26 June 2010

Quote of the Week

"Faith means not wanting to know what is true."

Friedrich Nietzsche

22 June 2010

In Living Memory

Whilst away some place across the big pond I received some news that a man I had worked with for many years had died. I was shocked and was thousands of miles away and wasn't due back for 2 weeks. Fortunately, the funeral was held on Friday and I managed to get my jet-lagged self to the various venues.
The deceased man and I had previously worked with a group of people who will forever be a big part of my life. Have you ever been amongst a group of people who were as different as chalk and cheese and yet somehow gelled as one big family, there for the highs and lows of life?

Here is an example of how close and loved people felt: one man had to retire from his work due to ill health. Let's call him Ahmed. He was the kind of person who would bore you to tears in meetings, the kind who wouldn't shut up and always turned a brief point into a 20 minute monologue! Ahmed was not one to take a hint that he had extended his speaking time and so verbal sledge hammers were employed to spare the ears of the meeting attendees. I had been away for many years and due to the recent death I was back in the fold again. Ahmed, I was told, even though he lived many miles away from his old workplace still found time/a reason to visit each week. He cared so much for the people, the job the warmth of these disparate people that he had to be in contact with them. I commented on it to an older Nigerian woman who was viewed with refeverence by all and she said, in a very soft voice, 'He's always welcome'. My heart melted. I understood why I was there, why I, myself, checked in with everyone now and again with the people who helped me to grow up. Who allowed me to be myself and showed real love and patience as I did so.

I recall a line manager saying to me that he cared about people there as if they were family, including me 'because we have a saying in Yoruba which means: he's a bastard, but he's our bastard'. Tolerance was mandatory. So was empathy, understanding and love. It seems very strange writing that about a workplace. Somewhere you are meant to go to check in and cash out. As a result of this experience I now find it almost impossible to be employed and prefer to work for myself. My only reason for leaving was due to luurrvve! (A long story - trust me!)

The man who died was the kind of person who always made you smile. A cheeky chappy who was married to a lovely woman and they had 2 lovely children together plus he had 2 older children who were close and loved by them both. Let's call him Andrew. He had an eye for the ladies but that was it, just an eye. He made jokes about the size of your bottom, or the swinging of hips or the cinched waist of a 'fine looking woman' in the office and never was there a murmur of 'sexual harrassment' - the women gave it right back and sometimes harder than he did! I know sexual harrassment is something that can have damaging consequences on people in the work place and I am not diminishing the pain it can cause, but in that place of work people were free to be themselves and if anyone stepped over the line a little private chat did the trick.
This in an environment which was like the United Nations - a multitude of races and cultures. Where organised lunches would see people bringing in fufu, barabrith, rice and peas and chicken, stuffed paratha, jolloffe rice, gulab jamun and pasta, amongst other dishes. Food from around the globe, made by the staff.

Andrew became ill at work and was sent to a hospital which, apparently, discharged him later that day and he fell ill again at home the same night, was returned to hospital in an ambulance and died within hours. His young wife was/is distraught. She has lost her best friend and she has pain oozing from every pore. It was difficult to even look at her at the funeral, her pain was so visible. She seemed to be permanently on the verge of collapse.
The church was packed, his work colleagues sang a song in tribute and his 10-year-old nephew sang Michael Jackson's 'You Are Not Alone' - confidently and beautifully. People broke down crying as they joined in on the chorus, myself included.
Through all the praying and calling to God I tried to put aside my atheist thoughts and focused on the fact that I was there because of my friend who had now died. The day was truly special and I was pleased that I was able to attend to offically celebrate his life and the joy that he brought into the lives of those he came into contact with.

It made me think about what would I want to happen when I die. As an atheist I previously thought that I didn't want any 'hacklings' (as my Father would say - meaning he didn't want any bother or fuss) and so if something had to be done then cremate me or chuck me in a large paper bag and let the animals eat me.
Now I think: I'll be dead! What do I care how someone chooses to dispose of my body or the ceremonies they choose to conduct because they feel the need to mark my death/life in some way? I couldn't care less. 'Whatever', as the Americans say.

I felt the need to purge my thoughts onto paper and so forgive the disjointed thoughts: just view them as a stream of conciousness, a collection of thoughts strung together after a few days of no sleep, jet lag and reflection.

For the Andrew's and Ahmed's of this world.

20 June 2010

Jesus don't like all that stuff...

My experience.
On the train, packed like sardines in a tin. A young black woman talking into her mobile phone at high volume.

'Nah, well I told him that I can't see him anymore cos I gotta another love that I love more than him.'
Pause.
'Yeah, he didn't wanna understand that because of my love for Jesus I gotta break it off.'
Pause.
'Yeah, well the Pastor told me that Jesus takes care of everything in his own time and that I should
make sure that I am only serving Jesus in the right way.'
Pause.
I know. I know. I love him and all dat and he makes me feel good, Girl! He knows all the moves!! [laughs] But I gotta stop all that behaviour cos Jesus don't like all that stuff.'

10 June 2010

Anti-Catholic? Moi?

Here we are in 2010, and as we watch the Catholic Church implode, let us spare a thought for those sheeple placing their shekels in the collection plates each week knowing that the group they have financially supported has covered up child rape and other forms of paedophilic abuse.
The Pope will visit London in the Autumn and he expects to be greeted by a loud group of protestors who have enough of this charade, this parade of nonsense.
The Catholic Church has a limited life span, most cults do - although this has lasted a couple of thousand years so as people move away from the confused, mixed messages we will undoubtedly see the new generations moving towards reason and rationale.
A friend of mine said recently, 'You are anti-Catholic'. I responded: 'No, I'm not anti-Catholic, I'm anti-bullshit.'

05 June 2010

Hello, I'm Back!

Life has moved on in a whirl in a very positive way and I have moved into a beautiful apartment in a lovely area where the shopkeepers smile and say hello and have time to have a good old natter (chat/conversation).
I have loved ones close by and all is very good.

Why am I telling you this? Well, with all the packing and moving and all that entails I wondered if I had anything else to say on this blog. Time did not permit me to give any attention to it and so I chose to concentrate on making my new home as comfortable as possible. I have kept up to date with news and current affairs but mainly via the radio - the radio enables you to multi-task!

So much has happened: UK elections, oil disasters, Israel storming and killing personnel on aid vessel, Pope visit to the UK in financial difficulties and so much more. I will try to write about them when I am able to. What's been happening with you?