“These things I have spoken unto you that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” – John 16:23

There as several different types of blanket. A security blanket is carried by a child to reduce anxiety and to increase comfort. An electric blanket is designed to induce cosiness on a cold wintry night.  A fire blanket is a large blanket-like piece of fire-resistant material to protect you from impending disaster. A space blanket is a plastic insulating body wrapping to protect climbers and mountaineers, for example, from exposure or exhaustion. A wet blanket is used to describe a person who discourages enjoyment or enthusiasm. A spiritual blanket contrasts with a wet blanket in that it is a virtual creation which exudes a tranquil, serene and idyllic environment and allows one who is spiritually attuned to receive the whispers from God who has overcome the world and brings peace to all mankind. What a wonderful gift, how many of us are tuned in?

One of my Sunday activities, whenever I am in Barbados, is to take my octogenarian Aunt to see her nonagenarian brother. Last week she asked, as is her wont, “How are you Basil?” to which I replied in my usual style, “Superb”. She quipped, “You are always superb, don’t you face the ups and downs of life during the week like the rest of us?”  I said, “But of course.” I then explained to her what I meant by being superb.

“I have a superb comforter, a virtual spiritual blanket, which I lay above the clouds to avoid any undue turbulence and this creates a serene, tranquil and idyllic setting where I am spiritually attuned to receive the whispers of God. These whispers address the challenges that are manifested in your terms – the ups and downs of life.  My spiritual blanket gives me a full measure of protection and comfort from the vicissitudes of life.”

As a recipient of this wonderful gift it is only fair that we should give something back to our fellow men and women. On the personal scene, my uncle’s (the late Sir Hugh Springer) sister-in-law, Corallee Ann Gittens (Aunt Boo), passed away at age 97 early in February 2012. Aunt Boo had cared for her ailing younger sister (Sir Hugh’s widow), who has survived her, for many years.  She was the same age of my mother (Sir Hugh’s sister-in-law) who is still with us and they were indeed childhood friends.

At Aunt Boo’s funeral service, she was remembered by representatives of her nieces and nephews and great nieces and nephews for the loving tender care which she extended over the years. She had no offspring of her own. In the Address at the funeral, The Reverend Beverley Sealy-Knight was immediately moved to recognise the giving and love which Aunt Boo had bestowed on the members of her extended family.  She certainly gave and gave. May she rest in peace and her legacy live on for many generations!

During the last week I have found myself promoting the spiritual blanket concept as a means of comforting those who are unwell or incapacitated in one way or another, and even those who are healthy and sturdy but can’t help but focus on the negative things in life. We are, indeed, fortunate to be placed in a spiritual environment which is filled with the message, “I have overcome the world.” Once we have reached a high level of spiritual awareness, all we need to do is turn our receivers on and diligently act on the message we receive.

Back to more mundane things which give rise to the ups and downs of life, over the past week there has been much activity from my perspective. We have received a voice of confidence from international economics giant, Paul Volcker, former Chairman of the United States Federal Reserve Bank.

Then there was the visit of Prince Edward Earl of Wessex and his wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex. He has encouraged our leaders to respond with courage, creativity and common sense, traits which, he said, have long characterized the Barbadian spirit.  “With trust in the resilience of your people, confidence in the future and faith in the Almighty, Barbados’ continued development will be assured.” Their visit was on the occasion of the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.

Then there was a meeting of the recently appointed National Agricultural Commission (NAC). Agriculture is one of the sectors which can contribute to the exponential growth of our economies in the near and mid-term future. The NAC has supported a proposal for a National Agricultural Trading System. This is mandatory if the agricultural sector is going to contribute to this growth in our economy. It means that each of the major commodities traded in the agricultural sub-sector has to exhibit similar growth towards the triple objectives of satisfying the nutritional needs of the populace, import substitution and export of exotic produce to all corners of the globe. This trading system is designed to effect efficient planning, organizing, staffing, leadership and monitoring, in other words, the efficient management of the agricultural sector by managing the growth of one commodity after another. Let us nestle in the comfort of our spiritual blanket and listen to the whispers of God.