Big World Small Boat

Private Diary of A Priest. OK, so we're not all angels...Everyone needs a place to get things off their chest! And yes, I do talk to God about it all! Even He has a sense of humour! Want proof? Well, he made me, didn't He? Oh, one last thought-If you don't like what I've written, please keep in mind - it's MY diary. Go write your own!

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Location: England, United Kingdom

I've been serving children in crisis for over twenty five years. My goals are not to raise money, but to find organisations and individuals who can help change lives! What may be outdated equipment for you could change the life of a child in Eastern Europe! To learn more please visit our site at:


Helping To Ease The Pain

We so desperately want to find comforting words to say to someone who has cancer or any other illness that causes extreme pain. We’re often frightened by the prospects of their suffering and scour the internet or books to find anything to say that may help.
And whilst the number of things we can say is  infinitesimal, what I imagine to be the worst, the most meaningless thing to say to anyone is “I know how you feel.” 
I promise you – you don’t!

You certainly might be able to imagine another person’s pain, but frankly how you perceive it is meaningless to the person who is suffering. That’s why doctors and surgeons have such a difficult time in managing the physical pain of patients who are suffering from events, ranging from a simple surgery to the all consuming aggressive forms of cancer, that slowly eat away from within. Doctors can only compare you with all the other patients they’ve dealt with – much like dealing with an actuarial table from a life assurance company. 

There are so many different types of pain. From all the patients I’ve had the honour to sit with, who move through varying degrees of expressing their suffering, be it a quiet rhythmic whimpering, to screaming with agony just before their body surrenders its life force, it is profoundly clear how deeply personal our pain is. 

There are those who suffer excruciating pain, not only of the physical type, but of the emotional as well: ask any loving parent who has a child in hospital. We would do anything to take that pain upon ourselves – and we do, often ten-fold. It is that suffering we witness that often calls us to either question or bargain with God. 

And there are those who are suffering the emotional and spiritual pain of loss or failure. It’s often seen most vividly at a point where the sufferer knows their life is ending, but their spirit still struggles to rectify whatever it may be they feel they’ve done wrong; perhaps a failed relationship, a wrong they committed upon a spouse or family member, or even an unfulfilled promise they may have made. 

The great Anglican author C.S. Lewis, sought to find goodness through suffering. He felt there was a divine purpose in the experience of pain, often saying “How true it is that glory so often comes through suffering and pain.” 

Some simple thoughts to consider in order to avoid placing the proverbial foot in one’s mouth are: 

Try simple thoughts of love and support. You needn’t be a Rhodes Scholar. Holding the hand of your loved one or friend creates a powerful connectivity and is a profoundly personal gesture of care and love. Ask if there is anything you may do to assist, is there anyone they would like for you to contact, letters you may write on their behalf. In fact, ask if it’s ok for you to speak with others about them. Some people see their suffering as sacrosanct and not to be a topic of discussion with anyone! 

Don’t be so crass as to meet with someone when they’ve first been diagnosed with cancer, saying how great they look! That’s a very common faux pas and can actually be quite insulting. How should the person look? It’s almost as if you’ve willed them to drop the façade they’ve spent days to create, because you want to see them suffer! And don’t forget, just because someone has been diagnosed with cancer, doesn’t mean that it’s terminal. 

Don’t automatically assume that someone will lose their hair if they’re taking chemotherapy. I’ve actually had to pull a couple away from a large gathering around a bed, of someone who was struggling with their chemo because I, (and I was certain the patient too), could hear this couple loudly whispering about whether the patient was wearing a wig. What caused my arm to instantly reach out for the couple was when the woman whispered to her husband that it 'didn’t even look as if the patient was dying, she looked so well!' 

It is during these challenging times when both sufferer and carer alike can find the most powerful form of communication and medicine in one. It has always been there, all you need to do is ask.

