Me, I change the light bulbs.

There are certain jobs that shouldn’t fall to an honest churchwarden. Trust me in this. Churchwardens do fixtures and fittings, perhaps even a bit on the personnel side, but pontificating on the eternal verities is way above our pay grade.
But you know what it’s like. When the midden hits the windmill, you’re the man (or woman or whatever) on the spot. Anyway, quite literally, I was just going into church to change a light bulb. (And how many churchwardens does it take to change a light bulb? Two; one to change the bulb and one to fill in a form under the Faculty Jurisdiction Measure.)
I unlocked the door and as I opened it, something fell onto the floor. Being a churchwarden I automatically feared the worst; hopefully it’s not structural, just some more rendering falling off. But this time it was a rather thick envelope, it must have been shoved in the side of the door.
Now thick envelopes aren’t necessarily good news either. It tends to be builders’ estimates or polite requests for prompt payment, the sort of stuff which fails to aid digestion as you read them when you’re having your breakfast. So I picked it up and looked at the front. It said, ‘Happy Birthday Grandad’.
At this point I had a sinking feeling and opened the envelope. In it was a birthday card, a big one, and inside someone had written a long message to their Grandad and how they were missing him.
When it mentioned that they hoped he was still playing his guitar, and was playing with ‘Jimi’ and could he pass on the writers love to Amy Winehouse I realised that, as usual, I was getting out of my depth. I was there to change a light bulb, so I changed the light bulb.
But I’ve still got the card to forward. The writer had said that they weren’t sure how to send a card to heaven, and I’m with them on that one. I suspect that even the Church of England’s comprehensive instructions for Churchwardens doesn’t cover that. So what to do about it?
In the end I left it standing on the communion table, next to the Bible. I’m not too old to remember loved ones I’ve lost. Eternal Verities may be beyond me, but folk religion I can understand. Anyway, according to the book there’s this bloke who’s in charge, he said, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life’, he can sort it. I can cope with that.
Me, I change the light bulbs.

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4 thoughts on “Me, I change the light bulbs.

  1. willmacmillanjones April 29, 2013 at 6:37 pm Reply

    Always a warm thought isn’t it, to imagine one’s relatives enjoying their dreams. Sadly I suspect that it conflicts with the desire of Jimi’s and Amy’s relatives to be spared the company of those who cannot tell C sharp from D flat.(Like me, in other words…)

    • jwebster2 April 29, 2013 at 9:18 pm Reply

      Because our phone is still under my late fathers name we still get cold callers asking for him in person. My lady wife has got into the habit of telling them that he’s busy. One woman asked when he’d be back, and was told we didn’t know. So she asked my wife, ‘What’s he doing?’ My better half replied, ‘he’s practicing his harp.’

      I suspect that after a few years you’ll probably get the hang of it and can even play ‘Smoke on the Water’ without bringing tears to the eyes of the competent 🙂

  2. LilyRiddle May 2, 2013 at 9:28 pm Reply

    Oh my gosh i found that story genuinely sad, i hope that message reached the relative in one way or anyother.

    I’d also like to point out i’ve never seen one of our wardens change a lightbulb, you need to get over here and teach them a thing or two lol

    • jwebster2 May 2, 2013 at 9:38 pm Reply

      We’re thinking of fitting a letterbox to the door, then when he’s talking to bereaved families the vicar can point out that we’re there to help afterwards.

      As to light bulbs, ours are low enough to reach if I stand on a pew. We don’t have to hire scaffolding 🙂

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