What a title – ‘reflections’? Not exactly a draw-you-in type title is it? I’m useless at thinking up titles anyway. Perhaps I should write first and title afterwards. The thing is I wrote it because it was just what I was doing – reflecting. Being confined to a wheelchair there is plenty of time to do it. This morning we have sunshine at last so I can sit here in the kitchen with my coffee with the doors open and look out at my lovely garden (courtesy of the lady who lived here before us, none of our doing!). At the top of the hill in front of me is the local cemetery. I can see a stone cross and various headstones. When we first moved here it spooked me, but now I regard it as a peaceful place. I have been persuaded by lots of my friends that that is what it is. So I’ve come round to the idea. My main thought this morning is I’m so glad I’m alive. Three years ago I was brought back from the brink of death by a fantastic group of doctors and nurses to whom I owe a debt of gratitude that is priceless beyond words. Since then I’ve valued every second. And I intend to go on as long as I can before I take the walk up the hill in front of me.
At the same time though, I know that there are many people in this world who do not have the opportunity to sit and reflect as I have done this morning. I’m aware of how much of a luxury it is. I don’t feel guilty when I see a homeless person sleeping on a bench in my local town centre, that would be pointless. What I do feel is just terribly inexorably sad. I just want to give him a big hug. But that would not help to get him off the street.
Is it alright not to feel guilty? It’s not my fault, I think. It may not be their fault either but a result of a chain of circumstances. If it’s a systemic failure, which is my preferred option, then how can I, we, as individuals really contribute to solving this crisis. I know this is endlessly debated, and many individuals do give their time and effort to try to change things. I’m not saying anything new, only what came into my mind when I was ‘reflecting’.