Sunday, 5 September 2010


Pain may close my eyes to You
For pain can make me selfish;
Hurting seems a lonely place,
Where hope can seem so foolish.

"Lord, please take my pain away!"
Becomes my only prayer,
Sometimes shouted, sometimes wept
As if there's no-one there.

"Come into my Sanctuary,
There you'll understand.
Though still in the desert,
Behold! The Promised land."

I dared to open tear-filled eyes,
And as I looked around,
I saw that both my pain and I
Were now on Holy ground.

I knew then that the pain I felt
Would one day disappear,
And, knowing that, I suffered less,
As Love pushed out my fear.

"Lord, you gave my pain a sense,
As Your pain bought Salvation,
For in my pain I found your Grace,
- This is my Celebration!"

Not today...

They said "Look to the Cross" so I did.

But it didn't look the same today.

The Cross hadn't changed

But my eyes were seeing differently.

The Cross gave me no comfort

For today my heart would not be comforted.

An icy cloud of grief has numbed

All my Cross-sensitive emotions;

Yesterday it was the shape of Hope,

Today it is only geometry.

They said, "Read the Bible" so I did.

But the words were dry and empty.

The Bible hadn't changed,

But I was reading it differently.

They said, "You should pray to God" so I did.

But I couldn't find the right words.

Praying hadn't changed,

I supposed that God hadn't changed either,

But how was I to know?

They said, "Talk to a friend" and so I tried,

But on days like this, there are no friends,

Because on days like this

Words of comfort hurt so much

I have to shut them out;

Sympathy is maddening

And kindness just seems cheap.

They said "Well, we can't help you then, can we?"

And they were right.

But beyond Hope or Despair,

Beyond Joy or Anguish there is faith.

Today I can not feel it, or touch it,

Read it or hear it,

But one word reaches out

And draws it in for me - "Today".

This is only today.

Many of my days have resembled today

So I can have faith that tomorrow or perhaps

The day after, or even

The day after that (Who knows the day?)

That which was true yesterday

Will again be felt and seen as true.

God will not disappear because I close my eyes,

Nor will His word lose its power

Because I can not hear the author's voice.

No, today is not a good day.

But there again, I suppose,

Neither was that Friday.

Not a good day, Good Friday.

But then and now there were and will be

Happier tomorrows.

I believe that I believe that.

And perhaps faith is stronger

When all the proof has been dashed away.

And perhaps faith will be stronger...

But not today.

You may have to run with what you've got...


At the age of five, Mathieu wasn't what you could call an overly demanding child. He would be content if we simply bought him everything he asked for. And what he asked for depended on which of his friends he had seen that day. If Paul had a Dragon-ball Z sandwich box, then Mathieu just had to have a Dragon-ball Z sandwich box.

When S├ębastien turned up one day with Cosmic Power roller-blades, Mathieu knew his days of walking were over - for ever.

That Sunday afternoon, however, our walk in the park started off as a relatively low-cost, overdraft-friendly outing.

It was one of those almost warm,early Spring days and the park was still a fairly safe place to take Mathieu. It would probably be fairly deserted, and the vendors usually didn't show up until the weather got warm enough to entice people out of their houses.

Not that Mathieu was ever tempted by the vendors, or the wares they usually peddled - giant, chrome-coloured, helium-filled balloons, guaranteed to carry your Granny off into the sky if you attached one to her arm, or bags of multi-coloured, life-threatening sweets that fizzed in the mouth with fierce, foaming, chemical intensity. But this was pre-vendor season - or so I thought.

So it was with a sort of blithe, innocent joy that we set off across the Park.

But, as you've no doubt guessed already, my innocence and joy were to be short-lived that day. As we rounded the band-stand, we came across one, lone vendor, a forlorn-looking man whose melancholy expression was explained by the absence of any wind. There was not even a breeze. And he was trying to sell made-in-China, aerodynamic, break-when-you-get-home, toy windmills on sticks.

Mathieu would never have given them a second look if he hadn't spotted his school-friend, Paul, running around in circles with one.

In spite of the lack of wind, he was hurtling around fast enough to make his windmill spin with a malevolent whirring sound.

"Daddy, can I have a windmill like Paul?"

"Sure, Mathieu, as long as I don't have to re-mortgage the house to buy one."

I left him staring spell-bound at Paul's dizzying performance and tentatively advanced a few paces towards the vendor, hoping to be able to read the price somewhere before getting too close

I saw "5 fr. 8 fr pour 2" scrawled on a piece of cardboard at his feet, and heaved a sigh of relief. The house was safe.

"What choice of colours do you have?" I asked him.

He looked at me as if I was intellectually disadvantaged, and with a disgruntled shrug, nodded towards the bunch of windmills he was holding. There was no choice of colours. They were all identical, sporting alternate blue and yellow sails.

When I cheerily announced, "Fine, well, I think I'll take one of the yellow and blue ones," he handed it to me and took my five francs without saying a word, perhaps hoping that if he remained silent I might just take my windmill and go away and leave him to concentrate on looking forlorn.

I went back to Mathieu and proudly showed him his blue and yellow, plastic windmill. He turned around towards me, grinning with anticipation, but his smile disappeared almost immediately, and large, father-torturing tears formed in his eyes.

"What's wrong, son?"

"I wanted a windmill like Paul's."

Without bothering to check up on Paul's windmill, I explained to Mathieu, "This windmill is exactly like Paul's. The man selling them had only one kind of windmill - they are all the same."

Mathieu continued to eye me reproachfully.

"No. It's not the same as Paul's. That one's yellow and blue. Paul's isn't."

I gazed around and saw Paul terrorising elderly strollers with his angrily droning windmill.

He seemed to be running even faster than before, creating a slipstream to make his windmill spin.

Surely he too had a yellow and blue windmill, I thought. When I spotted him, however, I immediately understood Mathieu's disappointment.

I bent down, and placed the stick of the windmill in my son's little hand.

"This is the one you wanted, Mathieu. It's only yellow and blue because you're standing still. If you run as fast as you can with it, it will be the same colour as Paul's - green."

Always take what you're given, even though you may have to run with it to get what you want.