Honest, moving, and brutal in parts, this was NOT 'baby jeeeesus' in a manger. (Most of those jesus babes are dead ringers for 'horror Chucky', for my liking.). I went, because I'd supported a mum who's daughter had been shot. AND because I'd nearly managed to erase myself in the past, trying too hard to stay in damaging relationships. Both were some years' ago, but both have given me a determination to be alive, fully, to myself, and not bury bits of myself just to keep the peace. That leads to a living death.
MINCE PIES AND UN-MINCED WORDS
I can 'do' the carols/cute kids in sheets and trips to tinsel town; but too much of that, feels like fast food. Just doesn't satisfy the soul. Not my soul, anyway. The conversations at the St. Martin's do, didn't mince words. 'My mum was shot, I can't forgive'. Said one woman, as we both balanced a mince pie on our coffee saucers. Mine fell on the floor. We laughed, and then she carried on, not missing a beat. 'It's raw every year. Every year I come here. Every year I light that candle, feel better for a bit, and then I don't'.
Not a Christmas church happy clappy ending, then. But SUCH a relief . Perhaps, for both of us. She could be honest about her pain, WITHOUT any pressure to 'cheer up'. And she trusted me enough, to tell me how she really felt. A gift. Bizarre, thought it may seem.
PANTO'S MAGIC WAND, CAN'T FIX IT
There are nasties/horrors/ events, an moments in all our lives, where if we could just wave that pantomime good-fairy wand and make it 'go away', we would. Who WANTS a precious life ripped from us? Who WANTS the subsequent pain to ricochet around our waking moments; bouncing off our body walls, and bringing us to our knees in agony? Not me, not you, I suspect, not anyone.
The hope bit, was there, though. We breathed, we laughed, we sang, we cried, we shook. We looked up with childlike gratitude as red and white petals showered down upon us at the end of the service; bloody human battles mingled with hints of white respite. Red/white/red/white, then red again. Despair/hope/despair/hope then.....a moment of fleeting acceptance, then.........
SMALL RESURRECTIONS PUNCHING THEIR WAY TO US AND THROUGH US
Everyone's grief, is different. Everyone in that church was different. There was little or no pretence. I 'the other', all of us, were enough. As we were. 2016 hasn't exactly been a celebration of human connection. But this, this simple, stumbling memorial service, with all it's broken hearts and broken lives, led me a step closer to the god-self of my understanding. There were slithers of hope, mixed in with the horror of unwanted death. Small resurrections punching their way to us and through us. Blinking in the light like a mole, in Trafalgar Square afterwards, I reflected on the strength that so often comes from such vulnerability. Tears, human connection, and the messiness of my dropped mince pie on the floor had loosened that terminal grip. For just a moment.
even that's going up, along with the price of baked beans.'Insurance costs to rise again after Autumn Statement tax increase.' The good news? The Government's cracking down on fraudulent whiplash claims. Phew. All's well then.
Meanwhile, I've been SO worried about 'protecting my lifestyle.' The man with the square jaw and chiselled cheekbones who seems to appear in EVERY Saturday newspaper sparked off the terror. He looked so 'together,' with his 'not too loud' tie, his well cut suit, and carefully clasped fingers. There wasn't a rancid sandwich, baby sick or a cat hair in sight.
TIFFANY'S OR TK MAXX? THE BLACK FRIDAY FUNZOID QUESTION.
This square jawed hashtag 'not to much bling boy, it's common', success story is urging you/me to 'put ourselves into a position of financial independence. It gives you choices.' Couldn't agree more. I imagine he has plenty of them. He can't sleep because they're all circulating in his carefully coiffed head. It must be so tough. 'Should my Porsche have a leather interior? Do I need that private plane, or should I economise and go first class? And what about the poodle? OH NO! Last year's collar is SO vulgar, dump it. Less IS more. Perhaps we SHOULD flirt with a little austerity, to show willing'.
THE 'CARER PLUS OPTION'; REALLY HIKES UP HEALTH INSURANCE..
Once upon a time I had health insurance, but I had too many exclusions; (in the end no school would take me). Once you reach mid life it's like a second mortgage. Someone in the evils department is 'avin a laugh. 'Aha AHAA AH HA HA (theatrical sniggering) not only are you getting older, but you're going to get boils, a funny twist in your fibula (?) and start foaming from every orifice. And you want HEALTH insurance? That'll be a thousand quid a month plus another five hundred if you want the 'carer' option. I'd die now if I were you.
