(My Pause For Thought with Vanessa on BBC Radio 2; 14.6.21)
The high jump. The Fosbury Flop. Golf. Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer. Football. Newcastle United, even though I chose Manchester City.
These were the things my father taught me. The things we talked about. Even in the early days of dementia these were the words that I used to find traction as a father figure who spent his life as an accountant could no longer add up the figures.
Time is an invisible memory bank. It turns and burns and churns. Time is like a tornado with nothing in control of it.
Time always seems to leak too fast. It breaks and cracks and takes away.
Time has worn my Father out. It has eroded his memories. The words that resonated. Time has brought him down a cul-de-sac with no turning circle back again.
In the last few centuries we humans have spent a lot of time trying to fix everything. This week we heard about a break through in dementia medicine. It would be great if we could fix it.
It’s too late for my dad. Time will not rewind. Fosbury Flops or Jack Nicklaus will never click again. What time has done to my father cannot be fixed. All I can do is be with him. Sit and chit chat. Talk nonsense. Sure I do that for a living.
Rev Sam Wells points out in his book The Nazareth Manifesto that God didn’t fix everything. But he always promised to be with. Wells points out that Jesus spent 30 out of his 33 years just being with people. 90% of God’’s time on earth was not fixing. It was just being with. Jesus even had another name Emmanuel which means God with us.
It’s quite a thought. It is a thought that keeps me going in every difficult visit I have with my father. Just being with him might actually be enough.