Monthly Archives: June 2009

How does your garden grow?

You might or might not admire my garden. There are weeds everywhere. The planters are half hidden in grass, some of them, as due to trying to finish The Book I’ve had no chance to strim it back. I fight a ceaseless and revolting war against slugs, creatures I rather like, but which are attacking everything in such numbers that mechanical means of control have become imperative. It is worse than untidy – yet, yet….

It has provided all the salad leaves I need since April. The roses are now starting to bloom (later than one might expect, due to going in late and the ravages of sheep.) The mallow is a constant haunt of many and various bees. Herbs are growing in force, and some, mint and sage and parsley, are providing useful crops. Even the courgettes are offering promise.

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Cog, ball bearing, even.

I can remember the precise moment when I decided that prejudice against LGBT people was stupid – I must have been about twelve, sexually aware, but not in very sophisticated way, and found out Uncle Alan was attracted to his own sex, and had had his life pretty comprehensively ruined by it. It struck me then, and it strikes me now, that it was a totally illogical reason for any kind or shape of prejudice. Quality is what matters in relationships.

Since that day I have done whatever lay in my power to change things. Not much lay in my power. I was not so much a cog in the machine as a tiny ball bearing – perhaps only a drop of oil. I’m not much of an activist, no sort of a politician. All I have done is to argue, present cases, put forward good theology, provide a shoulder to cry on and support when I had the opportunity. Sure, in the early days there was a bit of flack – but I am acutely aware that the the real pain was born elsewhere, and I could do nothing to stop it.

But yesterday I stood in the Pride march, and I looked – I looked at the Conservative Party – whose journey since the vomit-inducing Clause 28 days must be epic- and the gay police association, and the church groups, and I looked at the cheering crowd, and the cameras capturing the smiling faces, and the best of the drag queens (I do love a good drag queen) and I thought: ‘However tiny my part, it was a part. In a minuscule way I lent my weight to this side.’ Tiny ball bearing or not, I cannot tell you how good that felt. Or how good to see the distance travelled. LG

Proud

It is sods law that while Ayrshire basked in sunshine, Edinburgh froze in that soaking east coast mist and drizzle. Neither that nor the very inadequate PA system depressed the crowd, which had come out to spread happiness and did. Pace shmeekins, the dress code was pakamacs. (Any celebs steered well clear of me)
Kelvin2

We were there to support Kelvin, who was speaking about the white knot who promote marriage equality. He pitched it just right, I thought, with calm authority but open and cheerful – he is of course a naturally good speaker. He got a good cheer and marched with the nobs – well the politicians, anyhow. I watched him standing there and thought what an excellent thing it is to look and think, yes, the right man in the right job at the right time, doing the right thing.

The crowd were great with the dog collars (Kelvin and Kimberly) – sometimes acknowledging them but not making any great deal of it. Tell you what, though, mostly a very soberly dressed lot. Maybe the rain?

Kelvin1

Oh yeah!

I always enjoy Saturdays, of course I do – usually they consist in coffee and work on The Book – the unkind say in equal measure, but even they admit running concurrently.

However, this Saturday I am off out to spend the day with friends at Pride Scotia, lending a little general support to those there from the Scottish Episcopal church – imagine – a day in the fresh air!

So what to wear – roll up jeans or my patchwork skirt from Barefoot? Oh, decisions, decisions.

Still your storm

What made me so angry was the sense I had let them all down when I took that boat out in weather I knew might turn nasty that. He lay with the spindrift soaking his clothes, and his eyelids twitching with the dream which was lifting his mouth in a half smile, and I shook him awake. Andrew was shouting at him: ‘You really don’t give a toss, do you – it’s all words. We are doing down, and you don’t give a toss!’

He sprang awake as you do from deep sleep – disorientated, I thought. On his feet before my hands were off his shoulders, and real anger blazing in him. Not shouting, he was far too angry for that. But his words filled the howling air.

‘Peace. Be still.’

Look, at first I thought he was speaking to us, and he did get like that, sudden flashes of, well, he was scary when he was like that. But as, as, the thing happened, as the wind dropped and the waves stilled, I realised they had heard him too. They did not dare disobey him.

You think you’d like that? Somebody to still your storms? Just think about it – no, if you was there, I reckon you’d be as terrified as we were. You run away from what you fear, sure, but you find yourself with a bigger terror.

Fear and awe and dragons

An interesting conversation after church with a young father – he was puzzled by my saying that the disciples must have moved from fear to terror as the storm stilled. God is our father, and how can one fear Daddy? It led on to a conversation on angels – who he had come to think were men. [sic] I said I had come to think they were more like dragons.

I would dearly love to see an angel. I hope that if I ever do, it is dragon-like. Yes, I would be terrified. Sceptics will say that expecting one, I am more likely to see that form. I would rather think that the angels unfold themselves in ways we can understand. I understand the holy more easily if it has awe as a part of it. I prefer the terror of dragons.

Those who sow in tears…

At least half the readers of this blog will have completed the quotation in their minds in nano seconds.

I was at the new church today – and not long into the sermon it happened again. The tears were pouring down my cheeks. The kind lady sitting next to me, observing, placed an entire pack of tissues down next to me, unobtrusively and in total silence – a model of a response. I hope she did not read my reaction as sorrow though I fear she did. I was not even moved by the overt subject matter of the very good sermon on the stilling of trouble in our own lives. What had happened is something which has very rarely happened since I moved – the sermon somehow enabled me to find myself there – it opened up the reading – in this case I was in the boat with the disciples. And as so often for me, it was all totally real. And inevitably it moved me to floods of tears. What I really wanted next (oh shame on me) was not a Eucharist, but a quiet room, endless reference books and a roll of loo paper for sobbing into.

Whenever the story picks me up like this I end in tears. In fact I begin in tears. I have no idea how to explain this to others: ‘You know I was sobbing all through the service, well, I wasn’t unhappy or resolving issues, not in any ordinary way, anyhow, but the story took me with it, and when I am really in the story I nearly always am in tears. For me that place is so deeply emotional I weep from sheer excess of feeling.’ I mean it sounds nuts.

And burkas are frowned on. So I suppose I could sit near totally different people each time, in the hope they think it was just that week I was weeping. Or I could sit in one place so only a few people know. I really really do not want to avoid finding I am in the story. And yes I would love to be able to be in the story and not weep but I have no idea how to do it.

But I will complete the quotation for any who happen not to know it. Those who sow in tears will reap in joy.