In diamond mining, the ratio of precious stones recovered to bulk crushed rock discarded varies according to the mining methods used, but in rock, clay and gravel mining, an industry recovery rate is accepted as 3/4 tonne per carat, which means that the mine has to search through an awful lot of garbage before unearthing a jewel!
I mention this statistic when commenting upon the ‘God slot’ otherwise known as ‘Thought for the Day’ on BBC Radio Four’s ‘Today Programme! Normally, the licence-payer is presented with a dreary procession of the woolly Anglican Primate who hopes we will 'understand' our enemy, then the Muslim woman theologian who has to excuse just about everything said or produced by her fellow-religion believers, followed by a burbling Sikh, a babbling Ba’Hai, the Jewish Rabbi Sacks who at least believes in his God, a Catholic who seems to believe in not very much, an Atheist who doesn’t believe in anything, and so on and so forth!
But today, at least, we were given a rare treat in hearing Canon David Winter commemorate the exceedingly short life, brutal death and compassionate burial of Baby Lilly in the Church of St Mary Magdalen in Great Alne, near Alcester. His short speech on how the villagers helped fund the funeral, dig the grave, buy a headstone; in short, giving this tiny body a decency and acceptance in death which she was surely not shown in life, was both simple and honourable. We heard the tones of an honest man, giving a funeral oration for a baby who died before she could know what a brutal world she had been born into.
For a few minutes, I too could pause, and wish things had been different for Baby Lilly!