SHOT OF LOVE
This week brought the sad news of Captain Sir Tom Moore’s death with coronavirus. The last of his 100 years was certainly a remarkable one as he made the headlines, and many admirers, by lovingly walking around his garden a hundred times. As a result of his tremendous fundraising efforts, £33 million was donated to NHS charities. I, for one, am grateful for his efforts.
Another frail elderly man died this week. Also from Covid 19. Few will know his name, just those who loved him for who he was, many of whom won’t have been fully aware of the ‘heroics’ of his life, how he worked to provide for his family, how, year after difficult year, he was there for his children, and how it was his habit to show kindness to those he lived alongside in the community where he made his home.
His too was a remarkable yet ordinary life.
Last weekend I spent a day at a local vaccination centre. One patient stood out as she was wheeled to the station where I was working. Lost under a swathe of blankets, her bent body was curled up in one of those chairs which allowed her to lie out rather than insisting that she be sat up. With her chin on her chest and her eyes closed, she neither said, nor appeared to hear, anything. Hers seemed to be a life that it might have been easy to dismiss as without value but for the fact that she was clearly loved by the daughter who brought her. I did not know the story of her life but, as we tunnelled through the layers in order to find a small area or aged skin in which to plunge a needle, it felt good to live in a society that values the elderly enough to offer the vaccine to all, regardless of an individual’s achievements or current economic worth. It was a privilege and a genuine joy to vaccinate this particular elderly lady.
It is good to herald the exceptional achievements of individuals, but we do, I think, need to be a little careful that in doing so we don’t lose sight of the value of the ordinary. Most of us will not achieve greatness in the eyes of the world, but our everyday contributions still make a significant difference to those among whom we live and work. Furthermore, as my vaccinated elderly lady demonstrates, our value isn’t lost the moment we no longer contribute or achieve in the way we may once have done.
Life shouldn’t be competitive, a race to see who wins, rather it should be collaborative, ensuring we all get to the finish line in as fit a state as is possible. Constantly judging each other’s worth, on the basis of our achievements does none of us any good, burdening as it does the currently ‘successful’ with the need to maintain their lofty position whilst demonising and demoralising those deemed to have failed. We, and those with whom we live alongside, need to learn how to be kinder to one another, accepting each other and acknowledging our humanness. We need to stop insisting that we all must be more than we actually are and start, instead, to accept one another despite our being the flawed people we, inevitably, sometimes prove ourselves to be.
Captain Tom is quoted as saying that he always believed that things would get better, that the sun would shine again and that we’d all have a lovely day tomorrow. He’s not the first to have said such a thing. Some of us will be familiar with the words of the psalmist who wrote how, ‘Weeping may tarry for the night but joy comes in the morning’. I don’t doubt the truth of these words written, as they were, thousands of years ago, but equally we must accept that, for some, the night has already been long and the day still seems an eternity away.
So until that better tomorrow, that wonderful day when all our tears will have been wiped away, we’ll do well to support the weak as well as celebrate the strong, to rejoice with those who rejoice whilst weeping with those who weep.
Because one day soon, we too may be glad to have somebody who loves us enough to wheel us to a vaccination centre under a sea of blankets and allow us to be the recipient of what is itself an expression of something we all need – a shot of love.
To read ‘Room Enough’ , please click here
To read ‘Vaccinating to remain susceptible’, please click here
To read ‘True Love?’, please click here
To read ‘Because sometimes not even chocolate is enough’, please click here
To read ‘Professor Ian Aird – A Time To Die’, please click here
To read ‘“The Medical Condition” or ‘Hannah Arendt is completely fine”’, please click here
To read ‘For when we can’t see’, please click here
To read ‘Don’t forget to be ordinary, if you want to be happy’, please click here
To read ‘Somewhere over the rainbow’, please click here
To read ‘When the jokes on you’, please click here
To read ‘With great power’, please click here
To read ‘Nikki Alexander – Dr Perfect?’, please click here