17th October 2020

Dear Parishioners,

It is once more good to be able to send you the Newsletter and also the Readings for Holy Mass this weekend. Hopefully this short word of greeting finds you well and safe. Added to which I trust that within earshot of sometimes confusing and differing messages from public leaders you are managing, in the words of Rudyard Kipling, to “keep your head when all about you are losing theirs !” With all that we are being fed by our media sometimes there seems little to smile about, let alone be able to laugh at. Yet sometimes laughter is a good remedy, not least the ability to make light of oneself. Even St. Paul invited us to be “fools for Christ’s sake” (1 Corinthians 4:10).

When I first saw the letters LOL in a text I was a little baffled to say the least. In my naïve understanding I equated them with the demonstrative expression Lots of Love. At the same time they appeared out of context within the message that had been sent. But with keys that offer predictive text who knows what is at the tip of a careless finger end. It took several more communiques containing similar text-speak abbreviations and subsequently a face to face conversation to learn that LOL actually stands for Laugh out Loud. That understood, earlier texts took on a totally new definition. Needless to say, I did laugh out loud at my mistake.

I learnt a long time ago to smile, if not on occasion laugh at myself, even at times laughing out loud.

Recently, whilst out walking I spied a couple of donkeys in a field at the opposite side of the road to myself. Unable to resist a stroke of a welcoming muzzle, I crossed over to offer a less than socially distanced ‘Hello’ to my two new friends. Using both hands each donkey received an equal measure of fuss and attention. Eventually, one let me know that there was more to his life than being petted by moving away, leaving his companion to bask in being stroked and spoken to in a language that wasn’t donkey-speak. Eventually we parted. However, on my return journey, walking by the same field, I couldn’t help but cast a glance to see where the donkeys were. This time they were much further into the field and well beyond arms reach.

Observing them for a moment, a vague recollection came to mind that donkeys have a good memory. Just about to go on my way, one of the donkeys looked up from a light lunch of greenery, and suddenly I found myself giving him a wave of acknowledgement ! In return, I was sure I saw a swish of a tail signalling that I hadn’t been forgotten about either. Lost in the world of Dr. Doolittle, more than the reality of “All creatures great and small,” I failed to notice a couple of mature walkers approaching. Having clearly observed me waving as they got closer they began to strain and crane, attempting to see who it was I’d been communicating with. Looking this way and that, they were obviously confused by my actions, and passed by looking at me quizzically, still attempting to stand in my line of vision catching a fleeting glimpse of the recipient of my gesturing.

Virtually puce in the face, and at bursting point, I passed them, and immediately let out an almighty laugh, at my own apparent craziness, and their unsated curiosity. LOL became a reality !

On that note, I shall sign-off, hopefully leaving you with a smile on your face. May your week unfold kindly before and gently about you.

Holding you in prayerful remembrance and affection.

As ever, Fr. Nicholas

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