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Find your god in nature

I never know what to do in the garden at this time of year. Finding a place to begin can be overwhelming. It is akin to wanting to write a short story and being stuck on the first sentence and so I usually go outside, pace around a little bit, spy a big black purple cloud looming on the horizon and retreat indoors and ponder from behind the glass over what my next move might be. This place challenges on a daily basis.

Today, as it happens, I had a little bit of an opening to progress in my garden pursuits. The weather was mild, for a change, the wind practically non-existent, the sun slightly warm. I put on my apron. It is yellow cotton with sprigs of flowers. The best thing about it is that it has a pocket to carry the packets of seeds I planned to finally sow. 

It is a little late for sowing. Not too late but late compared to other years. The cold 'snap' as the weather forecasters here insist on calling it has abated and so I felt somewhat safe to plant at least a few seeds. H has been kind to me. He built raised beds for me. I mean raised to my waist so that I do not have to bend. He put galvanised metal on the base and bore holes into it for drainage. He filled the beds with glorious black soil that falls through my fingers like fine flour and so I dug around in it, tossing it and sifting it with my trusty trowel until I felt it was all set. Ready for growth.

I happen to adore Swiss Chard. Rainbow Swiss Chard to be precise. It is wonderful stir-fried, steamed or tossed raw into salad. The seeds are big and easily placed into the rows I carve out with an old bamboo stick. Small dog sniffs around in the grass, turns her little head in a quizzical way at some activity in the depths of reeds beyond and I can't help but feel sorry for the frog spawn clinging to the bog grass desperate for water in this dry, cold  spell of the last few weeks.

Oh, how I ramble. Forgive me. I am trying to avoid writing about Savita Halappanavar. I don't really want to write about her because I feel it is somewhat wrong because and because and because of what I have been reading about what she had to endure. I read the paper every day and shake my head and feel tears come to my eyes and keep going back to what she must have been going through in this hospital in Galway. I do believe the truth is finally going to come out. I am sure if you are interested in this case you can Google it for yourself. Suffice to say that as a woman who is past child bearing years that I would not like to be a pregnant woman in Galway at this moment. It is not a good thing.

And so I planted my seeds. I hope they grow into something incredibly satisfying or else H will be heart-broken after all the time he invested in the beds. I count each day like a seed planted. I am sorry to bring the loss into this piece but it dominates my day. I am ashamed and fearful of womens' welfare in this country after reading how this poor woman was treated. It is true that I read she was neglected. Then, again, she was not Irish. Could this be a part of the picture? I cannot say. I can think it though. I can grieve for her. She was a beautiful, vibrant, intelligent woman who would have made a perfect mother and look what happened...our law dictated to her that she was in a Catholic country and now what and now what and now what? What has a Catholic country done to saving a life? Sow seeds. Plant. Dig soil. Watch the clouds. Make the brownies. Lock your door. Find your god in nature. Plant in a straight line and for god's sake when you ask for a termination in Ireland ask for a DNC.

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I sympathise with your sense

I sympathise with your sense of frustration, anger and powerlessness.  I know it must feel so pointless, at times, to grow things when human life receives so little regard from other humans, all over the world.  However, I do believe – ever so strongly – that what you're doing is wonderful and magical.  Sow, Mary.  Sow, bake, make and raise.  Like I am doing with my tiny lemon plants (one died but I have four left).  What else can we do but make our contribution to creating and encouraging good things – however small – to grow.  If give up, then we will let bad things win.  I believe that, although it doesn't look like it, very slowly and gently, we (I mean many humans) are building a better world.  

So keep giving good things, Mary.

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Yes, Katherine, I agree with

Yes, Katherine, I agree with everything you have so eloquently written here and I will strive to 'keep giving good things'. Unfortunately it does not change what happened to Savita Halappanavar because of some age-old law that should  not apply today in 2013 Ireland. This is what is frustrating for women like me in this country. We do try to maintain a belief that what we do matters but there is always a boulder in our way. A woman died needlessly. She could be alive today if the mindset had been different...and to  hear what she had to endure is senseless and heart breaking. Sure, I will plant and bake and do all that I do but sometimes I cannot think that what I do is a diversion from reality. Escape. Fear. A sense of being helpless...lost in translation. Best to you friend, m

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I strongly agree with Katherine

Plant every kind of good thing you can so that the weeds are supplanted. Focus on the positive. A God of compassion and provision resides in nature, though as a species we have blunted and distorted his image. You may find you can pray best to that manifestation of him.

Catholicism aside, I really feel for those who have to make life and death decisions in the arena of science and healthcare. 'Best practice' isn't always enough and it's commonplace now for decisions to be challenged in the lawcourts way after the fact. My heart equally goes out to those who have acted in good faith, often under tremendous pressure, who have been vilified and lost their careers. Do they ever find peace?

As regards Catholicism, its fear of Relativism, that everything will descend into a moral free-for-all if exceptions are made, does create yardsticks by which personal conviction can be measured. You are right to question. And keep questioning. And seek the grace of illumination.

There are no easy answers to the human condition, but God is with us.

I so wish for you to be lifted up, Mary, and find peace. R.x.

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If I stop questioning, Rosy,

If I stop questioning, Rosy, I might as well be dead.

Dinner in our house can sometimes be a heated affair and I am not blaming the chilis.

Best practice - interesting. How about poor practice or neglectful practice. It seems that this is emerging now in the case I write about. This is the most sickening of all. 

I do find peace - most of the time but certainly not to be peaceful can just as much be rewarding in its own way. I cannot believe that if every day came along as sunny that I would not long for gales and rain.

Thanks for stopping by, Rosy. It is always nice to see you and to  know that you take the time read my thoughts.


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Mary, I've learned some


I've learned some things make no sense, but every living thing makes a difference- big or small. Your planting in earth reminds us that all of God's creation is precious, and hopefully this young woman's senseless and horrible death will not go unchallenged. Out of her death, may new seeds of understanding and reform come. 

It's past time for our voices to be heard.