Sunday, December 26, 2010

Stepping back

On the last day of work, before all this illness began, a customer said something strange... well they often do. What made this strange is that in that split second one was transported back to childhood. In that flash one replied like the well brought up child that one had been. It was done without thought the way some genuflect.

What she said in parting was God bless. A quaint figure of speech one had not heard since leaving home 30 years ago. See like many agnostics (and probably many atheists for that matter) one grew up in a religious home. Well it was religious homes if we are going to be precise. And the homes and the religions were as far apart as you can get.

Mother was an eclectic seeker of the truth. Every time one went home for the holidays there was a new religion. There was everything from the Spiritualist Church to Zen to Christian Science. That last one was happily embraced because they didn’t celebrate birthdays... something one heartily approved of. You will probably notice that mother’s choices were hardly conventional... to say the least.

Her thirst for knowledge probably stemmed from the fact that her side of the family are Quakers. They are nice sensible, no nonsense people who regarded the eldest daughter with a degree of disbelief and discomfort. Mother was the family dreamer; artistic, temperamental and never content. She thought they were working class and they thought she put on airs. As you can imagine family get-togethers were a magical time.

Auntie (who brought one up and is no relation at all (which is a story in its own right for some later date)) was from the other end of the spectrum. She is staunchly Church of England. There is equal wall space devoted to pictures of Jesus and the Queen, though the Queen’s frames are a little more ornate. She believes firmly that when she dies, she will be reunited with her family. Personally one has always thought that sounded like one of the outer rings of hell, but each to their own...

1 comment:

Malcolm said...

God Bless! I've heard that recently, too - can't remember who said it.

What do YOU think is going to happen to you when you die, piece? (Why not give us a nice name with which to address you?)