Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Doubting Thomas.


Last Sunday I went to church. How come? I hear you ask. I was invited by a seventy-five-year-old Jamaican gentleman. He's become a friend since I started hanging out at the Make a Difference Afro-Caribbean Senior Citizens Group in Streatham. Some of my mates went to France over the Easter holidays, or to Italy, or Spain, I went to the Make a Difference Afro-Caribbean Senior Citizens Group in Streatham, and also to church, when I went anywhere. Mostly I stayed at home and cooked and put a wash on. I'm hoping to get my reward in heaven.

So anyway, in church - the United Reform Church in Herne Hill - I was open to being convinced. Come on, I thought, sitting on the back row with Margaret, a 78-year-old-lady who took pity on me and came by for a chat before my friend turned up, sock it to me. I'd quite like to be religious. Everything about it looks great. You get to dress up, go out, hang about in historic old buildings, be with people, sing. And it must be a comfort, especially when someone you love dies. It was a good topic, too, the resurrection, which lots of people struggle with, me included.

There must be some theological arguments to support the idea of the resurrection, I thought, so let's have it. The minster read from the bible (John 20:24-29). "'But he said to them, 'Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.' And it must have been hard for Thomas to believe that Christ had come back from the dead," said the minister, "but he did believe, and so must we." Then he announced the next hymn and that was it, he moved on. Nope, I thought, that's not gonna cut it.

At the end of the service my NBF, the Jamaican gentleman, gave me a copy of The Pilgrims Progress as a present, which was really lovely of him but to be honest I'm struggling with that too, although I do like the allegorical thing and I reckon I was stuck in the Slough of Despond for years, I just never had a name for it before.


If I can't believe in God what can I believe? In people, I guess. I believe that people are basically good and we need to hold on to that, as well as to them, to stop ourselves falling into a Slough of Despair.

So, speaking of holding on to people I'm meeting up with an old friend on Friday who I haven't seen in years, Susie, she of the bassoon mentioned last week. Susie was my best friend at secondary school and in the last few years we've lost touch, which is ridiculous when you consider she lives in Surrey and it's only an hour away. We were very close way back when, literally as well as figuratively. She lived next-door-but-one. We met when we were eleven. We'd both moved into new homes in a new area and were about to go to secondary school. We were put in the same class. I vividly remember sitting in her bedroom, which was the same as mine, the day before school began, telling her the date of my birthday. We were doing that thing girls do when they swap information really fast like they're playing ping pong. 

"That's mine, too," she said.

"But it can't be," I replied. 

"But it is," she said.

I just refused to believe the coincidence and yet it was true. She thought that was funny. Many years later her three beautiful girls were my bridesmaids. I have some pictures of them somewhere...

I made a BBC children's programme with them - Words and Pictures - using her house as the location and one of the girls as the star - Mary, the youngest. Now Susie's an art teacher and also a grandmother. It's terrible how you can lose touch with people because your life takes a different turn. Still, I'm seeing her again soon, I believe.

Love E x


P.S. Sometimes there isn't a P.S.

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