Is Grace greater than Sin?
Joe West was sitting in his garden admiring the bees at work when his wife called him, "Joe, it's Roger from the club. He wants to have a word with you."
Joe eased his tired body out of the deckchair and ambled across the garden to the door to his kitchen, as he passed his wife, Mabel, he gave her a hug and a kiss and said, "I have an idea what this is about love."
He went into the kitchen and picked the receiver off the table, where Mabel had left it, "Hello, Roger, what's on your mind today?"
Roger Shipman, the treasurer of Hambling Cricket Club, replied, "We'd like you to come to a specially organised meeting tonight, Joe. The members have come to a decision and want to put a motion forward."
Joe smiled, and replied, "You put the beers on, and tell "em" Joe'll be there."
"Thanks, Joe, it has been an awful day for me thinking how I'd ask you."
"I can imagine, but don't worry about a thing."
Joe put the receiver on the hook and walked out to the garden to sit with his wife.
"What was that about, Joe?"
"The members will be asking me to stand down tonight," Joe said with a grin.
"How can you be sure of that?"
"They think I haven't seen what's going on in the league. I disapprove of the way the league is being run, to them I am a dinosaur, an anachronism, a throwback to the good old days when honour meant something. These days, winning is all that matters."
"What is happening that upsets you?"
"For a starter, teams are bringing in "ringers," people from out of the village, to play during the season."
"I thought the rules stipulated to play you had to live in the village for three months?"
"They do, but most of the teams have found ways to bend the meaning. They bring in people for the planting and reaping, and when the season's gone, these "ringers" go back to the city until next year. To me, it is against the letter of the Law, but I'm not running the league anymore, so it won't matter what I say or think. On the bright side, it'll give us more time together, love."
"Won't you miss the club, you've been captain for the last ten years and a player for much longer?"
"Perhaps, for this year, but after that, I won't. To tell you the truth, I was going to hand my resignation in this year."
"That's new to me, does anyone else have an idea of your plans?"
"Not that I know of, I was going to wait until the right time to tell the members. Now, would be as good as any."
Joe gave a smile, as Mabel said, "You old fox, you want to take the wind out of their sails tonight!"
He gave her a hug and a kiss, then said, "It will be a grand farewell gesture." Then he winked.
Joe and Mabel pottered around the garden and took their tea on the patio. Looking at his watch, Joe commented, "The time is here, love." Then he kissed her goodbye and walked into the house.
Mabel watched smiling as her husband walked down to the clubhouse, in her mind she had the image of the men who ran the club fidgetting as they thought how to break the news to Joe.
Joe strode with dignity into the clubhouse, he ordered his pint of beer at the bar and walked over to the trestle table that was put out for the meeting. "I know what you are going to say, so you can stop fidgeting, Roger."
Roger put his pint mug on the table, and said, "It's with sadness, Joe, we'd like you to step down this year as captain."
Joe took a swig of beer after he swallowed and wiped his mouth with the sleeve of his old sweater, he replied, "Is that all, I was expecting more. Well, here's some news for you. I am not only standing down, but I am also resigning from playing for the team."
The table went silent, then Timmy Carver, club keeper, asked, "Why?"
"My grandfather was a founding member of this once noble club, back in the days when playing for your local team meant you lived here all year, not just for the harvest season. Don't think I hadn't noticed, and I am not the only one to see how the league is bending the rules. I am just the only person who is brave enough to voice the opinions of the members." Joe stopped to let the news sink in, and then he finished his drink, took the glass to the bar and walked to the door.
It was taking a while for the news to take effect, so he paused at the door and turned to say, "By the way, I was going to resign the captaincy this year anyway!"
WIth a grin, he stood at the door watching as the members looked back with stunned faces.
Then, he turned, walked out, and closing the door behind left a century of history in his dust.
A lasting impression.
I would have preferred to end my tenure as a writer with a published work of some stature, rather than a selection of e-books that never sold, but the choice was not mine to make.
The choice that is mine is when to throw the towel in, and the time is now.
At one time, I hoped The Chronicles of Mark Johnson would be my Magnum Opus, going out with an award-winning book would have made my time as a writer worthy in my eyes, again, it wasn't to be.
A lot of people tell me that having won the award is something to be proud of, in reality, I would have preferred the book to have sold instead of winning the prize.
I decided that my Magnum Opus will be my 200 page romance novel -www.amazon.com/dp/1521768552 - I see this novel as a fitting end to my writing days, as it is over 200 pages long and took two years to complete.
Standing at Death's door
On the 18th of January, 2019, I had reason to consider my mortality again after a short walk to my doctor's surgery.
I suffer from various genetic flaws, one is a heart condition that could kill me at any moment, it is the same condition that kills apparently healthy athletes for no reason; I need to sleep on my left side to enable me to breathe when I sleep.
Many years ago, I contracted Pleurisy and this means my throat is not as open as it should be and breathing is hard at the best of times.
Since the events mentioned in my book - Death of a News Hound - I have lived the presence of death on my shoulder.
The latest bad news is I have a lesion on my kidneys.
I realise that many people shun talking about Death as they consider it tempting fate, but I have lived with the threat of an untimely demise for most of my life, even if I didn't know until 20 years ago.
I cannot say what goes through your mind when you stand at the door, all I can tell you is what went through my mind. My thoughts were not of grand plans that I would miss, but of the smaller things we take for granted like the sound of rain, seeing leaves move in the wind, and most of all missing my grandson though even at the age of five, he had known me longer than I knew my grandmother.
