It might be fair to use the expression, “I don’t get out much!” at the moment, and that would be reasonable to say under the present circumstances, except for my weekly trip to the supermarket. Prior to the lockdown I think it would have been unusual for me not to be taking at least one journey each day. Church, school, hospital, London for meetings, to name just a few, but each day moving from one place to another, each journey with a purpose, each destination meeting different people. Now I’m not even sure when the last time I put fuel in the car was!
This has been an unusual experience for me. In the past I was the one in the family who was always ‘needed’ to be at work, now it is the others who leave me at home! And I know that some others have felt the same. Whilst in the supermarket last week, I was talking with the cashier as she ran my shopping through the till. We naturally chatted about the lockdown and restrictions. But one thing struck me, when she told me that sometimes she felt a bit strange coming into work, because she wouldn’t really have described what she does as essential!
This got me thinking about what I do and what others do. We often hear the analogy that our life is itself a journey, each of us making our way from birth and childhood, through the maze of decisions and choices of youth into adulthood, and then onward into our mid and senior years, finally arriving at our destination. That might be quite a simple way of summing it up and of course doesn’t tell us anything about what happened on the journey and who we shared it with. Each of us has our own unique story, each of us has different experiences and each of us share the journey with a wide variety of others. Some people are with us for all of our journey, others just for a small portion, and some others come and go. We too impact on other’s journeys as our lives intertwine.
If I was to try and list all the people that I’ve come into contact with, I’m guessing it would take an age, and even then I’d probably only record a small fraction of the true total. All of these people have shaped me into the person I am today, many I hope for the better, but also some I’d rather choose not to be remembering for whatever reason. However, they have all had, even fleetingly, a bearing on how perhaps I’ve acted with or treated others at certain times.
But there is One who should be recognised as being the only constant presence walking alongside me. I often push Him into the shadows, and perhaps conveniently overlook Him being there, but Christ tells us that He is with us always, and our faith allows us to acknowledge and believe this. Being conscious of His presence around me, and through others, is a gift that I have to work at.
If there is one thing that lockdown should help me remember, it is how much each and every one of us, including me, is an essential part of life. We are rightly very grateful to all of those that help us to keep going as near to ‘normal’ as is possible, but we also are grateful for everyone who plays a part in my life. Above all, let us be grateful and give thanks that we know that with Christ we are loved and never alone, no matter what comes our way.
It doesn’t do any harm each and everyday to acknowledge and thank the Lord for this gift He gives us – But when did I last take the time to specifically do it?
Deacon Ian Black