Saturday, March 30, 2013

It's easier...

It's easier to shock in a bad way than in a good way.
It's easier to hurt than to heal.
It's easier to be mean than kind.
It's easier to criticise than to encourage.
It's easier to laugh at someone than to help them.
It's easier to bring pain than pleasure.
It's easier to be thoughtless than thoughtful.
It's easier to take than to give.
It's easier to ignore than to engage.

Am I being cynical? That's because it's easy.
But the easy way is rarely the best way.

Friday, March 15, 2013

That was close.

So having finally reached the eye of the storm in what is perhaps the most intensely busy period in my life so far, I set off on a long journey to go and be interviewed by the leadership of a church that are considering calling me to work for them. It was a rather pleasant journey, hurtling down the M3 with little traffic in the way – just me, singing along to all the depressingly cheesy pop love songs that I seem to have populated my iphone with. Absolute heaven. What could make this any better? A burger. And spotting a McDonald's, I heard its call and couldn't resist.

As I was returning to my car I noticed that the bonnet was open. Before leaving, I had been trying to fix my rebellious windscreen washers... and had left it open. Thankfully, it was caught on the safety catch, but it did occur to me that things could have turned out so horrifyingly different. After all, what do you do, when travelling in the fast lane of a motorway and your bonnet flies up so that you can't see in front of you? I think the options involve crashing, or causing someone else to crash. Probably both.

I'm thankful to God that it didn't and that I am still here and able to write this. Although I'm not really very thankful for the windscreen washers. They still don't work!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Funny running.

I'm sure we've all seen it. People who manage to walk perfectly normally, but then when they start to run seem unable to do so without their limbs flailing in a rather haphazard fashion. So what's my point?

Well it started whilst I had the joy of following a man who was running for the same train that I was. I say 'running', but it was not really a run; perhaps more of a trot or awkward canter. His legs seemed to ripple and jiggle through their strides – not producing much speed, but affording me a certain amount of amusement. My amusement was cut short as it occurred that since he was running, I should probably be running too.

As I ran, I did so in Great Manly Strides, easily overtaking the unfortunate individual and looking every bit like an olympic sprinter who could do this in his sleep. At least that's how I like to think I looked. In reality, I have no idea of what my limbs were doing – they just 'did'. Then it occurred to me – I had been so quick to judge the man in front, whilst I could, in fact, have such an unfortunate gait that I may have made that man look positively professional. As if to press home this worrying thought, the words of a friend from long ago came echoing to mind, "I saw Matt running for the train the other day and it made me laugh!"

It might just be that a person could get through their entire life without realising that they are in fact one of 'those funny runners'. After all, who is really going to take aside their friend to point out their unconventional running technique? It's just not the sort of thing you do and what would it achieve?

So there you have it. The next time you are tempted to smirk at someone's running style – beware, unless you have filmed yourself running, you could be worse...

Monday, January 14, 2013

Lion food.

I was staying at a farm. This farm had 'tame' lions. I had my doubts, but nevertheless went about my uneasy duties, keeping a watchful eye on the lions. One lion decided that it would playfully put my hand into its mouth. This then became my whole lower arm. I was obviously concerned, but since I had a thick glove on and the lion was tame, hoped that this was just the lion having a bit of fun.

At first the lion's grip was not too uncomfortable. However, as time went by, its bite became increasingly strong, until it became unbearable. I was completely unable to withdraw my arm and my skin was about to puncture. I called for help, but none seemed to be forthcoming. It was at this point I awoke. The dream troubled me and in my semi-conscious confusion I then tried to fabricate different ways to escape the lion's grip. None seemed satisfactory. Usually dreams are quickly forgotten, but this one lingered.

After thinking about it, I can see some interesting parallels. The lion is much like those things in our lives that we play with, but know we shouldn't. Those things or people that we know will be bad for us, but somehow think we have it all under control. Before you know it, you are in its grip and are in severe danger. That's what sin/a bad thing is like. Sin is never tame, it is never good and will always cause injury. So perhaps the moral of this dream is: be careful with who or what you play with – you may become entangled and it could prove costly.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

New Year's Eve with our family.

This still makes me laugh – some of my family on NYE. It probably won't play on a mobile as there are copyright issues, so you have to be on a computer to see this...

Monday, December 10, 2012

We need these words.

