Sunday, September 18, 2005

what a difference a phone call can make

I just had a phone call from someone in our Meeting who rang to say thank you for my contributions in the Meeting for Learning this morning. She did the same last week after General Meeting. She didn't need to, and especially today whilst her son is up visiting her from down south. I was really touched by what she had to say.

It reminded me of a discussion I had had with Duduzille from Central & Southern Africa YM - she asked what can those from the financially poorer countries do to help support their Young Friends coming to WGYF? I said listen to them, and share your own experiences of large international Quaker events. Before, afterwards, maybe even email them during. Let them know you are there and are thinking of them, help them with the little things like what to pack, give them space when they get home to cry, to feel that words aren't adequate enough to convey what they had experienced and that it is ok to feel that way, to talk until the cows come home about names that mean nothing to you but everything to them. It doesn't cost much to be there for someone.

Just after WGYF I met someone from the US who dropped in on our Young Friends meeting - not a Quaker herself but a friend of Friends, and who had been a pastor in her church. I was explaining our system of elders and overseers within Britain YM and explaining how being an overseer can be many things and can it can be done by all ages and abilities - some are able to visit the sick, help with shopping, take people out in their car, visit new born babies and all manner of active tasks. Others, especially the more elderly memebers of Meeting can be just as busy as overseers but without even getting out of their armchair - they can send birthday cards to the children, phone people, keep in touch to just say hello, check folk are ok, congratulate them on an achievement or be there to listen when things aren't so great. Nancy isn't an official overseer but a kind of 'everyone's granny' in our Meeting. She didn't have to phone but she did. It was unexpected, unsolicited, and very much appreciated.

I'm very good at thinking 'I should phone so and so....' but not very good at doing it. Realising what a difference the calls from Nancy made to me I should stop worrying about catching people at a bad time/when they are putting the kids to bed/ringing when it is too late and just do it... but not tonight, I need some sleep first!


kate said...

I guess that meant it went well this morning. Good. I was thinking of you.
kt xx

Anna Dunford said...

Thanks Kate! Well it seemed to go ok, I didn't know what I was going to say before I stood up and to be honest couldn't remember much of what I had afterwards! It really was like giving ministry, which in a sense it was. But whatever I said it seemed to have been ok as several others said so after Meeting on Sunday - just wish I could remember it better....