A couple of conversations that I've shared this week have reminded me that the poor don't take holidays - poverty isn't something you can just opt to take a break from when you've had enough. The lives of the poor, the addicted and the mentally ill are continually full of stressors that appear to be unremitting - financial stress, housing stress, withdrawal symptoms, anxiety, depression, violence - these are just some of the factors that can impact upon the daily existence of those who come to The Salvation Army for assistance.
One of the ideas that has been discussed was the introduction of a retreat where we take people out of the city for a few days and give them the space to relax and, amongst other things, to share their spiritual journeys. There is much that we can learn from each other and I have often been humbled by the resilience and fortitude displayed by those who have gone through much more difficult circumstances that I have ever had to face.
At the same time, it's three months into the year and I already feel like I'm in need of a holiday! It's a good reminder to us all to be grateful for whatever we have and not to forget those who have far less.