Monday, July 07, 2008

Three years ago

Three years ago from yesterday, I arrived home on holiday from Rome.

Three years from today, I travelled into Liverpool as I had a couple of interviews lined up for me, only I was to be on the receiving end.

With time to spare, the free Internet connection in Liverpool’s Central Library was a useful prospect... only, a few minutes after I’d logged on, the librarian came around, telling us that we had to close down whatever we were doing because of ‘routine maintenance’. At the time, I thought that she seemed rather excessively concerned about a technician coming to fiddle with the computers, but passed it off, thinking she was just having a bad day.

Heading towards BBC Radio Merseyside, I vaguely heard a radio somewhere saying that something had happened in London, but could not make much sense of the announcement, coming, as it did, over the din of the early morning rush and traffic.

It was only on my arrival at Radio Merseyside that I heard about the bombs on the London Underground and on the bus in Tavistock Square.

The events of that day are now history, yet I will never forget the silence and the calm. Yes, people were nervous, but there was also an atmosphere of “We have faced this sort of thing before and we will do so again.” As people anxiously followed every news bulletin, there were also quiet discussions about the Blitz, air raid shelters and camaraderie.

Three years later, walking through Tavistock Square, it is hard to believe that anything untoward ever happened there. The Underground is still as busy, hot and overcrowded as ever.

Yet lives were changed and some ended. For some people, life would never again be the same.

Yet this sort of thing is happening in many places across the world. Terrible as that day was three years ago, some people walk in continuous fear. Their lives are always threatened.

It is all a question of emphasis and bias, is it not? The same person can be a terrorist, a freedom fighter, a guerrilla, a bandit, militia, vigilante or whatever, depending on whichever side of the bullet one happens to be standing.

Yet, regardless of cause, people are people and human beings are all made up of bone, muscle, cartilage, skin, hair and so on. Those who experience no pain are abnormal. Normality is to experience pain, sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on the circumstances. As Shylock declares in ‘The Merchant of Venice’, “If you scratch me, do I not bleed?”

Today, we pray for all those who are hurting in whatever way. We pray for those who are victims of violence, that they might find the comfort, strength, support and understanding that they need.

We also pray for the Anglican Communion at this time in their own painful search for the truth and in their efforts to clarify their understanding of the nature of the Church. May God guide them.

...and may God bless each of us,
Sr. Janet