Wednesday, December 30, 2009


The Starry Night - Vincent Van Gogh

Last weekend, I went to the Masterpieces of Paris exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia. I think I was only going there for the buzz of having seen these paintings ‘in the flesh’. I certainly didn’t expect to see anything new. Many of the paintings, I had already seen. Well, I hadn’t seen the real paintings, but I had seen reproductions – on posters, calendars, mugs, umbrellas and paint by numbers kits. I knew what they looked like. Or at least, I thought I did.

I’m sure it won’t come as any surprise to learn that the real paintings did not look like the reproductions. Well they did. But they didn’t. They were more vivid, more textured, more real. I was seeing the same images I had seen dozens of times, but in a way I had never seen them before.

One painting that I particularly enjoyed was The Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh. I had seen this painting – or least reproductions of this paintings – many, many times. And I had never been that impressed with it. But when I saw the real thing, I finally understand what the big deal about it was. I loved that painting. And I decided, as I was standing in front of it, that I would buy a bookmark or poster or something of it when I left the art exhibition. But when I got to the gift store and looked at the reproductions, I realised I would not be buying anything. The reproductions just didn’t do it justice. Even now, in looking at the image on the internet, I am thinking why exactly did I like it so much? Because I really can’t see anything that amazing about it.

After I looked at the Masterpieces of Paris exhibition, we looked at the other exhibitions in the National Gallery. One painting I always like to have a good look at is Bourke Street by Tom Roberts. I love that painting. I have a picture of it in my lounge room. But the reproduction I have up in my house looks so different to the original. My reproduction is faded and bits are torn and it’s really gives no idea of what the original is like. I still love it, because I love the picture. But it’s not the real thing.

It’s the same with music. Anybody who has ever gone to a concert knows that listening to a CD is not the same as hearing the same music live. It may sound exactly the same. But yet it is different. A real life experience is so much more intense than listening to a copy. I have a friend who can’t stand opera. I once played him a piece of music that I thought was beautiful and he thought it was boring. (Some people have no taste.) But once, his mother wanted to go and see Pavarotti in concert. So he took her. And he says that he will never forget that experience. He didn’t even like Pavarotti. But hearing him live was something very special.

In Colossians 2:17, Paul speaks of ‘the shadow of things to come’. It’s a bit of a hard phrase to understand and I certainly can’t claim to know exactly what Paul meant. But when I was thinking of the art exhibition, this phrase immediately came to mind.

I think that this earth and the Church we have here on earth (in all its forms) are just reproductions. Some of them may be good reproductions. Some of them are quite bad reproductions, a bit like my picture of Bourke Street in my lounge room. But they’re still reproductions. They can only show us what the heavenly Church looks like. But they still fall short of the reality of that Church. And if we actually saw the original, we would be amazed and astounded at how beautiful it really is.

Bourke Street by Tom Roberts

Art Prints Etc

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Not a Good Christmas

I hope you had a nice Christmas. I didn’t.

It started with me being woken at 5 o’clock in the morning, when I heard my youngest son, sounding very upset, telling his brother ‘We have to tell Mummy’. I raced out of bed, not sure what was happening, but knowing that something was definitely wrong. What was wrong was that my youngest son was sick and felt like he was about to throw about. Actually, it wasn’t as bad as what I had envisaged. But still, not a good start to Christmas.

He actually got better and then my eldest son got sick. He spent practically the entire day in bed with a headache and a high fever. At one point, he kept crying and crying because his head hurt and he couldn’t get to sleep. My friend rang me just as I was trying to get the fever down and I think it’s the quickest conversation I have ever had with her.

I missed Mass. And from about 10 o’clock to 12 o’clock, I was quite upset about it.

I cooked a beautiful Christmas lunch that cost a lot of money and a lot of time, and I was practically the only one eating it.

I had planned to sing Christmas carols with the boys after lunch, and it ended up being my youngest son and I singing about three carols and then giving up.

Not really a good Christmas.

And yet, in a strange way, it was probably the most peaceful Christmas I have ever had.

Because the pressure was off. There was no way this was going to be a perfect Christmas or even a good day. It had gone wrong right from the start. And so suddenly, it didn’t matter if other things went wrong.

