On the pilgrim way: ‘God has lifted my spirits’
The God of surprises has recently given me new hope, in unexpected places. I recently went, rather unwillingly, to our local Labour Party selection meeting, to choose our parliamentary candidate. We are a safe Conservative seat, so for Labour it is a practice place for someone at the start of a possible political career. I was so heartened by the three young men before us: one helped at a homeless centre in his spare time, another had been ‘converted’ by the poverty he saw in his student days in Oxford, and the third (only 20!) spent himself on east London social issues.
A week ago, I met a friend for coffee near Trafalgar Square and saw the Extinction Rebellion climate protests up close. What colour and music and enthusiasm! Our cafe had run out of cake because of them, and at many tables there were earnest conversations going on. My friend and I disagreed about the tactics (not the cause) but who can now say the younger generation are all apathetic and materialistic? I walked to the train with a spring in my step.
Then, God lifted my spirits from the other end of life. A very good friend, Margaret, now 87, can barely walk outside her flat, so I took her round the shops in her wheelchair. She wanted help with putting money on her mobile phone. Her daughter would do it for her, but she wanted to do it herself.
Margaret chose a stock of nice cards, so she could write notes to people. She and I bemoaned the closure of some of our favourite shops. At Marks & Spencer, she wanted new pull-on trousers and spotted some lovely maroon leggings. She paused for a moment, wondering if they were a bit young for her, but then went ahead, and also found a pretty blouse to go with them. What zest for life!
We phoned her husband, Tony, who is 88, to invite him to join us at a coffee shop on our way back. He agreed with alacrity, so I phoned my husband, who got his mobility scooter out and joined us too. We have all been friends since Margaret and Tony welcomed us into the church and the local community as a newly married couple in 1962. Conversation with them was, and is always, stimulating. We discussed the October issue of Reform in some detail. Tony thought that ‘A good question: What is the Gospel?’ was particularly well answered. He has followed Commitment-Phobe from the beginning, and was very interested in her current difficult journey with her church. He joked with the waiter that the men of our party were particularly feeble because they were the ones having decaf coffee. We went home with hearts lifted high.
Jesus said: ‘I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.’ Thanks be to God.
Sheila Maxey is Book Reviews Editor for Reform
This article was published in the December 2019/January 2020 edition of Reform