Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Not 21 today

My mother would have been 90 today were she still alive.
I was going to make a pilgrimage to her grave some 400 kms away, but it hasn't happened. Maybe in 10 years time.
1920, the year of her birth, now seems so far away that it is history. Indeed 1952, when I was born, almost feels like that too.
There are, of course, so many things to remember about a long life, dying in her 83rd year. I often remark that had she been born in 1910 instead of 1920 she would have died at 62 instead of 82. She was kept alive for at least 20 years by blood pressure medication!
My father was her second husband and they lived a very modest life together. Though they raised 5 children, for better and for worse.
In the end there was not much material stuff to show for their lives. She managed to give each of her grandchildren a small piece of jewellery and I know my youngest daughter certainly cherishes it.
It feels like a chapter from the book of Ecclesiastes, that book of the Hebrew Scriptures which reflects in a rather melancholy way on the passage of human life
They worked, and they strove
they puit their shoulders to the wheel
in sadness and in happiness
they lived their lives.
Too soon, too soon was their mortal coil cast off

I remember pickled herring; holidays at Braystones, singing in the choir.
In her latter years as a lay reader she would spend ages preparing Sunday talks for congregational worship, I used to hate being around when this was going on, because she would expect me to tell her what to do and say.
There is much more that could be said. But I will refrain and rather I observe today, what I observed at her funeral.
""She had a helluva life. But she also knew she had a heaven of a life"

3 comments:

Trevor said...

From the opening lament
"Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher.
“Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.”
Ecclesiates seems pessimistic and never to gain optimism. I read somewhere the comment about this book that "God's in his heaven and all is not right with the world".

I find Ecclesiates modern in its pessimism (well, "post-modern" I suppose). Which I guess is why the Bible should be read in its broad entirety, to discover the paradigm or overarching narrative which it is constructing (even if post-modernism can be skeptical about a meta-narrative) - picking isolated bits of scripture here and there doesn't reveal the story of the story of the Creator God. (IMHO of course).

Trevor said...

... and I meant to say "... reveal the optimistic story of the story of the Creator God."

stephen clark said...

I thought at the time of Mother Julian of Norwich who said of her daily life and belief those famous words:
"All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well!"
I never fully understand these words, but I think they are indeed eternally optimnistic