The kindness of friends is one of life's never-ending joys.
I have been suffering from the flu since arriving in Wengen a few days ago. And yes, real flu - I've had a fever since Wednesday evening, and eventually made my way to the local doctor this morning. I rang at 8am and with typical Swiss efficiency had an appointment at 9am. The doctor gave me the once-over, confirmed I was running a fever, did a few tests and decided it was simply a rough flu bug. I was presented with a series of medications (and my experience of receiving drugs from this surgery in the past gives me great confidence) and instructed to report back to her on Monday morning.
Of course, what this has meant is that I have both failed to be any real use to the local community as far as the church goes (and I'm supposed to be here for a week as Chaplain to the English Church) and I've also not even got close to thinking about doing any skiing.
However - in the few moments I've ventured outside the apartment, I've seen a surprising number of folk, and received a wonderful degree of kindness.
Let me give two examples of the latter.
Maggie, church warden here, is a wonderful friend. She has taken on some of the tasks I should be doing (looking after the church), and I feel terrible for adding to her schedule - but she is just amazing. Her generosity and readiness to help out never ceases. She's even taken some washing for me. Maggie is always for me one of those people who is able to see many different sides of life, and to hold very strong views, whilst being gracious and giving and demonstrating real Christian living. I depend on her here usually anyway, but this week she has been a rock. I know all the practicalities for church will be fine because Maggie will have made it so.
Then, this afternoon I got a text from Jane Petersen. She and her husband Paul Kaju and their daughters are a wonderful American family with a chalet at the top of the village. Paul had invited me to drinks yesterday, and I'd declined (goodness, I was rough yesterday), and then today Jane had bumped into Maggie who told her how unwell I've been.
Jane's reaction - if I was still unwell tomorrow, she was really happy to step in in whatever way I needed. Readings, prayers, leading, she even has an Alpha Course talk which she can adapt so that there can be some form of service here if I simply can't make it.
Again, I am so blessed by the kindness of friends. The fact is - my sense of duty means that I'd have to be pretty nearly dead not to be in church tomorrow; and I do feel better than I did, though the fever is up a little again this evening. But the offer is wonderful.
More than that, Jane & Claire & Sarah then trekked down the hill to bring me supper & goodies & to wish me well.
It is in the way we are loved by each other that we see something of the depth of God's love for us. Though I am physically way under par, in my inner being there is something singing tonight.