Saturday, 6 March 2021

Forever Hell

 

Father Ignatius was taken aback by Quentin’s question one evening when they were watching TV in the Parish House living room. Quentin owned a small garage and workshop nearby and every so often he would take the priest’s car for maintenance or to fix something that had gone wrong. That evening, he’d just returned the priest’s car when an important football match had just started on TV. Quentin did not have time to go home to see the game, so the priest invited him in and they both enjoyed a mediocre game seeing their favorite team lose.
 
But football was not on the mechanic’s mind when he asked his unexpected question.

“Father …” he asked, “if God loves us so much, how can he possibly condemn someone to an eternity in hell? Eternity is a long time … it’s for ever like.”

Father Ignatius switched the TV off. He poured himself and Quentin another cup of coffee. He was playing for time and wondering how best to approach this subject.

“There is this misconception,” he said finally, “that priests know everything. Now that may be true of others but not necessarily me …”

Quentin smiled and said, “No matter how bad a person is, or was, surely an eternity is a long punishment. I feel sad for those in hell for ever and ever. If it was up to me, and I knew that someone was truly sorry and repented after his death, I would forgive him. Is God not more merciful than me? Does He forgive people after they die, if they truly repent?”

Father Ignatius put down his cup and replied, “Jesus tells us about hell in the Bible. It has been described as a place where fire burns and people stay there for ever. Christ’s parable about the rich man and Lazarus states that there is a chasm between earth and hell that cannot be bridged.

“So, seen from what the Bible tells us, it does seem that those who go to hell are there for an eternity.

“Now then … seen from your perspective, a human perspective, this does seem somewhat harsh. No matter what someone may have done, surely an eternity is too extreme a punishment.”

“That’s right” agreed Quentin.

“But God sees things from His perspective, which is of course different to ours.” continued the priest.

“You’re right in saying that He is merciful and forgiving. More than any human can be. But He is also just.

“Over the years, many wise heads have pondered the same question which you ask. So you’re not alone here Quentin; you’re amongst the great theologians and philosophers of history!”

Quentin smiled again.

“Some have argued that a merciful God would in His own time forgive those in hell and they would join Him in Heaven.

“Some have also said that God will some day forgive even Satan. And that hell will some day be empty as everyone there truly repents and is forgiven as they rejoin God in His Glory in Heaven.

“Now wouldn’t that be wonderful?” asked the priest, “humanity totally forgiven as a result of the ultimate sacrifice that Christ suffered for us.

“That is God’s love and mercy in the extreme. Total love, full of mercy and forgiveness!”

Father Ignatius stopped for while; then he went on just as calmly as before.

“But nothing of what I have just said is Biblical. There is nothing in Christian teaching that implies God will eventually forgive everyone, even those in hell.

“It’s human conjecture, borne of human nature, human sense of justice and forgiveness.

“God sees things God’s way; not our way.

“As I see it, God’s love is so much that He gave us the freedom of choice. We can choose to respond to His invitation to love or choose to ignore it.

“God’s invitation is always open. Even if we don’t RSVP.

“Now those who choose to ignore God will eventually end up in hell. Whether it is a burning fire, or whatever else we may imagine it to be, one thing is certain. Hell is an exclusion of God.

“No one goes there by mistake. We choose, through our actions, to exclude ourselves from God.

“For how long … I wouldn’t hazard a guess. An eternity maybe … or as you and others surmise perhaps as long as it takes for God to forgive, once again.”

“That’s what I was thinking,” said Quentin.

“Yes I know,” replied Father Ignatius, “and as I said, you’re not alone in your thinking.

“Was it not C S Lewis who said that the door of hell is locked from the inside?

“We send ourselves to hell by turning down God’s invitation to love … and we lock ourselves in self-imposed exile, by continuing to refuse to love Him, by continuing to refuse to acknowledge our sins and repent; rather than God locking us in from the other side of the door.”

“I see …” mumbled Quentin.

“But I repeat,” said Father Ignatius, “none of this is Biblical. It is merely the result of assumptions from human minds who like to believe in an eventual ‘get out of jail free’ card which we can all ultimately use.

“If you ask for my opinion. I believe God knows what He is doing. And nothing is impossible to God. We should trust Him to do the right thing!”

THIS STORY APPEARED IN MY BOOK

TAKE CARE OF MY SHEEP

CLICK HERE


 

Friday, 5 March 2021

A Vision Of Hell

The first thing I noticed as I entered hell is the total and absolute darkness of the place. Not the faintest glimmer of light shone in that bottomless abyss of intense void.

I tried hard to peer into the pitch-black darkness to make out something, but it was totally in vain. I could see nothing. Totally and completely nothing.

It was then that I noticed the full and utter silence which accompanied the extreme blackness of this place. Not a sound whatsoever. It was as if I had gone suddenly deaf. I rubbed my fingers in my ears and concentrated hard but silence reigned supreme. I clapped my hands together but heard nothing. I spoke to myself and could not hear my own voice.

Darkness and silence had partnered together and negated all the senses as I knew them. I could not smell anything whatsoever. No burning fires and brimstone, or the acrid smell of sulphur and burnt flesh I’d expected in this place. I could feel no burning sensation and pain. No cries of help or gnashing of teeth.

In other words; hell was nothing.

Hell was a total void of everything physical as I’d experienced in my previous life.

Yet in this pure nothingness I felt a very powerful and intense feeling of extreme sadness. An overwhelming grief leading to desolation and desperation tormented my very soul.

A continuous sensation of sorrow and anguish filled the emptiness which was hell.

I sensed another soul there too. I could not make out who or where it was but it was there, somehow, sharing the void with me.

I felt a telepathic communication with this spirit in similar torment. Not in words, not in images, but in a mutual empathic sensation, as if the two of us were one.

I shared that soul’s torment which had lasted for … … … an eternity.

There seemed to be no beginning as to when that soul arrived in this eternal void, nor any prospect of when its terrible, terrible, suffering would end. The total and perfect hopelessness of this state of nothingness, this state of wretched emptiness, engulfed the forgotten soul consumed by its everlasting regrets.

For this lost soul constantly and interminably viewed and reviewed over and again its past life on earth; filled with memories best forgotten yet brought to mind with no respite. The inner pain from such memories tortured this forgotten soul left here all alone.

I shared with this soul the deep desire to weep bitterly for its past mistakes and its present solitary ordeal. But this was not possible, for there are no tears in hell. No matter how strong the desire to cry in profound regret, and so gain some temporary relief, this was not possible in a state of total void. So the pain, sorrow and sadness built up within one’s soul and consumed it eternally from within; with no respite or relief whatsoever.

And what was worse, is that the soul’s constant feelings of regret were persistently underlined by another sensation.

For it knew with unshakable certainty of the existence of God.

This tormented soul had been given, on entering hell, undoubted and unquestionable proof that God indeed exists. And somehow, it had witnessed His immeasurable and overwhelming love for His creations.

Yet this soul also knew, without a doubt, that for an interminable eternity, it would be totally excluded from that Fatherly, Divine love.