I love words. They don't particularly love me, but I can accept that. I love words because they are one of the primary ways that we can express ourselves. Of course, a look, a touch, a smell, an action and even our appearance all communicate in one way or another. In fact, pretty much everything we do (or don't do) communicates something! But verbal communication is... well, for once I'm lost for words.

Good job then, that I came across this article entitled '25 Handy Words That Simply Don’t Exist In English'. I've picked out my favourite 14 below:

1 Age-otori (Japanese): To look worse after a haircut

2 Arigata-meiwaku (Japanese): An act someone does for you that you didn’t want to have them do and tried to avoid having them do, but they went ahead anyway, determined to do you a favour, and then things went wrong and caused you a lot of trouble, yet in the end social conventions required you to express gratitude

3 Backpfeifengesicht (German): A face badly in need of a fist

4 Desenrascanço (Portuguese): “to disentangle” yourself out of a bad situation (To MacGyver it)

5 Forelsket (Norwegian): The euphoria you experience when you are first falling in love

6 Gigil (pronounced Gheegle; Filipino): The urge to pinch or squeeze something that is unbearably cute

7 L’esprit de l’escalier (French): usually translated as “staircase wit,” is the act of thinking of a clever comeback when it is too late to deliver it

8 Mamihlapinatapai (Yaghan): A look between two people that suggests an unspoken, shared desire

9 Manja (Malay): “to pamper”, it describes gooey, childlike and coquettish behavior by women designed to elicit sympathy or pampering by men.

10 Meraki (pronounced may-rah-kee; Greek): Doing something with soul, creativity, or love. It’s when you put something of yourself into what you’re doing

11 Pena ajena (Mexican Spanish): The embarrassment you feel watching someone else’s humiliation

12 Schadenfreude (German): the pleasure derived from someone else’s pain

13 Fremdschämen (German): Being embarrassed for someone who should be but isn't

14 Kummerspeck (German): refers to excess weight gained due to emotional overeating. The word literally translates as "grief bacon"

Thursday, November 22, 2012


It's was a strange feeling that I felt, holding my young daughter whilst she was writhing in pain and struggling to breathe.

It was late at night and my daughter was in a lot of pain. There was nothing else for it, it was time to call an ambulance. I tried to keep calm as my fingers fumbled on the buttons. I tried to control my voice as I explained the situation to the emergency operator, whilst in the background I could my daughters cries. The operator assured me help would soon be with us and as I hung up the phone I felt a real feeling of helplessness. My wife went to get dressed and so I took over cuddling my daughter. She was fighting for every breath, her sternum raising and falling with great difficulty. She clutched her stomach and began to vomit. She was scared and so was I.

She couldn't explain what was wrong, but something deep within her was in great panic. Whatever it is within us – that urge to breathe was being tested to it's uppermost. As she clung to me, there were a few moments when I truly thought that she might not make it. It seemed that every breath was becoming more laboured and I found myself almost waiting for her to stop. As the minutes passed while we waited for the ambulance to arrive, I began to feel angry. Didn't they know that my little girl was in desperate need? I then began to worry – perhaps in my panic I had given them the wrong address or not made myself clear?

Of course I prayed – the kind of desperate heartfelt emergency prayer that seems so natural in our times of desperation. As the minutes went by she began to calm down and although still in obvious distress, was much better by the time the medics arrived. They whisked her off to hospital and did what they needed to. I'm glad to say she is fine.

But it did get me thinking about that strange compulsion we have; the desire to survive. Our bodies are wonderfully made. They operate without our conscious thought: our hearts keep beating and we keep on breathing. I believe it is good that we have no conscious control of these things. After all, if every breathe was a struggle, would there not come a point when, in our pain and anguish, carrying on might seem like too much effort? But no, we don't have the ability to do that. Most other activities and functions require effort. But in the case of breathing it actually requires effort not to breathe. And this is due to something very basic in our design. You may attribute it to evolution, but I attribute it to a rather cunning bit of design work by God. And that, I think, is because even when we are ready to give up, He ensures we can't – it's an area where we don't have free choice, and I'm glad of that. Because life is a wonderful gift of God and we should count everyday as a blessing, embrace the life we have and make the most of it. Life is for living, don't waste it – because one day, when our breathing does finally stop, we shall meet Him and give an account for what we have done or not done with His gift of life.