That is through the power of prayer.
.Posted for Fr. Bill

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Turning Lemons into Lemonade

Necessity is the mother of invention. Indeed! This has probably been the most challenging year we've faced since the events of September 11.

It’s sad to see how many families throughout our western society are facing financial meltdown. Home repossessions and foreclosures are at an all-time high, unemployment is soaring, redundancies are rampant and the nest eggs people have saved for all their lives have, almost overnight, disappeared.

It is heartbreaking to watch the news on telly, flashing images of the word’s most famous financial institutions, whilst the newsreader speaks of the global business collapsing and thousands of jobs being lost around the world.

During such difficult times, relationships will be tested to the extremes. Tensions will mount, worry and distress will test even the most solid of marriages and for many, it may appear there is no light at the end of the tunnel.

Sailing these unchartered waters as a team, rather than individuals who shut down, will be the only way to survive. Closing up, refusing to face those challenges will do nothing more than rip familial foundations apart, seldom to return to where they were.

And whilst no exact situation is similar, there are ways to ease the burden, especially if you reach deep within those warm pools of familial love. Don’t make unilateral decisions; include your children. Don’t create fear, instead, foster a sense of ‘esprit de corps’ and allow your children to offer their own ideas. Work as a family unit. Children build self-respect when their voices are permitted to be heard and their ideas welcomed.

Damage control: What can be done immediately to control outgoings? This doesn’t mean telling your children all of their after-school activities are cancelled. Perhaps they can be reduced for a brief period. But don't even consider such a thing if you're sitting in front of them smoking a cigarette. Take the initiative to show what you are doing to economise. If you do smoke, what a wonderful time to stop! (And they'll love you for it!)

Food planning: Make a grocery list and stick to it! In every instance, a ready meal is never good value. You can make your own at home, freezing them for a fraction of what you pay for mediocre meals that are bought merely for convenience. It's more nutritious too!

Make a diary of family events that don’t require spending money. Forest hikes, starlight picnics, etc., are a great way to start.

Garage or car boot sales can provide an often hefty revenue stream and you’ll be amazed how much children enjoy this. It allows them to pick up pocket money whilst learning important basic skills in market enterprise.

And don’t forget Ebay. There are countless individuals who depend on their small transactions to pay for their utilities during the winter. I know one family who sell their unwanted items for an entire year, then use the proceeds to pay for their annual holiday. Parents and children alike participate.

There’s no doubt these are challenging times. But before you face a core melt-down, first don’t lose track of asking for help. Here in Britain, the Citizens Advice Bureau, Age Concern, Help The Aged and your local church or synagogue can provide helpful advice.

Don’t forget that charities and missions also face challenges during these difficult times. It’s just as important for those responsible to do some lateral thinking as well.

For me… whilst my ideas may be a bit strange to some, hopefully, they’re creative to others. I could use some help too.

Recently I entered the Walker’s Crisps (potato chip) promotion for dreaming up a new flavour crisp. Winners have the opportunity to win a prize of £50,000 plus 1% of future sales. That amount of money can feed a lot of children, buy a lot of school books, and provide winter heat for a lot of families in need.

A few days ago I was surprised to receive an email from Walkers to say that the contest was going strong and showing that interest in my flavour was riding high. (9 out of 10 have graded our suggestion as among the best!)

So, with hat in hand, if you might consider helping us out a bit, I’d be grateful if you would make an honest vote on our flavour of “Sweet Woo’s” which consists of Worcester Sauce and an ever so slight tingle of sweetness. With your help we might actually have a good chance at winning! (I think it's all just in fun anyway!)

How’s that for a creative way to help a missionary without taking a single penny out of your pocket?

I thank you. We thank you. My doctor certainly might not thank you. But she’s hung up on Krispy Kreme doughnuts anyway – diminutive little thing that she is!

During these challenging times the old proverb of making lemonade out of lemons applies.

And never forget the core of what matters most in your life – that you love and you are loved!

