At different times in our lives we both give and receive. Sometimes one dominates. This felt particularly true for us when our children were young adults starting to find their way in the world at the same time as our surviving parents all needed a considerable degree of help at the same time as our working lives were demanding and stressful (and I was struggling with health issues related to menopause). Just writing this, I struggle to find time to breathe.
Overload aside, often giving feels far more comfortable than receiving. Yet if we are to give, others must receive. We need to learn to both give and receive graciously and thankfully.
Earlier this month we were in the fortunate position of being able to take our closest family (including the adorable granddaughter) away on holiday – a trip to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary and postponed from last year.
With my Farm trustee hat on (figuratively speaking – I don’t do actual hat wearing), last week I found myself taking part in the Licensing service of the new Team Rector for two churches near the farm. My role was to make a presentation of a basket of Farm produce to the new Rector, towards the end of the service, symbolising our responsibility to be good stewards of the earth. It was a pleasure to do so, and something new to me as (I imagine) the only Jewish person present. It was also a pleasure to be there alongside representatives of several other local charities embedded in the community.
This weekend Malcolm and I celebrated our 41st wedding anniversary. Or more accurately, we would have done so had I not received the dubious gift of a flu/tonsillitis bug that laid me low. Instead we simply exchanged cards, and I gratefully ate a delicious meal Malcolm prepared, agreeing to postpone the rest of the planned celebrations until I’m properly recovered.
In his card to me was a photo he’d taken recently of a boat on the Avon between Bath and Keynsham. He recognised the name of the author as the writer of the book ‘The Making of a Counter Culture’ (Theodore Roszak, 1969) which he had read many years ago.
Is it a poem? is it prose? does it matter which? I don’t know. I saw and read it as a poem, and it feels very poetic to me.
In these troubled times, maybe we could do with extending this way of approaching others.