Tag Archives: Family

I don’t know what to do about the pain.
Not mine.
Theirs'.
The mothers’ - daughters’ - sisters’ - aunts’ - cousins’ - nieces’ - grandmothers’ - friends’ - neighbours’.
I don’t know what to do about the pain.
Not mine.
Theirs’.
The fathers’ - sons’ - brothers’ - uncles’ - cousins’ - nephews’ - grandfathers’ - friends’ - neighbours’.
Aleppo. Yemen. South Sudan... The list goes on.
War. Famine. Destruction. Lines drawn between Us and Them.
I can make donations, right letters, sign petitions, light candles, weep, mourn and go to demonstrations.
But I don’t know what to do about the pain, the grief, the shattered lives and blood soaked clothing.
It is with them every minute. But I can barely read, talk or think about it.
The option to shut out the pain is a privilege.
Today we in church we sang about the baby in the manager, the Prince of Peace.

dabkxsptaek-gareth-harper

Yet peace seems further and farther away.
And though my head knows there is hope in the wiping of every tear and end to death one day, my heart ached with pain of the present.
Despite what the world says, I know You are good.
Despite what the world says, I know that Your heart grieves for every lost life and heart filled with pain.
Despite what the world says you are Emmanuel - God with us. It's your very name.
I know you are Good. I know this is true.
But right now I don't know what to do about the pain.
And so I live in the tension of celebrating joy to a broken world.
So I will continue to pray for your good and perfect will of Love, Justice & Peace  to be done.
I will continue to pray for our world leaders to make wise, compassionate and loving decisions.
I will continue to pray for protection, healing and provision to those living in terror.
I will continue to pray for comfort for those who mourn.
I will continue to pray that we will love and forgive our neighbours.
I will choose to rejoice despite the darkness.

I wrote this a couple of years ago in response to a world that seemed full of violence, hate, pain and death. This has felt like another such a week - hence the remix.

The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1v5

 

Last Sunday was my birthday. Another year closer to retirement and the cancellation of my student debt- Yay for me!

It also marked four weeks since my Grandmother died. For the first time I received a birthday card without her name in it - “With love from Grandad."

The following day one of my best friends had her first baby. Welcome to the world Connie!

Loss and Life.

The week before my birthday I went to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. I saw some great theatre, some beautiful theatre, some duller than golf theatre, some hilarious comedy and some so poor I can’t even call it comedy comedy - more of a painful, never ending lecture. I laughed more in those seven days than the last seven months. In case you missed it here's the joke of the fringe: "I just deleted all the German names off my phone. It's Hans free." – Darren Walsh

For the first time I can't visit my Grandmother and tell her all about it.

Loss and Laughing.

I used to love this C. S. Lewis quote because I thought it was Beautiful and True. I now love it because I know it to be True and Beautiful. Word order is important people –  Chips and fish? Coffee & Tea?

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”  C. S. Lewis

Life, Loss, Love & Laughing.

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2 Comments

Hi Rachel
Have a good trip to HK. WOW - what a week!!! Bet your feet haven't touched the ground (quite appropriate that you've been on a plane too!). Where do I start - the news of your teaching fellowship is great news, many congratulations. Then of course himself getting a job ! You have both worked so hard and we couldn't be more pleased for you. It must be so exciting planning the next steps, and quite hard to focus on the job in hand.
We look forward to coming up to visit on the 22nd December,catching up with all the news first hand and seeing the Church and of course where your new abode will be.
Congratulations once again
Love from
B & M xx

You really need to see it. It’s just ten images of Syrian refugees with their most important thing.

For those of you who dismissed the link the first time here is it again: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-21939840

It reminded me that behind the headlines of body counts and outside of the politics of interference from the west are Real People. 

Actual real people - mind, body and soul. 

Real people who have had their lives violently interrupted and ripped apart.

Real mothers and fathers who worry about the futures of their children.
Real school children whose education has been stopped.

Real business owners who have left behind their livelihoods.

Real children who fight and argue with their siblings.

Real people who get ill and tired and scared.

