I had a bit of a moment over the weekend. I was told some news…really sad news…about a group of people we have been supporting and a political decision that has worked out adversely in their case. I think due to how hectic my schedule has been and not having Jack to balance me out (because that is what he does) I went into a bit of a meltdown. I just felt so much outrage, prompted by love for those people, and bafflement that political eed-yats can dash the hopes of people who are so lovable, humble, honest and hard-working.
Essentially their lives are going to be harder now. Well…that just made me feel mad. I had a mighty big whinge. Very correctly, one of the gentlemen I work with tried to ask me a few questions to reign in my fury. I was only seeing red. So, he directly advised me that I ought to walk it off.
So I did.
I walked for two whole hours, and it was good for me. I cried for the first half an hour, tears of empathy for those dear people who are not being cared for the way they ought to be. But then I started to think of all the miracles I have seen, and the acts of generosity and compassion from people with means when things moved their heart.
In all my years as a volunteer, I have seen far more wonderful than I have ever seen calamity. I have seen impossible mountainlike obstacles melt away like sugar-cubes. By the end of my walk, I was calmer and my conviction had returned.
I have not been receiving construction related assignments since the injuries I received when I was attacked.
So imagine my confusion when I came home from the desk job (cage) and found a message on my answer phone to ask me to stand in at the last minuted on a project that I know has been taking place lately (because I am helping with the pen-pushing side of coordinating it).
I called Jack straight away to tell him. He asked me to stall replying before he had been in contact with the man who had left me the message.
He called me back when I was all tucked up in bed and told me that due to illness, the team they had in place had pulled out at the last minute. They can always find unskilled volunteers who are eager to learn, but they need someone with skills and experience to train and supervise etc.
They went through the database of volunteers….and at short notice could not find anyone who could step in today. Then they saw my name – with a note about my health situation (shame) but they asked someone who knows me very well (not sure why they did not ask Jack instead) and he said, “I think it is about time we get her back on to sites”.
Jack had a discussion very late last night and when I woke up this morning there was a text from him to say…”If you are happy to do it, they would like you to be on site to look after the team.” I am not allowed to work at height. Jack wants me to wear cotton wool and bubble wrap so there is no possibility of me being injured.
But I am going to be back in the environment that makes me happiest.
Jack has been steering the course of my activity as a volunteer over the past couple of years. I have been concerned that he is steering me more and more towards “pen-pushing” – aaaaaaagh!!! – Finance, Legal, HR, Health & Safety, and all sorts of other areas that need masses of typing and date entry and more.
It’s not really the assignment I would choose. I love getting my hands dirty, working on sites, wearing hard hats and toe-tectors. I love the atmosphere on site. He wants me training other volunteers and helping with the huge amount of administration every department requires.
Whatever I am doing – it is purposeful and meaningful.
I love my days working with Jack. They are my favourite by far – and that is not only because they are the days of the week I am kissed most!
He is very good at what he does. He rises early and starts to read and answer emails from other lands. Although much of Jack’s life can appear sporadic and chaotic, he is incredibly conscientious when it comes to work.
Ultimately, Jack’s role is senior to mine. He is a director, he makes decisions over huge amounts of money, equipment, volunteer personnel, projects, legal issues, scheduling, media communications and more. It is so interesting to overhear the calls he has to take.
Jack takes an interest in my work too. I have gad more and more to do with our volunteer database, making sure our volunteers are trained for projects they are assigned to, assessing availability and humility and extending invitations for more training in volunteers who show themselves eager and of the disposition needed. I have to put together a lot of communications and training materials. Jack is a very helpful pair of eyes on my work.
I love working with Jack – and the cherry on top is the frequent kisses. My time with him is the best part of each work. You can’t blame me for feeling that way surely!
I have found myself irresistibly drawn to my bed every evening this week. In the morning – I do not want to leave my bed at all!!!
But there is so much to do!! Now that “things” are opening up, a lot of our projects that were postponed over the past eighteen months are going ahead urgently. The crazy rush to make sure everyone is trained and up to date to meet health and safety regulations is relentless.
Yet, we have such a huge desire from volunteers to be back in action. They are very good at responding to my emails asking them to register for an online training session. They want to do whatever it takes to be back, doing what they love.
I have lots of reasons to make sure I get out of bed – but my goodness – I do love it being bedtime again!!
One thing I have missed during 2020 is visiting beautiful historic houses and landscaped gardens. They are always a treat for a day out, especially when they include a cream tea.
I was thinking of a joyful day I have in my memory bank. It was a day when Goldfinch and I were at a location that has been used in many a historic drama. The scene of romance and tension, passion and rejection. I loved that day!
I have absolutely no complaints about my time with Jack – 2020 has allowed us so much time together (especially the last five months)! But a lit of that time has been indoors and our walks have been mostly around the same areas. It would be fun to go visiting beautiful sites with him. Well….we will have to wait and see what the coming weeks and months entail. Jack and I spend a substantial amount of our time working together for the charities we love – which by the way – are thriving.
We have been overwhelmed by the incredible spirit of volunteers who have been supporting each other in their assigned social support groups for the past nine months We are also amazed that donations are not dropping. We have seen so many beautiful letters from volunteers who say they would like to donate to specific funds which are used to render aid to people in economic distress.
