Compassion. It’s quite easy really. You see somebody less well off than you, in terms of possession or health, and you take the time to help them. That help can be material, it can be a supportive or an encouraging word, it can be tolerance and it involves understanding. It really isn’t difficult and it doesn’t have to cost anything. And indeed, as head of S2C I hear lots of example of compassion and see it in action where the most vulnerable people in our society are given support by very generous members of the community.
The problem I have is that in recent times I feel like we have experienced an erosion of compassion in certain ways. The way our communities came together to help each other during the floods was a great example of compassion in action and those acts of compassion have made a massive difference to those effected. Where I encounter a deficit of compassion is in the day to day life of those struggling with mental health and physical health problems that cause them some impairment to being able to function properly in society.
If you’re struggling to even get outside the house and fighting to cope with serious depression the last thing you need is a van driver winding their window down and shouting “Hey miserable, cheer up mate, might never happen.” It’s sometimes hard to explain just how your struggling and sometimes, those lucky enough to have never experienced such things, can make it harder.
In my own personal experience, I find it hard. A mixture of illness, pain and medication means that every day I face a choice. I could lay about and do nothing all day. Instead I get out and do something to help others and myself. The consequence of that is by about 3pm on an active day the tiredness I feel is almost paralysing. The pain ramps up as the day goes by and I slow down, stop making sense and find it difficult to communicate well. I try to avoid being out and about for this. Sometimes though when I am I encounter some real ignorance from people disregarding you and looking at you like you are something they just stood in.
Yesterday a service user from S2C who has a really horrible illness that prevents them being very mobile was driving to our session only to find the access to the unit blocked by a car parked there. After some beeping on the horn somebody finally arrived and was quite disrespectful and abusive considering they were blocking an access. Reluctantly they moved only to park back in the same spot. Hardly compassionate, unselfish or helpful.
I know those reading this will for the most part already be compassionate in their daily lives. But just to those who maybe are not, or know somebody who might benefit from reading this, please consider this. The person you’re getting angry with who is going slow, getting in the way, mumbling, slow to respond, looking sad, hiding in a hood, asking you to move out of the way: maybe they are really ill and struggling to cope. Maybe smiling, saying a kind word, apologising for stopping them having access, taking time to listen, being patient, giving them a hand…..maybe that act might just be the best thing that happened to them that day. And lets face it…….you never know when you might need that help.
This week at S2C
The group took inspiration from the work of Gustav Klimt. We used cut outs of portraits for the heads then added colourful clothes and of course some gold paint. Some went off at a tangent creating really great images, portraits and designs.
Thursday Group and DeafArt
The two groups came together with a few away and volunteers on courses it was quiet. Some sewed, croched and did fabric work. Some carried on with 3D books. Some were doing a planning application! Others were drawing football inspired work. All in all a relaxing fun session.
The group made little 3D books or scenes. This was done by folding long strips of card then cutting g out the top edge to create scenes. With some drawing and colour they looked very effective.