Thursday, March 30, 2006

Doubts and loves

From the place where we are right,
flowers will never grow in the spring.

The place where we are right is hard
and trampled like a yard.

But doubts and loves dig up the world,
like a mole, a plough,

And a whisper will be heard in the place
where the ruined house once stood.
Yehuda Amichal

The ruined church grows
Taken apart, bit by bit,
It could not grow without dying
Without being torn asunder

And as I sat opposite her
Mind elsewhere
Thoughts racing
She looked up and smiled
and whispered a thanks

In the end kindness mattered
Kindness won over despair and desolation
Forget explanations
Seek no more in the trampled yard
Live the answer

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


I've been thinking about Lourdes, as I'll be going there soon, and I remembered this..

A couple of years ago, in Lourdes we were sitting on the meadow, with the group of children we had taken there playing a game.
Those who used wheelchairs were lying on the ground under an umbrella, as it was a lovely hot day, and the others were running round and jumping up and down.
The game was very simple.
In the centre of our group were statements written on a piece of paper...
"I am loving" " I am caring" " I am hopeful" I am joyful" I am forgiving" etc etc
Everyone had to choose ones that applied to them and sit down with them.
Next we had to select ones for other people...

At that time, I had a major problem.
Someone had taken great offence at something I had been involved in over a year before.
They had decided not to forgive me.
I am still aware that they have not forgiven me...
Anyway, everyone (the adults) knew all about it.
And some realised much more about it than me..One of the group picked up "I am forgiving" and handed it to me.
She just said: "You have to forgive"
I realised suddenly how much hatred and bitterness was running round my heart, and what an obstacle it was being for me.
I was waiting for this lady to forgive me, but that was not what was needed.
I started to cry and one of the children ran towards me and reached out and tried to take my glasses off.. and someone snapped a picture at that point...(you can see the slip of paper in my hands..)
and I realised my friend was right.If we cannot forgive, we cannot love.
And to love is the golden rule...

Monday, March 27, 2006

Taking a step back

Taking a step back and looking at where things are.
I'm swinging wildly again, from inner yearnings for god to exist to sure certainty that he doesn't. Urged by some to call myself Christian, by others to detach myself from all things religious.
All of which is my own fault for being as gobby on the internet about my thoughts and feelings as I am in real life.
So my mood swings are helped sadly, by my suicidal tendency to read and post on said internet forums...
If only I'd stick to my books! I've just read Henri Nouwen's The Return of the Prodigal Son" and I've been dipping into Letters from the Desert by Carlo Carretto and thinking to myself if I'd stayed away from websites and stuck to me books and me prayers, I'd never have been in this mess.
But they seem so empty when I read them now, like fictional accounts of magical tales sent to carry me through a difficult day.
And I grieve still, crying again just now. I WANT IT BACK!!! but it ain't going to come as I want it. You can't have everything you want, as I tell the boys...
But life goes on...

Back in work today, managing to get all done that needed doing, while ignoring my paperwork (tomorrow is another day) and I've just eaten my first proper meal since Tuesday (well half a meal.) The boys are off school tomorrow (strike action) and very much looking forward to a day at Mgu, while M goes to a funeral. And we made over a £1000 from the church collection on Sunday for Lourdes!
That's nearly two children paid for...
And I didn't aggravate the ward manager too much today, he let me go without berating me for anything and no one threatened to kill me, so that's always a plus...
End on a happy note!

Don't go treading on my dreams...

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
W.B. Yeats

Saturday, March 25, 2006


They've broken down the walls a little
Enough for me to peep in and put a foot in the gap
Whereas before I looked and sighed
Now I can be part of that which I lost

Did cutting myself off accelerate the process?
Of a certainty
Will going back again allow it to heal?
Sadly, no
Once broken, never repaired...