I realized that hell consisted of complete isolation with ones thoughts and regrets, and the sure knowledge that there will never be an end in sight. No light at the end of the tunnel. For there is no tunnel.

A permanent state of inner pain and sorrow and regrets, coupled with the knowledge that God’s love is for ever out of reach.

“What a terrible state of despair and hopelessness” I thought, “to know for certain that God exists; and to know of His love for us; yet to be excluded from that perfect love for ever. To remain here, in a state of total void, filled with past memories and regrets for deeds long past. Alone, in permanent thoughts of total and infinite exclusion!”

I woke up suddenly from this turbulent dream.

It was then that I heard in my head, clear as a bell, the words: “Go and warn all you get to meet not to come to this place!”

NOTE

This is an excerpt from the book 
"MORE REFLECTIONS FOR THE SOUL". 
A selection of readings to help you reflect and meditate when praying or when in need of inspiration.
 PLEASE CLICK HERE
   

Thursday, 4 March 2021

I don't care!

 

“I don’t care … I don’t care what you say … or what you think … I don’t care about you … I’m thick skinned and your views and opinions don’t affect me … I just lead my own life … Do as I please regardless of you or anyone else … Don’t bother me and leave me alone.”

“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.

“The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’

“But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’

“He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father’s house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’

“Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’

“‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’

“He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’” Luke 16:19-31.

Wednesday, 3 March 2021

I am not unique

 

I am not unique. I always thought I was. I thought I was the only one who could write at length about anything I know absolutely nothing about. Apparently not. Other people can write absolute drivel just like me.

I was sitting at the hairdressers the other day waiting for my shoes to be mended. He does it as a side-line whilst you wait. You don't need to come back later and collect your head already styled and washed.

Anyway, there I was waiting for my turn to have my curls re-curled and I was reading this magazine. There was an article advocating that we should buy second-hand already-used toothbrushes instead of new ones. It seems already-used toothbrushes have the bristles already softened. Unlike new toothbrushes with hard bristles which can be harmful to the gums.

Now I'll admit I've often had problems with hard bristles; but never knew where to buy-already used toothbrushes. I just used to drive the car a few times over new toothbrushes to soften the bristles. Admittedly, sometimes this broke the handles of the toothbrush; but it was easier than searching into neighbours' trash bins. 

Did you also know that when you leave your hair behind when it's been cut you are leaving a lot of DNA at the hairdressers? DNA is that twisty thing within us which can identify us as a unique individual. The hairdresser can use the DNA in your hair to clone another you. Before you know it, there will be many copies of you walking around and you'll no longer be unique. Can you imagine? A whole street full of you! You would not know which one is the real you.

I always ask the hairdresser for my hair back. He stuffs it into my mended shoes as I leave.

Next door to the hairdressers there is a second-hand bookshop. It's not the shop that is second-hand, but the books in it. These are books that have been donated and they are sold and the money given to charity. 

On the bookshop's window it reads, "Don't judge a book by its cover. Come in and find out."

I'm glad I did. I've discovered that Dickens' Great Expectations has nothing to do with chocolates as I always thought. To kill a mocking bird is not about hunting. And Fifty Shades of Grey is not a colouring in book!!!

I also found out that Isaac Newton discovered gravy whilst sitting under an apple tree. What he was doing cooking outdoors under a tree I do not know. He also said, "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction." He has obviously never had an argument with my wife. There's nothing equal in her reaction!!!

I picked up a book called Dictionary and read it for a while. The author kept changing the subject every minute or so. I could not make out the plot. 

In another book I learnt that the lobster's DNA never disintegrates. It renews itself. So technically it never ages and would not die. Unless you make a lobster thermidor  or a lobster bisque.

There was a book about fine wines. Did you know that fine wines are left to mature in oak caskets for many years in cellars in old castles or in caves by the sea? They mature to the sound of silence by Simon and Garfunkel, I believe. It said in the book you must not talk loudly when in such a cellar or cave as it disturbs the wine. 

There was also a book called Telephone Directory. I tried to read it but the list of authors was endless. No story or plot. Just a list of authors. Who'd ever buy a book like this?

My books are more interesting I tell you. You should try them HERE.

Tuesday, 2 March 2021

I'm offended I think

 

It seems to me that people today are too easily offended. They take offence at anything. Why don't they take the garden gate as well as the fence? If I were an ostrich I would be very offended at the bad publicity we ostriches get about burying our heads in the sand. This is not true. We can take offence at anything as good as the next man, or woman, or bird or anything for that matter.

In the olden days, when my great grand-mother, Aurelia Zephanaia theThird, took offence at something, she kept quiet about it. She did not have Facebook, Twitter and all the other social media outlets on which to publicise her offendability. 

Is there such a word as offendability? I am offended that people can just invent words as they like these days. I blame it on social media. We should ban all such opportunities to portray and broadcast one's reasons to be offended. These are not only puerile but they also encourage other fatheads who were not remotely offended to now join in and be equally offended even though they do not know or understand what they are meant to be offended about.

Once you broadcast the reason for your offence on social media, the chances are others will either join in and get offended just like you, or will start an argument publicly decrying the fact that you are offended. Either way, the outcome is not good. They should follow my great grand-mother's example and sit on a cactus and keep their offence to themselves.

I get greatly offended when Christianity is mocked an TV by so-called comedians and public influencers. If I were to write in to the TV companies the chances are I would be ignored, or probably sent a mealy-mouthed reply trying to pacify me.

I am even more offended that the Church, (all denominations), is/are not more vocal about this. They just turn a blind eye and ignore the insults to Christianity.

But then I remember. God can take our mockery, our insults and our anger. After all He took them all when hanging there on the Cross, did He not?

No doubt He will ask our Church leaders when He meets them face to face why they were ashamed of Him when He was mocked and insulted so.

What does offend you these days? Tell us about it. I promise not to be offended by it.

Monday, 1 March 2021

Reminiscences of a priest

 
Father Ignatius put the phone down and settled in the armchair near the fireplace. It was a cold winter evening so he warmed his hands by the fire then picked up his cup of cocoa and took a sip or two. There was nothing to capture his interest on television, so after watching the usual dismal news he switched it off and turned his thoughts to the phone call.

It had been some months since he last spoke to his great friend Monsignor Thomas. They had trained together for the priesthood in Rome many years ago, and he hadn’t seen the Monsignor for some time now. As usual, Monsignor Thomas ended the telephone conversation by saying: “Dominus vobiscum” and Father Ignatius replied, “Et cum spiritu tuo”.

The Latin words reverberated in his mind. It’s such a long time since he celebrated Mass in Latin he thought.

“Yet there was a time when all Masses were said in Latin,” thought the priest as he put down his cup of cocoa.

His mind wandered to his youth, as a young priest, and how different life was back then. In those days sermons were different too, he thought. “There was more meat to them,” he mumbled to himself.

