Wednesday, 18 March 2020

"Encourage one another"

I wonder if you know the English writer Anne Booth? I've linkified the picture for you. Isn't she lovely?

Today on Facebook, she shared some of her own responses to these difficult times, and kindly gave me her permission to pass on to you what she wrote. I thought it would encourage you and speak to your heart.

This is what Anne said:

I went downstairs early today to give the dogs their medicine and let them out, and I lit a candle in front of a lovely icon of the angel Gabriel and had a little pray, and I feel much the better for it. I was thinking that really, the important things haven't changed, and that the things we are taught in good times are just as important - if not more so — in strange times.
The advice to think about whatever is true, whatever is good, whatever is beautiful — that's still really really good advice. Thinking about all the kind people doing good things is so much better than dwelling on people being selfish. The advice to not judge others - which doesn't mean accepting bad behaviour or not querying bad decisions — but doesn't mean hating them or quickly attributing the worst motives either — that works regarding politicians and also for those panic buying and is fundamentally right. Maybe eg re the depressing panic buying, there needs to be official rationing in supermarkets, or better organisation. Some people haven't exactly covered themselves in glory when going shopping recently, but maybe they were just trying their best and maybe they don't react well under pressure, and even maybe some weren't panic buying but buying for lots of people. We can't know. I'm not saying some people aren't behaving badly, or that it's right what some people did and are doing, but it's very human, and maybe people just need a bit more official rules to help them behave better. I didn't panic buy because I happened to have plenty in already. I don't know what I would have done if my cupboards were empty. Maybe I am cross with some politicians for past attitudes — but if they are doing the right thing now I should be praising good actions and praying for them, and if they are not doing the right thing I should definitely still challenge them, but I should never hate them or say hateful things, but pray for them all the more. 
I am going to try to look for the good and true and beautiful — not to be naive or twee — but to be realistic in a fundamental sense. Before this crisis I believed in a reality where Love is stronger than Hate, but I also believed in a reality where only God is the source of all Goodness and where we humans are imperfect and can be awful, and definitely don't always do what we should do, but are still completely known and unconditionally loved, and are completely forgiven for our weakness, and ARE capable of loving and DO love and are given help to do the wise, right thing when we ask. Before this, I believed I was called to love God with all my heart soul and mind, and my neighbour as myself, but that of myself I was incapable of doing it, and needed to ask for help to do that, I still believe that. I believed I should take time to count my blessings and praise God. I still believe that. So absolutely nothing has changed! And re not judging others, I realise that includes not judging myself too. I was feeling rubbish this morning and wishing I wasn't me. I was wishing I was a different, braver person and didn't worry so much about things, and I was wishing I was feeling well enough to do something positive — some authors are creating online classes — some people are going out and helping in a crisis — and I don't feel well enough. I was feeling ashamed of not being well but I've realised, praying and sitting in front of the icon , that that's no good at all and isn't loving myself as I would my neighbour. 
Maybe all I am personally called to do today is something relatively small — to just get better of whatever it is I have — to sleep and drink tea and hot drinks and pray and read lovely books and watch lovely films and maybe share about them with others, and count my blessings and be grateful to not be more ill, and also be grateful for living somewhere where kind neighbours leave us potatoes and eggs on our doorstep, and there are lovely businesses — pubs, tea-rooms, farm shops — in our area who are offering home deliveries and being so kind. Our church in our village is wonderful and our vicar has even recorded a service, which I must watch. I can be grateful I am self-isolating but I am lucky enough not to be alone and I am with my lovely, kind husband. I can be kind to him and tell him how much I love him and watch nice TV programmes with him! I do worry about the rest of my family and wish I had all my children safely here, and I wish I could somehow make sure they are OK and I know I can't, but at least, unlike some refugee mothers, I have the blessing of knowing where they are and I can talk to my children on the phone and online and pray for them. I can chat to people who ARE alone, online. I can still pray, and speak up for, the medical staff who are on the frontline and support them & amplify their voices when they ask for more governmental help. 
I can self-isolate for a couple of weeks and not pass on an illness to vulnerable people, and not make things worse for those who have underlying medical problems and for whom this experience of isolation and not being well has been a reality, bravely borne, unseen, and not appreciated enough by the rest of us, for years. I can self-isolate for them and for those who love them and are looking after them. It's not very heroic but, actually for the moment, I still might save lives just by not getting in the way of others, and gosh, that's definitely a good thing! I can save lives whilst drinking tea at home - that's pretty amazing.
So I wish us all every blessing and peace today, especially those who are anxious or stressed or who anyone is very ill or worrying about someone who is ill or far away from them. That's so hard. I wish strength and peace for everyone in whatever way they need it, for whatever reason, and for nobody to be hard on themselves for feeling in need of it, for whatever reason. Blessings aren't rationed! I am so so grateful to all the health workers and their families and wish so many blessings to be poured out on them, and I will do my best to add my voice to their need for tests and proper equipment. I will pray for the politicians trying to sort this. I hope that still everyone has a deep down fundamentally good day full of kindness and love for themselves and others, and hopefully good books and fun and laughter and whatever things they love. And just for today, I am not going to even aspire to do anything heroic — I am just going to rest and drink more hot drinks and rest some more and read more of 'The Growing Summer' by Noel Streatfield and dream about living in Bantry, in Cork, where it is set. It is a LOVELY book!


greta said...

this is so lovely, so needed and so true. i'm eternally grateful for our online community which supports us, nurtures us and gives us hope. bless you, pen, for keeping us together. waving to everyone gathered here in love.

Pen Wilcock said...

Waving from England! x