#ThisisLondon

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Been feeling very unsettled since I heard the news about Westminster. It brought back memories of being in Central London on 7/7. Thankful to not be in the centre of it, but a feeling of helplessness and depression was setting in.
So I was coming out of Streatham station on my way home last night, and saw this little old lady struggling with these humungous bags. Really, she was just shuffling along, barely able to carry them. I walked just past her, and then thought ‘F**k it!’ and asked her if she wanted a hand home with them. She was walking to the bus stop across Streatham High Road – literally a 2 minute walk for me, but it took 10 mins + to get her there. We chatted, she told me about seeing Peter O’Toole as Hamlet in the Bristol Old Vic prior to Lawrence of Arabia fame, and I left her at the bus stop with her shopping happy as a pig in sh*te, and with a lighter heart.
Now I’m not telling y’all this as an attempt to garner praise – honestly, please don’t. I probably got more unwittingly out of this gesture than she did, in a way. I’m writing this because it’s not possible for all of us to be part of the police force or emergency services or NHS – and they are all brilliant btw. But it is possible for us to be a mini-hero in someone else’s world, be that standing up for someone if they’re at the receiving end of abuse, helping an elderly person with their shopping or even offering someone a reassuring smile. I remember the first time getting back on the Tube after 7/7 and realising we had the choice to retreat into ourselves or to reach out. Even offering someone a smile can be powerful in the aftermath of something like this. While remaining safe and informed and discerning it is also possible to be open and kind to ourselves and each other – and light. Be light. Be the light. In your own and other people’s worlds. #ThisisLondon, after all.

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2 responses »

  1. The older I get the more I also believe that we must take an active part in spreading the light. In doesn’t matter in which form – be it a smile, a helping hand or simply by listening when someone needs it. Too many people sadly feel that doing nothing is preferable to doing little. I recently read this wonderful saying by Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks: “There always were two ways to live in a world that is often dark and full of tears. We can curse the darkness or we can light a light, and as the Chassdim say, a little light drives out much darkness.”

  2. Yes, absolutely. Important to acknowledge other people’s pain – it is not being widely broadcast that the US bombed a school killing 30 civilians on Wednesday – but I think, where we can, be kind, and as you say, spread the light. x

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