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Things That Matter
Love, faith, duty and hope
What a time we are living through. It’s true to say that with every end sparks a new beginning, and with all that has gone on over the last few years it has felt like there’s been change upon change upon change. I wasn’t ready for this one though, were you? I’m not sure any of us were.
Heraclitus, Buddha, Benjamin Franklin - take your pick, they’ve all said it and here we are again, navigating more change through the sadness of losing our other constant, our Queen. She has been there for all of our lives, a uniting figure who has seen and survived, lived and outlived. Her smile and twinkling eyes not far from any occasion, she was the best of us. I know there is a non-stop flow of articles, TV programmes and such like, but I can’t let this week pass by without joining the not so madding crowd. Other than a few disrespectful plonkers, the mood seems to be just right. We are commemorating our loss while celebrating her life in an odd balance of left meets right, where we know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that she will rest in peace, according to scripture in 2 Timothy 4:7
I have fought the good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept my faith.
I have loved watching all the tributes, the photos, the stories and the videos of her. I don’t think I’ve ever scrolled so much. I was clearing out the spare room this morning and stumbled upon this old newspaper from 11th August 1986 …
She had another 36 years to go when this was written. I wonder if she hoped it may continue for this long. We wondered if she might hand over to Charles and take a back seat for years, but then she didn’t, she just kept on going, right to the very end. She displayed such strength and commitment to her role, seemingly with no intention to fade away or wind down. She inspires me to work hard, to love hard, to give, to serve, to share, to support, to do all those things that make life wonderful, despite the annus horribilus’s when they come - which they tend to do.
Her devotion to service was like none other though. She has made an impact on us all, no matter our political persuasion or thoughts on the monarchy. When I look at all the pictures and videos that are being shared across social media over the last few days I can’t help but think how lucky we have been to have her in our lives. I hope the qualities she lived by, live on in us all for years to come.
Theresa May had the MPs in stitches a number of times during her tribute to the Queen, but her words summed it up perfectly:
‘Her selfless devotion to duty was a lesson to us all. She was a woman of dignity and grace, compassion and warmth, mischief and joy, wisdom and experience, and a deep understanding of her people. She was Queen, but she embodied us.’
It was who she was that made such an impact. She was thrown in the deep end at such a young age, and made a vow which she kept for 71 years, and she stayed true to her word. I think her stillness is something I have always admired too, she had an ability to stay calm in the face of disquiet. Yes she giggled, and we love her for those moments captured on film, but otherwise, her words were never wasted. She was always a guiding light and a healthy measure of hope.
And hope is the final virtue that I hope we can all hang onto. Her hope came from her faith. Drawing on the life and teachings of Jesus gave her guidance and hope each day.
We don’t know what tomorrow holds, that was true yesterday and is true today. It will always be true. We have seen immense amounts of change and we don’t know what’s ahead. So, with stillness, hope, generous hearts and kind words, there was a groundedness to the life of Queen Elizabeth that I hope we can all share going forwards (and a good giggle too).
I watched King Charles greet the public as he arrived in Northern Ireland earlier today, and I saw that same love and care in his face. He greeted each person with heartfelt eye contact and handshakes where he could. I find myself rooting for him far more than I thought I might a few years ago. I think his mum will be very proud.