Because of the way our finances are legally managed we are able to divert funds away from projects that are postponed and use that money to help people who need it most. Sending aid through France and Belgium is often the most effective way to make the most of those funds because of the taxation laws in those countries.
It is exciting to see these organisations working dynamically and efficiently. I know Jack would love to be out in those areas we know are most concerning currently. But we have a lot of people, a lot of volunteers in every land who are very knowledgeable of local needs. Jack has been taking on more and more work and now works as a director helping to make major decisions affecting all aspects of the charities we work for. He has been a very busy bee this year. He likes being busy. He likes having someone to share this with.
When we have the chance – I think the two of us deserve some time to wander around a pretty house and gardens and enjoy cream tea together. But it will have to wait – we have more important tasks at hand.
Jack and I were able to spend a couple of days working together as volunteers the other day. Due to social distancing restrictions we are not allowed to have as many volunteers on one project. However, we were able to see some of our friends/colleagues and we had a great time catching up with them.
It was nice to be doing some manual work outside. I have been stuck indoors and dealing with a mix of patients and paperwork – probably more the latter than anything, which is just the way things are now in the health service.
I am feeling happy because I was working with Jack. People definitely see us as a couple now. That means so much. Around a year ago…Jack and I were meeting for the first time in over four years. We made peace…less than a month later we made love. Three months of secrecy before we started to let family and close friends know.
Somehow 2020 has meant that we could grow stronger without being in the spotlight. People have had better things to worry about. He and I have been together for almost a year and for anyone who might not like that…well it is too late for them to ruin it.
Jack! I know what you have been up to! I have friends everywhere. Don’t pretend with me!
Jack sometimes reads my posts. I know he does because sometimes he will ask me if I have been writing about him or Goldfinch. I have been open and honest with Jack about him coming back into my life at a time when I was in love with someone else – but that’s another subject.
He made me laugh the other day. I asked him a question and he became flustered on the phone. I was asking about the filming he had told me they would be doing the day before. He is not good at hiding things. Later that day I received an email from some friends of mine who had met him for the first time. They have been out in Africa, and they happen to be in the area Jack is currently posted. Not only that they happened to see him when he was doing some filming with a group he has been working with.
It all made sense! Jack – lovely Jack – was asked by one of the young men about whether he is married or has a girlfriend. Anyway…my friends told me how Jack answered. Blush! Jack!!!
It’s great to have eyes and ears everywhere! I so want to see that video!!! Jack is a keeper!
I do wish I was with him. But I also feel very purposeful here because there is a big need here for the whole NHS. I do find voluntary work more purposeful. It’s not within my reach to do what Jack is doing right now. I have to be able to pass all the assessments – fitness and emotional strength and everything. I did pass, years ago. But since then a lot has happened. Would I pass again? I have no idea. But these long days and demanding conditions while working for the NHS are making me feel a bit more confident about my chances for requalifying.
Tomorrow – 4th April – is the anniversary of what I consider the best day ever. Well…perhaps not the best day ever, but the first day of what I consider the very best period of my life. My first day as an international volunteer.
Joy of joys! I will be working tomorrow. But when I come home, I am going to break into the Lindt chocolate my manager gave me and perhaps pour myself a glass of wine. Only because, I want to mark one of the most miraculous things that happened in my life. To be one of a handful of single women, out of many tens of thousands of applicants invited to be an international volunteer – it felt like a miracle had occurred.
I had already been a full-time volunteer since the age of sixteen. I had put in at least one thousand volunteer hours each year and additionally worked to support myself on a part-time wage. But now at the age of twenty-nine, I was assigned as an international volunteer. My life was to be wherever they sent me from then on. I would no longer earn any money at all.
I don’t really get these people who go on TV and say they have always dreamed of being a popstar. Being an international volunteer is the best! The best ever ever! There is no other career like it!
I have no idea how this world economic system is planning to crawl out of the current blow it has been dealt. But if you want to get involved in volunteering – there is a huge amount of work to do. Best place to start is on your doorstep. There is a lot of work ahead!
My life is truly blessed. I get to work with people from fractured backgrounds and patiently train them with new skills and watch them as they grow in confidence and courage.
I get to see broken hearts heal and for timid souls who would not make eye contact before develop the deepest most beautiful smiles.
Planting seeds of hope, watering them, cultivating them with encouragement and support, reaping the smiles and joy of strong healthy vibrant energetic people who have become like family.
I don’t want to let anything or anyone interfere with my voluntary work. Jack feels the same.
But everything has changed within just a week’s time frame. We are regrouping as it were. Large projects off. We have had numerous conference calls and the long and short of it is, every single volunteer has been put into a small team. That small team is geographically grouped. each member is responsible to make sure the rest of the team have what they need. We are going to look after each other in any way. Some might help getting shopping to their home. Some might need help paying their rent. We are going to make sure we look after every volunteer. They have given of themselves unselfishly, for years, decades, lifetimes – there is no way we are going to let them down now.
Love and smiles…even through stressful times. We are going to come through this with stronger love than ever before!