“During the bombing raids on World War II, thousands of children were orphaned and left to starve. The fortunate ones were rescued and placed in refugee camps where they received food and good care. But many of these children who had lost so much could not sleep at night. They feared waking up to find themselves once again homeless and without food. Nothing seemed to reassure them. Finally, someone hit upon the idea of giving each child a piece of bread to hold at bedtime. Holding their bread, these children could finally sleep in peace. All through the night the bread reminded them, “Today I ate and I will eat again tomorrow.”” (Linn, Sleeping with Bread, p.1)
This excerpt is from a book that has really impacted my life. I can imagine the sense of peace and stillness in the camp on the night the children first had the opportunity to hold onto something life-giving rather than the fear, uncertainty, pain and sadness – things that do not give life.
The book centres around 2 questions:
1. For what moment today are you most grateful?
2. For what moment today are you least grateful?
I don’t always immediately recognise the significance of words shared or events that occur. Sometimes it’s only after taking time to reflect over my day that I’m reminded. I always thank God for the joyful moments in my day, and try to thank the people who have been involved too.
A friend of mine has been working in Calais with Syrian refugees; in a conversation about why they risk their lives hiding in or under lorries attempting to get to England, the refugees responded, ‘we are dead already, we have lost everything, we are worthless’. I find this heartbreaking. I pray that these refugees would have the equivalent of a chunk of bread to hold through the night, something that gives them hope, something that gives them life.
I want to be involved in conversations and actions that cause people, on reflection, to be grateful for the moments we shared that day. What can you say today? What can you do to bring joy to someone, to make peace? Think over the last day or so. For what are you most grateful? Give thanks. For what are you least grateful? It’s important to recognise these moments, learn from them; move forward holding on to what gives life.
At RENEW we share our good news stories, and our struggles when we gather for worship. You would be made very welcome at any of our services.
Thank you for reading!