It’s not our constitution.

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No, this is not about the US constitution (I’m UK anyway lol!) but a query for a copy of the constitution of the CVSS sailing group I volunteer with. The sailing club that share our lake had noticed that, though from many varied backgrounds, we always seemed to all get along well without the divisions and politics they were having problems with – so common in our society. They figured it must be our constitution that kept us all so happy and unified and thought perhaps they could get some tips from it.
They were wrong of course. Though we must all read the constitution it was hardly something we thought about. The reason for our lack of friction, I feel, had a lot more to do with the volunteers themselves, particularly the founders, who devote a great deal of their time to it, always smiling and encouraging, without any pay etc. To start with, it takes a big hearted person to donate their time free of charge, in all weathers, on a regular basis. Add to that we take the disabled sailing, which takes someone with patience, empathy and good humour. I’ve found with many volunteers they have someone in their close family who is disabled which tends to expand the heart and deepen the spirit. In addition, perhaps it may also have some bearing that a large number of volunteers are retired and thus have reached the maturity of being at peace with who they are. They are not out to establish their place in society so find it easier to let things pass. Also the water, lake, wind, and sun (when there is some lol!) tend to relax and calm frazzled nerves.
I must admit in the three years I’ve been there, I’ve never witnessed even a cross word (though as we are human beings I’m sure there must have been some). Any needed “corrections” are always given with love and a sense of humour and any irritations quickly forgotten. Even debates on politics and Brexit (we do have a few folks with strong opinions lol!) were tactfully deflated and laid to rest by some nonchalant words of wisdom.
I wish society as a whole could operate in this way, but as stated, it would take more than a new constitution.

sailors

(Just a few of our volunteers – including all days and seasons we have over two hundred I believe)

A conspiracy of love.

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Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love.
—Hamilton Wright Mabie (1846-1916)

Seems exactly what is needed right now. Let us all conspire – to show our love! It doesn’t need to be a gift (though it could be). It could be a smile or breezy “good morning”to one who looks harried, it could be going the extra mile to hear out someone who needs to talk, giving a lift to a flagging co-worker at the end of a tough day, complimenting someone who doesn’t get many compliments, fighting over the lunch bill, encouragement, the coin or two for a hot drink for the homeless (especially if you add “let me treat you.”)

There are so very many ways to show we care. We hear so much about conspiracies, secrets, deception etc. Let our conspiracy be of love, the special secret surprise, the scheming, brain stretching, compassion that leads to joy, not only to the recipient but to the giver.

I’ve been unearthing many wonderful conspiracies of late! How about you?

True Brotherhood.

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(from July 2014

Song Bird Songs

kurds

This true story began many years ago. A friend while traveling with his family in Greece had come across a Kurdish refugee camp. There were 600 refugees and four water taps, garbage was everywhere and there was little or no organisation. Worst of all there was no doctor or clinic – some arrived with gunshot wounds and stories of atrocities abounded…

He was not a doctor, just a male nurse, but he couldn’t ignore their plight. Holiday adventure forgotten they stayed on to help making a tenuous living singing in restaurants over the weekends (he had a great voice). His pregnant wife had just had a baby and with two other small children they needed help urgently. That’s why we went.

The day I entered the city of squalid tents the Greek authorities decided to move the whole embarrassing populace out of the camp. It had been allocated in winter…

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True Brotherhood.

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kurds

This true story began many years ago. A friend while traveling with his family in Greece had come across a Kurdish refugee camp. There were 600 refugees and four water taps, garbage was everywhere and there was little or no organisation. Worst of all there was no doctor or clinic – some arrived with gunshot wounds and stories of atrocities abounded…

He was not a doctor, just a male nurse, but he couldn’t ignore their plight. Holiday adventure forgotten they stayed on to help making a tenuous living singing in restaurants over the weekends (he had a great voice). His pregnant wife had just had a baby and with two other small children they needed help urgently. That’s why we went.

The day I entered the city of squalid tents the Greek authorities decided to move the whole embarrassing populace out of the camp. It had been allocated in winter, now it was summer and well, it was a tourist spot. Their idea of relocation I heard was to bus them out to the most remote of places and leave them there. I watched my first episode of non-violent civil disobedience that day as men, women and children sat blocking the road to prevent the buses from leaving – after several hours the refugees finally won.

But it’s not of this I would speak, nor of our tough lifestyle, or even our adventures (like hiding a friend on the run from a Kurdish faction, he having witnessed their murder of his cousin).

There’d always been a strange affinity between the Muslim Kurds and my Christian friend, epitomized when I spent an hour in the tent of a famous Kurdish actress. (People think refugees are poor labourers. It’s not true, they are mostly businessmen or professionals –  the only ones with enough money to get smuggled across the borders etc.) We had to communicate with our hands (neither speaking the others language) but she was an actress and being bad at languages I was used to mime etc. She “explained” how her sons had been tortured to death (I heard many heart rending stories this was another). I noticed a crucifix propped against the tent wall and “asked” if she were a Christian. She explained she was Muslim, but put it there in respect for my friend and all he’d done for them.

The most exciting story happened soon after I left. Wealthy restaurant owners, tired of the refugees interfering with their tourist trade set fires to destroy the camp. Everyone knew who did it but it couldn’t be proved, fires are an occupational hazard in the hot, dry Greek summers.

All looked on terrified as the giant flames leapt towards them. Fanned by a strong wind, tinder dry trees exploded into walls of flame. There was nothing to defend them just a wire fence. All around was chaos, people running and screaming but a small group of calm individuals held hands with my friend to pray, Muslim and Christian alike.

The wind ceased, reversing its course to later destroy not only the tourist restaurants but the scenic forests that made it a resort. All gazed in awe at the blackened devastation just inches from the fence, the parched grass within the camp unharmed. God loves all His children.