We have settled very quickly into the lovely Rectory and are both looking forward to a little more freedom in the coming months, hopefully. I can hear my Mum saying to me as a kid “patience is a virtue”. What I have learnt more than anything else during the lockdowns, is probably patience. It is a wonderful life attribute. For those of you who have played cricket, we all know the longer you can stay at the crease, the easier batting becomes, as your eyes adjust to the pace of the pitch, the light and climatic conditions, as the ball gets older and less likely to swing. I remember my son, Josh, batting in a Somerset under 15’s, 20 over competition final. Opening up and with his partner, they had 32 runs on the board after 10 overs. They finished up 136-2 off 20 overs, with Josh unbeaten on 69 not out. Patience!
We all need patience in the family. I have probably spent more time with my wife, Harriet, in the last year than I have in the previous 10! We’ve had the odd tiff but probably learnt to live with each other in better ways. I am sure many of you have had to develop patience in lots of areas of family life.
I have had to develop patience in the work place. People have reacted in strange and wondrous ways towards me during lockdown. I have tried to understand the pressures and dilemmas they face and to understand and deal with their situations patiently. Basically I have had to go the extra mile — a good discipline to learn in life.
As you will all find out, I am a dinosaur when it comes to technology so have had to develop new skills using Teams, Zoom and posting services on YouTube and Facebook. I am used to preaching off the cuff and have had to restrict myself to 5 mins on the internet or a side or so of A4 to be sent by snail mail.
I have had to almost learn patience with myself as I have adapted to new ways of life. There have been good days and bad days — days when I have achieved and days when I feel as though I have failed. I have had to learn to forgive myself and not be too hard on myself, to learn patience and wait. I want this all to end tomorrow. I want to wake up tomorrow and think this is all a bad dream, but I haven’t, as it’s true. I want normality again or what was normality. I’m desperate to go out for dinner, go to the cinema or theatre, sit in a crowd and watch cricket, footie or rugby. Go around to my friends for a curry and a pint! Go on holiday. If I’m patient I will and gradually, now these things are being made available to us, safely! I have had to learn to wait. Waiting can be painful but you can learn through it.
I have had 5 operations on my left knee and if you count the cartilage trims 7. To quote Jamie Webster on Virgil Van Dyke strong as you like! That’s how my knee feels now, even with somebody else’s Achilles tendon running through the middle of it. I’ve spent months rehabbing. I am able to walk up to 40 miles a week. No swelling, no pain. It took a long time. I got there. I worked on it. What I am saying is the thing we have had to all learn the most is patience. For me it’s the fruit of the Holy Spirit. It’s certainly something that I have had to ask God for and He’s freely given. May you all know the fruit of patience in the coming months. I hope you all have a great spring enjoying a little more freedom with friends and family, appreciating some of the things we have had to patiently wait for.