Monthly Archives: January 2017

Christian? Spiritual? Religious? Or Just Plain Mad?

I start to write this piece with some caution, not because I’m afraid to voice my views but because everyone is entitled to their own opinions and beliefs and as someone once said, “you can please all of the people some of the time but you’ll never please all of the people all of the time!”  A reader of these pages contacted and said I have strong political views but what were my opinions and thoughts on God, the creator?  So here goes.

When I was growing up my parents had opposing outlooks on religion, my mother was a church attending believer, while my dad thought the whole idea a waste of time.   When my mother insisted we attended church and then Sunday school dad did his level best to dissuade her, of course he lost the argument and off we went every Sunday morning to attend St. Thomas on the Bourne church.  Bearing in mind, the we was mum, me and my brother Nigel.  The other five of the seven children were either too young or not yet born.  So for one year we walked the the mile or so up the lane every Sunday, attended church, then walked back again for lunch and then later in the afternoon, tea.  That’ll be a real tea, sandwiches and cakes, all sat at the family dining table.

During that year mum made the decision, or had been planning it for some time, one of her sons was to become a vicar and as her eldest son, that task was going to fall on me! My early years were a mixture of mum telling me not to fight and to “turn the other cheek” and my dad telling me  “If someone picks on you, hit first and ask questions later!” Of course this caused heated discussions between my parents!  Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on your point of view, my dad’s business was expanding and he needed the help of his eldest son so, at the age of nine I was seconded to work on various building sites each weekend for the princely sum of two shillings and sixpence, that’s twelve and a half pence in today’s  money, for two days work!  Not every weekend of course but most. So growing up in that environment surrounded by a bunch of swearing, uncouth blokes on a building site sort of removed any thought of religion or church going from my mind.  There’s a lot more to this story but to get the rest of it you’ll have to wait for my book.

Anyway, grow up I did and in 1975 I met my wife and love of my life, Julie.  We married in St Andrews Church in Farnham, Surrey in 1980 and so life began.  Over the coming years Julie had a need for explanation and she gradually explored various religions, she looked at Catholicism, she read about the Hindu, Muslim and Buddist faiths then for no apparent reason only known to her she decided to go and attend our local church, then attend classes to study to be confirmed.  Did I feel the need for that explanation?  No, I’ve always known “things.”  For many years I had experiences which I didn’t really understand at the time but at the same time I was never frightened.  I’ll explain later.

So Julie completed her journey at that time and after quite a few attendances at the local church at her side, after she received her confirmation back into the Christian faith,  I was invited to do the same, I was about 38 at the time.

I duly went along to the first meeting at the vicarage and the vicar asked me a question.  “So do you consider yourself a Christian Kevin?” “A Christian?  Well I guess so” I replied.  “So what gives you the right to think that Kevin?”and then before I could reply “After all we don’t see you in Church do we?” Red Rag to a Bull Time…. “Well no you don’t because Sunday is a family day for me, and believe you me, my time with my family is much more important than spending a couple of hours in a draughty old building with people I don’t know.”  He went to speak but I held my hand up and continued. “I’ve learned in my life that the Church is one of the wealthiest organisations in the world and at times one of the most bigoted, towards each other and other faiths.  So that said I have a set of rules I live by.” “Really?”  came the vicars surprised interjection. “Please share with the rest of us” Did I detect a smirk? No matter, I answered him as honestly and directly as I could without insulting him.  “Reverend, I figure that if someone needs help, If I can, I will.  I took my marriage vows very seriously and I’ve always been faithful, tolerant, worked hard and looked after my wife and children.  You know?  The way I see it you can call me whatever you like but I’ve never done any person a deliberate bad turn.” There were a few sharp intakes of breath from around the room. I continued. “Now if helping people, looking after my family first and not being generally nasty doesn’t make me a Christian then I’ve no room for your God in my life!”  With that I slipped my coat back on and let myself out.  I’ve never been back in any place of “worship” to worship since.  I’ve attended the obligatory weddings and funerals, but never to worship.

