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Keeping mum

Will the secrets surface? asks Claire Brine

Baring your soul when there's a risk of rejection is scary

IT’S 5.17 am. Cathy would like to be asleep. But there’s no opportunity for her to enjoy a lazy morning in the BBC Two comedy Mum. In next week’s episode (Tuesday 13 March), Cathy’s son and his girlfriend are up at the crack of dawn, ready for their holiday to Cyprus. Despite the unearthly hour, they want Cathy to share in their excitement.

‘I can’t wait for them to be gone,’ whispers Cathy (Lesley Manville, pictured) to her friend, Michael (Peter Mullan), who’s landed the job of driving the young couple to the airport. And it’s no wonder. The day has barely begun and already Cathy has been cleaning the kitchen floor after her son’s girlfriend, Kelly (Lisa McGrillis), spilt milk everywhere. Ten days without them sounds heavenly.

But before the holiday makers are ready to drive off into the sunshine, Michael tells Cathy that something is wrong.

‘My mum died,’ he blurts out. ‘Don’t say anything.’

Before Cathy even has time to respond, more visitors trundle into the house. Her brother arrives with a large suitcase to lend her son. Then Kelly’s mum turns up with Kelly’s passport. It’s becoming a very chaotic morning.

Managing to snatch a few moments alone with Michael, Cathy tries to check that he is OK. He’s not. But that’s only partly to do with his mum’s death. Secretly, Michael has been fond of Cathy – who is a widow – for a long time. And he wants to tell her. He just can’t get the words out.

‘You know when things like this happen,’ he begins, ‘and you can see things differently and life’s too short … And you’ve waited decades to say something…’

‘Yes, it changes your perspective when you lose someone,’ adds Cathy, showing she understands. ‘It gives you a kind of courage. What do you want to say to me?’

Finally, after years of harbouring feelings for Cathy, Michael has his big moment. It’s time for him to come clean. But baring his soul when there’s a risk of rejection is scary. He’s not sure if he can do it.

The ‘do we?’ or ‘don’t we?’ dilemma is something that we all have to face at some stage in life – whoever we are. Do we say how we feel? Do we take the job? Do we move away? Do we keep trying or do we give up?

One of the biggest decisions we have to consider is faith: do we have it or don’t we? Are we going to buy into the idea that there’s a God who loves us – or not?

The Bible is full of stories about people’s experiences of God and how his presence changes their lives – for the better. One Bible writer, Paul, tells how God transformed him from a violent persecutor into a follower of Jesus, intent on spreading the message of God’s forgiveness.

Paul describes God’s compassion for humankind like this: ‘Nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus’ (Romans 8:39 New Living Translation).

A God who loves us unconditionally, who keeps no record of our mistakes, who helps us become better people is surely a God worth following.

But will we or won’t we?


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