“We were not afraid to say things the way they were; and still are now. We warned our flock of the dangers of sin, and an eternity in hell. We told them what was right and what was wrong …”

He remembered a particular sermon where he spoke against trying to contact spirits and visiting so-called mediums.

Now sermons seem to have been toned down for fear of up-setting the congregation.

“We have to be politically correct,” he said to himself.

He realised that things change over the years, and change is sometimes inevitable. But it isn’t always for the better, he argued with himself.

“Back then,” he thought, “people used to fast for twelve hours before taking Holy Communion. They used to genuflect at the Altar rail and take the Host on the tongue. None of this queuing up the center aisle and holding the Host in your hand business as we do now.”

His sighed quietly as he recalled other changes which befell the Catholic Church over the years. People used to kneel as they entered the church or took their place in the pews. Women had their heads covered; either with a hat or a scarf.

He brought to mind an incident last summer when a young lady attempted to enter the church for Sunday Mass dressed in a bikini top and short pants. He happened to be at the entrance of the church and he stopped her.

“You must let me in,” she protested, “I have a perfect right!”

“Madam,” Father Ignatius replied in his stern voice, “you have a perfect left too, but you’re not coming in dressed like that!”

He smiled at the way he handled the situation and was awakened from his reveries by Father Donald entering the room.

“What’s on TV?” asked Father Donald in his broad Scottish accent.

“Only dust …” replied Ignatius still smiling.

“I like it,” said Father Donald laughing, “I’ll tell the housekeeper in the morning. I’m sure she’ll appreciate your joke!!!”

Sunday, 28 February 2021

What is Faith?

 

This is going to be a difficult post to write. Please don't just agree with me. Offer you opinions and views; even if they are not like mine. If your pastor or vicar or priest has a view on this please share it too.

God said to Abraham, "I will bless her, (his wife Sarah), and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her."

Then God said, "Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him. But my covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you by this time next year."
(Genesis 17:15-21)

I have often wondered why God tests us if He knows already how we will behave and the outcome of our behaviour. Is it to make us stronger perhaps? To make us trust Him more?

In the passage above, God promises Abraham that through his son Isaac there will be many descendants. 

Let's imagine God spoke to you and He promises that through your offspring good things will happen in future. You are happy and you trust the Lord your God. And then ... ... ...

Some time later God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am,” he answered. "Take your son," God said, "your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah. Offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will show you." So Abraham got up early the next morning, saddled his donkey, and took along two of his servants and his son Isaac. He split wood for a burnt offering and set out for the place God had designated. (Genesis 22:1 onwards)

If this story happened today the police and social services would soon be knocking at Abraham's door.  Poor Isaac would never recover from the traumatic experience. And Sarah would probably divorce Abraham.

Why would God go to such dramatic lengths to test Abraham's love and obedience? If God is all-knowing, surely He would know that Abraham loved Him and would obey. Did God not think of the traumatic effect this episode would have on Isaac?

But let us look beyond the human emotions which we often use as a measuring yardstick when we consider earthly things. Here, God is not just testing Abraham for the sake of testing him. He is also strengthening his faith in God.

We all believe we have faith in God. But that faith is really only truly tested when we go through a bad time in our lives and we learn that we are not alone. God is with us. Protecting us as He has promised. 

Without experiencing the bad times, and without experiencing God's hand in helping us through these bad times; then our faith is only just that! A word ... a blind belief ... which we don't even know why we believe it, or whether we could truly maintain it when things go wrong. 

You see ... our bad times are an opportunity for us to experience God's closeness to us. To experience His love and protection. Our bad times are not just a test for the sake of a test.

Of course, God knows how we will react to the "test" as we perceive it. Yet He let's us experience it in order to strengthen our faith and to experience His love and protection.

Remember that God had already promised Abraham that through Isaac there would be many descendants. This would not have happened if Isaac had been killed. So Abraham had a tough decisions to make. Either trust God's earlier promise or not.

Note that Abraham trusted God. On the way up the mountain with Isaac he said to his servants, "Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you." (Genesis 22:5)

He said we will come back to you. So in his heart he knew that God would not let him go through with sacrificing Isaac as a burnt offering.

As the two of them went on together, Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, "Father?" "Yes, my son?" Abraham replied. "The fire and wood are here," Isaac said, "but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?" Abraham answered, "God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son." And the two of them went on together. (Genesis 22:6 onwards)

Abraham had faith indeed. He knew he was being tested; yet he held on tight to God's earlier promise that through Isaac there will be many descendants.

When I go through difficult times, (often), I ask the Lord, "Why are you testing me so if you already know how I would react?" 

Perhaps instead I should thank God for reminding me that in all of the difficult times I have been through in life He was always there beside me. Now, looking back, I am sure of it. Too many experiences for me to mention or tell you about. But on each one I am certain He helped me through them.

Now read this from St Paul's letter to the Corinthians. “Every test that you have experienced is the kind that normally comes to people. But God keeps His promise, and He will not allow you to be tested beyond your power to remain firm; at the time you are put to the test, He will give you the strength to endure it, and so provide you with a way out”. (1 Corinthians Chapter 10 Verse 13).

Let’s face it – God is not in the business of losing His followers. Those devoted to Him. It does not further His cause one bit if His own followers are so tested by the world’s evils that they loose their Faith in Him. This is contrary to His love for us. He will not allow us to just perish.

Also, let us remember that although God spared Isaac, He did offer His only Son Jesus as a sacrifice for us. A sacrifice which Jesus accepted willingly to redeem us from our sins.

Saturday, 27 February 2021

The Sick Note

 

THE DUBLINERS


Friday, 26 February 2021

Endangered Species

 


 

Thursday, 25 February 2021

Gateaux Anyone?

 

After Mrs Barker’s funeral, Father Ignatius went to his office and sat at his desk. He picked up the Prayer Card dedicated to her and looking at her photograph, staring back at him, his mind wondered to times past. He smiled to himself.

Father Ignatius was a good priest, he cared for his parishioners dearly and often spent time visiting them at home, or in hospital when they were sick, or at the local Catholic schools.

He remembered how once he had visited Mrs Barker at her home and she offered him coffee and gateaux. She called them gateaux because she had spent some time in France in her youth and had worked in a patisserie. So she prided herself at her little creations.

She had served two of her cakes in little plates and having poured the coffee, she realized she’d forgotten to bring out the sugar. She excused herself and went back to the kitchen.

Father Ignatius was holding the cup of coffee in his hand, and before he could do anything, Mrs Barker’s dog came in, picked up the priest’s gateau in its mouth, and ran in the corner to devour it. 

When she came back in Mrs Barker said: “Finished your gateau already Father? Shall I get you another one?”

He politely declined and felt embarrassed at his apparent greediness.

As happens on such sad occasions, one’s mind wanders to the past and seeks pleasant stories perhaps to alleviate the pain one feels for having lost a loved one.

Father Ignatius’ thoughts wandered from one parishioner to the next. He brought to mind the Hendersons; a lovely young married couple with a three years old child.

When he visited them recently he was surprised to be asked by Mrs Henderson to take off his shoes.

