candle - Jonny BakerThe thing I most fear in these covid-19 days is someone I love dying on their own, and not being able to visit them to say goodbye. My friend’s dad lost his life this week. She spoke to him on the phone a few times in his last days, and was able to say all that she needed to. But she wasn’t allowed to visit, and with two small children, would have had a very difficult decision to make if she had been; would it be worth the risk?

My friend, Anna, is a priest in Southall, and she reminded me this week of a poem I wrote for her daughter Lydia, who was my goddaughter. Lydia was born with a life-limiting condition, and Anna and her husband Mark knew that they wouldn’t have very long with her. Lydia started having seizures when she was very small and they spent a lot of time in St Mary’s, Paddington while doctors tried to stabilise her. It felt so unfair and so hard. Where was God in this? The only answer I had was that somehow God was in that hot, holy, airless room with Lydia, Anna and Mark as they watched and waited. This is what my faith tells me. This is what I hold onto by my fingertips.

So here is Lydia’s Room rewritten for these days, but still with the same title because Lydia taught us so much about life and living. We are all dying, she said to us. How are you living?

Lydia’s room

this is where God is
this hot room of sterile machines and raw humanity
this place that requires us to put down what could have been
and surrender to what is
here, where tears and wonder and disbelief all mingle
this is where God is

outside the world races
but in this overlooked field that few can enter
there is treasure to be found

it should be a dark place
a fearful place
a lonely place
and it is those at times
but not only those
because this is where God is

and while we grieve for what will never be
and we weep for what might come
we are drawn to this holy room
where this precious human being
is held tightly by our longing
and is enclosed in our love

and this is where God is




Photo: Jonny Baker – used with permission

One thought on “Lydia’s room

  1. I love, love, love this! Genesis 28:16 Surely God is in this place and I did not know it. ♥️ In my worst moments, when I couldn’t sink any lower, I found myself held. He keeps watch with us…

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