We frequently hear a neighbour say of someone who has met an untimely death: 'He would do anything for anybody' but not everyone can be so selfless. And yet...we all have it in us to make the world around us a better place.
When Keith returns from study leave, we might all think of a small way in which we might alleviate his load. We might also relieve the pressure on our churchwardens or undertake one of the many tasks needed to keep our parish alive and in good heart.
We all know people who are not able to go out much any more - why not telephone or visit them or send them a postcard? Why not drop 50p in a collecting box or give an extra item to Food Share? Exchange a cheery 'hello'with a neighbour or, indeed a stranger. Make someone smile today. Make someone laugh!
It is probably too late to make New Year's resolutions now, but with every new day we can make a resolution, so that every evening we shall not only have enriched our own lives but also have brought a little joy into others. Remember what Good King Wenceslas, through the words of John Mason Neale, teaches us: 'Ye who now will bless the poor Shall yourselves find blessing' May I wish you all A Very Happy New Day!
While Keith is recharging his batteries on study leave I have offered to look after the Parish News on his behalf. I had not expected to be asked to write anything...but I have seized the opportunity!
On New Year's Day Radio 4 broadcast readings of TS Eliot's poetry. A half-heard line, about discovering a rose garden unexpectedly, made me think of other 'rose' poems.
We have long been urged to 'Gather ye rose buds while ye may' (in January?) and Ronsard encouraged us to 'Cueillez, cueillez votre jeunesse' (although, sadly, it is a little late for many of us!) while, on a similar theme, Psalm 118 tells us: 'This is the day the Lord hath made. We will rejoice and be glad in it'.
Seize the day!
More prosaically my late husband, Peter Shaw, often said 'This is a day in our lives, we must make the most of it' (this is inscribed on the back of his headstone) - Carpe dieml Of course, it is very important to enjoy every day to the full, but all these exhortations concern personal happiness, with only a hint of what we might discover while we are seizing opportunities.
When he died, Peter had actively served on the committees of many charities, often as treasurer, but not everyone can make things happen by working in this way.