“We have a young child Father,” said Mrs Henderson, “and it’s more hygienic to keep shoes off the house.”

The priest smiled politely and prayed that he hadn’t a big hole in his socks as he slowly took off his shoes. His prayers were readily answered.

He entered the living room where the child was playing with his father. As he made his way to the armchair near the TV, Father Ignatius accidentally stepped on a Lego brick lying on the floor.

The pain was excruciating !!! So sharp and severe that he felt it again right now as he recalled the event in his mind. He remembered tears welling up in his eyes.

He kept his composure and did not let on to what had happened – but since that painful visit he always considered these toy bricks as instruments of torture dating back to the Spanish Inquisition.

His thoughts were free-wheeling now as he recalled one more occasion when he visited another parishioner, Mrs Granger, to return a book he had borrowed.

It was a windy day as he drove to her house, out in the country. Approaching the front door he noticed that it was open. He rang the bell and waited for a while. No response. He rang the bell again when he heard his name being called from the back of the house.

He made his way to the back garden and did not see her at first. But then he heard her cry: “Up here!

 And there she was, half-way up a large oak tree, standing on a thick horizontal branch clasping another branch tightly with both hands for fear of falling.

“Could you put up the ladder please Father?” she asked.

He picked up the ladder lying flat beside the tree and held it in position as she slowly and gingerly made her way down to terra firma.

He was too polite to ask what had happened when she said with a smile: “I went up there because the cat was stranded and was too afraid to get down.”

“Where’s the cat now?” asked the priest.

“Oh … it got down and ran away as soon as I got up there. Then the ladder slipped and left me stranded instead!”

His eyes caught Mrs Barker’s photo once again and he said a silent prayer for the repose of her soul. Her voice reverberated in his head; “Finished your gateau already Father? Shall I get you another one?”

He recalled his long departed mother and prayed for her too as he remembered her favourite saying:

“Always make time to laugh Ignatius. And remember what made you laugh. At times of hardship and sadness you’ll draw strength from those fond memories of happy times.” 

EXCERPT FROM TAKE CARE OF MY SHEEP
CLICK HERE


Wednesday, 24 February 2021

Time Travel

 

Before we consider time travel, let us first consider what time is. Time is very long indeed. If the height of the room you are in right now is time, then you are no higher that the thickness of the carpet. 

What I am saying here is that you and I are nothing compared to time. 

It says in the Bible that “There is no difference in the Lord’s sight between one day and a thousand years; to Him the two are the same.”
(2 Peter 3:8)

This must make it difficult to have an appointment with God. Imagine God saying to Moses to go to Mount Sinai “tomorrow”; and Moses asking, “Is that tomorrow in 24 hours or in a thousand years time? Because I’d be dead by then!”

So what is time? Anything that happened yesterday, or before yesterday is in the past. Anything that will happen tomorrow and after tomorrow is in the future. You must never worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow has already happened in Australia.

What is happening today is in the present. 

But let us look at the present under a microscope. We find it is divided into twenty-four hours.

Let's get a better microscope. We find every hour is divided into sixty minutes.

An even better microscope will show us that right now, this very split second, 1 millionth of a second, that is precisely the present. And as that one millionth of a second has passed you are already in the new present and the last one millionth of a second is now in the past.

Get it? If you split time to the tiniest millionth of a millionth of a second you will discover that you are always moving in time because every tiniest microest bit of a second is already in the past before you even think about it.

That's time travel. You are already, and constantly, travelling in time. Time travel!

Time travel can be fast, as I described, or can be very slow. Especially if the train I am on stops at every station and is late leaving its destination anyway. My commuter train is frequently 15 minutes late. I wrote to the railway company suggesting they change all the times in the time-tables by 15 minutes and the trains will run on time. They have not replied because my letter was sent by snail mail which is slower than the train.

I once found a snail on my doorstep. To save him from being trodden on I picked him up and threw him in the bushes nearby. A week later he was on my doorstep again. He said, "What's the big idea throwing me in the bushes?"

When I was young I had difficulty controlling time. I was always late to school because I had to feed the cactus. When I grew up I sold the cactus and have no problem with time.

Scientists believe you can travel fast back in time to years already gone by. Or indeed travel fast to the future. If you travel fast into the past you can meet famous people who lived many years ago.

I tried that once by visiting a medium. Well, she was very large really, but she preferred to call herself a medium. So I humoured her. She was also a clairvoyant. She could see into the future. Unfortunately our first appointment was cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances. She could also communicate with animals that had passed away to the other side. She spoke to a parrot once but he kept repeating on her. She tried talking to a goldfish which had drowned because it could not swim. But that's a different kettle of fish; a red herring really.

Anyway, I asked her to use her "medium" talking to people from the past skills to invite certain people to my birthday party. I wanted to invite Shakespeare, Henry the Eighth, Marco Polo and Cleopatra. That way I'd be the only one not in fancy dress.

Unfortunately not one of them turned up. Not one sent me a birthday card even. And they say elephants never forget. Don't believe it. I never received a birthday card from an elephant either. 

So in essence, time travel does exist. It happens right now and all the time. Every tiny split bit of a second of your time is immediately into the past, and you are always travelling fast into the future.

Use your time wisely.

Tuesday, 23 February 2021

On the beach

 

Tom is a regular visitor to this Blog and he comments here often. I visit his Blog often and I would recommend you do too. I always visit the Blogs of those readers who comment here.

Tom is an accomplished photographer. He is what I would describe as an observational photographer. His photos are, to my mind, what a "fly on the wall" would see. His photos range from wonderful sceneries of countryside scenes, urban life with people going on with their lives, to close-ups of flowers and trees, or various murals painted on buildings. There's always a variety of professionally taken photos on Tom's Blog. Really worth a visit.

Yesterday's photos on Tom's Blog intrigued me. They are typical "fly on the wall" photos taken on the beach. The sort of thing you'd see on any beach. Click HERE.

What you see is a woman by the sea. As I said, the sort of scene you would see on many beaches here in the UK, or indeed on any beach near where you live. 

But somehow these photos intrigued me. They raised many questions in my mind with no answers.

The first one being: WHY?

Why is this woman (and many others on many beaches) dressed like that? It must be very uncomfortable for a start. So why dress like that in public?

Is she perhaps thinking, "no one will look at me, there are many other women dressed like this here"?

Or is she thinking, "look at me, do you like?"

What statement is she trying to make by being dressed like that in public?

Don't misunderstand me. If she, (and others), are happy to dress like that in public, I am happy to watch. But still the questions are raised in my mind.

Does this woman have a partner, husband or boy-friend I wonder?

What does he think of seeing her like that in public? Is he happy and proud in a macho way that he has such a beautiful girl-friend? Or is he concerned but too afraid to tell her in case she leaves him for someone else?

As I said, I have seen this scene often on many beaches over the years. Nothing unusual about these particular photos. What I cannot understand is the motivation of people happy to appear like that in public.

