Life is an intricate balance, a multitude of complicated systems that sustain us, both internally and externally, day by day. Jez Brown, Lead Chaplain, talks about the fragility of these systems and how kindness and understanding are so important in keeping a balance. Jez says:
"One of the hazards for us avid stamp collectors (philatelists sounds so posh!) when buying stamps online, is that sometimes the little beauties will arrive damaged, despite our pleas for the envelope not to be folded. They are very fragile pieces of paper!
"The recent problem with our fuel supplies around the country has also caused me to recognise afresh that so much in our world is fragile. Forecourt garages don’t want to hold more stock than they need to because that’s expensive. They therefore have their deliveries planned to arrive ‘just in time’ to meet demand. Manufacturers sign-up to have their raw materials delivered ‘just in time’ – again, so as to not adversely affect their cash-flow. Our nation’s economy is fragile. The world economy is fragile.
"Increasingly, too, we are being made aware of the eco crisis and climate change that humanity, and the rest of the natural world, is facing around the globe, due to our collective poor care of the environment and all living things. All life is fragile.
"In our day to day lives we are incredibly dependent upon so many others who help us cope with the fragility of our own lives - often unseen and unrecognized individuals and teams. Have you ever paused to reflect for a moment, about all who help to keep your life ‘on track’ day-to-day? You and I almost certainly don’t know most of them personally but they are no less essential to us for that!
"All of these reflections remind me, that as human beings, we are fragile too. Incredibly so. Our hopes and our dreams, our coping mechanisms. Our relationships … as fragile as a butterfly’s wings.
"Of course, in our line of work we need no reminding that the human body, and the brain in particular, is incredibly fragile. I never cease to be amazed at the intricacy of the mind – its capacity and ability to liberate and lead us, to excite and temper us aright. But then those occasions when it becomes injured and broken - as if defeated and unable to lead us any further through the fragility of life.
"So, Jez thinks to himself, after all of these thoughts, how can I leave these lovely people reading this Pause for Thought in an upbeat, positive frame of mind today? Here goes: suppose I imagine that the next person I talk to, or smile at, is feeling as fragile as me today? I would treat them with more kindness, more understanding and more care. And if they were to do the same, what a difference that could make!"