Have you ever heard or even thought this? “We have done it all before & nothing ever changes?” I expect like me you have heard it before and thought it! Youth Groups, play schemes, money to create change… stuff happens and change happens… but then things quickly return to normal.
A couple of days after I decided to start writing the stories I was seeing around and about here in Hartcliffe and of course Withywood and Bishopsworth, I had cause to think “what’ s the bloody point!”
I was walking down my road on the way to the drama workshop over at Commie House when persons or person unknown decided to throw a firework at me! Luckily it just missed me before it exploded otherwise I am not sure what sort of state I would be in today. Thankfully I am completely fine and I won’t bang on about it. I simply mention it because its a tiny example of a much much much larger set of events which can and do naturally cause us to become disheartened and lose faith in our ability to create change here in this place.
As I have said before my return here has been fairly recent, I haven’t been working at this for so many years like so very many others. I haven’t lived through all the things which those of you living here for much longer than me have had to live through… but I think that most of you working for our community in whatever way that may be will agree with me that we should never give in to despair and think whatever we are doing to help doesn’t matter because it does matter! The seeds that are planted do matter!
As a person of faith I am apt to think in terms of bible references such as “where two or three are gathered together in my name there I am in the midst of them” or to make it non religious and relevant to all “where two or three of US gather, there is our community”. You might think “well its only a few people, what difference can that make?” but those people will create ripples which will reach out to more people who will then connect with more people etc.
Case in point was today yours truly overtired and grumpy decided to go along to the Roundhouse Healing Garden Group. I had a difficult day yesterday and felt the need to be with other people and in nature and it seemed a lovely thing to go and visit.
Doing something new is always potentially scary, meeting new people being in a different place etc so I was quite nervous…. Which was pretty daft really because I received a very warm and kind welcome! So much wonderful stuff is going on at The Round House and if you have never been I really suggest you do go.
The Healing Garden Group is at present a small group but it is growing! It is an amazing opportunity to spend time with other people in a relaxed and beautiful environment and take part is some gentle gardening. It was wonderful to meet group members today and see the beautiful garden and round house which are frankly awesome… not to mention the absolutely breathtaking view from the top of the hill!
Again this group which I mention only briefly (although I will be trying to talk about this project in greater depth going forward) is a gem in this place. A place where community is lived out and togetherness is fostered, a place where desire for change is turned into action and not simply talking.
When I feel like asking myself that question again “what’s the point?” I will try and read through the notes that I am making about the places and people I am coming across and remind myself that we are the point! Us, today… and our children, nieces and nephews tomorrow… we and they are the point. Hoping and working for a brighter and better future is the point, planting seeds be they figurative or even real ones at the round house is the point because seeds grow, and eventually they multiply.
Every place has its ugly and darker sides, every place has its pain and anguish. All places have their stories of death, illness, violence and just plain evil! But every place is also multi faceted and has loads of different aspects and sides to it.
There is gold in that place below the fields! The people and the projects are full of hope… and hope casts out fear! As I go forward in my tiny and seemingly insignificant work I will remember that none of us are doing this on our own. We are all a part of something so very much bigger! An extended family… that is what community is.
“At the end of the day it’s not about what you have or even what you’ve accomplished… it’s about who you’ve lifted up, who you’ve made better. It’s about what you’ve given back.” ― Denzel Washington
“Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair, but manifestations of strength and resolution.” ― Kahlil Gibran