4th March

Philippa Burrell

This is a beautiful photo by Philippa of a very ordinary practice which many of us I guess partake in – reading the Bible, reflecting on our faith while having a cup of tea. When I saw the photo, it immediately reminded me of a reflection that I had recently read from a priest called Kalantha Brewis. In it, she reflects on what life will be like after lockdown. She uses the ordinary image of teabags at the beginning of her reflection and ends by turning to Scripture – tea and the Bible: a good mix! Here are her thoughts (shared with permission).

Separating teabags.

Once upon a time, a long time ago, I was out on a hack, when the horse I was riding lost its footing in some mud, fell onto its knees and nose, and sent me shooting off, to land badly on my right wrist. Six months, two operations, a surgical plate and a tendon transfer later, I was able to take off my cast and splints and return to normal. Except that I wasn’t. That first day of “freedom”, my wrist was so stiff that I couldn’t actually move it, and the grip in my right hand was so weak that I couldn’t even separate two teabags. I stared at my hands in disbelief. It was a long process of rehabilitation and it was painful.

As we begin to think about coming out of lockdown, we may envisage ourselves returning to doing things exactly as we did them before- but the reality will probably be different. We will probably find that we are in fact nervous about doing things we used to do unthinkingly. We may be made more nervous than we used to be in crowds, or if we hear someone coughing right next to us. We may find things that we haven’t done for a while, like trying on clothes in shops or singing in church feel really, really odd, and not at all comfortable. Or it may be that we feel ready to go straight back to doing everything, but that our friends and family members do not. I have already heard quite a few people expressing real anxiety about whether a return to “normality” will be safe.

We have all become a little institutionalised, and we will all need time to heal and regain our strength- our emotional and psychological and spiritual strength. So, if you find that the idea of “unlocking” actually makes you feel apprehensive, be gentle with yourselves- don’t rush it- and try not to rush anyone else. Take time to listen to your own feelings and to one another. Many people are coming out of this lockdown bereaved, impoverished and depressed. It’s not all going to be magically “over” in June. The letter to the Colossians says: “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with hearts of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” It may take a while, but we will get there. One cup of tea at a time.

Prayer

Lord, help us to remember
As we open up slowly after lockdown,
To be patient with ourselves
And with others.
Remind us to look to your Word
For strength
For comfort
For challenge.
Remind us
That we are all your beloved children,
Always and forever,
Through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Reflection offered by Susy