I’m reading ‘Four Meals For Fourpence’. Grace Foakes describes her life in London’s East End in the early 1900s… no electricity, cars, radio, television… washing hung across narrow streets in which children played. Her mother had fourteen children of which only five survived… What was most valuable to Grace?
‘They were happy days in that close-knit community. The feelings of belonging outclassed everything else. There was poverty, disease, dirt and ignorance, and yet to feel one belonged outweighed all else.’
On Saturday at Men’s Shed Adrian described to me the medication he’s on… 6 tablets before breakfast, four after breakfast, 6 each night. He talked about his illnesses and surgeries, his current problems, new medication, his patient, long-suffering wife…
Adrian has a lot he could complain about but he’s grateful, cheerful and active. He values his life – that he’s still with us.
Last night I had a drink with Gerry at The Oddfellows. Gerry moved away from Lowestoft about twenty years ago; I haven’t seen him in all that time. We talked about work, church, what we’d done… caught up with news about family and friends… laughed, talked about music, random stuff…
I walked away realising that I really valued our enduring friendship – that could be picked up again with warmth and affection.
About forty years ago, shortly before he died, my Dad spoke to the ‘Friendly Hour’ at his church, about Jesus’ words ‘Peace I leave with you…’
Usually Dad was a private man; he didn’t talk much about himself. On this occasion, though, he talked about his own tough times… Before I was born his first wife had died of cancer leaving him with two young sons (my two older brothers) to care for…
He described knowing God’s peace then. Peace wasn’t the absence trouble… it was peace in the middle of trouble.
What’s valuable? Grace’s sense of belonging in community… Adrian’s health and survival… Gerry’s warmth and friendship… Dad’s knowing God’s peace in the middle of trouble.
2 thoughts on “What’s Valuable?”
I do have this love hate relationship with “troubles and pain.” Why does God’s immense seeds of peace seem to grow best in that soil of a trusting (no matter what may come) heart after God?
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It’s a good question Gary, but sadly I don’t have an answer. I do keep asking – accepting that I won’t get an answer to that and many other questions. I just trust and am grateful for what I am, do understand and have been given…
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