Thought for the Day - Kate Pearson
Rev. Kate Pearson discusses the importance of being kind to each other and ourselves in the latest episode of our Thought for the Day podcast.
As I walked round campus this week it felt like, if I listened hard enough, I would be able to hear the tarmac give a collective sigh. For those staff and students for whom term time gives the rhythm to work and study, the relief at having made it to the end of such a tough one for many people is palpable.
For many of us of course, term time doesn’t have quite the same ring. Many students and staff will continue to work and study all through the seasonal festivities, some out of necessity, some because it is just so hard to give ourselves a break when the top of the mountain of a research project feels so out of reach.
In the Christian Bible, perseverance in difficult times is considered a characteristic of great value; the metaphor we find there of running the race, is about endurance rather than necessarily winning.
The perseverance praised in Christian Scripture, though isn’t just about gritting our teeth and ploughing on. It’s about managing to keep what’s really important in focus whilst keeping going. ‘Do not weary of doing what is right’ the apostle Paul tells us. The old adage of, when the way ahead is unclear, just do the next right thing is valuable advice in troubled times. Another translation of this text from Paul is ‘do not grow weary of doing good’.
I don’t know about you, but just the idea of doing good all the time can make me feel weary. But that’s because we’ve had inbuilt in us somewhere that ‘goodness’ is always about altruistic giving out to others. However, goodness, in tough times, is also about remembering that we are valuable and need kindness and goodness ourselves. Love your neighbour as yourself is a golden rule that runs through most major religions - notice that if you don’t love yourself, though, you’re not going to be much use to your neighbour.
Keeping on keeping on is admirable and if you have kept on this term, despite all the odds I want to encourage you to notice and celebrate yourself, even if there is still much work to be done over the vacation period. You’ve made it. We might need to celebrate differently at the moment, but celebration is still fundamental to the seasons and patterns of life and finding new ways of doing that are key. So pause and find a way to give yourself a pat on the back. Be good to yourself and never grow weary of doing what is right.