I think sometimes there’s a lot of pressure on us to get Christmas right. Christmas will be the day we really focus on Jesus. Christmas will be the day we cook the perfect meal. Christmas will be the day that everybody eats what’s put in front of them. Christmas will be the day when everybody is selfless and generous. Christmas will be the day that we do a superb job of loving each other. Christmas will be the day that we do not fight.

And usually, something does go wrong. And then we get upset, because Christmas is not perfect anymore. And then we get angry because things aren’t happening the way we want them to.

The truth is it’s important to focus on Jesus every single day of our lives. It’s important to show our love for each other every single day of our lives. Christmas is important. But it shouldn’t be the day when we make up for a year’s worth of neglect. It should be the day when we continue to do what we have been doing all year.

When everything started going wrong this Christmas, I kept thinking that I have another year before I can try and make it up somehow. But that’s not really right. I may need to wait another year for Christmas presents to be given again. I may need to wait another year before I can cook another Christmas lunch - although the way things are at the moment, I could still have some of this year's leftovers. I may need to wait another year before it’s that special time when we remember Christ’s birthday. I may need to wait another year before I can go to a Christmas Mass. (Actually, that’s not strictly true, because I do go to the Ukrainian Christmas Mass on January 7th. But still, another year before I can go to Christmas Mass in the Roman Catholic Church.)

But every day is a good day to remember Jesus. And every day is a good day to give the gift of ourselves to others.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas is About Hope

Every Christmas, I go on a mini crusade against too much consumerism, too much Santa, too much stress and too little Christ. It’s not much of a crusade, because I’m just as guilty of those things as anyone else. Perhaps even more so. I guess I feel that, if I complain about it, it will somehow make me feel better. So as I shout out Merry Christmas to the world, I add a PS – But you’re getting it all wrong. Despite the fact that I’m getting it wrong myself.

Christmas should be a time of love, joy, peace and hope. I’ve turned into an excuse to point out the world’s faults.

I tend to point out the world’s faults quite a bit. I love to wag my finger at the world and say you’re getting it all wrong. I don’t do this because I need a hobby and finger-pointing seemed like an inexpensive one to choose. I do this because I do really believe that the world gets it terribly wrong sometimes. We place emphasis on materialism and success and downplay love and sacrifice. We judge things by scientific facts and evidence, and lose our ability to appreciate mystery and the sacred. But anyway, this is not meant to be another post about what’s wrong with the world.

And when I say the world has got it wrong, I include myself in that. I have it wrong just as much as the world does. Christ is so important in my life – at least that’s what I say – yet there are many occasions, each and every single day, when I fail to show that he is important. I do the things I don’t want to do and I fail to do the things I should be doing. The way I live is so far from the way I actually want to live.

When I look at how the world gets it wrong, I sometimes get angry. My children are pretty used to suddenly seeing me argue with the TV, when I’ve heard something on the news that I disagree with. Now, they’ve even started doing it themselves.

Sometimes, though, I just get depressed. This is particularly the case when it comes to my own faults. It is hard to continually feel as though I am failing in what I want to do.
Sometimes the situation just seems hopeless. The world has got it so far wrong that it seems impossible they will ever get it right. The problems are too big. People’s attitudes are too wrong. And my own life seems like a never-ending attempt to live the right way and never getting there. It just can’t be fixed. Why even bother trying?

But then Christmas comes and with it comes a message of hope. I’m sure you know that Christmas is not just about Santa and presents. But it’s not even just about Jesus being born. It’s about God’s Son being born. It’s about God taking on human form. Not so that He could have a short trip to Earth for a while to see what it was like. But because we were in a hopeless situation and we needed help. We were never going to get it right. We were never going to be good enough. So instead of giving up hope on the whole human race, God did something truly amazing. He sent his Son to give hope to the whole human race.

Recently, a boy was sent for psychological evaluation, after his teacher asked him to draw a picture of what Christmas meant for him and he drew a picture of Jesus on the cross. (I didn’t see this on the news, but I was arguing with my computer for a while. Why does the world get it so – oh, forget it.) At the risk of having my son sent in for psychological evaluation too, he made the same mistake. The other day he said, ‘Christmas is not about Santa. It’s about Jesus dying on the cross.’ My eldest son laughed in his ‘I’m an older brother and so much smarter’ laugh and said, ‘Christmas is not about Jesus dying on the cross. It’s about Jesus being born.’ But I told him that Christmas is about Jesus dying on the cross. It’s also about Jesus’ resurrection. Because the ending is what makes the beginning so special. At Christmastime, we must not only remember that Jesus was born, we must remember why He was born.

