We are truly blessed to have such ‘Angels of Mercy’ during Covid pandemic

Rev. David Latimer.Rev. David Latimer.
Rev. David Latimer.
In this article, Reverend David Latimer hails those ‘beacons of hope’ who have been working during the global health crisis

Last Tuesday afternoon, wearing a face covering and observing the six-foot rule, I joined a queue of people at one of our city’s medical centres.

We were all in the same place for the same reason and that was to receive our first COVID-19 vaccination.

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Slight apprehension was quickly allayed by a receptionist’s friendly welcome and brief explanation of the vaccination procedure. After sanitising my hands, I was met by yet more pleasant, professional clinical staff who guided me into a Treatment Room where I was greeted by a smiling nurse.

“You’ll feel a slight scratch,” she told me. In the blink of an eye, it was all over and, I might add, painlessly administered!

For a few moments, the two of us engaged in conversation. “This is a huge undertaking your involved in,” I said. “Not at all,” replied the nurse. “What we’re doing now is great; it gives people hope. We’re starting to come down the other side of the mountain.”

Smiling, as I walked away from the medical centre, I thought how blessed we are in Derry to have Angels of Mercy and Beacons of Light variously located on the front-line.

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Doctors, volunteers, carers, shop workers, pastors and many more. All performing their duty during the current health emergency so that society can continue functioning.

We owe it to them to live in such a way that this lockdown will be the last.

Reflecting on my trip to the medical centre, I was not just relieved to have got my first COVID jab. I was massively impressed by those who carefully and caringly put themselves at risk to keep the rest of us in good health.

I now find myself thinking that, after a long and weary year of curbs on our liberty, vaccines offer a path out of the pandemic.

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Pope Francis, in a sense, confirms this with his quotation from Friedrich Holderlin’s ‘Patmos’ which tells us, “the danger that threatens in a crisis is never total: there’s always a way out.”

This is so timely because if ever we needed to hear some good news it is right now.

Imagine the roll out of vaccines coinciding with the start of Spring. Spring and Hope are closely related. Both fill our sails with warmer winds, soothe our weary bones and lift our spirits.

Indeed, it has been said “the day the Lord created hope was probably the same day He created Spring.”

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Undoubtedly, a light is shining more clearly than at any time since the Coronavirus landed onto our island home.

That doesn’t mean this is going to be one of those light-switch moments when suddenly everyone is vaccinated. Clearly, this will take some time.

That said, it’s reassuring to know there is a cautious belief, both at Westminster and among scientists, that each step made from now on should be forward and not back.

Moreover, it’s worth pointing out the way forward to a healthier future is not confined to Government choices. No. It’s actually about how everybody responds together.

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That was something Queen Elizabeth touched on in her Coronavirus speech when she said, “together we are tackling this disease, and I want to reassure you that, if we remain united and resolute, then we will overcome it.”

As we wait with hope for the dawn of better, brighter days, when COVID-19 restrictions will finally be relaxed, we could not do better than embrace some advice once given by US writer Barbara Kingsolver who said, “Live inside your hope. Not admire it from a distance, but live right in it, under its roof!”

Together we will beat coronavirus by being the change we’re desperate to see.

○ Reverend David Latimer is the retired Minister of First Derry Presbyterian Church, Magazine Street.