Saturday, 16 March 2013
You Lucky bastard francis!
I have never been overly impressed with words, people’s attempts at profundity has always missed the mark with me.
I expect it was listening to so much unadulterated religious bollocks as a child! In fact, I guess my BS detector and cynical antaenna is always on red alert!
But it is funny how some incidents seemingly, unrelated to me, have quietly shaped my life.
Years ago, when I was expecting my first child, it was the year of the Aberfan disaster in Wales.
A coal slag heap covered a school and killed many children and their teachers. It was the most shocking thing imaginable, many families lost more than one child, and the whole of the UK mourned. I was shocked, and upset, but I was watching the television with another woman who had herself four children, and she was sobbing her heart out, she couldn’t get her breath. In my naiveté, and aged 19, I thought she was going a “bit over the top” I comforted her, but was a bit embarrassed.
It wasn’t until a couple of months later when I had my daughter, that I actually understood what she was feeling. She was relating to every one of those deaths and feeling for every one of those Mothers. I began to feel as much pain. And then I was really embarrassed at my previous naiveté. Having a child had opened a window in my heart.
A while later, when expecting my second child, I was asked to help out in a friend’s fish and chip shop, because she had hurt her back and couldn’t cope.
I felt quite sick, the greasy smell upset me and aggravated my morning sickness.But I persevered, and as I was folding all of the newspapers to wrap up the chips, I came across a Sunday newspaper that was running a big article about the holocaust . I sat and read it and then I saw the photographs, of Mothers lining up with their children holding their hands as they queued to be shot. The piles of bodies, the abandoned clothes. Then I really threw up. Another window had opened.
Those pictures are still in my head, and if I think of them, even now I feel really nauseous.
But of course I don’t think about them all of the time, because I am a human being, and I get caught up in my own stuff and complacent.
When I first stopped drinking, many years ago, someone told me that if I stayed grateful, I would stay sober. But of course I am not always grateful, I get complacent and forget how bad it was or how much worse it could have been.But I have always been grateful for the opportunity to help another addict if I get the chance.
I remember one of my sons years ago going to Russia, and he was shocked at how little ordinary people had. He said when he came back on his “fat plane” and got into his “fat car” and drove to his “fat house” he felt quite ashamed at how much he took for granted.It opened a window for him, and for me too hearing his stories. He had bought a painting off his host, and was grateful that he was able to do something without patronising.
When my son died,The pain was more unbearable than anything I could ever have imagined, and as I gradually got a little better a window again opened.
I thought if I never did anything selfish again in my life, I still couldn’t do enough to make up for all of my early life’s complacency and ingratitude, the things I had taken for granted. But I am human, and I don’t remember all the time, and I forget to be grateful.
Last night I watched “Comic Relief” and once again it has broken my heart. Watching children die of simple diseases and malnutrition and dirty water, as I filled a hot bath and soaked in it, took a mug of hot milk to my nice warm clean comfortable bed, after covering up my dog and giving him biscuits in his bed! It has opened that window of gratitude again..The little bit of money I may be able to pledge is a pittance at the side of their needs, and that is so frustrating.
Sometimes when I am angry about my abuses, at the lost potential and the distorted life path, I wonder if we don’t sometimes think we have the monopoly on suffering? But I have been lucky to share a platform with others who are also fighting a cause and it has opened my eyes to many other injustices, and I am grateful to them for that.
Now I am no Mary Poppins! Mother Theresa and I have NOTHING whatsoever in common ! Tim Minchin's "pope song" would be on top of my desert island disc requests,I swear a lot and I am sure I am extremely difficult to live with.
I have been responsible for causing pain and I have made many many mistakes.
But I do feel grateful when I get the opportunity to give something to someone else.
Not because I am special or different from anyone else, but because occasionally I get the opportunity to feel human.
We all know how much nicer it is to be able to give than to receive. Most human beings are benevolent at their heart, we are a benevolent species, we would have not have survived this long if we were not.
So as I went to bed, wondering if their IS any justice in the World, thinking about the opulent and extravagant pantomime taking place in Rome, and the obscene wealth of the catholic church. I wondered how many malaria nets would one of those bloody silly hats buy? How many vaccinations could be bought for the price of those designer red shoes?
If I was the new pope this morning (although I thank fuck I am not!) I would be SO bloody grateful, because I would know that if I sold the vatican, and all it’s treasures, opened up all the secret bank accounts and, after paying back to all the countries I had stolen from, started to pay for my expenses instead of expecting cash strapped Italy to support me in luxury, made amends to every priest abused person, undid the damage caused by missionaries, I would still have enough to give the whole bloody lot away, and I could feed the World and know the real meaning of compassion.
I would be able to make a difference to all the lives that are so desolate, AND I would be able to feel more happiness than I have ever known, I would be elated for years !
So How lucky is Francis this morning! He can do all of that!
So surely that is what he will do?
(Will he Fuck!)