Some of you may know that I've had an injury to my knee. Entirely self inflicted, in that I went to a different exercise class than my normal Pilates, and mistook my body's ability to cope with lots of bending at a 'barre class'. I then compounded the error by not resting and continuing to cycle. This nearly resulted in my first Harvest festival service at Bishop's Stortford being memorable for all the wrong reasons, as not being able to weight bear on my left leg I stumbled in front of the harvest display and ended up clinging onto the microphone stand!
Thankfully a lovely physio named Julie (recommended via church members) has taken me in hand, used all her skills to reduce the swelling and insisted that I use a crutch for walking to prevent further injury.
Those of you who know me well, will realise that I'm not very good at sitting still, nor am I great at patience. However I have had to learn a bit over the last 4 weeks. I also know that I am quite proud, and accepting that I might have to request mobility assistance for our short break in Croatia was , for me a hard thing to do. Those who advised that I should have a wheelchair were absolutely right as Stansted airport has long distances to be covered between security and departures.
What struck me though, has been the amount of loving kindness shown to me by complete strangers. The staff at Stansted and at Split airport were incredibly thoughtful, the apartment owner where we were staying for the first night took one look at my crutch and re-arranged our accommodation so we were on the ground floor. And an incident in the old town of Split has really stayed with me. We were exploring (slowly) around the narrow ancient alleyways when our path was blocked by a tour group. As I couldn't easily get past we listened to the blurb, and the guide said we were outside St Michael's the narrowest church in Europe. So when the crowds had departed we went to see this little church. Many narrow steps later I was wishing we hadn't and wondering how I was going to get back down! The church itself was amazing and we gave the nun on duty the required donation of 10 kuna. Because of my crutch she tried to give it back, and then said 'wait a moment'. She locked her little study and led us through a side door into the convent where - joy of joys, she shepherded us into a lift. The small convent of Dominican nuns had just 7 residents, and the nun gave us a blessing as we departed. But she had already blessed us greatly by her loving kindness.
Back home, a cafe owner waived the price of my coffee, and yesterday some of the church flowers were delivered to the manse. Small actions in themselves but ones that have touched me greatly. This Sunday's bible reading is on the greatest commandment - love God and love your neighbour. This love for one another, this loving kindness, can be shown in so many ways, and I am so grateful to have received it.