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‘Paying it Forward’.

An old movie, beloved of my romantic husband Duncan, is on his mind tonight. It concerns a little boy whose social studies teacher gave his class an assignment at Junior High. To pass, each of the pupils had to think of an idea that would change the world for the better.
One young lad comes up with the idea of ‘paying favours forward’ – helping someone in some small way, with no reward. Duncan explains it as being the concept of ‘doing a good deed now, because you never know when you might need help yourself’. The idea spread in the movie like wildfire, and many lives were changed. The little boy’s attempts to improve the world in a small way set in motion an unprecedented wave of human kindness which, unknown to the boy himself, blossomed into a profound national phenomenon.
Like most of our movies, this is an American film. It has a wonderful story, and a dedicated cast. But its relevance to any nation, anywhere, is easy to see. Duncan, like many people, reports that he has had massive ups and downs in life. If it wasn’t for family and close friends, he admits he would have struggled to survive.
As Rabbie Burns once said; ‘Man to man, the world o’er, shall brithers be for a’ that’.
(Duncan takes over here): My interpretation of this wonderful quote is; no matter who you are, or where you come from, we are all brothers and sisters – we are all the same. I love, admire and follow this great sentiment. I am not a regular church goer, and I am not a very ‘religious’ man. However, I believe in goodness, kindness and love. I believe in helping where I can, and being the best human being that I can be. There is far too much negativity and apathy in the world. It saddens me at the speed of which we are losing our communities, and entering into a sort of ‘voluntary seclusion’ which leads to isolation and loneliness for our most vulnerable members.
Every week, when we give up our time to run the charity ‘Cook-Inn’, it brings me great hope and joy to help people who are right now less fortunate than ourselves. We are not rich, but this little act of giving may have a profound and lasting effect on one or more of our service-users. Hopefully it will improve their quality of life. We do not desire anything for this service. This is an honest act of love. The movie mentioned here is not suitable for younger children, because there is a twist in the tale. Our young hero, standing up to bullies to protect his friend, pays a high price. (Janine jokes; we blew a tire at Christmas – that was over a hundred quid)!
As I went round today, I was thinking instead of Maslow’s Pyramid. Abraham Maslow drew a diagram of human needs, with the most basic physical stuff like ‘food’ and ‘rest’ at the bottom. Further up were ‘socialising’, ‘educational’ needs and others. Recently I have been hearing about ‘Cook-Inn’ going some way to fulfilling some of the community’s needs on this most basic ‘physical’ level of the diagram. We as a group are always grateful to know that our efforts are making people’s lives a little easier, especially as we roll towards another Scottish Winter.
Still minus our hot food, at least for a couple more weeks, we have been bagging up outside our friendly Morrison’s store and driving the food bags from there straight to their destinations. It gave us a helpful boost today when our friends Linda and Feston arrived – each with vehicles! George and Fred delivered the Pilton run, Linda helped Adele (the Pedestrian Powerhouse) with Musselburgh run One; Feston delivered Susan’s run around Fisherrow, and Duncan and I did Joppa, Prestonpans and Wallyford.
Last week, delivering to someone in Joppa, I knocked on the wrong door – a very elderly lady answered, and we chatted for a few minutes before I gave her our leaflet and left. This week, I knocked on her door again on purpose. We had arranged a wee fruit bag for her, and I wanted to see that she was doing ok.
We talked again, and I discovered that she had been born on the Mull of Kintyre. Conditions of life there nearly a hundred years ago were very different to life now, in Edinburgh and the Lothians. I discovered this lady’s great hope is Jesus, and that she has a gaelic bible. She read me a bit, but when she asked me to try it I don’t think my London accent was quite up to the task (!) We arranged that ‘Cook–Inn’ would deliver a little fruit bag on a regular basis, and as I left this time – a good half hour later, while poor Duncan waited for me – she said she was happy I had returned this weekend, because ‘…it is so hard to meet new people when you’re older and can’t walk far’.
Right enough. When you’re of a working age, you don’t always have time to socialise – but you do often have your workmates, who understand your difficulties because they share them. Having worked for a decade in the same ‘independent advocacy’ post, I know my workmates are a kind of family to me. We are all different – some of us more ‘different’ than others – but mention a common problem like, in our case, struggling to make a vulnerable adult’s views be heard by a well-meaning team of professionals primarily focussed on the individual’s best interests. They all will understand, and be on your side in an instant. My Uncle, who retired about twenty five years ago, has none of that anymore. His circle of friends are from his hobbies of astronomy and polishing semi-precious stones. He almost never meets anyone from his old teaching job. That would be me isolated, assuming I am ever flush enough to retire! Good job I have the ‘Cook-Inn’ crowd…‍‍‍‍⚕️‍⚕️‍⚕️‍‍‍
I see Adele talking every week to the socially isolated people in her run. I see Susan checking on the ‘Cook-Inn’ recipients near to her home. Fred travels on foot delivering to the recipients near him in Pilton, and finds time to chat with them there. I believe we fulfil some of the demands of Maslow’s Pyramid…just a little bit. ️
God bless. See you next week for our Big Birthday Blog! Cook-Inn will be celebrating its first year…

Janine with two cuddly cats close by. xx


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