Add to this, Chancellor Hammond's insurance hike: ' UK households will pay an additional £680m next year, rising to an additional £855m in 2021/22'. I know, time for a lie down.
I'd REALLY like a 'life's going to be fine, it'll all work out in the end providing you put the rubbish out,' insurance policy. As if. This illusion of control is just that. A mirage where you put your money in case of a 'rainy day.' The Brits must be the most heavily insured nation in the world, then. My umbrella's up, thank the LORD I've paid this year's premium.
LIFESTYLE CHOICES: I KNOW, MOST OF US HAVE SO MANY......
Lifestyle choices. mmmmm. Eat breakfast, walk to the tube/bus, pitch for and hopefully get work and fix the boiler; (called a man in as the premium for this protection was, well, too premium.) Then I might have a jacket potato and beans later watching Missing. So? It's a lifestyle. This week BBC Newsnight reporter, NIcholas Watt, dug up (not literally) an old Essex girlfiend who'd once snogged the teenage wannabee Chancellor. This may well prompt a new kind of paid for insurance protection The 'Spare me the embarrassing teenage memories on the telly when I'm REALLY important', policy. Ever the meticulous planner, I am sure Mr. Hammond already has the first copy in his big red ministerial box.
That's the claim from Vince Gownon in a fascinating take on the Trump win. He invites us to 'look closer, (perhaps Trump) is inviting us to more honestly examine the shadows of our social systems and inner reality.'
It's a perspective that's worth considering, in amongst the raft of extreme reactions to his election as President (elect). Tackle twitter, and the blows go back and forth, each 'side' lobbing nasties at the other. Personally, although I am more than capable of muck raking and throwing, I don't WANT to mirror any candidates' election campaign antics.
WHAT WE HIDE, SNEAKS INTO THE MIRROR SOMEHOW
Gownon goes on to suggest that 'these teachers-in-disguise enter our lives to mirror back the parts of ourselves we fear to look at; parts we have disowned—including our pains, fears, limiting and negative beliefs, and trauma. A woman abused as a girl may repeatedly find herself in abusive relationships. A man who denies the dreamer within may continuously attract partners who shun pragmatism. Someone who has disowned the part of herself that is “weak” may draw boyfriend after boyfriend who is highly cautious'.If you've done any self reflection, you may recognise the sense of this interpretation.
WE'VE BEEN HERE BEFORE
Trump's victory, is actually nothing new, if you listen to some historians."The name that most readily reflects the credentials and character of Donald Trump is Andrew Jackson," writes Alfred J. Zacher in History News Network. Like Trump, he says: 'Jackson was a highly recognizable and popular public figure — as the military leader who fought the bloody British in the town of New Orleans in the War of 1812. Though Jackson was known to be vulgar and hotheadish, he was held up as a notable lawyer and a judge. He had only a little political experience.'
HOPE THAT'S HARD NOSED
Into this political potpourri I just want to add a slither of hope. Trump is not the centre of the universe. Neither am I, nor you. To me, that is a relief. Although my super ego does its utmost to stay in the driving seat. Control, I think, is an illusion. We can, at best, make choices. But the curve balls will always come flying past, and some will be right on target.
That is not to say that Trump and his team won't wreak worldwide havoc, break promises, and let their supporters down. I would say that is almost inevitable. We can project our dreams and longings onto Trump, if we wish. However, he remains resolutely human. He is flawed, not a god, just like the rest of us. He has the power now, but that is a fickle state.
I have observed, over the years, that when we don't appear to have a spiritual 'other'/higher power/godself of our understanding, there is a tendency to deify the self. That tendency does not leave us either, when we do claim to see a bigger picture. Perhaps we simply become more conscious of it, and can balance behaviour/thinking/actions accordingly.
I also know some incredibly selfless atheists.
THIS TOO SHALL PASS
In the words of recovery: 'this too shall pass'. What may materialise in the meantime, does, of course, scare me. But, in some ways, I am not surprised by the Trump victory, just deeply sad because of it. Living with grey areas, is never easy, all of us want the binary, black/white solutions. They don't exist. However, those that peddle the lie that they do, seem to have found their time and their moment.
And I say again; a little louder this time: this too SHALL pass.
image: mirror images: Townhall.
...And here's a tweet just in from House builder, Hammond (Chancellor): ' Determined to tackle the housing shortage. We'll use all the tools at our disposal to accelerate housebuilding, inc £2bn additional investment.' That's it; all sorted, then.