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Reform Magazine | December 1, 2023

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Use well the interval

Use well the interval

The pandemic is an opportunity to change things permanently, argues Jill Segger

We are in a strange land. A place of quarantine, self isolation, shielding, social distancing and loneliness. We are exiles from our normal lives and from much which we may once have taken with a degree of heedlessness. We are heartsick for what we thought was our home and have been repositioned in a time and place where we may be struggling. But this is not a time to hang harps among trees, nor a place for lingering too long in lament: these are circumstances in which to use our creative abilities and spiritual faculties to consider how we may build a changed home when this is over.

Already, we are learning, discussing and combining virtually to support and share. We must continue to do this. There are a lot of New Deals to be struck if we are not to slither back to the inequalities and ruthless exploitation of recent decades. We have been interrupted and, as the dying Gerontius recognised in John Henry Newman’s poem, must ‘use well the interval’.

Our pace has slowed. We see and hear the natural world clearing its atmosphere, skies and waters. We hear not only the songs of birds but the interaction of air and wing. That creation, of which we are beginning to learn that we are not masters but warp and weft, has delivered to us fire, flood and now, pestilence. The ‘biblical’ calamities – metaphors for the natural, though devastating, consequences of arrogant disregard for the connectedness of all – are now visiting and challenging our moral and spiritual condition. How are we to respond? How are we already responding?…


This is an extract from an article that was published in the June 2020 edition of Reform

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