Last Thursday was a bit of a mad day. If you read last week’s log you will know that we were having issues with our broadband, which had been down for the best part of a week. You will also know that, as you were able to read it, we must have got it sorted. At about 4.45pm that day, we finally had an on-site visit from an engineer. From the moment he arrived he could see that there was something quite complicated going on. After initial testing in the front office area where the router is, he made his way back out to his van. I was expecting him to get something from his van, but then, as I watched on the CCTV cameras, he drove away. I thought he was doing a runner. A few minutes later he came back, I next saw him taking ladders from the top of his van and taking them into the area where the telegraph pole was. He then came back and harnessed himself up. He disappeared for a while, up the pole as it were, and then came back to the office. However, he wasn’t getting the result he thought he would get. His diagnosis at that stage was that squirrels had knocked the top of the pole off and the severe weather had done the rest. He went back out to the van and, again on the CCTV, I watched him erect a barrier around a manhole cover outside the main entrance to the church. He removed the cover and disappeared down the hole, then back up again, then down again with some kind of pump. This was really a man at work, and I watched in admiration.
As it so happened, we had a function on in the hall that night – a beauty and wellbeing evening, would you believe. One of our volunteers, who lectures on that subject, had arranged for some of her colleagues to come and offer a variety of treatments for anyone interested. There would also be refreshments, including samples of health drinks, and a raffle. I was meant to be meeting and greeting at the church and showing people where to go. All of this began to kick off while the engineer was going about his business, so I was backwards and forwards between the front office and the church entrance. It was obvious there was going to be a good turnout for the beauty and wellbeing evening, so I was being kept busy with that. In the meantime, back at the office, I could see that the engineer had re-harnessed himself to go up the pole again. I was a bit up the pole myself at this stage. The engineer then went back down the hole again before returning to the office, where he registered a smile of satisfaction on hearing a beep from his monitor that seemed to be the beeping sound that he had been hoping to get in the first place. All seemed to be sorted. He then went back out, while I welcomed more people, dismantled his barrier, put his ladder on top of the van, and drove away. I was very grateful for the more than two hours of effort, determination, and expertise he put into resolving the issue and, so far, all has been good since. After that, I was able to mingle at the beauty and wellbeing evening, which was turning out to be a fantastic success. The wonderful volunteers from the college were being kept busy and everyone seemed to be delighted with whatever treatment they opted for, and there was a great atmosphere of chat and enjoyment at the tables, as people either waited for their treatment slot, or relaxed after their treatment, each sharing their experience with others. I was even persuaded to have a head massage at the end of the night which, after a stressful day, was most welcome. I slept that night like a little baby. We need nights like this in tough times.
I’m writing this on the Feast of St. Paul of the Cross, founder of the Passionists, and have been reflecting upon the Cross, I’m reminded of this quote from a book that came out a few years ago, called “Unapologetic” by Francis Spufford, He says: “Some people ask nowadays what kind of a religion it is that chooses an instrument of torture for its symbol, as if the cross on churches must represent some kind of endorsement. The answer is: one that takes the existence of suffering seriously.” There is so much real and awful suffering in the world at present. We turn to the cross, as St Paul says, to find salvation, hope, life, and resurrection.
As ever, protect yourself, your loved ones and others, and protect Christ in your lives.