Monday, 12 December 2011

Poem: A gap in the book shelf of my life

A gap in the book shelf of my life

They’ve left your books in my room
A bit of you that can be forever mine

It’s thin pickings with just your initials on some volumes
Though one of them says Durham Xmas 87

The books have a strange and sweet smell
Which puzzles me

I can hang onto these volumes
As long as I like

But you are gone
And there is a gap in the book shelf of my life

Thursday, 8 December 2011

I envy Catholics/Q

I envy Catholics, indeed all kind of Christians, indeed all kind of people of faith, indeed also Freudians, person-centred therapists, socialists and communists. They all have a clearly stated faith and even if they have tensions around it they still belong. Me after 20 years I am bit of a lapsed Quaker (and Quakers struggle with the idea of whether they are Christians anyway!). I’m vaguely humanistic with a spiritual bent, I’ve been a Guardian reading liberal since I was 13 and I am still proud of the Guardian – think phone hacking for a start but I am ashamed by what Liberal Democrats are doing in government – not that I have ever been a party member. And I can’t do class properly even though I am middle class my origins are on class borderlands and my accent is not right and I don’t come from the right part of England. I guess I have inherited being an awkward sod from my dad though that seems a bit bone headed at times. So here I am missing my friend Chris and wondering what life and death are all about and remembering the last time I visited my spiritual director Q.

- Hi Q!
- Hi Boss (Q will insist on calling me this!)
- Q I envy Catholics….They have some clear things to believe in, clear things to hang on to, even though their faith is sometimes thin or challenged like Mary’s is just now
- Hmm
- I have so little to hang onto beyond my experiences and I feel so fragmented at times
- Hmm
- Oh Q your’re Hmmming me!
- Yes
- I just wish I could feel more whole more of the time
- When do you feel this wholeness?
- Sometimes at Quaker Meetings, usually in the silence, some times elsewhere. And sometimes when I feel really connected and close to someone… often it’s quite emotional… I struggle with emotion sometimes I feel too many tears too much of the time. It’s all getting a bit much…. Last time I felt this way back in 1982 I had a neat story to explain, opening up on my 3rd eye….. I don’t have a story this time just the tears.
- Is that really so bad?
- (Big sigh) No I guess, I just sure as hell would like to know here it was all leading to
- You would?
- Yeah as long as it was a good story
- Consider Christmas
- (Big sigh) more tears and same old story perverted by consumption
- But the story?
- I know it’s about hope, new birth, belonging. The other day I had an image of my daughter when I first held her in my arms, she was a few minutes old and her mum was in need of some attention from the midwife so I held her and talked to her (sobbing) and she felt like a bit of heaven to me (more tears)
- When it is like that nothing else matters one bit, not one bit.
- Yes!
- So you want me to hold on to that?
- Is there anything better in all creation?
- No.