Tuesday, June 04, 2013

CP 210 Learning from Tamsin...



CP 210 Learning from Tamsin…

Tamsin died. I spoke at her funeral service. What to say? Tamsin was just 31 years old and had lived in care facilities for all those years. She was severely disabled from birth. Never walked, never spoke. She could hear sounds, distressed or contented. She could make sounds, distressed or contented. Mum and dad brought her to worship on dad’s arm when they could. Apart from the family, the carers, the family doctor, and others in the medical profession, few people ever saw her. To all intents and purposes she was soundless and invisible in the wider community. But not forgotten. No, not forgotten. Not once in 31 years.

Tamsin had round-the-clock carers… for 31 years. She had parents, family and doctor who advocated on her behalf, always with fierce love. Her medical concerns were numerous. Not least, her lungs were weak and she was frequently stricken with pneumonia. So Tamsin had many trips to hospital with specialists and nurses in attendance. Nothing was ever too much. For 31 years.

Tamsin lived in care facilities provided by the Government. She had a roof over her head, a warm bed to sleep in, food, drink and medication, with music and loving voices to listen to. She lived away from mum and dad’s home but where she lived was her own home. Her living conditions were monitored by government authorities. No one ever tried to attack or destroy the place where she lived. No one ever attacked her. She was never off anybody’s caring radar, for 31 years.

Her family was blessed with good friends and neighbours. The family was able to live in stability with regular work and income. Tamsin’s siblings received a first-class education and never missed out on school opportunities and activities. During all this time no government was overthrown, the nation was never in tumult, and there was never disorder in the community.

Tamsin’s family was blessed with an aware and supportive church community. It’s people wept with them and rejoiced with them. There were people who provided encouragement and shoulders to lean on. For all those 31 years the family was prayed for and held before the Lord.

Why tell you this? Because in Tamsin and her family, through their journey, and in preparation for her funeral, I learned to look at ‘Daily Bread’ in a fresh and deeper way. Those ever-so-familiar words, ‘Give us this day our daily bread’, roll off the tongue rather easily and they are just as easily distilled into a pious plaque on the kitchen wall. Tamsin’s life - and death - teaches a deeper truth! Hear what the catechism tells us:

Daily bread
includes everything needed for this life,
such as food and clothing, home and property,
work and income, a devoted family,
an orderly community, good government,
favourable weather, peace and health,
a good name, and true friends and neighbours.

Tamsin had daily bread… all those 31 years, all her life. In the light of her life, what abundance have you and I received 24/7 year by year? We don’t even think about the half of it, do we? An image which works for me comes from Disney Comics where Old Uncle Scrooge dives into his money-bin so that he can wallow in his $Dollar bills.

So a little exercise for us all. The next time you or I are tempted to moan and groan about the ‘shortcomings’ of our systems…
of education, or transport,
or financial services, or communication,
or production, or industrial relations,
or health, or welfare,
or foreign aid, or border protection,
or “The Government”, or whatever,
remember, remember, remember… we are blessed with daily bread way beyond the comprehension of just about anybody who lived before the 20th century, and of probably 90% of those who share this planet with us today. I may be wrong but I believe that what motivates so much of what we westerners say and do is driven by the desire to ‘protect’ our grossly bloated share of this world’s mammon. And as you and I think about that, amid all our self-indulgent griping and sniping, let’s not be so bloody-minded, and instead, be thankful to the Lord who has blessed the socks off us.

And one other thing, more important than all the rest! Mum and dad brought Tamsin to be baptised into Christ Jesus very early in her life. I doubt she was ever off the Lord’s radar, but from that day the family lived with the assurance that nothing could ever separate Tamsin from the love of God the Father in Jesus Christ the Lord. Nothing. Ever. Not just for 31 years. Forever! And ever. And ever. Amen.

Be blessed and know you are blessed in HIM.

Fred

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