‘What do you fear, lady?’ Aragorn asked.
‘A cage,’ Éowyn said. ‘To stay behind bars, until use and old age accept them, and all chance of doing great deeds is gone beyond recall or desire.’1
Coming up-hill from the big town, I drive along a street towards our house and pray and wonder if that family will be out and about: the ones people talk about and wish were not there, but who’s children come to our Kids Club. They don’t seem to be, and I almost drive past—and then there they are—skeletal and hard-looking: the dad with his month’s growth and eyes looking under siege, and the mum’s face saying, ‘I don’t care what happens, I will survive. And by the way don’t f— with me!’
I like it here. Just being here, listening to them on their front lawn as their their jokes and complaints and hopes and dreams flow freely. And I like the fact that this this lean-as-a-bean man with his stream of ‘three adjectives adjectives on an endless loop’ somehow make me think of what we have in common: a desire to fight for a home, children and happiness, even if it is muddied with pride and rage and hatred for the guy next door who has ‘apparently?’ bashed his wife. And there’s even something in his face that reminds me of the men I grew-up around in the bush: the deep-set eyes, the unshaven face and the rake of a body—well, they would either be rakes or loaded up with great bloated bellies.
As we stand there and talk about that fact that Ford has taken out the big race (I avoid mentioning that Holden took the next five places), a little three-legged dog wanders across the lawn and I feel lucky: lucky to once again be in a place where the great Logos is present and is yet again bringing love, healing and grace. Yes, the little ones who had so loved coming to the club—the girl even showing up earlier than anyone—are nowhere to be seen, and have not been coming for months. But here we are, the mother telling the dad to mind his swearing and all of us feeling—however faintly—that this place where we we stand is somehow sacred by the very fact that it has a home and a family that came out of the heart of God.
On the way to my own home, just up the hill, I wonder what has become of those two little children. Have they been classified as ‘in danger’ and removed from their parents to be put ‘somewhere safer’? Are they with a relative? Then I think about the kind of world they are growing up in and my mind drifts to a cracked-record voice that says, ‘If it can’t be measured it doesn’t exist.’2 And another voice of the same kind, which asserts that evolution has endowed us with ‘Genes that make us believe in concepts like the soul … One day such irrational tendencies might be removed by adjusting the relevant brain circuitry.’ In the meantime, the author offers us this encouragement, ‘We will have to resign ourselves to the unpalatable fact that we are nothing more than machines.’3 Somehow I feel as if I’m hearing a voice I met long ago in high school, which admitted quite shamelessly to seeking a ‘special odour of corruption, which I hope floats over my stories.’4 As a sixteen year old boy at the time my thought was, ‘What else have you got, we all know that one.’
Once again, I remember why I have laid aside so much else of what I could have given my time to, and instead, have poured years into reading and thinking and writing, and what sometimes seemed like ‘wasted conversations’ on footpaths, uncertain prayers in the middle of the night and even rage- filled arguments with God. Ironically, I have that fortunate feeling again, feeling lucky to have been led to this place where I can take the fight right down to the wire (even if I fail), for it has been truly said,“Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens.”
1. Tolkien JRR. The Return of the King
2. A one word summary of the discredited philosophy—but still used by Dawkins et. al.—of Logical Postivism
3. Woolfson, An Intelligent Person’s Guide To Genetics. Quoted by Pearcey N. in Saving Leonardo pp. 92, 93
4 James Joyce and The Revolution of the Word: Colin McCabe p.29 McMillan 1978