After hearing the Prime Minister speak yesterday regarding the extensions to the corona-virus restrictions, two things came to mind: firstly, how his words seemed to mirror those of one of his predecessors, Winston Churchill, in his famous “Blood, Sweat and Tears” speech in 1940. And secondly, I wondered how many of us, like me, having already endured 6 months of lockdown in its many forms, began to feel that we were being asked to do it all over again. I didn’t view this as a happy prospect.
Far be it from this blog (or indeed its editor) to comment on civil and political matters, I turned to our Lord for inspiration. How fortuitous then that I lit upon a piece from John Flack, Bishop of Brixworth (Dio. Peterborough) about how we can enhance our own, and therefore each other’s, happiness. Bishop John writes:
I’ve recently been impressed by a movement called ‘Action for Happiness’, founded by the economist Professor Lord Richard Layard. They suggest 10 simple practices – the initials spelling out GREAT DREAM – to improve mental wellbeing and increase happiness:
1. Giving – do things for others
2. Relating – connect with people
3. Exercising – take care of your body
4. Awareness – live life mindfully
5. Trying Out – keep learning new things
6. Direction – have goals to look forward to
7. Resilience – find ways to bounce back
8. Emotions – look for what’s good
9. Acceptance – be comfortable with who you are
10. Meaning – be part of something bigger
(From How To Be Happy by Vanessa King)
For me, this great dream is fulfilled as we share our lives with Jesus, who said: “I have come that you may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10.10). Good mental health and wellbeing are integral to that fullness of life, which is Jesus’ desire for everyone.
At the start of lockdown I quoted these words: “Whatever these coming days hold, let’s be mindful of one another, alert to the cries of a hurting world, and confident in the love of God, from which nothing can separate us”. They remain my prayer for us all.
Reading these comforting words from Bishop John and particularly his quotation from St. John’s gospel has given me confidence to “press on” in the knowledge that God is good, All the time. and that He will sustain us all throughout whatever comes our way in the coming months.
Go well each and everyone of you dear readers.
The picture is of a square in Cascais, Portugal where the tiles have been laid in such a way as to give the appearance of waves. We are indeed all “walking on water”