As the summer draws to an end, we are trying to make plans for the autumn and even for Christmas. Anytime I write something down on a risk assessment or diary, the government issues different advice. It is inevitable because the times are, as we continue to repeat, unprecedented and so deciding what we can do even in two weeks’ time is complicated. We are edging our way back to (a new?) normal. I think we have very different experiences of the same ‘lockdown’, and our feelings about our suddenly reduced socialising/ working/travelling have also varied over time. Whether you have found this time to be a relief or a frustration, whether children are itching to go back to school or dreading it, whether you dedicated your weeks to learning a new skill or just subsided on the sofa in weariness, we can listen to each other’s experiences and respond gently accepting that even in our small villages, we encompass many viewpoints. Some plans must be made even if we know that everything may change at short notice. So I am planning to celebrate Harvest, to commemorate All Souls, to mark Remembrance Sunday and yes I’m wondering about Christmas and if we can sing carols together (or not, what a shame that may be!) and to take some holiday time walking a pilgrimage or two. At the same time, I am reminding myself to enjoy the here-and-now, to value conversations, to read a book or two, to take a walk whatever the weather. I hope that these months of many changes have finally taught me that however exciting my future plans, it is the present moment that truly matters and is resonant with deeper meaning. The uncertainty, the ongoing shielding that cocoons some people mostly at home, still means that we may or may not see each other in person, and even if we do, the usual social signs of hugs and handshakes still cannot be shared. So I’ll close with the end of the Irish Blessing in the hope that this physical image of God’s comfort and blessing will stay close to you. “And until we meet again, may God hold you in the hollow of His hand.”
You can find this letter and more articles in the September issue of Castle View – available now.
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