I have no idea how to fix the world’s problems. I have no idea how to put us on the right track again. I have no idea if we can be put on the right track. I don’t even know how to fix the problems in my own life. If I needed to work it all out, we may as well give us hope now. For I don’t know any solutions – beyond arguing with TVs and wagging my finger at the world.
There is one thing I do know though, one thing the Christmas story tells me, one thing the life of Jesus shows me and one thing Jesus’ death and resurrection makes real in my life – When things seem absolutely hopeless, God works in incredible and unimaginable ways to replace that hopelessness with hope.

Image details: Adoration by the shepherds, by Bronzino. From Wikimedia Commons. Image is in the public domain.

Friday, December 18, 2009

New Zealand Billboard of Mary and Joseph

One item of news that received a lot of internet discussion lately is the billboard a New Zealand church put up, of Joseph and the Virgin Mary lying in bed and Mary saying God was a hard act to follow. I refuse to put up a picture of this billboard, even though I’ve seen it on at least different articles so far. If you really want to see what I’m talking about, do a Google search and I’m sure you’ll find it. One man disliked the billboard so much that he attached it with a can on brown spray paint. I can’t say I blame him!

The billboard was placed outside St Matthew in the City. The Vicar, Glenn Cardy, apparently wants people to discuss God. Now I’m all for people discussing God. And I don’t limit that to discussions that I find acceptable. I’m quite comfortable when people say bizarre things about, or even show a complete lack of respect for God. Not that I don’t think God should be respected. I believe he should. But considering the lack of respect the world has for anything, it’s pretty understandable that some people believe God doesn’t deserve our respect either.

But when that disrespect comes from a church, I find that deplorable.

As I said, our world is not very respectful. We’ve lost the respect for authority figures we once had. And we regularly make fun of people, like the Prime Minister, in television shows and newspapers, for example. But imagine this. What if the people in the Labor Party started making fun of the Prime Minister? What if they started drawing pictures of him that drew attention to real or make believe flaws? Wouldn’t you kind of say – hold on. It’s okay for us to make fun of him. But you’re on his side.

There are quite enough people making fun of God without the Church coming in on the act. And why on earth should other people respect God – or at the very least, respect our beliefs – if we make fun of God ourselves?

That’s not to say that we can’t have a joke. I enjoy a fair bit of religious humour. I particular like humour that pokes fun at Christians. And I will say the odd joke or two that involves God or Jesus. But in all my humour, there is still respect. I like to tell jokes that involve God, when I think he’d laugh along with me. I prefer to laugh with God rather than at God.

And perhaps the point could be argued that this Church thought they were laughing along with God. Maybe they thought God got a good old chuckle out of it. I don’t think His sense of humour is that warped myself.

And despite all our disrespect and our desire to laugh at anything at anybody, surely there must be boundaries that should not be crossed. There must be something in our world that we hold sacred, that deserves not only our respect, but our reverence and awe. And Christmas is a time when we should be filled with awe. For God came down to earth in human form. Now Santa Claus coming through the chimney when you live in the middle of a high rise apartment building might be impressive. But God taking on human form, God entering earth as a human baby, that beats Santa Claus’ chimney sliding act hands down.

According to Glenn Cardy, most Christians do not believe that Mary was impregnated by God. I’d like to know what Christians he talks to. Most of the ones I know have a pretty solid belief in the incarnation. And they’re not the kind of Christians who believe it is the sort of thing that should be made fun of.

This idea of generating discussion about God is a good one. But at what cost? Sometimes it seems that it’s our excuse for everything. Well, we’re just trying to get people to talk about God. But we should make sure that when people are discussing God, that they’re not influenced by a whole lot of warped ideas and bad jokes. And we should also make sure that what initiates discussion amongst non-believers doesn’t cause some Christians to doubt their faith.

What if the people who do have faith start thinking losing their sense of God’s holiness? What if they start thinking he doesn’t deserve our awe and respect? What if Christians start thinking of God as just another figure of fun? And why bother following a God like that?

