Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Saying YES or NO

This is an interesting thought don't you think? 

We say YES to many things in our life as much as we also say NO to others.  But what is behind these decisions of ours?  Do we realise that sometimes they can have too far reaching consequences?

I remember being on holiday in London and receiving a call from a friend back home whose daughter had just given birth that afternoon and there were complications.  The new born was taken with urgency to one of London's top child hospitals for emergency life saving operations. My friend was asking if I could go that night to see that all was alright.  The enormity of my automatic "Yes, I'll see what I can do" hit me a few minutes later....I did not know the parents, nor they me.  I knew no one in the hospital and I was not direct family, so they wouldn't let me in.  And now it was late evening and dark, they wouldn't let me in anyway. I decided to sleep over the dilemma.

My thoughts were obviously influenced by the bright day that arrived next morning, so off I went to the hospital. On the way I continued to debate what the hell was I doing here after all.  But something inside me persisted and I walked into the hospital and blurted my real story to the receptionist who somehow believed me.  A quick check through the computer to see where the baby was came up with no answers.  She phoned various departments, all to no avail.  But she came back with the story that if this was such an emergency then it might not be posted on the system yet.  Could I wait patiently for a while longer?

As eternity ticked away I was suddenly called to the desk where I saw the parents who had also just arrived and were worried to death because the baby couldn't be traced.  They were informed who I was and as they looked at me in consternation I explained I was a family friend from back home.  But they were so confused that all they could say was "thank you but we'll take it from here".  So off I went feeling a bit stupid but at least with a quieted conscience that I had at least tried to do something.  At least the grandparents would be satisfied with my attempt.

Over the following weeks the news from London was positive and the baby had undergone quite a few successful operations...and was going to be fine after all.  Nonetheless I still felt that my "Yes" to respond to the grandparents' call  was really a instrusion more than a help.  I felt I had probably messed up more things in the anxiety of the moment than being of any real help. 

Jump forward by just over a year - the baby was now one year old and walking.  The family was coming for a summer holiday to their grandparents' home and I was one of friends invited to dinner. The young parents recognised me and we got talking and all my fears were brushed aside as they showed me how that unexpected visit by the "stranger" had effected them.  They said that though they felt that the sky was falling on them at the time, at least they knew someone, unknown, cared.  So perhaps there were others in this world who also cared.  They were not alone.  

That child is now more than 2 years old....a strong willed girl who I am sure will go places.  I have photos of her when she was 3 days old and as she is now, but though I would like to share them with you here I feel that it is a breach of privacy.  

BUT if you ever have to decide whether to reach out to fellow people in this world, no matter how crazy or useless that might seem to you. please always say YES not No.  You don't know how much your support can mean to them.  And to yourself.  

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


How could I not share this post with you...it is, after all, well related to my Cappuccino name!!

Anyway, for correctness, I came across this on the website "Picturing God! - Faces and Traces of the Divine" (which I, incidentally, thoroughly recommend):

decorative coffee

“I am learning to find God in all things. An endless discovery of all the places God is—and that is everywhere, from the cosmos to the microcosm. I love coffee, and particularly the coffee at Cuatro Sombras (the four shadows), a place in viejo San Juan. Puerto Rican coffee is superb. A great coffee first thing in the morning, accompanied by a tostada, is one way to feel grateful for all the goodness God surrounds me with.”

Submitted to http://picturinggod.ignatianspirituality.com/ by Claire Bangasser.

Do you find God in sharing a great cup of coffee or a well-prepared meal? Share your photo at Picturing God! 

Monday, July 2, 2012


Sports fans this summer have so far been regaled with a spate of international events that have glued many to their TV screens or even to their seats if they were among the fortunate to actually be present for them. Wimbledon, Queens and Roland Garros for tennis, Euro 2012 for soccer.  And soon, the World Olympics. 

I have  watched quite a few of the games that have been transmitted and sometimes I came out of the "gane" feeling that we have lost the meaning of sport. I was brought up from my young college days on the concept that the honour is not in winning but in having played the game. Is that what we still believe in as we strive to gain the victor's crown?  Perhaps there are still some remnants of this philosophy left in the Olympics that start later this summer in London but in the more commercialised sports - as tennis and soccer - I think we have reduced them to nothing more than gladiatorial events... where the participants battle each other to the "death" but without the bloodshed. Could we draw a parallel with a virtual computer game battle where we are able to work out our deepest instincts in a relatively "harmless" way? 

Or, perhaps, does this show up our real feelings for each other?  Our inability to control our inter-racial feelings within the context of a harmless game? And how harmless is harmless anyway?  When one sees body language which says more about the participants and the supporters than they would like to display? Such as clenched fists uplifted in defiance which sometimes may have racial or sexual overtones as if to indicate the submission of the opponent.   Or the fights fans get into during the games or afterwards in the streets around the stadia.  Caused by racial intolerance which reflects the fans' support of their stars/teams? 

Could the slogan for Euro 2012 be a trowback to that blockbuster movie "Blade Runner" about the future of sports?  Was Euro 2012 trying to add something else to the discussion when it proclaimed "Respect Diversity" and asked each national team captain to read our a statement in their native language to that effect?  This statement was the result of Football against Racism in Europe (FARE) - a network of organisations from several European countries - who set a plan of action based on the philosophy that "Football is the biggest sport in the world and belongs to us all. It should be the right of every person to play, watch and discuss freely, without fear. We want to see the 'beautiful game' played without discrimination.  Unfortunately, at all levels of the game, from amateur to international, there are incidents of racism and discrimination. Be it from fans, players, clubs or other football bodies, FARE believes that such behaviour, on and off the field, is unacceptable and unwanted by the majority of fans and players."

One great sportsman who would have definitely support FARE as he believed this maxim strongly was Paul of Tarsus,  the Apostle. In fact in his first Letter to the Corinthians he writes: "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run [therefore] in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air."

And to his friend and companion Timothy, he advised "...if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor's crown unless he competes according to the rules... Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called..... You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance,..."

Toi which, another apostle, James, added: "Blessed is the man that endures trial: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to them that love him".

Let's enoy sport for the clean enjoyment what it gives us.  Keep it clean for everyone.      

The Last Word?

Make yourself at home here, come back and read some of the older cappuccino posts too, relax, reflect.... and comment if you wish....there's a comment button at the end of each post!
I hope to see you again in a few days time. Enjoy.