Oh, and about those crisps, please? :-)

Walker’s Crisps Flavour



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Excuses Excuses

Crum, it has been a frustrating day. And there’s no better place to take out one’s frustration than on the world. The dog is much too nice a fellow to even consider growling at.

Crikey, I’ve only been out of hospital for about ten days and I came home yesterday to find a voice message from the doctor saying I have to go back in again! The scallywags!

So once more, just as I seem to have had to do this entire year, I will leave a few poor and exhausted volunteers to browse through my folders of rantings, thoughts, and general world concerns to post in my prayer blog.

When I asked the secretary why I had to come back again so soon, she had no answer. All she said is there isn’t a need to make an excuse – I just need to come back for a bit. Gee thanks!

So in honour of timeless excuses, I offer this small collection of ‘medical’ excuses received by school secretaries.

"Please excuse John for being absent Jan. 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, and 33."

"Mary could not go to school because she was bothered by very close veins."

"Ralph was absent yesterday because of a sour throat."

"Please excuse Joey Friday. He had loose vowels."

"Please excuse Joyce from Jim today."

"Please excuse Roland from P.E. for a few days. He fell out of a tree and misplaced his hip."

"Karl was hit yesterday playing football. He was hurt in the growing part."

"John was absent yesterday because he had a stomach."

"Please excuse Gloria. She has been sick and under the doctor."

"My son will have to get out of school as soon as I call the orthodontist, one of his wrie's is brusted and sticking in his Gum's."

"Please excuse Sarah from being absent yesterday. She was sick and I had her shot."

"My son is under the doctor’s care and should not take P.E. Please execute him."

"Irving was absent this morning because he missed his bust."

"Please excuse Johnny for being. It was his father's fault."


I'm sure tomorrow will be a better day!


Helping to Ease the Pain

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The Science of Faith

Several years ago dear friends of ours invited us to a ‘Star Picnic.’ Nestled high amidst the Blue Ridge Mountains, the resort they own and manage is at an altitude where there is no influence of city lights or smog to interfere with the spectacular display of the constellations. Adding to the pleasure, by design, the resort is conspicuously absent of televisions, telephones, radios, and any vestige of man made noise.

They prepared a wonderful banquet of summer fruits and vegetables from their garden. And with only a handful of blankets, we hopped aboard a golf cart and headed out to an open field. The horses didn’t seem to mind our intrusion and were actually haughtily disinterested by the fact there were humans invading their turf during the warm summer night.

It was just past nine and the setting sun had provided a kaleidoscope of colours. Amidst the sounds of crickets and a distant hooting owl, the infinite heavens surrounded us. The moon illuminated our alfresco dining and the flavours of sweetcorn, cherry tomatoes with fresh basil, fried chicken, and potato salad - all seemed particularly intense.

As we rounded out the evening feast with fresh strawberries and cream, we settled back to watch the celestial panorama. Our chitchat faded away as each of us became mesmerised by the enormity of what lay before us.

Orion’s belt, the great lion Leo, the Virgo cluster: all performing their mythical obligations across the heavens. It stretched far beyond the bounds of our imagination and comprehension. And it reminded me of how infinitesimal we are in God’s universe.

But it also reminded me of where the science of evidence must come to an end and the enormity of faith must begin.

For centuries mankind has tried to come to terms with the Holy Trinity. How can God be three in one? Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Must we always demand that science provide proof before we accept? Is this what we require when someone tells us that they love us - ‘I might believe you, but I must have proof?’

Perhaps tonight you will go outside and look towards the heavens. It will be easy to accept what you can see. But what about what you cannot see? What lies beyond? How far does it go? How far can you comprehend? And once you’ve determined this, then ask yourself, what lies beyond that?

This is when we move from the science of evidence, to the sciences of faith. Just as with the Holy Trinity, perhaps you’ve only been able to see just so far. Now, ask yourself, what lies beyond even that?

Try faith.


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