Living the Word

Reflecting on my experience of lockdown I feel as though we have been catapulted into living the ideal of unity as Chiara and her first companions did, in the early days when their lives revolved around running to the air raid shelters to dodge the bombs - there together discovering the wonder of the word of God and then living it with the people they met along the way.

We haven’t been in an air raid shelter as such but our houses became something similar as we waged a war against the virus. One word of life that I have seen come to life is a special way in this period has been ‘Give and there will be gifts for you’. I’ve experienced countless times in these days that when I have chosen to give, God has given back his hundredfold without measure. I’ve seen how one act of generosity, however small, sets off a chain of giving that spills over onto the people I have tried to love and that they in their turn by giving, experience the generosity of God in unimaginable ways.

To give you some examples: I have a very elderly relative who is 90 years old, and lives on their own. It has been a real challenge to see how best to care for her during this time.Mary lives 2 hours away and has big health challenges which often leave her feeling useless and of no value anymore. Preferring to stay on her own during lockdown meant we had to be inventive and find ways of loving her from a distance. I felt I had to put myself in her shoes and think about what she would like and find ways to make it happen. Often this was in little things like cooking meals to take to her so she didn’t have to always eat pre prepared food, finding activities that she wanted to do to pass the time, spending time on the telephone to listen to her. I did the 4 hour round trip several times on the deserted roads at the height of lockdown to tend her garden under her instruction. I saw as time went on Mary in her turn wanted to love and so started knitting hearts for the Covid patients and going out of her way to find gifts to give to her family and her carers. Often she has felt isolated in her village but during the crisis her neighbours began to help her. Mary in turn offered them the extra milk or eggs that had arrived from the supermarket and other providence that she had received. One neighbour has now offered her a mobility scooter for a very small price. We realised that she needed a new fire in her sitting room but as she doesn’t have a lot of spare cash to pay for extras we suggested getting in touch with the hospital where she did her nurses training 60 years ago, to see if they could help. As an act of faith and in order to love us she wrote to the hospital. They not only rang her up but sent her a huge bunch of flowers and gave a very generous amount of money to help her. This was such a boost for her and she felt once again respected and valued.
One day I went to the supermarket to buy my dad’s weekly shop. I was planning to make some more meals for Mary and so went to look at Tupperware containers. I found the ones I wanted and then had the idea that I maybe I could buy some for myself as well. Thinking about it however I realised that I could live without them and could instead offer the money I would have spent to the Covid fund. I went to my Dad’s house to drop off his shopping and when he opened the front door he said ‘these are for you!!’ In his hands were a collection of new Tupperware containers which he had received and didn’t need. These are just a few of the little miracles that I have experience in this time.