Daybook Entry – 18th February 2017


For Today 18th February 2017

Looking out my window… I am looking at a garden that is in serious need of some TLC

I am thinking… about how busy I am going to be for the next 8 days. I am going to be taking part in my first brass band contest for a very long time, and in the first section which I have not played in for even longer than that. The busyness comes from the amount of rehearsal I have to do between now and then, not just the 2 hours each night with the rest of the band but the couple of hours each day on my own practice at home too to make sure I am in tip top condition to the band and the performance justice. I am looking forward to it and dreading it in equal measure to be honest.

I am thankful… for the gift of music.

One of my favourite things… is sharing food on a Saturday with my family and having some good ol’ quality time together.

I am wearing… post-shower comfies.

I am creating… a crocheted blanket for my son’s girlfriend Megan.

I am watching… as I type this, “Despicable Me” is on TV in the background, but something that I have been going out of my way to watch is “No Offence” on Channel 4. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant!

I am reading… “The Ghosts of Idlewood” by M L Bullock for a bit of light fiction reading, but I am also working my way through Richard Coles’ “Bringing In The Sheaves” and “Being a Priest Today” by Christopher Cocksworth and Rosalind Brown.

 

I am listening to… Meatloaf a lot at the minute. I was at my cousin’s partner’s funeral last week and we listened to “Paradise in the Dashboard Light” as part of the service. It spurred me on to revisiting some of the tracks I used to listen to a while back and that I’d not realised I hadn’t listened to for a while.

I am hoping… to hear from the bank soon about a proposal we made to them about our future finances. If they don’t agree in writing then we are going to be seriously up against the wall and will more than likely lose our home. It is a tense time.

I am learning… that even when you do things right, and that you obey the rules, when you’re at the mercy of big corporations who can change the goalposts on a whim then it doesn’t matter how much you comply, you will still lose.

In the kitchen… we are having burritos for tea tonight. Probably not too authentic but tasty and a great way to share food with the family regardless of accuracy!

Board Room… I so need this! Time management skills from Joanna Kay

Shared Quote…

I thought the sparrow’s note from heaven,
Singing at dawn on the alder bough;
I brought him home in his nest at even;–
He sings the song, but it pleases not now;
For I did not bring home the river and sky;
He sang to my ear; they sang to my eye.

From “Each and All” by Ralph Waldo Emerson
A moment from my week…

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View from the PamCam at rehearsal one night this week. Contest next Sunday in Blackpool …. gulp!

Post Script…

I was caught up in the aftermath of a crash on the M60  on Tuesday this week (video link below – apologies for the advert beforehand, I can’t control that). I had dropped my husband off at work so I could have use of the car to get me to an important meeting about my future training in the church. Fortunately for all concerned in the incident there were no serious injuries or fatalities, but unfortunately for me, I was sat in the car for about half an hour and very nearly had to visit the Bishop’s office still dressed in my pyjamas!

It’s funny how one careless action by one person could have so many consequences that cannot be foreseen or even dreamt of when they do it.

http://players.brightcove.net/2540076170001/Ey9zhZNae_default/index.html?videoId=5326870000001

 

Love and Loss


angelOver two days this week I have been involved in four funerals. When I say “involved” I mean that I have provided the music for one, delivered the eulogy and address at one, supported a friend who was delivering his first eulogy at another, and at one to mourn the passing and celebrate the life of a friend. It might seem that to go to four funerals in two days is a bit much, but to be honest, I found those two days a journey of personal and spiritual growth, and I have learned more about myself and the relationships I have with people around me after reflecting on the lives of the four people I said farewell to.

For the first funeral (Wednesday), my role was to play the music during the funeral of Daniel*. He was an elderly gentleman whose family had chosen to have a church service and burial, and his funeral was attended by lots of family, friends, neighbours and colleagues. He was a big Blue (a big Manchester City fan in case you didn’t know) and he was brought into church to the beautiful singing of Mel Torme and “Blue Moon”. In the congregation was Fred Eyre who used to play for City and who now provides match commentary on Radio Manchester. The tributes were read by Daniel’s friend, and by an 11 year old little girl, who lived next door to him. It was very moving to hear an 11 year old child speak about the gentle giant that Daniel was, and she brought me to tears with her emotional speech.

On Thursday morning I attended three services at the crematorium, one in each of the three chapels there. I had the privilege of giving my very first funeral address. It was for William*, who had died in October and whose family were unable to organise the funeral for him. I did manage to speak to a couple of people who knew William and I learned a little of his life and the manner of his death, and I drew on that information and the gospel message to be able to write an address for him. I didn’t expect many family members to be present, but as it turned out there were about 50 people there to hear the funeral service and to mourn William’s passing.

Straight after William’s funeral was the service for George*. My role was two-fold, first to be a support for my friend Nick, who was also delivering his first funeral address, and also to be a mourner for George who had only two distant family members there for him.

After George’s service was the funeral of one of my own friends, Bryce. He was a cornet player and involved in many brass bands over the years so the chapel was full to the brim, with standing room only at the back and down the sides. I estimated over 200 people were there for him today, and the tributes were rich and emotional, moving and joyful. The band played “Nimrod” as a piece of reflection music, which again was very moving, and there were lots of tears shed at the very end when Bryce’s own cornet playing was relayed to the gathering in a recording he made about 18 months ago of “Ave Maria”.

So, four very different funerals. Four very different people, and four different views of death and saying goodbye to them. When I look at them as a group of four, I see the differences that life throws up to us. One man drew a couple of hundred mourners, another drew just two; one man’s family had split down the middle and didn’t really know about each other – not because of any argument but by a simple drifting apart and not speaking to each other; one man had no family to even fall out with and was truly alone in the world.

The differences go on and on, but it’s the similarities that strike me.

All four men at some point in their lives had met with hardship and struggle. With health, with learning difficulties, with failed marriages, with family splits. They had all loved and lost in one form or another, and yet they still managed to survive into later years, to about 70-80 years old each.

Another similarity is that they were all loved. Love is love, and to me it doesn’t matter whether there are just a couple of family members and “staff” from the local church to mourn you, or whether there are 200 people and a big brass band gathered to send you off, the fact is that these men were all loved and were mourned.

But it’s not just love that we understand in human terms that these men experienced, they are loved by God our father who loves us all, no matter how lost or broken we may feel, or how messy and chaotic our lives may be, or how we view ourselves as failures and so on. The love that sustained these four men sustains us all too, and we all have the promise of resurrection in glory at the end of days.

Death is a great leveller, and I realised on Thursday that no matter what our life’s achievements are or what may try to accumulate in material wealth, we all end our days on earth here the same way.

 

*Names have been changed to preserve the privacy of the individuals concerned.