Tuesday, 28 September 2021

Like Eva, celebrate the human ‘spirit’

EVA LEWIS is my new heroine, although you may not have heard of her.

Eva, who comes from Hertfordshire, celebrated her 102nd birthday this week by going skydiving in Milton Keynes.

Admittedly, it was indoor- skydiving but that still involves being lifted up in winds of hurricane force.

If I have the spark needed to do that at 102 I shall have reason to be pleased! If, of course, I am still around.

Eva must be very fortunate in her physical constitution. To be sufficiently robust to undertake such an adventure at such an age must be quite unusual.

But what a “spirit” she has to be able to celebrate life, a long life, in such a way.

“I can’t believe at the age of 102 I have been able to try indoor skydiving for the first time and feel what it’s like to float on air,” she said. “It was a wonderful day and I would love to try it again.”

She’s my new heroine because she’s a reminder. A reminder that we are so much more than our circumstances, more than the expectations others have of us, more than our limitations, our fears and anxieties.

There is something in human beings that blazes out occasionally in spite of everything that life does to us. I’ve seen it in different ways in hospital wards and even at the graveside, in many homes and relationships, in workplaces and school classrooms.

A love of life, a commitment to love and truth and adventure which goes way beyond anything strictly needed for survival.

You see it when a young person really falls in love with their subject at school, you see it when people give and give to their community beyond anything you or they thought possible and still find they have more to give. (Let’s hear it for our councillors!)

In so many ways people going the extra mile, not as drudgery, but for the love of it. You see it in the amazing Eva.

It’s an overflow, a spilling over of life and energy.

Is it unique to human beings? Shelley thought he heard it in the song of a skylark but I don’t know how one could answer that either way. It is certainly one of the most glorious aspects of what it means to be human.

Where does it come from? Christians would say that it is the overflow of the life God pours into we human beings, who are made in his image. His outpouring of life creates our overflow.

You may simply and rightly conclude that people can be absolutely amazing at times.

Wherever it comes from, it is to be celebrated. Look around you, who do you want to celebrate this week? How will you do it?

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