In the early part of the year, we often have one or two pheasants appearing in the garden. It’s not long before we hear bang, bang, in the wooded area and the farm a short distance away. Then we see no more pheasants. This year however, a male, accompanied by three females, has come every day for maybe six weeks, and to date we’ve heard no bangs. Two or three will often sit on top of the fence at the bottom of the garden before sauntering towards the house and feeding on the seeds dropped from the hanging feeders. Mr Pheasant, who we’ve christened Percy, keeps an eye on his little harem, but rarely eats with them. Now and again one of the other bird species will fly over, or come in to land near him sending him running across the grass looking ruffled, but not for long.
Percy definitely gives the impression that he is the more important of the group. He reminds me of one or two men I used to know who expected their wives to come running with their slippers as soon as they arrived home, and to have dinner on the table at a certain time. I felt so sorry for the women, but also wondered why they were so subservient. Partly it was the culture of the time, but one never knows what goes on behind closed doors. In later years running safeguarding training a few people came and talked about difficult life experiences.
We have just passed what we call Valentine’s day. It’s usually marked as a romantic interlude , and can be a lovely opportunity to exhibit our appreciation of someone’s love in our lives. This year though I was particularly struck by the images from the World Council of Churches and #ThursdaysinBlack reminding us that not all relationships are loving and kind.
The fundamental message for Christians is to ‘Love one another’. That is an amazing ambition when one considers the breadth of it, but also an incredible challenge to be able to achieve, because it doesn’t just apply to those we naturally love and hold dear, but also to those we are not naturally attracted to. If we can get better at it the world should start to become a better place.