A thought that people rarely consider is what would you do if the doctor asked you to sign the DNR form?
In my present condition I would sign the form, for when the Lord calls me I will say Yes.
The way I see things, I had a good battle with my genetics and I knew I would lose the war one day, so If the Lord thinks my time is up I won't deny HIM; if I thought I had something to contribute I would consider not signing the form.
The unspoken words.
Few people talk about death as it seems like you are tempting fate, but to me, death has been ever-present for the last five years since I almost died in my sleep.
Most of my mother's family lived into their mid-80's; the exception being my Uncle John who died from cancer at my age (63).
Today, more than ever, I feel the pull of mortality, I only went for a 10-minute walk to our doctors, but I had severe breathing problems on both the way there and on my return.
I cannot complain as I have lived with a series of genetic flaws since I was born, even if I never knew of them until several years ago.
The latest of several MRI scans I had in the last year revealed I have lesions on my kidneys, I wonder if one day I will have a test and not find something new wrong with me?
A harbor of hope
Over the last year, I have sought the answer to why I stopped writing the Science Fiction stories that were selling and turned to write Christian Fiction a genre I have no reputation.
One reason could be that the SciFi has stopped selling, but I think I needed some calm in my life after writing violent battle scenes for months.
If my e-books don't sell it's not a worry to me as I found some inner peace while writing the stories, and that is what I sought I think.
The storm has passed and I decided not to write, other than on this blog from now on; selling e-books never worked for me as I can't afford covers or publicity.
If the original had sold there would have been a sequel.
Four years ago, I started to write the sequel to my story A Sailor's Love - www.draft2digital.com/book/34522 ; and then put the concept on hold. The reason is the first story has not sold in all this time.
If there were some sales for the romance about a young lady who finds her spiritual peace on the seashores, I would happily write the story as I enjoyed creating the characters, and their loves and lives.
A Sailor's Love is mildly erotic, but the story is an erotic romance, not essentially erotica.
Words that are true for me
Many words from songs sung at the Family Worship Center in Baton Rouge have come to mean a lot to me.
In one song the line is - "The world will see you as a fool, and like me, you will be despised."
Those words are so right for me; almost everyone I know has said I am a fool for wasting my time by writing books that never sold. I have known more than my share of scorn, I became the victim of jealousy that cost sales of my award-winning book six years ago; and more recently, I was ejected from a writing club in Bristol because one of the group led a witch hunt with me as their target.
I don't wish to wake up
One way of thinking is that I am alive, and for this, I should be grateful; but is existing in a world of debt with years of being in a wheelchair with no money to spend living?
I ask myself one question - Is it better not to have had something, so you don't miss it, or is it better to have had that thing and lost it, leaving you with the memories of when you had the item?
The latest bad news is I have lesions on my kidneys.
I have slept long enough to have slept the clock around; one dream is to go to sleep one night and wake up having lost a day, not only 12 hours. Of course, the ultimate would be to go to sleep and not wake up.
I can think of reasons not to die, but none to live. The difference is the ideas for not dying are related to the effect my death would have on other people, whereas as my concepts of living are for what I may gain which is little, if anything, now all my wishes turned to ashes.
With the constant stress caused by endless interviews with ATOS and The Department of Works and Pensions about whether they consider I am disabled enough to maintain my payments at the present rate that does not allow me to pay my bills without using my overdraft and incurring crippling bank charges; it is not surprising that I wish I could go to sleep and not wake up.
If my family heritage is anything to go by, I have about 20 years of these inquests ahead, assuming I don't take commit suicide - www.alsdominion.co.uk/the-reading-room/is-suicide-a-sin - with the constant stress. Another effect is that the stress is causing me to have blackouts - www.alsdominion.co.uk/home/blackout - the last thing any government worries about is our mental health.
Harbor in a storm.
Last year, I had so much going on in my life that was bad, I didn't think I'd be able to cope; for months I sought some redemption for something I had done - nobody blamed me for what I did - but I couldn't come to peace with my actions.
I found some peace in reading Premier Christianity magazine, and the magazine leads to a calmer inner person who was able to finally forgive himself for what he did, even if I don't forget my actions, I can live with my what I did.
Despite many disagreements with the policies of the magazine, mainly to do with the immense concentration on celebrity articles in the magazine, I will probably renew my subscription in September.
None but you
"Ghosts don't dance" has an interesting background.
It comes from a time when I was on the German site Bookrix; I was in a heated discussion with a person who thought she ran the largest and most influential group of writers on the site. The problem is the group may have had the most significant number, but it had the lowest activity rate as many people had left because of politics and bitchiness within the group, but not deleted their names.
Several of my fellow writers decided to write a short story to tell her how we felt about the group, as my forte is the supernatural I chose a ghost story for my setting.
The "Ghosts" in the title are the shadows of the people who had left her group, and the lady who sees the ghosts is seeing what she wants to see - a large group of followers - not what is there, nobody.
The title of this post comes from a line from one of my favorite songs by Jimmy Swaggart; the line says "If I falter, I wonder who will care, none but you, Lord."
That is how I feel about my writing, Okay, the blog has on average 100 readers a day, but when you consider all the links on Google, Twitter, and Facebook, the number is pitifully low, and who would care if I stopped blogging?
I could have kept writing beyond October would have been to have had some e-book sales, but I can't make you buy my books.