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Bright Horizons

Bright Horizons

A few days ago I had a chuckle over this piece by a political sketch writer.

“the experts have got it the wrong way round. Look at the figures. Only five per cent of Covid transmissions happen in pubs, restaurants and churches – whereas a whopping 75 per cent of transmissions happen at home. Logically, therefore, they shouldn’t be kicking us out of the pub and sending us home. They should be kicking out of our homes and sending us to the pub. The evidence is clear. Home is by far the most dangerous place to be. The public should be somewhere safer, cleaner and more hygienic, like their local Wetherspoon. Of course, some people will argue that it’s draconian to shut homes altogether. They’ll say the Government should simply impose a curfew, so that we can stay at home during the day, as long as we all leave at 10pm.” (Michael Deacon, Telegraph 21 Oct 2020)

Of course, in my view we should be sent to churches, not pubs! It’s good to find a little humour in a catastrophe and it’s a British tradition to joke in dark times, thankfully — we surely need cheering up! Nevertheless, we know that Covid-19 has turned lives upside down, ruined businesses, isolated the vulnerable, disrupted the economy, and killed many thousands. Yes, we are certainly living through a dark period that looks like continuing for some time. So I was cheered again this morning by another piece, rather more profound this time, as I re-read Elder Uchtdorf’s last conference address. He spoke specifically about the pandemic and its devastating impact on the hope and happiness of so many. In case your rememberer is as broke as mine, here’s a snippet:

“There are still a lot of unknowns about this virus. But if there is one thing I do know, it is that this virus did not catch Heavenly Father by surprise. He did not have to muster additional battalions of angels, call emergency meetings, or divert resources from the world-creation division to handle an unexpected need . . . . . . We will endure this, yes. But we will do more than simply grit our teeth, hold on, and wait for things to return to the old normal. We will move forward, and we will be better as a result . . . . . . Our best days are ahead of us, not behind us. This is why God gives us modern revelation! Without it, life might feel like flying in a holding pattern, waiting for the fog to lift so we can land safely. The Lord’s purposes for us are much higher than that. Because this is the Church of the living Christ, and because He directs His prophets, we are moving forward and upward to places we’ve never been, to heights we can hardly imagine!” (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “God Will Do Something Unimaginable”, October 2020 General Conference)

I cycle a lot and on one of my favourite routes there’s a hill called, appropriately, Weary Bank. It climbs steeply for a quarter of a mile through a wood and, overhung with trees, it’s dark and gloomy in all weathers. One day as I struggled up in bottom gear, breath rasping, heart pounding, I stopped to snap the attached photo. It seems to illustrate Elder Uchtdorf’s message: no matter how dark, steep and weary the way there’s always a light to reach for. When trudging through a dismal stretch in life we can, like Corporal Jones, run round in circles shouting “don’t panic! don’t panic!” or, like Private Pike suck a thumb and cry for mum or, like Private Frazer howl “we’re doomed, we’re all doomed”. But it’s wasted energy. I wonder how Captain Mainwaring would respond to the current pandemic? One of the central features of Dad’s Army is that, despite his outward appearance of pompous, blustering incompetency, he is essentially brave, loyal, industrious and kind-hearted. When danger threatens he does his duty without flinching. When the chips are down, he marches forward and pulls his motley crew with him, who respond to his fearless determination. In the sitcom he’s a comic figure of course, but maybe with some qualities worth emulating?


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