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Girton Parish News - September 2001
Home and AwayWell, we've just about come through the summer holidays. We've survived them, just, and the children are preparing for a new year at school, the teenagers are moving on to college or university, and the "normal
service" of daily life is about to be resumed.
It has been quite relaxing, for me anyway, not to have to go through that daily morning battle of "Eat your breakfast!", "Why aren't you dressed, instead of watching telly?", "Where are your socks / shoes / reading folder / gym things ... (delete as appropriate)?", "Why haven't you done your homework before now?" and "Come on, hurry up and get into the car!"
But soon, alas, this daily cycle will return! And then what lasting
good will remain of the summer holidays?
It's a matter of one's frame of mind, really. The glass can be half full, or half empty. Is it that the holiday is over and "Ugh! It's back to work." Or is it that "It's back to work, but we did have a wonderful holiday / trip / picnic."
The rather iconoclastic film from the 1970's, The Life of Brian, has a famous song whose refrain includes, "Always look on the bright side of life." And so we should, even in times of trouble.
There is a lot of evidence about the "power of positive thinking". The power of your mind over your physical body is quite incredible. It can affect how you react to or resist infections; it can improve your recovery time in sickness; and it can improve the way you deal with those around you.
It is through "positive thinking" that many people survived terrible hardships in prisons or concentration camps in the war. They had something to live for, something to hang onto, when the going got tough. What have we got to hang onto when the going gets tough? What "positive thoughts" will carry us through?
Well, a "positive thought" might be to ask yourself in the tough times, "Has it always been this bad? Honestly?" I really hope it hasn't, because once you can find something in the past to remind you that it once was better, then there is hope that better times can come again. And hope or faith is what keeps us going.
Another thought could be of Jesus. When the going got tough for him, he prayed. He kept in prayerful communication with his heavenly Father. Even to the end. So we can follow his example, if we believe. Even when things looked as though they could not get any worse with Jesus dying on the cross, God surprised us by raising him from the dead!
So, as Autumn approaches, the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, when a sadness may fall upon us, let us remember something good, even if it is just one thing, from the summer. Let us treasure it to carry us on. Let's be positive! And if we go with God, when it gets really tough, you never know he might even surprise us!
Dugald Wilson, Reader
Guaranteed a PrizeWhen we came back from holiday there was a great pile of post waiting for us to go through. Some of it was for the home, some of it was for the church and some of it was destined for the bin! I don’t know about you, but I am so grateful for the green boxes we now have for recycling, for at least junk mail now has a purpose. My daughter Beth is our self-appointed post-person in the house and as she sorted the post, a little scratch card dropped out of a magazine. Normally I would bin such a thing straight away, but the children had spotted it and as the writing guaranteed us a prize they were keen that we should play. The list of prizes was indeed wonderful; £50,000, a multimedia PC, a video cassette recorder, a digital camcorder, £250 in Argos vouchers, a one carat emerald, a hi-fi with CD, £500 cash or a 25 inch colour TV. All we had to do was turn over the card, scratch off the covers and if we had three symbols the same, then we had definitely won one of the prizes.
You might be thinking the story is going to end here with me saying that all our symbols were different, but you would be wrong. We had three matching symbols, three £ signs together and alongside to claim our prize there was a telephone number to ring. Even though we were now on the verge of winning £50,000, I insisted that we wait until after 6 o’clock before claiming our prize. After all the anticipation of winning a multimedia PC, a video cassette recorder, a digital camcorder, £250 in Argos vouchers, a one carat emerald (whatever that was), a hi-fi with CD, £500 cash or a 25 inch colour TV, is worth savouring.
Just after 6 o’clock I telephoned the number while two excited children listened at the other ‘phone. If we had three anchors we had won a multimedia PC, three dice and we had won a TV, three stars, a digital camcorder, and so the list went on as we mentally ticked off the prizes that we hadn’t won. We did though have three symbols, three £ signs, so were guaranteed something in the handouts, and at last the voice announced, with a particular air of triumph, that for three £ signs we had won a genuine, at least one carat, emerald … and at that point I put down the telephone. For I remembered that my mother had once won a similar competition and I have the prize, a diamond tie pin. It sounds wonderful until you look at it and realise that a better prize would have included a magnifying glass with which to view the said diamond.
It’s right to be sceptical about competition promises. True they guaranteed a prize, but it was hardly free; I guess the telephone call cost more than the emerald I could have won. God guarantees all of us a prize, the same prize worth more than any earthly treasure. Unlike a competition it is not a prize we have to pay for, but comes as a free gift provided by God’s grace. On the last page of the Bible God says, “come, whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life”. God guarantees a prize, promises the gift of life; life in all its fullness now and eternal life to come. It’s there to all those who take up his offer to believe in him.
School is on holiday at the moment, but we look forward to the next report to see how the new term has started.
Susan Baker, Headteacher