The Purpose Eco-System

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I suspect that one day, Little Person may turn out to be a vegetarian. She’s currently fascinated by the idea that some animas are herbivores, some carnivores and some omnivores. So she looks at the sheep grazing in the field and announces that they are herbivores. A similar pronouncement was made over a vegetarian friend, much to our amusement.

All of which had me thinking about how eco-systems in nature work – there are plants and animals and “things” to ensure that the system continues to run smoothly. Not just the such and such eats such and such kind of thing, but also the way that tree roots and shrubbery collect rainwater, which stops flooding, which preserves the habitat, and the way that different animals mimic each other as defence mechanisms, and there are day animals and night animals, animals for under the earth, and in the sea, and in the sky. All working together beautifully and gruesomely and elegantly.

Which in turn got me to thinking about people. Because I reckon that, psychologically speaking at least, we’re an eco-system too. A very broken eco-system. We all were born with things we do well, passions that drive us, and things we do less well. God gave each of us a purpose, whether we believe Him or not. (So for all you humanists out there, you were put on this earth for a reason, got it? ;-) )

But it’s not just that, we were made to live in community. Even a comparative hermit like myself enjoys company from time to time. Our purposes fit together like an eco-system. The problems we see, the passions that motivate us, the things we dream about – all that fits together. There are some who like to make others laugh, others to comfort, others to nourish. There are those who live loud and call our attention, and those that make sure that there is food on our tables and shoes on our feet.

Of course, for the whole system to work, we need to be living out our purpose to the benefit of others, knowing that it will balance out, and that the care and provision we give out will enable others to provide and care for us. That way, the people who only have laughter to give can have a shoulder to cry on when they need it, and so on. (This would be one of the cool things about heaven, I think – because people will be living for each other rather than just for themselves.)

But we’re people, and as such we don’t always see the big picture – we can’t see how it all fits together (if you need evidence for this assertion, I have two words – climate change). We live selfishly, and we live scared. Instead of empowering others, we feel threatened by them, and we scar them and thwart their purposes. And then we wonder why the world is broken. We get so busy building our little kingdoms, looking no further than our little purpose, that we become like elephants destroying their habitats. And then we wonder why we, and our children, are hungry.

This is my answer. This is my rallying cry. Don’t shy away from your purpose. But don’t pursue it for your own ends either. We are all in this together, we are all a little bit broken by this world, but I am sure that if we pursue our purpose for the benefit of those around us, we will all be better off.

Go on. Because there is more at stake here than just your happiness.

Glitter on the Loch

We were staying in a log cabin in Scotland for the week, overlooking a small loch, surrounded by heather-dappled hills. The rain glittered on the loch – each drop a single diamond that fell effortlessly from water above to water below, submerged in an instant, but reflecting brightly – so that the whole loch seemed scattered with glitter or sparkly jewels. It was mesmerising, so beautiful it took my breath away.

It was rain. The reason we couldn’t go out (not that we were planning to), the reason the deer in the hills opposite chose to huddle in the bushes rather than coming to the water’s edge. It was rain, and darkness before it was meant to be dark, and a coolness in the evening air. It was beautiful.

I stared at it for so long even The Dude looked up from his book.

“Yes, it’s raining.”

“It’s like glitter on the loch.”

He looked out the window, shrugged his shoulders, “Hmm, I suppose so.”

I’m glad I see glitter and jewels where most normal people see only rain. I know that makes me a bit unusual, and perhaps a bit difficult to relate to, but that’s alright. That night, staring out at the rain, I realised that seeing the glitter in the rain was a beautiful gift, and one I should not make light of. Perhaps I should spend more time showing people the glitter, and less time wondering why they are staring at me.

I Am Sorry You Are Sad

I Am Sorry You Are Sad


I am sorry that you are sad.

I am sorry for the stories you do not tell,

For the everyday reminders of your pain.

I am sorry that every time you look,

You see only your sadness staring back.


Sometime pain is the ache of unexpressed love.

I wish you could love That

Instead of saving your love for This.


I wish you a journey of happiness –

Not a seasonal glut that leaves you nostalgic,

But moments of smiles and joy

Sprinkled throughout your years,

And gathered like hills beyond hills.

I wish you a contented smile each night.


And I pray that you are never this sad again.

Time to Wave The White Flag?


I recently commented to somebody about the benefits of acquiring a dog in this type of scenario. This blog explains the logic of my thinking better than I ever could.

