about writing and life and God

Five-minute wonders

on November 14, 2012

In memory of Jo


A lady at the care home where my husband lives has died. Maybe not an uncommon occurrence. But we knew this lady. Not so long ago she was up and about, lively, gracious, fun…

I was concerned lest my husband and the other residents would be upset, so I consulted a friend who has experience of residential care homes. ‘It sounds a bit harsh,’ she warned me before she explained, ‘It will be a five-minute wonder. Maybe talked about for a little while the first day it’s announced.’ And then forgotten.

In a way that is comforting – that my husband is unlikely to be distressed. But it saddened me.


Our televisions seem to be full of people struggling to achieve their five minutes of fame. As if it was worth something.

And I, like so many others in the non-conformist traditions, put in hours crafting Sunday services from the first prayer to the Blessing at the end, to vanish like the morning mist once the words are spoken.

And we work at our writing, only to find our publishers declaring our books out of print so very soon!

Five-minute wonders.

“Each man’s life is but a breath.

He bustles about, but only in vain.

He heaps up wealth, not knowing who will get it.” (Psalm 39: verses 5 and 6)

And yet.

Consider the spider who makes her web, something so fragile and  easily destroyed. Yet she keeps on making this beautiful, gossamer-fine, intricate thing. And then of course there are the lilies of the field, surpassing Solomon in his splendour, yet God clothes them this wondrously even though tomorrow they will be thrown in the fire (Luke 12:27-28).

So many five-minute wonders, good and bad – and each one passes.

But that is no excuse for skimping on my prep or ducking the hours at the keyboard! Life may be short, our mortal times to shine brief as well as few and far between – but maybe we can take a lesson from the spider and hang in there at our weaving of our stories and sermons.

“As for man, his days are like grass,… But from everlasting to everlasting, the Lord’s love is with those who fear him.” Psalm 103: 15, 17


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