(Eleanor Jane Mair, our daughter, died on the 21st April in Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, as result of trauma caused by alcoholism. She was a beloved and loving person, who cared for everyone except herself, bringing joy through what she was but also sorrow through what she was doing to herself. She is with God.)
M: Are you happy?
E: Yes, I’ve been rescued from the power that oppressed me, into happiness. The rescue began in my worldly life. I never doubted the value of goodness, or wished harm to anyone. I saw the suffering imposed by human beings on animals, and by powerful and wealthy human beings on the poor and the weak. As much as I could I worked for rescue and justice. I felt the frustration of God at what people do to the world and each other, and at what I was doing to myself. Here there is happiness, not because all is perfect, but because God will rescue all that can be rescued. I and all the saints share the labour of that rescue.
You’re one of the saints!
Aren’t you? Don’t waste time feeling sorry for me. I’m fine, finer than I’ve ever been. Yes, you’ll miss me, but one of the places where we’ll always meet, is the work of rescue. Don’t ever give it up. It’s still possible for human beings to stop killing and polluting and contributing to the heat-death of the planet. Do the small good things that can be done locally, but don’t be content with them. As long as life is being diminished or destroyed, you have to find ways of rescuing it. And God will be there and I will be there too.
Everything from The Dog’s Trust to Greenpeace, from the Foodbank to Refuge for Refugees, from Women for Peace to Medicins Sans Frontieres?
Yes, and many thousands more who are part of God’s rescue. In churches there often seemed to be a schism between those that stood for salvation meaning God’s rescue and those who stood for the kingdom of God, meaning God’s just rule. In fact they are united: this is a saving kingdom, God’s rule is a rescuing justice.
I picked up your ashes today from the undertaker. We’ll scatter them in the garden to remind us that you still share in the life of the household.
Good, but if you could save some for the summit of a Cairngorm, that would also be good.
OK. This may seem naive, but can you still see the Cairngorms?
I’m in God and so is the world, but I have to learn to see it in a new way. I’m not deprived of any good thing. Deprivation is where you are. Justice is a high hill and we can climb it together.