This morning a battle raged in my head before I was even downstairs. I had a package I needed to post. The battle was, “Do I make the 10 to 15 minute all to the post office or do I nip up there in the car?” Now the car does need to be used now and then to keep the battery charged, but do I really need to drive? I have time. I have energy. I can walk. On the other hand, I have to insure I am back in time for the Zoom coffee morning.
I used to live less than a five minute walk from three local shops that each carried any odds and ends I needed. I happily walked to them regularly for a pint of milk, a newspaper, or, more importantly, a Diet Coke. I was spoiled. “It’s so much easier to drive,” my mind says today, but my hearts say, “Walk.” This time walking won out.
On my “trip,” which included a brief stop at the local shop before going into the post office, I noticed a few of things.
Firstly, people were friendly. They said “hello,” smiled, and moved out of my way to keep to rules of social distancing. On my regular afternoon walk, no matter which way I go, people rarely speak. They often fail to move out of my way. This morning I passed one person coming and going to the post office, and she remarked on that. Why were people friendlier? I have no idea. Maybe it is just the day and everyone will be friendly later. Maybe we are just too tired later. Maybe I was friendlier. Or maybe there is no clear reason, they just were.
Secondly, in the shop there was a girl with her mother, happily chatting away about what they were going to eat when the returned home. She was about four. I imagined her chatting all the way to the shop and all the way home. The joy of life brimming in her. She reminded me that most children are able to adapt to whatever life throws at them. They live in the moment, with less worry about tomorrow or next week than adults do. They do have sadness, but they also can put it aside to focus on a task before them or the excitement of this moment. Children do grieve, but generally they also get on with life. (I know I am not talking about children who are abused or ill etc.)
For this lass, life, even in lockdown, held joy and things to which she could look forward. Hmm, what does that say to me/us?
Finally, as I waited in the shop queue, I noted again the screens in front of the shop assistant. I don’t like barriers. I believe that Jesus came to break down barriers—between human beings and between us and God, to bring wholeness to our relationships.
So what did those barriers remind me of? I thought a moment, “Ah, the banks.” There is a similar style barrier which protects the “gold” we store in banks and building societies. Those barriers now protect something more precious than “gold”—life. It’s not gold that is precious now; it is life—the shop assistant’s, mine, ours.
In essence, all three aspects of my walk to the post office were about the goodness of life—in the kindness and brief words of those who like me were out and about this morning, in the joy of the little girl, and the “barrier” reminding me of the value of life for all people. My choice of a walk was a good thing in more ways than one. Despite lockdown, life, today, is good.
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