They Dug Up Our Street

We’ve had Wessex Water in our street for the last 2-3 weeks. All down one side of the road are holes with men drilling away, or standing by idle and watching. The reason – because people are replacing header tanks with combi boilers the water pipes cannot give enough pressure. Because of the pavement being dug up in front of about 10 houses there is no where to park cars.

One night we came back and found a space. A neighbour who we had never met before parked in front of and asked what time we’d be off in the morning. It was fine she was going before us. And then we got into moaning about the fact that we were struggling to park our cars and the chaos that was being caused. I got in the house and realise how selfish we are being. We look at the plight of refugees, especially now there has been the picture of the dead boy in the surf, and we give money. And yet we forget to realise just how lucky we are. In our street we  have running water, we have roofs over our heads, we have cars, we have workmen who come along and spend 2-3 weeks working out why someone cannot have a shower when their neighbour is and work out how to fix this. Ok they will probably add a bit on the water rates, but I’m sure it won’t be much, and the majority of us will be able to pay it without having to go without.

I often wonder if we have too much and that makes us forget to be grateful for it. I read recently that one of the best ways to be humble is to be grateful. And maybe if we were grateful then we could be more generous?

Dialogue

Two words that struck me in a lot of what I saw and heard at Greenbelt were “dialogue” and “boundaries” and the importance of both, not for one side or the other but for both. The this morning I read an article in The Week taken from The Guardian in which Natalie Nougayrede disagrees with Jeremy Corbyn’s “fondness for holding talks with such unsavoury groups as Hamas and Hezbollah” and says that it is a waste of time to talk with these groups “unless you have some sort of leverage” and that “talking means little unless it’s in pursuance of strategic goals …. or for one side to force a deal on the other.” Surely this is not dialogue at all but about coming from a position of power and only really letting someone else speak to make sure that they do as the person in power wants.

Now I do not know why Jeremy Corbyn has been on stage with known terrorists and what his strategy is for it. I have not been able to dialogue with him. Nor would I say that I understand the deeds of Hamas and Hezbollah or agree with their methods, but then I have not had a dialogue with them to ask them why they do what they do. Life is complicated. It is not black and white. If I say that I will only listen to people to force them to do what I want then really I am not listening to what they have to say at all as I have already decided the outcome.

We had an incident in the family recently where I had decided I knew best and so did what I thought was the right thing. A certain member of the family was not happy with it and expressed her feelings very clearly. Ok so that wasn’t right either. Once the emotions had died down we both sat down and dialogued about why we had said what we had said and reacted as we had. There was no winning or losing but a change of direction for both of us. As parent I could have come from my position of power, with my strategic goals and forced my daughter to do what I wanted and even manipulated the situation, but I would never have heard where she was coming from and why she felt so strongly.

In the media we seem to forget the atrocities committed by the West on the Middle East and other countries. Western Europe and America seem to forget the things they did and only look forward and only want to keep working toward the future in the way we think is best. Maybe if there was dialogue there would be a change to see why others think and feel the way they do and why they react as they do; to see that life is not as black and white as we would like it to be. I do not condone terrorism but then I also do not condone many of the things the West has done in the name of Empire or meddling that have gone on which do get forgotten.

Greenbelt Reflections 2015 – A Bright and Soggy Field

It’s always hard to do a reflection of Greenbelt. It is so eclectic and focuses more, for me, around my time volunteering in The Tank and catching up with friends. This year it has also been followed by my mother-in-law’s 70th birthday picnic and meeting my son’s new girlfriend; both of which came hot on the heels of a busy weekend so my thoughts become befuddled.

Highlights:

catching up with a long term friend, Kate,

yearly coffee with blogging friend, Paul,

listening to bands in my tent because my feet will no longer hold my weight – Polyphonic Spree, Unthanks, and others who’s names didn’t know

happy hours working in The Tank, both allocated hours and extra ones, and catching up with other Tank regulars

living in a Tangerine Fields tent for 3 nights and not having to worry about putting it up or taking it down

volunteer’s food vouchers and finding the best deals

Dr Chris Meredith of Winchester University making me/us think and question what we think we truly know about the Bible

hearing the truth about the atrocities that those fleeing war zones have to face when they arrive on British shores

portaloos with hand sanitizer and toilet paper

being without mobile signal and internet and the freedom and frustration that brings

challenges to my way of thinking that I want to hold on to and blog some more about

This is what I love about Greenbelt. It is a mishmash of deep and trivial, challenges and settling of things. A place to share 21068331525_c1a82dfd4e_mdreams and to hear of others dreams, to laugh with strangers and to have fun. This year my daughter didn’t come with me so that gave things a different perspective; like the fact that I had to decide for myself where I went and who I saw. This is my sixth Greenbelt, fifth volunteering, and second without my daughter. I do hope there are many more to come, with or without her. As things settle and I find time to breath, and to sleep – I am still really tired because of not quite having time to stop as yet – there will be more to write, more to think about. In fact in my unpacking I have found my Sunday morning service sheet with thoughts scribbled across it which may become blogs. Who knows?