only connect

“Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its highest. Live in fragments no longer”

E.M. Forester, Howards End

I’ve been giving a lot of thought recently to why I volunteer. What am I trying to achieve? What does the charity want to do, and how?

Who gets what out of this- the hours and the energy that nobody pays us for? The work that nobody else sees or cares about. The work and the emotion that has Spurs Fan wondering at times why I don’t just give up.


Connection, story telling, getting stories heard. That works for me. I believe in what I do. It drives me batty sometimes, but my work has value.

Connection is vital to us all. Each of us important and our stories cannot be dismissed. We all have our place in the family of things.

When in doubt, turn to Mary Oliver

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.

You do not have to walk on your knees

For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.

You only have to let the soft animal of your body

                  Love what it loves.

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.

Meanwhile the world goes on.

Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain

Are moving across the landscapes,

Over the prairies and the deep trees,

The mountains and the rivers.

Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,

Are heading home again.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,

The world offers itself to your imagination,

Calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting-

Over and over announcing your place

In the family of things.


4 thoughts on “only connect

  1. What a treasure of a photo, Fiona. And Mary Oliver always adds such clear punctuation. I’ve been doing some reading lately that stimulates this thought for me. I think maybe you pursue your volunteer efforts even with many moments of weariness and frustration because of the people you volunteer alongside. They are your “tribe.” You understand each other in ways that no one else can. We all need to know other members of our tribe, and often they are not our closest friends and most probably not our family. I don’t want to speak for you, but that’s what comes to mind because I think it’s true for me. 🙂

  2. My admiration for you has gone up another exponential leap Fiona. You’ve just quoted my favourite poet, Mary Oliver, and are writing about themes of connection, stories, and community that I am passionate about. Thank you for this uplifting insight into why you volunteer. Keep up the great work!

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