Friday, December 22, 2006

Global heart-warming

This morning, on the way to work, I decided that, this Christmas, I would like to contribute to global warming. However, my contribution is not to be of the type that is so publicised at this present time, with the images of melting icebergs and non-hibernating hedgehogs. I can add my own pictures: after all, during my recent retreat I found now, rather than in Spring, catkins on hazel trees, blossom on ornamental cherries. I heard of raspberries still producing fruit… No, I want to add to global heart-warming this Christmas, because I think it is people’s hearts that are in need of attention at this time of year.

Yesterday evening, when I arrived home from work, I found a Christmas card waiting for me, a card that brought tears to my eyes and a lump into my throat. I honestly hadn’t expected a card from Alice and Bill. You see, Alice has recently moved into a care home where she can receive the full-time nursing that she needs. She can no longer help with the writing of Christmas cards, but that hasn’t stopped her husband from sending them even if it means he has double the work involved. When I opened the envelope and saw the message, “With love from Alice and Bill”, I was so touched that I freely admit that I cried.

That is the sort of global warming I want to see: love that extends beyond the actions that are practical and convenient.

This Christmas, I want to see a global warming that extends beyond that which is comfortable and safe for me, and reaches out to support and embrace others, even at a personal cost, a global warming that looks for understanding rather than revenge.

I want to see a global warming that brings a smile into the eyes of the little ones, such as I watched last week, when a ‘magician’ gave a special show to a group of profoundly disabled children. It was wonderful to experience the laughter and delight, expressed in unfamiliar sounds and movements as they extended throughout minds and bodies that were limited in some ways, but which are able to enjoy, to laugh and to love.

I think of a young woman in Liverpool who, although she has Downs Syndrome, has been saving her money “to help the babies” and who regularly appears on the scene with a bag of babies’ feeding bottles that she has brought. She gives them to a parish group that works to offer mothers an alternative to abortion. This young woman doesn’t know what abortion is, but she loves babies. I want to see a global warming that offers love and support even when it is impossible to understand all the implications of loving.

It seems to me that, if global warming is a threat to the planet, global heart-warming is vital to our very existence and is perfectly within our grasp this Christmas.

As Tiny Tim exclaimed in Charles Dickens’ ‘Christmas Carol’, “May God bless us, every one!”

God bless,
Sr. Janet