When I first started Help100, I wasn’t working full-time, but now I’m trying to fit Help100 in amongst the demands of work and a million other things that are clamouring for my time and attention. I want to run every day, pray every day, see my friends and family regularly and write my next book. No wonder I’m not managing to help many people at the moment.
I wrote recently on my other blog Inspired! about my lack of time. Imagine you have a jar into which you’re going to put rocks, gravel, sand and water. If you put the sand or water in first, you won’t be able to fit the big rocks in. You have to put the rocks in first, then the gravel, then the sand and then finally the water. Time is like that. I have to decide what the big rocks of my life are going to be and I have to allocate time to those things first. It’s all about priorities. Sometimes I think I get up and simply focus on the sand. And then I get nothing done in my day.
I am never going to be the sort of person that focuses on one thing. That just isn’t me. Perhaps some people would have their day job and Help100 and they would say that was enough. Perhaps those people would do Help100 far better than I ever could and they’d help more people. But I’ve realised in the last couple of years that trying to make myself focus on just one or two goals isn’t something that works for me. I console myself that like my heroine, the choreographer Twyla Tharp, I enjoy working on more than one project at once and that’s how I function best.
So where does that leave Help100? Where does that leave my fledgling charitable effort when I’m writing four blogs, a new book, making three tv programmes and trying to have a social life and find Mr Right at the same time?
I think it’s about attitude. You could say that this is a cop out and I am simply doing nothing. But I’m not.
I might not be living in Africa working with needy people and making a difference on a day to day basis. I might not even be managing to go to the local food drop-in centre on a Saturday to help pack a few bags of groceries. I might be doing no more than giving a bit of money through standing order and writing to my friend on Death Row to offer my love and support. But Help100 is about attitude too. It’s about the attitude that I try to show to the people I meet on a daily basis. It’s about being pleasant to shop assistants, giving a pound to a homeless person, and holding a door open in a shop for the person coming after you. OK, not life-changing, world-changing stuff but imagine how much better the world could be if everyone acted like this.
Imagine if we all drove our cars, for example, being mindful of the fact that in every single other car on the motorway was someone else’s child, someone else’s parent, someone’s brother, someone’s lover…. Imagine if we drove as if we loved all those other motorists and passengers and as if their safety was more important than the appointment we were rushing for.
I mightn’t have a lot of time on my hands at the moment. I might not have time to run another 10K, write blog posts every day, go to Uganda to make a charity film or write to the child I’m sponsoring in Guatemala. But it doesn’t take time to go around with a more loving attitude towards other people.
Yes, lack of time is a big enemy when it comes to helping others. I wish I had time to organise a fund-raising craft fair for building the school in Cambodia or jet off on a volunteering holiday, but those things will have to go on the back burner for the time being. But that doesn’t mean that Help100 doesn’t stay in my heart. And it doesn’t mean that I can’t find small ways to act with love and kindness to other people, every single day of the week.