I told you earlier I’d explain more about my experiences, some more odd than others.   From an early age I have seen things most people can’t see, not all the time but certainly on many occasions.  I’ve had experiences which at the time seem odd, then suddenly have felt enlightened, not in a religious way but more of a “ah I remember!” Get it?

Julie did her “bit” with the church then over a period of time she became more open and receptive to other ideas, some from Hindu, others from the Muslim faith, more still from Buddhism, she never practised any of them but one day some twenty years ago we sat and talked and talked, just us.  By the time we had finished talking we knew we had been on this earth many times.

Indeed since then I’ve been told by many people I’m an “old spirit.”  This makes sense because I’ve left my body when seriously ill,  I’ve seen people when nobody’s there, I’ve been given messages which I’ve passed on, oh and before you ask I’ve never taken a drug in my life except whatever the doctor has prescribed.   The most important thing is though, I know, yes I know and have known since I was a child that despite all of the hell we humans keep putting each other through, some of us have to keep coming back to try and fix it.  After all even the worst and most evil dictators throughout history thought “God” was on their side in one form or another.

So to answer the question I was originally asked.  “What do I feel about our Creator?”  If his/her  name’s Allah, Buddha, God, these are only names that have been given by man.  Hindu beliefs are probably closest because they encompass the universe.  I’ve certainly never had religion, because wars are fought in the name of “religion”. Religion is an excuse for power and control.

Through those dark days during the last few months of Julie’s life we talked about what we knew and that gave her the confidence to face the pain and the final days.  Do you know what?  She’s always here when I need help.  I’ll finish the book and you can read about it.

There is much much more to be said on this a topic which science cannot explain but in the meantime  I’ll leave the final word to my grandmother Elsie who died from cancer about 16 years ago.  I used to visit her every other day whilst she was in hospital.  I visited her on the Sunday before she died and at leaving time I gave her a cuddle and told her I’d see her on Tuesday.  Her reply?  “No, no point in coming over Tuesday ducky, you’ve a long way to drive.”  “Don’t be silly Nan it’s not a problem”  She smiled then on Tuesday she died…..

Thank you so much for reading.  Leave a comment below. X

 

2016, the first full year without Julie


It’s been a quirky, funny and at times a horrific year.

2016 started less than three months after Julie died after losing her battle with cancer.  In January I made a trip out to Tenerife to stay with our long time friends, Linda and Pete.  The trip was a welcome break from the intensity of caring for Julie, then watching her slip away, her once beautiful body racked and ruined by disease.  Tenerife was my first time travelling abroad alone and it was a strange experience, sitting in Gatwick airport feeling alone amongst the throngs of other passengers, having a coffee without anyone to discuss the forthcoming trip with, just waiting for the boarding gate to be announced.  Once in Tenerife, I was made to feel at home by my lovely friends and it was a welcome and pleasant distraction from the previous three years.

February arrived so Nathan, my son and I set about carrying on with our business,  because without a doubt life has to carry on, doesn’t it? The sheer shock of losing someone so close is never far away though but you get up in the morning and get on with your life.  You laugh and feel guilty, then some days well, you wish there aren’t going to be anymore days.  That of course is selfish, because how would my children react if they were to lose their Dad so soon after their Mum?

March saw a visit to a medium with my friends Bev and Stuart, comforting? Yes, but possibly too soon! My mind was still in a turmoil and many things didn’t register at the time, since then? Well let’s just say the medium was spot on!  March also saw a wedding, Pete and Linda tied the knot in Gibraltar then the party moved on to Tenerife.  It was there I realised that I had taken a real emotional battering.  My confidence had disappeared and usually a planner, I had to “wing it”. That was a difficult time.

Arriving back from Tenerife in early April I felt bruised, not in the physical sense but emotionally, my mind had been constantly spinning and I felt I’d let my two dear friends down. I coped by throwing myself back into work, then towards the end of April I had some more bad news.  Angela, one of Julie’s closest cousins lost her husband to cancer! I’d only met Angela a couple of times but something compelled me to pen a letter to her, I did and felt much better for writing.

