Nov 2020 - Jan 2021
This is the time to be slow,
Lie low to the wall
Until the bitter weather passes
Try, as best you can, not to let
The wire brush of doubt Scrape from your heart
All sense of yourself And your hesitant light.
If you remain generous,
Time will come good;
And you will find your feet
Again on fresh pastures of promise,
Where the air will be kind And blushed with beginning
John O’ Donohue, Benedictus Book of Blessings
This is indeed ‘the time to be slow and lie low to the wall until the bitter weather passes’, as the second wave of Covid-19 draws in along with the dark nights. But for all we must retire physically from the world awhile again, we must ‘try, try as best [we] can [spiritually], not to let the wire brush of doubt scrape from [our] hearts all sense of [ourselves] and [our gentle inner] light.’
How can we ‘try, try as best [we] can [spiritually]’ to do this? For O’ Donohue here its to remain ‘generous’. This puts me in mind of the Hindu proverb which says, ‘Help thy brother’s boat across and lo! thine own has reached the shore.’ So it is that Elaine Lipworth says, ‘If you’re looking for meaning, looking for an opportunity to be useful to someone else may be your best bet.’ It necessarily takes one out of oneself, it helps one to see things in one’s own life from a better perspective, and above all leaves one feeling useful and worthwhile. Thus it has the power to turn the giver into a recipient; even the major one.
Covid-19 offers opportunities galore for all of us to be generous and to make this a more bearable and shorter time for others and ourselves. As Michelle Obama says, ‘You may not always have a comfortable life. And you will not always be able to solve all the world’s problems all at once. But don’t ever underestimate the impact you can have, because history has shown us that courage can be contagious, and hope can take on a life of its own.’ So let us be done with worrying overmuch about Covid-19 and take reasonable courage for others as well as ourselves. Maya Angelou reminds us that we spend too much time living in unreasonable fear, when ‘it would be wise to use that time adoring our families, cherishing our friends and living our lives.’
The Chapel continues to support you in this quest. We kept going during Lockdown 1 with remote reflections each week and walks out; we opened to Covid-19 safety compliant private prayer as soon as possible; within two weeks of that to services without hymns, but with live Music; recruited a talented Musical Director in Jason to make the most of the added emphasis given to music in Chapel; and we’re now open to accompanied private prayer and by Zoom. Make the most of it. It’d be a terrible waste not to! Amen.