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  • Writer's pictureSt George’s Church, Wilton

Thought For Today – by Norman Steel

Our back gate gave up the ghost a little while ago and naturally Bottles the dog took advantage of this and went exploring. Something had to be done. Well the concrete gate posts were OK so I just needed to get a gate of the correct size. I got a wrought iron one with vertical bars close enough together to be an effective barrier for a Parsons Jack Russell. At first we just propped it up in the gap - which was when we discovered what any fool should have known all along, that the bars were in fact, too far apart to keep the dog in and we had to cover the gate with chicken wire. It’s a serviceable job but kind of lacks the aesthetic appeal we were aiming for.

I eventually got around to putting the gate up. I won’t bore you with the problems of misaligned hinges and drill holes, caused entirely by a combination of poor equipment and slippery concrete. Suffice it to say that the exercise did not go well. And when I did eventually get it right, the blighted gate was too big for the gap because some fool hadn’t measured it correctly, so I had to start the whole thing all over again and reposition the hinges on a different face of the gatepost. Then all the previous difficulties with misaligned or incorrectly drilled holes occurred all over again. So when it was finished I was left with gate posts that have so many holes in them one wonders if their structural integrity will survive and a gate that was so high up the post that the dog got underneath it without any difficulty.

And when you think about why we have gates in the first place I have to admit that my back gate is a pretty poor example of what a gate should be. However, as I said to She Who Must Be Obeyed, we mustn’t lose sight of the fact that, battered and dishevelled though it is, it does, thanks to copious amounts of chicken wire, it does function as a gate.

If not a very beautiful one.

I take a lot of comfort from that. You see, when it comes to the day of judgement and I stand in front of my maker, I too will be tied together, metaphorically at least, with bits of string and chicken wire. For I’m also a patchwork thing made up of poor episodes and shameful episodes and odd bits of evil and nastiness, but held together by the good bits and the joyful bits – held together by the love and laughter I’ve shared with those whom I’ve met in this broken and battered world. They are, if you like, the bits of chicken wire and string that keep me together and enable me to function as a child of God.

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