Friday, July 28, 2006

Running on Low

I guess that at the moment as an entire family we are running on empty. K seemed to sum it up this afternoon when she said “we just seem to have been living to survive tomorrow or when we get the next couple of days over”.

Today saw another funeral this time it was a lovely lady who had a massive impact on my early ministry. She was the first ‘official’ visit I did. I was going to teach her so much, 2 hours late I came away so much more humble and so much wiser.

Ira was a wonderful West Indian lady and her funeral was a celebration of her life. It had to be held at the Cathedral so that all mourners could fit in. It was followed by songs at the graveside and the men filling in the grave while the women decorated it with flowers. This West Indian tradition seems to help with the grief process but does leave you emotionally drained.

So as I am now close to empty I don’t think I’ll blog again until we come back from our holidays in Cornwall. We go on Monday and never has a holiday been needed so much. Hopefully when I do blog again I will return to my normal cheery self!

Laughter and Tears

Tonight has been a good night, yet at the same time it has been one of the worst nights ever. Today was Kathryn’s birthday she was fifteen. Only seems two minutes ago since I held her as a small baby in my arms and here she is grown up and making her parents proud. So we decided to have a small party for a few friends and Grandparents.

Kathryn had friends staying over last night so only invited one friend tonight. We invited Aunty Liz of course and as I said Grandma and Grandad. Also invited were Matt (who arrived slightly worse for drink having been watching England at Old Trafford all day) and Tom and Elissa.

The party was great I cannot remember having laughed as much as I did for such a very long time. So why the title? Well tonight was also the last time we would see Tom and Elissa for a very long time.

We have known for some time now that they were emigrating to Canada however, that does not make the reality any easier to take when the moment arrives. Both of them have shown us unconditional love at the time we needed it the most. They have helped us to laugh and cry, been there for us when we needed it and just helped us to live.

I will miss them both so much and especially Tom who has become such a very good friend who always knows the right words. My words tonight cannot express the loss I will feel over the coming months. Tom if you ever do read this I just want to say that I have seen in you so many times the God you do not believe in and experienced that God’s compassion in ways you will never know. Thank you for being my friend.

Friendship’s are so often those things you spend so much time trying to find, yet when they arrive they can also cause you so much pain. However, in the words of someone so much brighter than me “It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all”.

Hope you like the picture of Karen and my other two best friends.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Glad its Over, Glad I Did It

Thank you for all your hugs, thoughts and prayers. I managed to make it through the funeral, standing at the other side of it I was so glad I was able to that for her. It was a fine balance between showing empathy and humanity and actually being able to do the job I was there to do but I think I managed it.

Thanks again, I wanted to say something about the power of God in this situation, but you know i'm just drained so I think I may just save it for another day. God bless and goodnight!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

To Blog or Not

I always find it hard to know where to draw the line between public and private. Consequently this stops me from sharing some things that probably would be beneficial to do so. Last Saturday morning my auntie died, she had been ill in Christies Hospital for a while.

I say auntie, she wasn’t really just a friend of my mum’s, but she had always been there for me since the day I had been born. Watching her deteriorate over the last few weeks has been awful. When the news she had died arrived it was in some sense a blessing yet still a great loss of someone who was so special.

Perhaps stupidly I have agreed to take the funeral service next Tuesday (your prayers would be appreciated) I did so because I believe this is the last thing I can do for her and feel immensely privileged to be able to do so. Her family have left all the funeral arrangements to me and dealing with the undertakers and making decisions has at time been strange. I have over the last few days thought a lot about the divide between heaven and earth. Questions many others have asked sprung to mind so a recalled the words of the great John Bell “just trust God”.

Nothing startling and I too would have been disappointed to have trekked across the country for that nugget of wisdom. Yet in its simplicity it reminded me to continue placing my trust in a God of infinite mercy, justice and love. I hope over the next few days and especially on Tuesday I can encourage others to look within their grief and do the same.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Its only a game!

Is often the accusation levelled against football. Now there are lots of reasons I would wish to argue against this, however, I intend only to focus on one.

The area of Manchester in which I live is a large multi-cultural suburb about 2 miles from the city centre. It comprises mainly of a white British and Asian or Afro Caribbean population. On the whole these communities live happily alongside one another with very little problems. Having worked in Burnley for seven years this is in stark contrast to the communities living in places such as that where both communities are distinct from one another.

However I do wonder whether at times by the nature that these Asian communities have such a well defined cultural identity and close communal links whether the white community living alongside do at times question there commitment to the neighbourhood and perhaps the country.

I observed with interest recently the governments suggestion that a Britishness(made up word) test should be introduced, I’m not sure I’d pass or at least what should be included. Perhaps questions like what is a Britain’s favourite food, mmmm apparently that is now Chicken Tikka so perhaps that wouldn’t work. Anyway back to the football.

My point is this (I do have one) that during the world cup the cultural, social and to some extent community divide has been smashed down. Asian’s have been flying the English flag from their cars and house’s. The Asian petrol shop assistance spoke passionately about Gerrard’s sweet touch on the ball and suddenly the differences disappear. Shame we couldn’t win it!

I recentley went to listen to Billy Bragg who said it was time we claimed back the English flag from the Nationalistic agenda whether or not football will achieve this i'm not sure or naive enough to suggest it solves all our problems. Still perhaps this is the beginning of a realisation (even if it only last 4 weeks) that we are not so different after all. Similar things make us tick, what we need to do is spend the time discovering what they are!