All posts tagged: Keeping the Faith

My Last Keeping the Faith Column…

Word. Light. Flesh. This triptych is featured in a Bible passage that I love. Don’t zone out. Give me at least a few more paragraphs to explain. Because the five verses I’m speaking of are a masterpiece, a work of mystery and enlightenment that at once confuse me and draw me nearer to understanding God. It goes like this: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.” (John 1:1-5) Truth is, I feel an affinity with this excerpt because of my particular love affair with words. Literary expression is my fairy floss. If you told me to paint it – you would see a dense rainforest, glossy with dew; a place of quenching and wandering, deeper and deeper into …

Permission to Grieve

The outpouring of grief following the death last week of television personality Charlotte Dawson has been immense.  The media has lamented the glamorous blonde’s tragic end, naming the causes of her death as depression stemming from a marriage breakdown, financial troubles and her well-documented battle with cyber bullies.  But few have named the root of Charlotte’s tragic struggle with depression. Truth is, she pinpointed it herself. In Charlotte’s 2012 memoir titled Air Kiss And Tell, she revealed that her depression began after she and then-husband and troubled Olympic swimmer Scott Miller chose to have an abortion. “I felt a shift,” she wrote. “Maybe it was hormonal, but I felt the early tinges of what I can now identify as my first experience with depression.” The circumstances around the couple’s decision were not unlike those faced by most women who will choose to terminate a pregnancy; the timing was all wrong.  Charlotte was thrilled, but Scott hesitated because baby was due at the same time as the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. “Everything Scott had done was …

THIS LITTLE LIFE: Changing Culture, One Life-Affirming Story at a Time

THIS LITTLE LIFE is a new opportunity on my blog to share your own story of how valuable, beautiful and significant life is, from the moment it takes up lodging in the womb to the last breath. Life has been defaced, devalued, dehumanised and it’s through real-life stories that we can change this culture.  Please consider sharing the complexities and revelations of your own journey.  There are no hard and fast rules regarding what stories I will publish.  Perhaps you could ask yourself: Does my story demonstrate the innate value of life?  Could it help others? I think we often underestimate just how powerful our stories are. Not so good at getting the words out of your head and into a cohesive read? That’s where I can help.  Please send me an email at inklingmedia01@gmail.com and we’ll find a way together. Keep an eye out for the first THIS LITTLE LIFE instalment in the next few days.  And don’t forget to share these powerful stories – I’ll post them on Facebook and Twitter as usual. Bless …

A Tribute to Fathers

Da was a teenager when his father died of illness as a result of the war. His dad fought in the war and came back altered by the war, like so many who served our country. So it was that my grandfather – Da as he is affectionately known in my family – became a father himself without a strong father figure to draw on. Isn’t that the story of so many? For one reason or another, the “absent father” is a very real non-character in the modern Australia we know. And yet, I feel certain that Da had many fathers. Father in the crudest definition is about biology, of sperm ownership and DNA. But in truth, a father is more about meaning and influence, of legacy and love. Yesterday we celebrated fathers and, by extension, grandfathers, step-fathers, great-grandfathers, fathers-in-law, forefathers, foster-fathers, adoptive-fathers and God-fathers. To this we should add what I will call ‘gap-fathers’ – those beloved men who stand in the gap when there’s no dad around, for whatever reason. God is everyone’s …

What Cause Wrenches Your Heart?

It’s the money month. First day of the financial year and tax agents are poised. Now is when we do our sums and hope for a tidy bonus. It’s also as good a time as any to evaluate our focus. What makes you tick? What gets you out of bed of a morning? What consumes your thoughts? Hint: money and “me” are bad answers. A few weeks back there was a little story in this newspaper about a 15-year-old Scotch Oakburn student who raised more than $1000 to send 200 pairs of soccer boots and supplies to Kenya. Lilli Rand’s donation allowed Kimuka Primary School to create their first soccer team. In the story, Lilli said she wanted to give back to the game she loved – she plays for the Southern Raiders Junior Soccer Club and the Tasmanian under-15s representative team. Lilli’s achievement reminded me how important it is to rise above your own circumstances and be aware of the need beyond. Big picture thinking. I get a particular buzz when I read of young people with …

