Appreciating the beauty in the everyday

Yesterday was Bank Holiday Monday and lots of people were out and about. I’m normally off on Mondays so, while many dread the start of the working week, it’s always a day I look forward to.

When I was speaking in Church on Sunday evening, I was thinking about suffering and death and how overwhelming those things can seem at the present time. The news is full of difficult situations around the World from Afghanistan to Yemen, from Ukraine to the Democratic Republic of Congo. People are finding it hard to contend with the scale of all that’s going on around us, the fear of the unknown and the rising cost of living.

Maybe, as a result of living through the recent Pandemic which continues to impact our world and our behaviour, I find myself appreciating things in a new way. In my work as a church leader I no longer take it as a given that we can assemble together in person after spending many months when our building was closed.

Yesterday, then, was a good day to take stock as I went about my day. I rejoiced in getting some extra rest. We normally rise early in our house because of our personal circumstances and, after getting up as normal, I got back for a second sleep for an hour and 20 minutes. There are little windows like this we try to grab and, rather like a camel, you store them for when they might be needed and extra sleep and rest is always valuable.

I had the opportunity to take some exercise using a workout on YouTube and, while I never relish the prospect, it’s always great to have the opportunity and the health to do this.

While my son and his mum went to do some climbing in a climbing centre they belong to, I got the opportunity to take a walk with my daughter in the park. We bumped into some friends we hadn’t seen in a while, out for a cycle ride as a family and it was lovely to see them and catch up on their news.

We had brought a picnic with us and a rugby ball so, after we collected Vicky and Lucy, we went off to Hillsborough Forest Park for some fresh air, some kicking and catching and to enjoy a picnic together. It was, again, a time when I was aware of how lucky I was to be able to still kick ball with our son and to spend time together. He will soon be too big and too cool, I suspect, to kick ball with his old Dad!

Although the weather was cool and overcast, it wasn’t too cold for an icecream so that was something everyone again enjoyed together.

When we got home before dinner we were able to play a board game we had been given for Christmas called Articulate. It’s great fun and involves miming different words so other people can guess them. I don’t think the Pierce family will ever pose any great threat to the acting profession but we had lots of laughs playing this game.

The May Bank holiday wouldn’t be complete without tuning into the World Snooker final and watching the genius that is Ronnie O’Sullivan win a 7th world title, wielding his snooker cue like a magic wand. There’s something about the reverential hushed atmosphere and the mesmerising artistry of these great players that is captivating to watch. I finished a novel I was reading as I fed our daughter and the day drew to a close.

On Sunday night, after Confirmation class and church, I sent an email to the Minister for Justice looking for help and guidance in how we might best advance and help the process of applying for a visa for our Ukrainian family. The application has been with the Home Office for 6 weeks now and this family are living in dormitory type accommodation in Warsaw, Poland. They have endured a harrowing journey from Mariupol in Ukraine to Russia to Latvia and to Poland. It’s no easy feat to have come such a distance with 2 young children, including a baby just a couple of months old and a grandmother as well as 2 parents.

I thought about this family during the day. I have no doubt they would have enjoyed many of the types of things I enjoyed doing yesterday up to relatively recently. Sometimes we don’t know how lucky we are and we take things for granted. It’s often the simple things that make us very privileged – things like a roof over our head, a place where we can live in safety, the health and strength to see and hear and move about without difficulty and food to enjoy without wondering where the next meal might come from. 

In the next couple of weeks, from 15th-21st May, St. Finnian’s will again be involved in door to door collections for Christian Aid in this area, helping families in the poorest parts of the globe to recover from the pandemic, sowing seeds of hope with resources like water taps on their farms, learning to grow food and seeds that can flourish even in drought. If you can help in this way through becoming a collector or helping again if you have done so before, why not contact Jonathan Johnston on 07746521759 who is organising our collectors this year?

Looking forward to speaking again soon.

Much love to everyone,

Jono.

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