Friday today and the prompt word from Kate is ONCE.
Tomorrow my husband and I go for our Covid vaccine. Our appointments are an indication of our age, and the speed with which the vaccine is being rolled out. This is not a one-off experience. We will need the second dose in a few weeks and probably a top-up as new variants develop. We are thankful.
Earlier this week I was privileged to attend an online seminar run by the Bristol Poverty Institute. The topic was how teenage girls in low income countries are faring in the pandemic. Research conducted through mobile phone interviews showed that children of the wealthy were protected while less well off families use savings to get by but the self employed, small farmers, and traders were struggling. Teenage girls reported that their friends were being taken out of school to look after younger family members or support their parents’ work. One said that she had enough for her needs, but later added ‘I feed my brothers and sisters first and if there is not enough I do not eat.’ Local research with girls in the sex trade in Nepal showed that the impact of loss of income was devastating on young lives already damaged by serving business and tourist travellers.
These dry research reports broke my heart. I felt powerless to help, and guilt ridden as I sat in my study waiting for a food delivery. Like Mrs Jellyby in Dicken’s Bleak House I wanted to rush about, write letters, and campaign, ignoring those around me in the process!
Deep breath. I cannot put the world to rights. There is a Saviour. ‘You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.‘ He died once for all and, with hearts full of the compassion he showed us, we are called to love the one, the person standing by us. For me at the moment, this is the neighbour whose husband of nearly 50 years has been placed in a nursing home, where she cannot visit, and a young woman succumbing to a progressive disability that causes her to fall.
I anticipate that my fiveminutefriday colleagues will have similar experiences to share. Perhaps our sovereign Lord is holding our hands and joining these morsels of compassion with those of others around the world so that teenage girls, and many for whom there is no more food, are cared for. I hope there are plenty of us!