Good News for Weaklings

There’s a fine line between recklessness and courage. Often the defining factor is whether the mission succeeds. When it does, we get our hero, our courageous trailblazer. When it doesn’t, the action might still be called courageous but the consequences linked to the risk are a hard burden. And sometimes we call such people reckless. I wondered if Jonathan was reckless or courageous when I read of his attack on the Philistines. Within the context of a war pitted against Jonathan’s side, the Israelites, we read in the Bible of his fearless conquest. “One day Jonathan son of Saul said to the young man bearing his armour, “come, let’s go over to the Philistine outpost on the other side.” But he did not tell his father.” (1 Samuel 14:1) This verse fails to mention that his father was actually the king. So Jonathon, all cocksure and brimming with youthful enthusiasm, hiked to the Philistines’ outpost with his armour-bearer bringing up the rear. However fierce a warrior Jonathon was, I couldn’t imagine the two presented a quake-in-your-boots picture. After …

Finding the Rhythm of Salvation

What does Easter mean to you? I was asked this question recently. It’s a question I consider every year as the hot cross buns and chocolate bunnies begin to line supermarket shelves, because every year it feels like those things try to crowd out the heart of this holiday period. For me, they will never overshadow the celebration of Jesus’ mission on earth more than 2000 years ago, to provide a way for direct relationship with God. Jesus was crucified on the Friday, for no reason other than the blind hatred of the crowds. Even Pilate, the governor of the day, symbolically washed his hands when he saw the crowd would not be placated unless he handed Jesus over to be crucified. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said, washing his hands, “It is your responsibility”. Jesus endured every indignity. He was spat on, mocked, flogged, a crown of thorns was rammed onto his head and then he was hung from a crude cross, nails driven through his palms. He was left to die. …

Christmas for Ordinary Folk

It’s Christmas tomorrow. I hope you will find time to mull over the message secreted at the heart of this time. Some of us have heard the Christmas story so many times that it has lost its lustre. That line might describe me a few days ago. I was reading through the nativity sequence – virgin falls pregnant, travels to Bethlehem, gives birth to Jesus in a stable, shepherds and wise men come to see him – and realised that we rarely give Joseph much thought. Mary gets her fair share of accolades, and there’s a glitter and mystery around the wise men. Jesus is the main character, and rightly so. But Joseph tends to stay in the shadows, his role often downplayed or skimmed over, forgotten. I mean, think how many artists have depicted the virgin and child, Joseph strangely absent. It’s easy to overlook the fact that these famous Christmas characters were everyday people. Mary and Joseph were ordinary folk chosen for an extraordinary purpose: to raise Jesus like their own child, and first child …

Give to the Poor and Lend to the Lord

We put the Christmas tree up a little late this year. So much going on, and we wanted to do it properly. So, last Friday night, before the wee one went to bed, we played carols, poured ourselves a gin and tonic and set about adorning the tree with tinsel, baubles and lights. When it was done, the tree laden with festive colour, we switched on the lights and stepped back to admire the result. Meanwhile, Master Nearly-Two stepped forward and tried to blow out all those twinkling little lights that so resembled candles! And we laughed till our sides hurt. I love the spirit of Christmas, those moments of love, joy and peace. They are achievable, believe it or not, when we allow ourselves time to soak in the reason behind our traditions. In one of the recent Feast magazines, Hobart foodie Matthew Evans said, “All of us need a wake-up call to get back in touch; to give for giving’s sake; to invite and be invited; to host and be hosted. To feed and be fed.” To …

Miscarriage.

My heart has felt the weight of a great something lately; let’s call it a stone. A stone pressing down with immense weight and pressure on my lifesource so that every other piece of me has felt languid, heavy. I have lain awake at night, listening to its beat while thought and breath synchronised in a slow pas de deux. You see, I lost my baby. I was 12 weeks pregnant when my miscarriage happened, about six weeks ago. It’s still raw. Why would I write about something so personal, you ask? Not for your sympathy. No. Rather, because I have learnt that miscarriage is a common sadness (about one in five pregnancies end in miscarriage), one that many women carry in silence, on their own. Let’s not do that. I didn’t meet my baby, didn’t know his or her personality, likes and dislikes, quirks and habits. I just knew there was life within me, life brimming with potential. Yet the grief has been deep and painful and suffocating. A mother’s love for her child is full-blown …