Sr Vivienne Kellett
Sunday dawned – almost. The light was struggling to penetrate the thick cloud over Birmingham. The snow had melted, thank God, and gradually light penetrated the clouds as I prepared to meet the day ahead. As I settled into my chair at the patio window (I live in a ground floor flat) I noticed there were two new snowdrops in bloom, bringing the count to six! A few bluetits and a robin were breakfasting at my bird feeder until a squirrel scampered into the scene putting an end to that. The bare trees were like lace against the still grey sky. I began Morning Prayer in praise and thanks. What else could anyone do?
At ten, I got out the car to take a neighbour to visit his terminally ill wife who is in hospital. Buses are few and far between on Sundays. May and I both came to live in Bromford Park house within a couple of weeks of each other in 2001 and quickly became friends. Joe came a few years later, to live in the flat below May. A romance blossomed and after some time they were wed. Sadly, May will not be with him for much longer. As we drove, he spoke very movingly of his joy and delight in loving and being loved by May. I can only hope she will die happily and in peace and that he will be consoled. I spent a little while by her bed and left for 11 o’clock Mass in St Catherine’s, promising prayers for each of them. May will be missed by all our residents.
I went to St Catherine’s for the eleven o’clock Mass, since it was close to the hospital. I am not officially attached to any parish, but help in catechesis and pastoral work as requested. It was some months since I had been in St Catherine’s. (I normally go to St Anne’s, where I am a minister of Word and Eucharist, have a Communion round every Friday and serve on the Parish Council.) Imagine my delight, then, on returning to St Cath’s and discovering a young girl I had helped to prepare for First Holy Communion last year was serving Mass. She was the picture of dignity and reverence. She was a bit of a wriggler last year and tended to cling to her mother in church. I knew she wanted very much to be a server. I think I am every bit as proud of her as her mother is! As though that were not joy enough for me, I found that when the children left for their own Liturgy of the Word, a young couple I had accompanied on their Journey of Faith (or R.C.I.A.) at the Cathedral last year, left with them. At the end of Mass I congratulated them on having discerned their ministry in the parish. They said they had been invited to help with the children and felt very much at home doing so. Wonderful. Several people greeted me like old friends. I was so pleased to be there.
After dinner the sun came out and I decided to go for a walk. There is a reservoir in a park about half a mile away from here and I headed that way. As I drew near, an elderly couple left the park and greeted me. Robert and Eileen are well into their eighties and a couple of years ago they were both very ill in different hospitals and family and friends feared they would die without seeing each other again. They both made a great recovery, thank God. Since then I have seen them in church a few times, but really didn’t think they would be out walking on a cold, hard day. It was the watery winter sun that drew them to the park, just as it had drawn me. We chatted for a while before they left for home. At the reservoir there was a huge flock of gulls wheeling and sweeping above the water. I saw a few swans, some coots and the inevitable mallards.
Mentally kicking myself for not having brought my camera, I continued through some woodland and through into the playing fields, where the grass looked fresh and green and the snow of the previous days had quite melted. Appearances can be deceptive – I soon found myself squelching through sloppy patches of sodden grass. Emerging onto dry land I saw a forsythia in bud. I broke off a branch, planning to put it in water and watch it blossom. Fine, in the woods, but I had to walk home through streets full of houses clutching my branch and pretending not to notice the sideways glances from other walkers! (It was worth the embarrassment. Two weeks later the display on my kitchen windowsill is a joy not only for me but for all who pass by.)
Home again, I had tea, Evening Prayer and settled down with my knitting to listen to the radio. After Brian D’Arcy’s Sunday Half Hour on BBC2 I made a few phone calls and headed for bed. It was a good day.
Note: Names have been changed to protect the privacy of the people in this article.