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When lockdown was announced I thought ‘whoopee! no more commitments for a while, I will now be able to catch up with all the various chores that have been waiting for fifty years’. Alas, the exuberance didn’t last long – eight days in fact. Next, I thought of all the pressing jobs in the garden, because of the drought digging was out of the question and much of the clipping of the shrubs was arm aching. I then turned my attention to walking, something I rarely do – there were so many warm and sunny days in May I became more adventurous and walked in many different directions. The sky was so blue, the sun so bright, the May bushes laden with the most glorious blossom, the constant shrill and pure voice of the blackbird, plus the very busy bees in and out of every plant and shrub, it was transcendent. I was so aware of the many people and children who were deprived of this special time.
During lockdown the long-awaited new bathroom began. As one wall needed to be plastered a man arrived, 74 years old, very bent, rather overweight, crippled with arthritis and diabetic. When he mounted the stairs carrying a very heavy bucket of plaster in one hand, the other hand reaching out for some sort of safety, it was a bit of an anxious time. However, all went well and after copious cups of coffee, lots of biscuits and huge amounts of laughter it was time to say our goodbyes.
Two people in their 50’s who I knew very well died from alcoholic related problems during the last few weeks. I was very fond of them both and felt very sad. I was very privileged to attend both of their funerals at the crematorium. God taught me a lot through these experiences.
There was one special and amazing happening during this very unusual time – at the end of a short walk with my 90-year-old friend whose mobility is extremely poor, we came to a very steep slope, high hedges on both sides, no one would see us…. It was quite impossible for my friend to climb it, even though there were only four or five steps to the Oxford Road. I reached the top, asking God to help.
Suddenly a man of Palestinian origin appeared, hair down to his shoulders – and removing a black and white scarf from his head, fixing his eyes on my friend down the slope he called “Lady, hold on!” with his arm outstretched, plus the length of the scarf, my friend was by my side in seconds! We both thanked him so much, and to our utter amazement, he disappeared into thin air! It was a most powerful and spiritual encounter I have ever had – the constancy of God is wonderful!
The story that Jesus told of the good Samaritan is being played out during this period in many neighbourhoods throughout the country.
I miss you all a lot and look forward to the day when we can meet. Until then may God bless Mike, Jenny, the leadership team and all friends from the Church.
With love and good wishes to you all