By DEREK RUMBOL
Wednesday 09 December 2020
In 1982 our daughter, Christine, was a delegate from Britain to the Baptist World Alliance Youth Congress in Buenos Aires, Argentina. This was just after the Falklands War when tensions between Britain and Argentina were running high. On arrival Christine was greeted with love and affection from the Argentinian hosts, one of whom, Ruth Padilla, became a lifelong friend.
I would like to quote now from a Christmas letter from Ruth, written this December.
“Thanks in the midst of it all.
Little did we imagine back in April that, come November, the entire world would be in the grip of COVID. Even less could we anticipate that, come November, we would personally be affected by the virus and weighed down by symptoms and protracted recovery. It is painful to lose friends and acquaintances to the pandemic and to witness so much disruption to lives, livelihood, mental health and life plans. It is burdensome to be slowed down by pain and fatigue, and unable to carry on with life as usual. On top of it all, Central America is being wracked with not one but two hurricanes that are leaving thousands homeless and piling devastation on top of the pandemic. Meanwhile there are wars and coups, uprisings and social unrest in so many places around the world.
Yet here we are approaching that day which in the US is celebrated as
Thanksgiving. And we ask, is there anything to celebrate? Are there reasons to be thankful?
Why yes, there surely are. We are grateful for community. For the full 14+ days of quarantine, our Casa Adobe family faithfully brought meals to our room. They even serenaded me for my birthday so that I wouldn’t go without a celebration because of COVID! We know of friends around the world praying for us and rooting us on. We are grateful for strong internet that allows us to work in spite of the pandemic and to stay in touch with family and friends spread out around the world. We are grateful for access to good health care (Costa Rica is amazing on that count; we’ve been followed up by doctors and social workers, all public services!) We are grateful for a strong roof above our heads during these unending storms, We are grateful for meaningful work and sick leave for the days we needed it. Ah, we are SO very privileged.
At the same time, we are convinced that loving community, adequate health care, work, a support network, these are all basics that all people should be able to count on. They should not be exclusive privileges to which only a few of us have access. So, as we give thanks even in the midst of trying times, we also commit to join God’s Spirit in mending what is broken – be they relationships, environments, policies – whatever is depriving people of the full life God intends for all creation. And we encourage you to do the same!”