The Fabric of Our Lives

Do you ever find yourself thinking about those people and places that are part of the fabric of our lives?

For most of us the people and places we think about will be unique to us and to our circumstances.

I found myself flicking through an old photograph album I came across in my study during the week. Many readers won’t remember photograph albums in an era of mobile phones and digital cameras where people store their photos on their computers or in some digital cloud.

I lived for two years in my early 20’s in Setubal, in Portugal, and I remember taking photos at the time of places that became an important part of my daily routine. There was a supermarket called Pingo Doce where I got my groceries and beside it was a big fruit and vegetable and fish market.

Another important place was the post office (The Correios). Before emails and mobile phones, I used to write home every week and my parents would write to me. They would send me cuttings from the sports pages about rugby matches I was interested in, and I looked forward to these parcels with great anticipation. As it was quite expensive to phone home and I didn’t have a phone in my apartment, I would buy a phone card every couple of weeks and phone home. It seems pretty archaic when it’s so easy these days to facetime or phone in a cost effective way.

I loved to see my colleagues in the small language school where I worked, and used to make my way round the four ladies who taught English, French, German and our administrator kissing them on both cheeks as was the custom on my arrival.

As I have got older and my circumstances have changed, I think of places like my children’s schools. I think of the way the staff in both places not only care for our children, but care also for us as parents. They send invitations to events we may find helpful as parents, they send advice on dealing with different issues from study and exams to health and keeping an eye on some of the struggles and pressures our young people might be facing.

As the parent of one child with special needs, our local pharmacy is a very important place. We could not thank the Austin family enough for the way they source all Lucy’s medication and medical supplies and always have things ready when we have ordered them.

I think of the leaders in organisations like the Boys’ Brigade, or the coaches at Conor’s climbing gym, or Lucy’s coaches at her special Olympics gymnastics.

I think of different local churches and congregations I have been part of over the years. You tend to see the same people every week and, even though you don’t know them well, you appreciate their presence and their conversation. They tend to notice if you haven’t been around and you notice if they haven’t and, somehow, those small conversations and connections mean a great deal as you navigate your way through life’s struggles and joys.

I think of regular practices in my life like Bible reading and prayer and receiving Holy Communion. I think of familiar routes I go running or walking on and there is a comfort in all of these things. They become part of the fabric of our everyday lives. There might be cafes or restaurants you like to visit, there might be garages where you take your car to be serviced. There might be doctors or dentists you have to see regularly and it’s good in all of these environments to feel that you are known and cared about.

Maybe this week you could take a little time to think of who makes up the fabric of your life. Take a few moments to give thanks to God for all these special people. They probably have no idea of how special or important they are to making your life work. Perhaps, even without knowing it, you play such a role in someone else’s life. Even though you may not speak often to them, or they to you, somehow their presence and your presence matters.

That’s an important thing to consider if you are part of a community of faith. Maybe you don’t attend as regularly as you once did. You have found other things to do on a Sunday morning. When you are not there, it has quite an impact on all that happens and the people who are there. They miss their conversations with you, the way you connect into their lives and the prayers you might say for the things that are going on for them.

Let’s try to appreciate those people who make up the fabric of our lives and recognise that we, too, might be part of the fabric of the lives of others and not take that privilege for granted.

Look forward to speaking again soon.

Much love to everyone,


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