Towards the end of my stay in hospital my medication dosage was gradually reduced in a bid to wean me from it. What was good for hospital was apparently deemed to be bad for the outside. Not that I was complaining. For now I was slowly beginning to get my faculties back together and to think straight. Guillaume was allowed to visit me regularly and for longer periods now. And if Damien was on duty when he came, he'd try and join us. Then our discussions became quite long and involved. I began to see that the root of my problem was the failure to implement that one principle I'd inherited from my father and applied to my work at the espace loisirs. In my time at the centre I'd had to deal with a number of young people more or less pushed aside by society and given up on. My aim had always been to try and instil within them a sense of self-worth which came not from achievements or some of the many other things we put so much stress on, but something far deeper and inherent in each of us. Now, I was not exactly doubting that principle but I was certainly having difficulty putting it into practice in my own life.

That's where Guillaume had a big advantage over me. With his faith in God it was easy for him to believe that our lives had an inherent sense of worth.

We talked a lot over this issue and Guillaume was very firm in affirming in his beliefs. But he was also very fair. He never tried to force me into believing something I didn't really want to, although he did ask some very probing questions, forcing me to rethink certain issues I'd never really considered relevant. His idea of the creation was one of these. Back in Ireland I had usually gone to church with my family and paid lip-service of a kind to the notion of God the creator. But it never really meant anything more than religious rumour to me. Listening to Guillaume this notion, if it could be believed, suddenly became one of life's core issues. Love, friendship, self-worth and a reason for living all depended on who we actually were, and that in turn depended on the fact that we were created by a God who wanted us.

A lot of this was making sense to me, but it also required a lot more thought than I was either able or willing to give at the time. I do remember thinking that once out of hospital I'd like to start going regularly to Guillaume's church again. This place wasn't like the traditional churches I'd grown up with. There was life here and something real. Yet, they weren't a crowd of supersaints. They all had their struggles and their problems. But they had someone to help them through, and that for me was the bottom line.

More often than not these spontaneous discussions provoked in me a lot of soul-searching. I remember chasing after some question or other one afternoon when the doctor came in to announce that I had a visitor. It was Thérèse. And I knew exactly what that meant. My time in exile was coming to an end. Just one more shake of the magic wand and I would be free.


dang... would whoda thought it would go like this... interesting twist to the story paul... and then thrs therese... is that what happens when one sees death.. we see/search hope...

27 June 2008 at 02:20  

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