Over the past several weeks, computer difficulties have made it increasingly difficult to keep up with this site. First, I had one problem which I mostly resolved, but left me without wireless access to my router. The only way I could get around it was by establishing a physical connection to the router – which I could only do when Raymond was not using his desktop. I could still cope with this restriction by careful planning: I could prepare material off-line, and then transfer when access became available. Conversely, if I came across news stories or useful commentary elsewhere, I could download, and later read more carefully off-line. But no matter what way I played it, I was simply left with far less time than I would have liked for casual internet browsing, which so often sparks ideas and new lines of thinking, nor was there time to be placing comments elsewhere, giving encouragement to the other bloggers and their hard work.
Now, I have a new problem: my laptop AC adaptor /charger has died on me, and I can no longer recharge my battery, or work directly from a power socket. I can still operate directly from Raymond’s desktop, but can no longer do anything at all when he is using it himself – which is most of the day. In practice, I get to sit down at the PC for a couple of hours or so during the day, and after he has gone to bed. (Evenings are another option, when he likes to watch a lot of TV or DVD’s – but I usually like to watch with him, or at least sit and read with him.) The problems are not severe, and in principle easily fixed, quite cheaply. So why don’t I do so? Because, quite simply I have no money. None at all. The time has come for some disclosure.
The only reason I have been able to put so much time into this project is that over the past year and more, I have had neither work nor income – except very briefly for one month, at near minimum wage, back in May. Fortunately, I have a tolerant partner and do not have to fret over mortgage payments or dependents. I also long ago took a clear decision that this blog is the most important thing I need to do. For simple, practical matters, I have adopted (very literally) the twin Ignatian ideas of “trust” and “surrender”: Trust in the Lord, and surrender to his will. The result is that I have been able to eke out my very limited funds over an extraordinarily long period. Whenever I have reached the very end, something has come up to tide me over, and so it has been again. For this year, I have secured some part-time work (one day a week), co-ordinating the distribution of our local free newspaper. This will provide a minimum income to keep me going, but does not leave me in a strong position to subsidise the expenses of this site. The time has come to ask for help.
I have an expanding pool of readers, whose increasing degree of loyalty is shown by the activity in the comments thread. I know from the feedback you have given that many of you read these pages regularly, and find them helpful. If you really do see value in them, I hope you will not be offended if I ask you to consider placing an occasional donation in my new collection plate: think of it as your Sunday offertory contribution.