Pastoral Letter Wednesday 14th October:

My Dear Friends,

One of the great mottoes of the Scouting Association is “Look Wide!” Avoid a narrow outlook. Have you noticed how easily depressed we become when the news is focussed relentlessly and exclusively on one topic. The politicians and pundits, the experts and fanatics become obsessed; and we hear of little else. Eventually, it all becomes too much for us; and it wears us down. Last year we were all heartily sick of Brexit. This year its Coronavirus. 

One day, a professor entered his classroom and asked his students to prepare for a surprise test. They all waited anxiously at their desks for the exam to begin. 

The professor handed out the question papers with the text facing down; and once he had handed them all out, he asked the students to turn over the papers and begin. 

To everyone’s surprise, there were no questions – just a black dot in the centre of the paper. The professor, seeing the expression on everyone’s faces, told them the following: “I want you to write about what you see there.” The students, confused, got started on the inexplicable task. 

At the end of the class, the professor took all the exam papers, and started reading each one of them out loud in front of all the students. 

All of them, with no exception, defined the black dot, trying to explain its position in the centre of the sheet. After all had been read, the classroom remained silent, and the professor started to explain:

“I’m not going to mark you on this. I just wanted to give you something to think about. Not a single one of you wrote about the white part of the paper. Everyone focused on the black dot. Now, exactly the same thing happens in our lives. We stubbornly insist on focusing only on the black dot – the health issues that bother us, the lack of money, the complicated relationship with a family member, the disappointment with a friend. The dark spots are very small when compared to everything else we have in our lives, but they are the ones that pollute our minds. Take your the eyes away from the black dots in your lives. Enjoy each one of your blessings; each moment that life gives you. Be happy and live a life filled with love!” 

Time and again the Scriptures encourage us to “lift up your eyes” and “lift up your hearts.” 

Liz joins me in sending our love to you all,