LAST EVENING I WAS MUSING about the fragility of life. By this morning the friend I was on the way to visit at home had been returned to a hospital bed. An hour and a half’s drive later I arrived to visit my parents at home, for the first time in weeks, to discover that Dad had been whisked into hospital in the early hours of the morning and my mother looked as though she’d been through a tumble dryer. Blessed happenstance meant that I was there at a time when both my siblings were away.

Sight of Dad in his hospital bed assured me within seconds that he was in the right place for now, and prayers of gratitude for doctors, nurses and ambulance teams mingled readily with a thousand other thoughts competing for attention. Last night I mused about the fragility of life. Too many of my friends and family members are struggling with illnesses of one kind or another … and that’s always been the case, and always will be. My whole working life has involved having an awful lot to do with human fragility and hospitals.

Today the fragility of my own beloved Dad filled my brain. And the thing is that none of us ever really get used to it. We’re all in this together. Billions of us. And that fact, above all others, reminds me of the absolute sense in Jesus’ Summary of the Law: Love God with all your heart and soul and mind and strength. And love your neighbour as yourself. It’s a tall order. We’re not brilliant at loving God, loving our neighbour, or loving ourselves. But all of us have to keep trying. It’s what life is really all about.


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