This 40acts challenge is now barely hanging by a thread. The frustration grows as one day blurs into the next, ideas and challenges come and go, thought processes develop and disappear into the ether and I am left with little more than a list of undone tasks.
Or so it seems, but then it has been a pretty tricky week. As the curveballs of life have continued to be delivered, and the number of disposable minutes in a day have been squeezed into nothing, I am taking just a couple of the minutes I haven’t really got to write this, for my own sake. Because if I pause to think about things positively, I find that much has been achieved and that my focus has been right.
The progress through these 40 days leading up to Easter has focussed my mind on generosity and on developing an improved attitude in some previously unchallenged areas of my life. Some of the tasks come back to revisit me …. today, I was prompted to stop and talk to a young man who was asking me for money as I passed him on my way home from work. No, I didn’t go and buy him a coffee or a sandwich. I just gave him some money. Who am I to make the judgement about how he was going to spend it? I would not have done that a few weeks ago. Other tasks remain untouched – for instance, I don’t think I have even entered a shop since the BOGOF challenge was issued. What’s more, one or two of my responses to the tasks, it would never be appropriate for me to write about here.
There are still a few things from this past week that I may come back to “philosophise” over. For example, it was uncanny how on this day, having been challenged to befriend, write to or visit prisoners, I read a report by the local Community Resettlement Support Project here in Bedford. One of the recipients of their befriending scheme had written:
“A weakness is that it does depend to some extent on the individual volunteer and how comfortable you are with them. You have to build up a rapport. There are volunteers who are genuine ‘who have been there’ and there are those who are do-gooders – perhaps that’s why people don’t want to meet up with them. … The people who haven’t been there, they can’t help it, it’s not their fault, but they’re all do-gooders and it comes across as patronising sometimes. … Younger clients have a different attitude and they’ll just take whatever they can get from a do-gooder.”
So where does this middle class do-gooder begin?
… but for now, as I said, I am just hanging on by a thread. As I have done once or twice before on these pages, when words seem too difficult, I think I will leave you with a couple of the spring photographs I managed to snap between crises at the weekend. The power of light to change our view of things never ceases to amaze me: