Thursday, 16 February 2012

Thursday @ 3 - 'ON GIANTS' SHOULDERS'


(Pictured attributed, amongst others, to this site)




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!

-oOo-


ON GIANTS' SHOULDERS



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.

26 comments:

  1. Oh Sue... Reminds me of the time I gave a fiver to a tramp who had been set on fire in his doorway whilst sleeping. My friend was aghast but ı couldn't apologise enough to the man that it wasn't more.

    Sad times for some.

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    1. Rosie - given these dire economic times, we all need to be our "brother's keepers"!
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting - much appreciated! :-)

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  2. Sue - consider yourself read and 'enjoyed' which i so want to say but probably shouldn't. The piece does indeed make you think. small things make big differences to those that are in need of them.

    To you, though, I say that i completely understand how you feel about being read. We all say that we want to write but forget to say that we want to be read. None of us write just to pass the time and then hide the work in a dusty drawer - no, we post it up on the Internet and say "there you go World - what do you think?" Getting the World to read it, let alone actually give you their opinion turns out to be bloody hard though, doesn't it?

    Hey ho. Keep your morale up by standing up and miming your next story in the style of Kenny Everett. i'm not entirely sure how that would work but i reckon it would cheer you up a bit anyway.

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    1. Glen, thanks! You are like a literary 'truss' - a constant source of support ;-)

      I like what you have to say about getting the 'world's' attention - too right, it's hard!

      As for Mr Everett, I'll bear that in mind and try and come up with something Ms Stunt would find 'all in the best possible taste'!
      (excuse me while I go and try to untangle my legs......)

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  3. Heart-rending and throught provoking - the mark of a writer who is good at what she does. This one will stay with me.

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    1. Thank you, Laurita. Even though I wrote it, this encounter is still nudging me to do more than just write about it!

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  4. This left me with a lump in my throat. Thanks for the reminder that everyone can do something to help.
    Blessings, Joanne

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    1. Joanne - thank's for stopping to look in and comment. As I said to Laurita (above) I'm trying to find out what's happening in my neighbourhood - just wanna make a difference!

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  5. Poignant and touching. An important message for most of us who have been in the same situation. Love the photo.

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    1. Thank you for stopping by, Marianne. I hope the story has an impact beyond these digital pages!

      (I'm afraid the photo was via a search engine but I've tried to link it to a website that was using it, don't know if it's their, though.)

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  6. Very touching, the generosity of the truly needy. A valuable lesson.

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    1. Thank you for the comment, ganymeder, I'm glad it had an effect on you! :-)

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  7. I'd say that you did change the world. You made it a little better for one person and his dog. It's when we expect to change the whole world all at once that we get disappointed.

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    1. Exactly so, Tim - but think what we could achieve if we all did our little bit!

      Still, Rome wasn't built in a day and the longest journey starts with a single step.... (ok - I'll quit with the clichés, but you know what I mean!

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  8. Love your neighbour as yourself is a powerful axiom to live by.
    Adam B @revhappiness

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    1. Adam - thanks for dropping in! I just imagine if it was one of my kids out there on the street......

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  9. Interesting story. It's like the act of giving is vindicated by the man eating with his dog. A bit like the way an act of writing can be vindicated by a nice comment!

    Welcome to Friday Flash!

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    1. Hi, Peter - thanks for the comment! And for the 'welcome'!

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  10. I think we all need to be reminded sometimes that not all beggars are just ne'er-do-wells on the scrounge, and that for some it is their only way of surviving in a harsh world.

    A very nicely written debut.

    Welcome to #fridayflash. :)

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    1. Hello, Steve! One of my big obstacles to giving money was the accounts of people spending it on drink or drugs, or even posing as beggars when in fact they have a decent home, car, etc.

      But, you never know.....and who are we to judge?

      ...and again - thanks for the welcome!

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  11. That's a beautiful story and brings home the message that it's those small acts of kindness that do make a difference not just to the one you're helping but to you as well. ^_^

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  12. I tagged you in my post today. Have a great day!
    Blessings, Joanne

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  13. You have received the VERSATILE BLOGGER AWARD.

    Your award can be picked up at http://www.pirateknitting.com/2012/02/versatile-blogger-award-for-some-z.html

    I found you on A-Z Challenge.
    Pam
    Pirate Knitting, A Pirate Looks Past Sixty, Quig Land

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  14. A wonderful story, thank you for sharing!

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  15. Very nicely done. I seen this same sort of thing and had the same thoughts as you. You have analyzed the situation well.


    Lee
    An A to Z Co-Host
    Tossing It Out
    Twitter: @AprilA2Z
    #atozchallenge
    Blogging from A to Z

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  16. Was it the same guy or another homeless person? I used to see the same woman all the time when I went for groceries. They hung around the store entrance. Kind of smart as people were coming out with food. But, I doubt it was good for the store.

    I would give that woman money when I could. I didn't have anything to spare really. What she really liked were the days I'd stop and talk with her awhile. I couldn't offer her much more than what I had myself.

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