St James' Church
Lost and found…. reflections on a pandemic
At last, the branches of the large oak tree in the vicarage garden are
covering with leaves. They have been bare for so long it is a very
welcome sight. And with the successful rollout of the vaccine
programme there is a hopeful spirit in the air as restrictions are
slowly eased. I’m so looking forward to visiting family and friends at
home and sharing meals again together. But it will also feel very
strange as it’s been so long. As we begin to pick up the threads of
normal life again, I’ve been reflecting on the last year.
We’ve all experienced a great deal of loss; loss of control over our
lives, loss of freedom, loss of the everyday routines and activities we
were used to. We’ve missed family celebrations and holidays. Some
have lost jobs and there has been tragic loss of life. I’ve found it
heart-breaking to hear the experiences of the bereaved families, of
the funerals I’ve taken, some who weren’t able to see their loved
ones before they died. Our hearts go out to them.
The pandemic has robbed us of so much and we lament and grieve
those losses. But there have been blessings and discoveries too.
I’d never heard of zoom before the pandemic and now I use it .
regularly. Technology has provided a virtual space to meet, an
we’ve had people join our online services from as far away as
Nigeria! I have discovered the joy of playing cards with my children
and I hope that doesn’t get lost as the busyness of afterschool clubs
and swimming lessons begins again.
But particularly wonderful has been the community spirit that has
built up and the generosity that has been shown. In the Southern
Evening Echo recently there was a lovely letter from a couple
thanking a young lad called Thom, who lives in West End, who
delivered a newspaper to them every day through the first
lockdown. An elderly gentleman in West End who is housebound
now has his dog walked every day by a neighbour. They live in the
same street but hadn’t met before the pandemic began. There are
many stories of kindness, generosity, and connection from this last
difficult year And of course, the NHS and key workers have been
amazing and worked so hard and sacrificially.
We’ve lost so much but we’ve found things too and as we emerge
from this time; we have an opportunity to shape our lives
differently. We could slip back into old patterns or we might decide
to do things a bit differently. I hope we can build on the community
spirit that has flourished and I intend to treasure and appreciate
those seemingly small things in life I took for granted before. Inviting
family and friends into my home. Sharing a meal. A hug.
These things are precious.
Rev’d Vicky Maunder