August 2020

How often have you found yourself saying that we are living in very weird times – where bits of our lives don’t feel very real at all? Like wearing masks in shops, which hide an important part of our identity, or not embracing people except members of our family or household.

One of the things this weird time may have taught us (if we’re lucky) is the value of waiting. I don’t just mean waiting your turn in a queue, though that’s been quite a lesson in itself! I mean the whole business of waiting for the easing of restrictions, of waiting to go “back” to work, of waiting for sports or entertainments to resume, of waiting for business to pick up, of waiting until this pandemic is over.

Waiting can be tremendously difficult, and with the current crisis there’s not much we can do to hurry things along. Of course, there will come a time when (reasonably) normal life resumes, but I suspect it will be well into next year. So the practice of waiting will be something we need to cultivate and value for some time.

Part of the key to this may be to see beyond where we are now and to imagine ourselves coming out the other side – which is a form of hope, an important Christian virtue. The other key may be to do more of what we have all been doing over the last few months, which is to notice what is going on around us and within us – to be more open and observant.

The attitude of hopefulness on the one hand and attentive alertness on the other may be just those elements of the Christian life which will keep us afloat in this period of waiting.

With every blessing for the rest of the Summer