In these days of political correctness, Christmas has belong the holiday of nothing special at all. Instead celebrating the most event that ever happened, we have stripped it of all meaning. We think about presents, instead of the Incarnation. We look forward to when Santa will come to our houses, instead of thinking back to when God came to earth. We’re not allowed to mention Jesus or Christ or even Christmas, in case it happens to offend somebody. And yet billboards that poke fun of Mary and Joseph are quite okay. I guess it’s okay to mention religion – and offend a whole lot of people – just as long as you’re not respectful. And it’s okay to offend people, just so long as they’re the one group of people to whom Christmas actually still means something important.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Good Samaritan, Loving our Neighbour and the Environment

When Jesus commanded the disciples to love their neighbour, they asked him who their neighbour was. Jesus replied by telling the story of the Good Samaritan. I think the reason for the disciples question was to know where the limits were. They wanted clear boundaries about who they had to love and who they didn’t have to. How far did this neighbourly love has to extend?

But instead of having this idea of loving their neighbours limited in any way, Jesus extended it more than they would have imagined. Their neighbours did not just include the people they liked or the people they knew or people of the same tribe or same nation. It even included Samaritans.

Christians idea of neighbour must – and does – continue to expand. In this age of information and instant communication, we know so much more about people all over the world than we ever have before. We must pay attention to the problems that these people face, for they are also our neighbours. Indeed, many Christian organisations give aid to third world countries because they see those countries as our neighbours, who we are commanded to love.

It might seem as though our concept of neighbour has finally reached its limits. Now there it includes everybody in the world, there is nowhere left to go. Or is there?

If we continue to expand what we mean by loving our neighbour, then it should not be limited by people who are alive today. Not just our own neighbourhood, not just our own country, not just our own religion – not even just our own time. When we think of loving our neighbour, we should also include future generations, those that will come after us.

We must ensure that we do everything possible to help future generations and nothing that would cause them any harm. We must also recognise that our needs and wants (or our comfort and convenience) do not take precedence over their needs and wants. We are not more important than them. In fact, the Christian view should be to treat ourselves as less important.

This means ensuring that we pass on God’s gift to us (this earth) to them in a good condition. It means doing everything we can to protect their homes, food and livelihood. It means leaving them enough natural resources, instead of using them all up ourselves. And I also believe it means making sure that they too have the gift of nature, that they may look at the world that God has created and see how beautiful it is, that they may feel the spiritual uplifting that comes when we connect with what God has made.

I realise that there is some doubt about man-made climate warming. However, the doubters seem to be getting fewer as time goes on and more science comes to light. There is also serious doubt about whether the emissions trading scheme is a good way to tackle climate change. Maybe man-made climate change is a fallacy. That doesn’t let us off the hook.

Firstly, caring for the environment, in order to help future generations, is not just about reducing our carbon emissions. It’s about ensuring we do everything possible to minimise the negative impacts on others, both now and in the future, through the way we treat the earth today. It’s about not being greedy and taking all the natural resources we can, but leaving some for future generations. It’s about making sure that we leave natural places of beauty for our great-great-great-grandchildren to enjoy. It’s about recognising that the people in the future may need to live with what we do to the earth today.

And as Christians, we also have a duty to at least consider man-made climate warming. We can’t simply decide that the science is wrong and we don’t need to do anything about it.

I’m sure, if the Good Samaritan had asked around, he would have found a few so-called experts to tell him that the man lying by the side of the road was not really hurt. Maybe he was even pretending to be injured, to give him an opportunity to rob the Good Samaritan. But the Good Samaritan didn’t do this. He went and had a look to see for himself. Surely, we too, need to at least investigate the problem and see if anyone is likely to be harmed and whether anybody needs our help.

Note: After I had written and posted this blog entry, I saw an article about Pope Benedict XVI's message for World Peace Day on 1 January 2010. The article gives a really good message about why Christians could care about the environment. Here is one of the quotes from the article:

Pope Benedict said that because the environmental crisis is global, it must be met with a universal sense of responsibility and solidarity toward people living in other parts of the world as well as toward generations who have not yet been born.

You can find the whole article at Catholic News Service.

