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Loneliness can be devastating. And often we have no choice but to do the tough parts alone.
One night in the 1980s, a young British student felt compelled to get up and pray for ‘Irina’. She had no idea who that was. A year later in London she met the Russian poet Irina Ratushinskaya, released from a labour camp in the USSR where she had been imprisoned for her Christian faith.
Denied paper, she wrote poems on soap bars. In one poem she wrote:
Believe me, it was often thus:
In solitary cells, on winter nights
A sudden sense of joy and warmth
And a resounding note of love.
And then, unsleeping, I would know
A-huddle by an icy wall:
Someone is thinking of me now,
Petitioning the Lord for me.
My dear ones, thank you all
Who did not falter, who believed in us
In the most fearful prison hour
We probably would not have passed
Through everything – from end to end,
Our heads held high, unbowed –
Without your valiant hearts
to light our path.
I have never forgotten that extraordinary poem. How far can kindness reach?
In Mid Argyll there is a group of people who offer prayers for anyone who asks. You don’t have to be ‘religious’ – whatever that means – to ask. You can ask for yourself or someone else. It can be something huge, or something ordinary. It is totally confidential.
People are sometimes touched that people they don’t know are thinking of them – a ‘sudden sense of joy and warmth, a resounding note of love’.
Do ask. Contact us on midargyllprayers.co.uk or on our Facebook page Mid Argyll Prayers.
Reverend Canon Simon Mackenzie, Lochgilphead Scottish Episcopal Church.