Always look on the bright side of life!

Today I attended the funeral of the lovely lady that I went out to visit on my bike. She had a good send off conducted by the Rev.

She was well known in the community for her warm smile,and the ability to talk. She always welcoming and had a positive outlook on things and a sense of humour.

This was a good thing as she may have smiled at the goings on in the back pew.

Last night we had a pot luck supper at The Manse. Despite not having a lot of food to prepare, I had attended two services, cleaned the house after lunch and put out cutlery, plates etc and cleared up after all our guests had departed. By the time we got to bed we were knackered.

So when I woke up this morning and remembered that there was no school and therefore no children to lever out of bed, I thought that I would stay in the warm until it got light and the hens wanted “out”. Anyway Monday is our day off. Something in the back of my mind connected warmth with heating. “Funeral!”, I yelled at the slumbering Rev.  “We haven’t put the heating on!” As with most ancient buildings, the old stone Church takes a bit of heating up. The Rev. shot out of bed as if I’d pinched him, startling the dog and began stumbling about looking for clothes.

I drifted off listening to the “Today” programme, and realised it was late and pulled on a jumper and my coat to let the hens out. After breakfast I made the mistake of taking my coffee to my desk to check my e.mails.  I had a chat with my daughter on Facebook, read my friends exciting blog paulbennison.com, well worth a look! Then I realised it was 10am and the coffin had arrived next door, and I was still in my PJ’s.

The Rev. had robed up and was shouting “Don’t be late!”. I rushed into the shower, threw some clothes about, thinking I should have decided what to wear last night. My new black jeans didn’t fit due to being a size too small. I am sure they must have been on the wrong hanger, or I was feeling optimistic at the time that I bought them.

I rushed about sponging last nights supper off the ones I wore to Church and threw on a coat to cover all. It was hardly going to be warm in the building anyway. I joined the mourners and walked along slowly as if I meant to get there at that time.

The church was packed to the gunnels, most of the folk  I had never met before. As I was desperately scanning for a seat, the Rev. appeared and asked me to join the chaps in the back row. Old Hamish was trying to look inconspicuous against the far wall, he seldom sits with anyone when he attends services ,so I often join him. The only problem is, that he has an Argyll accent as thick as a kilt and mine is pure Sussex. So communication can be a bit of a problem.

There was a large gap between H and my dear old friend of 92 years, N. He is blind and very deaf and has Scoliosis badly which makes standing difficult. Next to him on the end was “The Dutchman” his nickname, as he originally hails from Holland . Now he has a Dutch accent mixed with Argyll, making him almost unintelligible, especially on the phone, to a sassanach like me.

Talking was not my immediate problem, I had to get to the gap between N and H. N could not move out of the pew being so bent. So I considered walking along the pew but thought this might be a bit disrespectful, especially as H takes these solemn occasions very seriously, and tradition matters here! So, our man from the Netherlands and I stood N. as upright as possible and I put both arms around him and tried the front approach, with as much dignity as possible. I tried to squeeze past by putting one knee between his and the other in the gap and my bum on the hymn book shelf, sending books scudding along the polished surface. I got in but realised that I was facing the wrong way. The leg room is about a one leg width, so with some wriggling I got the right way round!

By this time old H. is glaring and The D. and I were in hysterics. N liked the cuddle and decided to sit nearer me to get warm. On Sundays he usually offers me a mint if I sit next to him, today I declined as he had some with difficult wrappers which he was sucking to remove the paper, putting the soggy bits in his pocket. The Dutchman and I found it terribly difficult to stay serious.

Sorry K., about our behaviour but I am sure that you are” throwing your crown in the air” and rejoicing at being Home, I think that you would have laughed at us and I know that your great faith has you on the “Bright side of life.”

Doing as you are told!

The Rev. Is still yomping in Wiltshire. On Sunday he announced from the pulpit that as he was only away for four days, most things could wait until his return, but in an emergency contact the Minister in the next Parish.

At an  “interchurch” meeting on the Monday evening I find that the Minister in question is travelling back from  somewhere in the far East , and I don’t mean  Lothian.

Tuesday I receive a call from a very distressed son who needs the Rev. to visit his mother. This is not possible I explain but I will try to find another Rev. who could do it. I only get answer phones. Very late evening, the travelling Rev. says he phoned said son but only got an answering machine.  An undertaker phones with news that a villager has died and could he arrange a funeral with my Rev. Explain no , but I know he would like to do this funeral because he had been visiting the deceased (before he got that way) in hospital, so manage to get the Undertaker to do the business next Monday  to give time for a family visit and preparation.

Go to bed concerned about distressed son and that I have no potatoes for the Messy Church Banquet and hope my friend R. remembers to get them. All night God keeps telling me that I must go and visit the distressed family, I say OK, but as I will have to cycle there I will only go if the weather is fine ,as gale force winds are forecast. The main road on which I have to travel has open fields on both sides and makes cycling very difficult ,as the wind blows you of course, especially on the way back.