Thank you, Tom, for getting me to stop and think. The video you posted yesterday brought back happy memories too. I like your taste in music when you post these from time to time.

Monday, 22 February 2021

Beware the Broccoli

 

At the back of our house, just by the corner facing South, there is a patch of garden which I have designated as the vegetable patch. I have over the years grown several vegetables there, but in particular, the area closest to the house has always been dedicated to broccoli. I don't mind broccoli. I would not order it at a restaurant in preference to steak, or a pizza, but I tolerate it as presumably it tolerates me. I regard it as green cauliflower; which I suppose it is in a way.

Anyway, that aside, I regret to announce that the young painter who was painting the windows at the back of our house fell off his ladder and into the broccoli patch, as did his father before him, and his grandfather before him, and his uncle before him too.

He is about 20 years old and he works for his father as house painters. He leant a bit too much to the side, the ladder slipped, and he landed into the broccoli with his pot of white paint. Half the broccoli is green and the other half is white. As he was being carried away to hospital he said he'd send his brother to finish the job. I told him not to bother. I could paint the remainder of the broccoli white myself.

Two years ago, his father was painting the same windows and he too fell into the broccoli with his pot of paint. His brother, the lad's uncle, came to finish the job and he fell into the patch too and painted the remainder of the broccolli white. 

Four years ago, the grandfather painted the windows. Now he was a real professional. When he fell into the patch he painted all the broccolis white. No need for anyone else to paint those still green.

I rang the hospital to check on the young lad. The nurse said he was a bit off colour. But he'll be all right.

Well, after a series of similar accidents by four different people, all falling off the ladder at the same place, I have decided that something drastic should be done about it.

I shall move the broccoli to a different part of the garden. I shall plant strawberries there instead.

I thought I'd let you know in case any of you like to grow broccoli.

Sunday, 21 February 2021

The Holy Trinity - Explained

 

THE HOLY TRINITY - EXPLAINED
(Six minutes)
Excerpt from the book
REFLECTIONS FOR THE SOUL


Saturday, 20 February 2021

Message Received From Outer-Space

 

This is an Inter-Gallactic Communication from ZR69 to the inhabitants of planet Earth. The sole purpose of this message is to clarify certain points which you have claimed.

According to you, we aliens from outer-space do exist. This message is to deny such erroneous claims. We assure you we do not exist.

You have claimed that we have visited your planet several times over a period stretching millions of years.

We have been credited, and accused, of many things by your people.

You said that we have built, or help build, the Pyramids, Stonehenge, the Eiffel Tower and other large structures found scattered throughout your planet. Your default thinking seems to be: if you don't understand it then aliens from outer space must have built it.

We have also been falsely accused of several abductions of your earthling inhabitants. 

Over the years the pattern of your stories never changes. We abduct an individual, put him on a hospital table and dissect him into small pieces to see what is inside, put him back together again, and release him back to tell the tale - not forgetting to give him a tour of our space ship before letting him go.

It is always the same story. Abduct, dissect, stitch together perfectly with no visible signs of any cuts, tour of spaceship and release.

We have not advanced one iota in our medical and scientific research. It is always cut and stitch back.

After many so-called abductions we always make the same stupid mistake of releasing our victims; never having occurred to us that they might well talk about their experiences. 

We've even been accused of turning a man into French fried potatoes; and a woman into a male squirrel. We categorically refute the second allegation. The first incident cannot be verified because the man's wife ate all the French fries without realising they were her husband - so she says.

Of course, we speak perfect English which we have learnt by listening to records of Elvis Presley and the sound of singing whales.

Many of you claim to have seen us and seen our spaceships. 

It is almost always the same description. The spaceship is either saucer-shaped, cigar-shaped or a bright globe of light. The three least aero-dynamic shapes to travel at speed through space. 

The inside of our spaceship is always described the same way. Bright, clean, clinical and so on. 

We always look the same according to your descriptions. Large forehead, narrow face and small chin, and enormous eyes.

The evidence of our existence is often based on blurred pictures and incomprehensible sounds on very old magnetic tapes.You seem incapable of handling a good camera or recording equipment.

This is to let you know that we are a figment of your imagination. Or most probably, you are a figment of our imagination.

Friday, 19 February 2021

It's me folks!!!

 

A funny thing happened on my way to the newsagent to buy my paper the other day.

A man stopped me in the street and said, "Hey ... you're that man from television, aren't you?"

I was taken aback. Before I said anything he continued, "I've seen you on TV many times!"

"I assure you I have never been on TV," I said.

"Of course you have!" he confirmed enthusiastically, "can I have your autograph please? Here, can you sign this packet of corn flakes? It's all I have that can be signed on. I don't have an autograph book because I never meet famous people and celebrities."

"Look," I said gently, "I am not a famous celebrity. I am no body. You have me mistaken for someone else!"

"Of course you're on TV," he insisted, "you're on that program I can't remember what it's called. Last week you were talking about aubergines. I told my wife then I don't really like you. But now I met you, I'd like your autograph on this corn flakes packet!"

"I can't possibly sign a corn flakes packet. What do you want my signature for anyway? You've just said you don't like me, even though I am not me ... or rather, I am not the person under whose misconception you believe I am!" I said, pausing to take breath after such a long sentence.

"I can sell it on E Bay" he replied.

Now I tell you, I don't even know who this E Bay fellow is. Is he an autographs collector by any chance? It would be interesting to know how much my autograph would sell for. Or rather the autograph of the person I am supposed to be; seeing he has not even told me who it is he is imagining me to be. 

I am often confused by people for someone else famous. I was once mistaken for Don Williams at a concert I attended in London, and on another occasion two young ladies were convinced I was Jennifer Aniston.

On neither occasion did I sign any autographs.

But this man insisted I signed his corn flakes package. To get rid of him I just scribbled something unreadable and he was pleased with that. He thanked me profusely and left.

I wonder who I am?

Thursday, 18 February 2021

Elma's Visit

 

Aunt Elma came to visit us from Glasgow again. What else can I say? 

She said she needed a break from her husband so she told him she was going out shopping, went to the airport and flew in to see us. When she arrived she phoned her husband and told him she was at the supermarket. He asked her to bring home some ice-cream. That's when she told him that it would melt by the time she flew back home. He was not amused.

As a protest, like before when they've had an argument, he left home and moved in the garage until she returns home.

She told us an interesting, albeit weird, story.

Her neighbour who is in her late eighties, Mrs Mac Aroni is her name, went out shopping in town. By the way, Mrs Mac Aroni is a widow. Her husband died a few years back. He was the manager of a shop selling vacuum cleaners. It was his wish on his death bed that his ashes are spread all over the carpet in the store and then vacuum cleaned. His favourite saying was, "Life Sucks but not as good as our cleaners!"

Anyway, as my aunt was saying, Mrs Mac Aroni went out shopping in Glasgow. She stood outside the travel agent's shop window admiring all the places people go to on holiday. A few moments later an old man, about the same age, she said, came and stood by her watching the holiday brochures in the window.

