I could not decide what to write about yesterday as I had so many things to choose from. Now I have made my decision so here goes.
It is a time of the year when the feelings of community spring to my mind. Our family relationships are so different now than they were in the past. In the old days, all members of the family stayed close to home and helped each other when needed. Events such as Christmas were joint efforts and everyone came together to celebrate. The grandparents had pride of place and were looked after with special care and respect. This still happens in some families but many families have their members spread far and wide and rarely come together as one family.
So what about the wider family, our neighbours and friends? Do we share events with them too? Do we look out for the older people around us making sure they have enough food and are warm in their homes? Or do we ignore them? As an older person living on my own, I understand how those who live alone can become very lonely and go days without talking to another person face to face. I make a point of speaking to my neighbours and to those waiting at the bus stop however old they are. The young can be lonely too.
We can all look out for each other and talk to those we meet often making their day brighter and more positive. Will you do this and make your community better for all?
The shortest day, the Winter Solstice has now passed and the days will soon start to lengthen again. A time to pause for reflection before making plans for the coming Spring. There is much to think about at this time in our world. New ways of seeing things, new ways of living, new ways of doing things, can all change our world for the better.
There is plenty for all on our planet so why is it that some have nothing while others have too much? If you celebrate Christmas did you or are you going to overspend? Did you think carefully before you bought food and gifts? I see so much food bought via the supermarkets and then thrown away after the celebrations because it was not used. There is something wrong with a world where some starve and others throw away unused food. What can we do about this? What can you do personally to avoid waste? Can you restrain yourself to buying only what is needed? If you have food to spare why not donate it to someone who could use it. You can donate unwanted gifts also. Whatever you do, enjoy your celebrations but don’t forget those less fortunate.
So what is lip service? According to various dictionary definitions it is ‘Verbal expression of agreement or allegiance, unsupported by real conviction or action’ or ‘insincere support or respect expressed but not put into practice’. How many of us are guilty of this? It is easy to donate money to charities and then forget about it. I donate money each month to various charities but also to the Woodland Trust. But this does not mean I do nothing else for the Trust. I also purchase items through out the year, helping more trees to be planted. Nature is important to us all and trees help to stabilise the earth.
Many of the large charities are under scrutiny at the moment because of the amount of money spent on administration so that little of what we give goes to the people who need it. There are often local charities which are much better who do their work voluntarily and make sure that all money raised goes to those whom the charity is for. I know of at least one here where I live, which has raised money for poor families in Latvia and then purchased cows for them. Other small charities help to build schools in needy areas and also help to provide practical help in farming and getting water. The money you raise or give to these small charities goes to those in need and little or nothing is taken for administration. Why not look for local charities near you who do worthwhile things helping others to have those items that we take for granted. Then you will be acting not just giving lip service. For me, as a druid, acting is most important. Is it important to you?
A great man died this week. Here is something he said; ‘ I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve.’ When we look back we can see just how much he achieved but we can also see just how much still needs to be done.
It does not matter what race we are, what colour of our skin or what language we speak, we all originated from the same source many thousands of years ago. Mandela sought a ‘rainbow nation’. Maybe we should be seeking a Rainbow World where all are equal and we care and support each other and we care for our planet which supports us too. Each one of us needs to take a look at the way we live and the way we are with others (our governing bodies more so) and our planet. Mandela taught forgiveness and reconciliation and this is something for us all to look at too.
My hope is that his death brings focus once more to his vision and that we all work together for not only a rainbow nation but a rainbow world.
Friends come and go as we all know. Sometimes we find it hard to let people we call friends move out of our circle. I remember feeling like this many years ago when someone with whom I had spent a lot of time suddenly decided to stop meeting me. It was then that I realised that many people come into our lives for a purpose. We learn something from them and they learn something from us and then our ways part.
There is much pressure on us every day about the way we live. There are adverts which try to persuade us to buy certain things or to take certain holidays. As we grow older we change how we live and so do our friends and it is inevitable that there will come a parting of our ways as we all change in different ways.
Sometimes these friendships last for many years as we ‘grow’ together side by side but often these friendships only last for a year or two or even less. But however long it lasts each friendship brings something for us and something for the other person to learn, to experience or to talk about.
Over the last 20 years or so I know that I have changed greatly and hopefully for the better. My way of living has changed and definitely my way of thinking. This means that many of my friends and I have parted ways but this makes space for new friends to come in, those who perhaps think the same way as I do or those who encourage me to keep ‘growing’ spiritually.
How do you think about your friendships? Do your friends change quickly? Do you have some very old friends where you have known each other for many years? What have you learned from your friends and what have they learned from you?