My team are a cunning bunch and a few weeks back, with the 31st October coming up, they said to me, “How about you write a blog for Brexit day?” Well, I agreed as I was rushing out the office. But, of course, now there is no Brexit to speak of and we still don’t yet know the shape that our exit from the EU will take; or indeed if we will leave at all. So now I have this blog to write, but no longer a subject for it.
“Well, it’s Halloween!” you say? I’m afraid that doesn’t attract my attention either. However, while travelling recently, I saw a poster about a religious service offered for ‘All Souls’ – an opportunity for people to come together, to remember and grieve for family and friends who have passed away. In the immediacy of life, it seems that a time to pause, think, remember and stop might be good.
As the energy of Diwali celebrations go by, the costumes for Halloween distract, and the whizz and bangs of Guy Fawkes’ Night serve as a preamble to the commercial distraction of the Christmas period, it is possible to be carried along with the activities all around (including a forthcoming General Election campaign) and find ourselves not thinking until the depth of January.
Yet not making space to reflect means that we can be passengers in life and not the drivers. Our good deeds can become fortunate reactions which are unplanned instead of being deliberate and long lasting.
Grief and regret often sit together. We may not be keen on either, but they can be a powerful catalyst for a better future. When I consider what I have done wrong and whom I have neglected, I have the opportunity to try to defend my actions, or instead I can find out where it was that I took the wrong road.
I am surprised how often my sat nav will reroute instead of telling me to return to where I went wrong. Maybe it’s because we don’t like admitting that we have done wrong, however, we do need to return and put things right. We may think it better just to ‘reroute’ in our soul and carry on as if nothing went wrong in the first place, but sometimes we have to recognise that ‘you can’t get there from here’ – you need to start again, or even try coming from a different position.
We can’t always keep running on – we need to pause and reflect, to grieve and to learn.