Inspiration can come from anywhere. I’ve just been chatting with the podiatrist (I’ll call her Kay) who comes to my house, and makes sure my feet are fit to keep dancing on! We’ve built one of those relationships that arise when you find yourself making conversation for 45 minutes every six weeks.
Less than a year ago, Kay’s husband died suddenly and unexpectedly. I met her shortly after that, and didn’t realise at the time how recently bereaved she was. She was at the “soldiering on/nothing else for it” stage, and was still working through the first anniversaries part of the process.
It being February and my first appointment of the year, Kay asked me how Christmas had been (mine was fantastic – all twinkly lights, wonderful food and family jokes). I was more interested in how hers had gone and was hoping it hadn’t been too painful for her. It turns out that she and her daughter, also a podiatrist, had spent most of the holiday in London. They had travelled from Scotland and stayed there at their own expense for five days. Kay and her daughter were part of Crisis at Christmas: North London, where they gave their services to people in refuges and in homeless shelters, washing and tending sore, battered feet and providing both advice and socks. Kay said it had been a brilliant time, hard work in some cases and a great laugh much of the time.
One man’s plight struck her, she said. His feet were very bad and she asked the doctor to prescribe for him. His feet were a size 14 and he had to wear shoes that were much too small for him, with the backs cut out of them. Back home, Kay’s thinking about how she can obtain a pair of size 14s and somehow get them to him. (Just let me know if you have a pair going spare – I’ll see she gets them).
So, for two ordinary women, Christmas could have been a time of mourning and despair. They chose to make it otherwise. It’s the everyday courage of ordinary folk that continues to inspire me.