I have found myself being more emotional than usual. I do not cry easily. And I rarely cry in public. (Not that that’s a problem at the moment as there is no ‘public’ to cry before today). But I find the tears welling up and a lump in my throat at the strangest things. The organ music at the beginning of the digital service on Sunday – Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty … The picture of the little girl trying to lift the end of the cross for a bronze statue of Jesus as he carries His cross through the streets … These and others touch me deeply at this time.
But one picture, in particular, has haunted me this week. I, like the rest of the world who have heard of him, stand in awe at the sight of Captain Tom Moore and his epic walk to raise funds for the NHS. His generation has lived through so much and the fighting spirit is still evident in so many of them.
Up and down, up and down he walks, pushing his walker, raising his funds. He has touched people’s hearts around the world. But it has not just been the film clips and photos of him that have touched me.
Someone, somewhere, took one of the pictures of him walking in front of his house. And they superimposed on top of the photo the ghostly, transparent figures of soldiers, dressed in battle fatigue, walking with him. Are they his brothers in arms from earlier days? Are they the frontliners for whom he walks? Do they represent all of us, soldiering on as times grow more challenging every day? Even as I type the words, the tears well and the lump in my throat grows.
Why does such a picture affect me so much? Is it my British heritage? Is it the fierce determination of a 99 year old man to ‘do his bit’ and help however he can? Is it the implied respect people have for him?
I don’t know the answers to any of these questions.
I don’t know.
I just know the emotion is real. And I also know the image of that picture will never leave me. It is engraved on my mind. And I think it says to me that no matter what we are doing, what we are going through, what is happening around us or to us, we are not alone. There are a thousand, thousand witnesses cheering us on. For each one of us, whatever our situation, we are never alone.
Jesus is here. And He and the hoards of heaven are cheering us on.
Perhaps the well of tears and the lump in my throat are just a reminder that I am human. That I have compassion. That I love and that I am loved.
Keep going, Captain Tom Moore, for as long as you are able. Neither you nor we walk alone.