I think of that church at St Fagans
Once in fields, empty, tumbledown, sheep and rats its only congregation
Taken to pieces and moved
Now reassembled and ready to be restored
For the paintings covered for years to be revealed and shine out
Is that now where I am?
Broken, in pieces, but now ready for something new?
Time alone will tell.
Put down the thinking and ruminating and worrying
To live is the only restoration needed
And if the artist is there, he will act
If he is not, by living, the picture will have revealed itself.

Sleep sweetly and be blessed...

Friday, March 24, 2006

Here we go again...

So the last week or two, my anxiety has been getting worse, or so I thought. This almost constant gripping pain inside dogged me night and day.
Until Wed night when it exploded into the pain I had back last November, only about twenty times worse. I implored M to euthanase me, so to speak, as nothing would touch it.
Thursday morning I went to see the doctor and after two hours of seeing the nurse and her they tell me I probably have either severe reflux (I don't see that personally, as I have no acid reflux at all) or a gastric ulcer, I meekly accepted the same treatment as last time (which worked after three weeks) and agreed to further tests, acknowledging that if I'd had them last time, maybe I wouldn't be in this state now.
So today things are a bit better, but like before, as long as I don't eat. I've tried one or two little things, only to be met with ominous aches and twinges.
So my plan is effective starvation till Sunday, when I'll try something ready for Monday and work. And I've taken a couple of days off to get my head round it all...
Meanwhile, the Lourdes group met round here last night. Planning moves on apace, with the date getting closer. Trying to work out how to take several gallons of feeds and medical equipment necessary for our hospitalised child is proving a logistic headache, as is how to get him to the airport.
Never mind, we'll do it...
I don't envisage getting much sleep that week either.

Remind me again why I go?
Especially now I'm an evil atheist...

And Mw looks forward to NYC, at least I think he's more looking forward to a week of tormenting me on his own, without T to annoy him.
And J looks forward to Paris.

I'm going to be well travelled the next three months!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Back to the start...

Questions of science
Science and progress
Do not speak as loud as my heart
Tell me you love me
Come back and haunt me
Oh and I rush to the start
Running in circles
Chasing tails
And coming back as we are

I've had a pretty tiresome day, in some ways. T had a megatizz, lasting an hour and a half, half of it on the way home from a lovely trip in the sunshine to Gloucester. As ever, he got something in his head and couldn't shake it. A year ago, he and Mw had traded a game, because T hated his game. Now he wanted it back, he still hated it, but he had to have it back. Mw didn't want to swap (still plays and enjoys said game that T couldn't even do the tutorials on.)
All the way home T ranted and once home he followed me round ranting.
Nothing would help until finally he exhausted himself, and sat sobbing on my bed.
I finally got through to him and we looked at how to approach things.
He went off to look at Amazon for a book and got diverted while on the internet, so that when my mother called unexpectedly, he was quite calm and her visit settled him down.
Thankfully, for my head was shot to pieces by then.
He's now happily playing with Mw some sort of game that needs an atlas...

As for me, in the midst of this, I picked up a copy of the Pope's first letter while in the Abbey we went to.
And on the back it says this:
"Individual Christians and the Church as a body must exercise charity and service to all in need, not motivated by any self interest nor to take upon herself a political struggle, but simply to make the living God visible."
Going back to the start really, no one said it would be easy and I still do not believe, nor do I think I will ever be a catholic again. But it is good to see his words echoing what I am thinking, even if I am trying to make him visible to myself.
And oh phoey, "Fix You" has just come on the music I'm going to cry
But I think I've been partially fixed, and even if this is as good as it gets, it's OK.

Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try
To fix you...


Someone posted this in response to one of my self absorbed posts:
Self absorbed Cat post:
This and the point about orthopraxy is where I think I've got to. I can find no way to make the invisible visible to me anymore, but I am desperate for it to be so. I have worn my head out reading and thinking and I think I just have to admit defeat in that way, it as probably a stupid way to go anyway. I have found no magic way to persuade myself God is real, however much I want to. But I know I want to live the way I used to live, the way I believe the Jesus I knew taught me to, so I'm just going to do that and hope by doing so the invisible will reappear and become visible to me again.Thanks.
Then let no one tell you you lack "faith".
The Epistle to the Hebrews, Chapter 11, Verse 1

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
You are as qualified to be called "Christian" as all the people who sit around so busy believing they haven't got time to do anything about it. More so, IMHO.

