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 What may be outdated equipment for you could change the life of a child in Eastern Europe!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: www.ProjectNewLife.org

Friday

Faith Is Not A Crutch For Living

Our national charity for the elderly, Help the Aged, recently published a report entitled Dying in Older Age. It aims to lift the profile on the spiritual beliefs and stories of older people and help all of us avoid the nervousness with which we so often approach the subject of death.

Old age is often a synonym for ‘problem people’ - a liability to the optimism of our Brave New World. People fear the mortality of old age. But that's nothing new. The Irish poet, W B Yeats, who felt old from the age of forty, went kicking and screaming into old age.

‘What shall I do with this absurdity,
O heart, O troubled heart - this caricature,
Decrepit age which has been tied to me as to a dog's tail?' - he asked.

Not a great advert for senior citizenship then, is it?

But whenever I spoke with my friend Sarah I quickly had a rather un-Yeats like version of old age. She kept control of all her faculties to the very end of her life. You needed to be very careful what you whispered to anyone if you were sitting close to her. And a matter of hours before she died, even though she could no longer talk, I vividly recall her bearing down with her jaw, determined not to let anyone remove her false teeth.

And she's not alone. Britain has a veritable 'Methuselan' roll call of people who have accomplished great things in their advancing years. Like Elizabeth Scofield: At 84, and with an 80% mark, she became 'top girl' in her Reading and Writing Course. Or take Percy and Florence Arrow-Smith, married for 80 years. They hold the world record for the longest marriage. Sadly, Percy died a few weeks after their anniversary. But he was the quintessential model of dignity and marital endurance.

Old age still has a lot to say to us in life, as much as in death. It was only a little more than a few years ago that Pope John Paul brought the world to a standstill, pulling princes, politicians, and the public into his vulnerability and death.

We need models of how to live. But we also need to know how to finish well. Each of us has a responsibility to help our elderly finish with dignity and reverence. So beyond pension schemes and Meals on Wheels, respect and honour will go a long way in helping to achieve it.

Finishing well must be numbered amongst the great virtues of faith.
Faith is not a crutch for living. It's a springboard, which takes us beyond death. For Christians, it is faith in the living Christ, which best prepares us to finish well.If you're a young person reading this blog, please don't discount the infinite rewards of investing a few hours a week simply sharing thoughts with a senior person. You'll be amazed by how much they actually understand you! And if you're a person who already has a bit of snow on your roof, but still lots of fire in your furnace, there's plenty to be learned about a life to come.
Granted, you may not always like what you see, but you'll still have the energy to help change it!
And by sharing time with a senior, you may gain valuable insight as to how you'll cope in the years to come!
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Wednesday

Wanted: Part-Time Wife

"Wanted: Part-Time Wife…(only in a metaphorical sense!) Do you like sorting out hopeless men? Are you tidy almost to the point of being compulsive? Are you capable of putting a feminine touch in a home and organising a Father’s life? If so we need you! A Father who constantly travels needs a part-timer to first ‘fix it’ by doing a little decorating, organising things, do some shopping and possibly occasionally cook a meal when I’m away. Then discuss long-term plans to help keep us organised and feeling that we live in a home instead of a suitcase!" saveourmess@yahoo.com

Okay, perhaps it wasn’t the best composition I’ve ever created, but I was trying to sincerely yet accurately express what we needed. There have been times when I’ve either endured an extended hospital stay, or arrived home from a long journey and had so much to do the moment I landed, that a week could pass before I even remembered that my suitcase hadn’t been unpacked!

My son, being a typical teenage male, tends to take a rather ‘relaxed’ approach when it comes to doing much of anything around our home. And I would never have placed an expectation upon my daughter to have to help with the minutiae of household chores; decorating, laundry, opening the post, etc. I simply felt a bit of assistance, slightly beyond that of our conventional housekeeper might be helpful. And I certainly had no intention of enduring her wrath by suggesting that her culinary skills could be classified as biological warfare! Hell hath no fury as a cranky Mrs Higgins if I suggest that the cake she so kindly baked is lovely, but we already have several door-stops around the house!