Real people who had roots in the family, friends, neighbours and community they love o so dearly but had to leave behind.

Real people with hopes for the future clouded by the worries of today.

Real people who hope that change is coming. 

Real people.


Not just ‘Syrians,’ a group of people ‘other’ than us. Real people.

Change a few circumstances and it could have been us, forced to leave behind everything we know for life in a refugee camp.

There are thousands of these real people. Thousands of men, women and children. Thousands of mothers, wives, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, cousins and daughters. Thousands of fathers, husbands, grandfathers, uncles, brothers, cousins and sons.


When confronted with something so big and with such a high human cost I often get overwhelmed by not knowing the best way to respond. I have learned to do two things: 

1. Pray. Even though it often doesn't seem like much prayer takes the problem to the throne of God - there is nothing more powerful.

2. Support the people paying the cost - usually through an organisation that know what they're doing.

3. If the global scale seems outta reach then find out if you can do something on a local scale.  

Reach out your hand. The least we can do is try and support these real people: /http://www.tearfund.org/en/news/press_releases/dec_launches_syria_crisis_appeal/

Pray. Petition. Seek Peace.

Who will you spend Christmas* with when you’re 65? Something I was asked recently and in line with the whole Quarter Century Crisis thing, this has proved to be quite a relevant question. But it got me thinking, not only who will I spend Christmas with when I’m 65 but who will I be when I’m 65? 
 
I’ve always hoped that at some point in my life I would become one of those super accomplished women. You know, the ones who can juggle work, family, friends and life while managing to effortlessly rustle up a gourmet meal for twenty at the drop of a hat whilst wearing a ballgown. It's not hard to see that I am so not her right now. But surely now is the time to start becoming that person?
 
To be honest I find it hard to envisage life beyond July (although plans for August are beginning to look Excellent As) and so thinking about the next 42 years is Far Out. But here are some considerations for Christmas 2055:
 

Will I have an open house policy of welcoming any family member (including the ones you'd rather not be related to) plus assorted guests into my home with open arms? Or will I only invite a privileged few (and definitely not those strange relations who rather lower the tone) to share the yuletide festivities of my home?

 
Will I have taken time to put up decorations (complete with this year’s theme of handmade arts and crafts ) or will a sullen looking artificial tree crammed into the corner of the kitchen suffice?
 
Will I have managed to effortlessly cook a five course feast (including four meat choices, two fish courses and at least five different desserts) without ending up on the kitchen floor crying for my mother?
 
Will I be serving only seasonal and organic produce or will I be microwaving whatever was on offer at Tesco? (avoiding anything that claims to be beef, obvs)
 
Having decided that pointless gift giving is a wasteful social norm, will I have braved the wrath of many by giving everyone a Kiva loan instead? 
 
Having banished all internet and game devices for the day will I manage to keep everyone entertained with a rousing sing-a-long around the piano (expertly played by myself of course)? Or will it quickly descend into chaos with small children mistaking the household pets for moving Piñatas and the teenagers taking bets on which pet will get caught first?
 
As Hostess Supreme will I mange to help feed the babies, soothe the toddlers’ tears and appease their older siblings’ ploys for more attention without neglecting the elderly relatives? Or having been pushed to the limit by cooking and having too many people in my space will I be grumpily hiding away in the garden hoping that no one can see me smoking and swigging wine from the bottle?
 
Will I make time to actually talk with my family and see how they are or just make awkward small talk about the weather – I mean it has been rather cold lately and they’re saying it might snow in the new year, which would be terrible because how could I possibly get to town to do some sales shopping because we’re hoping to get a new radio in the sales because blah blah blah.
Will I cheerily wave everyone goodbye at the end of the day already planning next year’s festivities? Or will I let them see themselves out in favour of opening up the good bottle of wine that I didn’t want to waste on them at dinner?
Well, I’ve got 42 years to figure it out. Piece of cake.
Who will you be when you're 64 65?
 
*well, actually they said thanksgiving because they were American. But fear not I have a Cultural Relevance Adaptability Licence so it’s ok to change it.