My apologies to you this week, because I haven’t made the time to think about this week’s email, there’s going to be barely a word from me as a result. However, by chance I came upon a letter published on Nick Cave’s website, The Red Hand Files www.theredhandfiles.com that I thought was sage advice.
The letter written to Nick was from a chap, Jean Marc (a Frenchman from Marseille) who, over time, had become an atheist. Jean Marc’s dear friend however, it turns out, was very ill with cancer, and getting weaker.
Jean Marc’s letter continues “His wife asked us to think of him, which I do all the time, but also to pray for him. I find myself caught between my desire to respond to the request and that of preserving an intellectual honesty that would avoid being confronted with a lie.”
Nick’s response is well thought through, and quite long, but I couldn’t resist quoting a good chunk of it here.
"But in regard to your dilemma, Jean-Marc, I can’t think of an act more generous than an atheist at prayer, who temporarily puts aside their disbelief in a god in order to bring comfort to a friend. Loosening your position for a moment, and doing something difficult because it has been asked of you by someone you care for, demonstrates a confidence in your beliefs, and shows that they are not so prideful or absolutist that they manifest into a smallness of being.
Of course, to some, this act will seem intellectually dishonest, a sham and a lie, but to others it will appear as the purest kindness, where heart eclipses mind, a true and complex gesture of what it means to love somebody.
We show that in times of need we can do whatever is required of us, with a magnanimous heart, bending to the will of those we love.
Understandably, it will be difficult for you to pray, but that is the very reason to do it. What is true friendship if we are not tested at times, if we are not prepared to soften our cherished ideals as an act of fidelity and commitment to those we love. In the end, this act of friendship may be the most eloquent prayer of all."
“it will appear as the purest kindness, where heart eclipses mind, a true and complex gesture of what it means to love somebody.” What incredible words. For me Nick has clarity of mind and a deep understanding of what it is to be human. Impressive bloke.
May I wish you a very good extended weekend and I hope that 2024 brings you what you need, this being sometimes different to what you (or I) might wish for. And in fact, on occasion can appear diametrically opposite ….uncomfortable yes, but satisfyingly stretching on occasion.
The shops are open today (Sat 30th), normal hours, 9.30am to 5.30pm. Tomorrow Sunday hours (10.00am – 4.00pm). We are closed New Years Day Monday 1st, then its back to normal from Tuesday onwards.
I’ll state the obvious and remind you that although the website is open all day every day, it is only manned/womanned 9.00am to 5.30pm Mon -Friday (but not on Bank Holidays either). The address is www.aolcookshop.co.uk.
Thank you again for reading my emails, for your custom and for indulging me last week (and possibly before), by replying to my request to put pen to paper when you either like, disagree or have something to add to what I’ve written. In all cases, whether taking me to task, or resonating with my point of view, you can be sure I’ll answer you… if I don’t, jog me please email@example.com.