for my dad

my dadHe’s gone now
An old farmer
Who loved his sheep
Who loved his wheat
Who loved his land

My dad the gentleman
A gentle man
Who never raised his hand
Who never raised his voice
Who never raised a harsh word

Except when he lost his dignity
The indignity of old age
The indignity of loss
Loss of continence
Loss of independence

Ninety seven and counting
Only we are counting no longer
The years have stopped
Ceased to roll
Ceased

When dad was alive
Death was not an option
Life would continue
Life would roll on
Life would not be swallowed by death

For my dad
Now in death
Life is the only option
Life in Christ
Life eternal

My dad loved quietly
My dad was quietly loved
For my dad love lasted a lifetime
My dad was faithful in his love
And God has been faithful in his love

For my dad

Why I nominated French philosopher Jean Vanier

Actually, I didn’t nominate French philosopher Jean Vanier. But if I was in the position to, I would.

In my current capacity as a teacher, I work with children with special needs. Actually, they are not children, they are teenagers bordering on young adults.

As they grow physically, many students have the mind of a child with the mix of teenage hormones that can send them off the planet at times. Come to think of it, they are not unlike my own children when they were teens.

But some of the young people with whom I work are very emotionally scarred from abuse of some sort, some are physically and/or mentally handicapped in some way.

All have extra special needs.

So it was very refreshing to read the article by John Swinton, Chair in Divinity and Religious Studies at University of Aberdeen, ‘Why I nominated French philosopher Jean Vanier for the world’s top religious prize‘.

Please read and be inspired.

in the face of death

Yesterday, Les and I visited a friend we have known for around 35 years. She has a matter of weeks to live as the result of cancer in her lungs spreading to her brain.

Our friend, Ethne by name, said the last two weeks have been wonderful because so many of her relatives and friends have visited her. Her laughter rang throughout her home as she spilled her drink over herself because she is losing strength in her hands.

Far from being saddened and depressed, although we are sad at the thought of losing such a treasure, our spirits were uplifted and we left with a smile on our faces and two hand made cushions she wanted us to have.

Ethne has no fear of death because she knows she will soon be in glory with her Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. She has been a Christian all her adult life and, in the face of death: her final hours on the earth, she is assured that nothing will separate her from her God.

Ethne has been a blessing to so many in her life, including Les and me and our family, and even in her final days, she continues to be a blessing to us.

Her reward in heaven will be great.