Thoughts for February 2018 from Jane Dibnah. 

What’s not to love about February in Blackrod?

For the most part I consider myself to be of a happy disposition, yet the thought of another February fills me with gloom and trepidation. Gale force winds and heavy rain in the month of February over the years has definitely left scars. These include a 10 hour journey home from Loughborough when the police had closed all motorways across the country because of hurricanes, only to arrive back in Blackrod to find most of my roof tiles strewn over the back garden.

Another February I recall brought water streaming through my lounge ceiling which was a bit of a mystery as I live in a ground floor flat and there was no such problem in the upstairs flat. The builder came and replaced the lintel over my patio window, filled all little holes in the outside wall and gave the bricks various treatments, and by process of elimination we found that the culprit was in fact my neighbour’s soffits which had been damaged by the storms. The story, however, did not end there, as the following February the westerly winds and torrential rains brought water streaming down the inside of my patio window revealing that my builder had blocked the drainage in the new lintel he had fitted.

I was most vocal last February about my greenhouse being blown away like a scene from ‘The Wizard of Oz’, and oh, my storm damage stories could put a glass eye to sleep before I even start on the stories of being the only teenage girl in an all girls’ school who had never ever received a Valentine’s card.

If you’re still reading this you’ll be delighted to know I’ve finished my rant of February woes, it’s all off my chest now and we can move on. Seriously, I know how blessed I am even in February. I enjoy good health, a roof over my head, weather appropriate clothing and footwear, and enough income to heat my house and buy nutritional food.

I have good friends, love and laughter in my life. These rants are no more than trivial annoyances but for some people life can seem like a never-ending February, without any anticipation of the spring, trapped by physical, geographical, or financial circumstances, or by self- imposed chains and barriers from which they cannot break free. Wherever I see suffering and sorrow, whether it be in faraway places or with my neighbours, my friends or my family, my heart breaks, especially when there is no easy-fix, no simple practical solution, no magic wand.  I can and do though pray. Every day as part of the Lord’s prayer I say “Thy will be done on earth as in heaven”.

What is Thy will in all of this? I know there is a bigger picture, I’m just not privy to it yet. I feel very humbled to be part of this family of Christ as I witness acts of selfless generosity both great and small given in His Name to help those in need. Some are gifted with skills and talents which can be put to great practical use, yet we all have the gifts of a listening ear, a kind and encouraging word, a smile, a loving heart which in themselves are the most powerful of gifts.

Using the words of Mother Theresa:

Be kind to each other: It is better to commit faults with gentleness than to work miracles with unkindness“,

and of the words of Jesus, By this evidence everyone will know that you are my disciples — if you have love for one another“. John 13:35.