This week I wasn't sure whether I had it in me to carry on writing. I often get demoralised - one writes to be read, and having spent time creating and fashioning a piece it's sad that sometimes you want a wider audience to read it. (Let's be honest, our desire to entertain is coupled with the reward of appreciation!)
Today, though, - this story just welled up in me after reading this article coupled with the recent, harrowing BBC Panorama programme
It's actually based on something I witnessed from a distance, a while back. It really caused me to think again about our motives and expectations getting in the way of a simple act of service to others.
Over the original limit of 300 words for this meme, I've managed to cull it down to the magical (and acceptable!) alternative of exactly 333!
I hesitate to say 'enjoy' - but I hope it provokes and inspires action beyond this simple little blog!
He was hunkered down against the cold wind; the damp and dirty blanket trussed about him and all that he possessed. I passed him by, just following the crowd. He didn’t complain, he just pulled the blanket tighter.
His simple act interrupted my day; in each quiet moment his image bounced back into my consciousness like an unwelcome boomerang.
Guilt accused me of my shortcomings; I could have offered money. Sensibility retorted with the notion it would have bought drink or drugs; not giving to him saved that peril.
Compassion rose from it’s stupor and smacked me about the face - who made me the judge of how he should spend the small largesse I and others might choose to bestow? I resolved that next time I wouldn’t just walk on by; I’d stop and try to make a small difference.
But he wasn’t there the next day.
Nor the next.
The plummeting temperatures of the past week left me with dire thoughts. It troubled me into a sleepless night and a morning of resigned discontent.
I dutifully joined the ranks of the rush hour lemmings but the familiar unoccupied doorway screamed at me as I walked past fingering the loose change I’d had ready in my pocket.
However, turning the corner I recognised the scene; the same drab blanket, the hunched position, a different shop doorway. My hand tightened around the meagre coins and I mumbled an apology, bending down to drop the small donation onto the blanket. He nodded his thanks, pocketing the money as I hastily retreated to the bus-stop; in my mind Sensibility clanged on with its earlier comments.
Presently, the man emerged from the shop with a bag and settled down on the ground. Pulling out a carton of milk and a sandwich, he teased the blanket back and proceeded to share his feast with a small dog. I watched in humbled awe.
It didn’t change the world.
But it made a difference to him.