Children’s playthings – they often go missing in public places. Kind-hearted people find them, and put them somewhere they are likely to be seen by a parent who comes back searching.
I hope that toy was safely re-united with the small person who loves it to bits. Certainly it had gone the next time I walked that way.
Meantime, that battered, forlorn model-ambulance seemed quite symbolic. When normal patterns of life get up-ended, societal structures melt; things we had come to rely on, disappear; people we thought were there to help, are nowhere to be seen, or – worse – turn on us… any of those upheavals can shake us like a face-covering pegged out on a washing-line in a gale.
Growth happens when it feels like you’ve lost what was important to you. That’s when you get close to the One who loves you the most.
I had been full of pain and compassion on seeing Christ’s suffering; now I was filled with compassion for all the people He loves. Holy Church will be shaken in sorrow, anguish, and tribulation in this world – as a cloth hung outside to dry is shaken by the wind.
(Julian of Norwich, ‘A Revelation of Love’ Chapter 28)
Lord, when it feels as if every-thing we’ve relied on, is failing may our trust in you grow! Remind us that you did not say, ‘You won’t have a rough time’ or ‘It won’t ever feel like it’s all getting too much for you’ or ‘You won’t be made to feel uncomfortable’. Your promise is:
that we will not be overcome.
We can acknowledge our feelings of anxiety, grief, rage, etc (they’re normal reactions to abnormal situations; they make us human) but focus on what we can control, eg staying active. Our bodies are made to move; exercise helps too with emotional and spiritual health. To chill, it can help to hold on to something comforting, eg a holding-cross (can be worn round the neck, or slipped in a pocket) or a prayer-stone or a soft toy – they are not just for kids!
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A reflection from Jennifer Brooker ObJN, who has been a frequent visitor of Sarum College. She has a degree in Modern Languages from the University of Oxford and master’s degree in theology awarded by Durham University.