Thought for the Day No. 9

Thought for the Day No. 9

From our Chaplain, Canon Graham Bettridge

Seasons and Times

There is little evidence to support the belief that Johann Strauss knew how to play golf. However he would have been pleased, I like to think, that his most famous waltz was used as the back ground rhythm for the ideal golf swing. The timing of the Blue Danube waltz was just right for the gentle yet powerful driving of a ball off the tee. Straight down the fair way.

The gradual return of the sports of tennis and golf demands we brush up our rusty skills. The tennis ball is to be stroked not hit from the still point between the top of its rise and its descent.

This still moment is mirrored in all life and circumstances.

Flora Robson, her of Candleford fame, beguiled us in her story to enter into their gentle pace. The reader or TV viewer felt an immediate affinity with the happenings of the villagers. Timing and pace allowed characters to develop and the reader to feel part of the unfolding life that for a few moments we were allowing ourselves to share in.

The sister in charge of the children’s ward at St Luke’s was copying a painstakingly written letter by one of her leaving patients to be posted on the notice boards it read ‘just enough cups of tea and just in time’. Sister said it summed up all that the hospital stood for ‘just enough’ care and ‘just in time’.

The swamping of supplies to the supermarkets by our panic buying breaks this well ordered system. Store deliveries work on the ‘just enough and just in time’ action policy. It is the self induced fear and anxiety of people and possibly at times the hope of capitalising personally that results in starvation for some.

The old testament stories of the people of God struggling to survive their wilderness journey to a promised land reflected a dependency on the gracious arrival of just enough food for the day and it arriving just in time.

Their attempts to manipulate this gift and store more ‘manna’ than was needed for the moment resulted in failure. We receive what we need rather than what we want. The graciousness of faith offers a security to all who would believe, remembering that the opposite of faith is not honest doubt but certainty and self confidence.

Faith that life is not a chaotic reaction to ad hoc circumstances but has a purposefulness for us all, bringing to each of us a sufficiency of courage and hope just in time, is not only the letter of a child patient in hospital but a prayer of maturity we try to live by.

Just as a happy club golfer thrives on a generosity of spirit and relaxed timing so can we as sunnier days appear.

Graham W Bettridge
Hon. Chaplain Parcevall Hall