Advent

Like a plug pining for a socket
a launchpad looking for a rocket

Like a hob hoping for a flame
a pitch gasping for a game

Like a sail searching for a breeze
a sponge yearning for a squeeze

Like a hook hunting for a bait
a rink seeking for a skate

we watch,
we wait.

Felt

Like a tiller straining to resist the tide

Like a bridle striving to restrain the ride

Like a fable refusing to follow the facts

Like wallpaper declining to cover the cracks

Like a kite deciding to dodge the breeze

Like a sponge resolving to risk the squeeze

 

But now I know the no
Let me let                              go.

Southall Gazette, March 2016

A man appeared in court yesterday accused of selling NHS numbers to undocumented immigrants. Joshua Masih, aged 33, allegedly sold an NHS number to Zac Cheus, who faces deportation after out-staying his visa. The prosecution alleges that Cheus bought the number in order to access free medical care for a foot injury sustained in a fall from a tree. Masih, defending himself, denied the charge, claiming that he willingly gave his own NHS number to Cheus and did not profit from the arrangement. Under cross-examination, Masih acknowledged that his action could prevent him from accessing NHS care for himself in the future, but he stated that he was prepared to lay down his rights for the benefit of his friend. The case continues.

 

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/migrants-will-haveto-pay-at-ae–and-all-patients-will-have-to-prove-they-are-not-foreigners-to-get-treatment-free-on-the-nhs-9029586.html

Saturday afternoon was Christmas decoration time at my church. While one group hauled out tinsel and lights from previous years, some made silver foil stars to hang from the ceiling and everyone else worked on a large frieze based on the nativity.

Somehow, the frieze ended up being my responsibility. The process was more chaotic than coherent, more organic than organised. The result was neither neat, tidy nor historically accurate, with its pinkish stars and yellow sheep, its spangly silver donkey and a baby Jesus “who’s crying because his Mummy has gone to the beach without him”.

Our frieze will win no prizes – despite lashings of glitter glue and the phrase ‘Heaven can’t wait’ cut out of a magazine and stuck above the heads of a chorus of angels – but it is expressive of the community that created it, of children and adults connected to every continent who came together to cut and paint and stick one December afternoon.

A comma, not a full stop

It could have been a wedding. The church decorated with white and purple flowers. The orders of service crisply printed. Every row packed with family and friends. The music group rehearsed and ready to play. The buffet lunch laid out for after the service, with the jazz band booked to perform. She could have come down the aisle on her father’s arm.

As it was, the coffin came in on the shoulders of her brother, her uncles, her cousins. We sang songs that she loved, listened to Bible verses that she loved, heard from many who knew and loved her as they spoke of her life and her passing, of who she was and where she is now. She did not come down the aisle on her father’s arm, but she is wholly home in her Father’s arms.

For, as in Katie’s own words, “Death is a comma, not a full stop.”

For this month’s music session at the residential home for adults with dementia, I played and sang Christmas carols and songs. After “We Three Kings”, I talked about how some carols have different words to the official version (“We three kings of orient are, one in a taxi one in a car” etc). Later, Marjorie remembered an alternative version of another carol:

Hark! The herald angels sing,
Mrs Simpson stole our king

Then she said, “But I don’t know what that’s all about!”

It’s a quirk of Majorie’s memory that she knows the words but can’t grasp the meaning. Sometimes I feel like that too, like I’m going through the motions but I’m missing the meaning. Perhaps, for me and as for Marjorie, the key thing is to just keep on singing anyway!