I didn’t think I was going to write anything today.
Ever since the news came on Friday morning that Britain had voted to leave the EU, I’ve been wandering around my house like a lost soul. I’ve been behaving like I’ve just been dumped – stress-eating chocolate, staring at the wall whilst hot water runs over my head in the shower, and feeling like every song I hear on the radio is about it, in some way. The world seemed so topsy-turvy that I thought “Sod it” and bought a punnet of ripen-at-home nectarines, despite the practically built-in assumption that they won’t ripen, they’ll just stay rock hard for two weeks, soften for an hour, and then turn green. As luck would have it, they’ve actually come up lovely and now sit on my kitchen unit as a little symbol of hope.
I didn’t think I’d blog today because I was worried that my usual subject matter – relationships, confidence, and generally trying to get around without falling over – would seem too trivial at a time of such uncertainty. And then I went to a wedding and realised that just isn’t true.
I sat in a church yesterday and watched two lovely people get married. I went to their reception and listened as the people they love said wonderful things about them. I heard about guests who had travelled to be there, I saw people who didn’t know each other making friends, and I cried – like I always do – as the groom told a room full of people how much he loves his wife.
It’s hard not to feel optimistic in this kind of setting. Because relationships are everything. They’re how we learn to care about other people. They teach us how much luck is involved with how somebody comes to be the person that they are. And they help us realise that without compassion, love and understanding, we’re going to end up alone.
Everybody you see at a wedding wants the best for the bride and groom. That’s why they’re there. It’s why they’ve given up a whole day for it, why they’ve got dressed up smartly, and why, in many cases, they’ve decided to wear heels for 12 hours straight. You don’t do something like that lightly.
We’re all capable of doing amazing things for the people we love. We don’t think twice about it – they’re part of us so we give them our time, our ears, and, if we’re feeling particularly generous, perhaps even one of our Percy Pigs.
And in my view, the world works best when we want the best for other people too – even if they’re not on our Christmas card list, or from around here. When we’re able to look beyond the people in our immediate lives and see human faces that deserve just as much safety and joy as everybody else.
I’m deeply concerned that such a huge amount of the propaganda and rhetoric being shared of late has positioned certain people and areas of society as ‘other’, as a problem to be removed. No good has ever come of such a viewpoint and I’m startled to see it spreading so far and wide.
I’ve always said that I don’t use this blog to talk about politics but, really, politics is just about people – together we decide what kind of world we want to live in. I consider myself to be an observer of people. I notice stuff and I write it down. And what I’m seeing horrifies me. Usually there’s a bit of humour in it but I’m struggling to find any of this funny, except in its absurdity.
So maybe talking about relationships isn’t so trivial after all. Because without them, what are we? Just individual people, living our lives and not giving a damn about anybody else? I’m no expert but I don’t think that is going to work.
I’m nervous about what is to come, what the future has in store. But for now I will hold on tight to the optimism I felt at yesterday’s wedding, and to the knowledge that love and unity will always win over division.