I did something I don't normally do today. I went to a church service. I say church service, but it was in Chaplaincy.
That's not the point.
Simon talked about the horrendous shootings at Virginia Tech. He talked about the welcome we had received at various churches. He talked about the reading from Acts 16v 1- 15 and renewing relationships after Easter.
I was sat there thinking that none of these topics seemed to be related.
However, then in a moment of what I can only describe as sublime, he linked the three together.
There are students here at Southampton, and no doubt in all universities, schools, and workplaces who are lonely. Not alone, I am alone at the moment but I am not lonely. I have friends I can reach via MSN or my mobile phone, or by popping down the road and round the corner. (Hey Andy!) My boyfriend and his housemates are 15 minutes walk away.
I am not lonely because I was lucky enough to be born with the ability to make friends easily.
There are people who find it hard to make friends, who find it hard to realate to people. They could be shy. They could have issues with their sele - esteem. They could think no one would want to spend time with them.
Simon mentioned that students who had been in the same hall as the gunman had expressed shock at what he had done. However they had also said that they barely knew him, that he was a "loner".
I used to be a bit of loner. Whilst I complete condemn the actions of this person, can understand how being lonely is unbearable. You have no one to talk to but the voices in your head. And they don't think straight. We need friends to be the objective sounding boards in our lives. To share our thoughts and feelings, our worries and hopes.
The link between Simon's three points is thus; in the spirit of renewing relationships, we should all take the time to reach out and welcome people. Renew our relationships with people we are already friends with, and with God if you believe in one, but also to try and make new friends.
Small things make the world. I can't say that the shooting would never had happenned. if the people in the halls of the gun man had reached out to him. I just don't know if that would have been true.
But it might have done.
Smiling at someone could save their life.
I'm endevouring to do little things for people. Just so they know they're loved.
This all sounds to twee and pretentious. I know though, that if people hadn't done this for me, I wouldn't be so happy as I am now. I know I'm worth something.
So thank you Chris for the lime with my Corona, the glow in the dark stars, the tulips, the turning up in the middle of the night when I need a hug.
Thank you Andy for the cake on mondays and the time you bought tea and penguin biscuits up to Simon's office.
Thank you Emma for the gossipping.
Thank you Jess for the fudge.
Thank you Karuna for playing the piano till three in the morning so I could sing.
Thank you Simon for listening to me.
Thank you Adam for putting Latin notes through my door.
Thank you Rachel for the candle and teaching me how to write lists.
Thank you Amy for tea and sympathy and curry and Eddie Izzard.
Thank you Alex for telling me where the dimple above our lips comes from.
And so on and so forth...