Wednesday, 8 March 2017

To the Women in My Life - on International Women's Day

Today is International Women's Day.
There are and have been many famous and wonderful women in the world, but today I wish to acknowledge, honour and thank all the women in my life, past and present.

Chronologically, I have to start with my mothers - both of them, Patsy and Marjorie. And my grandmothers and aunts. Then, and most especially, I have to honour and thank Ingrid, the love of my life and mother of my children; and, of course, her mother. I also need to recognize Ingrid's many friends over the years - sisters in a kind of benign conspiracy of mutual support that men take years to work out even exists, but can never hope to understand, let alone emulate.

At some point my daughters in law and my own daughters took up a special place in that bond of sisterhood with Ingrid and I hope to live long enough to see my granddaughters join that special circle. In the meantime they are already enriching my life beyond anything they could today know or understand. Little, sweet Aubrey, take your place there with pride. You have enriched my life beyond my own ability to comprehend.

To all the women in my life, without you there would be no life and no life worth living. Thank you.
And to the myriad other women who strive, unrecognized, to make this world a better, kinder, more loving place, thank you.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

A Letter to God


This letter is the composite articulation of reflections on conversations with close family of a little girl who died in the womb.

Dear God,

Part of me is thinking this may as well be "Dear Santa"; I don't even know if you exist. I think you probably do because I don't know how else the sun, the moon and the stars, the earth and the sky would exist. But anyway, right now, I want you to exist. I need you to listen to me. I hope you are there, and listening.

I want you to know that I am hurting, heartbroken for my little girl. If you are God you would know that, but I need to tell you. My pain is so, so deep. She didn't deserve this. She was just there in the womb for over eight months making us happy with anticipation - healthy and kicking. And then she died. Her heart just stopped beating. Suddenly she was dead. Oh, God! How cruel. How unbelievably cruel. For her, for me, for all of us who knew her and loved her. Why? Not the medical, clinical why - although that as well - but how could you let this happen?

We all had all these hopes and dreams. Her room and bassinet all ready. Friends and family gave pretty clothes for her and we all imagined how sweet she would look in this and that, surrounded by cute soft toys.

We did get to dress her up - but only after she was taken from the womb, stillborn. She looked so perfect, so innocent, so lovely. Oh, God, dear God. Why? Why? Why? How could this have happened like this? So close. So near to the end. Our little girl never got the chance, never got the chance to be a baby, to be on the breast, to be loved.

But we did love her. No. We love her still. We love her memory. Oh, God, are you listening? Is she with you now? Is there life after death? Please, let it be so. Please let her be our little angel there with you.

Are you there? Are you listening? Dear God. Please be there. Please be here. With us. Now. We need you. We need you so.


Sunday, 5 February 2017

Does Trump himself believe his own falsehoods?

Ignoring everything else and just looking at Trump's false assertions, I have three concerns in degrees of comparative greatness when I read The complete list of all 33 false things Donald Trump has said as president so far.

NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP/GETTY IMAGES


  1. I am greatly concerned that the President of the United States publicly tells untruths on what appears to be an habitual basis.
  2. It concerns me even more that millions of the American public either believe these falsehoods unquestioningly or don't seem to care that he may be lying and continue to support him in Congress and the Senate and in the media.
  3. My greatest and deepest concern, however, is that Trump himself appears to believe many, if not all, of these untrue assertions, many of which are oft repeated by him. If that is indeed the case, then the President of the United States is delusional, even if sincerely so. Can it really be that a delusional man has access to "the codes" that could trigger nuclear war?

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Banning abortions only stops the safe ones

I am pro-life and anti-abortion.

I just wish life were that simple.

I remember when I was a boy that the Catholic mother of my friend phoned my non-Catholic mother to ask her if she would help her abort her baby. (Illegal in South Africa with stiff penalties.) My mother, who did not realise I could overhear her side of the conversation, said she certainly would not but she did know somebody who did that stuff.

My friend never did get that or any other baby brother or sister. I know that their family struggled financially compared to us, and I know how our family struggled and had to do without things that lots of other people seemed to have.
Life is complex and people suffer terrible stress that clouds judgement and removes freedom.

Much as I want to defend unborn children and their God-given right to life, I don't think it is for me to judge others by my religious and moral standards or to impose my religious and moral standards by turning them into legislation.

I am very conflicted by all of this. Those who disagree with me, please try not to judge me too harshly.

Monday, 30 January 2017

Pro-Life and pro-life: is there a difference? For me, huge.

Jan. 27 joint letter to President Donald Trump from some Catholic groups.

This letter from some Catholic groups in the United States of America exemplifies the difference that I see between the pro-life movement and Pro-Life, which seems to me to place extraordinary if not exclusive emphasis on being "Pro-Birth". If you are truly pro-life then your concern has to extend beyond protecting the unborn and, in protecting the unborn, to do so in the most compassionate and effective way possible in the long term, not merely the most vociferous and judgemental - which is a common perception of Pro-Life. Interestingly, another difference between pro-lifers and Pro-Lifers seems to manifest in a difference of support for Donald Trump as president.