“I am only one, but still I am one.
I cannot do everything, but still I can do something.
And because I cannot do everything,
I will not refuse to do the something I can do.”

Edward Everett Hale

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Letting Go of Someone You Love

Letting go of someone you love can be the hardest thing in the world. It can be a minor, temporary letting-go, such as a mother does when she drops her 4+ year old child off to school for the first time, a longer-term one, such as a parent dropping their 18 year old off at university, or a permanent one, when you have to come to terms with the death of someone you love.

Yesterday, I had to make the decision to let my beloved 14 year old cat, Bruno, go. He had been diagnosed with liver cancer back in May, and given "weeks" to live, but spent the Summer quite happily poofling around the garden, eating everything in sight and just chilling out. Evenings were spent curled up on my knee, purring. Then two days ago, he became withdrawn, and off his food, and I knew that the time had come to do the right thing, and take him to the vet, so that his suffering would not be prolonged.

my beloved Bruno

I know it was the right thing to do, but it was so hard. But at least society is on my side - putting an animal who has an incurable illness or insufferable pain to sleep is seen as merciful and sensible and correct. Yet if Bruno had been my parent, or my sibling, or my child, or my friend, any attempt on my part to shorten his life would be seen in many circles as "murder" and completely unacceptable. I know that life is sacred, but I truly believe that if a person is incurably ill, and in possession of their senses, and is able to communicate their wishes, they should be allowed to end their lives with dignity, at a time of their choosing. I also believe that if they are physically unable to do this for themselves, then relatives or doctors should not be punished for helping them. Relatives in particular will have to live with their grief for the rest of their lives - why should they be punished further, if that is truly what the ill person wants? Obviously, there have to be rigorous safeguards, so that it is always abundantly clear that the wishes of the ill person are respected, but otherwise I truly do not understand  why putting an animal out of its suffering is "merciful", while doing the same to a person is "unlawful killing".

Friday, 14 September 2012

A Perfect Experience

I am feeling so blessed. I have just been through the most perfect experience. I am full of gratitude to God for making it possible. Let me explain: this morning, a beautiful, sunny, cool, breezy September morning, I went for run. The sun was shining, and the sky was blue, and the hundreds of different greens of grasses and shrubs and trees shone in the sunlight. My body was doing what it was supposed to, and it felt so good to be alive! I feel almost exalted by this experience.


When I got back, I knew that I would have to share this wonderful experience. And to my surprise, I felt compelled to turn to the Book of Psalms to find the right words, in Psalm 139:

O Lord, you have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from far away.
You search out my path and my lying down,
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
O Lord, you know it completely.
You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is so high that I cannot attain it.
For it was you who formed my inward parts;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your work;
that I know very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes beheld my unformed substance.
In your book were written
all the days that were formed for me,
when none of them as yet existed.
And I give thanks and praise God. Life is good.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Back to Normal

The last few weeks have been wonderful. I have attended a retreat for ministerial students and probationers, spent a wonderful ten days in Poland with my husband, been at Summer School for a week, then back to Hucklow the following week for the Ministers' conference. And it has all been rich and nourishing and spiritually uplifting.

And now it's all over, and I am home, and it is good. While I was away, my usual regular activities have gone for a burton - I haven't been for a run since the end of July, my devotional practices have been scrappy, to say the least, and work has been dodged into spare moments. So I'm looking forward to the next few weeks - I'm going to run three times a week, get back to healthy eating (no more Hucklow cooked breakfasts!), get on top of all the things I need to do for work, and spend some quality time with my family. I'm also looking forward to leading worship at several different Unitarian congregations round the Midlands, which I really missed during August.

As I have said on this blog before, the quality of life is about finding a balance. The last few weeks were wonderful, but I couldn't live on those heights all the time. A little bit of "back to normal" is just what I need.