The virus brought into focus many problems that were already there

Care providers and their staff have been recognised

Care providers and their staff have been recognised - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The RNLI is asking me for money - after sending a small donation I am now on their list for further giving. All charities are "needy" at the moment, including the RNLI, but the letter draws attention to the expectation that people who have given once are targeted to give again.

The flip side is much more worrying - does this mean that people who don't give never do? If Newton's Third Law applies, which my science background thinks it might, what has happened to the money which the hospitality and travel industries have been missing for the last 17 months? There must be more than enough to throw huge parties and still have globs to support doing good for the needy who have insufficient resources!

My favourite Lifeboat story is of a very religious man who was drowning and prayed very hard for The Lord to save him. The inshore lifeboat arrived quickly, but he turned them away, saying, "don't worry, The Lord will save me". Shortly after, the offshore lifeboat arrived, but he repeated: "…The Lord will save me". Then he drowned. Arriving at the Pearly Gates, he complained that The Lord had not answered his prayer. "We sent two lifeboats, what more did you want?" responded the angel on the reception desk.

So God relies on the RNLI as well, which reminds us that the Creator has given all of us everything that we have, with a message to work with each other and with the environment to keep everyone safe - including support for the RNLI.

In summary, it is down to us, the people, to make it successful.

A famous cartoon from the First World War depicts two soldiers hiding in a shell hole while all hell breaks loose above and around. Tommy Atkins says: "This is an awful hole to be stuck in", to which comes the reply "if you know of a better hole, you go to it!".

Most of us are in some sort of a hole at the moment. The issue is how we handle it. "Lockdown" may have ended, but problems continue, often problems of our own making. When I was young, jetting off abroad was not on the agenda.

Another old cartoon: "How did you find the meat, sir?" asked the waiter in a fine hotel. "I moved the potato and there it was", came the reply.

Many problems have arrived with the virus, but many were with us beforehand, now brought into stronger focus. The most obvious is support for care homes and their residents, which surely comes before worrying about holiday travel. Care home residents just want support in the basics of food, shelter, care and affection — as do we all, including people with mental health tensions, the homeless, the jobless and others. Racial equality is fundamental, but does this only apply to us in the UK? Worldwide racial inequality is extreme considering Africa and Asia; the need for overseas aid is huge, whether from the government or from us as individuals, it is our money anyway!

We all depend on each other, just as God depends on the RNLI. That is the specific lesson coming from the coronavirus. If theologians wish to argue with me about God's dependence on us, they should reflect how The Creator gave us arms, legs and brains and expects us to work it out! It all depends on outlook; looking outwards for others, not inward for ourselves.

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