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February 25th, 2019 in Notice Board by admin

Most, if not all of you, will know that last November/December was a very traumatic time and I spent a month in hospital in Coventry following a collapse at Rugby railway station and major heart surgery.

The initial responder at Rugby – a total stranger and station employee – saved my life by not panicking and doing her job. Handed over to professionals – also complete strangers – they set about ensuring that  I stayed alive and set me on the way back to health.

As I am now on the road to recovery, I have begun to reflect on the words of Jesus that we should love our neighbour (Matthew 22:34-40) and the many ways it showed itself to me in those weeks. There was a period of time on the ward when I was bedridden and opposite a man in similar circumstances. We did not know each other, were unable to meet, and unable to speak to each other. I never did find out his name. Each morning on waking I would wave to him and each evening before going to sleep he would wave to me. A compassionate acknowledgement of the shared experience of another night survived and another day negotiated.

Compassion and concern manifested itself in many ways. Though there was little or nothing they could do large numbers of friends and acquaintances from village, church, pub, and elsewhere came to see me more than once in hospital even when (so I am told) I was variously unconscious, agitated, distressed and making no sense. This was still the case when they had had to persevere in tracking me down because I was moved around so much. As far as I can tell only the Revd Dave Hover had the uncanny knack of finding me wherever I was to bring spiritual comfort.

The initial trauma, about which I remember nothing, came out of the blue and friends, neighbours, strangers sorted out all the practical things – rescuing my keys, rescuing the car from the station car park, buying me the necessities for a hospital stay. When the time came for me to be discharged someone cleaned my house. A local business – whom I have only met once and do not know well – stayed for almost a full day ensuring that I had heating to come home to; shopping was done for me and expressions of care and the provision of emergency telephone numbers abounded.

I am grateful for everyone’s kindness and I have lost count of the number of people who have helped and who continue to help. They are often not overtly religious, do not attend a church, and may even dismiss any thought that what they are doing is loving their neighbour in any sort of biblical or Christian sense. But to me, the compassion expressed in the acknowledgement of the shared experience, the caring and supportive presence and the genuinely expressed concerns for my welfare together with the provision of extensive practical help express the very essence of Jesus’ command to love one’s neighbour.


Author: admin

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