A friend who is nursing a very sick wife wrote about how much they were enjoying talking and eating and Bible study and TV. That resonated with me.
Conversation, company, meals, devotion and story-telling: you don’t know how valuable they are till you’ve lost a lot of other things.
Illness can make you do that, pan for the gold. When a flow of suffering washes normal life away, you realise that gleaming among the residue was the treasure you’d been wanting all your life.
We often stumble into this gold, and then stumble away from it again. Maybe suffering or illness helps refine our tastes. It’s interesting to compile a list of what does or doesn’t have this life-giving, joy-giving quality. Here’s my attempt — you may disagree:
- People creating something together, for example in a sports team or an orchestra or a village fete
- Pottering in the garden
- Meals together
- Being happily part of a family
- People accumulating together but without community: queues, traffic jams, tourism
- Eating ‘al desko’
- Looking at a screen into the small hours
- Death by Powerpoint
- Being famous
- Being wealthy
‘Slow mission’, I think, is about choosing these things — things that will exist in some form in eternity — over the things that will pass away?