Suddenly, the travel agent came out of the shop and invited them both in. "Congratulations," he said, "you are the 1000th people to visit my shop. You have won a free holiday abroad. All expenses paid!"

He took photos of both of them for publicity purposes and gave them tickets for a week's holiday in Italy ... or was it France? Aunt Elma couldn't remember which but it doesn't matter.

Anyway, after returning from her holiday Mrs Mac Aroni went back to the travel agent to thank them. They were delighted and asked her how she enjoyed the holiday. She said it was really wonderful, but who was that old man who shared the bedroom with her?

What else has been happening here? Oh yes ... might as well tell you about this in case it is of some help. The wi-fi in our house has been weak. We live in an old Victorian house with large rooms and high ceilings and sometimes you cannot get an internet signal on the laptop if you move from one room to another. The techie guy said he increased the router signal by some gigabytes; whatever that means.

What else? Oh yes, Aunt Elma. I did not know this but she fell off a horse recently and broke her femur. That's the big bone in the thigh. Can you imagine? At her age, she is about 88, riding a horse? And it was not a real horse either. It was one of those mechanical electrical horses which jump about like a rodeo bull which you sometimes have in pubs. A mechanical type seat that spins and jumps to make you fall off. It was at the pub. The Drunken Bishop, I think. Or was it The Fat Handmaid? Doesn't matter which pub it was.

She went to the pub and had a go on the mechanical horse thing and fell off breaking her femur. She went to hospital and got it fixed. It's OK now. Apparently they put in a metal plate round the bone to hold it together. She said it beeped at the airport security desk when they checked her.

But that's not all. Now with our improved more powerful wi-fi signal she gets radio wavelengths through the metal plate which acts as an aerial. It is very disconcerting when she's sitting there and we hear Frank Sinatra singing "I did it my way!" in her thigh.

She is a bit hard-of hearing so she does not realise it is happening. First time it happened we were at the table having dinner. Someone asked, "can you hear music?" It was Frank Sinatra then also. He was singing, "I've got you under my skin!"

Someone said the sound was coming from under the table. I looked under the table and realised what was happening. To save her blushes I changed the subject and told the family it was probably the neighbour's radio a bit too loud. 

I could not make out what was happening. Then she mentioned the metal plate in her leg and I realised. 

I told no one about it. At night, when I was in bed using the laptop I could hear from next door "Rock around the clock!"

The only way to remedy the situation is to get the techie guy to lower the power of the router to fewer gigabytes. This means I won't be able to use the laptop in all the rooms. We can increase the power again after Aunt Elma leaves.

In the meantime, "You put your left leg in. Your left leg out. In, out, in, out. You shake it all about. You do the hokey cokey. And you turn around. That's what it's all about. Woah, the hokey cokey. Woah, the hokey cokey. Woah, the hokey cokey. Knees bent. Arms stretched. Ra-ra-ra!"

Wednesday, 17 February 2021

I am getting tired ...

 


I am getting tired of being told what I should do in life by some so-called expert fathead on TV.

There was a program on TV blaming me for all the pollution out at sea harming and killing the fish. 

I'll have you know that I live miles from the sea and all my trash goes in separate bins to be re-cycled or dealt with according to what the so-called experts think is appropriate. I dispose of my trash according to the instructions given by the local Authorities. Can anyone explain to me how it ends in the sea? And how this is my fault?

Then there was another fathead expert on another program advising us all to stop eating meat to save the planet. He didn't say who we are saving the planet for. Idiots like him?

He claimed that animals such as cows, sheep and so on let off gases at both ends of their bodies and that this is bad for the ozone layer. His solution was that we stop eating meat and have fewer animals.

Now I don't mind people being vegetarians or people eating meat. It is a personal choice. But I resent being told and coerced into following a particular lifestyle because some idiot has deemed it necessary.

Has this man worked out what the world would be like if all of us on earth stopped eating meat? What would we do with all the cows, sheep, pigs, chickens and other creatures on our daily menu? Would we kill them all to extinction and burn them on a funeral pyre? 

Where would we find a substitute for all the milk produced; and milk by-products like cheese, yoghurt, cream and so on? Can you make cheese from almond milk? Does this man realise how many gallons of water are needed to produce just one almond? And how many almonds you need just to make one pint of almond milk?

Has he worked out the effect on the world economies if we all stopped eating meat? Why, my favourite fast food restaurant selling burgers and fried chicken employs six people alone. That's six people who will be out of work. How about all the others who farm animals, feed them, milk them, shear their wool to make woollen ties for me, collect their eggs to make omelettes for my breakfast, and so on and so forth? 

In short, I don't think that if we all stopped eating all meats it would have that much beneficial effect on the ozone layer as this man if he stopped guffing hot air from the orifices at both ends of his body. 

By all means, he can stop eating meat. That's more left for me and those who agree with me. Let him not lecture me on TV under the guise of expert in stupidity.

As for those who worry about plastic and other trash ending in the sea. Instead of blaming the consumer, why not get the producer to clean up their act? Why is it I can buy pasta and rice from one supermarket in plastic bags that are totally recyclable, whilst in other supermarkets pasta and rice, (and other products), are in bags that cannot be recycled? The price is exactly the same. So why do the producers not use recyclable plastic? The same applies to plastic containers for milk, shampoo, washing up liquid, lemonades and so on. Some are in recyclable plastic, others not.

And why are some products double and treble wrapped? You buy a presentation box of chocolates, or biscuits, or whatever and it is wrapped in cellophane, it's in a cardboard box, and inside you have plastic trays containing no more than 12 tiny chocolates, or biscuits. The same applies for many ready-meals you quick-cook in the oven. It's as if the only way you can have a square meal these days is by eating the boxes rather than their content. More vitamins this way too!

So, Mr Fathead on TV, instead of lecturing the poor consumer about saving the planet, laudable as this is; why don't you first tackle the problem at source? Eating meat has a lot of nutritional benefits which you may choose to avail yourself of, or not. Eating cardboard boxes on the other hand will provide you with some roughage but I doubt whether it will control your hot air emissions.

Tuesday, 16 February 2021

Monastic Visit

 

Some time ago I visited a monastery high in the mountains far away from society and the rest of the world. The monks there were self-sufficient, growing their own food and praying all the time. The monastery did not even have a postal address because they had no postal deliveries, telephones or computers or such things. The only directions to the place was: third mountain peak from the left.

The monks had taken a vow of silence.

When I arrived there, unfortunately, a monk was leaving the premises for good. He had been a monk for exactly three years. The Monk Superior, who was allowed to talk to me because he was meeting me for an interview, explained that monks are not allowed to speak apart from once a year for thirty seconds when they get to meet Monk Superior in private. 

After spending a whole year at the monastery, this particular monk was invited to speak to Monk Superior. He said, "the food here is too salty!"

After spending a second year at the monastery, he told Monk Superior, "the bed is too hard to sleep on!"

