The sound of a bird singing its little heart out is like God’s trumpet call from the beginning of a new day through to the end of the day.

As I attended a retreat recently, the birds didn’t adhere to the instruction of ‘silent retreat’ – from first light, through mass, lunch, evening meal and lights out – they sang continuously! I think they were putting a voice to all our thoughts and prayers during that week – which we were all so very grateful for!

The calming sounds of nature also gave great respite from today’s rush and materialistic world. The simplicity of sounds such as the rippling water in the river or stream, the rustling of leaves in the trees and just the quiet calm of ‘stillness’ is so refreshing and can be so enlightening.

After such a refreshing week away from the outside world, I bumped into an old friend of mine the other day and after a welcoming hug asked her how she was keeping, whereupon she proceeded to explain about her stay in hospital and is now attending various clinics in the hospital for other health-related problems that she’s having.

I listened intently and felt genuinely concerned for what she had to endure over the course of the last few years since our last meet up – she barely took a breath but I continued to listen. After about 15 minutes we had to say a ‘rushed goodbye’ as she realised that she needed to meet up with her husband, who was apparently waiting to take her home. We didn’t get chance to exchange contact details and it might be another few years before we see each other again.

I don’t think she’s ever acknowledged a faith but I just asked that her Guardian Angel be with her.

Anyway, I realised, as she disappeared into the car park, that she hadn’t asked how I was and I felt a little disappointed that I hadn’t shared some positive news with her as she seemed so downhearted.

I then had a fleeting thought and wondered if I am being selfish in wanting someone else to care about how I am doing?
Although I know today that God listens to me throughout my day (after I have invited him in) then just a physical acknowledgement by someone, anyone, can mean such a lot. It lifts the spirits to know that someone cares enough to stop and simply ask ‘How are you today?’.

I am lucky in the fact that I have family and friends around me who ask me regularly, how I am feeling and care enough to listen to my response. I likewise try to keep in contact with family and friends and chat with neighbours living on their own.

Just by giving someone a ‘listening ear’ so that they can voice their own concerns or share a happy moment may only take 10 or 20 minutes from the 24 hours we have in our day, but that precious time might give them a ‘lift’ in their day.

Sharing time in Communion with each other is part of our mission as Members of the Holy Family Association not only with our members but with the lonely members of our local communities – perhaps …

Take time to care
Take time to share
Come sit and chat with me,
Time passes by so quickly now… ‘Do you take sugar in your tea?’

Margaret Ramsey
Inter-Vocational Team Member