What a smashing day I`ve had today. I was able to find some time to spend with Alison this morning (granted we only went to the bank and had a coffee, but it was good); I almost completed my packing for Romania; completed a report on one of the Circuit Churches; conducted a wedding of a very close friend and then managed to get back to the Circuit celebration in time for the closing hymn, and what a joyful time they were having.
A mixed and varied day. I`ve met old friends and found myself chatting to a lady from the Edinburgh circuit, who used to attend one of my circuit Churches in Ashfield.
I suspect that most of the day has been about reminiscing. I was pulled up sharp when I was introduced to a young man I first knew at the age of three and he`s now a strapping 18 year old. Makes me feel old !!!
But don`t we all enjoy memories and the sharing of them. As a person who loves telling stories I often find myself beginning a story with the words “Do you remember when……….?” or “I remember the time………..” I know I`m not the only one who does this. Sometimes a memory is sparked by the slightest thing and we`ll find time shooting back to that special moment. Alison and I went to Lindisfarne on our holidays and for both of us it brought back memories of pilgrimages made years ago by Alison’s home Church. Today as I sat at the wedding reception my mind went back to the last wedding I did at that Church and how that couple have turned out to be special friends.
I believe that memory is a gift from God for us to share, enjoy and learn from. How distressing is it therefore when age or illness robs us of that memory. I spent time as the Chaplain of Maple Leaf House (a purpose-built dementia care home, run by Methodist Homes for the Aged.) and Alison is now the Chaplain in that same place. I know that she would agree with me that to be Chaplain there is a very special privilege for the people, residents, staff and visitors alike, are quite lovely. There is a special atmosphere and the fragrance of Jesus is around every corner, embodied in the love and care of the staff for the residents especially; a place of fun and laughter but also of great care and sensitivity. http://www.mha.org.uk/Ch20.aspx
However, you can`t help but feel the sadness of some of the relatives as they struggle to remember the simplest things, and then later in their illness and we see the slow decline. It is a cruel illness and can be very distressing as memory gradually disappears. I read in the paper yesterday that some pharmaceutical firms are cutting back on research in this area because of lack of funding; presumably it isn`t profitable enough for them, or am I just being cynical ? If we are to declare ourselves to be a loving, caring, Christian country we need to find a way of caring for Alzheimer patients and for those with any kind of dementia, and I feel that the Government needs to step up its research into possible cures or simply into slowing the progress of the illness. When we can spend a fortune on armaments and a miniscule amount by comparison on health care it is NOT a Christian country.
Rant over; sorry.
Tomorrow night I set off for Romania. Please hold me and the team in prayer, and remember also our daughter and dog as they hold the fort back here at home.