Humph. I seem to have lost my enthusiasm for 40 Acts at the moment, as the lack of blog posts shows. I’m not sure if it’s because the Acts are challenging, or if they don’t “resonate” with me, or if I’m slipping into a slough of depression where I can’t be arsed with anything very much…
I’ve never had depression, as a medical condition, and I don’t think this is that exactly, but I am finding myself feeling overwhelmed with sadness and worry about the state of the world and the future of humanity. Yesterday I cried over a news report about the poaching of elephants, leading to their near-extinction: a weeping for the elephants, and also for humankind who see it as their right to shoot and kill these lovely animals with impunity. Or maybe who do it because it’s their only way of making enough money to live on, because of the inbalance of wealth in this world, and who see animals as less important than their family.
So handing out chocolate or doing someone’s washing up for them suddenly seems a bit pathetic and useless in the face of Syria, and all the other conflicts in the world, and rape being used as a “reward” for fighters, and the treatment of refugees, and trafficking of women and children for sex, and murder, and slaughter of near extinct animals, and child abuse and all the other shit in the world.
But, let’s try to catch up – in a morosely negative way…
DAY 29 – BOGOF – Hah, this doesn’t exist in France. The best you get is Buy two get 50% off the next one, or get points on your fidelity card. But I know that’s no excuse. We do have a food bank collection at church, which I often forget to contribute to. I’ll write myself a reminder to take some goods along next time. And the time after that…and so on.
DAY 30: MARGINS – This is a difficult one for me to pinpoint what I can be involved in. This may be one for a nudge later on in the year…I will rely on God to push me where he wants me. But in the meantime, I will continue to say Hello to those I see begging, and try to help them.
DAY 31: BEELINE –
In some countries, towns and societies, talking to the people you meet – passers-by, shopkeepers, fellow commuters – is entirely normal. Expected, even. You might not be a natural talker, but think of it this way: everyone around you is a valuable person with his or her own life, experiences, struggles and stories. Every friend you have today was a stranger once. So make a beeline for someone today and strike up a conversation.
GREEN:If you’re unlikely to see anyone new today, perhaps you could learn a few greetings or phrases in a different language or in sign language. The ability to communicate kindness across cultures and disabilities is always a good skill to have up your sleeve.
AMBER:Pluck up courage and pick a person to talk to today. You might not need to go out of your way. It could be whoever you happen to sit next to on the bus, the guy who makes your morning brew at the coffee shop or just someone you walk past in the street. A smile and a ‘Good morning’ is often the best place to begin.
RED: Talk to anyone and everyone today. Literally everyone you meet. Go wild!
I’m not a chatter to people that I don’t know – even in English! I never really know what to talk about. My friend, Alison, is great at it, and she makes me feel inadequate as she rattles along, ten-to-the-dozen, finding links between her and the other person. I can barely manage a “Bonjour? Ca va?” before I run out of things to say. I have to do it as a teacher, but take me out of the classroom situation and suddenly it becomes enormously difficult!
The reflection from this Challenge was quite helpful, but this is not something that I feel at ease with. BUT, I know that today I’ve got time after my lessons and before I go to my dance group, because some lessons have been cancelled. I am planning to go to the McCafé, and have a coffee while I wait for my dance group to start. So I will at least try to chat to the barista, and I will see if there’s anyone else that I can talk to as well. But don’t think it will be easy…!!