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- Page 9

  • "...a gentle but persistent nagger..."

    So I was once described by one of my research supervisers (who endeavoured to escape by taking a job in Australia!).  Well, yes, maybe I am, or can be anyway.  I certainly have just been, having been told quite clearly I would have a follow-up hospital appointment six weeks after nuking ended and nothing transpired.  After seven weeks I phoned and left a message.  After eight weeks I did the same again, only to be told that it would quite common for six weeks to mean 8-12 and sometimes as much as four months.  But today I was given an appointment for next week... which will be nine weeks, so midway through the extended window, or 50% longer than 'advertised'.

    Two thoughts...

    1) If I hadn't nagged, how long might I have had to wait?

    2) There seems to be a bit of a parallel with a parable about a widow and a judge.  See, there's a Biblical mandate for gentle, persistent nagging!

    To be fair, in the early, urgent days appointments were quickly arranged, but if people allow their non-urgent stuff to stack up eventually the whole thing will become unmaneagble.

  • On Not Writing a Book

    Over the last nine/ten months various people have said to me, at various times, 'you ought to write a book about your experiences.'  The answer to which was, and still is, a resounding 'no.'  Many reasons for this.  Firstly check out any online book retailer and there are dozens and dozens of books telling people's stories.  Secondly, and this perhaps relates to the first, everyone's story is unique, just as they are.  Thirdly, well, just plain 'no' I don't want to; I'm a reasonable blogger and a competent preacher but writer I am not.  Lastly, if I stay NED for at least two years, I am contemplating doing some serious research arising out of the experience, but I need time to process it first.


    I have noticed that I get quite a lot of keyword searches on my blog from people seeking cancer info, and lots of hits on the post I did summarising my chemo experience.  So here's the compromise... at some point over the summer I will write up my experiences of surgery (as far as it's gone - still some 'tidying up' to be done!) and radiotherapy and post them on here.

    To be honest, part of my motivation for this was reading some comments on radiotherapy experiences written by people who did not know, and had not had explained to them, why most hospitals don't use gowns for this (why would anyone but me know about low active waste and nuclear laundries?!) and feeling that maybe I do, afterall, have something useful to add to the plethora of stuff people can access.

    But also.

    My calling is to be a minister - a weird muddle of preacher, theologian, pastor, mentor, chaplain and travelling companion - and that has to be where most of my energy goes.  My experiences are part of me but not my raison d'etre.  Maybe sometimes I need to be reminded of that!

  • Friday Feeling

    After several days of rain (albeit with some pleasant evenings) the sun is shining in Glasgow... so on with the sun hat for my stroll to work, and carry the rain coat just in case.  But it's Friday, the end of the working week for most people and the weekend looms large.

    I am looking forward to catching up with some friends of mine from the North West of England who are up this weekend - and hopefully with some others next weekend.  Summer is on its way!

    There's a song, isn't there, that says 'the sun is out, the skies are blue, there's not a cloud to spoil the view, but it's raining, raining in my heart.'  I know far too many people for whom this is true right now.  Some with the ache of recent bereavement, some with new diagnoses of primary and /or metastatic cancer, some with the ongoing agony of chronic conditions, some who are in families and/or relationships that are difficult.  Were I to list them it'd be a very long post.  Some of them read this stuff - to them a cyber holy hug - some of them don't, but each one of them matters.

    Thoughts today especially with Annie, as she gets a second opinion on her treatment options.

    Suffering God, who in Christ has felt the depths of human sorrow, hold safe in your embrace all for whom today brings pain, fear, sickness or hopelessness.  Grant wisdom and compassion, skill and courage to all, professional or otherwise, whose task is to care for those who are dis-eased in body, mind or spirit, whether acute or chronic.  And when the words fail us, and we stare into the dark, let your voice be heard in the sound of silence... Amen.

  • The Greatest Thing Since 7th July 1928

    Sliced Bread.JPGIt must be correct, it was on the 'this day in history' slot on Radio 2's Chris Evans Show today... on this day in 1928 sliced bread was sold for the first time.

    Which makes me wonder, if this was such a paradigmic moment in human history as the saying suggests:

    • What was the greatest thing before sliced bread?
    • What might be the 'greatest thing' since sliced bread that ultimately usurps its status?

    Cue minister-like moment... the Bible tells us that love is the greatetst thing, not mushy, slushy white-sliced bread kind of love, but gritty, determined, whole-grain slightly skew-whiffy 'doorsteps' kind of love.

    Of course for a lot of people today is one more reminder of humanity's potential for inhumanity, and the ache of lost love, broken dreams and shattered visions.  Where are the crumbs of hope for them and others like them?

    Let us continue to learn to love, in all its complexity and challenges, becuase that must be the greatest thing, before and since, sliced bread.

  • Cups 'n' Saucers 'n' Prayers

    001.JPGMany of you, I know, have been following Annie's blog for a while now, and may know that she has her appointment at Christie's (Manchester Cancer Centre) this coming Friday.

    You may have spotted from her blog that she loves cups 'n' saucers.  So here's a thought... most, if not all of us, own some cups 'n' saucers and at some point between now and Friday could use one of them, rather than a mug, for our coffee/tea.  And as we drink that cuppa, we could offer a prayer for Annie, and for others on our hearts who are facing incredible challenges of many kinds.

    A nice Fairtrade cuppa in a nice cup and a quick (or slow) prayer... what d'you reckon?

    A young priest once approached the bishop very worried.  "Bishop," he said anxiously, "is it permitted to drink tea whilst I'm praying?"  The bishop looked thoughtful, frowned, smiled, and then said, "I'm not sure, but it's certainly permissible to pray whilst drinking tea."