For the past couple of weeks I have been sick with worry for a good friend of mine who has just been diagnosed with cancer. He is generally as solid and dependable as an oak and now he needs all his strength to counter this vicious disease, which is wrapping itself around his internal organs like poison ivy. When terrible things like this happen to people we love, naturally we question our faith and our values.
This time of year is full of added pressure. We are bombarded with messages of a million things we ‘must’ do: buy the presents; tidy the house; deck the halls; prepare the dinner; ice the cake; wrap the presents; dress the tree; write the cards; finish all the jobs at work; send out the emails; clean the windows; sort out the cupboards; dust off the deckchairs… the list is endless.
Looking at one of my dearest friends lying in his hospital bed I realised that none of that matters at all. I know that the doctors, nurses and surgeons are all doing the best they can for him so in many ways it is the best place for him to be. But it’s full of sick people. And he needs to feel invigorated. His many visitors bring him love and support, but they can’t bring him fresh sea-air and pounding waves; it’s that which makes me feel alive.
So I walked on the beach and I thought of all the people I love and care about, and prayed that he’ll be back out soon. I haven’t done half of the things we are 'meant' to do at Christmas, but I shall sing some carols and think of my loved ones and try to spread whatever happiness I can. At the risk of sounding like some ghastly old hippy; Merry Christmas, and love and peace to all.