We travelled home yesterday after a second Christmas with my family in Wales. Our journey was delayed, someone had been hit by a train and the line had been closed between Bristol and Taunton. I don’t know the rest of the story. It well may have been an unfortunate accident, but I can’t help thinking that life had become too painful for some poor soul. The festive period can be a gruelling time for the lonely and excluded.
Whatever the reason, it is a sad tale. One that has undoubtedly given distress and sorrow to many; the train driver, the emergency services called to the scene and those that knew the victim.
We were warm, had plenty to read and adequate supplies. Our fellow passengers were relaxed and we got home safe and unstressed. Still I couldn’t stop thinking about the person who had died so tragically and all those who find this sometimes cruel world too great a challenge.
This morning I discovered that a friend’s home was destroyed in a serious fire a couple of days ago. The family is safe but their house is almost certainly beyond repair and they have lost most of their possessions. However they are buoyant and positive and are being supported by each other and their friends.
Something else happened earlier today. And it got me to thinking. There was a ring at the door and a parcel left on the doorstep. Inside was a blanket, handmade by my friend Emma. A surprise, a wonderful surprise. It is beautiful but so much more than that. I cried at the kindness of it.
Friends and family can not always protect us from misfortune. But when adversity does strike, and as we know “into each life a little rain must fall”, it is these people who surround and embrace us. Even when it turns out to be a deluge and not just a shower.
My dear family and friends are my blanket, they fold their arms around me when I need it, they keep me warm with their love. I am very lucky and I am thankful. It should be said out loud every now and again. Happy New Year everyone, thank you.