Originally posted on The Adventures of Fanny P.:

Yesterday, we went to an old friend of mine’s party. She has a Newfoundland dog that weighs approximately 70kg. The Husband will tell you he weighs more as, he was lucky enough to receive a big, full-on pounce by Eckhart the rather large Newfoundland.
“He’s maimed me!!!” The Husband cried out as my friend reassured him that this was just Eckhart showing him the love.
“Is my lip scratched? Is it bleeding? Should I go get it checked out in A&E?” he joked, as Eckhart followed him lovingly.
“I judge people by how my dog reacts to them. You must be really calm and chilled as that’s generally what Eckhart likes. I like you already!”
Eckhart’s nose is in my crutch and has been for the last five minutes. I’m wondering what my friend makes of this…
As Things 1 and 2 feed Eckhart dog biscuits and let him drag…

View original 274 more words

Be Kind

I have things I want to write about. But not today.

Today I read that Robin Williams has died. But he is not the hero nor the villain of the piece. I would think it best to let the shadows of eternity embrace him, and leave it at that, but I’m remembering now.

I remember that I have had bouts of depression, and each has been different to the last. So there is no “I know how you feel.” Because, truly, I don’t. Half the time I don’t even know what I feel.

And like a cancer patient, I’m in remission. I can tell when The Sadness looms large at the door. And hearing this kind of news can give The Sadness more power than it deserves.

So this is what I think.

In your life, today, there is somebody who is struggling with this very same thing. It may be you, it may be somebody you know. They may be in the deepest darkest place, and suddenly thinking thoughts that nobody should ever have bouncing through their mind. Or they may, like me, simply be remembering – and that act can in itself tip a person back into the abyss. Like I said, remission.

So Be Kind. Look out for that person. Listen. Don’t think its hysterics. Take care of them with biscuits and time over the next few days and weeks. And always, always believe them.

And pray it never happens to you.

We don’t do that anymore


[The above picture is of the first draft of this poem]


We don’t do that anymore


Turn off the lights for an hour.

Light a candle and think.

Remember a long ago war

When men melted from the inside.

We don’t do that anymore.


Turn on your phone and retweet.

Watch the tv and think.

Send money to a charity

And join protests – on the inside.

We don’t need do any more.


They point fingers – “he started!”

Children in a schoolyard

With rockets on fingers

And teachers all hiding inside.

That’s not my fault anymore.


Someone shot down an aeroplane,

Beheaded a child,

Hid behind that schoolyard.

War now lived from the inside.

But we don’t do that anymore.


Turn off the lights now forever.

Light a candle and hope.

Remember a long ago time

When men smiled on the inside.

We don’t do that anymore.


The Numbers in My Head

The numbers won’t keep still. They keep jumping round in my head, and turning and chasing each other, until I can’t even remember which way they’re supposed to be. And I look at my worksheet, and the numbers in my head laugh, and go off to play another game of tag. I tell them to come back, stand straight, keep still. I tell them that out there, there is a number line that can tell them exactly what to do and how to behave. But they know that in here, inside my head, there is no number line. There is no way of stopping them playing ring-a-rosies, or hide and seek. So they laugh and play and won’t listen to me when I tell them to keep still, I’m trying to do my sums.

So I send the monsters after them. And sometimes they come back, and stand in line, and I think, just for a moment, that maybe this time I can do the sum. But then one of them burps, or giggles, or sticks his tongue out at me, and they are off again. Laughing, and playing, and never standing still.

The teacher tells me that numbers always go in the same order. Mummy says I shouldn’t need the number line out there. So I know my numbers are being naughty. And I really do want them to be good. I never told them to be naughty. I never told them it was alright to jump around and swop themselves over, and never ever stand still. But my teacher says that numbers always go in the same order, that sums always have the same answer. And Mummy says the number line out there is the same as the number line in here. But I don’t have a number line in my head. If I stop and think very carefully, and call very nicely, I can make my numbers stand in a row. 1,2,3,4,5. But I can’t make them stand backwards, and I can’t make them jump in twos, or do any of those other things.

So I draw bigger monsters. And soldiers to make them march in line. And even bigger, and scarier monsters. Because maybe that will make them listen. Maybe if there’s a monster standing there, my numbers will stand in line, and I can count them, and do sums. And make a number line in my head. It seems like a good idea, and maybe it is working, because now the numbers are scared. They’re falling over themselves, and pointing and shouting.

And running away.

And now there are no numbers left. My scary monsters have scared them all away.


[This post is a response to a blog that I read by Fanny P. and is aimed to encourage her to persevere, to find a way to put the number line in his head.]