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Reflection for Thursday 7 May 2020 | Barn Church Kew

My grandmother used to have lots of little sayings. One of which springs to mind today:

“Patience is a virtue, possess it if you can;                                                                                                 Seldom in a woman, but never in a man!”

I am not sure that this is politically correct these days. But I do know that, like many people, I am getting very fed up with the current situation and cannot wait for it to end. The increase in traffic as I take my morning walk shows that many people are just getting out and about to do whatever they regard as important. But we do need to keep patience.

I was thinking about Terry Waite yesterday. Terry was the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Assistant for Anglican Communion Affairs. In the early 1980s he successfully negotiated the release of hostages in Iran and Libya. However, because he made use of certain American assistance, the people with whom he negotiated lost faith in him. In 1987, during negotiations to release other hostages in Lebanon he was himself taken hostage and was in captivity until 1991. He spent nearly four years in solitary confinement, not knowing what his future held, receiving brutal treatment.

The thought of so long on one’s own would be pretty daunting in itself. But Terry Waite did not come out of it all a bitter man. He had managed to keep an inner resolve to have no regrets and no self-pity and to manage the anger he felt at his situation.  And, while he admitted that he sometimes had struggles with his faith, it endured and brought him through. He told himself that he had to realise that this situation was his life at that moment, that he should not be defeated and not feel sorry for himself. He told himself to use his imagination and to use that imagination to keep his brain working. And ultimately, he found that he developed an inner peace and a greater degree of contentment than he could have thought possible. After his release he spent the rest of his working life involved in charity work and looking after the interests of other people.

Lots of us are struggling at present. But we will come through this. As Michael said on Tuesday, God is with us through thick and thin, every day and for eternity.  

Now, hymn verse for today:

Father, hear the prayer we offer;                                                                                                                     Not for ease that prayer shall be,                                                                                                                             But for strength that we may ever                                                                                                                             Live our lives courageously.

Richard Austen