As I write we are still in the stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives phase. We are all wondering what will happen next and when that might happen. Against the prospect of lifting of restrictions, we have daily reminders of the terrible cost of this pandemic with the daily death toll of hundreds of people who have died. Each one an unbearable loss for their family and friends. We have seen over a hundred people who have given care lose their lives. These people have had to confront the disease to carry on caring. We are in difficult times without a clear way forward.
We are moving forward through the year to the times where people have had to postpone or cancel important events that were planned a long time ago. There is a sense of loss of the things that can not now happen and frustration in not being able to know when and how we might plan things in the future. The self-isolation feels much worse when we are reminded of a time when we would have gathered together with family and friends. There is a sense both of hopelessness and a sense of there being no easy way forward. We have never navigated this crisis before and do not know what we should do. We have come through difficult times both in the country and in our personal lives. Reflecting on these times can give us clues about what we can do rather focus on what we cannot do. One of the common iithemes is always to keep trying and not to give up. There have been a whole range of posters with the slogan ‘ Keep Calm and Keep ……’ it could be cooking, sewing, reading or any other activity you enjoy.
One of the places I look for help and inspiration is the book of Psalms in the Bible. Interestingly, they may be the oldest part of the Bible. They are also called the Song Book of the Old Testament. One of the interesting themes is that they can give a voice to God of the injustice and inequality around us. They give permission to share with God our deepest and darkest despairs and doubts. Psalm 88 is an example of placing our despair before God yet it longs for God and his comfort.
‘O Lord, God of my salvation, when, at night, I cry out in your presence, let my prayer come before you; incline your ear to my cry.’
The Psalms also offer hope and placing our trust in God. Psalm 121 would be a good example. It is always important to acknowledge our anxieties and worries. It never helps to deny concerns or pretend that we are alright when we are not. It is always important to talk and be heard. It can be friends, family or God who helps us get a perspective to keep trying and carrying on.
Rev. Martin Wood. The Rectory, Church Lane, Cheriton Bishop EX6 6HY 01647 24119 (Tuesday to Sunday) firstname.lastname@example.org