Bishop’s Blog - Sunday 1st July 2012
Last Sunday, a three-year-old girl was taken to hospital where it was found that she had broken ribs caused by her Mother locking her arms tightly around her.
As a first reaction, you might think, “What a terrible Mother to cause such injuries!” But beware of your first reactions before you know all the facts! And the facts, in this particular case, are tragic.
The Mother, Heather Town, and her daughter, Anne-Marie, were caught up in a tornado in Florida. They were sucked from their trailer home 200ft up into the air by the ferocity of the wind, but the Mother kept her arms tightly around her daughter to protect her, and she did protect her. They landed in woodland. The fall killed Heather but her daughter survived, cushioned by her Mother’s protective love and sacrifice.
What a nightmare experience for both of them and for their family and community around! What courage to shelter someone we love in that way!
There is something inside each one of us which always deeply admires the sacrifices made by others. No one makes a really big and noble sacrifice unless, on the way, they have learnt by making smaller sacrifices. It’s these little decisions that shape each one of us and effect who we are now and who we will become in the future.
In just over two hours’ time, I shall be ordaining five men and women in our Cathedral here in Hereford. They have responded to God’s call in their lives to become clergy. That has involved sacrifices for all of them and their families: especially sacrifices of time and effort, and by putting the needs of others before their own. Their initial training has been either three years part-time or two years full-time, and training will continue throughout their lives. So will their way of service continue, and that will require from them many little sacrifices, as they give care, attention, love, time, and energy to others.
That is something we all need to do, whether ordained or not. Few of us, thankfully, will ever be called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice of our lives for others in the way that Heather Town did, or in the way that our soldiers fighting for peace do, but all of us have the opportunity daily to do something for others, to make little sacrifices, little gifts of time, energy and care. Take the opportunity. Make the sacrifice. Care.