Love in a Glove (Ros' Blog)

Love in a Glove (Ros' Blog)

I was told something rather lovely yesterday morning when I went to pick my daughter up from her residential care home to take her to church. Apparently the home recently had a knock at the door. It was a lady whom they recognised as a neighbour. She said, “I live nearby, and I see your residents going up and down outside, and I've counted and there are six of them so - here - I've knitted six pairs of gloves.”

The six of them were allowed to choose their own gloves from the six pairs and my daughter chose a bright blue pair with a pale green pattern. She wore them very proudly when we went out in the car, and was happy to put them on again at the end of the day. Aren’t people kind? I’m going to help her write a thank you note.

Such a small incident, a little act of kindness but it set me thinking. To look at the news, or social media, you could be forgiven for thinking the world is going to hell in a handcart. And some things are bad, it’s true. The welfare of disabled people is all but disregarded by officialdom, and disability hate crime has risen exponentially in recent years. And yet at the heart of our communities are generous people who notice others, who know they can’t change the world but don’t let that put them off making a difference in whatever way they can.

As Mother Theresa once said, the important thing is not to do great things, but to do small things with great love. For those who live with disability it can be hard to dismiss the harsh realities of life – the battle for disability benefits, the removal of the Independent Living Fund with its devastating consequences for so many, the loss of essentials like Motability cars. And yet this small incident of kindness has reminded me of some words of the apostle Paul.

He, too, lived in a time of hardship. The church faced persecution and even death on every hand. Paul described his own experiences very vividly in his second letter to the Corinthians: “Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have laboured and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?”

And yet even in the middle of all this, he could also write, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

Paul had learned, even in the throes of terrible things happening, to seek out and focus on the good. He was filling his mind with things that were uplifting, not with the pains and privations of his daily life. In doing so he found the ability to be a wonderful role model for others, and learned to function from a deep well of peace within. What a great way to live. I know that adopting this mindset doesn’t alter my circumstances but I have seen it radically alter how I cope with them. How could this work for you?