It really doesn’t matter how you read words - whether its page by page as you start a new book, when the feel of paper under your finger is reassuringly solid.  Perhaps you tap a Kindle screen to carry on and find out who did what, to whom and why.  Some place headphones over their ears and get transported by some melodic voice reading the words of someone’s else’s great adventure.  Or you could even swipe left on the local library’s reading app on a phone - each have their place.  Words can help us ‘lose’ ourselves and all that our everyday lives contain and take us to far flung places, back in time or even forward to a new world order.  Words can galvanise us into action, soothe our souls when the world seems too hard to bear or simply remind us of what we know to be true, but have temporarily forgotten.

We say this as a recent reading entitled ‘Talk to someone today’ from Nick Fawcett’s ‘Seize the Day,’ book published by KevinMayhew.com really struck a chord and so, unusually for us, we thought we’d share it with you and hope you find it as helpful as we did:

The Highest form of wisdom is kindness – The Talmud

No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of others – Charles Dickens

Turn and be kind to me, for I am lonely and distressed – The Bible Psalm 25v16

 

Talk to someone today: someone you’ve been meaning to contact; who you might have passed by; even perhaps who you’d rather avoid.

Talk, and listen.  Stop, and make time for them. For they may be lonelier, more longing for a word of cheer, than you might ever guess.

The elderly person confined to their home, scarcely seeing a soul each day, their only companion perhaps a pet, a voice on the radio, or the ticking of a clock.

The shy person, alone even when in a crowd, yearning for meaningful human contact, to break down the walls of reserve, yet scared to make the first move.

The confident person, always the centre of attention, seemingly surrounded by friends, yet seeking a depth of relationship not yet found.

The sick person, putting on a brave face, suffering in silence, fearful of seeming negative, yet craving an understanding ear and expression of sympathy.

For so many, a word can make a difference, enough to remind them they’re not forgotten, that they matter, that no-one’s on their own.

So talk to somebody today, and see what happens.

You may make yourself a friend, or simply brighten their day; ease a lonely heart, or give strength to continue; exchange simple pleasantries, or help unburden a soul.

But if you say nothing, do nothing, then you will achieve nothing, when perhaps you might have done so much.

As Christmas fast approaches, in this tumultuous year, may we all be brave and speak words that bring hope, joy and comfort.  Happy Christmas from Paul & Sheila (Pastoral Workers) for Hope Trust.  Contact us on 01394 272592, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit our website www.hopetrust.org.uk

A recent quote in a newspaper caught our eye, taken from the Spanish Novel Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes it read:

‘All those squalls to which we have been subjected are signs that the weather will soon improve, and things will go well for us.  Because it is not possible for the bad, or the good, to endure for ever and from this it follows that since the bad has lasted so long, the good is at hand.’

If we had left it at that then all would have been well, we could have shared the quote confident it covered what we felt and utterly unhindered by the context of the story, but, as is so often the case, context is everything and so being keen to know more, we looked into the character of Don Quixote and got a real surprise!  He wasn’t the Zorro of American cinematic experience - a defender of the common people and a champion for justice – oh no, sadly Don Quixote was no hero.

Context is a strange subject, understanding why we do one thing in one situation, and another in a near similar situation is often down to the context in which a decision is made.  Context describes the influence of factors we are considering as well as offering clarification.  In re-reading the quote from Don Quixote we’ve found that he had endless belief in his own version of reality – which others around him did not share at all!  Beaten many times, fighting sheep and windmills, sleep deprived, the character is written with a comedic edge.  Yet the words written speak of hope, whilst acknowledging obstacles, it speaks of the need to challenge, whilst understanding that today’s issues, whilst seemingly insurmountable, may well change tomorrow.

All this seems relevant, to us at least, as the force of this pandemic continues to rage around us.  Will it ever end?  When might life return to the ‘old’ normal, not this new version?  When can I watch the new James Bond film, delayed for so long now; will I finally give in and pay for Netflix or opt for BritBox instead as we spend more and more of our time at home?  Honestly, we’ve no idea!  But what we do know is that even in the midst of Covid-19 we can hold onto hope.  Hope that this too will pass, but something else we have to understand is the way the world is changing, how it is being shaped by this disease, how the context of our lives is changing and may never quite get back to the way it was.  That’s why we see our Tuesday Technology Café as an essential event – it is during those 2 hours every Tuesday between 10-12noon that we try, in our simple way, to help older people understand, discover, make use of and master the technology they possess.  Because one thing is clear, Covid-19 is shaping our world and even when its gone, some things will never be quite the same again, but there is Hope.

If there is anything we can do to help at this time please contact Paul & Sheila (Pastoral Workers) on 01394 272592, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit our website www.hopetrust.org.uk

A recent Saturday night of TV watching was enlivened by a reasonably old, but for us, as yet unwatched film starring Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon – know what it was?  Copies of the DVD can often be found at car boot sales or in charity shops, seems like you watch it once and then pass it on.  The film was based on the 1995 Rugby World Cup – got it now?  Based in South Africa?  Okay, teasing over, the film was entitled ‘Invictus.’

The title of the film, and an essential element of the story, was the strength Nelson Mandela got from a Victorian poem of the same name.  Written in 1875, by William Henley, it demonstrates Victorian stoicism—the "stiff upper lip" of self-discipline and fortitude in adversity, which popular culture rendered into a British character trait (Thank you Wikipedia!)  The key take away for us was the writer’s determination to not just accept things as they were but to find his own, and ultimately successful, way through the problem he faced.

This idea of challenging what others say when we’re told ‘this is the way things are’ is exactly what we wanted to explore in this month’s article.  As the pandemic rages around us, the question we keep asking ourselves is this – ‘Am I being consciously, or unconsciously, shaped by events?’  Or we could rephrase that question and ask, ‘What decisions are we making that reflect how we want this period of time in our lives to go, and what are we allowing the pandemic to dictate?’  A classic example is eating out.  Are we eating out because we get great delight in doing so, because we want to support local cafes and restaurants, because we know those places we frequent are doing a great job with social distancing, or are we simply staying at home, not willing to even find out?  Will you wake up one day and ask yourself, ‘when was the last time I went to…. And why did I stop?’  A real challenge for us is working out what we are not doing for eminently valid reasons, and what is being left undone because of fear.  We can’t help thinking that perhaps it’s time to wisely and carefully make sure this portion of our allotted time on earth is being consciously and wisely used and not unconsciously lost – if that makes sense?

Hope Trust, along with many other local organisations and charities is working through recent changes to Covid-19 guidance.  To find out exactly what we are doing, please either give us a call or check our website.  As a Covid secure building, our ambition is to host as many opportunities for people to meet up as we can.  We can’t make every event totally ‘safe’ but we can make every event as risk free as possible – and yes there is a difference!  So, we will take your temperature on entry, we do have enough hand sanitiser to swim in, we will sit you 1m+ apart - but we will also offer a change of scene, good company, stimulating chat, great coffee - that someone else has made - plus a break from your own 4 walls and Bargain Hunt! 

To contact Hope Trust and speak to Paul & Sheila Taylor (Pastoral Workers) please ring us on 01394 272592 email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit our website www.hopetrust.org.uk