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When life gives you lemons...

Normal service will resume shortly, I've got some bits from #pounderland to hack, but before that here is a short blog post about the past few months.

So you may already know, but just in case here is some news.
2019 has started rather badly for my family. In fact 2018 ended badly.

We had a death in the family, our dog got a serious infection that meant he was nearly admitted to animal hospital, and most recently our uncle has been admitted to hospital (after a 12hr wait in A&E, which I do not blame on the staff of the NHS as they are miracle workers with very little funding and support) where he has learned that he has pancreatic cancer and not long to live. So yeah 2019 sucks right now.


So these events have got me thinking, and reinforcing a belief that I still hold true.

Humanity is defined by how we help each other

This is a belief that I have, the essence of being human is how we help each other. And in the world there are those that help others, those that need help, and those that offer no help. And these groups are not exclusive, we shift between these groups fluidly throughout our lives. There are times where we choose to help because we can, or we have to as it is the right thing to do. For those that offer no help, well it can be when we do not have the time / money / means to offer it rather than because we have decided not to.

You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.
Mahatma Gandhi, Gandhi: His Life and Message for the World (1954), by Louis Fischer, p. 177

I help by donating food to food banks, giving a homeless person a meal and donating my time to help children to learn new skills. I do this not out of some self righteous notion, or for any belief systems. Rather I do this because humanity is the ocean that Gandhi describes. My small actions are drops in the ocean, but they can ripple out and touch others who might do the same and this leads me into...

A short story

Back in 2001, four days before the World Trade Center attacks on September 11, I left for work and my mother, who I was the sole carer for, was alive and watching TV, but she felt a little "funny" that day so I organised for a Dr to visit at lunch. I came home at lunch to make sure she had something to eat, and to make sure she was ok for the Dr visit. Sadly I found her dead and as I rang for an ambulance the Dr arrived and started CPR. Sadly she was dead and nothing could be done. So there was me at 22, with no other family around me. (My parents split when I was a teenager) I had to fend for myself, which I was quite capable of but I was rather naive of how things worked in the world.
But in this dark time a neighbour, Maggie, offered me food and time with her family. I was grateful for both. She asked for no money, she just wanted to help me when I needed it.

This was an act of humanity that defines who I am today.
I repaid their goodwill by helping their children to use their computer, and to remove the odd virus from the system.

So what would I like you to take from this?

You have times in your life where you have a little spare change in your pocket, some spare time, some skills that can be of use.

Offer these to those that need them.

  • Help the homeless person with a meal, some clean clothes / gloves / hat in winter.
  • Do you have a spare £1? Go to a supermarket and get some tinned food / pasta / rice for the foodbank.
  • Do you have elderly / ill neighbours who need a bit of shopping? Get it when you get yours.

If you haven't got any money, that is ok, truly I have been there. In fact I can remember using Christmas gift money to pay my council tax bill. Offer a little of your time to someone who needs it, it could be Mr / Mrs Smith who lives next door, say hello and talk about the weather / garden / geopolitics. Mr / Mrs Smith might not see many people in the day, if at all. This might be the only conversation they have all week, and your conversation will mean the world to them.

So here endth the post. If you have the means to help someone, even something as trivial as picking up something they drop, then do so. If you do not have the means then the opportunity will present itself in the future, at a time when you may have the means.