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

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.

how much love is enough?

I have been very blessed today. I have seen seven of my eleven grandchildren. I had breakfast with four and morning tea with three.

In two weeks, two little granddaughters will arrive at the Perth International Airport and there will be nine of eleven in one place – a rare treat. The other two I will hopefully see a little later in the year.

I love each one dearly; they are all treasures to me.

A few weeks ago, I was watching Sesame Street with two of the four and the song ‘I’ve got enough love to go around’ was sung by Gina in response the Elmo’s jealousy of her little child who was in need of attention. This set me thinking about love and how much is enough?

I came to the conclusion that love really measuring lovecannot be measured in quantity, as in ‘enough’, otherwise, might we not be tempted to say:
‘I love you, but if … (one could insert ‘you cheat on me’ or ‘you disobey me’ or ‘you don’t do this for me’) I will love you no longer.’

I am sure we have all heard: ‘I’ve fallen out of love with you’ or ‘I don’t love you any more’ or ‘I love someone else’.

I suppose we could call it ‘conditional love’. In fact, this is anything but love. Call it bribery or coercion or intimidation or oppression or lust or convenience or whatever you like, but not love.

Love is a quality. We are told in the Bible that ‘God is love’ (1 John 4:8). The very essence of God’s character is love which cannot be contained, measured, cut off or dealt out sparingly or liberally.

I know the Greek distinguishes between eros, philos and agape, but if we are characterised by love as God is, then husbands and wives would love each other as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her; parents, brothers, sisters, friends and neighbours would love as Christ loves. We would be prepared to die for the sake of our enemy.

Such is love. Christ’s love does not diminish as it emanates from him. His love just is.

Having a husband, four children, four children-in-law, eleven grandchildren, a father, a sister and four brothers, my husband’s very extended family, my very dear brothers and sisters in Christ, my friends at work, how can I say I have enough love to share between them all?

I confess that I am nowhere near as good at loving as Christ is, even though I am one of his. But when it comes to my family, my love cannot be measured.