Weddings and funerals, times at which we all gather together to celebrate either the beginning of a new family or the life of a loved one who has passed away. There is such comfort to be had in the company of loved ones and the good wishes of friends, fellow writers and work colleagues. I am blessed with good friends and a large loving family. Everybody has been very supportive and kind after the recent passing of my uncle and my nephew.
Not everyone is so blessed. In the time of the Great Famine, the period in which I have lived for a couple of years while researching and writing my books. Back then there were so many in the same situation. We in our comfortable homes and lifestyles can sympathise but can we really appreciate the suffering of people elsewhere who do not have the good fortune to live in such affluence?
Going back in history can teach us many lessons should we wish to learn. How many of us have had to sell the clothes off our back for food to eat? Then to have a severe winter in which those clothes made the difference between living and dying of exposure. How many of us have had to go without so our husband, wife or children could have food to eat? How many of us have lost every one of our family members and had to go on alone?
Sympathy and empathy are each valuable qualities for each of us to develop. More valuable still is a smile and a helping hand to those in need. When we think our problems are overwhelming, there is always somebody worse off and we usually don’t have to look far.
Thank you for all your kind thoughts and expressions of sympathy and empathy. I shall treasure them in the coming days.