Wednesday, 21 October 2009

a time for every purpose

With the death of Maybelle, we are all thinking about life, her life and death, our place in the world, and the fact that however hard we, or governments try, life cannot be totally controlled.

I find it amazing that so many people, so much of the time, need to control events. If they have a view they need to impose it. Therein lies the need for a philosophy that enables us to deal with the idiocy of it all. I think that the piece from Ecclesiastes 'there is a time for every purpose', is particularly helpful in considering conflict. My own philosophy is absolutely Taoist in this respect. I believe strongly in the notion of 'yield and overcome'. But of course the problem in that, it is in itself intrinsically a controlling mechanism. Yield would be good, but then overcome is what I object to.

The world order is not really order, it is chaotic because things are run by, we are governed by people who 'know' that they are right. And of course much of the time they are only right in a very limited sense of the word, and only by their own construct of the world. All of this is dangerous. Give a leader,  power, it matters not whether it purports to be democratic, eg America, the UK Europe or where ever, and then give them military power, and  self righteousness and there is a recipe for disaster, for any country where the leaders, not the people have a different paradigm.

If you then add in religion into the political mix then there is conflict of the worst kind. It really does beat me how or why religion can be so destructive of true morality, by which I mean the natural goodness and respect for each other, no matter what colour class or creed we have. It is just a dire world we live in.

It is no wonder therefore that Maybelle, a long time ago gave up on organised religion, when as she saw it, it failed her at her time of need when Harold left her. It is out of respect for her views that we will have a humanist celebrant at her funeral on Friday. And we will do our best to celebrate her life in a way that we believe she would enjoy if she were able to.

The time to cast away our own wishes and value hers. A time to rejoice that she was, in the same we that we celebrated that her daughter Anne was. There was, is and will be sadness of course, but we should face up to the fact that we are all certain of death, we can not generally control these things, and must face the future without Maybelle, and get on, as Maybelle herself would have done, look towards the next thing, and get excited about that.

The time for reflection and the time for new purpose.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Ok what now?

Today is Wednesday 14th October. As I write this Sue should be somewhere over the middle of Australia. Hannah Nick and the girls are gearing up to follow her.

Meanwhile back in Norwich, Maybelle seems to be very frail. It is just so sad seeing her so weak, but she has fought so long, to keep going, it is time for her to rest for us to say our farewells  to her. She has no quality of life. Her situation is exactly what she had so hoped to avoid.

So this is a time for saying goodbye and preparing to say goodbye.

On Monday however we had a party at home, here, for the wonderful staff and Trustees of the Families House. This was by way of a thank you to those who had managed to keep the place going through some very difficult times and to say hullo to the new staff and to Marian who has joined us a Trustee. I felt that it was a happy event and for the FH the future is bright.

Anne Roberts told me that one of the Crossroads funders is increasing their annual donation from £100,000 to £400,000. So once again we prepare ourselves for loss, but there are good news stories which help us look to the future.

Nick has a future as a poet, Gary is better, apart from facing a sad couple of weeks with Maybelle now is good.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

reflections on art, theatre food and family and friends

Life is just so rich. In the past few days we have had a ball. Don't we always? Just so lucky.

So as at the weekend we took Beth to London, to see her Uni friends, who were up for tea at the Ritz. She has a fantastic time.

Fetched up at Cranley Gardens where it was great to see Kate for the first time since her arrival back from South America. She seems to be in a really good space, although wants a job in Bristol to help pay the bills.

Joined for afternoon tea, by Alex and Murray. Not quite the same standard as Beth was having down the road in Piccadilly needed Lorraine there to deliver that.

We went to the Kapoor exhibition at the RA. Wow, some if it is just so stunning. I loved the various mirrors, they were beautiful, fun and I would say high art. The great thing is that everyone was smiling they made people happy. I commented to one of the room attendants that it must be great to see everyone so happy. He commented that that was true but they were nervous as the art was so appealing yet fragile that they had a real challenge to prevent the visitors from interacting with it, and stuffing it up. So he said for them it is the hardest exhibition. One persons pleasure is another's stress I guess.

Onto the National Theatre, where we met Kevin and Lorna. We ate together near by before going onto see Mother Courage. A fantastic production. Not a happy play, in fact it gets more depressing every 15v minutes. But it is wonderful theatre and extremely challenging. Sad really that we, human kind simply seem unable to learn from the experience of previous generations.

Then on Sunday caught up with Julia. It was good seeing her again. We had a good lunch a the Oxo Tower, then took in the Pop exhibition at the Tate Modern. What an interesting thing that it as a concept. Is it art? Probably but how can anyone compare it to the beauty of even Caravaggio and I hate what he does. But it is emotional powerful and brilliant. Pop Art seems to me to be crass, exploitive and shallow. The porn component was more interesting, at least that is disturbing, challenging, and Sue and I have talked much about it. Coming to no real conclusion, other than it is well over the top and in your face. Probably unnecessary, but why do we find it difficult?

I am enormously blessed by my family and friends. We have had had a huge week, talking to so many of you. Learning so much from you all. Thankyou. But in this blog I want specially to mention Nick whose own blog started me on this path. Anyone who reads it has to be inspired by his writing his candor and insights. He is very brave blogging in this way. And we all love him all the more for his emotional maturity and sheer brilliance at conveying complex ideas and emotions so well in this way. What is more the bastard can be amusing too while doing it.