It is almost two months since Maggie died! I find that almost unbelievable. It really does feel like yesterday – so important and crucial was the event. Life, however, goes on. Indeed it is one of the few things of which one can be certain. Descartes with his “I think therefore I am” was only half right. “I live therefore I am” is far closer to the mark, and why I see God in terms of “the ground of our being.”
My grand daughter Jess is having an engagement party on Saturday – an event which is becoming increasingly rare these days as marriage becomes more and more irrelevant. I was not surprised to learn that Jess was contemplating marriage. She is, and always has been, extra-ordinary And I am also not surprised that she has ended up as a Occupational Therapist working with children and with those suffering from Huntington’s disease.
And Jess wasn’t short of options. She was on the Chancellor’s List at University and was widely sought by research scientists. She chose instead to work with kids who got the short end of the straw. Now she is getting married – and has asked me to take part in the ceremony.
All of this is background to why I found myself thinking today of a book I read about sixty years ago – the time incidentally when Marg and I committed ourselves to each other. The book was entitled “Life is Commitment” and was written by Joe Oldham. That much I remember, but when I came to look for it amongst the thousand odd books that adorn my study walls, I had no idea where it was – which is a little sad as in the nineteen sixties I had the reputation of being able to go into my library and immediately find what I was after. No problem, however, with respect to this book. I simply googled it, and there it was in full. It’s only a small book and within a couple of hours I had re-read what to me is a classic, with the title being one of the fundamental premises of life. Life is not “one damn thing after another”. Life is Commitment. It certainly has been true for Marg and me, and I suspect that it might be true for everyone.
I also remembered this morning when I went to Iraq during the “Shock and Awe” bombing. It was both “shocking” and “awful” and I had difficulty in explaining to people why I was going. It was eleven year old Jess who summed it up in a school essay.
“My grandpa is a Minister of the Wembley Downs Uniting Church.
He has gone on many protests in his life including sitting in a small box over night outside Parliament House.
He sat in the middle of the Gulf and takes in refugees.
But this time he is going to sit in Baghdad and comfort the Iraqi people while the Americans bomb them.
You may think he is nutty but I am proud of him. He does what is right and he does it for other people, not himself.
On the day he left he had every TV station apart from 7 interviewing him, even the New Idea.
When he left we all were upset. Poor grandma will have to live on her own for six weeks or maybe forever.
I love grandpa very much and I hope he will return.
What a classic! Eat your heart out Channel seven! “To be with the Iraqi people as the Americans bomb them.” I’ve never heard it expressed better!
And the tears I have become accustomed to over the past eight weeks are again blurring my vision. They do not, however, prevent me from recognizing in Jess one who understands that “Life is Commitment”.
Good on you Jess, and good on you Will! I wish you well, and I salute your insight! What a pity Grandma isn’t around to enjoy it.