Monday, 2 December 2019

Finding joy in variety

Edwin and partner ready for Christmas
Zambia is in the news today after a court jailed two men for 15 years on a charge of homosexuality. News also that forty-seven men are in court charged with homosexuality in Nigeria, where Northern states under Sharia, the Islamic religious law, have the death penalty for people convicted of same-sex offences and other states carry a 14-year jail term. Altogether, the British Commonwealth of Nations has 53 countries, of which 37 criminalize same sex relationships. This was indeed the position of the UK when I was a child, and right through my early years in London, for it was not legalized here until 1967. In the USA, it remained a criminal act until 1991. I was brought up to consider it repulsive as well as criminal behaviour, and it has been hard to change my views. When Edwin told us he was gay, I was stunned for it went against my whole upbringing, but seeing him with his partner has opened my heart and my mind. They had spent the weekend at our home while we were up north, and were still there on our return, dressed in their Chrismas jerseys. They are so happy together, and clearly such close companions, it is a joy to see them. His partner is so bright, and can out-talk even Edwin, for it needs someone of great intellect to match his wit and loquaciousness. He is thoughtful and entertaining, and it is a pleasure to welcome him as a potential new son-in-law.

I am older now
wiser, for sure,
and more and more
I realise how tortured
most of us are
as we try to reach
the dizzy heights
that are coldly set
not by our loving God
but by our fellow men.

Knowing how far I and English law have come, from complete repression to active acceptance, one realises how far much of the rest of the world has yet to travel in terms of compassion, and one can't help but feel that all the petty protesters who gather for what seem like trivial "hate crimes", and vent their ire in vicious tweets, should focus the power of their anger against repression in other countries. Perhaps then the nations could move towards accepting neighbours as people of worth, and value their differences rather than fight to kill them. The Live and Let Live is a small pub in Cambridge, but its name should be a beacon for life.

Working at my desk I was greeted by a brilliant threatening sky, glowing bright carnadine in the early light over a heavy frost that lingered all day. There was no storm, but a bright cold day, and it was pleasant to stomp out on crisp white grass to walk the dogs. The climate of England is as varied as its people, and we are lucky to meet so much variety in one small region of the world.

Winter sunrise over Hundon

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