Image details: The Good Samaritan, Master of the Good Samaritan (active between 1500-1549, Northern Netherlands). Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Image is in the public domain.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Make Room for Christ at Christmas - or - Why Santa Should Be Sent to the Dog Kennel

Yesterday, I posted one of my short stories called No Room. Although I’m pretty sure the historical details aren’t entirely correct, I wrote it that way because I wanted to write a story about someone who finds it hard to make room for Christ at Christmas.

In Bethlehem, over 2000 years ago, it was hard to find a place for the Baby Jesus to be born. In the 21st Century, we are still finding it hard to make room for Jesus in our lives.

Ironically, one of the hardest times to make room for Jesus is at Christmas, the time when we should most be thinking of him. Instead of preparing a room and welcoming him as an honored guest, we treat him as an inconvenience – and one we don’t have time for right now.

Everybody is so busy at Christmas. There’s the Christmas cards to be sent, the Christmas shopping to be done, the Christmas decorations to be put up, the Christmas lunch to be prepared, the Christmas presents to be wrapped.

Sometimes we’re so busy, we can’t even keep the Christ in the Christmas things we are doing. That’s Xmas cards, Xmas shopping, Xmas decorations, Xmas lunch and Xmas presents. I guess ‘X’ is less time-consuming than Christ.

Well we have to save time somewhere and nothing else can go, can it? If we didn’t send out Christmas cards, people would think we didn’t care about Christmas. If we didn’t put up an amazing outdoor Christmas light display, we wouldn’t be being very festive. To tell people we don’t want to exchange gifts would show a distinct lack of Christmas spirit. And perhaps a cooking a smaller lunch (with say enough food for the afternoon, not for the week) is possible, but it’s Christmas and you need to celebrate at Christmas time.

We’ll get rid of Christ easily enough, with the excuse that there’s not enough time for him. But there’s no way we’ll get rid of anything else that is related to the season.

Now to be fair, many people will fit in a church service somewhere between opening presents and eating lunch. They might even make room for a Christmas carol or two. (Although it is hard to find time to sing the carols about Jesus, when there’s so many songs about Santa to be sung.)

But we’re hardly treating his as an honoured guest. In Bethlehem, there was no room for Jesus in the inn, but they found a space for him in a manger, with the animals. Nowadays, there’s no room for Jesus at Christmas, except for a small parcel of time between 10 am and 11 am on Christmas morning.

And yet nobody seems to have a problem making room for Santa.

The next time you see a nativity scene, take a good look at it. (Presuming you do see a nativity scene. They’re becoming somewhat endangered lately. Better make it a good, long look. It may be the last time you ever see one.)

Anyway, take a good, long look and ask yourself where Jesus is placed during your Christmas time. Is he squeezed in between the donkey and cow (or Santa and presents), placed in a manger because that’s the only place he will fit, without it inconveniencing you? Or he is given the best room and welcomed as an honoured guest?

And may I suggest, if you are finding it difficult to make room for Jesus this Christmas, take Santa out of the best guest room and make him sleep with the animals instead. Relegate him to the dog kennel. You have a more important guest coming you need to make room for.

We can all make room for Jesus. But it may mean realising that some things are just not that important.

Image Details: Cappella Scrovegni a Padova, Life of Christ, Nativity, Birth of Jesus, Giotto di Bondone (1267-1337). Taken from Wikimedia Commons. Image is in the public domain.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

No Room - A Short Story for Christmas

This short story comes from my book, titled She Thinks of Jesus, a collection of short stories told from the point of view of women who witnessed the events in the gospels. You can find and buy this book at Lulu.

…and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. – Luke 2:7

Not another knock on the door. It hasn’t stopped all day.

“There’s no room,” I keep telling them, “no room.”

Then they sit there and they plead and they beg and they tell of what a long trip they have had and how they can’t find a room anywhere and I look like such a kind lady and they had to come here because of the census and can’t I find any room in my inn.

“No room,” I say, with a shrug of my shoulders. “There isn’t any room.”

Sometimes they get mad. Sometimes they cry. Neither emotion bothers me. I refuse to let myself get swayed by feelings. There’s no room for feelings in my inn.

I consider leaving the door unanswered, but perhaps they have lots of money? There’s no room for feelings, but there’s plenty of room for money. Show me enough Roman coins and I’ll show my guests a long-lost uncle who has unexpectedly turned up for the night and someone will have to move. There’s no room at the inn, but room can be found if the money is right.

