“Every time we hold out the hand of friendship to somebody not like us, whose class or creed or colour are different from ours, we heal one of the fractures of our wounded world.” Jonathan Sacks (Morality p 325)
Just finished this book and it is well worth a read. I will definitely read it again and again. The bit before this quote talks about how, when we only mix with those who are like ourselves and have the same views, we become more extreme. We don’t need more extremists in the world, huddled in their insular groups.
We need more healers who are willing to reach out and connect with those who are different from themselves.
And in case you had noticed, yes, my posts are a little more erratic at the moment. My ancient laptop has a browser that is no longer supported, so I have to snatch time on my husband’s computer to line up my posts, hence not being quite so regular with my posting. I’m hoping that post January it will be sorted.
Our lives are a mixture of the two. My faith gives me certainty in some things even when I can’t see exactly – or in any way! – how they will come about. I can live with the uncertainty because I have a bigger certainty to hold on to.
As autumn is upon us in the northern hemisphere, trees are starting to shed their leaves. My family and I are also shedding things – books, DVDs, craft materials, and in a few months, a fridge, freezer, dishwasher, and cooker, car and motorcycle. I am gaily throwing things out or putting them in bags for sale or to give away.
There is something energising about clearing out the excess, the no-longer-used, the not necessary. And although moving fairly frequently is a pain, the clearing out that accompanies it is a good thing.
The season of lists and frantic clearing out (with apologies to Keats…)
I’ve always made lists. It’s how I organise my day and my week. Every Sunday I write a menu so I can make a shopping list for Monday. I write down what I need to do for the week and cross things off as I go – so satisfying. When phone calls or emails come in and I need to do something in response, it goes on my list so I don’t forget. Some things are on my list for a while because there is an issue of timing, but I still write it down so I don’t forget.
I found the marks on my page lining up like lists and flowing into one another. It’s just how my mind is working at the moment.
We all have a story to tell, whether it is simple or complex, wandering and adventurous or all based in one place. Our story is how we connect with other people. We look for the things we have in common to help us start to understand each other. You’re an only child? So am I! Now I feel like we have something with which to start a conversation.
So how do you tell your story? Do you pitch yourself as a the hero? Does it all revolve around you? In those parts where things haven’t gone well, do you paint yourself as a victim or a survivor? Is your story a tragedy or a comedy in your own eyes? Are you a reliable narrator?
And are you ready to listen to others’ stories and find the points of connection, even when you can’t immediately see that you have anything in common?
You can predict what I will do, but only I can decide.
And vice versa – we can go through all the scenarios trying to predict how someone might react to something we do or say, but only they get to decide how they actually respond. We are not machines governed by algorithms. We can surprise each other by being unpredictable. We can forgive where the majority would hold a grudge. We can give second chances where others might wash their hands of someone.
And now the planning, list-making, and sorting begins. There are many unknowns associated with our move, a lot of them to do with the times we are living in. I’m not good with surprises and unknowns so I’m praying a lot at the moment. I can only plan for those things that I do know and keep myself updated as things change. There is no point worrying about the things I don’t know right now because I can’t do anything about them.
It’s always hard when there are things that you are having to hold inside. It’s not exactly that you’re keeping a secret, but more that it isn’t the right time to allow the information to be widespread yet. But now it can be revealed and there is relief in that.
So what’s the big news? Well, we are heading back to Australia. Yes, back around the world again. The exploratory process has been ongoing for nearly a year, with sure signals that we needed to start considering a move. While there is nothing to tell – no job offer made and things up in the air – it is easy to deflect any questions while still being truthful. Once an offer is made and accepted, it is harder to keep things quiet.
Openness is so much easier to live with than withholding.
Ripples. They fan out from a point where something has hit the water. Whether it was slipped in gently or thrown with force, any item entering the water or touching it will cause ripples that move out from the epicentre and flow until they hit an object, the edge of the body of water, or are cancelled out by other waves.
All the things we do cause ripples in the lives of other people, whether we realise it or not. The simple act of buying the last loaf of bread on the shelf in the supermarket has a knock-on effect. The next person who wants bread will find that there isn’t any. They may not have any other food in the house. You couldn’t know that, but you have affected that person.
We can’t go around wondering about every single thing we do and how it affects others – we would become incapable of doing anything – but we can think about those things that we know will cause big ripples and try to minimise the waves.