Monday, November 06, 2017

Triggered by someone reading my book called 'Pip Wisdom' - a reflection.

Yesterday someone mentioned to me about the incident below.
They had been reading my book called 'Pip Wisdom' & they 'felt' this reflection.
The book is that - reflections from my life and work -some tough times - some beautiful times - ALL GROWING TIMES.
So here I am today with an out-take from that book - and one that always brings tears to my eyes as I recall ........

Elsie Wilson
She died in February 1992

I feel good about her.

I know that some people have lingering 'not OK' feelings about the loss of their parents - for many-many reasons.
I delight in her/memories of her.

I miss her
All four sons were with my Mother when she died in hospital. 

I held her hand until she stopped breathing.
It was a special time. 
It was beautiful in so many ways. 
Sad and distressing - yes but a privilege.

Before she died ………
I was working in Inner City East End of London. 
Working lively/lovely young people & 
gangs of kids giving my all. 

Beyond breaking point. 
Demanding it was.
Giving it was. 
Living on the edge of resilience.

While all at the same time… 
my mother was about to enter hospital to have her legs amputated. 

Here I was in East London 
Then the most deprived community in the nation
Then with the highest crime rate in the nation
Then with 80% local youth unemployment.

Then my work/job/MISSION was working with beautiful humans 
some who were deep into crime and enjoying violence, 
others struggling make their way - no work - no money.
Up north in St Helens my mother was due to enter hospital over 200 miles away.

One evening I was sat near the snooker table in the Youth Club. 
Back to the wall. 
(I always, in every location, sit with my back to the wall)

The young humans I work with
had heard about my mother's situation, 
and of what was about to happen. 
I guess other Youth Workers had shared the facts amongst them.

I was subdued that evening,
not my usual bustling,
bouncy and 
verbal self.

As I sat with my back to the wall near to the snooker table
- something I will never forget happened. 
One of the toughest young men around, and a gang member,
started to slowly walk around the snooker table past me -
a number of times 
passing me each time. 

Walking ever so slow - walking ever so close - 
but not stopping never speaking.

Then, as he walked past me again, 
without stopping,
he just gently stroked my hair away from my forehead 
and walked on.

Then, at that point, 
is when the sobs rose from my chest 
and exploded in my head. 
I felt it... that one act of beautiful tenderness.
As I click these keys now, 
I wipe away tears from my eyes.

I choked because I was at a depth of vulnerability. 
I felt it deeply and personally I connected with my deepest feelings.

Also it was because in this act 
I was the silent partner 
being blessed by an act of non-verbal sensitivity by this young man. 

Gentleness and kindness pouring out of an inarticulate frame, 
of a tough and violent young man in his early twenties.

I remembered it now and it moves my soul. 
I learned a lot from that incident of care. 
That incident was not MY chosen moment of vulnerability. 
But I learned that it is a mistake to see vulnerability as a weakness. 
Vulnerability is a strength not a weakness.
Most times it comes at us with no choice.
Sometimes we can choose it.
I believe it is best to do that.
It is part of being authentic.

So I remember my Mother
Our Mother.
So tough in many ways.
Bringing up four sons during the war.
So generous in giving to others.

A Beautiful Human.

The first three words in my book 
'Pip Wisdom' by Pip Wilson