Instrumental Interlude

I’m not a practising Catholic and I never will be again. With an Irish mother it was inevitable that I’d grow up ‘in the true faith’ and not a ‘Godless Protestant’ like my (English) grandmother.

My mum was usually one of the most fair minded people but her (mostly justified) hatred of my English Grandma and her slavish devotion to Catholicism we’re definitely rods she used to beat us.

The older I got the more I found Catholicism wasn’t for me. My parents had hotels when we were growing up. We used to have a lot of American seminarians staying with us at different times. They were studying in Rome and couldn’t go home so they travelled Europe instead. Most were lovely but a few were… bat shit crazy.

I remember seeing one of the maids sobbing one day as she’d walked in to a supposedly empty room and seen a seminarian scourging himself. The housekeeper was comforting her saying ‘ignore it, you’ll see a lot of that’ I was 15 and horrified.

Catholicism attracts a lot of screwballs. Any religion that demands chastity from its priests and nuns does. There is a larger amount of people with a screw loose who became priests or nuns. They chose to run away from the challenges of every day life and issues with the opposite sex and sequester themselves behind walls.

The Church then let’s these damaged people loose on our kids. Fucking wonderful. The very people who chose to escape the world are the last ones who should be molding the minds of kids.

Sister Brigid. Bane of my boarding school days. A twisted warped woman who would call a ten year old a whore if she slid playing hockey and showed her knickers. Sister Regina – oh how we misinterpreted her name!! She was the charmer who invented the sliding how-rich-are-your-parents scale and sucked up accordingly. Sister Francis who taught piano and would slam the lid on your hands if you made a mistake.

Sister Francis chose her name after St Francis of Assisi. Another less-than-noble nut job if you actually read his story. There is a prayer attributed to him that I think is beautiful. It should be a part of my every thought (but I’m no saint)

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy

As humans, we can be instrumental in both good and bad. Our every action has the power to make or break our next. We can choose. We have that power to make decisions to accept or reject both good and evil.

We are instrumental in choosing a President. We can also be instrumental in abstaining. No vote, no choice, STFU.

We can be instrumental in mentoring others, in standing up for what is right, in showing kindness and empathy –

Or we can be instrumental in wrecking havoc and destruction. Fear and shame. Sadness and misery.

As a human instrument, none of us are a Stradivarius. We’re all flawed. We’re all novices and we all hit bum notes on a daily basis. If we choose not to walk away from the orchestra but to stay and try to harmonise, to blend, to hit a flat note but to keep striving to improve. Music is great. You can make mistakes but you always get to turn the page. You don’t have to be a soloist. You can let the orchestra support you until it’s your time to shine. You can sit and wonder at others solos and bask in the glory of what we can create together.

An orchestra is a collection of many types of instruments. Diverse, potentially quarrelsome and likely to be discordant. Louder instruments can drown out softer ones if not monitored. Gentle strings can be scraped and plucked to be ugly and discordant. If we trust the Composer to create a symphony and know there is a place in it for all of us. If we accept we may not all have a starring role but that we’re essential to the song. If we accept our part should never be the sound of silence… we might just get the chorus of peace.

This post was written in response to the Discover Prompt: Instrument

9 thoughts on “Instrumental Interlude

  1. Sister Regina huh? Who could resist?? Shame on you, flashing your knickers…tsk tak tsk. (Honeslty though, sports in a dress or skirt???)

    I like your song! I can see myself playing a drum. Just there in the background, keeping the beat…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We had to wear ‘gym knickers’ over our regular knickers. Great, big ,thick, grey ‘apple catchers’! They went from your chest to your knees! We had burgundy wraparound skirts for hockey, netball and gym with white aertex shirts and knee length socks. We literally froze in winter. Then we had to wear whites for tennis in the summer and only black one piece swimsuits were allowed. The dress code was mental. We were only allowed to wear jeans after lunch on Saturdays unless there were prospective parents viewing the school when we couldn’t wear jeans at all. No trousers of any kind on Sunday’s. We had to wear a dress to Mass but then could wear a skirt and blouse if we wanted. Socks had to be worn until you were 15 when you then had to wear tights.
      Stockings were immoral.
      The nuns even legislated sanitary wear for periods.


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