Back in 1976, Steven Georgiou, aka Yusef Islam or Cat Stevens (for it is he) was swimming off of the coast of California and found himself in trouble. As he began to drown, he called upon (a/any) god to rescue him. It is reported that he cried out, "oh God, if you save me I will work for you" - or at least, something like that. Of course, a huge wave came along and pushed him to the shore and everything else is history.
Now, being a product of the 1950s and doing most of my growing up during the 60s-70s (I stopped bothering to grow up after that), I tend to lean towards the agnostic rather than the atheist path. Hedging my bets, I suppose. Anyway, you've got to be pretty confident to be a total atheist. Especially if you live in a house full of left footers as I do.
So there I was yesterday morning, driving back from the supermarket with the usual conflicting conversations flying about inside my head about the future - it's an uncertain one, for sure. Becoming old in the tooth and hoping for a steady happy decline into retirement has all been upset recently with the news that a ghastly Academy is taking our school over and all that that might entail. My mind began to wander over future possiblities. All those wonderful things I could do - writing, opening a studio; walking hills - oh, it would be a wonderful end to it all. Feeling all at sea - and there was definitely that feeling that occasionally surfaces of drowning - my thoughts turned to Mr Islam's words.
"If only the numbers come up on the Euro Millions (a sort of English School teacher's pension gamble) I will actually start to believe in God and I'll even go to church occasionally". Okay, it's not quite CS's declaration of faith but I would stick by it. I'm an honest bloke.
When I got home and having finished unloading the hunter/gatherer stuff from Sainsbury, I thought I'd better check my emails. And there it was - a message from the National Lottery, "great news about your recent ticket". At last. I'll need to get up early on Sunday, then.
So I opened my emails with some trepidation, and sure enough I'd won on the Euro Millions Lottery. Two pounds and sixty pence.
Two pounds and sixty pence. That's an insult, isn't it? The ticket cost two pounds. So, sixty pence profit there, then. I know full well that the words "million" and "pounds" were there in my original proclamation.
Oh well, back to school tomorrow and I guess I'd better start contemplating "mindfulness" about next year as I don't think a modest retirement of writing and late mornings rising out of bed are going to be happening. I'm not sure where god is in all this but I don't think he was there in the car yesterday.
Oh, and I didn't get up too early today, either.