Sitting in an armchair in my mother’s lounge, there’s an audio accompaniment of clattering crockery emanating from the kitchen as I commence today’s journal. This distracting sound courtesy of her returning freshly washed breakfast bowls, plates and cutlery to their allotted sections of the chamber’s cupboards and drawers.

A task I ordinarily assist with when visiting Mrs S senior’s abode, but as I wanted to ‘crack on’ with this literary offering one I’ve dodged on this occasion. The reason being the time for chronicling my musings is of a premium today; a result of a busy day ahead, These events including this morning’s attendance at a funeral, along with a scheduled dental appointment this afternoon.

The former to pay respects to Joely, the 17-year old daughter of a good friend, who was cruelly taken a few weeks ago after a short illness. Dreadful circumstances which I can only imagine to be the most heartbreaking of experiences for her family – Losing your child surely the worst possible life event a parent could ever face.


Despite seeking words adequately reflecting the grimness of my friend’s situation, I’m really struggling to unearth an adjective or noun strong enough to describe the melancholic plateau where she and her family must currently reside.

Under circumstances manifesting this magnitude of grief there’s no locutions anyone could express, verbally or in essay, capable of easing the parent’s despair. I’d venture it there’s probably no word(s) strong enough to describe the anguish currently wracking their tortured souls.

It’s events like that being endured by my buddy which truly test my religious faith. As someone who’s a recent convert to the secular teachings of the late Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins, my deist/atheist leanings become ever stronger when witnessing experiences currently suffered by my friend.

As much as I want to believe there’s a spiritual trinity watching over us, from my observations there’s little to convince me sinners are held more accountable for their actions than the more righteous theists. Psalm 37:29 tells us “The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell upon it forever.“…… I let you write your own punchline for how accurate you find that particular teaching.

If anything it seems to me those who least deserve to be the recipients of bad fortune actually have more detritus in their lives to deal with. Admittedly, that’s a highly subjective uninformed observation on my part. However, in over half a century on this planet it’s become clear there’s no basis to teachings claiming more righteous, humane individuals will have an easier ride than the wicked…… If there’s no heaven they’ve been led a right merry dance!

To be honest. even if the sinful did have more dross to deal with than the ‘do-gooders’, their dysfunctional persona may lead to them not dealing with it anyway. Running off to let more responsible individuals clear up their mess.

As I alluded to above, I really want to believe the indoctrinations of my childhood Sunday school lessons at Cromer Avenue United Reform Church, Gateshead. Religious teachings from well-intentioned people whose aim was to guide their charges on a path that’d contribute, along with input from parents and other mentors, to them becoming respectful, upright individuals…… Worthy aims; however, behavioural traits I’d argue that can be honed in secular environments, not exclusively by religion.

My heart truly goes out to Joely’s family for having to endure this dreadful life event. If I’d had a child taken from me before they’d reached adulthood my faith would’ve been severely tested. Something that wouldn’t be fixed by being told the vague catch-all reason by one of his Earthly spokespersons that “God works in mysterious ways!”

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