The Other Side of Life...

What really matters
little frankie

What has driven me...

Time to shift gears. Much time has elapsed since my first story and now it is time to open up the other side of my life – the engine room that has provided the motivation and energy and general enthusiasm for life.

My spiritual pilgrimage – a steady one without too many twists and turns along the way – but not without its challenges.

In many respects our spiritual pilgrimage is the real world in which we live, shaped by our worldview, beliefs and values. Our external world may be tangible expressions of these values – or how we like to project ourselves – but the real world that we live by day by day is the hidden world within. Hopefully these two worlds are in harmony.

Join me as I trace some of the key spiritual developments in my life and the foundations on which my stories rest. Not least the terrific Christian heritage I received from my parents and those who went before them.

my grandparents

Granny Gray with Grandad

Grannie Gray had had a hard life raising four children single-handed after my grandfather was killed at the end of World War I. She lost the house in which they lived because it was tied to her husband’s job as head gardener of a country house. So she was evicted and her mother took her in along with her four children. My father, at 2 years old, was the youngest. He was also the only male in the entire household. When I consider the size of that house and its two bedrooms I wonder how they all fitted in…

But they had a strong faith. My grandfather’s letters reveal a deeply spiritual man who loved God and cared for his family. There was a tenderness in his words as he wrote home from the army barracks, “My Dear Louie…”

My Dad, as the only man in the family, had grown up to be a hard-working man. He had known much sorrow, too, as his short-lived marriage to Betty, my mother, ended tragically following a motor accident in which Betty was killed on her bicycle. That was when I was just 9 months old. But he married again three years later and Gwen became my new Mum. In the meantime my dear Aunt Ivy took care of me while my Dad worked in Henley-on-Thames.

We moved to Caversham, where I grew up. For many years, in addition to a regular 9-5 job Dad also did the gardening for his mother as well as our family. He had no car back then but rode his bicycle. He also did local preaching on Sundays in small churches around the area, and was active in the Christian Endeavour movement. My Mum, who had a soprano voice, sang solos and spoke at women’s meetings…

But what did all this Christian activity mean to me, and what impact did it have?
(to be continued)