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Coping with the news Uncategorized

A Sympathetic Voice

So far, this week seems to have been one of highly publicised televised interviews and sensational headlines, followed by opinionated spats and disagreements on various news programmes. It can be hard to change focus and to stay grounded, for unless one sits at the bottom of the garden in a teeppee listening to the sounds of nature (actually I would love a teepee!) one cannot avoid the news altogether. I wouldn’t want to wade in with comments about ‘that interview’ for I cannot begin to know the reasons for other people’s trials and tribulations. What has occurred to me though, is how complicated life becomes, when the need to be right, or follow protocol, or make people obey the rules, gets in the way of everyday life.

Perhaps we should all take a step back and think about the simple acts of kindness that sometimes get lost along the way – perhaps because of busyness or stress or life’s pressures. I recently attended an outpatient appointment at my local hospital, and to say I was treated with briskness is an understatement. In a procedure lasting just over half an hour I was spoken to only once or twice, and that was just to give me instructions. Just a few kind words and a short explanation of what was going on would have made such a difference and really improved my experience. I wasn’t treated badly, but I was treated with indifference. I do understand the NHS is under great stress. I used to be a nurse myself, and I know what a great job a lot of hospital staff do, but that day, kindness and interaction was lacking. Just a couple of minutes chat and a smile was all that was needed. Would that have held up the day too much?

I give the above example not to criticise but to illustrate how it is the small things in life that help us keep going and feel better. Life is short, and we need to be feel cared for and we need to treat people, and be treated, generously.

Recently, I have lost three friends from various walks of life. I have walked around with sadness and grief on my shoulders. Memories of the past have woken me in the night and I have tossed and turned, and pictured myself as a teenager once more, laughing with a friend who has now said goodbye. I have realised that all that matters is how we love, and that we will be remembered for the good things we have done, the friendships we have formed and the way we still managed to carry on and be ourselves even when facing adversity.

If only we could all cut through the wasted time that comes about from looking in the wrong direction or from dwelling on hurts that we could just let go, then we could make the most of the precious time we have.

Huge misunderstandings could be put right and hurts could be healed if those who had the power, reached out and said, ‘What can we do to make things better?’



A Sympathetic Voice

Lately it has come to mind
It is most important to be kind,
To take a moment, and make a choice
And comfort with a sympathetic voice.

In this complex world we keep afloat,
Care for ourselves without rocking the boat,
Weigh up the politics, try and do what is right,
Find something we believe in and follow the light.

But too many times, on a solitary track
Have we passed on by, and not looked back
Not knowing the difference we could have made
To the person standing alone and afraid?

And after frantic years of business deals,
With arrogant managers kicking their heels,
Would anyone look back and say
'I'm glad I acted mean today?'


L.M.H 


Do not let kindness and truth leave you;
Bind them around your neck,
Write them on the tablet of your heart.

Proverbs 3:3

When we love and treat each other with the utmost care and attention, the little things that bother us seem far less overwhelming. And perhaps we should listen twice as much as we talk.

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Where Did Yesterday Go?

Do you ever think about the passing of time? We all mutter those phrases about time passing – ask ourselves ‘where did those days, those years go?’ Time passes in strange ways I think. Especially now, when a lot of us have been enforced to spend our time in different ways than we are used to. It’s as though days morph into one another. Time is moving slowly, yet paradoxically, flying by. There is that strange phenomenon too, about clock watching making time stand still -perhaps when you are waiting patiently for an event and the hands on the clock don’t seem to move, and the times you are waiting for the kettle to boil and a minute seems like an hour. Or when you are waiting to hear an answer to an important question. And think about the times you lay awake at night wrestling with a problem that has taken on momentous proportions in the darkness; sleep will not come and it seems like the morning will never arrive.

I was looking for some essays and blogs about time and how we view it. Interestingly enough, there are many blogs about time management out there. Many suggestions for making your life better, strategies for maximising productivity and taking control. Suggestions for finding ways of being more efficient. Okay, it may be helpful to organise our time and keep a watch on how we spend the hours in our day, but that isn’t really what I was thinking about here. When we enter the Golden Gates, do you think there will be someone standing by with a report card, ready to tick the box marked ‘efficiency’? Or the one marked ‘excellent strategist’? These are probably useful attributes but not what really what make us tick (okay, dreadful pun).

Right now, is the clock that reliable anyway? Perhaps it wears two faces; ‘objective time’ – the time of timetables and calendars, and ‘lived’ time – time where we live and love and feel and act. It seems to me that the familiarity of the days is re-setting our clocks somehow. We don’t have so much use for objective time at the moment, even though we normally seemed to be ruled by it, but we are noticing our lived time more than normal. We notice the difference more; the change in the way our days are passing, and perhaps feel a strangeness and a discomfort. But actually, the calendar now is not too relevant, except in certain circumstances where we still need to keep to essential appointments. Of course, we all need to refer to our diary’s at times, but perhaps we will come to realise that timetables and charts and routines are external inventions thrust upon us, some of which we realise we can live without. We might even say that the pandemic has given us an insight into the fundamental nature of time.

 Yesterday 

 I must have got up yesterday 
 And the day before that,
 Had the morning cup of tea
 And the usual chat.
 I must have looked at the sunrise
 Checked the skies for rain,
 Avoided listening to the news;
 The same old sad refrain.
 I must have cleaned
 And cooked and swept
 And dusted the corners
 Where the umbrellas were kept.
 And I must have rumbled
 Through my mind
 A thousand thoughts 
 That were left behind
 From the day before
 And the day before that;
 A veritable swirl
 Of this and that.
 And I must have gone to bed once more
 As the day turned into night,
 And realised another day had gone
 As I turned off the light.
 And as I lay upon my side
 A lonely tear
 I tried to hide,
 Along with the growing fear
 That I can’t turn back the tide.
 But, then I must have noticed
 The moon was full and round,
 And Its silver face was smiling,
 Sending moonbeams to the ground.
 He didn’t question if he should shine
 Or worry about the passing time,
 Or ships that pass us in the night
 Or whether 
 What he did was right.
 And so I must have settled down to sleep
 As the Universe took charge,
 And I dreamed of all the days I’d keep
 Filled to the brim with stars.

L.M.H