Sunday, July 31, 2005


I think about this often: How can I make a difference to life around me, to my community and my world? To make the fact that I existed count. Or am I too busy living hedonistically, centring my life around what it gives me and not what I give to life.

I think maybe the consumerist culture has taught us to look at things in terms of what it gives us and what we can get out of it.

I suppose that's true for material possessions, for relationships, and even, believe it or not, for one's faith. Relationsips are mostly about getting; how much good will this be for me, how much can I get from it. Sadly few people truly give and give deeply, becuase they are too busy trying to take. I thought of Khalil Gibran's poem on Giving, from The Prophet. It is revolutionary. It is about giving out of pain, out of little, out of the sheer joy of giving.

And I notice a disturbing trend in the way the Christian faith is preached! It's all about what we can get from God, and what God can give us. So we go to church to get something and feel good. Our faith is generally about getting something from God and other people - be it churches, books or even sermons! So little of it is about how much we give God...and His world. Where are all the sermons about "dying to oneself", about being "a grain of wheat that falls to the ground", about taking up a cross?

We are lap dogs. Pampered and spoilt. Wanting more. Demanding more. Taking more. And yes - giving less. Divinity was poured out for the world and all we do is just sit there and lap it all up with smug satisfaction. The world and God owes us happiness and good times...big time.

Divinity doesn't go beyond our outstretched tongues.

I find the words of David profound! When he is offered free items for a sacrifice his response to the offer is "I will not give to the Lord that which costs me nothing".

What is wrong with us that we have turned so selfish? No wonder the world is full of pain! It's made of a generation of takers and there are so few who truly give.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

selfish mathematics

I have listened to the glib pronouncements of people interviewed for an "opinion" on the recent hot topic "murderous security", and I have thought an unvoiced question: "would you have spoken so carelessly and selflessly of the "greater good", if the sacrifice made was your beloved"?

Frankly its easy to talk. We all talk. Like hell. And loftily, knowledgably, grimly, arrogantly.

I wonder how we would feel about the "one" being sacrificed for the many, for the "greater good" was our "one". My husband, my wife, my son or daughter. My sister or brother, my father or mother. My friend. Would it then be as simple to state loftily that "sacrifices of one" must be made for the safety of many.

I somehow have a distaste for that kind of mathematics. It's the mathematics that decrees some lives less important than others. It decrees that one life is less important than many. It disturbs me that we live now in an era where the value placed on life is determined by the maxim "the greater good for the greater number".

This is Orwellian economy - of the valuelessness of a single individual, and the necessity for the state or political group to determine which one that individual will be.
Are we not becoming the "dictatorships" we despise, where a "suspect" in the street is gunned down for the "greater good of the greater number"? Is that not the foundation of a dictatorship - that a leader or leaders decide who is worth sacrificing for the sake of the rest and whose freedom should be restricted for the sake of the rest?

I don't know...I am troubled and I am just wondering!

Sunday, July 17, 2005

novelty the spice of life?

one might think that in everything novelty is everything.

check this list.
1. this blog will wear off. check it out in 6mths for regularity.
2. appearance. check out hairstyles for style and colours, the ranges of make-up, the variety of perfumes.
3. clothes. check out the charity shops and discover how novelty wears off the clothes people wear.
4 food. check out sainsburys for the ranges of cheeses, icecreams, sauces, soaps, shampoos.
5. toys. check out the boredom threshold of children with a new toy. and the novelty threshold of adults buying the latest gadgetry for the kitchen, the loo, the bedroom, the desk, the tv, the radio, the computer.
6. sex. check out the porn sites, radio programmes and sex shops. a little more titillation. a new partner, another couple, an extra man, an extra woman, with three or four, with gadgets
7. love. check out the broken relatiohships. more excitement. more fun. thrill of new face, new voice, new interests, new body.
8. houses. check out the redecoration madness, the throw away madness, the get-a-new-look madness. get a new house madness, a new garden in a day. homes and gardens used to grow old with its people, lived in and loved. now they are just passed through on the way to a novelty house.

how do you get out of the novelty machine the world has become. sure its no harm trying out clothes, cheeses and toys. but what if the novelty mind-set spills over into everything else. what if we see everything else as "old hat".

how do you then begin to find loveliness in the worn out family home, the familiar beloved faces, the known lover, the old nuances? and in your sparkling and exciting novelty world from where do you glean comfort, tenderness, warmth, laughter for they come not from novelty but from the dear, known, sometimes worn out and strangely beautiful familiarity.

novelty might be a very small something. but it is far from everything.

listen to the heartbeats

life? it happens to you on the way to the big things you think are "life".

life is "body time", the now. not "mechanical time" of clock time. we just need clock time becuase we are afraid of body time. clock time reassures.

life is moments. the now. at 07.21am when you open your eyes and look into the eyes of someone you love. the 11.46am moment when a talking animal says something profoundly silly and true. or the 15.38pm moment when you suddenly laugh while sipping tea. life is 21.04pm when a haunting piece of music goes like an arrow into you. its the 01.57am moment when in the stillness of the night you stop and a thought goes so deep, its poignancy pierces.

we wait for life. prepare for it. manic redecorators of houses we spend time redesigning it. we plan. the next day, next week, next month, next year, ten years. we imagine it will come. later. not today.


it can
at any moment.
the next minute. the next hour. the next day.

there is no later. just the now. as alan lightman said "instead they listened to their heartbeats".

i like that.
i want to live listening to heartbeats. mine and others.