What with only being in Bali for four days and Dad having to work most of them, I expected to have outings arranged for me. He does that kind of thing.
'Look here, meet so and so at 0700hrs, take a bus to this port and await instruction… '
So it was with my usual trepidation and longing to just be left alone in the sunshine with my notebook and my musings that I listened to my next itinerary. Be fooled for thinking you are on holiday, Kim, for you are under my command now.
To be fair to my pa, he’s always right. I can’t count the amount of times Dad has started a sentence with ‘and today you’ll be…’ and I’ve reverted to teenage angst and wallow, only to be surprised by an amazing day, usually accompanied with copious amounts of Moet and Chandon (they sponsor Dad’s boaty things) (and me) and dining in the company of kings. But that’s a story for another time.
This day was to start at the relatively late hour of 0800hrs (always military time with Bryan) whereupon I would have a breakfast it was too early for and be taken to meet some nieces of some men I did not know.
'I met them the other day,' Dad tells me, 'you’ll love them. Oh, just one thing. Don’t mention your religious stance. They are missionaries. '
Great. A day out with the god squad. Goodbye beach and my own investigations into local trappings and delicacies, hello bible class.
'So, you’re a writer?' Tina asks. 'People tell me I should write about what happened to me, she says. '
'Well, if it makes a good story, you should.'
'What is good?'
'Something people want to read,' I reply.
'Well,' she snaps, 'if you call a bus crash, eight of my friends dead, eight seriously injured and me unscratched because God saved me something people want to read, I guess it is a good story.'
Oh good, I’ve woken the beast.
Tina goes on to tell me at, as it so happens, the exact same time her bus crashed in South Africa, her sister in New Zealand felt an overwhelming desire to pray for her – thank goodness, or she would be as dead as her friends.
‘Are you sure it wasn’t the luck of where you were sitting?’ I hazard. In the crash, all the chairs had concertinaed, but Tina was on the back row.
‘No. It was God. But the doctor did say if I’d been one inch taller I’d have got a metal rod in my head.’
Right. Lucky God made you that height then.
‘God was trying to show me I didn’t need other humans. It could just be me and Him,’ she says confidently.
Crikey. He killed eight of your friends to get you all to himself?
‘I know’, she smiles, like someone ticking off their mischievous toddler, ‘I did ask if I could have at least one human in my life but he just wanted to know if I still believed in Him. I said, ‘Yes, God, I still believe in you, you old swine.’
It was clear she had quite a chummy, banterful relationship with God. She referred to any strayings from his path as being ‘led by the enemy.’ I know people who believe in God, quietly, but it was really quite baffling to meet someone my age, wearing the same kind of jewelry and clothes as I was, banging on so openly about their close relationship with religion.
There must be a level of solace and sanctuary in knowing that whatever you do, God is by your side. After some of these blogs, I know that even if there is a God, he is about as far from my side as He can possibly get. But I’ll still put a capital letter before God, Him and His, just in case he’s watching.
"The composition of my soul is made, too great for servile, avaricious trade.
When raving in the lunacy of ink, I catch my pen and publish what I think."
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