21 December 2017
I was planting daffodil bulbs one afternoon in mid November. I knew I would not see them in flower until March at least. From January, there will come eager little shoots which grow infinitesimally but surely each day as I watch, entranced. The buds will appear, opening little by little until the final glory of the open flower. This is, to me, a metaphor for the season of Advent. And I am happy to wait.
By coincidence, that very day in November, I was also leading Intercessions at Church. It was only when I was out in the garden planting my daffodils that I realised that for some time I have not included a prayer for the alleviation of anxiety. Like many people, I suffer from it periodically, and I had quite a severe bout following a mystery illness I had picked up in Africa. And for many of my turns at intercessions, I would include the same prayer, asking for healing for those who suffer anxiety of any kind. I somewhat sheepishly hoped that no-one would notice I had prayed for this last time! And perhaps the time before. But during that mid-November afternoon, I suddenly saw that my prayer had been answered. I realised I had not even included it that morning or the couple of times earlier this year. It comes and goes of course, but I have noticed a healing force and a wonderful alleviation of that low level, sometimes obsessive, gnawing, panic which is called anxiety, and which can cripple one’s life.
So that afternoon, among the daffodils, I suddenly realised that my prayer had been answered.