by Jeanne Hambleton © 2008
NFA Leader Against Pain-Advocate
Grab a cup of coffee, sit comfortably and let us begin. The papers here in the UK this weekend have been full of justice being handed out contrary to British law by groups of Muslim elders sitting judgment on those with the same religious beliefs, in a redundant public house, someone’s front parlour or elsewhere.
Whatever your feelings may be on this I think you will have to agree with me that in this country we are in a bit of a mess it seems. The Government does not seem to know if it is on it’s head or it’s heels. I am saddened when I read about the stabbings of schoolboys, the stoning and battering of good citizens trying to protect their own property, the problems from the binge drinking, increased teenage pregnancies, the turmoil faced by broken families after quickie divorces when children need a mother and father, and the general behaviour today. My parents never talked about divorce. I doubt they could have afforded to divorce. My Dad was too busy earning a small wage to put food on the table. They had their ups and downs but separate – never. They married for better or worse. As I did. Yes I am still on my first marriage after 3 children and two grandchildren, and proud of it. How have we come to this sickness of people thinking only of themselves without considering the turmoil they leave behind them and how others have to live with their thoughtlessness? .
Yes I know I can hear you say – here she goes again – on about the good old days. I seem to be on the Soap Box again – sorry about that. But you must agree we (we those of us of a certain age) did respect our parents, grandparents, elders, teachers, and of course the ‘Bobby’ on the beat. Cheek him, and he would cuff you with his firm cape. Today the children seem fearless. As one paper described them, they have become ‘feral’ groups – wild – looking for kicks at the expense of other people.
But what about us grown ups, are we any better? Would you give up your seat on the crowded 5.30pm train to a pregnant woman – or would you think she should not be travelling at rush hour? Maybe you would offer your seat on a crowded bus to a young mother and child, a granddad or someone disabled? Do you stop and help someone who has fallen over in the street or dropped all their shopping? Or do you hurry by in case it is a trick to rob you? Does your conscience encourage you to throw a 50p coin in the hat of some poor homeless soul, so as to make you feel good?
Is it not time we took stock of the way we live our lives? This could be your grandmother, your pregnant sister, or even your child who was born disabled and it is not his fault, struggling to cope without any offers of help?
I believe the trouble today is we do not have time to stop and think about anything other than ourselves, our problems, our mortgage, career, wife and children.
While I am not a church-goer, I do believe there is something else after death. I do consider I am a Christian and I would stop and help an old lady pick up her shopping or offer comfort if she fell. I was offered the same comfort when I fell.
This does make me remember something I learned at school which for no particular reason has stuck in my mind. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you!” I seem to think I heard this in RE (Religious Education).
When an email arrived on my desktop about a mother of three children and two unwashed smelly men, I felt the moral of the story was so strong that I should share it with others. I am told it is a true story – I really hope it is.
BREAKFAST AT MACDONALDS
I am a mother of three (ages 14, 12, 3) and have recently completed my college
degree. The last class I had to take was Sociology.
The teacher was absolutely inspiring with the qualities that I wish every human being had been graced with.
Her last project of the term was called, ‘Smile.’ The class was asked to go out and smile at three people and document their reactions. I am a very friendly person and always smile at everyone and say hello anyway. So, I thought this would be a piece of cake, literally.
Soon after we were assigned the project, my husband, youngest son, and I went out to McDonald’s one crisp March morning. It was just our way of sharing special playtime with our son. We were standing in line, waiting to be served, when all of a sudden everyone around us began to back away, and then even my husband did.
I did not move an inch… an overwhelming feeling of panic welled up inside of me as I turned to see why they had moved. As I turned around I smelled a horrible ‘dirty body’ smell, and there standing behind me were two poor homeless men.
As I looked down at the short gentleman, close to me, he was ‘smiling’. His beautiful sky blue eyes were full of light as he searched for acceptance.
He said, ‘Good day,’ as he counted the few coins he had been clutching. The second man fumbled with his hands as he stood behind his friend. I realized the second man was mentally challenged and the blue-eyed gentleman was his salvation. I held my tears as I stood there with them.
The young lady at the counter asked him what they wanted. He said, ‘Coffee is all Miss’ because that was all they could afford. (If they wanted to sit in the restaurant and warm up, they had to buy something. He just wanted to be warm).
Then I really felt it – the compulsion was so great I almost reached out and embraced the little man with the blue eyes.
That is when I noticed all eyes in the restaurant were set on me, judging my every action. I smiled and asked the young lady behind the counter to give me two more
breakfast meals on a separate tray.
I then walked around the corner to the table that the men had chosen as a resting spot. I put the tray on the table and laid my hand on the blue-eyed gentleman’s cold hand.
He looked up at me, with tears in his eyes, and said, ‘Thank you.’
I started to cry as I walked away to join my husband and son. When I sat down my husband smiled at me and said, ‘That is why God gave you to me, Honey, to give me hope.’
We held hands for a moment and at that time, we knew that only because of the Grace that we had been given were we able to give. We are not churchgoers, but we are believers.
I returned to college, on the last evening of class, with this story in hand. I turned in ‘my project’ and the instructor read it. Then she looked up at me and said, ‘Can I share this?’ I slowly nodded as she got the attention of the class.
She began to read and that is when I knew that we as human beings and share this need to heal people and to be healed. In my own way I had touched the people at McDonald’s, my son, instructor, and every soul that shared the classroom on the last night I spent as a college student.
I graduated with one of the biggest lessons I would ever learn – unconditional acceptance. Much love and compassion is sent to each and every person who may read this and learn how to love people and use things – not love things and use people.
She added an angel wrote many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart. To handle yourself, use your head. To handle others, use your heart. God gives every bird it’s food, but He does not throw it into its nest.
So the moral of this story is – we have got to work at it. Think about if you were in their situation? Consider if you were a mother with a small child carrying groceries and struggling and standing on a crowded bus. I will leave you with this thought – there must be more to life than thinking about ourselves.
I would love to hear your comments! What do you think? How can we change this ‘sickness’?
Talk soon. Jeanne.