Wednesday, 9 December 2015

TW'sV on celebrating life

A couple of generations ago home births were the norm, with midwives bombing around on bicycles. Husbands boiled the kettle and put newspaper on the floor. It was a public event.

 (c) Neal Street Productions

Then came along maternity homes, when often husbands were excluded. I was only allowed in for good behaviour, and spent some time waiting in a draughty porch. Next maternity units in hospitals made us almost think that having a child was some form of disease!?

It was a Frenchman, Dr Michel Odent, who helped us to remember that giving birth is natural! Of course the superb care in hospitals has reduced the number of deaths (child or mother) enormously, but we had lost the truth that birth is normal.

I think birth into eternity, or dying has become too private a matter. To be fair, it was highly public fifty years ago. Someone in the community almost had the right to lay out the body in the front parlour. Neighbours and family would be expected to call and pay respects. Now an 'ambulance' turns up, and few may even know a neighbour has died.

It would be helpful to notch back a bit, not too much. Although having a public role, I'm a private person by nature, and I'd hate my grief to be public property. But I would value being able to talk about death, and loved ones in a natural easy way.

Welcome to another New Year, and a natural chance to think about opportunities to relish the gifts of life, and of eternal life which is behind all our dreams. If you've made a new year's resolution you're not supposed to tell anyone. Why not?

One year I resolved to walk along the beach at least once a week, and it has kept my life in a better balance. What a fantastic part of the world we live in, and how often we waste opportunities on our doorstep.

So this year, why not share your hopes with others, and help us all recover the fact that dying is natural and we should talk about it more.

And may God bless you richly.