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  • Nearly on holiday....!

    My holiday was planned way back in January and most of it paid for then. This morning I was all good to go, when I spotted a message from British Airways to say my flight this evening had been cancelled, and I had been offered a 'red eye' flight to a different airport tomorrow morning, which meant frantically cancelling and re-booking transfers... what a faff!  However, hats off to TfL who reactivated my Oyster card within ten minutes, including 'hold' time after pressing assorted buttons.  And Scotrail, via whom I booked my Heathrow Express ticket to collect just a few minutes walk from home!

    The kitties are already on their hols, and it's VERY quiet without their lovely, furry, purry presence.

    This time tomorrow I will be Rome - hurrah!

  • Immeasurable Joy

    We had waited such a long time for this day to come.  We had lived with the challenges of finding a suitable venue, the disappointment of postponement due to severe weather, and now finally it arrived.

    The Baptistery was built for small, skinny Victorians, and whilst all our candidates were reasonably lithe, one was taller than the baptistery is long!  We knew it would be a bit tight; we also knew it would be fine. The water was (thankfully) nice and warm if a bit on the shallow side.

    It was a glorious afternoon, full of faith and love, laughter and tears.   Everyone who could come along, came along.

    Listening to stories of faith, and the real cost of following Jesus from people who had left their homelands, was inspiring and challenging.

    After the service we shared tea, and our friends cut a specially made chocolate cake which bore their names, was decorated with the flags of many nations - their homelands included - and was topped off with a banner proclaiming 'his banner over us is love'...

    cropped cake cutting.jpg

    Sandwiched between a morning service for Trinity Sunday and an evening sevice reflecting on aspects the Lord's Prayer, and with a common theme of community weaving through the entire day, it really was a very wonderful way to spend a Sunday.

  • Here we go again...

    Just finishing off the last bits 'n' bobs of prep for tomorrow's Baptism service... delayed from 4th March due to unprecedented snow fall.  Tomorrow the prediction is for equally unprecedented heat - we will see!

    Seems sort of fitting that Trinity Sunday will have three services...

    Morning - reflections on the Trinity

    Afternoon - baptisms, reflecting on the life of Christ

    Evening - I get to sit back, relax and receive


    Then it's essentially a week of leave (couple of small things to do but day off, Bank holiday and then on Thursday evening I head off to Rome for a few days).


    Really looking forward to tomorrow - and then for some time to myself to process stuff, reflect and relax.  It's been a pretty 'full on' few months.

  • One Last Act of Love...

    Yesterday I formally said goodbye to the woman who gave birth to me more than 55 years ago. It was, inevitably, a strange day, but it felt to me that it was as good as it could be, all things considered.

    The sun shone in the afternoon - of course, she always claimed my Dad is employed as 'the clerk of the weathers', so he had little choice but to oblige!

    Around forty people, including representatives of all four generations of her family, were present.

    An eloquent, witty and moving tribute written by my sister was beautifully delivered by one of my nieces, whilst one of my nephews read the Bible passages that informed the 'words of faith and hope' I was privileged to offer.

    There were some very moving moments...

    The entire staff of the care home came out to wave her off (literally), some in tears, and many supporting each other with an arm.  Two of them came to the service.  Above and beyond the call of duty, this was love.

    Half a dozen people from the local Methodist church, in which she had found welcome and acceptance, came, sang lustily and honoured us by coming back for refreshments afterwards rather than slipping away. I enjoyed some cheery conversation with them.

    A minister friend's family had given me hospitality, and he came as my 'back up';a friend from Glasgow made a long day-trip to be there for me. This was humbling, and their presence reassuring.

    It all went as well as it could.  I fulfilled my promise to my Mum, and was able to entrust her to God's safe-keeping in a way that honoured who she was.

    That was the public bit.

    In the morning was the private bit.

    The sky was overcast, the freshening wind suggested a storm was imminent, and I went alone to the Funeral Director's offices to say my own farewells, not as daughter-cum-minister but simply as daughter.

