I have been awestruck by the NHS and Care workers in this pandemic. At one stage I would have questioned the comments some made about not being hero's, because what they were doing was so heroic. Normal people, I felt could not have coped with what was being asked of them. Then it began to dawn on me that perhaps what was part of that statement "we are not hero's" was perhaps the truth that they were doing extraordinary things at a great cost to them and eventually that cost has to be met. We are not hero's perhaps means we are doing more than we have the resources to do, that physically, emotionally and mentally they are using up resources that are finite, when the demand feels anything but.
I was reading an interview by the Warden of the Sheldon Community in the book "Tragedies and Christian congregations, and she makes the point that in a disaster, there is a heroic phase where we go beyond what we normally can and she compares this to having to go overdrawn when you face an unexpected cost. As long as your careful you can pay it back, you may have to change your lifestyle a little, but as long as you recognise that you are overdrawn you can take care of it. If however you are always living right up to the edge of your resources and regularly going beyond them, that financial crisis can be a disaster. Our NHS staff and care workers have been working at the limit (and in some cases beyond) for the last three months and their sectors have always been demanding, in time and in physical and emotional energy.
So my prayer is for them and all who are working harder than we could reasonably ask. For their mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing. For those who have a duty of care to them and are aware of the need, but also trying to manage a crisis that is lasting months and still has a way to go, and finally for us, those who clapped and saw hero's taking care of us that we might know how to care for them in return.
Why your name matters.
In Luke's gospel the annunciation (Gabriel telling Mary she will have a baby) has a recurring theme and that is names. Luke tells us that the town was named Nazareth , The Virgin was betrothed to a man named Joseph, the virgin's name was Mary, the baby was to be named Jesus. Then the reading swaps from named to called, Jesus will be called the Son of the most high, he will be called son of God, and that Elizabeth will bear a Son who was called "barren" When Mary meets up with Elizabeth, she says that she will be called blessed. Luke's theme of names continues with the proclamation by Zachariah that the boy's name is John, after his son is born.
Mental health care has moved from a primarily medical model, where symptoms are treated or managed, to one where the question being addressed is "What does it mean for you to lead a meaningful life?" Those of us who struggle in different ways with our mental health and well being, can hopefully be seen as people, with names, rather than simply a diagnosis. The bible is full of people being given their names by God and occasionally giving names to God. When we are named, or called by name or reassured that God has written our names on the palm of his hand, then we know that we have been seen. We are no longer a problem to be solved, or a condition to be treated. Names are important they are a way in which God tells us "I see you, I know you and I love you".