Rev’d Sissons’ Thought for the Day: April 1
April 1, 2020

Thought for the Day: Wednesday, April 1

I want to share somebody else’s thoughts today. As you can imagine a lot of local churches, being closed for all meetings and worship, are sharing their stories and words of encouragement online and this message comes from one lady, a neo-natal NHS worker, who lives in Llandudno and who is very much involved at the sharp end of the fight against Covid-19, as are so many parents and friends connected to the school.

I am sure her words could be repeated time and again by others, but that does not make them any the less powerful.

“Well I have to confess to never having read any of the letters from the trenches of World War I, but I imagine that although they contained news from the troops, it wasn’t gory stuff of blood and guts, but was more musings and thoughts of home, perhaps the troops wanted to protect those at home from the horrors of the reality of what they were experiencing, knowing that often it is worse to be at home thinking about what is going on rather than actually being there. 

“So I want to reassure you that news from this front line troop will be missing the blood, guts and gore too!  This is for reasons of confidentiality but also because, as we prepare for tough situations, we have a dark sense of humour that gets us through it and a camaraderie that is second to none. We look after each other. 

“So what do I want to say? What news is there to tell you?  Well I want to reassure you that we’re doing OK.  I have been really impressed with the way that the creaky old lady that is our NHS has really been pulling together over the last few weeks.

“People seem to be kinder to each other.  It is a very different way of working, we are trying to maintain social distancing measures in the workplace too.  But all suggestions about how we can do things in a different way are being received and thought about, the levels of management seem to have been flattened. 

“What look like sensible decisions are being made, preparations are being put in place for the tsunami we know is coming.  But I am leaning on the truths of our faith, we are gifted just one day at a time, we are instructed not to worry about tomorrow, we are to cling to the fact that God will never leave us or forsake us.

 “I’ve recently had training sessions on how to care for big people, this is quite scary for someone who has looked after little people for my entire career!  The fact that my patients might soon be about 80 times the size of my usual 1kg babies is an ‘interesting’ one to get my head around! 

“But all of this is entirely necessary, I have skills that potentially can be used elsewhere in the hospital, so I must go if called upon.

 “So how can you help?  Please pray for us, and specifically our skin… An odd request I know!  Firstly the skin on our hands, we are used to washing our hands many, many, many, times a day anyway, but the new instructions means that this has had to increase to many, many, more.  Our hands are sore.  And now a really odd request – pray for our faces. 

“You may have seen pictures of the health staff in Italy and Spain with sore faces.  This will be us soon.  The face masks are tight around our eyes and over our nose for a reason, and wearing them for hours and hours will be a challenge.  Thank you for this.”

The last part of the message struck me, especially when I think of those who were panic buying soap only a few weeks ago and those who were complaining at having to wash their hands for 20 seconds.

I was also moved by her willingness to recognise that in this national emergency our skills must be put to whatever use that might be required, and that doesn’t only apply to technical and professional skills but soft life-skills too, like listening to a worried friend, being patient, giving our time, playing with the children, staying calm.

I leave you with this piece of advice I heard somebody recently giving to some young people: ‘Be better than you have to be.’ I think we could all try and do that.

The Chaplain

PS: As today is the first day of the month some of you might like to access Action for Happiness’ new monthly calendar with suggestions of how to keep ourselves well mentally during the lockdown.