Posts

Showing posts from 2012

The Marriage of Jesus. Chapter One

Image
Copyright Maggy Whitehouse 2005.
Chapter One:Background, legend, supposition and belief
The question No one will ever know for certain whether or not Jesus of Nazareth was married. Even if an intrepid archaeologist were to discover an ancient jar containing a wedding contract between Yeshua son of Joseph of Nazareth and his wife, Tamar (or Sarah, or Rebekah or Leah or Rachel), it would only become a hotly-contested issue as to whether or not it was that Jesus of Nazareth.
The assumption that he was not married has been implicit in Christian belief for many centuries. The idea of Jesus as the only Son of God, born to a virgin mother, sits uncomfortably with the notion that he could have had sex, sons and daughters. After all, if he were divine, wouldn’t his children be considered to be so also? However, there is no biblical evidence anywhere that he was unmarried. Certainly, there is no mention of a wife in the Bible or in any historical texts, but that proves nothing. Most of the women…

Australia - my land of miracles.

Continuing excerpts from my memoir Dear God.   Two months after Henry's death, I ran away to Australia for six weeks. When you don't know if you want to live or not you might as well take an adventure as stay at home. I had two friends travelling round the world but back in the days of no mobile phones and little internet it was going to be a bit hit-and-run when we met up in Cairns, in the Northern Territory. I arrived there on April 25th 1990.
I awoke on my birthday morning, hung over and depressed. There are only so many circuits you can do around a town centre in the rain. The previous night’s brief injection of life-force had dissolved and I had hit the ground of depression with a resounding thud. I really didn’t know what to do with myself. It didn’t help that there was only so much you can do in Cairns on a wet day. Wandering aimlessly, I passed the ships going out to the Barrier Reef four times before the possibility of getting onto one of them pervaded my brain. In a pre…

The Worst Chat Up Line in the World

I think that I had it relatively easy when Henry died because I had only known him for 16 months so and I could remember life before him. Nowadays, when I care for the dying in St. Mary's Hospice, Birmingham, I see the incredible bravery of husbands and wives who have been together for 50 or more years and simply don't know how they are going to survive alone. But I didn’t have my job to fall back on because I had taken a gamble just before I met Henry on becoming a documentary producer and presenter on China rather than a daytime TV producer. And just a couple of weeks before Henry’s diagnosis, the international crisis that was Tiananmen Square had happened which meant that China was strictly off limits to reporters and documentary-makers. So my Universe had not only crashed and burned personally, it had done a double-whammy on my career as well. And I didn’t have any duct tape for sticking it back up — or even a beagle to run over it with wagging tail and lustrous eyes. Confuse…

Henry and Me

It’s entirely likely that I would have wriggled out of marrying Henry if I’d been given the chance. But Fate — or Destiny — would have it that he and I were both serial travellers for work with enough ready-booked destinations to ensure that we were hardly together again until the date we had booked for our wedding. 
Even so, I suspect I would have managed it had Henry not cunningly arranged to visit my mother while I was in South America for a six weeks. I’d decided, while I was away with both my father and brother, chasing steam engines, that I couldn’t go through with marriage to this virtual stranger. But by the time I got home Henry had got his feet firmly under the table with the entire family, all of whom were shocked, thrilled and amazed that Maggy had managed to find someone nice who was actually willing to marry her (after such a long time – they’d given up hope, really they had...) and had all gone shopping for hats.
So, at the age of 32, I got married for the first time to a…

Nemesis

Another memoir from my Life of Miracles - this time how I met and married Henry Barley.
Henry married me because of a hedgehog. I married him because of Steve Winwood. I had long been cunning in my resistance to marriage, while believing all along that I wanted it. With middle-class angst, too much puppy fat and enough training in not showing off to make me dull as ditchwater, I believed no one worth having would want me. I didn’t realise that my strategy of falling in love only with those who were unavailable was also an effective defence. I can’t say the men I languished over were commitment-phobes; most of them were seriously committed — committed that is to steam engines, amateur dramatics, their own reflection or their wife. And yet, one day, at the age of 32, I found myself in the far reaches of China, being proposed to by an ordinary, unassuming, perfectly pleasant grey-haired man, nine years my senior, whom I’d met just seven days before. He had never even kissed me and I’d not …

Acknowledging Anger

Another memoir about the event that transformed my life - the death of my young husband after just one year of marriage.


Henry died on February 24th 1990 and I was catapulted into a very strange world. Back then, we weren’t at war with anyone in particular so there weren’t pictures of young widows on the news and there were only four TV channels with no reality TV. Yes, people were still being widowed all the time but it was a lot less publicised and it had never actually happened in my circle. Friends and family didn’t know what to do with me which was hardly surprising because I didn’t know what to do with myself. I lived in the media world, where people often didn’t see each other for six months to a year, so many of my former colleagues didn’t even know I’d got married, let alone that Henry was dead. So I’d get people saying, ‘Wow! You look terrific! You’ve lost so much weight. What’s your secret?’ Those who did know said, ‘Don’t you think you’re wearing too much black?’ Or: ‘I don’t t…

The bad news

I think most of us experience a strange, surreal feeling when we hear terrible news. It’s like when people say ‘Where were you when President Kennedy got shot?’ Or ‘Where were you when you heard about 9/11?’ Everyone remembers because the hugeness of the event blazed a tear in their psyche. You stand numb, disbelieving, with the whole world that was in full working order just one minute before, destroyed. I was at home; in the living room in my terraced house in Birmingham. A part of me seemed to be outside myself looking inwards; a second me was inside and screaming and the final piece of me was saying, ‘Well of course. Why wouldn’t this happen to you?’ I think all of us have got them: the watcher, the victim, the critic — and many more personalities besides. They shape our lives without our even noticing them, creating, destroying and fouling up. For most of my life I have been at war with myself through those characters. Even now, some of them only have an uneasy accord but they don’…

Henry Barley

Henry married me because of a hedgehog. I married him because of Steve Winwood. I had long been cunning in my resistance to marriage, while believing all along that I wanted it.  With middle-class angst, too much puppy fat and enough training in not showing off to make me dull as ditchwater, I believed no one worth having would want me. I didn’t realise that my strategy of falling in love only with those who were unavailable was also an effective defence. I can’t say the men I languished over were commitment-phobes; most of them were seriously committed — committed that is to steam engines, amateur dramatics, their own reflection or their wife. And yet, one day, at the age of 32, I found myself in the far reaches of China, being proposed to by an ordinary, unassuming, perfectly pleasant grey-haired man, nine years my senior, whom I’d met just seven days before. He had never even kissed me and I’d not looked at him twice (apart from asking him to lend me the money to buy a hedgehog). …