I peer through the window, and then quickly move away. They look too poor to make it worthwhile.

“Please open the door,” the man cries. “My wife is about to have a baby.”

I look through the window again. I have heard that said before. I have even heard the groans and the moans that go with it. I have also seen the bundle of clothes removed from underneath the women’s garment the minutes she enters the house. There’s no room for anyone like that at my inn. I back away from the window.

“Please,” the man says. “You don’t understand. My son is special.”

One of my very few failings is that I can’t resist the chance to show people how stupid and wrong they are. Even though I know I should let the comment past, I cannot help myself. I yell back through the door.

"Every man thinks his wife’s baby is going to be a son. And what if it should be a daughter? Will she still be special then?”

“He will be a boy.”

“And how do you know?”

“I know.”

“Well, I don’t. I don’t know whether your son will be special – although I’m pretty sure he won’t be. I don’t know that he will be a boy, but there’s half a chance he will be. The only thing I do know is that there’s no room at the inn.”

I go back to the window in time to see the woman shrug and smile. A-ha! If she were really pregnant, she wouldn’t be so complacent. But I keep watching them anyway, and as they leave she holds her stomach in pain and grimaces. Just a small grimace - no exaggerated groan, for my benefit. That’s strange. Perhaps she really is pregnant.

Does it matter? There’s no room for pregnant women in my inn, especially not ones who might be in labour. There’s no room for contractions or agonized yells or extra requests or blood or mess or newborn baby’s cries. There’s no room for newborn babies – no matter how special they are.

But still I stare out the window, my eyes drawn to the woman, to her womb. I seem to imagine a baby speaking to me. Is it a baby? Or is it a man? Or is it a God?

Make room for me
, he seems to say, you need to make room for me in your life.
I open the door.

“Wait,” I yell. They turn around with expectant faces. “There’s no room in the inn, but you can sleep with the animals if you like.”

The man looks at the woman and she nods.

Ten hours later, and I wonder if I have been deceived after all. There has been no loud moans, nor any requests. The husband hasn’t asked for anything. But, no, there is a baby’s cry. So soft and gentle, though, not the usual bawl. Perhaps I should see if they need anything? No, I won’t. There’s no room for compassion in my life.

Some shepherds have turned up at my door. Shepherds! In the middle of the night! There’s no room for shepherds anywhere near my inn. Not in the middle of the night, and not ever! And I open the door to tell them so.

“We have come to see the Messiah,” they say.

“The Messiah?”

“We were told he was here.”

There’s no room for deluded people here. There’s no room for people who imagine things that aren’t there. There’s no room for faith in someone that doesn’t exist. No room for faith in a Messiah that people hope for just because they need a dream to cling to. There’s no room for Messiahs, hopes or dreams in my inn. And yet – and yet –

“He’s in the stable,” I say. And I wonder how I knew whom they meant. And I wonder why I am even wondering. There is no room for wonder in my life.

Perhaps you need to make room.

“What did you say?”

The shepherds turn around and look at each other, shaking their heads.
“We didn’t say anything,” one of them says.

They walk towards the stable, and as soon as I have returned to my bed there is another knock on the door. I want to ignore it, but with everything going on, who knows whom it will be? Three kings, perhaps?

It is not kings, but a wealthy man nonetheless. I can tell from his jewels and the quality of his garments.

“Sorry for the late hour,” he says. “I needed to come for the census, but my business transactions meant I got away later than usual. I have been told you are a woman who can find room for a lodger if the price is right.”

I say nothing.

“I can pay you handsomely,” he says.

I shake my head. “I’m sorry,” I say, “but there isn’t any room.”

Image Details: Joseph looks for shelter in Bethlehem , Tissot, 1899

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sorry for not posting

It has been quite a while since I posted on this blog, and I apologise for the delay. There’s no excuse other than the general busyness of life. Family and study, plus work, has taken up just about all of my time.

However, I will try to post a bit more frequently in future. I’m on a break from study for the next couple of months. So for that time, at least, you should be seeing a bit more of me. I might also try to post a few more shorter posts or things that I have previously written. Hopefully, I will be able to keep it going, even when I return to study.


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