Lest we Forget and The Importance of Small Things

It’s been quite a week.

We all woke up yesterday to an era of change. Again.

This year has been interesting. Have we missed obvious signs pointing to an overall desperate need for change? A lot of us were shocked or surprised by the Brexit result and the American presidential election results, but perhaps we assumed too much. Perhaps we didn’t see the  signs of unrest and dissatisfaction that were simmering away under the surface. And although some of us wanted things to stay the same, history has a way of showing us that this rarely happens; there will always be a new leader with new ideas waiting in the wings, bringing change, sometimes with far reaching consequences.

So much has been spoken. So much vitriol. There has been so much mud slinging and media manipulation. Wherever we live, is easy to feel real despair about the choices that are made in our own countries. The interesting thing is, as human beings we all passionately believe it what WE feel to be right, and cannot always understand other points of view. Of course, it is a good thing that we challenge each other. There have to be opposing views and discussions otherwise we wouldn’t have any hope at all of a fair society. But what do we do when we feel real despair about things over which we have no control? And what do we do when we are frightened about what could lay ahead ?

Maybe we should look to the past and ask ourselves what we have learnt, if anything. We need to question things of course. We want to be well informed and up to date with current events, but maybe now we are bombarded with too much information and too much negativity. And how much of the news we are fed is really unbiased? Are we manipulated and led in the wrong direction? I’m talking in riddles here I think, but I don’t want to make this a political rant, that is not what my blog is about and my aim has always been to steer away from politics. It’s more a case of talking about how we deal with where we are now. How do we do that? How do we face a changing world?

Actually, is the world really changing?

No. The people who run the world are changing, but the world still turns in exactly the same way as it always has; the seasons come and go, the moon waxes and wanes; the sun rises and the sun sets. We may not think we can change the way things are done, but we can make a difference if we all look towards a positive future, even if we can’t always see a clear path ahead. And every small act counts. Good things start in your own back yard. We can act kindly to our neighbour, nurture our families and ourselves, and aim to create an eco friendly world.

As we approach Remembrance Sunday in Britain, we wear our poppies with pride and remember fallen heroes; we think of the pain and the loss suffered by so many and remain forever saddened by the terrible inhumanity of war.

I think of unsung heroes. I think of my own uncle who was awarded the D.F.C  – The Distinguished Flying Cross – awarded for acts of valour, courage and devotion to duty- in the second world war. Flying many times in a Lancaster Bomber, he was only nineteen years old when he was first sent to war. He was one of the very few in his squadron to survive the war, and we will never know what he really experienced as he never wanted to talk about those times. The only thing we do know was that he was incredibly brave and a wonderful person who my sons completely looked up to and revere to this day. And he had an amazing sense of humour.

My   grandfather (pictured below) was an Air Raid Warden in Exeter during  the second world war; Exeter was bombed very badly and he witnessed unimaginable sights. He was the very kindest of men, and my mother once told us of how he comforted a young girl who was being herded onto a train to get to safety and was distraught about leaving her dog behind. He gathered the dog into his arms, and smiled at the little girl, assuring her the dog would be just fine with him. This story always brings tears to my eyes; it is often the small acts of kindness that affect us the most.

That brings me to think of today, and the importance of the smaller acts of kindness. Kind words and compassion will never go amiss, whoever sits on the smartest throne,  wears the glitziest crown or rides in the smoothest presidential limousine.

   ‘Never fear; Thank Home, and Poetry, and the Force behind both.’

    ‘All I ask is to be held above the barren wastes of want.’

    Two quotes by English war poet and soldier Wilfred Owen.

What are your thoughts today?

Blessings to you.


Arthur Richard Harris  1891 – 1972