The combination of red-and-white England flags and aerodynamic drag is proving pricey for England supporters. Each flag sported by a motorist adds a fiver to the cost of their petrol because each one causes a 1% drop in engine efficiency.
Top Gear magazine, who commissioned the tests, reckon this method of supporting our lads is costing the nation an amount in the millions of pounds.
Of course, there’s strictly no need to wave the flag so openly. Many cars on the road contain England supporters without fellow-drivers knowing it. But there’s a level of mutual support and companionship to be found in the publicly-declared allegiance.
There often is a price to be paid for an openly declared loyalty. Jesus told his disciples they would have to take up the cross if they followed him, an image which included making a very public spectacle of oneself. Less all-embracing commitments, publicly expressed, may also attract criticism, disagreement or even ridicule. Yet to keep to ourselves an aspect of our lives which is significant for us, challenges our integrity, reduces the possibility of finding similarly-minded companions, and somehow undermines the value of our commitment.
Let’s today review our approach to the things which really count in our lives. Perhaps there are things which are important to us which we tend to keep quiet about. If we decide instead to wave the flag a bit, we might find the benefits outweigh the cost.
The death was reported from Albania on Sunday of Hava Rexha who was born in 1880. She was buried next to the husband she was forced to marry at the age of 14 and lived with for fifty years. She said, in an interview when she was 122, that she never loved him.
On the same day, Jim Gorringe and Dinah Leach were married in Christchurch, New Zealand. He is 99 and she is 84. “We get along very well together”, she said. “We won’t be having children,” said he.
There are many types of relationship which expect commitment from those involved. Some we choose, like marriage or a long term partnership. About others, we have little choice - we are children, or parents, or otherwise related and bound to each other by ties of blood. In each of them, there will be times when we may decide to ignore our own wishes for the good of the relationship and in the hope that this will be reciprocated. This is much easier to do if we love the one for whom the sacrifice is made.
Today we might reflect on the relationships to which we are committed. How appropriately balanced is the give and take? And if love continues to be the underlying feature, let’s be grateful.