I have been thinking about friends a lot in the last few days. Partly because I had a birthday party last Saturday, and was able to see, together in a room, a good few of my friends collected over 30 years of life. Some I met decades ago, some just this past year. I have also been doing some work with one of my coachees at YSC on the importance of making time for friends in the midst of our frantic professional lives. It’s prompted me to dig out a talk I gave at the ICA a few years ago and rework it a bit. Let me know what you think.
(This post is dedicated to my BFF Henry, who couldn’t make my party because he now lives abroad but who I miss a lot).
I was just clearing out a few things and came across this. Its an old poem or prayer, inspired by a Norman crucifix dated 1632. However, its power doesn’t come from the fact that its a Christian prayer, but from the powerful idea within it. In one interpretation it is Christ speaking, and he is “your life”. Another interpretation makes it as powerful to people of any religion, or none: That the subject is literal – your life. In other words, all of the wonderful things we have within us, the better parts of ourselves, that we often squander or pay no attention to. Despite enjoying going to church, I prefer the latter interpretation. Anyway, it speaks better for itself.
I am the great sun, but you do not see me,
I am your husband, but you turn away.
I am the captive, but you do not free me,
I am the captain but you will not obey.
I am the truth, but you will not believe me,
I am the city where you will not stay.
I am your wife, your child, but you will leave me,
Mental health has been in the news again due to a speech by Ed Miliband. It is a cross party issue, though, and the subject is explored in detail today by Neil O’Brien of the (Tory inclined) think tank Policy Exchange. The massive costs of mental illness, measured not just financially but in immeasurable human misery are undisputed. Almost everyone would agree we should be doing more. But how do we square that with the need to spend less on public services? A few years ago I wrote a chapter in a book on the future of the NHS which offered one possible solution. You can read it here. Let me know what you think…