We are in the middle of winter, a pretty grey and wet one too. In fact, January, here in France was unremitting rain almost every day. Then we had a couple of sunny days and it lifted everyone’s spirits; ”It might be cold – but at least the sun is shining.” was on everyone’s lips. But, of course, the sun is always shining. Somewhere on earth the sun is beating down merrily, warming people and making them feel happy. And in fact, of course, the sun is always shining but sometimes we cannot see it for the clouds. You only have to go up in an aeroplane to observe this.
And that is so true of life. There are times when everything seems to be going wrong, problems piling up – we’ve all been there. But actually, we are incredibly fortunate – the sun has been shining on us for all our lives. Very few of us have witnessed wars; even my parents were children during the War and can barely remember it. We have lived through one of the longest periods without major conflicts in recorded history. I know – there still constant wars in Africa and the Middle East – but these don’t involve us personally. There is no conscription, so we are unlikely to ever have to fight a war, especially as any future major conflict may well be fought by drones and computers (little comfort as we will all probably be annihilated, but hey). For most of us too we have access to still (despite the cuts) a pretty good health service; we are living longer and mostly in good shape too. Hunger for most is also a thing of the past too, at least here in the West.
Best of all, most working people have had unimaginable increases in our standard of living; our Great Grandparents would simply have never imagined our lives today.
And yet, we hardly appreciate it at all. We take for granted free education, old age pensions, the NHS, decent wages, good housing, television, computers and all the rest. And yes, at times much of this appears to be under threat. Life can still appear somewhat of a lottery. Bad things still do happen. But behind it all the Sun is still shining even if we sometimes cannot see it for the clouds…