That nursery rhyme has been stuck on repeat in my head for at least a week now. Did you know that it was only in the mid 20th century that people associated it with the Plague and Black Death? When it was originally sung or chanted in the 17th century, there was no such dark association. Fake news and misinformation again! Anyway, it was the title line that I’ve been fixating on. What do we do at a time like this, when fear, dread and isolation are pressing in on us? Apart from buying so many tins and toilet rolls that the basket-carrying few get nothing?
What I’m thinking about now is, do I have enough inner resources to keep me going? And what are they? What is in my metaphorical pocket? What’s in yours?
Definitely, the ability to write down my thoughts and share them with you has become even more precious. The indulgence of creating fictional worlds is also a welcome escape. Memories of good times, sunny holidays, loved ones that have already gone before us, music we’ve played or sang, even a joke so funny it has us laughing years after its first telling. A couple of months ago I tried to write down the stories my dad used to tell about his childhood escapades. It utterly failed. Some stories are all in the telling sadly. And the telling requires gathering together by a crackling roaring fire. So, right now, the memory of that is all I have.
That’s the thing though. This is ‘right now’ but not forever. Forever is a whole other story that lasts from this present moment and continues way beyond it. Forever gives us a perspective that both treasures the right now and points to something far, far better. I have a small, temporary pocketful of resources that help with the present moment, but I also have a shield of faith* in an eternal God that can hold fast against whatever the world throws at me. You can have that too, if you only ask.
The best thing is, there’s an abundant, never-ending supply.
*Ephesians 6, 10-18