Embraced with a fusion of trepidation and hope I submitted the ad on our local paper’s website. When I returned home that afternoon, I was surprised to see I had an email from the paper.



Unadulterated in any manner, here is the email I received:

Ad placement number: YI6O1FB1G
Unfortunately we were unable to process your advert. The reason for rejection is as follows: Sorry we are unable to accept your advert due to sexual discrimination. We apologise for any inconvenience caused and please be assured your credit card has not been charged for this advert. Kind Regards, The Friday-Ad Team
support@friday-ad.co.uk

‘How absurd,’ I muttered. I certainly hadn’t thought my ad to be sexist or discriminating against anyone. Considering the context of what I had written, I felt the public would have understood what I was trying to convey. Frankly my feathers were ruffled by the pedantic nature of the newspaper. And now with a twinge of irritation, I re-wrote the ad, believing the paper would see how absurd their response was. Here is the revised ad:

Wanted: Part-Time non-gender-specific individual. Do you like sorting out hopeless non-gender specific individuals? Are you tidy almost to the point of being compulsive? Capable of putting a non-gender specific touch in a home and organising someone’s life? We need you! A non-gender specific parent who constantly travels needs a part-timer to first ‘fix it!’ Then discuss long-term plans to help keep us organised and feeling that we live in a home instead of a suitcase. (please note: The Friday Ad says it’s discriminatory for me to use the words ‘Wife, Feminine, or Father’ in the context of this advert)
SaveOurMess@yahoo.com

The following morning I received an email from the newspaper:
Ad placement number: YI6O1FB1G


Unfortunately we were unable to process your advert. The reason for rejection is as follows: Sorry we are unable to accept your advert due to sexual discrimination and I cannot put this in about Friday-Ad. We apologise for any inconvenience caused and please be assured your credit card has not been charged for this advert. Kind Regards, The Friday-Ad Team
support@friday-ad.co.uk

Now I was becoming cranky. The paper has one of those ‘Live Contact’ buttons (an oxymoron if ever there was one!) on their web page, which allows you to ‘chat’ online with them about whatever problems you may be having with placing your ad. So online I went.

Thanks to the miracles of modern technology, I have been able to save the entire thread of our communication. Such has been my exasperation with the individual who was rejecting my ad, I thought it might be interesting to share our ‘chat’, warts and all: (not one single word has been modified, deleted, or enhanced!)


Friday Ad: Live Help Please wait for a site operator to respond.
Martin: You are now chatting with Martin. How may I help you?

Father Bill Haymaker: Good morning Martin, may I ask please, are you in the UK?
(I was giving them the benefit of doubt in case I was ‘chatting’ with one of those support centres in Bangladesh and this was what had caused the misunderstandings).

Martin: Yes
Father Bill Haymaker: Thank you, the reason I asked is that I thought perhaps I might be having a cultural challenge with someone misunderstanding the context of an ad I was trying to place. May I gave you an advert number to retrieve? It is YI601FB1G
Martin: I can see the email in our support inbox with the advert text

Father Bill Haymaker: I have been reading the mail I've received from your company regarding my advert. Personally I think it's quite daft. Do you REALLY believe that it is sexually discriminating?Martin: no but due to the Trading Standards law all job adverts are supposed to be equal for both males and females.

Father Bill Haymaker: I corrected the ad as you can see. But now you’ve rejected it because I’ve stated only what you quoted to me. Why is this then?
Martin: I cannot put this in about Friday-Ad I'm afraid


Father Bill Haymaker: why not, it is your own statement to me.


Martin: its not our rule it comes from Trading Standards.


Father Bill Haymaker: Okay, then we can correct it! “Friday Ad says that trading standards prevents me from using the words 'Wife, feminine, or Father in the context of this advert." How’s that?


Martin: its not our rule it comes from Trading Standards



Father Bill Haymaker: You already said that and I’ve corrected the ad now, so you’re in the clear.


Martin: its also in the Advertising Procedures
Father Bill Haymaker: well then we can add that as well.

