I would imagine that these words will resonate with Christians throughout the world, not least because they form part of the Nicene Creed and, as such, are central to the beliefs of mainstream Christianity.
As a child who was naturally drawn to the Arts as opposed to Science, I rather liked the idea of ‘God the creator’ making heaven and earth from scratch and I would try to imagine an ‘almighty Father’ fashioning each element in some vast workshop somewhere. And the fact that He was able to shape not just the visible, but the invisible too placed him at least on a par with any superhero that I had watched on the big screen!
I’ve recently started running again (having finally taken the plunge and joined a group) and I can honestly say that I am thoroughly enjoying it. The camaraderie and company are second to none and it’s surprising how quickly the kilometres pass when you have other people to talk to. Not only this, but I had begun to see some faint glimmers of progress – an unexpected (but nonetheless welcome) bonus – with the ‘staggering to flight’ ratio of my gait gradually moving in the right direction. And then, just as I dared to believe that I might finally be on the cusp of developing something akin to a running ‘style’, my left calf rather forcefully demurred; a salutary reminder that I am simply not (nor will I ever be!) an athlete.
When I eventually reached the sanctuary of my car, I tentatively unveiled the offending limb expecting to see bulging veins, significant bruising, severe swelling – or at least some visible indication as to the reason why I had been so unceremoniously reduced to a limp…
Nothing. Rien. Nada.
Accepting that it was merely my pride that had taken a bruising, my thoughts returned once more to the notion of ‘all things visible and invisible’ or ‘seen and unseen’ (depending upon the version that is being used) and I found myself dwelling upon the issue of mental health problems and other ‘invisible’ illnesses.
It has been widely publicised that the global pandemic has had a negative impact upon mental health and the enormous amount of uncertainty surrounding employment / financial security (not to mention the curbing of many basic liberties) is explanation enough for this. However, the number of children suffering from a recognised mental illness has risen dramatically too, with a staggering one in six children aged 5 to 16 identified as having a probable mental health problem in July 2021. Not only is this a huge increase from the 1 in 9 recorded in 2017 but, to put this into perspective, this now equates to roughly 5 children in every classroom – and the ‘signs’, of course, are not always easy to spot.
I recently had a conversation with a friend who is desperately trying to support her daughter through a lengthy period of anxiety and depression and whilst the school, CAHMS and family GP have all become involved in her daughter’s care plan it is more than apparent that the emotional strain is beginning to take its toll upon the entire family. With perseverance, patience and understanding it is hoped that the situation will gradually improve. However, the current status quo is certainly a far cry from a time when the application of a sticking plaster or ‘magic cream’ was all that was needed to alleviate her child’s suffering.
And it occurred to me that in much the same way as Christians assert that the Holy Trinity (or in other words the unity of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit) is central to their faith, perhaps the Body, Mind and Spirit form the ‘earthly’ equivalent. After all, unless all three of these elements are in good ‘working order’ it is all but impossible for a person to thrive.