On October 2nd I had the great joy of taking the marriage of my eldest son and his fiancée. It was one of the privileges of the role that I have and ranks amongst the best days of my life. Alongside the joy was also sadness, sadness that those who, because of Covid, could not be present, and sadness at those who had died before the event took place.
As the nights draw in and our thoughts turn inexorably towards Christmas and the end of the year, I have been looking over 2021, which seems to have happened so very quickly.
Once again it has been dominated by Covid and the way in which it has affected many areas of life. Marriages and baptisms have been cancelled, and many people have spent much of the year working from home. But thankfully life has begun to get back to normal in the latter half of the year, and many of us have been able to get away on holiday. The vaccinations that most of us have had seem to have played a significant part in reducing cases and reducing the symptoms of those who contract the disease.
On a personal level, the loss of my father in April at 98 and experiencing the ‘empty nest’ syndrome due to my youngest son moving out has been challenging. Turning 60 in July also made me wonder what the future holds as I realized that I have possibly entered the final quarter of my life. I am a son with no parents and a father with absent children, and an individual who seems to get more correspondence from Saga than anyone else! I guess what I am experiencing is a loss of roles that have defined me for the whole of my life. In other words, I have found it a tough year, my own, ‘annus horribilis’, to quote HM The Queen.
But recently I heard a quote that helped me to make some sense of life in general, and my own situation in particular. The quote was, ‘do not let the issues of life cloud out the joy of the resurrection’.
Jesus made it quite clear that problems would come in life, that some would always be poor, and that some would always be the underdog. He himself left the splendour of Heaven to live on this earth to live as a nobody. But the resurrection was the defining moment of his life, in the same way that it can be the defining moment for us.
For Jesus, it marked the culmination of his life on earth, but for us, it is a window on what happens beyond death’s door.
So, when all seems to be negative and pessimism reigns, consider the joy of that first Easter day and remember that in that remarkable event lies our hope, not based upon circumstantial evidence, but upon the experiences of those who saw the risen Christ.