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Thoughts from Lockdown

Not everyone is a keyworker and working on the frontline and some of us are wondering where we can help. A close colleague forwarded this piece of writing and I love the message behind it. We can't all volunteer to directly make a difference but we are reminded that all of our contributions count. A little bit of positivity and recognition that we need the small gestures as well as the obvious ones.

clipart of running man

Last Thursday evening at about 8 o’clock, just as the light was starting to fade, a lone figure turned in to our crescent and ran at a steady pace on the pavement in front of the houses at the far side of the street. His name is Ian. In these strange times, Ian was following Boris’s instructions and was taking his normal daily exercise – in his case a 30-minute jog.  All of a sudden, a number of doors opened, and people started clapping. Who knows what Ian thought? But he appeared quite taken aback and initially waved back at a couple of the applauders. And then it probably dawned on him. Of course, this was the national round of applause for the NHS and for those who work in it. People came out and stood at their front doors and just clapped. A simple act but an act of appreciation that has come to symbolise a unity and a belief that by standing together and facing up to this scourge, we can get through this and who knows - maybe even come out the other side as better people. 

In 1962, President John F Kennedy visited the NASA Space Centre for the first time. During his tour of the facility, he met a janitor who was carrying a broom down the hallway. He interrupted his tour and walked over to the man and said, “Hi, I’m Jack Kennedy. What are you doing?”  “Well, Mr. President” the janitor responded, “I’m helping put a man on the moon.”

The janitor knew something that most of us struggle with – the purpose of his work. He kept the building clean so that the scientists, the engineers and astronauts could focus on their mission of putting “man on the moon” They did not have to worry about spending their time cleaning toilets, emptying bins or mopping floors. He did that. This was his contribution which fitted alongside that of the others and in so doing, helped to make history.

No matter how large or small the role, everyone is making a contribution. When an entire country holds that belief and embraces that type of attitude, incredible things happen.

One wonders whether after all this is over, there will be a re-evaluation of jobs – of what’s really important. Whether there will be a different view of a public sector that has been starved of investment for years. A sector that is showing the extent to which we are all – including Boris who at the time of writing is currently lying in a hospital bed, totally reliant.

In recent months we have had the Brexit debate which totally split the nation. Ironically it has taken something very terrible, the Covid 19 pandemic to unite the country once again. 

So, last Thursday evening, was Ian worthy of the applause that he thought he was getting. He absolutely was. Is he a hospital consultant, or a doctor, or a nurse? No – it turns out that Ian’s a Postman. But is he any less of a hero? He’s doing his bit by continuing to deliver letters and parcels. The 76-year-old grandmother standing at her house door clapping him – is she any less of a hero? By staying indoors and self-isolating, denying herself the opportunity to spend time with her beloved grandchildren, she’s playing her part. And the supermarket worker, and the bin man and the police officer and the …………. 

As the Queen said in last night’s message to the nation – it’s the people that make Britain Great. 

Author: Grant Alexander, Community Investment Team, Link