It all happened so quickly. I went to A&E with severe back-pain which was affecting my mobility. The NHS was outstanding. Within a dizzying few hours, I heard I would need an immediate MRI scan and possibly rods to support my spine. I dreaded the thought of going into the scanner, let alone the surgery. As I was being wheeled along the corridor, Lauren, my Godson’s 11 year old daughter, came into my mind.
Lauren is a talented girl passionate about football. Just over a year ago, it was discovered that she had a growth at the base of the spine which would need radical treatment to prevent spinal curvature. She would also require rods in her back which could be regularly extended by surgery as she grew into adulthood. In addition, this eleven year old would be spending lonely hours in a soul-less scanner. Lauren is lovingly supported by her wonderful family and magnificently treated by NHS professionals, but while it can be shared, the load is ultimately hers to carry. Parents bear the agony of powerlessness. In the middle of this painful dilemma, young Lauren is instinctively grabbing the God-given gift of abundant life which is for all and which lies at the heart of the Christian Faith: St. John’s Gospel reminds readers of it when Jesus Christ says, ‘I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.’ As we get older, less passionate and more cynical we can lose faith in this gift.
As I was being taken to the radiology department, I realised that I was being strengthened and inspired by this young girl, six decades my junior, facing far greater challenges than me. This gift of life was being mediated through Lauren’s courage and was transforming my fears. Life may turn out differently from what we expect, but that does not restrict its abundance.
The young are an inspiration. It is the role of the older generation to ensure they can grow into the special people God has created them to be so that they can release the gifts they have for us all.
Despite all she faces, Lauren continues to play football. She was thrilled to be at Wembley in July to watch England defeat Germany to win the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 tournament.
Second Image: ‘On the way to Wembley’ Daniel from Glasgow