I first heard the Chinese greeting ‘May you live in interesting times,’ many years ago but it wasn’t till I read a lecture by Rabbi Lord Sachs recently that I learned it is actually a curse.
When I signed off from this blog for the summer at the beginning of July I was expecting things to jog along through July and August pretty much as usual. They didn’t. I have certainly lived through some very “interesting times” over the last three months – nerve wracking, exhausting, frightening – but, thank God, I haven’t had the feeling that I’d actually been cursed. I am both sadder and wiser than I was; wiser because of the things that happened to me and my family and sadder because of the bizarre things that continue to happen in the world.
Briefly, my one and only husband went into hospital for minor surgery and ended up spending seven weeks there, including two bouts in Intensive Care, and has come out needing dialysis. A few weeks into this trauma son, daughter-in-law and granddaughters came home and announced that next year they were planning to live with us full time. (Clearly they no longer trust us to live on our own.) So builders have moved in to turn an old people’s house into a multi generation home.
The builders will be with us until November and at the moment the only rooms habitable are the kitchen, the sitting room and our bedroom. Sometimes we have no water and sometimes we have no electricity but Nigel and Mark have been well trained. When they make tea for themselves they also make tea for whoever else is around at the time. Oh, yes, and, during one of the Intensive Care episodes, I took delivery of an eight week old puppy, encouraged and cheered on by my husband’s nurses. Nigel and Mark are also good at puppy-sitting and mopping up after her.
For much of my time, during those long weeks, I sat beside the bed, lost in admiration for the skill, devotion and dedication of the staff from consultants to porters. Professor Ted Baker, chief inspector of hospitals in England has just announced that the NHS is no longer fit for purpose. Whoever that statement applies to it’s not Welsh health care staff.
Here’s one of the things that has made me sad.
Have you ever seen anyone more dejected and despairing. The funny thing is, I don’t think I ever felt that hopeless and helpless even when I was sitting in ITU with my husband drifting between life and death.
Perhaps there was a good reason for that. I was surrounded by people who were dedicated to their jobs, devoted to their patients and prepared to work long, unsocial hours (including Sundays). I bet Justin Welby wishes he could rely on such loyal, single minded support.
And what had caused the Archbishop’s angst and misery? A question in his LBC radio interview about a 6 year old boy in a dress!
For a start shouldn’t he have expected that question or something similar? Shouldn’t he have prepared a sound theological answer? After all, he is still the titular head of the whole Anglican Communion.
He says he doesn’t have a problem with a boy wearing a dress. Of course not. A little 6 year old can wear anything he likes; batman, superman, fairy twinkle toes.
Unfortunately, he didn’t make it clear that the boy in the dress isn’t the problem. The problem is transgenderism, which has taken off as the latest weapon of the “let’s smash the family” brigade.
A class of five and six years olds shouldn’t be made uncomfortable, puzzled and concerned by the selfish actions of a befuddled child, his parents and his teachers.
My sympathy is with all those parents who chose to send their children to a Church of England school in the hopes they would be taught the basic tenets of the Anglican faith. They have been let down, not least by the Archbishop of Canterbury.