Saturday, April 28, 2007

'If you set out on a search or a journey, because you are made to, because you sense something calling from within, some voice which may be still and small but will not let you rest until you pay it heed. Something that tells you you are in fact free to act in a different manner however impossible it might seem, well... if you set out on such a journey... you will be met.

You will be met.'

What Happens Now, Jeremy Dyson

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Photographic Proof of my Amazing Paranoia (TM)

Last week I had a little operation to remove a polyp in my uterus. Filling out forms with the registrar beforehand, I come to the consent form, and the section where I say yes, ok, I've been told about the things that may go wrong while you're cutting and scraping and poking cameras into places cameras shouldn't go and you may do what you need to if you mess up or my body messes up for you. Fun things like a perforated uterus or accidental injury to other parts.

Was hysterectomy on that list? No.

Was hysterectomy a realistic potential risk of the particular procedure they were carrying out on my anaesthetised body? No.

Was I sitting there in my flimsy gown and disposable pants, clutching a pillow and thinking, oh my god if I don't put 'hysterectomy' down and something goes badly wrong and they can't stop the bleeding* and they have to take everything out and I wake up sans reproductive organs I am going to be so pissed that I wasn't paranoid enough to say 'you guys have to wake me up if you're going to remove things other than the polyp and ask me if it's okay, ok?'

One guess.

(* my last, major, operation did entail that risk, and I was warned an emergency hysterectomy was possible if that happened)

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Happy Easter

Hope you have a happy and safe day.

(And hooray for the secret tulips which have really brightened our previously blue (irises, bluebells, hyacinths) garden.)

Friday, April 06, 2007

The Long Good Friday

If I had grown up in England, I don’t think there is any chance I would have continued to attend Sunday mass until the age of 20, as I did in Brisbane. I’ve only attended a handful of masses here in London, and I’ve never felt the spiritual life and joy I knew in my church in Brisbane. The hymns, for one thing, are so slow in comparison; even the same hymns sung in Australia are sung so slowly that for me they lose a lot of their spirit.

When I was a kid we had one priest, Father Dennis, who looked as I imagined Jesus must have, and was so kind and loving and playful, again as I imagined Jesus then. He had longish black hair and a big bushy black beard, bright laughing blue eyes, and after mass all the kids and young people would gather around him. He was just good to be around. I've never met another priest like him, but the priest who married us had a some of the same playfulness.

Today being Good Friday, I decided to go to the Stations of the Cross, or the ‘Celebration of the Lord’s Passion’ as our local Catholic church, the one the poet and I were married in, calls it. I have fond memories of attending the Stations in our church in Brisbane, a moving service where the priest took the cross to each ‘station’ around the walls of the church and we heard about the different parts of Christ’s journey carrying his cross to Golgotha, where he was crucified and died.

Today was rather different. The church was completely packed out when I arrived at about five minutes to three (the hour Jesus is supposed to have died) and some of us were shepherded to a side room, with a large glass window opening onto the altar.

After the readings and the gospel, after the priest’s homily and some rather drawn out sung prayers and responses, stertorously delivered by one of the priests, (to my mind, sung prayers only really work if the singer has a beautiful or at least tuneful voice, and they’re not very very slow, otherwise they are just as or more effective being spoken) there was the veneration of the cross. After various prayers, the congregation, all fifty-seven thousand of us, were invited to show our respects to the cross, by genuflecting or kissing it. Meanwhile, in our little side room, two little boys raced around an unfurnished space, playing war with imaginary guns and bombs, their parents sitting some distance away, either worshipfully oblivious or pretending not to know them.

I prayed for a while, and the choir sang hymns for a very long time, but then there was an interminable silence where nothing seemed to be happening in the part of the church we could see from our fishbowl window. This was punctuated by a tiny girl whimpering ‘my jeans are hurt-in me mommy,’ over and over. Her mother sat behind me staring straight ahead. Finally the priest brought the Eucharist to the altar.

I made an escape after communion. I’m glad I went, because I wanted to remember what Good Friday is really about. Things have been difficult for me lately and I wanted to be in the company of a sorrow greater than my own – someone who suffered tremendously and was humiliated and killed. Someone who had to believe the promise that his death wouldn’t be final, as in a much smaller way I have to believe that things will get easier. Next time, though, unless I’m in Australia, I’ll just stay home and use my little Stations of the Cross book to pray by myself.

I imagine it’s sacrilege to poke fun at typos in church literature, but this hymn…
His dying crimson like a robe,
spreads o’er his body on the tree;
then I am dead to all the globe,
and all the glove is dead to me.
Poor unloved glove.