I was thinking back over this hard year, and further to the other difficult times in my life a few days ago, and it struck me; through it all, in many different guises, I have encountered something good. My memory gets so swamped with darkness I lose sight of the light. So I thought back and made myself notice how much goodness I have seen. Even right in the middle of the bad.

It was no accident that our builder was there to put ramps down to help the trolley get to the ambulance. It so happened that there was a trainee paramedic on duty who gave his all to deal with my pain. Mistakenly dialling the number for a friend instead of the MS helpline meant I heard concern instead of an answering machine. I was put on a ward with someone who was missing a relative who had recently died called Agnes, the very name that the nurse introduced me as when I arrived. That brought unexpected comfort both to the patient and to me.

So when I remember, I’m able to feel warmth. I’ve been told many times that I’m being held in prayer, but now I see I was never let go. By the One I walk with, but also by the many acts of kind people along the way. When I am tempted to say, ‘2022 was a nightmare’, I have to see how tightly I was surrounded by the care of others- by family and friends but also by people I have never met before. The kind eyes above surgical masks, the gentle hands washing me, the sympathetic words from an overworked staff, the empathetic sighs from fellow sufferers, the cheers when I manage to take a few steps and so much more.

So when you reminisce about a hard time, see if you can find a feeling you hadn’t noticed at the time. See if you can recognise you were never alone.

Always, you were held.

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