“Everything is changing round here.” I was walking about half a mile from our house to collect a Stockport County Supporters’ calendar for the new season. I went past large Victorian villas and rows of semis and terraces. Houses for the middle classes and for the workers in the mills and Carrington’s hat works.
In that short time I passed four houses that had been corner shops, a working men’s club that is now a Life Centre church, a row of houses that was once the Southlands Hotel and the facade of the historic Adswood Hotel behind which a housing complex is being built.
It was not so much the thought that hit me as the feeling that went with it. Into my head came the line, “Change and decay in all around I see,” which is, of course from Henry Francis Lyte’s hymn, Abide with Me. I’ve always thought of it as a morbid and negative view of the world. And here I was singing it to myself.
Living with change is life, but we have a tipping point. I think I had, even if only temporarily, reached that point and was looking for a bit of certainty and stability. We’d emerged from the Covid pandemic a bit battered and bruised. Now there was a war in Ukraine, the on-going climate crisis, a long drawn-out process to choose a new Prime Minister, and worries about how people would pay their escalating energy bills.
As if these challenges were not enough, that symbol of continuity and stability, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II died last week. It seems to me, that, as we mourn her passing, we are also mourning all the other losses, sadnesses and griefs that we are and have been experiencing.
“Oh thou who changest not, abide with me.”