I’m A Useful Sort Of Person

Today, England goes into a month-long “lockdown”….but I am heading to the same place I have been heading to all year. I am walking to work, singing on the way to keep my spirits up, and then I really need to pick up a few groceries on the way home. Maybe, by the time I am home America will have decided what on earth is going on!

Melanie, the creator of sparksfromacombustiblemind, has asked us another round of lovely questions in this week’s SHARE-YOUR-WORLD:



Which meal is your favorite: breakfast, lunch, or dinner?

My favourites change all the time, but as the weather is getting colder I am enjoying making either spicy or herb-rich vegetable casseroles in large quantity and freezing them into individual portions, so that when I come home from work, I have a nutritious meal waiting without having to do lots of food prep.

Who do you admire most in the world?

I admire my parents for setting a wonderful example for all of their children.

I also admire the many amazing volunteers I have had the privilege of working with since I was sixteen. They are astonishing. People who work without a wage are really special. They have shaped my view of what I can do with my life.

With the obvious restrictions in place, what do you regret not doing in the last year?

I don’t really have any regrets. I have been working hard for the NHS. It’s been tiring, at times it was intensely stressful, but I am glad I could be useful and part of a large team helping others.

Sure, sometimes I thought it would be nice to be at home sunbathing or learning to play an instrument. But my boss said something to me back in the spring which I have thought about at times this year. She said to me, “You were made for a crisis. It’s as if everything you’ve ever done in your life is exactly what we need right now.”

That made me think of all the stressful demanding projects I have worked on as an unpaid volunteer. For years, I have worked in demanding conditions: I have worked 18 hours a day for two weeks to get projects finished off when we had a deadline, slept on hard floors, woken up before five o’clock in the morning to join the queue to use a basic shower (dozens of volunteers waiting to use the same shower and eaten what was provided for me (whether I liked it or not).

I have worked in several fields of healthcare, including terminal care, dementia care and mental health care. I have seen death. I have seen people pull through and make a recovery. I have comforted distraught family members. I have worked as a first aider on construction sites and at major events. I have worked as a security steward and had to evacuate thousands of people during bomb scares. I have had to calm down aggressive people and communicate clearly in numerous roles including customer services, security and diplomatic work. I have….been through an enormous personal trauma in my life and come through it with gusto. I can see that all of the above does contribute to me being fairly useful in a time of crisis.

I just think that my boss said the right words. What she said made me think, “Yes, I can be useful. The right place for me is helping the NHS right now.”

Please keep washing those lovely hands….observe social distancing restrictions….quarantine if you have any symptoms of the virus….and know that lots of people who are working for the NHS are genuinely lovely. We often do overtime even though we won’t get paid. We do that because it can make a difference to the patients and to each other as a team.



Feel free to share something you’re grateful for.  

I know you know how I feel already – but I am so pleased Jack picked up the phone over a year ago. I am thrilled with the resulting peace and purpose that has rolled in upon me since then.