Family Tree - Reflection by Canon Ellen


Read Canon Ellen's reflection for Tuesday, August 11, 2020.

My mother Celia is 82. She lives in Virginia Water in Surrey and I haven’t seen her for over a year as I have been needed here in Liverpool to watch over my husband Mark as he has had cancer treatment and surgery. I can report that both my mum and Mark are doing very well. Like many others we have had family events and celebrations that have had to be altered or postponed. My step-daughter and her fiancé have had to postpone their wedding and my daughter Eva had her 21st birthday and all of her plans had to change. There has been so much upheaval for all of us.

But, there has been a great deal of joy and celebration as well. We have enjoyed the drive-bys from family and friends, people have been so generous with their time and kind with their gifts and encouragement. The most wonderful gift we have received is this family tree (see photo) – throughout lockdown my mother has handstitched this embroidered family tree. This is a remarkable piece of work and a great encouragement to us as a family. We can see the history of our family in one beautiful representation. This was made as a 21st birthday gift for our Eva but will sit in our hall for the foreseeable future so will be treasured by us here in cathedral close.

It is these things that make our hearts sing, that bring hope and create new memories – happy memories even in difficult times. Perhaps we will look back at these times and say ‘do you remember in lockdown that nanny created that beautiful family tree’ rather than ‘I missed a chance for a party’. Though I suspect we will be honest enough to say both, we will recall the challenges as well as the joys. I think we will need to tell the truth about how we feel (good and bad) for a long while yet because this has been an unprecedented time of change. We have no idea how or when this will end, but we have done this together – we generally share this experience of change as the People of God, as a nation, as a world.    

My prayer is that we will find joys and beauty in all the changes we are experiencing. Also, that we will make new memories to cherish and have new stories to tell.  

Loving God,

Thank you for your grace and mercy to us.

Thank you for the beauty and joy of life

And for the people who love us and who we love.

We pray that in times of difficulty we are able to look to you

For constancy and courage.

We bring all that we hope for, all that we care about,

And all that we experience to you.

We place our concerns at the feet of your son Jesus Christ.

We lift our dreams up to be sanctified by the Holy Spirit.

Protect us loving God and surround us with your everlasting love.


Canon Ellen

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