When I get up the prodding to go is still there. The sky is overcast and the air is chilly. I say to God, I’m only going if it’s not too windy because that road is scary. I look out of the window hoping to see trees moving, not a thing. I get daughter off to school, do a bit of admin. and walk the dogs, hoping to see movement in the foliage so that I can chicken out. Nothing. On returning with the dogs a slight breeze has blown up.

I say  “Right Lord, I’ll go then.” . I am a real coward, I’m not good at saying the right thing to dying people or their relatives, I had enough trouble when I was a Nurse. But God still says GO, so I pack my rucksack with a few things, take some identification in my pocket and my card that says I take anticoagulants, just in case I get knocked off. Put on my helmet and reflective jacket and set off. Oh, she of little faith!!!

By the time I get down the Glen to the main road the wind is really blowing, but as I have got that far I keep going. about 30 minutes later I arrive at the farm of my destination to be greeted by the community nurse who explains that there has been a bit of a crisis involving two of the emergency services who have now departed. I sit in the lovely farm kitchen surrounded by photographic and artistic memories of this family’s life together stretching over years. Photos of the couple as they have grown together, art work done by children and pictures obviously painted by grandchildren.  I perch on a chair wondering what to say and throwing prayers heavenwards for inspiration. The aga  has perspiration pouring off me after my exertions,as it seems to be belching out heat, but I suddenly feel at peace.  What priceless treasures are here, evidence of a life lived surrounded by love.

I chat to nurses and relatives and am then asked to visit the very sick person upstairs. Despite the situation they are looking quite bright but tell me they have had enough and want to die. What does one say.? I hold her hand and I listen, in my head I want to plead with her to wait until God comes and takes her home, which will be at exactly the right time. I try to say positive things but also hope that it will be soon. The whole family is suffering. I pray with her and feel her relax and I take my leave. In the kitchen, nurses are drawing up medication which will relieve her of her senses but at least she might sleep.

I cycle back from the farm to the main road, the wind is now blowing SO hard it feels as if a very fat man is sitting on my handlebars as I try to peddle. Log lorries tear by on the opposite side of the road and I am caught in their wake, my thighs are burning with the effort of peddling despite the gears. So I start to chat with God and ask for peace for the family, I am so lost in conversation with him I find myself at the turning for the Glen.

I get in and put the kettle on, I am so glad that I went. I felt that at least my inadequate words had hopefully given some comfort, and the feeling being obedient to God’s prompting gave me joy. He is a God of awesome power and we just need to have the courage to step out for Him.

1“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. 2“In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. 3“If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.…

George Bernard Shaw remarked: The statistics on death are quite impressive: one out of one people die.

Those of us with faith know that it will be at the right time and is only another blip on our time line… and eternal life is a long line!

We are remembering them.

An early start today for Remembrance services on icy roads. The sun came out about 9 ish and the Loch shone like a mirror, the beautiful Autumn tinged trees reflected  so clearly in the still water. There was snow on the Paps of Jura  glinting in the sunshine conjuring up a magical scene.

Quite a few folk gathered around the stone cross at Barnluasgan despite the chill and although the community is very small 6 wreaths were laid by ex -servicemen and those with family connections to the forces. An elder played a lament on the bagpipes which is always emotional.I f

Up to Inverlussa for the first service and a chance to get warm, then over to the tiny “Mission” church at Ford; with more snow covered hills in the distance. The Rev. was on form, and many people commented on the sermon content, very thought provoking. Are we providing a place for soldiers to come home to?. He shot off to catch a bus into Glasgow to connect with flight to Southampton and off for an army thingy.

I thought I might have an easy week but from the look of the diary, that’s not an option.

 

(images from google, I forgot the camera)

Before the throne.

On your knees before the throne took on a different meaning last night. Yesterday I was a lady “what did lunch”. My lovely friend Sue took me out after the Ladies Bible study Group for lunch and a natter. 

As it’s the end of the tourist season “Rosies’ “, an excellent cafe in Tayvallich , was closed, so we had to go elsewhere. I had a good bowl of soup with tomato and vegetables and some kind of bean.  I thought good food and good company .

By mid-afternoon I was feeling a bit dodgy and by evening I was feeling particularly troubled. After the Rev. left for a session meeting I could have pebble dashed a target a hundred yards away! All a bit Hughie and Bert.

At mid- night I felt a bit better and decided to go to bed. Today I am pleased to say the worst is past. I even managed some Bovril soldiers for breakfast. My mum’s cure for everything. funny isn’t it, how childhood comfort food makes you feel so much better even when you are near to expecting your free bus pass! My late first husband liked bread and milk if he was ill, a remedy my mother-in-law had always provided.

I can’t prove it was the Hotel that caused my “outburst”,  but it does mean that I don’t have to attend a dinner tonight ,that I wasn’t looking forward to. So when I am on my knees today to chat with my Father on his throne I shall thank him profusely .

Must e.mail Sue to make sure she’s all right…..