Wednesday 20 December 2023

In gratitude

Much appreciation

It has been an interesting year for me, and whilst I did not find myself doing much of what I would have wanted to do, I have done other things I would have rarely found myself doing and been enriched by it all.

By participating in activities and volunteering, I have in many ways inadvertently met influential people and been involved in consequential decision-making forums that I would never have attended, but I found a voice and an expression that would normally not be heard.

Above all, it is how I have been sustained through some of the toughest times, the support of my partner, my best friend, my sister, old partners, my neighbours, my parents, support groups, my community, and many others who have fervently kept me in their prayers and supplications, with encouragement, entreaty, and even unwelcome and probably justifiable rebuke that has caused offense.

For service

We entertain much in how we exist, but we need to be careful about what we allow to define us. Faith and hope have set a course for the realisation of many desires, they are the complementary force of what will result in better and more uplifting stories. In many disappointments in the resolution and resolve goodness, mercies, and blessings cannot miss us.

It was only on Monday that I thought I should arrive at Manchester Cathedral early, just in case there was any help needed since I am a church steward. They had everything in hand, and I took my seat before additional rows were added to the reserved seats. I was not asked to move to another seat.

Interesting encounters

Just before the event started, a gentleman with a lady arrived, the usual small talk about the weather after pleasantries followed and a few quips on things English and so on. They had travelled in from Sale, and he needed some help getting up for the carol songs.

After the interval, he said there were so many people to meet, he had to chat to the High Sheriff of Greater Manchester and a few Deputy Lieutenants as he was one too. I suppose, if I had been more observant, a man in a pin-striped suit, his wallet so thick it needed rubber bands to hold together, a few acknowledgements from here and there, this was a community stalwart, known for his contributions and charitable activities.

At 85, I would pass for a son, his companion just 75 years old, both of whom in the inclement weather of the northwest in December needn’t have bothered but still with enthusiasm and a sense of fun made an appearance that should be appreciated. As the carol concert ended, we shook hands, and he gave his name. A very accomplished man indeed.

In all, I am very grateful, it is the last day of 57 and it is unimaginable how I could have thrived without the amazing support of Brian. You bring light and love, with joy and laughter. Thank you.

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