Re-reading ‘A Christmas Carol’ in 2020 shows me how much things have changed and how much they stay the same.
The opening of the novel reveals Scrooge’s self imposed isolation, loneliness and emptiness as he walks through life. In the modern world his cold loneliness would probably be spent trolling, seeking to make others as miserable as himself.
Some of the suggestions to cure poverty would not be put of place in Dickensian England. For example a billionaire has proposed wheelie bin pods has temporary shelter for rough sleepers. Yes he has identified that rough sleeping has become a growing problem on the streets of London; especially for young men. Not only is this suggestion demeaning and humiliating but it shows an incredible insensitivity and ignorance that could only come from someone who has never struggled to eat.
The rising rates of child poverty in this country are alarming. Again instead of helping the victims blame the parents. Some politicians have declared that food banks are a lifestyle choice rather than a necessity. Now they are debating whether tax payers should continue to fund universal free school meals.
Covid 19 Madness
The announcement UK citizens might be on lockdown brought an unprecedented amount of ‘shelfish’ stockpiling of toilet paper? Pasta, rice and hand gel. It’s like some dystopian movie but more frighteningly this is real life. I can only hope that we can start connecting more with our neighbours, family and friends. More phone calls to our lonely, elderly relatives if we can’t visit.
Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’ has moved me more this year than ever. I see the mental health issues that are a direct result of poverty. However I do not feel hopeless. The tragic death of a TV personality had caused people to cry out to others to ‘be kind’. We have spent too long fuelling this toxic environment on social media. At the end of the story Scrooge learns this simple message be kind.
The years are passing by without your smile, your touch, your love. Last year I didn’t know if I could continue with my life; but I did.
I found videos on my computer that my 4 year old daughter made. She was telling you to stop watching Emmerdale and pay her some attention. We loved our early evening visits – you’d make me a cup of tea and offer me some dinner. I would talk briefly about work but the rest of the time was sorting out the garden picking strawberries, gooseberries, and tomatoes. I would seek advice about growing stuff because even though we bought the same plants mine would wither and die but yours would thrive and yield and yield. I forgot about all your years of experience in Jamaica farming on your plot of land.
My daughter learnt so much from you; so many of her facial expressions; her quick wit and her sense of humour means that you’re always with me. Those afternoons before the illness took over were so valuable. You would be so proud to see her today sharing the wisdom and love handed down from her ancestors.
Another year has gone by. You’ve lived in 9 decades. God has blessed through all of them
Your children stand beside you and call you blessed. They recognise your sacrifices to bring them to this place where they can stand proudly and say they have overcome poverty, discrimination and hate.
You lost your husband nine years ago and you didn’t know how you would cope living alone without the love of your life. You proved to us all you are a survivor.
The love you show to others surpasses all the hate that has been unleashed in recent years. If someone is hungry you give them food; if someone is short of money you reach down deep and you give; if someone is discouraged you give them hope.
Motherhood is not easy; being the mother of three generations is a wonderful achievement. This year you celebrate being 91; this year we celebrate how to love and be loved.