    The small, light room had beautiful modern stained glass, candles burned and there, attired in her new dress, Mum lay in her coffin, looking as if she was asleep and that, if I called her name she would wake up and speak.  Momentarily I was wrong-footed by how peaceful she looked, a half-smile playing on her lips, her eyes closed, her hands gently clasped... gone was the effect of chronic pain, hypertension or any other infirmity.  Now, as the coffin plate stated so simply, she was 'at rest.'

    Reaching in to the coffin, I touched her hand, knowing it would be icy cold and yet taken aback by what icy cold felt like.  I spoke to her, promised her that I would do my very best for her, and assured her that all was well - for her and for we who survived her.

    Sitting down I read to her from the Bible on my phone... Psalm 121, Psalm 23.  I prayed for her and blessed her.

    I took time to fix in my memory her face at rest, the details of her clothes, the watch I had given her as a Christmas present, the gold wedding band she and my Dad had chosen more than half a century ago.

    Finally, I leaned into the coffin and, gently, so gently, planted a kiss on her forehead.

    Having been able to spend time saying my goodbyes, I now felt strengthened to fulfill my promise, to deliver one last act of love - which was to conduct her funeral.

    I know that, yesterday especially, I have been surrounded by love, prayers, blessings, good wishes (and probably a bit of Wicca from one or two friends also).  One of my much-loved church folk speaks of 'enabling grace' - which seemed to be granted by the bucket-load bucket-load yesterday, and which, along with my inherent tenacity (stubbornness and single-mindedness) got me through with just the odd slightly longer than average pause.

    Now I am home.  I have a massive mug of tea.  I have my jeans on.  I have my kitties for company.

    Perhaps I will cry, perhaps I won't, but either way, I rest easy and at peace, knowing that I fulfilled to the best of my ability the wishes of my Mum, justifying her trust that I would not let her down.  For me, that is a huge source of comfort.

  • Old Haunts, New Memories

    Yesterday afternoon, I went to Kelvingrove Museum to listen to the organ recital with the intent of remembering my Mum as well as listening to some music.  I'm not sure what I hoped to feel, but whatever it was, I didn't expect it to be as benignly pleasant as it was.  I recalled the visit my family made there, which was a happy memory.  I recalled visiting with other friends.  I imagined my Mum as teenager standing on the upper level looking down at the huge area where, now there's a coffee shop and a melee of visitors.

    Today, I opted for the walking nostalgia route, which includes a lot of my own favourite places.  Mum always reckoned that Glasgow Green had a 'bad' feel due to the executions - I still don't sense that, but I had a nice wander.  Back along Sauchiehaul Street, past Sandiford place where her parents rented a flat when they  moved to Glasgow, past La Belle Allee where they were church officers for the Christian Science Church.  Through Kelvingrove Park, past what was once Woodside Senior Secondary School, and then via the Kelvin Walkway into the Botanic Gardens.  All places she knew, that were important in her life.  As a young woman she roved freely throughout this great city, the mileage I covered today reflecting what she might well have done herself (albeit she probably used trams rather than feet!).  I imagined myself telling her about what I'd seen - not the catching myself forgetting that I can't, kind of thing, but a deliberate, pretend conversation.

    And I read the funeral service out loud 'to' her... or her as she looks in the photo we're using; her as I remember her watching my every move at the funeral I conducted for my cousin (after which she told me I had done a good job); her as a warm, living person who wouldn't pull her punches if she didn't like what I said! And I think she was OK with it. Which means I'm OK with it.

    Just about everything that can be done has been done. Tomorrow morning I head south, and enter 'radio silence' until Thursday.  I have received oodles of well wishes, cards, hugs, promises of prayers and 'vibes' and know that many, many people 'have got my back', so all will be well, whatever 'well' looks like on the day.

    Savour your lives, gentle readers, and enjoy recalling old, and making new, memories.  Life is fleeting and frail, but the memories we make and the love we share, these are a legacy beyond price.