On the third year which ended yesterday he told Monk Superior, "my room is too cold!" At which Monk Superior replied, "I think you'd better leave; you've done nothing but complain since you arrived here!"

I was given permission to tour the monastery as long as I did not talk to anyone to preserve their vow of silence.

I went to the carpentry workshop where two monks were working quietly. As I got in, one monk was distracted by my presence and hit the hammer hard on his finger.

He stopped what he was doing and picking up a pencil he wrote "Ouch!" on the wall.

The other monk approached him and wrote underneath, "Did you hurt yourself?"

The first monk wrote under it, "OF COURSE I DID YOU ****"

The second monk wrote, "You don't have to shout!"

At this point, another monk came in the workshop. Picking up a pencil, he wrote, "Who's been writing on the wall? I've just painted it yesterday!"

The first monk who'd hurt himself wrote, "What's it to do with you? Why don't you just **** off!" And then he pushed the monk who'd just got in.

A fight ensued. One monk held the other by the neck like wrestlers do, and before long they were both rolling on the floor cassocks aloft. I noticed that they wear white underpants with red polka dots.

They knocked over one table and the various tools and instruments fell to the ground without making a sound.

At one point they stopped fighting and one of the monks wrote on the wall, "AAAAAAHHHHH! That hurt!"

A fourth monk came in and wrote, "Please stop fighting both of you! Or I will write to Monk Superior on his wall!"

The monk who'd hurt himself stormed out of the workshop slamming the door behind him. The door did not make any sound. I noticed that the edge of the door was padded with heavy cotton material to stop it making a sound when closed.

The remaining monks then left too without saying a word.

At this point Monk Superior entered the workshop and wrote, "Have you been writing on the wall?"

I said, "Of course not!"

I was thrown out of the monastery for speaking and breaking the vow of silence.

Monday, 15 February 2021

Oh Fortuna Carmina Burana

BEFORE YOU PLAY 
VOLUME LOUD
PLAY TWICE
ONCE LOOKING AT VIDEO
ONCE READING LATIN LYRICS 



"O Fortuna" part of the collection known as the Carmina Burana.
(Lyrics from Wikipedia).
O Fortuna
velut luna
statu variabilis,
semper crescis
aut decrescis;
vita detestabilis
nunc obdurat
et tunc curat
ludo mentis aciem,
egestatem,
potestatem
dissolvit ut glaciem.

Sors immanis
et inanis,
rota tu volubilis,
status malus,
vana salus
semper dissolubilis,
obumbrata
et velata
michi quoque niteris;
nunc per ludum
dorsum nudum
fero tui sceleris.

Sors salutis
et virtutis
michi nunc contraria,
est affectus
et defectus
semper in angaria
.
Hac in hora
sine mora
corde pulsum tangite;
quod per sortem
sternit fortem,
mecum omnes plangite!

O Fortune,
just like the moon
thou art variable,
always dost thou
wax and wane.
Detestable life,
first dost thou mistreat us,
and then, whimsically,
thou heedest our desires.
As the sun melts the ice,
so dost thou dissolve
both poverty and power.

Monstrous
and empty fate,
thou, turning wheel,
art mean,
voiding
good health at thy will.
Veiled
in obscurity,
thou dost attack
me also.
To thy cruel pleasure
I bare my back.

Thou dost withdraw
my health and virtue;
thou dost threaten
my emotion
and weakness
with torture.
At this hour,
therefore, let us
pluck the strings without
delay.
Let us mourn together,
for fate crushes the brave.



Sunday, 14 February 2021

Be Clean

 

A leper came to Jesus and, kneeling, he begged him, "If you choose, you can make me clean." Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, "I do choose. Be made clean!" (Mark 1:40-45)

Leprosy is a terrible illness. In those days 2000 years ago a leper was thrown out of every town and village. He was ostracised from society. He was feared. He lived alone, in poverty, starvation, and died alone. No family. No friends. No one to care for him or even bury him when he's dead.

Since then, we have had many plagues and epidemics throughout the world and throughout the years. 

And whenever they happen, people tend to react the same way. Suspicion and uneasiness as to its seriousness, fear as to how it could affect us and our loved ones, ignorance and contradictions as to what it is and how it is spread, conspiracy theories, confusion, every man for himself, and indeed many other emotions you can think of and add to the list.

But what does Jesus have to offer to this list of emotions?

Pity. Mercy. Love. Compassion. Healing. Hope. Salvation. New beginning. 

Can you add any more to Christ's list?

Better still, can you offer any of these to someone in need?

Friday, 12 February 2021

Romantic Adventures

 


Seeing it is St Valentine's Day I thought I'd write a romantic novel for a change. Something nice that pulls at the heart strings and will survive the passage of time and stand out there in the world of literature as a great monument to love, loyalty, passion and ... well, whatever!

Here are a short few lines I have written so far. Tell me what you think.

They stood there holding hands watching the sun go down as the waves lapped the shores beneath them. A light breeze from the East blew her blonde hairs softly. He ran to fetch them as they entangled in the bushes.

She put her wig back on and whispered softly, "let us go upstairs and turn out the light and unite in our thoughts of love".

"But the ships rely on our bright lights," said the lighthouse keeper.

"Take me in your arms," she breathed lightly, "lift me, carry me, take me to our love nest my darling!"

"What? All the way to the top of the lighthouse?" he said rubbing the small of his back to soothe away the pain.

She bit her lips delicately to hide her disappointment. "I think our relationship is on the rocks!" she said, wiping a tear.

"That's inevitable," he replied, "seeing we are by the lighthouse".

Just then the air turned sour and somewhat toxic on a love that was not to be.

"Och aye, ye ken," he said in his broad Scottish accent, "I see the tide has brought in some rotten fish once again!"

So ... what do you think? Is it a bit too romantic? Or will it be memorable like all the other great works?

I also thought of writing another novel at the same time. This one is an adventure with a Super Hero who can do all sorts of things that no other hero in history can do. For example, he can disguise himself as a table. One moment he is a man, the next he is a table. In a restaurant perhaps, or a house, or a manor. Whilst people are eating from on top of him he is listening to their conversations and evil plots to conquer the world.

He can use his super powers to smell round corners. He can control time by ten seconds before something happens. For example, he would say, "Bless you!" before someone sneezes. He can eat the hottest chilli con carne even though he is a vegetarian.  

His name is: SUPERHERO

Here is what I have written so far. Let me know what you think.

Hello ... Hello ... Is that Superhero?

Yes it is. What can I do for you?

HELP ... HELP ... I am hanging on by my finger nails at the edge of a cliff. I can hold on no longer. If I fall I shall surely die. HEEEELP !!!!!

Let me take some details. What is your name? And where are you exactly? Damn, my pencil broke ... hold on ... got another one. Where are you caller?

I don't know where I am exactly. My speed boat was caught up in a hurricane, I flew in the air and landed on top of this cliff. I got thrown out of the boat and only managed to hold on to the edge by my finger nails. I don't want to die. Help me. Can't you use your super powers to hear where I'm screaming from and fly to my rescue?

