Crashing out

My concentration has not been all that it might have been recently. Loved ones are suffering. Some with this thing, some of them not. The distance makes it no less serious. At the same time, my old laptop decided it, too had had enough and left us. Not much of a crisis in the grand scheme of things (my work was backed up, ditto my music). How we react when the chips are really down (where does that phrase come from?). Later that evening we watched Margin Call, my favourite financial crash film, in which very well-paid people try to shift the blame onto each other for a disaster a few of them warned they saw coming but no one did anything to prevent. But the thing that makes the Kevin Spacey character, Sam Rogers, cry? His ancient chocolate Labrador is dying, ‘and I don’t know what to do about it’. Like Sam, I took an afternoon of hiatus, classic flight response in a (not much of a) crisis (except it is one), stretched out on the sofa, tried to pray, failed and put on Richter: Solo Piano Music by Jeroen van Veen (thank you Andrew Rudd for the recommendation). Like the suits in Margin Call, I crashed out. And came to, an hour or so later, in a very different place. The pain had not (is not going to) gone away. But the space I was in was different. For one thing, astonishing birdsong was happening outside. What is it people are calling this thing? A wake-up call? Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe it isn’t a battle at all. (I have written about this before…) Maybe none of is to blame. (Maybe we all are.) If you do crash out this week, I pray you accept it.




  1. Nice. Thank you. I’ve been struggling not to crash out for days and need to do so.
    (Ps the chips thing is from poker. Everything is committed—nothing left in reserve, do or die. )

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  2. Keep going you lovely man …. We always have our poetry pages and music & nature to keep us wrapped up warm …. X

    The birdsong had never been so beautiful ….

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  3. I crashed out a bit this morning, sitting in my front room with a cup of tea and thinking about the Easter Tridiuum Masses, especially the one tonight, which I find the most beautiful of all the Masses in the church’s calendar. There is a particular hymn “My soul is sad, my heart is breaking tonight, Could you not watch, and comfort me until light? Am I alone, surrounded only by night, Could you not watch one hour with me?” is the first verse. I’m afraid even typing the words is making me cry. But crying and connecting with that tender and gentle part of yourself isn’t always a bad thing. Not for the first time in my life, I’m thinking about how complicated my Faith is and what I love most about it is how it shows me the capacity for love and greatness in humans, who are after all created in God’s image. Therefore God is in all of us, I think/believe. But what I’m thinking of today and tonight is the message that it is good to be alongside other people, in whatever way we can, so that they don’t feel alone, especially if they are in any kind of pain. Thanks so much for your blog posts, Anthony, I love reading them. (On anther note, Sorry about the technology blip. I would hate that. So glad you backed everything up.) J x

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    1. Thank you so much Josephine. I am so pleased this resonated with you on some level. I don’t know those Masses, I will have to check them out. I find not being able to celebrate Easter with friends in the flesh very frustrating. As flesh, God incarnate, as you say, is what it’s all about. The tech blip was not a catastrophe. The distance from those in pain is the real crisis, not my laptop. Stay well and thank you so much again for being in touch, Anthony x

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  4. I always appreciate the honesty and insights in your posts, thank you. I am finding it difficult to settle down to anything and think I am still in fight or flight mode. This will have to change if the lockdown goes on for months! Some posts on FB have been rallying cries to ‘show the wartime spirit’, and one even had the insensitive cheek to suggest that none of us should emerge from this crisis without having learnt some useful new skill! While I count myself blessed to have food and good shelter, plenty of books, and people I love in my household, many are financially strapped, grieving, and traumatised. Mental health problems there will be a-plenty after this, and will this govt. provide enough funds for overloaded services trying to help with those, I wonder? My personal goal at present is to get more sleep and to take things slowly each day. …And this presupposes that I will remain healthy and not catch the virus! That would be a whole ‘nuther story, as they say.

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    1. I completely see your point (a reason for quitting FB a year ago…) It will indeed be interesting to see how society -all of us, not just HM govt- move on after this. With very best wishes for your health and safety, Anthony


  5. Thank you for the music. I’m just sitting down to try to write a post that would be very similar, but got distracted by my full email and everyone’s blogs. I was feeling a bit alone in my low feelings, I see I am not alone.

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