"To every thing there is a season,
and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal"
Ecclesiastes 3:3 is a verse that sticks with me. It's not a favourite (it's no Romans 13:4 or Mathew 22:37-40 or for that matter Mathew 8:9), I've just heard it so often that I can finish the quotation without effort. I suppose it has been rendered trite by repetition - I've heard it too often at family funerals. One of the tragedies of our modern comfortable lives is that we hear truth so often that it can lose it's meaning, like Kipling's Copybook Headings, as it is repeated, decontextualized, satirised and commoditised. We lose sight of it, like a page photocopied time after time, until it becomes a grey mass of artifacts and noise. The signal is lost unless we search for it.
I write Joy & Forgetfulness for a variety of reasons. It started as a writing exercise, the literary equivalent of cracking out a few press ups of a morning, since then it has become a sort of personal showcase for my hobby endeavours, a repository for very silly jokes, a means of blowing off steam and communicating the weird little fraternity of wargaming bloggers, many of whom have done me the honour of becoming my friends.
But if to every thing there is a season, to everything there is also a diction, a language that is suitable to the discussion of the thing. The sense of decorum in the original sense of the word, was behaviour and language that was appropriate to the moment. I rarely write seriously here, so I hope you'll forgive the breach of decorum as Mrs Kinch and I have some very wonderful, but rather serious news, but rest assured we will be back to toy soldiers and silliness shortly.
But the long and the short of it is that we were gifted with a genuine miracle.
Six years ago, we were told that we would be unable to have children. It was a hard blow, but we made our peace with it eventually. It wasn't easy, but the doctors were kind and the tests were clear. God is good, if not always easy to understand, and we were just going to have to make the best of it.
Several years later, Mrs Kinch lost an aunt and an uncle in rapid succession. A bright, lively talented couple who were taken far too young. Mrs Kinchs uncle, recently a widower and a bibulous old Tory who loved art and ties so loud that they were visible from space was of the opinion that,
"Doctors are idiots. My father was one and I should know. You deserve children."
We smiled and thanked him and carried on. But shortly after his death, we discovered he had made arrangements so that we could get a second opinion and had put in place the finance to make it happen.
It was a strange and unexpected legacy and we went down the path of IVF with no expectations. We already knew the answer. IVF is a painful and often humiliating process and we were in two minds as to whether to go down that road again. Eventually we decided that it would have been disrespectful to the memory of a kind and very generous couple not to try.
And it emerged contrary to everything we were told all those years ago, something miraculous had happened. We discovered that what we had been told was impossible was not and if our courage could bear it, we could try with a reasonable chance of success. With the help and encouragement of our friends and family, the hard work of some very kind doctors and nurses and most of all, the considerable grit of Mrs. Kinch - we embarked on what was to prove a difficult journey.
It has been a long and hard road, especially for Mrs Kinch, and there has been heartbreak along the way. But we have been blessed and are expecting the arrival of the Kinch twins some time in November. I hardly know how to write about it - but there it is.
To steal some lines from Cowper,
"His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding ever hour,
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower."