In St Bride’s services for the 4th week of Easter (click here to listen), Marketors’ Chaplain The Reverend Canon Dr Alison Joyce suggests that those able to approach life with a fundamental sense of gratitude for the things around them, enjoy the greatest sense of wellbeing during lockdown.
Like most of us, Alison has found her evenings transformed. As well as watching old movies on TV, she’s taken to reading books she started long ago but never finished. One by Margaret Silf – “Landmarks: An Ignatian Journey” contains she feels, a lesson for the Covid age. Included among several true stories is one concerning a bereaved woman who decided to take a holiday on a canal boat. She was doing OK until she came to tunnels. She found them particularly unpleasant – she couldn’t see, the boat kept scraping the walls and the air stank of diesel fumes.
She became so frightened that she wanted to turn back – but you can’t turn a canal boat around in a tunnel. The experience was just like her spiritual desolation. Then she realised that although her life was bleak she would, like the boat, reach daylight again. “When you emerge on the other side, the light seems brighter, the bird song sweeter and the dappling in the water more beautiful. You see the world with new eyes because of the darkness behind you – you’ve arrived at a new place, further on in your journey.”
As Alison says, there’s so much darkness and uncertainty at the moment. “If you can’t see the light of the exit you begin to doubt that you’ll ever re-emerge. But it’s there, ahead of us, we just need to remain hopeful and courageous and stand fast. Secure in the belief that the light is still there – we just can’t see it at the moment.”