Bishop John's New Year Blog

This time Bishop John is blogging... I wonder how many New Year Resolutions have already been broken this year? I have the feeling that I have seen more people out getting exercise these last few days than before Christmas and hope it will last - but who knows? Which makes me think about health. The thing about health, it seems to me, is that it is the most precious of gifts which it is so easy to take for granted when we have it. But then it can be taken from us in the twinkling of an eye.

The scariest thing is that this can happen to any of us at any time. We can try to keep healthy by adopting healthy life-styles, of course, but that is no guarantee of good health. That came home to me forcibly as I read the news of Andrew Marr's stroke: a keen runner suddenly struck down, for whom I have been praying.

A number of people who are ill are in my prayers at present. I was talking to one of them the other day who is receiving treatment for cancer.

She told me how hard she finds it not to be in control. I felt for her. We value control pretty highly in our society. Our teenage daughter wants to be ‘in control' of her life because, like so many of us, she sees being in control as a sign of maturity.

Actually, we are in control of very little at any time. Our lack of control over our health, let alone anything else, comes home to us when we are ill but it's there all the time. We can't control the rate at which our heart beats, the functioning of our liver, kidneys or any of our internal organs. We struggle to control what we think or feel a lot of the time, even though we might not show it.

Rather than pretending that we are in control of anything, perhaps it would be better to acknowledge our dependence on God and on others and give thanks.

I believe that counting our blessings is a better route to happiness than New Year Resolutions.

Bishop John