The beginning of Holy week is always solemn and I remember how it was when I was a girl!
Bill Vanstone took Holy Week very seriously and so did we all. He held a communion service at 7am every morning and I usually managed to get to it and then hop on my bike to get to the Nursery School where I worked.
By Good Friday we were all very tired including Bill. The three hour service was a marathon for him and for us and often I didn't do the whole thing.
A strange phenomenon occurred every Holy Week. Bill had a massive goitre on his neck....the first year I noticed it was very red, swollen and clearly painful. The dog collar did not help....he used to absently pull at it to lessen the pressure on the carbuncle!
The second year the great sore lump again appeared on his neck. During the years I spent at Kirkholt there was never an Easter when he was not afflicted by this appalling hardship!
Years later I realised that in fact this was his cross..... His suffering was nothing compared to the passion of our Lord and he coped with it in silence and bore the pain heroically.
I don't mean that he did it deliberately. I am sure he did not. I think it more likely that during Lent he had fasted to some degree and that it happened whilst his defences were low.
I do remember that one year I took him some orange juice with instructions to drink it so that he didn't fall prey to any ailments but he just looked amazed!
I am privileged to have been a parishioner of this great man...who was truly holy, truly dedicated.... but I am not going so far as to suffer anything in silence. If I get a boil, or toothache during Holy week I will treat it with the respect it deserves!