So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13
It is undoubtedly a special privilege to be able to travel to UK to be with our daughters.
Sarah graduated this year, after six years of medical studies at University College London (UCL). Time really flies! Deborah has completed her BSC Architectural degree from NUS and is currently in her final year of the Masters programme at Architectural Association (AA) in London. We took the opportunity in to take the usual "graduation" photos as a family to keep in posterity these important milestones.
While we are here, we also took the opportunity to reconnect with some of our friends. Revd Peter and Ineke Cook (in photo below), after serving for a season as Vicar in Bangkok, served together with me when I was Vicar for five years at St Andrew's Cathedral. We had many happy shared memories of working together. It was great to reconnect again and enjoy a taste of their retired life in the rural countryside of Colchester, about two hours drive northeast of London.
It has been sad to hear their side of the Covid stories in this season of worldwide pandemic. Ineke lost her father to Covid and her mother to cancer in this year alone. She is at peace as they return to the bosom of the Lord. Life in the countryside is of course very different from busy city life, and they have been busy with renovating and building their new home. We went on some long walks together. It goes without saying that some of the highlights of this trip are these nature walks.
To have our "feet on the ground" and be in close touch with His creation is healing and restorative during this season. It reminds us again of the beauty of creation and the need to move out of our highly urbanised and materialistic life once in a while to renew our perspectives. There is also well-preserved and beautiful nature areas in Singapore which we need to put our feet (or bicycle wheels!) on from time to time.
And of course, one of the priceless gifts of life is family and friendships. We often take these for granted. Pressures of life can sometimes dim their importance. As St Paul reminded us, there is the trio of faith hope and love. But the greatest of these is love, and as we can imagine, for all the rich and eternal reasons.
While we may pull out of this pandemic, may the lessons learned stay with us. Surely, the primacy of relationships - family, church and with our Lord - and gratefulness for the providence of creation are anchoring values. May these centres provide the ballast and stability for the rest of our lives, come what may.