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
That's a phrase I think I can live with. It's a different faith than the one I had, but it'll do. And kindness, I hope, will make it grow.
Thanks folks who've been there for me...
May the Lord you believe in bless you at all times.

And I'm still an atheist, I guess, I still see no god, but that is not as important to me as how I should live.
If God is there, the rest will follow. I can have hope in that.
If not, I have the lived the way I want to and the way I see the best to, with kindness, compassion and humour and I will have tried to follow the best teachings of a wise man, who was on the side of the poor and oppressed and the also rans.
That's not a bad way to live.

Saturday, March 18, 2006


When I finally lost it, back in December, I can remember the sense of detachment from reality that occured. At least now I have reality back, but what I have not managed is to get rid of this pain I have almost continually inside. I am not looking for sympathy here, I am just musing on it and wondering how to make it go.
In the morning, I wake up with it, as I go to bed at night it is still there. There are times in the day when I am unaware of it, but odd comments or happenings bring it to mind. It is not just an ache, but a physical pain, just under my rib cage and I feel empty.
And I want it to go.
I have tried reading, thinking, not thinking, talking to people, not talking to them, starting topics on faith or participating in them, support threads etc. but it doesn't go.
It hangs on like a leech, sucking the strength out of me and making each day like walking through treacle (but without the sweetness.)
And I want it to go...
I know if I believed again it would go, but I can't get it back, I have tried. And I have decided to live as if though the jesus that I knew and loved was real, but still the pain does not go.
I can't carry on like this for much longer, that I know. But all the wonderful support I have had has not helped, so maybe I just have to accept this is how it will be.

I am not going to allow myself to be broken.
However much it hurts, I have two boys who need me and I cannot wallow around in front of them.
I don't do that and I won't do that.
So excuse my little wallow here.
I've had a hard week in work and I'm feeling crushed
I'll be better in a couple of days when I've got some energy back
If only this pain would go...

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Mood swings

There's something very horrible about being human
(Sorry, in one of those moods...if you are feeling low please stop reading NOW.)

/self pity mode on
My mood is swinging all over the place, up one minute, racing thoughts, not able to sleep, and down the next, but anxious all the time. I've been crying now again this evening and the anxiety and fear are gradually escalating. It was my own fault, having looked at ga, I got into a hell thread and just produced the usual reaction from myself. In addition, work for the next few days continues to be truly awful, and a major problem of earth shatteringly High Court in London proportions is rearing its ugly head and it seems unsolvable. I'm writing several reports simultaneously and the care co-ordinator for the difficult case goes on annual leave for two weeks, leaving me to produce all the documentation required.
So self pity rules tonight and I just wept all over M, who told me not to worry, I would go to heaven...
Though as I pointed out, that wasn't the issue, if I don't believe in an afterlife, heaven and hell are immaterial.
But in the past when this happened, when I felt out of control, I turned to god
I have no one to turn to now but me and I am woefully not up to the task...
So I'm going to let myself have a cry in the hope that I will get it all out my system.
What annoys me so much is I know exactly what is happening, all the physiological and biochemical and cognitive processes that are doing this and doyouthink I can stop them?
I hate being human....
/self pity mood off

Back to reality....
Pull yourself together woman- there are many far worse off than you- just be thankful for what you've got.
Just be kind and human to those around you and do your best, no one can ask for more.
You cannot solve all the problems of the world or even your charges, just do what can be done, that's all you can do, in kindness and respect.
And keep a sense of humour about it all, or you will go mad.. (or madder than you already are.)
Maybe you are just a brain in a jar, in which case, why worry??!?
Go to bed early and curl up with a cat and a book and listen to some soft music.
And put aside tomorrow till it comes.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

