My heart is full this New Year’s Eve. So many things that I would like to make new but can’t. My eyes, my ability to walk, the restoration of feeling in my hands and feet, lungs so that I can breathe properly. That DAMNED cancer! But I can never make those things new.

I have tried to turn everything to the good – and I believe that I have succeeded, for the most part. Done everything. You know – been positive, seen my glass as half full not half empty. All the things you are meant to do. Smiled when I was feeling like shit. Forgiven people for not understanding and for treating me badly, because they cannot walk a mile in my shoes. Taken insult after insult, and not allowed myself to be affected by it. Sometimes the trial has felt too great. Been called “Inspirational,” when all I wanted was a hug and the permission to collapse in a heap and cry. Sometimes being inspirational is a heavy burden to carry. You can’t always meet up to expectations or to your name.

I have spent this last year going through all the emotions under the sun. But mostly grieving. Grieving for that which I have lost. In fact, it seems as if I have lost everything that I was. Sometimes I have felt that I am just a thing on the bed. Not a person at all. Totally dependent upon others for almost every need. Unable to make choices for myself. Controlled by others. And I have been remembering. Remembering what I once was. An academic. A bird watcher. A pianist. A liver of nature. And oh yes, I have tried to do good, and to be happy in the fact that I can still hear, taste, and smell nature. But you know what? There is NOTHING like SEEING it!

I am being honest here. Sometimes it feels like shit.

And if I say that there is a sense in which I “see” far more clearly now that I am blind, and if I say that I know great joy in the things that are not material, it is as true as my saying “Life is shit, and I feel like shit.” Both things are part of me, and make up the whole.

The one thing about me is that I am honest. I don’t fake it. So you get what you get. Shit and stars are not mutually exclusive. Believing and having faith in a God of some kind, even a broken one, broken like me, and doubting and questioning and enduring a torment of the mind, are not mutually exclusive.

Therefore my writing may change from day to day, and even hour to hour – but it will aways reflect the truth of the moment.

At this moment, as we stand on the threshold of a New Year, I wish more than anything that I could have my eyesight back, and that I could see the birds and the Spring again. I wish mire than anything in the world that indeed, all things could be made new, as we read in the Bible. But I know that when I read those words, they have to be taken in a spiritual sense. And I want my body and my circumstances to be made new. It will not happen. And so I grieve. But in amongst all that grief is a great joy.

Light and dark, joy and pain, faith and doubt, can all walk hand in hand together. And here is where I stand this New Years Eve.


The world is in motion
Nothing still
As the Dance goes on
Forming patterns like the crystals of a snowflake
Painting pictures
Creating stories
Is there really a time for everything
Or is everything in its time?
And is there a difference?
Soon, time will be no more
The Dance will end
As eternity calls
The picture will be complete
But how will the story end?
As eternity calls
A new book will be opened
A book called “The Book of Life”
And in this book
A day will be like a thousand years
And a thousand years like a day
And here, there will be no endings
Or even beginnings
For time will be no more
In a life that is eternal


You gave shelter
When there was no one there
Who would make room for a woman
With child
There is still no room at the inn
For those untidy lives
That do not hit
The mark

Make room
For untidy
Ones who beg for mercy
For in truth they may be angels
Your path
Angels do not always have wings
But tangled hair, no shoes,

Judge not
Those whom you see
Who do not look the same
As you, who walk the streets begging
One day
You too
May find yourself in that dark place
May there be a stable
To shelter you
Give warmth

The world
Is untidy
Littered with lives gone wrong
Upside down people challenging
The right
Way up
Ones who really are upside down
A new world of mercy
Beckons us all
Greet it


Sitting on the hill above the river in the dying sun, it felt unreal. In fact, the whole day had felt unreal.

“I’m confused,” I had said to my friend Ann, upon entering the Church that morning.

“I think we’re meant to be confused,” she replied.

I am blind, and was desperately hoping to find someone called Ana, to whom I wanted to give a card. So, when my husband told me that I was talking to Ann, my brain froze. Despite the fact that I knew Ann very well, and had conversations with her most mornings, it did not penetrate my brain that it was Ann and not Ana whom I was talking to. My ears deceived me, hearing the name “Ana” and not “Ann.” I began to root in my handbag for the card that I had to give to Ana. It was difficult because not only am I blind and wheelchair bound, but also I have hardly any feeling in my hands and feet. Somehow or other, my brain gave out on me, and my whole world felt blurred. This was not an uncommon experience for me. Mostly, my world feels blurred, now. My brain seems unable to catch up. I spend my whole life with my brain attempting, without much success, to catch up. This leads to panic, as I try to maintain relationships with people. My world is permanently blurred, leading to all kinds of misunderstandings, as people do not understand what is happening. My heart becomes heavy as I begin to lose hope that I can ever have proper relationships with people again.

And so, here I was, on December 25th. 2017, Christmas Day, about to give someone the wrong Christmas card. My confusion was no longer in its infancy, but fully grown, and despite the fact that no one was going to die, felt life threatening. I felt despairing, yet at the same time knowing that no one could possibly understand how awful and how soul destroying this was for me. In moments like this, all that I wanted to do was to give way to the deep tears that were inside me, yet never quite making it into the outside world. As time passed, they had become more and more insistent, but my controls were strong. A lifetime’s training had made very sure that under no circumstances would tears fall easily from my eyes. Yet on this particular morning, they needed to. Inside, I had been harbouring the pain of a whole lifetime. It felt as if I could not hang onto it any longer, and yet, I knew full well that even now, my controls would not go. Guilt! That was my worst enemy. One must never cry, about ANYTHING.

Having had Ann’s assurance that this was a day on which we were meant to be confused (I wasn’t sure why!) I made my way, slowly, and blindly, to the front of the Church, tapping my way along, down the long central aisle, with my white blind cane. My emotions were all over the place. If I went to the front I would feel trapped, and suffocated. Yet if I stayed at the back, I would be unable to bear the constant knocking of my wheelchair by the small children as they ran around unchecked. Unable to see, each jolt would take me by surprise, until I would be unable to bear it any more, and have to leave. And so, my confusion was added to, and I felt like a gibbering wreck, making my way to the front. The whole of my being was crying out “No, no,” but it was the only place I could be. As I eventually settled myself in my wheelchair at the very front of the Church, I attempted to calm myself. There was noise all around me. People coming and going. I had no idea who they were, or what they were doing. It scared me. That may sound stupid to someone who can see, but in the darkness, all sounds can feel threatening, unless you know exactly what they are and why they are there. Again – confusion. I seem to spend my life in confusion. But it’s okay, because Ann said that we’re meant to be confused. A very confusing statement if ever I heard one, but who am I to argue? Panic began to rise within me. I was stuck now. I spent the next quarter of an hour on the verge of bolting. I still do not know how I managed to stay put. But there was a sense in which I did not want to flunk it. This was a challenge to me, and I did not want to fail.

The organ began to play, and I recognised many Christmas Carols being worked into the whole, and being improvised upon. Christmas Carols. The sickness began to rise inside me. It all felt too much for me. It was overwhelming. Christmas had never been a happy time for me, and Christmas Carols, for some reason, encapsulated all of my feelings. Feelings of dread. Feelings of fear. Feelings of repulsion. Suffocation. Memory can sometimes be abterrible thing.

The whole day seemed unreal to me. Going through the motions. And then…..sitting under the dying sun. I too was dying with it. ;to be continued)