So much stirs the emotions, while there is little that can be said. Why bother? Describing these feelings helps make sense of them. But, then, what is the sense and what is the point, of making sense of anything? This morning I decided to listen to the BBC Radio Four Morning Worship, which replaces the Today Programme on Sundays. Something prompted me to do so. Usually I am so put off by trendy liturgies and music that I switch to Radio Five Live and its newsy, immediate, sport programme (takes your mind off more worrying things). But I was feeling low and felt prompted to seek out some spiritual food.
The programme, from the Metropolitan Cathedral of St David, Cardiff, spoke to my deep needs which, as I have indicated in my ‘About’ section, are very much centred on the Four Last Things – my age being what it is. And the music was lovely and the spoken words had no pretension and they were not distorted by intrusive egos of the speakers. The words spoke to me, from their source, the Bible.
So, there I was, looking back, as I do all the time these days,and for a time I felt that the broken bits and pieces of life and the happy moments and the good bits do ‘make sense’ – whatever that is: not just the sturdy structures which some of us are lucky enough to create over our lives but also the offcuts and the discards.
In the fragmented bread we meet the Life of Christ. I trust.
Later in this same day my thoughts turned again to the distant past and to my boyhood. They were triggered by – yes, the football results. Brentford, the club which I had followed in the 1940s, had today drawn a match against the mighty Chelsea, a few miles up the road, in the FA Cup fourth round. And in my mind’s eye came a scene from a meeting between the two clubs about 55 years ago when I was 12 or 13. Few now will have heard of Chelsea’s then centre forward,Tommy Lawton.
High on the ground’s terraces that day, among the raincoated thousands of West Londoners, I caught a glimpse of this player in his blue shirt. He hovered, as if caught in a camera still, head and shoulders above the scrimmaging defenders below as he leapt to nod the heavy, leather football into the Brentford goal. Time stood still at that moment.
It still does. It was a moment of genius.
So, how do I make sense of that? I wish Tommy Lawton had had fewer struggles in later life but he lived before top footballers were paid £100,000 a week (yes really!).
But there’s no need to make sense of it. That’s clear to me now. In fact one would diminish it by trying to make sense of it.
Tommy Lawton, heading a goal, generations ago. Sunday Worship on BBC today. Not memory. Not making sense. Just Life.