Saturday, 22 January 2011


So I'm feeling really very frustrated as I have an imminent deadline for an essay, which ashamedly I have not started (and what's more, I have a second deadline on the selfsame day, for another paper that I haven't started either ... the dreaded day is January 31st - a party will follow!) The cause of my frustration is that I have to set my own title and the subject matter is 'death'. No wonder I don't feel so cheery. I just don't know where to start - I'm dead stuck... (rubbish gaff that my mum cracked earlier!)

A few of the questions that have been racing around my head: Everyone dies, so why do we fear death? What is it that we fear - pain or non-existence - or the worry of an afterlife and its essence? Is there a right time to die? When people are feeling suicidal, do they want to terminate their very existence, or do they just want to be free from the circumstances that life has dealt them? Should we prolong life for as long as possible or go to meet death?

I'm getting into an existential pickle (imagine if they sold that in jars). Last night, overwhelmed by the certainty - and yet uncertainty - of death, I lay in bed and listened to a sermon on Ecclesiastes and then this morning, I read it for myself. Life is a vapour. It passes us by. Everything good, or bad, comes to an end. So we need to embrace the moment and find God in it. To know His peace. I have been feeling less alive over the last few days whilst writing my papers in solitude. It's been an isolated dull(ish) succession of hours, punctuated only by food - how I love it! - and I have craved company other than my computer screen. I am a social animal. Ecclesiastes assured me that I was (or am, I should probably say) alive and that I should tune my head into NOW'fm rather than wishing away the present. So I did and the result, was this poem:

Now is the moment that I live for
Yesterday is a dream
Tomorrow is a possibility
A stream trickling past me into an amass of sea
I dip in my toe
Asserting the Now with a little splash
Undoes the shackles of regret
Unweights the worries in my chest
Alive in the stillness; this non-event
Torrents howl and fall
You're here, not vapour.

And on that note, I should probably proceed with my essay. There's no time like the present eh?

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Here and there

I am sorry that I haven't blogged for over a month and I am also sorry that I will not do what I promised to in the last sentence of my previous blog. I had been toying with sharing some pretty emotional stuff, which would have made me very vulnerable to you all, as well as other folk involved. It is partly for that reason that I have not posted for so long, but also simply because I have been so incredibly busy.

I have just got back to Leiden from my time at home in the UK over Christmas and New year. (My time was an absolute blast. Thanks to those of you who blessed me with your presence.) On the way to the airport, I felt like I was snapping a lot at my mum. When I have underlying sadness I can be really quite a grump. I managed to suppress my tears as we neared Luton. Despite having felt so called here, months and months ago, I just did not want to return. Maybe my Christmas holiday at home was always going to be a better memory than what I imagine will follow this term, in virtue of the fact that holidays are meant to be full of relaxation and FUN and now I have only 20,000 unwritten words to keep me company. My time in Leicester and London had felt so right: two homely spheres between which I feel I fully belong.

Here, I am still an outsider and not completely settled. Arriving at Schipol last night, I just had to commit it to God. I do not actually want to be here (mind you if I was still living in London, things would have changed). Over the last week though, I feel God has reminded me, that my voyage over here was never about me. My walk as God's child is not about bending God's arm to make my life as easy as possible, but about submitting my will to His, for His glory and my joy. Volunteering to cooperatively be part of the larger plan and what a plan I cannot imagine... Jesus taught that we should be willing to give everything up for Him, the pearl of great price. I had forgotten that last semester and wondered why I found myself getting miserable. What I need to focus on, is that Jesus also teaches that if we give up our life for Him, we will truly gain it. Life to the full? (John 10:10) Yes please!

Hopefully, there won't be such chasms between blogs from here on; that being said I have to submit three papers and move house over the next couple of weeks, so no promises. I will conclude this notelet with a poem I wrote this morning:

Trains come and go
But you remain the same
Planes take off and land
But you remain the same
You are the platform and the port
There when I arrive and when I leave
And of greater comfort is this:
You go on the journey with me
Therefore, as I travel and as I go
Here and there and to and fro
I shall not be shaken
My God, you're here with me.