Yesterday we were three helpers short at the afterschool club, a stand-in reduced that to two down. Today, we had a couple of folks who could not make it to Open the Book this week. Fortunately, the story was short & simple, with not a lot of props required. I am always amazed at God's timing. At the end of the last academic year, we had a run where for various reasons we were consistently missing one or two from our Open the Book team, and it coincided with a succession of stories that required very few parts. This week, again when we are rehearsing there are just two main parts plus a narrator, and three of us. There are opportunities to fit the others in, so it will all work out just fine. If it doesn't then we will adapt and improvise. All will be well.
The afternoon brought the second funeral of the week - strangely another contemporary of my mother. Like my mum, she had been a member of the parish Young Wives group, and in later life suffered from confusion. Unlike my mum, she was a pretty nifty dancer. More interesting facts learnt from another life well lived.
After a lot of busy evenings, I finally got the opportunity to phone my ancient Father-in-Law. His health features prominently in our conversations, which vary in length according to how he is feeling. Today he was much chirpier than usual, sharing his opinions on a variety of subjects. My role is to listen, and not agree with him. Towards the end of the conversation, he began to talk about how disturbing he found the Armistice celebrations.
"Why do they have to keep talking about the war. It won't bring them back. It just reminds me of it all. How we were treated like animals. We weren't even allowed to have enough water to drink."
War is ugly and cruel. Sadly, there are times when it is necessary to fight against evil. We need to be aware of the memories we awaken, but also remember those who sacrificed their future that we may live in peace.
Through our window we see the seasons changing. Golden leaves flutter past like brief a storm of gold - a moment of glory, which becomes an irritation when they settle on the lawn. The distant ash trees have already shed their leaves, and we can see through them right across to the woodland at the counties edge. Our perspective is ever changing, our view enlarging. Trees stripped of their finery reveal the beauty of their structure. Skies, free from the clutter of leafy canopies, become larger. November, a month to look back and remember, but also a time to see the bigger picture. Some pictures are prettier than others.