More About My Other Family

Not so much family values as, ‘The value of family’.

I make no apology for returning to a subject I’ve written about before, under similar circumstances. The difference this time, the medical treatment was planned, not an emergency admission. It was, though, at short notice; I was offered a cancellation slot for cataract surgery to my left eye.

If you read Entertaining Angels blog regularly, you might already know what I mean by “My other family“, if not then I’d better explain.

My blood relations family is small. There’s my wife and I, and my brother whom I rarely see. None of us have children. My wife has a brother too. Both our brothers live over 80 miles away and both work. We each have cousins, who we rarely see. But, these are not the family this post is about. This is about my and W’s other family, our Church and Mothers’ Union family.

This time around, I was able to make a few basic preparations prior to my eye surgery. Even a cancellation slot gives a couple of days notice, unlike my previous emergency admissions.

I’ve been home, at the time I write, two days since the cataract surgery to my left eye. Already I’m blessed with help I’ve received and further offers of help if we need it. The offers of help that I have not, yet, taken up, are not perfunctory expressions, as may sometimes be the case. I know I can count on them all.

J&T collected me from the hospital and took me home, guiding me while I had the dressing on my left eye; I couldn’t wear my glasses to see from my right while the dressing was on my left. My short sightedness is severe. Without my glasses, I guess I might be classed visually impaired.

M and L have each already taken Cookie, my dog, for walks and J and Ja have each done bits of shopping for me. That just the help I’ve had in the few days since my treatment. Ju will take me shopping next week for a big shop and I’ve had numerous other offers that I can call on when needed.

Whilst I think I might manage ok during recovery from my surgery, my ‘family’ make it possible to do more than just manage. Their support is a blessing and kindness to W and to myself, and are there for us and for each other. Thank you to all my family who care for us.

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Reading Aloud

Bringing the Bible to life.

Albert Joseph Moore (1841–1893)

When was the last time you read something out loud? To some extent it might depend on who you are. A parent or teacher reading to a child is probably the most likely to do it. What about the rest of us?

I think that for the great majority of us, reading something out loud is done only few-and-far-between times. When it is, it is probably only to ourselves, perhaps when checking something we have written to see if it sounds right when said. I often check my own writing like this but that is usually the only time I read aloud.

While reading an essay about Islam, I discovered that the title of the Islamic holy book, the Qur’an, means ‘recitation. It is intended to be read out loud. This reminded me that the Bible too was also intended to be read this way, aloud. Originally for the entirely practical reason that many listeners, when it was first written would be illiterate, and could not read.

The most likely time The Bible will be heard read aloud, is in church probably during a service. Occasionally the reader will bring some ‘life’ to the reading. More often than not, this is not so, the reading is flat, unemotional not evoking a reaction.

Reading aloud can be done in a number of ways. Flat, prosaic and boring, calculated to turn pretty much anyone off the subject or send them to sleep. It can also be with a touch of performance. By the reader varying intonation and phrasing, it is much more likely the listener’s attention will be kept. It is also possible that what the listener perceives in the reading can be subtly altered, by the emphasis or understatement of particular words and phrases.

Reading aloud can work equally well solo, as when reading to someone. Give it a try.

 

Roll Away The Stone

A slightly off-beat look at a familiar event.

‘Ouch’, he exclaimed sitting up in the pitch darkness, banging his head on the low ceiling. when his head stopped throbbing, he sat up again, more cautiously with his hand above himself to ward off any further knocks. Putting his hand gingerly to his head, he could already feel a swelling and tenderness. He ignored it. It was insignificant, compared to his other injuries.

Once his eyes adjusted to the darkness, he was able to make out chinks of light, a faint outline, that he supposed to be the doorway. He made his way slowly, still with his hand outstretched, carefully toward it until his hand touched a cold, hard, smooth rock surface roughly in the middle of the faint outline. All the time he was wincing slightly because of the rough, uneven surface under his bare feet.

After feeling around the cold surface his hand had come into contact with, he gave it a tentative push. It didn’t move. He tried again, pushing harder with both hands. Still no movement, not even the slightest shift. He turned around facing back into the darkness and flattened his back against the unyielding surface and heaved with his legs with all his might. A moment later, he slid down to the floor, with his back still resting against it still not having moved as much as a finger’s width.

He wouldn’t be able to shift what he now guessed to be a huge boulder himself. He needed help. Closing his eyes, even though it was a bit pointless in the pitch dark, he called out softly ‘Dad, Dad, can you hear me?’ He was silent a moment and then ‘I’m stuck. I need you to send a couple of the boys to help.’ then as an afterthought added, ‘quick as you can please Dad.’

