September 2020 - Rector's Ramblings

In addition to the chance to watch a few films and dramas, which I mentioned last month, Lockdown has prompted many of us to do things which had been on the permanent back burner.

For Karen and I, one of these overdue tasks has been to place our photographs (all electronic nowadays) into some semblance of order. It has been a bit of a haul, but in the end they are now much more accessible. The test will be whether we see ourselves continuing to browse through them, reflectively and thankfully, over the years ahead.  

We have even compiled an album of some past travels, and have plans for more such collections.

The past can, indeed, be catalogued and rescued for present contemplation; but even better is the way that the past may find fresh expression in new ventures today. Sometimes, with great poignancy and consequence.

One of the great delights of the mounting weeks has been to pick up the phone, or arrange a Zoom meeting, with those whom we have neglected for some time. One of those persons, with whom I had not shared a phone conversation for over 20 years, asked me a leading question:  ‘what have you learned from lockdown, that you will take on into the future?’ Perhaps through the novelty of that very discussion, I found myself saying: ‘that you don’t need a water-tight, copper-bottomed, universally-accepted excuse for making contact with another person’.

It is simply enough that you want to say ‘hello’ again; that you happened to have been thinking of them, or praying for them; or that you had been reminded how much they meant to you, whether they guessed it or not. It is a compliment to them that you want to make contact; and, whether it goes anywhere or not, it is a nice thing rather than anything presumptuous.    

We’re all feeling a bit isolated in this crazy moment. Most of us are welcoming of a smiling face or a familiar old voice upon the phone. If we have learned these past five months to say ‘hello’ to complete strangers as never before, and to thank them for the simple courtesies of waiting and allowing us space as we pass ... why, how much more fitting it is to dust off the address book, and reach out in faith …

‘Hello’ (nervously), ‘I know we haven’t spoken for an age, but …’

‘How wonderful to hear from you. Ohh, you’ve certainly brightened up my morning. And how are you getting on in this mad, mad world?’

‘Do you remember that time we spent …’

Andrew Doye                
Rector


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