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.

family

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.

 

why leaving the house is bad for me

It’s the other people, the ones I don’t get to choose… they drive me mad.

Yesterday it was the person who sat beside me, chewing her nails, for an hour.

Today a person on the bus ate crisps and then licked her fingers. Luckily she was across the narrow aisle and not right in my ear.

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Both of them had me nearly sitting on my hands to stop me from stopping them going about their chewing, slurpy business.

I was at a meeting in town, with loads of folk I don’t know. There was a person who was really very dim. I could see other eyes roll. People rushed to interrupt them & steer them back on track. At the end of the meeting I realised that this individual seems to be responsible for making the project happen. I’m no expert, and not getting paid for my input, but I understood the issues better than they did.

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You have all my admiration, those of you who leave the house and deal with people all day. I’m out of the way of it, and have no patience.

I’m set in my ways, and grumpy.

I am a joy to be with.

people and problem solving

Jake and I are home alone most of the time, resting, making cunning plans, and doing what doggies do. Crowds and chaos overwhelm us and we retreat.

But, beneath it all, one of us is quite sociable. I have loved the celebrating. Making a point of gathering friends and family together (not in my house- neither of us could cope with that) spending time just being, chatting about music and nothing, enjoying a little silliness.

There have been events on all the volunteering areas of interest- PSP support groups, a human rights report launch, an ME event, rare disease scheming and a neurology patient/ carer group. Spurs Fan has lost track. I do try to balance things out, largely by resting for days, but when I do too much my brain turns to mega mush, and I’m no use to anyone.

I think I’m coming back to the world, but I’ll be spending large amounts of today and tomorrow at an Irish dancing festival (of course I am, pesky wonderful enthusiastic cheerful kids) so this may just be a blip. This is the competition run by our dancing school, so I’ll not get away with simply being  encouraging and clapping at the right time. I’ll have a job, involving money or hot water.

In other news, I’ve spent ages trying to find the pics to add to this post. They are on my phone, but have failed to make the journey to any of the folders on the laptop, or to the mysterious cloud. I may need to email them and then download, but that seems remarkably convoluted. This hasn’t been a problem before. I wonder did I do something?

It’s good to be heading out with a clear head, ready to be useful and problem solve. If you’re coming along, check your change. You may pour your own hot drinks.

in which I am spoiled

There may be no way back. All those ‘perfectly good’, ‘quite nice’, ‘exactly what you need’ places are dead to me now. I’ve had a taste of the high life, and I’d like to become accustomed to it.

While it snowed outside we sat by roaring fires. When the sun came out we wondered at the beauty of the lough, yards from where we sat. The staff were knowledgeable and friendly and had nothing else they needed to be doing other than attending to our every whim.

The swimming pool smelled of aromatherapy, not chlorine. I never wanted to leave the spacious bedroom. I could talk at some length about the bathroom. I struggled to leave the bed, even more than I normally do. And it wasn’t just me- at breakfast all the conference crowd were agog at the pillows, the comfort and the scrambled eggs. Dear goodness, the bacon…

Ah yes, the reason for all this was our conference. The Lough Erne Resort Hotel had made us an offer we couldn’t refuse, and I’m so very glad. I had several reasons for staying over the night before, but I was too relaxed and cosy to remember that I was meant to be checking out the room and the AV and all the logistics.

The snow caused some chaos, but we got through. Local delegates got pounced on to read the message from the Health Minister or to fill in for a stranded speaker. There were many sofas for chatting and connecting and doing all the vital, informal stuff that makes events so valuable.

I have never been involved in a more relaxed event. I may still be mellow and chilled out.

Now I have to start saving up to go back.