This last week has been a roller-coaster of emotions for me, reflecting the variety of events and situations that I have been involved in. I have moved from the joy of babies and young children to the sadness of funerals. The week stated with a day of babysitting our granddaughter while her parents were decorating their new house. It was gloriously sunny and so we played in the park, had a picnic lunch, and visited a farm at a National Trust property. It was great fun to see our granddaughter’s reaction to the huge carthorses, the sheep and lambs, and the noisy geese. There was further excitement and joy later in the week when we saw images of our daughter’s ante-natal scan for the next grandchild (due in September).
The middle of the week was more challenging and upsetting. I drove to Staffordshire for the funeral of a friend who had recently died – aged just 62. He had been ill with cancer for approximately 3 years and his wife had nursed him at home until his death. The reception after the funeral gave me an opportunity to have a long chat with her. She is obviously going to find it hard to adjust to life without him, especially as they have been together since they were 20.
Later in the week there was an unusual and moving funeral at Brill – the funeral of Rev’d Canon Peter Bugg, former incumbent of this parish. Many of you know that Peter and Jane had moved to Fladbury in Worcestershire and Peter was so loved and respected there as well as here that there had to be a funeral service in two locations, in two counties, in two churches, with a whole host of clergy! The service reflected Peter’s enthusiasm for all things environmental and ecumenical. His coffin was made by a friend out of recycled wooden pallets – a unique design. The service was led by his nephew, an Anglican priest, but there were contributions from the Roman Catholic Church and the United Reformed Church. Although it was a sad occasion it was also a time of thanksgiving for Peter’s life and ministry, in Britain and abroad. So many people wanted to show their love and respect for Peter and their support for Jane that the church was packed; standing room only.
My week ended with young children again, with a lovely baptism service in Brill for Toby Lambert. Toby’s baptism was planned for earlier in the year but had to be postponed because he was seriously ill in hospital, so this was a service of special celebration and thankfulness. Toby was as good as gold throughout the service and didn’t object at all when I poured water on his head for the baptism, in fact he was more interested in the new blue shoes which he was wearing!
The ups and downs of one week – the joys and challenges of just a few days. This is the pattern of life, isn’t it? We can experience a whole range of emotions within just a short time, depending on the circumstances. We have no idea what lies ahead of us and we do not know how we will cope with situations until we have to face them. But one thing that we believe as Christians is that God is with us at all times – to share the joys and to support us in difficult times.