A barrier broken down
As I was going out for our daily exercise one morning, I saw an ambulance leaving our street with blue lights flashing. Just as I was about to go up the steps to the path, one of our neighbours was coming towards me. We stopped to ask what had happened, knowing it must have been his wife who had been taken away. She had collapsed at home and it was confirmed by paramedics she had a heart attack and they were taking her to hospital in Edinburgh some 35 miles away. Her husband thought he could follow the ambulance to be with her, but he was advised that under no circumstances would this be possible. The pain and distress were written over his face, leaving him bewildered and feeling helpless. He was told to call in a few hours’ time to get an update. As we left him going into his house alone, feeling very much his anxiety in this dark moment I told him we would be praying for his wife. Later that afternoon clearing away the table after our meal, there was a good portion of dinner with vegetables left, and a thought came… “maybe I could take this to Mr. X and ask if he had any news.” Then a little moment of doubt crept over me, with memories of past confrontations arising and blocking me. There had been persistent bullying and derogative name calling towards our children, with a focus on our youngest child who had Downs Syndrome, leaving him feeling threatened by them. My one and only approach to their parents to resolve the situation was met by a barrage of insults, and I left their door with the children adding their taunts as well. As years went by there remained a barrier between the family and us, although we did greet one another in the passing.But now, this was a new moment, one which I couldn’t ignore, in this suffering here was Jesus Forsaken to be loved. So off I went with the plate and a prayer on my lips. I was greeted by the very relieved face of my neighbour, delighted to share the news that his wife had been operated on and was now back in the ward. He graciously thanked me for my thoughtful kindness as he accepted the plate, and as we stood ‘socially distanced’ I saw a ‘new man’, and I experienced this within me too.The following morning, he returned the plate sharing more good news; she was ready to be transferred to our local hospital where he would be able to have a visit. The next morning, I returned with fresh scones to take to the hospital, surprised to be greeted by not only him but also his wife. I was moved by her attempts to come to the door to thank me personally for all I had done. A new joy was shared amongst us, and this for me was the joy of a renewed relationship, cancelling the past… and I was certain they felt the same.
The Home Delivery
Among the many emails from the service providers, who we use, assuring us they were doing their best to offer a good service in these difficult times due to Covid 19 we also received an email from the CEO of Sainsbury’s. He told us from their records he could see we were in the category of customers who could have a priority delivery of shopping to our home. ‘Thanks very much’ Mary and I thought, as we are self-isolating. He must have written to a lot of other people because when I tried to order something the following morning their system crashed with a message to ‘please try later’. We tried later and later and later. We managed to place an order at 7.45p.m with a delivery slot for the following day. They would hold the delivery slot just for 2 hours. As I went to check out to pay I received a message saying there was a problem with the payment and to contact my bank. After hanging on the phone to the bank for half an hour an apologetic pleasant young lady answered. I explained at length my dilemma with Sainsbury’s and she was very sympathetic to it. Unfortunately, the department to solve the situation had closed 15 minutes earlier so I would have to ring back in the morning. I thought ‘goodbye to the delivery slot’ but then the young lady was doing her best at a very difficult time. I put all my negative thoughts to the back of my mind and we had a nice chat for a few minutes. She told me she was having to do longer shifts because lots of colleagues were self -isolating and I told her of my home situation. At the end I said to her that no matter how old we are Covid 19 is teaching us to be a lot more patient and she agreed. A few minutes after our phone call ended, I received an email from her saying she had spoken a colleague and they had found a code to unlock the payment problem. The groceries were delivered 4 hours ahead of schedule. The driver told me the roads are so empty and people are greeting them almost like the fourth emergency service.