When the news came through of the permanent IRA ceasefire I was in Germany and had no-one to share it with so I danced all round the flat by myself. Now we see the Queen shaking hands with Martin McGuinness and realise how far things have come.
Reconciliation is an important part of the road to peace and it’s wonderful to see hands reached out over the divide. It takes courage on both sides to take each step but everyone benefits as a result. It’s not easy at all to reach out a hand to someone we’ve been opposed to but there are times when we know we have to take a deep breath and just do it. It’s worth overcoming the pain and moving on.
When it’s about former enemies learning to live alongside each other then it’s a big deal, but often it’s the little steps that are just as important, where it’s not about enemies but just neglected friends or neighbours, people we generally have little to do with or can’t be bothered with. Rather than just interacting with the same people in the same ways, it’s good to reach out to others we see around us too.
This summer the town centre churches are on tour again as we visit each other’s congregations and walk a part of the way together - or run or swim as we’ve an Olympic theme this time. Reaching out to one another brings great rewards. Who do you need to reach out to?