Normally yes ... but I lost my hearing aid. I've just found a suppository in my ear though!

Help me ... help me Superhero!

All right ... all right ... just hold on!

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!!

He did not hold on. Now I have to use my frequent flyer miles and search all over the world for him.

Hello ... Superhero! Is that you?

Yes, it's me ... where did you go? I won't be able to find you if you keep moving.

I fell off the cliff and I am now hanging on to a branch a bit lower down. Please come and help me soon. The battery on my cell phone is running low ...

I am coming as fast as I can. I have to change at least three flights on different airlines to reach you. Also take a bus and possibly hire a bicycle to get to your location for the last few miles.

Just hurry up ... I can hold no longer ... AAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!

Damn nuisance. He has moved again. How can I save people in distress if they keep moving? They are so inconsiderate these days!

Hello ... Hello ... Superhero?

Yes ... that's me ... and it's you again. I notice your cell phone is loud and clear now.

I'm not on my cell phone. It broke when I fell. I am now at the bottom of the cliff. I am phoning you from the bar at the hotel on the beach. I'm OK. No need to come and save me.

I'll charge you double for wasting my time, you fathead!

So ... what do you think? Am I better at romantic novels or adventure?

Or do you prefer my other books?

As it happened

 



A long time ago, I hated being at school. The children used to bully me, steal my lunch box and give me wedgies. Eventually I gave up being a teacher.

There followed a series of other jobs. For example, for a while I was a door-to-door salesman selling doors. I had a couple of doors strapped on my back and two suitcases with door handles, locks, hinges and so on. Once I knocked on a door, not mine ... a door of a house ... and a man opened. I asked him, "do you want to buy a door?"

Before he answered I bent forward a little to put the suitcases I was carrying on the ground. The doors on my back hit him straight in the face. He fell right on his back like a felled tree. He did not buy any doors.

My next job was also as a door-to-door salesman. This time I was selling First Aid kits. I sold little boxes with all the things you need in an emergency. Like a small mirror in case you want to check your lipstick should you get injured. Small scissors to cut your finger nails and so on.

I knocked at a door and an old lady opened. After I recited the sales blurb to her, she politely said she did not need to buy anything and shut the door. Unfortunately she caught my hand in the door. I screamed. She was shocked and said, "are you all right?"

I said, "my right hand is ... but my left has been crushed!"

She used my First Aid kit but unfortunately the sticking plaster would not stick to my hand. She used the bandages but they were too thin and kept tearing as she wrapped it round my fingers. Eventually she tied my handkerchief to my hand and did not buy anything.

I worked in a zoo for a while. We had a tiger which ate Frosties. Serves the woman right for letting Frosties the little dog inside the tiger's enclosure.

I got fired from that job for feeding the monkeys ... to the lions. The visitors did not enjoy the lions feeding time whilst they were having their lunch. 

I got another job at a golf club. My job was to go round the course and count the holes. We had gophers nearby and they dug extra holes all over the place. The players got too tired going round a 108 holes golf course. The problem is I did not know which were legitimate golf course holes and which were additional gophers ones. I filled all of them in and the players complained that they could not get a hole in one or any hole whatsoever either. 

Another job I had at this club was to check if there were any golf balls left in the holes by the players. I used to go round the course in the early evening, after everyone had left, and check all the holes. I hated having to put my hand in the holes to retrieve the balls. I wore gloves. I once forgot my gloves so I tied my scarf tight round my hand. Unfortunately when I held on to the golf ball my hand got stuck in the hole. I could not get it out again. I could not open my hand to drop the ball and my fist was held tightly shut holding the ball and being stuck inside the hole.

There I was on my knees with my hand stuck in the hole. You could say I was "one in hole".

I cried for help, but there was no one there to help me. I was the only one in the golf club to lock up and leave. Yet there I was locked in a hole myself.

As it grew dark a fox came out of the bushes. He was not a club member. I decided to remain still ready to hit him with my free hand should he get vicious.

He approached me, raised his back leg, and told me what he thought of me. 

Somehow, this released my hand like magic as I ran to the club house!

I worked as an undertaker's assistant in a funeral director's office. I got fired when one April Fools Day I hid a tape-recorder in a coffin which repeated, "let me out ... let me out ..."  

I also got fired from working in a pet shop for teaching the parrot to say to the customers, "hello ugly ... what are you looking at?"

I worked in a museum for a while. I was a night security guard. I was the only one at night in the museum guarding the whole place and doing my rounds every so often in all the rooms. I was scared. So I took my dog with me without anyone knowing. I got fired when the dog ate the dinosaur's leg.

And that's how it happened.

Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Come on

It was a warm sunny day and Father Ignatius was alone in the Parish House. He got out in the gardens at the back of the house and sat by the little shrine to Our Lady set amongst rose bushes some way from the main building.

He took his Rosary from his pocket and started praying. A few minutes later he heard a bird singing in a tree nearby. It wasn’t so much the usual singing one hears, nor the panic cries of a mother when a cat or other predator approaches the nest … this was more like a calling type of singing. It was as if the bird was beckoning someone to do something.

Father Ignatius got up from his chair and walked into the shadows to better see what caused this bird behavior.

There on a tree nearby was a nest. He could see it clearly now, even though it was well camouflaged amongst the branches and leaves. And in the nest there were three birds … quite well-grown by the looks of their size and the fact they were covered in feathers.

The mother bird kept flying towards the nest singing wildly and then moving away from branch to branch … then it got down to the ground … and up to the nest again … singing all the time.

The three little ones looked over the edge of the nest but stayed put.

The priest realized what was going on. The mother was teaching her little ones to leave the nest and fly.

There she was hopping from one branch to another singing away: no doubt encouraging her young to take flight. You could almost hear her speak: “Come on my dears … don’t be afraid … jump!”

They hesitated. Looked around, looked down at the ground which seems miles away, and then politely said to each other: “You first.” “No, no, after you …” “Ladies first, I always say.”

And none of them had the courage to take off, whilst the mother is cheering heartily: “Come on, you know you can do it!”

Eventually one of the little ones gingerly jumped out of the nest, his wings flapping madly, and somehow landed safely to the ground. In time he was followed by his siblings and yet another generation took flight and left the nest.

The priest smiled as he saw all four birds hop from bush to bush, and eventually up the tree branches again, and then fly away confidently.

He sat down again at the feet of the statue and reflected on what he had just witnessed.

“Our first steps with the Lord are no different to these birds I suppose” he thought to himself.

“We question, we analyse, we debate and then … perhaps … in time, we come to believe.

“Eventually, we make that first step in Faith. Believing, without having all the answers. Without knowing everything about the aero-dynamics of flight, or the effects of gravity as we leave the perceived safety of our nest.

“God does not ask us to know everything about Him, how He thinks, how He works, and how He manages the universe.

“All He asks is that we trust Him and believe, without question and without hesitation.

“His Holy Spirit will then lead us through our journey to the Father.” 

EXCERPT FROM CHRISTIAN REFLECTIONS

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