St. Michaelâs Vicarage
Dear People of Alnwick,
How are you?
That feels like the most appropriate thing I can ask as the clocks go back, the dark nights descend and the prospect of a difficult winter lies ahead.
But then, a slightly different question comes to mind.
How are you â really?
So many of us are able, even in the most trying of circumstances, to âput on a brave faceâ and give people the answer we think they really want to hear:
âIâm fine, thanks. How are you?â
After more than twenty years I can still recall that, as my year group was preparing to leave theological college and begin our lives as curates, the Principal invited a well-known and very experienced clergyman to talk to us about parish life.
âBeware,â he said âwhen, standing in the porch saying goodbye to people as they leave church on a Sunday, someone asks: âAnd how are you?â
Your immediate response will be you say, âIâm fine, thank you!â Remember â FINE stands for FRUSTRATED, INSECURE, NEUROTIC and EXHAUSTED!â
As we get used to the restrictions of life in âTier Twoâ mode (and with the threat of âTier Threeâ never far away) none of us should feel embarrassed, foolish or less than perfect if we admit to being any â or all â of those four things.
The simple truth of the matter (and you donât really need me to remind you of this) is that this awful virus, and all its horrible consequences, has been with us now for nine months.
During that time â and to varying degrees, of course â most of us will have been challenged, inconvenienced, felt lonely and isolated, worried about family and loved ones, been ill ourselves and possibly experienced bereavement.
I have no magic answers that will take this situation away â and I know that telling you others are experiencing the same sort of thing doesnât help your own situation.
So, please, remember what âFINEâ stands for. Feel free to ring the Vicarage âphoneÂ number. It might be me who answers â or it might be Jane. Weâre often FINE ourselves but weâre both good listeners!
Remember, too, that God is with us in every step we take. He knows our thoughts, he understands our feelings and wants to share our burdens.
Whatever the future has in store for us, God continues to hold each and every one of us in the palm of his hand â and, for that alone, we must give thanks.
With every blessing,