It’s been over a decade now since I stopping drinking. That’s an amazing thing to me. I still remember the desperation that marked my descent into the kind of drinking that isn’t just “a bit of a problem”. I am so glad not to be in that state now. Glad, grateful and lucky. I’ve been to too many funerals not to realise how lucky I am that my life has moved on.
I remember, but I no longer “re-live” it in my minds eye ... the intensity, the constant sense of foreboding. I feel like I’m remembering someone else’s life. Someone who if I met her now I’d probably know or guess that she needed help, but I’m not sure I’d know exactly what kind of help would be best. So I’d just tell her what helped me. Learning to be more honest. Learning to ask for help, not being too proud to engage with the help on offer. Taking it a day at a time, step by baby step. That’s what helped me.
Life’s pretty odd though these days, and has been for while. Covid has divided our already fractured world. The Haves and the Have Nots are more at odds now than ever. We Haves must do more ... much much more. Why is that so hard to understand? Healing our world requires a whole earth approach. In other words it needs all of us Haves to make changes ... some big, some not so big. Voting for example ... not a big thing but so important.
I was shocked yesterday when voting in our local elections. Hardly another soul was waiting to cast their ballot. It seems like we’ve forgotten how to hold government to account and that it’s a privilege to live in a democracy. Government can only hear the people if the people stand up and say something in sufficient numbers to make the Decision Makers listen.
I keep hearing that we’re all in this together. Not just with Covid but generally too. How can that be true when the worst effects of pretty much all eventualities are felt more harshly by some than others? Why then do we stay silent whilst the Have Nots suffer the effects of our unwillingness to change, our ignorance... or worse still, our greed? Our entire world is impoverished by this silence.
Enough of that for now. On to happier topics.
My family is growing. I now have 3 great-nephews and, come the autumn, either another great nephew or perhaps a great-niece. Currently I have 9 nephews and 9 nieces. This is more than before because I count spouses and partners. If you marry or partner up with my niece or nephew you also become my niece or nephew. Only seems right ... and this way I can look forward to welcoming more nieces and nephews in the years to come. Using words like in-law, half, step, second, third, once removed ... these words confuse me and make me feel a bit sad. It creates a separateness that I don’t like very much. Family, I understand family. A welcoming inclusive safe group of people who are there for one another no matter what and stay connected to one another, always.
Welcoming new additions to our family reminds me that life is passing, and it reminds me to pay attention. I try to remember but sometimes it’s difficult. Ted is my eldest great-nephew. He’s brilliant at reminding me to stay in the present moment. He will be 5 in a few weeks time and already he knows so many important things ... like how to dance in the street no matter where we are or who might be looking.
You can tell that Ted knows a thing or two about dancing can’t you? I’d love to say it runs in the family but my two left feet would indicate otherwise. Maybe more lessons will help ... you never know. 5 year olds are optimistic in a way that I’d almost forgotten. Ted thinks I show promise. He is a kind soul.
Tommy, my second great-nephew now has a little brother. Covid has stopped me travelling but I get photos and FaceTime chats which aren’t the same as seeing in real life but pretty darn good all the same.
His mummy and daddy have been teaching him all about a Father God that lives in heaven ... where great-grandpa lives too. Tommy has mastered the art of praying, he chats and laughs and goofs about and even tells the odd joke ... and then he remembers the set format of words that some other people have learned to use in prayer ... well sometimes he remembers anyway. I bet the god of his understanding loves to hear what is in his heart.
Mickey is Tommy’s little brother.
Mickey is the calmest small person I have ever known. He is the chalk to Tommy’s cheese. He is the snuggle bunny that his brother never was. He loves blue, he loves cake, and he is one year old ... born just as Covid was making itself felt all around the world. Mickey knows nothing of all that, his concerns are simpler and much closer to home, but not unimportant. I hope some day soon to see Mickey, Tommy and the rest of my “over the pond” family in person. I think we’ll have a wonderful time ... I mean, I like blue, and cake, and I think I’ve got the knack of praying even if I’m not always sure who I’m praying to. No doubt Tommy’d have a few things to say about that.
I hope life is treating you well, and if not then I hope things improve for you soon xx Jos