"We are never broken"

Last weekend, M and I were talking to matt about life, the universe and everything. I had been reading a book by the Dali Lama, which I've quoted something before and it said a lot about kindness being important. Now it's a longstanding joke between M and me that when we first were together one day, I asked him, in the typical way young lovers do: "Why do you love me?"
Being a man, he failed to understand that he should produce a romantic, poetic response and replied, "Because you're kind.."
At the time I almost took exception to this, but now it seems such an important thing to me that I still hold onto this ability that I seem to have been given.

So yesterday we went shopping and I brought a Jewel CD which had "Hands" on it. And for the first time read the song that features the words "In the end, only kindeness matters."
Google it and read it if you can.
The start smothered me with these words...

"If I could tell the world just one thing, its that we're all ok
And not to worry because worry is wasteful and useless in times like these
I won't be made useless
I won't be idle with despair.
I will gather myself around my faith
For light does the darkness most fear."

And as the smothering lifted and I could breathe again, I thought, I am not going to be made useless by what has happened here and I am not going to be idle with despair.
I may not be going to get down on my knees and pray, but I don't have to have this magic thing called faith to be "God's hands, God's heart, God's mind" in this world
I have not been broken and I am not going to be broken by this.
And in the end, kindness matters and that is my start
And if God is there, he'll find me, I won't even have to look.
Like Carlo Carretto said, he will surprise me...

"I have behaved like a man who travels over mountains and seas to look for a treasure then returns home exhausted and discovers to his suprise that God is in his house....In my house, in Mother Teresa's house, in Martin Luther King's house, in Roger Schutz's house, in Follerau's house.
As He is a hidden God, no one sees Him, but everyone seeks Him because everyone longs to see Him.
The whole business is extraordinarily interesting!

But while I'm thinking about the best way of discovering God, of seeing God, Mother Teresa goes out on the streets and sees someone dying without help. She does not rationalise or theorize...she comforts, she gives him water to drink, "I want him to die knowing a friend is near."

"God reveals himself where there is anyone who respects life, who desires the light, who seeks to love. Every time you open yourself to life, every time you act the truth, every time you love, God is in your actions."

"By doing things as Jesus would do them, as God would do them, you free God from the veils of invisibility and make Him visible on man's journey."

If I do things as Jesus would do them, the Jesus shown by his words, not the interpretations others would put on them, then maybe, just maybe, the invisible will become visible again. I don't know, but I'm prepared to risk it...

Sunday, March 05, 2006


Remembering those days when I believed...
Remembering praying- turning to someone greater than I and throwing myself on Him
Throwing my horrors and sadness and woes into Him, knowing he would take them and give them back to me as strength
Shutting my eyes and drawing wisdom from something so much greater than me
So in times when I knew I was not wise enough or clever enough or strong enough to face what was going on, He was there to hold me up and walk with me and lead me through.
Seeing a sunset and wondering at His power and cleverness
Seeing someone love and thanking Him for sending them
Feeling Him inside, talking to me, listening to me.
Telling Him things I could tell no one else
And wanting to share Him, the joy and happiness he brought to me, with others.

So don't dare to say I knew Him not, because I knew then just as much as you know now.
It's just that He's disappeared and I can't see Him anymore.
If He was there, He wouldn't hide. Not the God I knew.
I was just deluding myself.
And don't dare to say I didn't seek or didn't open my heart, because I did and I do.
It's just that there is no one there to open it to.

I want to believe but there is no one there to help my unbelief.
Sorry, so sorry.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

iPods, downloads and cats...

