REACH OUT TODAY
Just wanted to say
Thinking about you today,
Just wanted to reach out for a moment
And say, – I am here.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought life as we know it to a standstill. The world has more or less closed down. We are in lockdown, unable to socialize, meet family or friends. Loved one’s are dying alone.
We cannot be there to hold their hands or ease their journey, which is heart breaking. It’s at times like this that we become more focused on our inner selves and also think more about other people. During my time in Cape Town I wrote personalized verses. People came to see me and told me their stories. Sad stories about illness, death, from AIDS, crime and addictions, separation from loved ones.
There were also celebratory stories of recovery from life’s many traumas. They didn’t know how to express it and gave me the honour of doing it for them. They were physically and mentally in “Lockdown,” much as we are now.
Most of all what struck me is the love in their hearts, how they wanted to reach out and share that love. Today, worldwide, during this pandemic, we are all reaching out to each other via WhatsApp, Email and Social Networks.
Humorous images and verses, messages of positivity and beautiful poems are shared, giving us all a moment or two of respite. This is an extract from a story I wrote many years ago, as apt today as it was then.
All our journeys have a beginning and an end – birth to death, village to village, city to city, from home to work and home again. We travel on foot, on the animal’s back, in cars, trains, boats and planes, sometimes accompanied, too often alone.
Through it all we carry our load, shoulder whatever burden we have to, physically and mentally. We carry our new-born in our arms and close to our breast. We carry our loved one’s coffins on our shoulders or wrapped up in linen.
Throughout our journey we meet many new people, experience grief and joy, celebrate different occasions, birthdays, weddings, religious festivals, success, friendship and so much more. All the occasions relevant to our lives, our beliefs, our cultures – the same and yet not the same, but always the emotions are the same.
We fall in love, make a commitment, get married, give birth, and through the myriad reality of our lives, celebrate and take joy in our special moments and share those special days with so many other people.
No matter where we are in the world, someone, somewhere, is in our thoughts and in our hearts. How do we reach out and express our emotions, be they happy or sad? How do we reach out and say – ‘I am here. I am thinking about you.’
Be it in a shop or online, right now there is someone browsing, scrolling through images and verses trying to decide. Is this the one? Does it say what it in my heart? Is it too sentimental? Each verse means something to someone; each verse will reach out and evoke some feeling, touch someone’s heart; a verse or a message that hopefully says it all.
I feel privileged to have met so many wonderful people on my journey through life, people who could open up and tell me their stories who yearned to reach out with a verse. Simple verses, but each one had a story, were written for someone special, someone specific, real people in a real world.
The people I met were my inspiration and continue to be so. Their stories are forever imprinted on my mind, their feelings of joy and sadness, but most of all faith and hope. They wanted words of love, a verse to express what was in their hearts. So often in life words are used like weapons to express cruelty, hurt and pull people asunder.
Words leave imprints on our minds
Like footprints in the sand
We need the waves of love and time to wash them away.
And when we truly care about our family, friends and neighbours, the words of love, even those unuttered should be acts of kindness, a kind thought, a prayer, a candle lit. Bite your tongue if what you’re about to say is less than kind.
Let the universe be filled with positive thoughts, compassion, and nobility, a word that may appear old-fashioned, but appropriate, nonetheless. Let us all become noble artists of mankind. Ensure the words do not need to be washed away but can remain like precious jewels that glitter every day, jewels that enhance our lives.
Whether you believe in God, Allah, Jehovah, the universal power, a positive energy, or follow a Guru, or are atheist, it’s comforting to have someone or something to focus on in times of trouble, as well as times of joy and gratefulness.
My spiritual verses were personalized, at their request, according to what someone’s beliefs were. The first request I received for one such verse from a beautiful Moslem lady in Cape Town, had me flummoxed. I told her that I knew nothing about her religion. Her response was:
‘What you have written is no different. Just change “God” to Allah.’ This is the original version, but I like to think that many a home in Cape Town and elsewhere still have their version hung up on the wall.
THE GIFT OF WORDS
Tá brón orm faoi do thrioblóid, as we say in Ireland. ‘I’m sorry for your troubles.
I sincerely hope that when the Coronavirus Pandemic is over that our acts of kindness continue. It is the greatest gift we can offer in memory of those who have died. My commiserations to all of you who have lost a loved one.
Right now, we need social media to reach our families and friends, many of whom are in isolation because of this illness and we are grateful for it. However, not everyone in the world has that privilege.
Over 4 billion people do not have access to internet Let us not forget that! My appeal to everyone is to ensure that this epidemic has a positive outcome. Don’t use that oft throwaway remark, ‘let’s meet for coffee.’ I’m as guilty as the next person and a friend’s unexpected death made me regret my lack of action.
Meet for coffee! Have friends and family around for dinner or even a cup of tea. Visit people more frequently. Do not let your personal feelings of not knowing what to say or do when someone is distressed make you avoid them. Just holding someone’s hand is often more than enough, or just light-hearted conversation which helps as a distraction.
Yes, continue to use social media, but as a means to make definite plans to meet. And remember after the Coronavirus is over, coffee shops and restaurants, as well as other businesses will need our support to get the economy kicking. Time for us to ‘Can-Can’ our way into the future.