Last week, during BBC One’s The Big Night In, the nation gathered again to #clapforourcarers.
For some of us this has become the only opportunity to see and speak to our neighbours, albeit from a distance. ‘Civic communion’ is one way I have seen this event described; these few minutes a time when we remind ourselves that our own experiences of isolation are mirrored in other households and locations.
‘We’re all in this together’ seems to have become a popular way of talking (or singing!) about life during the pandemic and whilst we know this is true in some senses, as the weeks go by I think we may be becoming more aware of where this statement falls short. Surely one thing the Coronavirus has done is to highlight the inequalities that exist within our society and across the world, and so, as someone said recently, whilst we may all be weathering the same storm, we are all making the journey in different boats – some are finding this much harder than others.
When we do all reach calmer waters I expect that the better memories we will have will be inspiring stories of the times when we witnessed practical love in action.
Whether it’s Captain Tom’s quiet determination to raise funds for the NHS; Jacinda Ardern’s boldness in taking a pay cut to show solidarity with those hit by Covid-19, or the compassion of healthcare workers who, despite not having sufficient PPE to protect themselves, ensure that those in residential care or hospital do not die alone – you will all have your own preferred stories to re-tell of how people reached out to others in their adversity.
I often find myself wondering if, when all this has passed, we will try to live in ways which honour the lessons we’ve learned or been reminded of during this season, so that we take the best with us into the new future that people keep talking about. I hope we will.
As we continue to look forward to a positive future beyond this time, words of the sixteenth-century English lawyer, philosopher and author, Sir Thomas More come to mind – ‘Give us, good Lord, the grace to work for the things we pray for.’
Wishing you peace and hope for this week’s stage of the journey.
Elizabeth York, LSF Chaplain