What seemed to him to take ages, but in reality was only probably only a matter of seconds, he felt the boulder rock and then start to move slowly sideways away from the portal. He rose quickly, still taking care not to bang his head, and watched the light grow and seep into what he now saw was a cave, a tomb, until the gap was wide enough for him to step out into low sunshine of the dawn light.

Emerging from the tomb he gave a friendly nod to the two slightly glowing figures, that had freed him. ‘Thanks Michael, Gabriel, I could have been in there ages.’ ‘Try to keep yourself out of trouble for a while, Jesus.’, Michael said, just before both he and Gabriel both disappeared, a second too soon for Jesus to ask one more question. ‘What day is it?’

Thumbelina Is Missing

Introduction.

This week something a little different. Regular readers will know my fondness for old fairy tales. This is my imagined story of Thumbelina’s mother.The original fairy tale of Thumbelina is by Hans Christian Andersen. Hans never told what happened to Thumbelina’s ‘mother’ after Thumbelina was kidnapped. So:

Thumbelina Is Missing

Thumbelina was tiny, no bigger than a thumb joint to the tip of a thumb. She had been ‘born’ to an old woman who had no child of her own, from a flower given by a witch. Tiny as Thumbelina was, the old woman loved her greatly.

Thumbelina’s bed was a walnut shell, which she slept in very comfortably in the old woman’s home. It was a small house with only two rooms, a bedroom and a kitchen. Thumbelina’s bed was on the table under the window in the kitchen. One morning when the old woman came downstairs, Thumbelina was missing. But not just Thumbelina, her bed had gone too.

To Thumbelina her walnut shell bed was as heavy as your bed is to you, so the old woman knew Thumbelina couldn’t move it far. How did she get it off the table though?

The old woman searched high and low for Thumbelina. First under the table and chairs, all around the floor and behind the dresser. She looked in the single drawer under the table, where she kept her cutlery. She even looked in the pile of logs beside the fireplace and peered into a mouse hole she discovered. There was no sign of Thumbelina, she had vanished utterly.

The old woman was becoming desperate. The only thing she could think of to do was to go to the witch that had given her the flower from which Thumbelina had emerged. It would take the old woman many hours to reach the witches house, so she set off at sunrise the next morning.

As she left her home to visit the witch the old woman passed the pond where a great frog and her son lived. She stopped and asked the frog, ‘do you know where my daughter, Thumbelina, is?’ The frog answered truthfully ‘I do not know, old woman.’, but her reply whilst true hid another truth.

In the middle of the night the frog had stolen Thumbelina, taking her in her walnut shell bed from the old woman’s home, to marry her son but, Thumbelina had escaped the frogs.

When the old woman reached the witches house, the door was open. The witch called out to the old woman tocome in, even before either of them saw each other. ‘I felt you coming.’ said the witch. ‘I know its about Thumbelina, what’s happened?’ The old woman explained, with tears in her eyes, that Thumbelina was missing.

The witch closed her eyes then spoke without opening them ‘I can’t see Thumbelina and I can’t tell you where she is or how she went missing, but I can feel that she is safe. She isn’t happy but I think she will be. The tiny angels will find her.’ ‘Will they bring her back to me?’ asked the old woman. ‘That I cannot say’, replied the witch. The old woman left for home, thanking the witch and though not happy, relieved that Thumbelina was apparently safe.

Months later while the old woman was tending her small garden, a butterfly alighted on a flower near where the old woman was planting some seeds. A high, sweet voice spoke to the old woman. She looked up, not seeing anyone or knowing who spoke. Then she looked closer at the butterfly and saw that it wasn’t a butterfly at all. It was a tiny man no bigger than Thumbelina had been, but this tiny man had wings and could fly. ‘Who are you, asked the old woman’, and what are you?’

‘I’m Cyren’ said the tiny winged man and as for what I am, don’t you know?’ The old woman shook her head. ‘Only a few people, sometimes people like you, have seen us. We’re flower fairies, though some call us the Tiny Angels. The old woman caught her breath for a moment as the witches words about the Tiny Angels came back to her.

‘You’re like my Thumbelina.’ ‘Rather, she’s like me.’ Cyren replied. ‘But she hasn’t wings.’ ‘She was too young the last time you saw her, she flies now just like all of us.’ ‘It’s true then, what the witch told me, she’s safe and well?’ ‘She’s fulfilled her destiny.’ The tiny fairy told the old woman. ‘She’s the queen of us all, she’s become the Flower Queen.’