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As I drew up in the drive after an afternoon of pastoral visiting, I knew what had happened. Rebekah was dancing around at the top of the drive. It could mean only one thing. That wobbly tooth had gone. At last she had lost her first baby tooth. The tooth fairy would be swooping into action tonight.

Not that she had the tooth. It had disappeared somewhere between school and the shoe shop. Somehow the wingèd dispenser of monetary compensation for missing molars would need to receive this urgent message.

Of more concern was the level of financial recompense for that first tooth. We had been led to believe that the current exchange rate was one pound per tooth. However, that was before Tanyel’s mum had run out of change.

Tanyel is one of Rebekah’s classmates. When she lost her first tooth, Mum was out of coins. She only had paper money. Thus it came to pass that Tanyel received five – yes, five – of our finest British pounds for her milk tooth. And the good news had spread all around the class. Yea verily the golden coins tumbled out of my wallet into the envelope Debbie had decorated, accompanied by some text she had found on a website.

So make what you will of this story. How natural it is for children to share good news quickly. Or how dumb and soft we were as parents. Take your pick.


On Monday, a consultant told my Mum she almost certainly has cancer. It could just be something else, and it’s subject to a test in a fortnight. As you can imagine, I haven’t concentrated too well on work. My mind keeps drifting, and all sorts of feelings wash over my from out of nowhere. The unfeeling logical side of me reminds me that Mum is a good age. I have known for a long time that she and Dad are in that age range where my sister and I can reasonably expect something to come along and potentially take them from us. Logic, however, doesn’t comfort. It’s the lesson Job’s friends never learned. It’s the lesson too many Christians don’t learn, with their instant lectures on how God must have a purpose, or even offering hotline-to-God explanations. It’s been instructive to have the book of Job as my daily Bible reading lately. 

As a minister, this is parallel to the times when I enter into similar experiences  my congregation. As a family, we now face the issues for which I offer comfort to them. I feel like the way I cope may be a matter of public display. That isn’t all negative. It’s true of all Christians in the world. It tests the depths of my faith.

I won’t be able to get away from certain reminders – like yesterday, when I buried someone’s ashes. But even then, I’m not unique. My sister is an Occupational Therapist working in a hospice – she will be reminded every working day.

Blogging, of course, will be less frequent. I have one or two posts planned, but when they get written – well, naturally they’re not too important right now.

Please pray for us. Thanks.