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  • Martin Kirkbride

Thought For Today

This is the last edition of our Thought For Today series. I’m very grateful to all the contributors who have shared with me in bringing a daily reflection during Lockdown. We hope you have found it helpful, supportive, and encouraging. As we now move forward into a future that is hopefully less constrained by the pandemic we are called to and unknown future. It may be uncomfortable and it won’t be without cost. - Martin

The call and cost of following: Joining the Royal Navy in 1970, my first deployment was with HMS Endurance, spending 9 months on the Antarctic ice patrol. Reading of the exploits of the great polar explorer Ernest Shackleton took on a new and vivid significance as we followed in his footsteps. Not least was the reminder of his death. In 1921 he suffered a heart attack whilst in South Georgia and was buried there. Like other servicemen on Antarctic patrol I have had that rare privilege of standing at his graveside. But for most people it will be his 1915 Antarctic Expedition for which he is remembered. An expedition of breath-taking bravery, incredible commitment, and as per his ship’s name, outstanding endurance. The crew were all volunteers, they had responded to the call being well aware of the conditions and cost. Shackleton’s newspaper advertisement had made it all very clear, “Men wanted for hazardous journey. Small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in case of success. Sir Ernest Shackleton”. * It maybe that the details of the advertisement are apocryphal but they certainly summed up the prospect of what lay ahead.

I find that the advertisement often draws my thoughts to the prayer of St. Ignatius of Loyola:

“Lord, teach me to be generous; Teach me to serve you as you deserve; To give and not to count the cost; To fight and not to heed the wounds; To toil, and not to seek for rest; To labour, and not to ask for reward - except to know that I am doing your will.”

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