ramblings from the rectory
In this month’s Ramblings from the Rectory, I want to share my thoughts on blessings. Do you remember the song Bing Crosby sang in ‘White Christmas’ about counting your blessings? It goes like this: When I’m worried and I can’t sleep, I count my blessings, instead of sheep, and I fall asleep counting my blessings.
Some of the blessings I have in my life, aside from Nic and my family, are my colleagues and friends, the conversations and laughs with new acquaintances, the cups of tea and coffee that I can share when out and about and, especially in recent weeks, the wonderful log fires that Nic and I have sat in front of on a cold evening (for which we are thankful beyond measure).
The spring flowers are pushing their way through the earth and we have a beautiful area at the top of the front garden that is a blanket of snowdrops and winter aconite. Where we lived before, we might see small crops of snowdrops strategically planted in front gardens and would have to drive to see great quantities of them. In the villages though, they are everywhere and seem to be reminding us that the days will get longer and warmer again with more colour and sunshine lifting our spirits further.
Nic recently dug up a buddleia in the back garden as it was growing over what had been a vegetable patch. The veg patch has now been rediscovered and Nic split it into two to experiment with a ‘dig’ and ‘no-dig’ approach. He knows what that means – I don’t really. Apparently, that’s where the potatoes are going to grow. We were overjoyed at what he was able to grow last year, so I’m very much looking forward to this year’s crops.
Nic will tell you that I have always tried to be a ‘glass-half-full’ type of person, looking for the light and hope in a situation, the positives and not the negatives. He would also agree that I don’t always succeed. Just like everyone else, there are times when I worry about things, some of them minor and some major, but I have a very good network of support and sensible people who will pull me up when I’m overthinking things.
In our area of Hampshire, with its beautiful surroundings and supportive communities, it is hard to imagine that there can be hardships, unrest and suffering. You only have to turn on the radio, TV or computer though to know that the world is an unsettled place. The devastation of the recent earthquakes, the ongoing wars and civil unrest across too many nations is deeply disturbing. The cruelty or poverty within families, behind closed doors, is not limited to poor countries or even poor towns and cities in the UK. There are many people who find themselves without hope, who would struggle to find anything a blessing in their lives. Some people also struggle to ask for help or to accept it. In the villages, there is always someone willing to offer help and support though, so if you know you need a listening ear, do speak to someone.
As we continue in our season of Lent, there will be some who have chosen to give up things so that they can remember the sacrifice that Jesus made for us by dying on the cross. Others give things up, not for a religious observance but rather because it is used in a similar way to the months where giving up alcohol or being vegan are encouraged. Lent though, in its time of walking closer to Easter, reminds us to not give up hope, that there are blessings to be found in the here and now, even if they only seem very tiny, and that Easter brings a new beginning should we choose it.
My hope this month is that you are able to find blessings in your lives and can look ahead with expectancy of what is to come as spring bursts forth in all its abundance.
With every blessing