot of them…

And so he’s back in the Mater. I’m reminded of John McClane‘s immortal line “How can the same shit happen to the same guy twice?” I try to reassure him that things can’t go as badly wrong as last time. Comforting, encouraging things like “sure you can’t get pancreatitis again, you don’t have a pancreas.” He’d be lost without my words of encouragement.

——

It’s the waiting that’s getting to him. He’s a smart guy. He knows that everything they’ve tried to get him feeding isn’t working. He knows that nothing is getting out of his stomach. He knows he needs an operation – and all that that entails. He just wishes they’d get on with it. I’m talking about Dad but then I think I could just be talking about myself in the third person.

This is unimaginably hard for him. I don’t consider that often enough. I don’t consider how long  day is in hospital. When you’re well enough to cut the lawn (as he is) but tied to a hospital bed by a central line and a tube in your nose. How long a day is when you’re woke at 5.30 from a sleep you only got to at 1am and were woken from once at 3am to check your blood sugar level. How long a day is when all you have to do is think about what lies ahead.

I like working in hospitals. This changes my mind about them.

——

Dad calls it Mater Mk II. I try to make it seem less than that. Though maybe it feels the same. Waiting. So much waiting. Dad has his operation tomorrow. And we’re not sure what that will bring. The fear remains – cancer. The dirty “C” word. If it’s there then we know we’re not going to win this battle. I’m not sure how I’ll be able to take that. I know I feel like I’ll not be able to handle it. Though I also know GOD gives and provides such for situations. Fear is desperately uncomfortable.

What I worry about tonight is that maybe this is the last day that I can think that he doesn’t have cancer, that he isn’t going to die (I mean sooner rather than later), that he’s still “fixable”. That I’m going to have to think seriously about when he’s not there. I just don’t want to have to think about that.

——

and so now I have to think about it. The word inescapable comes to mind. Today Dad his third major operation in 10 months and with the resounding clang of inevitability it appears the cancer has returned. Not that it returned today. The malignant (never a better word was uttered…) cells were there in the mesentery from the time of the first operation if not before. This was always a losing battle. We just didn’t know it was.

And so with one phone call from the surgeon, in the most wonderful and matter of fact medical language I find this out – I would choose no other way. I can no longer pretend that this is not happening. He said that statistically, recurrence of the cancer was what he was likely to find. And I think that maybe I was telling everyone the wrong thing. Maybe it was pure delusion to think that it was a complication of surgery and not the cancer returning.It’s just that living without hope isn’t much of a life. It’s hard to fight when you know you’re not going to win.

Everything changes but nothing changes. We get him home, we get him well. Life is left to be lived and lived well. And our lives on this earth are not to be so precious to us to be dragged out indefinitely, it is more about quality than quantity. “Living well is the best revenge…”

I phoned Simon and told him over the phone, feeling bad that he’s on his own in work. We went into the hospital at visiting time, trying to keep it together but knowing that he can read our faces like an open book. He was doped on morphine and still full of the anaesthetic. He asked had anyone spoken to the surgeon and I told him that the operation went well but that it was cancer that had caused the obstruction. Just like that. I told him. One of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do (though I have many ahead..) and he just smiles and says that he kind of hoped that it wasn’t going to be cancer.

——

Today he was more awake. To be honest he’d remembered little of yesterday, barely remembered me talking about cancer, lying there in a daze hoping it wasn’t so. But he knows. And he knows what it means. And I haven’t the slightest idea what that must feel like.

Today I am strangely calm. I know how this ends. I have an idea what lies ahead but we deal with that as it comes. None of us doubt that GOD is good. As odd as that sounds. None of us think that GOD has not been paying attention, or worse, that he wasn’t able to do anything about this. There will be anger and bitterness and resentment and questions (there has been already in my own heart), but it is possible to feel two ways at once and hold only one as true.

The nurse in charge of his morphine asking him questions about pain and was he too sore to cough and was he a smoker and he replied no, but he might start soon.

——

first of July and the oddest of days. We went up to visit dad and have a meeting with the surgeon regarding all that’s happened. And it’s not that we didn’t already know that time was short but to have someone, professional explain it to you makes it seem all the more like it’s happening. Lots of answers we knew were coming but still so hard to take all the same. Maybe we hoped someone would tell us that we had a good chance of having a reasonable amount of time. Maybe that was me just deluding myself.

Today was tough. All our eyes are puffy from too many tears and our heads are sore from too much crying. People write sad songs about their girlfriends leaving them or their seventh album only went silver instead of platinum. Maybe that’s only playing at sadness. Maybe that’s why people write far less songs about people dying, cause it hurts so much more.

I think I said before that we’ve in no way been unlucky in our “share” of suffering. But how do people deal and cope with even more than this. I suppose no one “copes” they just keep waking up each day and getting on with life and eventually maybe it doesn’t hurt so bad.

We (I keep writing “we” though it’s not as if anyone but Dad is sick. Though we all feel it. We all hurt.) do not know how much time we have left together. This breaks my heart even to type. But it’s to be spent as well as we can possibly spend it. “Dying well” is something to strive for, as horrible as it sounds.

We brought him home. Not that he’s perhaps medically quite ready for it but nothing we can’t deal with at home. And home has such a powerful pull, a word that seems to have become so much more full of meaning than simply where we lay our heads at night.

I don’t just mean the house and the family, I mean home where/when things will be put right. When all that is wrong is put right, when all will be changed, transformed, renewed, when life in all its fullness really gets going. The way to look at it is not “I’m gonna miss all this” but “I’m looking forward to finally enjoying it”.

So now he’s home I keep saying that we work it out from here. I have no idea what that means.


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July 2020
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