So we have now got to the start of February after what seems to have been a long hard slog through January. So many people just seem to be finding this time of year bleak and depressing, the days are still short, the weather is cold, windy and wet. The excitement of snow was very quickly replaced by annoyance as wet and slippy roads and paths were the reality as you had this cold, slushy inconvenience in the way of every day life. Many people are now also having the financial reality of Christmas catch up with them, as bank accounts seem worryingly empty so soon after pay day and credit card bills for presents, and then those little treats from the sales, start to mount up. You can add to this the fact that you may have made a new year resolution which by now could well be annoying you, or you have failed at, so another reason to feel bad.
The start of February certainly seems grim. If only it were the start of December again, now there was a good time. At the start of December we don’t mind about the short days, because it is nearly Christmas. There is joy in the air, advent calenders to open, presents to buy, drink to be drunk, food to be eaten, fun to be had! The anticipation of Christmas and the excitement is not confined to children and many wait eagerly to see the reaction as people open their presents and hope for that special gift that they hoped for. that pre-Christmas excitement, the thought of what could be, seems so much better than the now, the post-Christmas blues when all the fun and excitement has gone.
Why on earth has it gone? Surely we still have those wonderful gifts we wanted? Those special things that would make our lives better in every way? Or have we already got bored of them, the shine has come off and our ‘happily ever after’ has turned into dull monotony. Surely we had great times over Christmas, with family and friends, what about those laughs that were had and those ‘you had to be there’ moments you can never really explain to someone else, are they all forgotten?
It certainly seems as though we just value the now, and the future, the past is dead to us all. I heard an account of someone asking a boy about Christmas “It was rubbish!” he exclaimed, “I had no presents”, and on pushing this point, as he was living in an affluent area with well off parents he replied “Well I did get a quad bike, but I crashed it on boxing day and it broke”. This child seemed to feel genuinely as if he was hard done to in this situation, and maybe we have something of this ourselves.
I think that it is time we started to put some value on those things we have done, time to start celebrating our memories, rather than just pushing on relentlessly to the next thing, whatever that may be. The memories we have can be powerful, and often serve as a way to help move on to a meaningful future to anticipate.
We can share memories with people to help in difficult times, recall a shared memory with a friend who is going through a hard time, to remind them things can be better. Sharing the memory of a similar time to show empathy. In good times too, sharing memories with each other can be fun and help bring us together. Or maybe sharing a life story just to show another side of yourself.
One of the most important things that Chennai Challenge does is create memories. For people from the UK it can give them powerful memories of seeing poverty first hand, up close and personal. Hopefully these memories can influence people to remember how lucky they are, and to help others in need. they also get the memories of being part of a team, having fun and experiencing so many good things in India. The strongest memory is often that of those we go to help. The joy on their faces when we arrive, and the thankfulness for anything we give. For many of those we help in Chennai they get memories that do help to inspire them throughout their lives. the memory of fun times had, the memory of gifts given and most importantly the memory that some cares for them, and cares enough to go to them and spend time with them.
So don’t be depressed by the start of February, but remember that spring and summer will come again, remember that you have good gifts, and try to make some new, good memories to cherish.
If you feel like it, why not post a favourite memory in the reply section below.