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Sarah Richardson’s article in the May Diary April 18, 2022

Posted by nicholastufton in The Diary Monthly letter.

At the end of May, our usual pattern of bank holidays is to be modified to include an extra day in celebration of Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee. In our villages, plans have been made for events to mark the occasion where we can gather as a community again, hopefully in some beautiful sunshine as we had at Easter. When I reflect on how much has changed in the world during the Queen’s reign, her steadfastness in service and the perseverance in her role is remarkable. Whatever your views on monarchy, it is evident that she has approached her reign with thoughtfulness and care. In her 2019 Christmas address, she said that ‘it is worth remembering that it is often the small steps, not the giant leaps, that bring about the most lasting change’. It seems to be that this is something learned with the wisdom of years.

While some of us have more power than others, in our professional lives or in our communities, we all have the opportunity to make positive changes. We have seen that recently in the efforts of many in the local area to send aid to Ukraine, and to plan offers of hosting people fleeing from there, and in the response and support groups set up during the pandemic. The smalls steps taken by many, offering what they are able to, and joining in with the skills and offering of others, has the potential for lasting, positive change in the lives of others (and ourselves). It can be easy to feel helpless when there is such great suffering, and sometimes we wonder whether what we can do is of any real value. But we are not usually able to see what might grow out of the tiny seeds that we offer. The Bible narrative of the Feeding of the Five Thousand, where Jesus used the packed lunch offered by a young boy of five loaves and two fishes, to miraculously feed a huge crowd, wouldn’t have been an event worth recording if there had been easily sufficient food to start with. The young boy didn’t know the potential of what he had to offer.

At the time of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation in 1952, I wonder how she imagined that her reign would be, and what offerings, large and small, she might be able to give. For all the large public engagements and events, there must have been thousands of personal interactions with others – short conversations and kind words – which have encouraged others and have had a lasting impact on their lives.

Whatever your plans for the upcoming bank holidays, I hope you are able to enjoy some time with family and friends. And for those working across those days, and planning events for others to enjoy, thank you. May there be tiny seeds of fruitfulness that develop into lasting goodness in our villages.

Sarah Richardson


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