London Human Stories or a day out in London.
I did not want to go out but, made a commitment so felt there was no choice, but to dash out and catch the bus, that would get me to the Quaker Centre, in time, for the London Human Story. I barely had an opportunity to say hello to a neighbour, as the bus came, on time, around the corner.
I have been looking through my old diary, recently, and found a number of sections that could be seen as homages to London and the various stories we share so thought, I would reflect on my journey and the experience of the London Human Story.
I put the following on Facebook, last week:
“My diary entry for 1 and 2 Nov 2016 a homage to London. 1 Lady gave me roses in street and I passed them on to someone whose birthday it was. 2 So excited at seeing new technology at bus stop.”
“This place is in London: any guesses? Diary entry 3 November 2016 “Sitting by the fountain in this magnificent building, in which attention has been paid to every detail. Geometric patterns that turn this way and that in perfect synchronicity. A great place to contemplate the tapestry of life.”
“7 Dec 2016: Oh my God 108 has changed its route and I have just gone past … — wishing Mrs … and all those people our bus used to pick up, well….”
So, today decided to write about my journey and the London Human Story.
At my local station they always post a thought for day and sometimes they are though proving. I do not know why or when they started but they do make me smile and even, as today when I am “running” I do read them. Today’s was “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change we seek.” https://londonist.com/london/transport/in-pictures-the-best-thought-of-the-day-messages-from-the-tube
So, I got on DLR with a smile and then promptly started checking for messages on my mobile. This led to me missing my stop and changing my journey, a couple of times which is why, I exited London Transport at Euston Square which is opposite University College Hospital: https://www.uclh.nhs.uk/Pages/Home.aspx
As I was thinking about all those who had cause to go to the hospital and wishing them well; I turned the corner and saw a beggar. No matter what his story, there was no way that, as a child, he dreamed of begging on the street. A refection I picked up after reading, Thich Nhat Hanh’s book Anger, Buddhist wisdom for cooling the flames, where he meditates on the fragility and vulnerability of basically everyone, as a five-year-old child. Glad, therefore that I was able to give the gentlemen some fruit.
The Quaker Centre in Euston (http://www.friendshouse.co.uk) is one of my favourite places in London and today it was hosting a big event on standing up to racism so the café, was really busy. I started reading a paper that, someone had left behind: the family section of the Guardian. A friend appeared just as I finished reading, a letter to my stepfather who showed me what it meant to have a dad and an interview entitled “Pardon me if I lose my composure.” Glad when my friend bought me a cup of tea. https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/family.
Eva Provedel and I couldn’t be more different but we having been working together, through our passion for sharing stories and the belief that opening up to the wonderful humanity and diversity of those around us is opening the mind and the world to a more accepting and tolerant way of connecting. On Facebook and Meetup: http://www.facebook.com/groups/londonhumanstories; http://www.meetup.com/LondonHumanStories
Today, was no exception, Eva brought her amazing energy and started with an exercise asking people; if they were to be a sharer, what would be their tagline. I had already indicated my willingness to be a story sharer and provided two taglines but in that moment the words “pissed off” appeared on the post- it note. It was actually quite a cathartic experience being taken a side, by three seekers who wanted know why “pissed off.” After a number of marvellous conversations, I shared a meal, with another friend and travelled back home with a smile.
On my journey Home I continued reading the Guardian I had picked up: an extract from An American Family by Khizr Khan. Another indication of the power of a story.
The name Khizr is an interesting one, to me, it recalls a Quranic story, where Moses meets a servant of God; who teaches us to look beyond our initial perceptions and prejudices: chapter 18 verse 60. Just as Trump, the current president of the USA, failed to do when, seeing the mother of a dead US soldier, and tweeting ‘she had nothing to say … maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say.’ Her response; “He doesn’t know me, and he doesn’t know Muslim women and he doesn’t know how a grieving mother would feel if she’s asked to speak at such a moment.”
I had quoted Hamlet to someone, recently, so when I got home watched Shakespeare Uncovered on London Live and heard Hamlet say
If thou didst ever hold me in thy heart
Absent thee from felicity a while,
And in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain
To tell my story.
The rest as he goes on to say is silence — for now but;
May we all be well, healthy and strong:
May we all be happy.
May we all abide in peace
May we all feel safe and secure
May we all feel loved and cared for.