A Practical Faith
A Practical Faith
I have never ever been a person who can say “I am a Christian”. I feel that my faith is a practical one. My childhood was traumatic, and not a happy one. My mother suffered psychiatric illness and took her life when I was 11 years old. I had a very strict nanny and I was extremely naughty, and was a very deliberate liar. My first school was St Paul’s Girls School, London, and I had to walk down Eton High Street at 6.00am every day to catch the Green Line coach to take me to Hammersmith (aged 6 years old). I was afraid of the dark, and the only way I managed this was to sing to myself “Onward Christian Soldiers”, from a hymnbook that I “pinched” from St Paul’s. My father told me that I would get used to the dark, which after two years I think I did.
At the age of 6½ I would invite people who lived down Eton High Street to an “Entertainment” on my nanny’s day off. I would dance, perform gymnastics, invite them to share imaginary cups of tea, make them sing “Onward Christian Soldiers” with me, and ask them to support a charity with me. Mine was the NSPCC – perhaps a subconscious reflection of my childhood.
I often used to ask my father why I had never been christened. The answer was “You are a war baby” (born in 1941). This didn’t seem logical to me. One day I took myself off to the vicarage and waited a long time for the vicar to come home. I explained to him my situation and told him that “I had got to be christened, and my father did not know.” The Rev David Evans then talked to my father, as I was afraid to discuss this with my father (No one in my family went near a church). I had my instruction and was christened on Jan 11th 1952. I told David that none of my family would be present. This was so, as likewise at my Confirmation, when I was at my boarding school at the age of 14 years.
As a teacher I always tried to help the children at times of difficulty, anguish, and trouble by suggesting that the one person they could trust and get enduring help from was God (Him above as I would say). The children knew that they could trust me in this respect.
In my years of teaching (still part time teaching) I did a great deal with all ages (11years – 18 years) to raise awareness with community work and charities – helping in care homes locally, Crisis, the homeless, and in any current national disasters. I still do this work, as I feel one should give to the community what one can, and I owe this to the world. I believe that “Actions speak louder than Words”, and I don’t feel the necessity, nor can I go round trying to convert people. I never get away from hospital visiting, and know that when one starts any of this kind of work one has to continue to do it, whatever one may feel oneself, as it is the continuous and constant support that is solace, comfort and an uplifting light to those it concerns.
Thus my increasingly strong faith is a practical one.
Deborah is involved in teaching biology, PE, tennis and school expeditions. She is also featured in our people section.