Audlem Saint James The Great Church

Helen's Letter

Dear Friends,

When I was growing up February was always a sad month in our household; there were numerous birthdays and anniversaries of people my mum had loved and lost. Consequently, my mum was especially fragile in February.

As I look round our society, I am more and more aware of how many fragile people there are. Some look very confident and yet when you get beneath the surface there are deep hurts and anxieties there.

Sometimes anxieties and hurts cause people to be wary of others, wanting to avoid being hurt or rejected all over again.

It is easy only to notice the unfriendliness, the prickliness of some people if we forget that there may be something, which we don't need to know, that has caused and explains their behaviour.

I know that some people are uncertain of me as a vicar because of difficult experiences or even previous off-hand comments from clergy.

I wonder if there are people you are wary or distrustful of because of difficult events with other people in the past?

We cannot fix people's problems, try as we might, but we can be gentle with one another and forgive one another. God does not ask us to like one another, but he does ask us to love one another!

Interestingly in the Old Testament, there are more instructions to love the 'stranger' than to love neighbours, so we are to love those we find strange, or different or awkward.

I still remember growing up, there were times in February when I needed to be extra sensitive to my lovely Mum. who might we be extra sensitive to in February and then through the rest of this year as well?