We both had meetings in Dunblane today – District Policy Committee for Andrew and then a discussion about Local Preacher training across Scotland, in which we were both involved. I spent most of the morning working in another corner of the Cathedral Halls, where the meetings were taking place, but took a short break for a stroll around the attractive town as well.
It was an appropriate day to be in Dunblane, with Andy Murray playing in the next round of the ATP tournament to secure his place in the final, so I stopped to take a few photos of his special gold post box, so painted in his honour after he won gold in the 2012 Olympics. This evening we were home just in time to watch the last few nail-biting moments. It is not often that I am caught up in a sporting event, but of course, when Murray is playing tennis we are all Scottish! I exchanged texts with a friend who I knew would be watching it too and appreciated the way in which social media – although often maligned for robbing people of social skills – can create community as well!
I reflected too how good it is for Dunblane to have Andy Murray as their local hero. For so many years so many of us thought only of one tragic day when we heard the name of this charming little Scottish town; 13 March 1996 when 16 primary school children and their teacher were murdered by a lone gunman. With the 20th anniversary marked earlier this year, it is a day the town will never forget and for the bereaved parents and friends the pain will never go away.
Sunshine and shadow, joy and pain, celebration and heartbreak – these are the stuff of life and perhaps the hardest challenge is to learn how to keep them in balance. We have to allow our tears to fall but somehow not be drowned by them; we have to rejoice when good things happen, but hold onto the idea that “earth’s bliss may be our guide and not our chain” (as Anne Adelaide Procter so brilliantly expressed it in her hymn, My God I thank thee). Thoughts of Peter, our own golden boy, were very much in mind too – he was a great tennis fan and would certainly have been cheering Andy on today.
“Therefore since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also … run with perseverance the race that is set before us…” (Hebrews 12:1)