Sunday, 4 May 2008


When I came out of church this morning, I was sure I could smell the sea. I wondered if there were some illness you could have whose onset was presaged by that salt tang in the air, like the smell of burning toast indicating that you are suffering a stroke.
Perhaps it was a momentary haunting.

I usually phone home on a Sunday, I think I should have a radio programme along the lines of Alistair Cook's 'Letter from America'. Mine would be called 'Phone Call from Canada', or maybe I'd go posher and call it 'From 49 West'.

Today I managed to speak to all of my children. Austen's school is being inspected this week. Deep joy.
The format has changed and now, with only a week's notice, the streamlined team will descend like the Flying Squad, and judge your school in two days. The old week-long ordeal inflicted by a mighty team of specialists was just that, an ordeal. They still couldn't manage an actual linguist last time my department was inspected.

Alex asked me why I hadn't mentioned the Austrian case. Truth is, I can't deal with the horror of it. As it unfolds further and further I can't believe it really happened to human beings in a western country. There are aspects of it which certainly remind me of the way the women were treated in Khaled Hoseini's 'Thousand Splendid Suns'.
Which is worse, that such abuse can happen in a society where it is tolerated, encouraged even, or in one that considers itself above such evil? How can people survive something like that? How can they recover from it? And most of all, how can someone perpetrate it? There is nothing, simply NOTHING that could be imposed on that man that could be adequate punishment.
'Vengeance is mine sayeth the Lord,'
But times have changed.

In church the psalm started 'Arise O God, and let your enemies be scattered,' but that's not how it is now. We cannot scatter enemies in God's name, that's not how our God is anymore. Now we must wrestle with ourselves and find a way to overcome our horror from within. Somehow we are all guilty. In a society we share responsibility.
And we condemn our social workers for interfering and then we condemn them for not discovering abuse.

The sermon was about prayer. Marnie prompted us to think about what we pray about and she was right, my own prayer is too often a litany. I want, I need, give me strength to.... save this person, comfort that one...
Does our prayer ever serve to bring us closer to God ?
I can't seem to reach that deeper level. I can't seem to look deeply at my own soul. I strive for self-knowledge through prayer but when I look I see a barrier. I can see a frightened child staring out into darkness. Is that maybe what we all are? All God's children, scared and alone. Never really growing up spiritually.

Back in the physical world, I have had a weekend of painting and sorting. Bringing the old house into the new one. It was satisfying.
Kevin went on the frat camping weekend. I'm sure it'll be out on DVD at some point. In different ways it was a full-on weekend for both of us.
May the Fourth was with us.

1 comment:

Sleepy said...

My friend in the Science department is finding it very difficult to prepare the data he has to because of the fraud perpetrated by the 'higher ups'.

I hope to Christ they fail.
I really do.
I'm thinking of setting up a blog that details every lie and fraud that goes on in that place.

Lying about levels, fraudulent coursework the lot.
I WILL have my revenge and it will be cold.