By continuing your visit to this site, you accept the use of cookies. These ensure the smooth running of our services. Learn more.

A Skinny Fairtrade Latte in the Food Court of Life - Page 3

  • Thought Provoking... (Not Festive, Not Fun)


    I saw this advertisement on a train a couple of weeks ago, and was so insensed by it that I took a photo. Since then I've been meaning to post something in response, but have been too busy.

    To be clear, I totally respect the right of people to have whatever form of funeral they choose, but I do feel that the premise of this advert is misguided - it misses the key question of 'who' a funeral is for.  Not, I would deign to argue, the deceased, but rather those who mourn their loss.

    The reality is, whatever we believe (or don't), we aren't the ones whose needs are met - or not met - by a funeral.  It is those who remember us who need a framework within which to say 'farewell' and achieve a measure of, if not 'closure', at least 'completion'.

    Funerals can be faith-based, can be humanist or can totally non-religious.  Whatever form they take, they name the reality - that so-and-so has died.  Whatever people thinks happens after death, they offer a framework to recall some highlights of the person's life, some things that mattered to them, some things that we don't want to be lost.

    Personally, I think it is good to see the coffin, and the move to 'private committal followed by thanksgiving' loses something important (others, increasingly it seems, disagree).  The approach being advertised above could mean that a person dies in hospital and is taken directly to the crematorium where, with absolutely no ceremony, their body is cremated.  What do the family do?  Or the neighbours and friends? I fear that this approach - undoubtedly well intentioned - could lead to regrets later on.  Whilst we have all heard horror stories of terrible funerals, few people seem to regret that there was one.

    On Friday just gone, I conducted a funeral.   We arrived at the crematorium just as the daylight faded into night, and the drizzle turned to rain.  It's probably the least popular slot - Friday afternoon, last slot of the day, mid December.  Around fifty to sixty folk were there to say farewell to a woman in her mid-nineties.  A few stories were told, and there was laugther amidst the tears.  Words of comfort and hope were spoken, and the reality of death and separation named for what it is. And on the way out, as the recording of Glen Miller's 'In the Mood' filled the air, broad smiles spread across faces the faces of those who made their way into the blackness of the night either to return home or to continue to share memories over tea and cake... A life had not just been acknowldeged, it had been celebrated.  A family had not only grieved, they had been surrounded by the love of neighbours and friends.  A formal farewell was expressed, and unspoken permission given to begin the work of moving forward - not 'on', not 'beyond', forward.

    As I said, those who want no fuss, no funeral, that's of course their prerogative.  But if anyone asks my opinion, then I'd say funeral every time.  Yes it costs more to have a funeral (direct cremations are cheaper because the FD has less to do and they take less time) but it is, in my opinion, money well spent.

    For the record, one day hopefully far off, my choices are - church service followed by cremation, all prepaid by me.  I wonder what will you choose, and why?

  • Six Kitties Dancing...

    This very jolly card arrived on my doormat today - always whoever sent it didn't sign it! All I know is that has a Glasgow postmark.

    It's great fun, and brought a smile to my face. So, whoever you are, on the off chance you see this, thank you!

  • Alternative Poem...

    A little bit of doggerel, as distraction, in the midst of yet another crazily busy day!


    T'was the week before Christmas

    And all through the manse

    Not a creature was snoring

    Not even the cats!


    The orders of service

    were printed with care

    And music, and visual aids

    were piled everywhere


    The emails kept pinging

    For this thing and that

    (Whilst lovely greetings card

    arrived on the mat)


    Meetings, more meetings

    Work programmes and plans

    Deadlines keep looming

    And I need to go out...


    Then, into the midst

    Of this chaos (quite ordered, no panic)

    A quiet whisper spoke

    And said, 'don't be so manic!'


    'You've worked hard

    All year and so leave it to me -

    Christmas will happen,

    Just you wait and see'


    So with those thoughts

    At my PC I type

    Merry Christmas to all -

    And it'll all turn out right!


  • Another year older...

    ... which is always cause for celebration.

    In the midst of a somewhat bonkers week, when I have had literally to go from meeting to meeting to meeting, it is good to pause just for a moment, and to be grateful.

    Overall being 56 was good, even against a back drop of local and global politics that makes my blood run cold. I've had some lovely times away - notably Florence, Orkney and Crete - and shared in some lovely moments with others. It's been the year in which the idea of an anthology of Baptist women's writing was conceived, and in which the manuscript has been sent off to the sponsors for publication. It's been a year in which I managed to stop taking most of my medication, in the end prefering the side effects of my anti-cancer meds to those of the meds for them!  It's been a year in which I took stock of myself and enrolled on an evening class in sprituality, decided to brush up my school-girl French, and took up Pilates.  And of course, it's been the year in which I celebrated being ten years in Glasgow.

    So, yes, 56 has been good! And now on to 57 and a whole new chapter to write.

    I have so much to be grateful for - being here at all is a gift I could not have conceived nine years ago - and I am determined to live my 'best life' in the coming days, months and, hopefully, years.

  • A City Built on a Hill...

    This morning I had a meeting in the city centre, and I was a bit early, so I went for  wander, only to be greeted by the most wonderful panoramic view across the city looking west.  Although not in this photo, I could see the gold roof of the (new) sikh temple, and I walked past a synagogue.  So many towers and spires and domes, so many aspirations and endeavours.  It's a beautiful city, and it was a joy to view it from so high up.

    The meeting was a joy too.