>Does it mean nothing to you?

>The other day I took a walk into “town” during my lunch break, as I often do. Being rather overweight, I try to increase my activity levels. Got a pedometer from Weight Watchers. It’s a bit of a joke, clocks up steps even as I cross the room to the filing cabinet, or get in and out of the car on my way to work! Anyway, the little machine says I’m “healthy” if I do more than about 2.5 miles in a day.

2.5 miles is surprisingly difficult to do every day. Work is 3 miles from home, not something I feel I can walk there and back as well as doing a day’s work. It’s country lanes all the way, not good for parking, while there is a good car park at work. Sometimes I go for a walk after I get home in the afternoon, but unless dinner is very simple, this makes us late eating, so I often don’t bother.

Round the “town” is barely enough. Down the hill, cross the road outside the pub, up the hill the other side, turn right and detour up a side street lined with terraced cottages, then left and back towards the “town centre”, past the church, across the road and up past the Co-op, then left at the main road, down to the traffic lights, all the way down the hill, up the other side and back to work. Almost “healthy”, but not quite, and the next longest route would take longer than my 30 minute break.

Why is keeping fit so artificial? Never a sports enthusiast, my favourite forms of exercise are walking and swimming. Yet both are boring when done as a keep fit activity. Swimming lengths is about as dull as you can get, OK occasionally but very dreary week after week. And I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve walked the 3 or 4 circuits from my back door – all country lanes, nice hedgerows, fields of cattle or sheep, very pretty but all the same. Boring, boring, boring…

On my walk around the town is an old methodist chapel, now a “Mission”, apparently very popular among the local evangelical Christians. On the wall of the Mission is a big sign, facing the traffic coming down the hill: “DOES IT MEAN NOTHING TO YOU?”

Evidently, “IT” refers to the bible, the Jesus story, the whole God thing. And I give them credit for making me think. What does it all mean to me?

Childhood Sunday School, best clothes, mini church service, colouring pictures of loaves and fishes, wishing I could be out riding my bike or climbing trees instead, little brother crying because he hated it even more than I did.

School assemblies, hymns, the Lord’s Prayer, headmistress pontificating in cap and gown on the stage, the reading about faith hope and charity, hundreds of girls all in rows, Jews and Jehovah’s witnesses watching from the balcony, girls fainting.

RE lessons, Miss Carter, learning the names of all the books of the old testament by heart (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy…), visiting local churches, remember finding Unitarians and Quakers interesting.

Occasions in church or chapel, weddings, funerals, wanting to join in Communion, wanting to shout and rage, almost laughing at people “speaking in tongues”, silly jingly “choruses” that stick in your head for the rest of the day.

Wanting to be a nun after watching the Sound of Music, it would be easy with that scenery.

Feeling too emotional to sing hymns, not just at funerals either – why?

3kool doesn’t see the need for it – she says the world and the universe and space and the stars are enough, why do we need God as well.

What should it mean to me? It means too much to too many people already.

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