From Ruby Wedding celebrations to Pub Car park worship:
To say it’s been quite a week is a bit of an understatement! I didn’t post last Sunday, due to the fact that Mick and I were busy celebrating our Ruby Wedding Anniversary – 40 years! We had the most wonderful day, renewing our wedding vows at the end of the Sunday service and then drinking champagne in the sunshine. It was all we hoped it would be and Mick got to use his new, posh Weber BBQ!
That was Sunday, but then Tuesday was a little more subdued, as we said farewell to our lovely son. After several weeks at home with us, struggling with severe OCD, he left us to return to his job as a Hotel Manager at a remote location in Devon. It was an emotional parting and filled with worry for us, as his parents, left wondering how he would cope when so far away once more. It has been a challenging few weeks to say the least, as we’ve journeyed alongside our boy through his struggle with obsessive self-harm. This was a totally unforeseen effect of extended isolation due to the COVID restrictions. None of us saw it coming. It was a shock to see the state he was in both physically and mentally when he arrived home at the beginning of March. He had never thought he would suffer from mental health issues and struggled through until reaching a stage where he just knew he could no longer cope without the support of mum and dad. After six weeks of constant support and coming through a fair few extremely traumatic days, plus a weekly session with a professional counsellor, he felt ready to stand on his own feet again. He hasn’t been ‘cured’, itis an ongoing process, but he knows we are always here and that we are ready to pick him up whenever he needs us. We hope this will provide the strength for him to keep moving forward. This and the support of an amazingly loving and caring partner.
I do worry about the ongoing impact of this pandemic upon the mental health of people of all ages. I met with a lady this week who shared her own Covid related mental health struggles with me, ongoing, even though we are now once again out of lockdown. I believe the fall out is going to continue for so many for years to come.
But today brought another ray of sunshine into my life and ministry, in fact more than one because it was a stunningly beautiful afternoon to be conducting my first ever act of worship in a local pub car park! It went down so well that the landlady has asked for it to be repeated. I am more than happy to do that. I was delighted to be joined by the wonderful Kezia Gill who sang her own beautiful song before leading our communal singing. How wonderful to sing together! Our ‘congregation’ was small but so appreciative. Those who know me, know that this kind of outreach is so close to my heart. I am looking forward to building upon it.
So, as you can see, it has been quite a week, and one of very mixed emotions, full of highs and lows. I know I have stated before and I reiterated this afternoon: we are not out of this yet, and if we can say ‘I’m here and I care and I’m not going to let you go’ to one person, be it a member of our own family, a friend, a neighbour, or even a virtual stranger, it could make all the difference.