Martin: and we have to obey these rules
Father Bill Haymaker: Okay Martin, then we can add that we must obey these rules.


Father Bill Haymaker: anything else we need to add Martin? Wait a moment and I’ll re-write it.

Father Bill Haymaker: how’s this:

Wanted: Part-Time non-gender-specific individual.
Do you like sorting out hopeless non-gender specific individuals? Are you tidy almost to the point of being compulsive? Capable of putting a non-gender specific touch in a home and organising our non-gender specific lives? We need you! A non-gender specific parent who constantly travels needs a part-timer to first ‘fix it!’ Then discuss long-term plans to help keep us organised and feeling that we live in a home instead of a suitcase. (nb. Friday Ad says it’s discriminatory to use the words ‘wife, feminine, or father’ in the context of this advert AND it’s also in the Advertising Procedures AND we must obey these rules.’ SaveOurMess@yahoo.com

After a very long period I ‘nudged’ Martin, who I was beginning to imagine had gone out for a stiff drink.


Father Bill Haymaker: Martin?
Father Bill Haymaker: Martin? Are You There?
Father Bill Haymaker: Martin, if that isn't acceptable, here's an alternative:
Father Bill Haymaker: Sort our house, home, hovel...whatever you want to call it. …only non gender specific people may apply. email: SaveOurMess@yahoo.com

Martin: under the sex discrimination act here in the uk, it is illegal to discriminate on the grounds of sex, against either men or woman when advertising a position under situations vacant. Therefore i am not happy to print your advert containing the statement above!

Father Bill Haymaker: What?!! Does suggesting that we live in a home somehow offend a homeless female? I'm very confused now Martin! And thank you for reminding me that we're in the UK. In the midst of this thread I did feel compelled to look out my window just to make sure.
 

Martin: This is the wording that would be acceptable if you wish to continue in placing your advert! Cleaner re-queered, in Bexhill area. Please call .........

Father Bill Haymaker: Unfortunately, I’m afraid the term ‘re-queered’ might have a negative impact on people who are only just newly queered…whether they are originally queered or recently re-queered may be considered an act of discrimination against those just considering becoming queered for the first time.

Again, after a considerable period of time, I gave Martin a 'nudge.'
 
Father Bill Haymaker: Martin, are you there?
After a few minutes have passed...
Father Bill Haymaker: Martin, are you still in the UK?
After even a few more minutes passed...
Father Bill Haymaker: Sadly, this has really become an exercise in futility. Under the circumstances, you’ve left me with no alternative but to cancel the advert altogether. I certainly wouldn’t wish to offend anyone regardless of their gender, predilections, or ability to decipher an advert in the Friday Ad! Thank you for all your help today Martin.

Martin: Perfectly fine thank you using live chat!

Well, I thought it was all over. That is until a few days later when I received a call from a friend. Earlier in the week I had shared the story with her. She thought it was hilarious and typical of the messes I sometimes get myself into. ‘I think you’d better go out a grab a copy of the Friday Ad,’ she said.

In the Opportunities section of the paper was the following ad:

Part-Time non-gender-specific individual. Do you like sorting out hopeless non-gender specific individuals? Are you tidy almost to the point of being compulsive? Capable of putting a non-gender specific touch in a home and organising our non-gender specific lives? We need you! A non-gender specific parent who constantly travels needs a part-timer to first ‘fix it!’ Then discuss long-term plans to help keep us organised and feeling that we live in a home instead of a suitcase.
SaveOurMess@yahoo.com

By the end of the week we had received 18 responses. None of which really floated in my ‘comfort zone!’ There wasn't a single response relating to what the ad was intended to attract...although a few of the respondents suggested that all we needed was some discipline and they had the 'tool's for the job...yikes!

But the most confusing response was this:


"Would you be interested in a 23 year-old TV? If so give me a call. I think I have just what you’re looking for!"
Love Felicity XXOO


Crikey! We didn't even advertise for a television. Besides, we have enough trouble picking up the BBC on our two-year-old TV. I can’t imagine what we’d do with a 23 year old one!

 
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