A Moment to Reflect

25 July 2020

A Moment to Reflect -71

“It hurts, boy,” he said softly. “Oh, yes. Choosing . . . it has always hurt. And always will. I know.” ― George R.R. Martin

I don’t remember being born… 

It may be because I was asleep when it happened. 

No, seriously, it’s true—I was born asleep! Or so I’ve been told. (I don’t sleep so much these days.)

I was born at home—in that damp, occasionally rat-infested, tenement that has long since been demolished. I guess it means I can never become famous—there’s nowhere to hang the plaque that would show where I was born—though, believe me, I don’t ever want to be famous. 

I was also born with a bit of a calcium deficiency, so when my baby teeth came in, they started to crumble away. (My party piece as a four-year old was the song “All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth.”)

Our dentist did everything possible to ensure that my second teeth hung around a bit longer by insisting that I drank plenty of milk and ate lots of cheese. So, I blame him for my abiding love of all kinds of cheese, but I also credit him for the fact that by the time I was seven my two front teeth had come through, strong and straight­—my Christmas wish fulfilled.

And by then I also had a dog!

Life was good.

Now, our house was near the bottom of a very steep hill, known as Clune Brae. It was so steep that in wintertime the best (and totally free) form of entertainment was watching buses and trucks trying to get up the hill after a snowfall or a very cold freeze.

However, one day that I really do remember was neither cold nor wet. It was bright and clear. I had taken my dog for a walk up the hill. She was on her lead. Life was good.

On my way back down the hill I decided to start running instead of just walking. 

Life was really good. 

A little more than halfway down the hill …there was a lamp-post pretty much in the middle of the pavement. I made the decision to go to the right. Unfortunately, the dog made the decision to go to the left! It was a fateful, face-changing, decision that quite literally wiped the smile off my face as I crashed into the lamp-post breaking the corner off one of my shiny new front teeth. The nerve of the tooth was exposed, and it wasn’t possible to save it. I think the dentist was even more dismayed than I was. 

It was an early lesson to me that on the journey of life you never know what may be round the corner (or what’s going to hit you straight in the face!) but sooner or later —if you can— you try to pick yourself up and get back on the road. That is not always easy. And for some people it can take a very long time. 

Those are the times when the words of the Psalmist may help to get us through.

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing…

He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, 
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.