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"I'm alive and thankful for this time"

So, as we slowly start to recover and come out from the awful COVID-19 pandemic, it is a time for reflection. In the UK alone close to 45,000 people are believed to have lost their lives to the disease (8 of whom lived here in Princes Risborough) and many familes will know of very dear people who lost their brave battles and that they will be honoured and remembered. We all know that dealing with any kind of bereavement is an awful business and it takes time to not just come to terms with that loss, but what that person meant to you and how you honour their memory.

I was reminded of that very recently when I listened to a wonderfully reflective and meditative song called ‘Thankful’. It was written and sung by a British singer who you may not have heard of by the name of Rumer (real name Sarah Joyce) brought up as a Christian- and she is probably the finest female singer since Eve Cassidy and Karen Carpenter.

On her 2010 debut album ‘Seasons of my Soul’, ‘Thankful’ is about how, after Rumer had gone through a very difficult time in her own life where she was nursing her dying mother, she reflects on her mother’s life and the lessons she taught her daughter, sung through the four seasons of springtime, summer, autumn, and winter. She said that while writing it, she kept on singing the words ‘the forest of angels’, and then realised that was because her mother had a woodland burial and “I am standing at my mother’s grave and it is literally that- a forest of angels. I do believe in angels. I do believe that she is still here, and I just sometimes really miss her”.

It is a hauntingly beautiful song which has that rare ability to calm and ground you no matter what your situation may be. In the song, Rumer talks about the life lessons that her mother’s life and death taught her which she summed up by saying “Be thankful. I’m dead, live your life!”.

I think that is an important philosophy. It is surely our responsibility to the dead, after honouring and remembering them, that you “live your life”. We have to find a way forward and to try and put to one side the demons that ongoing negativity and depression can bring to you, and the best way to honour someone’s life is  to live our own as best as you can.

That can be easier said than done of course. An important way to do that though is to spend time with God in meditation and prayer. Psalm 46:10 shows us the way when we are told:

Be still and know that I am God

Whilst we can commune with God anywhere, quite often it is in those still, quiet moments when we ground ourselves to be open to His word that we better hear His sweet voice and wisdom. In the very busy lives we live, it can feel so difficult to find the time to slow down, to centre ourselves and to wait on God. But Prayer is vitally important to our soul and that of the nation.

Meanwhile, if you feel you are unable to find that stillness, why not listen to ‘Thankful’ (below)

Tags: St Mary's Church, Princes Risborough, COVID-19, Church, Rumer, being thankful, Christianity, Karen Carpenter, Eve Cassidy