Talking Point – March 2021

However it feels, you are not alone   

AS I WRITE, it is yet another cold, grey, drizzly day in February and there are weeks to go before we can expect to feel the Spring. People have said how much easier the weather made last March’s lockdown.
Proverbs 13, verse12 says ‘Hope deferred makes the heart sick’. Although we know theoretically there is every reason to have hope we will emerge from the pandemic, it is deferred. We have weeks and months more to wait/endure/ struggle on. (And that’s assuming we do not get sick and need the help of an NHS at breaking point). One of the effects of the way the pandemic has evolved has been the continual deferral of hope. The horizon in which life returns to some kind of normal has continually moved back. When every day is cold, grey and drizzly this is especially tough.
Having a faith does not alter these facts, but part of the problem is our isolation from each other, so the point of this article is simply to remind you that you are not alone. We are all struggling in different ways. You may be bored and lonely. Or you may be exhausted from never getting a moment’s quiet. And isolation means we cannot even comfort and reassure one other in the way we otherwise would do.
But you are not alone.
‘Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life’. If we can get through a few more months the second half of this proverb will be our reality. The summer will come, the vaccine will work, and we will be able to go into each other’s homes and talk and touch and hug.
But we also need to live in the now, like people who live in a war or other disaster zone with no end in sight. You probably know the things that can help. Making a deliberate choice to be thankful for whatever is good. Praying (talking to God in your imagination), meditating (embracing the silence). Switching your focus to someone else and reaching out to help them, with a word or gesture of encouragement – a phone call, a letter, a gift. St Andrew’s church porch remains a drop-off point for donations to the local foodbank, and the church is open every day if you want to come in and say a prayer or light a candle for yourself or someone else. Alcohol in anything other than small amounts does not help and carries serious risks. So there are some things we can do, although they all need a little investment of effort, but that’s hard if you are already exhausted.
I’m really just writing to say that you are not alone in finding these days really hard. If you shed a few tears, know as you do so that you are not the only one. At the church we pray for our local community, and I encourage you to do the same. It may not feel like it, but we are in this together. God bless.

Rev Nigel Jones, Vicar St Andrew’s Church,
Albert Road