During May work as always was busy and weekends were busy too with family, one thing losing someone close teaches you is money is only secondary, it’s time that is the most valuable commodity.  Unlike money, you never know when time is going to run out.  So May was like most other months during my adult life, filled with as much time spending time with my family and grandchildren.

It was Julie’s first birthday without us on June 5th, she would’ve been 58 this year and the way she carried her age before she became ill she probably would only look about 45 had she still have been alive.  We, as a family decided to have a meal together and a small intimate party, the weather was good so we carried on the party into the evening sat in the garden.  Laughter and children filled the garden that day, just the way Julie liked it. Of course June also saw Brexit and the resignation of our Prime Minister.  The “Brexit” vote made me realise and see some of the hatred and selfishness locked away inside people, I watched and was subjected to veiled comments and abuse as a leaver.  I forgive all of those abusers because I know they are frightened and fear tends to bring out the worst in people.

July and August were a mixture of meals at my home for the family and visits to various museums, English Heritage and National Trust properties with my grandsons.  Trust me, boys love cars, castles, cannons and dinosaurs! We made a visit to the Isle of Wight, firstly to Alum Bay, the less said about that the better, it’s a total rip off with run down attractions.  Osborn House, however was a real treat, picnic in the grounds and a walk around Queen Victoria’s retreat, brilliant.  We also made a trip to the Historic Dockyard in Portsmouth and were delighted to find The Mary Rose exhibition had been updated.  Really we made loads of memories this summer, little things which everyone will remember but boy did we do some stuff!!

September of course, saw the first anniversary of Julie’s passing, difficult because that first year is full of “firsts”.  We marked September 7th not by being morose but with a chilli, laughter and lighting candles in the evening.  As September 2016 drew to a close, it was difficult to comprehend that a full year had passed since I lost the love of my life. Oh, and I bought a new car.

October? Well it was busy that’s for sure! Hannah’s birthday, work, just busy and then awaiting the clocks to go back and the darkness to draw in.

November started with a visit to my brothers house for an big ole’ family firework party on the fifth.  Work, as it always does at this time of years ramps up, then tragedy, a phone call from Yvonne, the middle of my three sisters, my lovely brother-in-law, Steve had been killed, cycling home on his way back from work! Another family devastated! Nathan flew to the US for a holiday and thanks to a member of our staff, I ended up working for the following two weeks like a twenty year old!

December 2016. Steves funeral took place early this month then a week later Julie’s dad had a malignant tumour removed from his arm.  Then a milestone, I went out socialising without my family for the first time in probably three years, up until that point I’d just not really wanted to be anywhere apart from home.  Christmas decorations and tree were put up then a week before Christmas I was lucky enough to be invited to attend another wedding, this time it was Stuart and Bev tying the knot, lovely service in the wonderful Rhinefeild House Hotel in the heart of the New Forest.

On Christmas Day I got up at 6am to prepare a meal for Julie’s mum and dad who due to ill health were unable to leave their home, Leah, Hannah and Nathan delivered it along with Simon and the three grandsons, Jack, Archie and Freddie?

Later that Christmas Day, another milestone, I cried for the first time since the birth of my son nearly 27 years ago.  Oh I’d felt like it, but even on the day Julie died the tears just wouldn’t materialise.  I guess all of my life had to be strong for someone?  When the tears came I felt relieved and realised I was still human and miss Julie as much, if not more at these family occasions?.

2016 didn’t finish pushing up surprises, a happier surprise happened on December 31st.  What was it? I’ll tell you about that one in due course. ?

So what did I learn during 2016? Well just when you think you’ve got life under control it throws a curve ball, then another, in fact so many there were times when I struggled to cope but cope I did.  It’s not just me who has to cope though, everywhere I look there are people struggling to cope. I’m lucky though, I write it down and hope someone reads my words and hope the words bring comfort to at least one person who feels the desperation caused by loneliness..

So to anyone who reads this I send you my heartfelt best wishes for 2017, may all of your dreams come true.

As always, thanks for reading?