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change everyday words

Neglected?

View of sky, sand and sea with awesome lines and colours photographed by Diane Woodrow
View on my dog walk this morning

The prompt for Day 9 of Everyday Words 30 days of prompts is from Alison Brackenbury’s Mr Hill and Me

Interesting things stood out for me. The first was the line about how the school ‘knew no one they might ring‘ back in 1959 when this poem was set and she has to walk home alone with measles. It made me think of how we take this constant communication for granted. We all, or at least most of us, have mobile phones constantly on us. And those who don’t are seen as odd. In fact you cannot get on to your bank or pay by Paypal or other such things without a text from your bank. We are constantly in communication – texting, phoning, social mediaing, Instagraming, Whatsapping, blogging our thoughts :). It is hard to imagine a time without being able to contact someone in an instant.

I remember when I was about 9 or 10 being in charge of my little sister. My mum worked part time and during school holidays we would go off with our friends for the morning, the older kids keeping an eye on the little ones. We were all primary school age so no one over 11. Not a mobile between us and even if we did have most would have had no one to phone anyway.

But my first thought when I read about her walking home alone and not knowing who was there was that she was neglected, that she had no one to care for her. Because I am putting my 21st century lens on this 1959 time of life.

The next bit that jumped out at me was about Mr Hill. The poem unfolds with her getting weaker and weaker as the illness of the measles takes over and then we have Mr Hill sweeping. Now for some reason I picked up something ominous about Mr Hill. But I think again this is because my 21st century lens has seen and read too much in which the single men, especially older single men, are to be watched out for, that they are going to grab the child – Pedophile? Child catcher? Murderer?

So I read this poem as one of child neglect and was waiting for child abuse but this is not what this poem is about. It is about how life was back in 1959. Men swept the road, parents could not be phone up to pick up their children from school if they were sick, kids were expected to be able to walk back and forth to school.

Was it safe then that it is now? Who knows. Were children back then more neglected than they are now? Who knows. But what I do know, and it is similar to yesterday’s post, is that not everything is as I see it. And also that in 60+ years things have moved on and changed. I need to read things from the perspective they were written. But also to be aware that everything I read, see, and even do is view through the lens of where I sit now and my experiences.

[I haven’t written a poem from this prompt. Only this blog post]

Categories
heart Viewpoint

How We View Things

photograph by Diane Woodrow
Beauty or showing off?

With the way the media has been portraying things recently I have been pondering how we view things. For example take birds. We marvel at eagles, we use cuckoos as a herald for spring, and we are superstitious about magpies. Yet each of the birds kills the chicks of other birds but I have only ever heard magpies be condemned for doing it in a big way.

So now we look at one side of a conflict/war/atrocity as a hero and the other side as evil. It can even switch sides if something happens to do that viewpoint. For instance England fought against France for hundreds of years and yet in the First World War many British men died fighting with the French. And then for a brief period France, Germany and Britain were all in the EU together.

I wonder what makes us view things in a certain way?

Yesterday I got upset with someone I was having coffee with. When I took time out to examine the why of how I felt I realised she reminded me of something in my past and it was that wound I was reacting to. I’ve had similar things with projects that come to an end. It hurts more than just a freelancer being insecure about where the next job comes from. But again if I slow down and listen to my heart I realise where that hurt comes from.

So I wonder as we go into the good guy/bad guy, good thing/bad thing way of labeling things we need to slow down, check with our hearts and ask ourselves why we are doing this. Is it to do with the present situation we are in or is it to do with some greater hurt or fear?

Hopefully tomorrow I’ll do a blog on my thoughts on why the Bible tells of man eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil rather the tree of knowledge because I think this explains something.

So next time you think about labeling something or someone good or bad slow down, listen deeply to your heart – that bit of your heart that doesn’t get heard too often, and see if you can find the real reason. Then give your heart a hug and be kind to yourself for over reacting, as I did yesterday.

Categories
learning Viewpoint

Viewed Through Your Lens?

View across the Solway Firth looking from England to Scotland, photographed by Diane Woodrow whilst on holiday in this area in September 2021, and realising for the first time how much further Hadrian's wall went
The start/finish of Hadrian’s Wall taken by myself September 2021

Every thing we look at or interpret we interpret through our own lens, viewpoint, life experiences. I take a quote here from Michael Moore’s blog that I read this morning

Usually when we hear or read something new, we just compare it to our own ideas. If it is the same, we accept it and say that it is correct. If it is not, we say it is incorrect. In either case, we learn nothing

by Thich Nhat Hahn taken from Learning by Michael Moore

I am reading and pondering on a lovely devotional book by my friend David Pott about the painting of Jacob and his sons that hang in Bishop Auckland Castle called Listening to The Boys. My interpretation of some of the paintings and thoughts are very different to David’s. Because I know him I know he is from a large, close family, who enjoy being together and has been married to the same person for over 50 years. Yes I do also know there have been challenges within the family but there has been a lot of support too. He is also a man – obviously.

When I read his thoughts and look at the paintings I am viewing them through the eyes of a woman who isn’t from a large close family and who has had very different life experiences to David. For instance when I read about Simeon and Levi killing the family of the man who raped their sister I, as a woman, side much more with them and their violent justice than I do with Jacob, their father, who is looking for reconciliation and expecting his daughter to marry the man who raped her! In fact, as a woman who would spent time wanting a father to stand in the gap for her I have often struggled with white, male preachers’ take on Jacob in this story.

I think this is where we have to be very careful when, especially in churches, we say “this is what this piece says”. Too often someone will stand at the front of church and speak for 10 minutes to over an hour, depending on the denomination, and say “this is what the Bible says” when in fact they should be saying “this is what I believe this is saying to me at this point in time“.

As a writer and author I know that what I write gets viewed differently by whoever reads it because the reader views it through their worldview/their lens and I have to learn that it does not mean I am wrong or they are wrong. It means I have to slow down and listen, really listen, and try to remove my world view, my experiences, etc.

I also this is this why it is so awesome to read books by writers of different countries, classes, ethnicities, sexualities, etc to myself. If I really listen, and don’t try to cover them with my known world I can learn so much – not just about the other writer but about myself.