Church of England Diocese of Leicester Burbage with Aston Flamville

Thought for the day - Monday 18th May

18 May 2020, 11:30 a.m.

Thought for the day Monday 18th May 2020

Friendship.

It has occurred to me, that during this time of self-isolation, how important friends have become! I have heard,

by the miracle of emails, from friends

in Cornwall, Nottingham and North Wales and of course New Zealand,

as well as those who live locally,

who I can talk to over the phone.

What a difference it makes to our present, rather dull life,

during this time, to hear news from people that I normally would only hear from at Christmas!

As I get older, of course, there are fewer still around, so I feel that it is important for those of us who are still left, to keep in contact more than ever. Many are college friends of 60 years or more, or colleagues from our London days, but some are people I met more recently, well, over the last 20 years or so!

Fifteen years ago, when I was on one of my visits to see my family in New Zealand, I decided that, before I got too old, I should visit the South Island. So, while I was staying with my son, I was persuaded to book a tour with one of his customers, who was a travel agent.

As the time approached I became more and more nervous about setting off on my own, with a party of people I did not know and who I would be spending time with, 24/7, for a whole week!

On the Friday morning I flew down to Christchurch, checked in to the hotel from which the tour was to start and spent the afternoon exploring this beautiful city, now sadly devastated by the earthquake in 2011.

That evening, as I sat alone at dinner, I became aware of two ladies on the nearby table. We began to chat about a book we had all read, discovered that we were booked on the same tour, and from that moment on, we spent the whole week together, we had so much in common.

Shirley was from Hamilton, we kept in touch by letters and every year I would travel down to Hamilton, by intercity coach from Auckland, on my "Golden Age" ticket, (no OAP's in New Zealand!) and spend a few days with her, until she died a couple of years ago, just after her 90th birthday.

Edna, her cousin, came from Shepton Mallet. An intrepid lady, who not only learnt at the age of 90, to send emails, but was still doing her allotment up to two years ago, when she had a fall. She is now 99!

Now that Edna is no longer able to get to the library to send emails, her daughter Jenny, who lives in Kent, decided to keep in contact with me and read them out to Edna over the phone. She then dictated her answers, which Jenny emailed to me! So, I have gained another friend, although we have never actually met.

We have discovered that we were both infant teachers, both love our gardens, learned about each others family, helped and sympathised with each other in times of stress. Last week when I told her that the Mother's Union were knitting squares for blankets for the orphans in Malawi, she asked if she could use up her bits of wool and knit some. She had been looking for a suitable charity to donate them to. The first one arrived by post yesterday, just to check the size. So from little acorns, tall oak trees grow!

I came across this poem/prayer the other day, it reminded me how blessed I was to have so many good friends, and it prompted me to write this reflection and share my thoughts.

There's a miracle called friendship,

That dwells within the heart.

You don't know how it happens,

Or when it gets its start.

But the happiness it brings you,

Always gives a special lift,

And you realise that friendship,

Is one of life's most special gifts.

Amen.

Pat Robinson