Not a good day, all in all, or so it seemed before kindness won the day.
I woke with a monster headache to the alarm at 6.30am.
I didn't need to get up, just had forgotten to switch off the alarm.
Fooey! M stirred and went back to sleep. I'm more easily roused...
Once up, it was so cold, I put on the heating and switched on the computer and never made it back to bed...
I started to get riled over things I read but took a step back (mentally, not room to do this where the computer is) and hopefully stayed in control.
Later, T's iPod broke. A cracked screen. No one did it, it happened on its own, he explained.
Another miracle!!
But a megadisaster.
The iPod for us was the best invention ever.
No longer did we need to travel round with crates of CDs, batteries and CD cleaning stuff, T could be kept happy by this small device, loaded as it was with all 500 of his favourite tunes (ranging from Cliff's Millenium Prayer, thru the Dubliner's Lord of the Dance to various artists I've never heard of and never wish to hear again.)
He was not happy (Brit understatement mode)
Fortunately, being of some forsight, I had insured it against accidental damage (*cough*) and rang the helpline.
Twenty minutes of pushing 5 followed by 2 followed by 3, led me to talk to a human type person, who informed me I just had to return it to the shop.
I set off, iPod and receipt in hand, to drive straight into the traffic jam from hell, as the rugby supporters all tried to get to town at the same time.
I arrived, eventually, stressed out and tense and then waited for half an hour in the queue before being told I should have had a number given to me...
By this point, I was close to the edge.
Hormones, lack of sleep and tetchiness were just adding up inside me.
But once again, I took a (mental) step back, a deep breath, and kept calm as the problem got sorted. As it was- alas - though, no iPod for a month while they fix it.
T was furious on my return and wanted me to go and buy a new one instantly, but I managed to divert his attention and we've got out the crate again, on a temporary basis...

So I finally lay on the bed, exhausted, his brother to the rescue having engaged him in a game.
4 hours sleep, not really enough, I snuggled down, soon to be joined by my cat.
We looked at each other, shutting our eyes in a Cat like smile, and both curled up together, the big and little cat, just being content to snooze.

And when I awoke, I read a little from a book by the Dali Lama...
I liked it:
This is my simple religion. No need for temples. No need for complicated philosophy. Your own mind, your own heart is the temple and your philosophy is simple kindness.
What else can we live for if not to make others happy, and in doing so, to make us happy too? Simple kindness seems a good way to go...
The kindness of the girl in the shop, the kindness of Mw to his brother, the kindness of M as he woke me from my sleep, all being given to me today.
To live at peace and be content; even on difficult days, it can be done.
A challenge to live it through more difficult times again, but what is life without challenge?
Time to start dancing in the dark again, I think...

Are you good?

Well, are you?
According to the biblegod, no one is good but God alone.
So, unless you accept God and his message of salvation, it's eternal separation and unhappiness.
/hell rant mode on
Difficult issues here...
Firstly, God=good; God=killing the firstborn of the Egyptians etc. etc.
(I could write a long list, well known to attendors of apologetics fora of other actions and approved actions of OT god)
Even Jesus spoke of people being turned out to places where there would be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
If our definition of good comes from this, how do we know what God wants?
Doesn't this take us to the actions of folks down the centuries who killed and murdered and tortured in the name of God and said it was good?
Secondly, if God made all, how come we cannot be good? In heaven, once there, we will be forever, according to the bible, so why could he not have done it right here, right now?
Thirdly, why cannot god give more evidence now? Not just the "I prayer and found my car keys" evidence, "I felt God move, speak, inspire", not just 2000 year old inconsistent story evidence?
Why not something a bit clearer?
Fourthly, why are so many of his supporters so angry and full of hate?
Why, when I wanted to believe so much, did he hide from me, and why does he still hide if he is really there? Why am I still "missing?"

So, in answer, sometimes I am "good" in the eyes of those round me, sometimes, not so good, sometimes crabby, sometimes loving and unselfish, sometimes brave, sometimes cowardly.
But, neither I, nor any one I know who has been placed on this world, deserve eternal misery for what I have done, what they have done. And those that say people do, need to seriously look in their own hearts and ask, "What kind of god am I serving?"

/hell rant mode off...