Gill* is a woman of mature years. Her eyes shows signs of tears, her cheeks of wintry weather – and possibly ill-health. Worry, certainly.
Today she’s tired, but not as tired as usual, because last night she wasn’t working. She’s had two nights off this week.
Gill works in a care home, looking after people with dementia. It’s a wearing, wearying job and she knows that working nights is not doing her health any good.
She has one weekend in two off and on those weekends what do you think she would like to do?
Perhaps – but she’s not very well off, so that would probably mean shopping for food, the essentials of life.
A trip somewhere nice?
Well, it’d have to be somewhere easy to reach by public transport as Gill doesn’t have a car – and she doesn’t live in a big city.
And anyway – she doesn’t want those things.
This is what Gill would like to do:
She would like to join other people in grim, cold depots emptying black plastic bin bags. Sorting out donations for refugees.
She’d like to take time off from work – but she can’t afford to.
Not to have a rest or see her daughter or revel in a bit of idleness for a while.
No, she’d like to go to a Greek island to help the poor souls washing up on their shores, cold, half dead and hungry.
People needing the clothes she wanted to sort, needing the food that caring folk have sent or paid for, needing the warmth of human understanding that she, plainly can give.
Gill smiles a wistful smile in the harsh light of the wintry sun as she says how much she wants to help. Tears come to her eyes.
She pulls at her flimsy sweater, wrapping her arms around herself to keep warm. She’s given most of her warm clothes away. Only has two sweaters left.
Gill has several bags of other people’s donations that she’s amassed waiting for collection. And a pram. One of this week’s urgently needed items.
The black bags contain men’s warm jackets.
The smaller ones, open at the top, reveal beautiful striped, knitted woollens for tiny tots – hand made by the older women at her church. Fastened at the shoulder with teddy bear buttons.
And a few knitted bears, too, to go with them.
So much love poured out into the world through all these busy hands.
There are so many people like Gill, yet no-one is like Gill.
In this writer’s humbled opinion.
*Gill is not her real name. Everything else is factual.