The No-Show

48 Hey Yud Mem

Mem Yud Hey

48. UnityI fancied something a bit different today …

From the 72 Names of God deck, we have Unity.

“With these letters, I pass the true test of spiritual character: I can see all sides of the problems that come before me. My focus is upon unity and soul as opposed to division and my selfish desires”

It’s interesting to see this group of kids today; mainly because my day has centred around groups of one kind or another. To begin with, I went to the second job-seeking workshop that had been booked for me, based around motivation and confidence. I had been wondering [and ever-so-slightly worrying] about what it might consist of, but trotted along this morning like a cow dancing into an abattoir. On arrival, I immediately noticed a few familiar faces. There were seven of us, since many of the job seekers on the list hadn’t turned up.

The guy who ran the course was the same one who ran the last I went on. He spent about half an hour reeling off what he had told us already and then got us to fill in the same paperwork. When we did get down to the actual workshop, we were asked to pretend we had been on an aeroplane which had nose-dived into a desert. We were given a list of things available, which we were asked to rank in order of importance for our survival and rescue. Was this exercise useful, you may be wondering? It was no more useful than being asked to join with strangers in making a bridge out of A4 paper or any other arse-about-face attempt at forced team building. Aside from nobody in the room being able to afford a plane journey at the moment, it did nothing to motivate us or give us confidence. In fact, it actually made me feel more desperate, since I quickly realised that none of the people in this centre were really going to be able to help me find work. I walked into the town with one of the women from the workshop afterwards and she was as equally unmotivated by what we had been through as I was.

Kate and I met for book group this evening. I say ‘Kate and I’, since with the arrival of one other person, we were the only three out of nine to turn up.Not a very good show. We didn’t let it stop us discussing Pigeon English by Stephen Kellman, based loosely on the story of Damilola Taylor, which the three of us enjoyed. Despite the over-all sadness surrounding the story, there was a lot of life and humour in the main character, which we smiled our way through tonight. I want to read Hillary Devey’s biography next. Since nobody else came to book club this month, I thought that it was kind of fair enough for me to choose that as our next literary endeavour. We are adding Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut to the mix.

To be quite honest, regardless of the reasons for others not turning up, I was a little miffed by the no-show this evening. It made me think of today’s card and the forty-eighth name, Mem Yud Hey. I suppose that my irritation is a reaction, as they’d call it in Kabbalah. These kind of niggles are tests, which can threaten to break up the unity of a group like this. It’s probably my ego speaking when I feel as though I am right for turning up and others are wrong for not doing so. Intolerance is a reaction. And Kabbalah does everything it can to fight the ego.

God, it is cold out there tonight. The three of us sat in the pub and chatted. In actual fact, I settled into it being just the three of us pretty quickly, since we had some good conversations. After my third diet coke, I trundled off into the night, walking past people huddled under duvets in doorways. One didn’t even have bedding, but just sat upright in a coat and hat. I was shivering in my own long coat and scarf so much that I have given myself a headache. I can only imagine how cold a shop doorway must be for a night like this. Let alone how lonely.

Illustration from The 72 Names of God Deck by Hyun Min Lee, published by The Kabbalah Centre

8 thoughts on “The No-Show

  1. Sharyn says:

    Well, I’m here. Lets start the party!

  2. Chloe says:

    Yes, I’ve been walking past some people huddled in on themselves in the cold – not a nice feeling :( Still, glad you had good conversations with your mini-book club :) Close knit unity is often smaller in small groups…

    • No, it’s not. I wanted to buy one a coffee but there was no open that sold any. I agonised over that all the way home, thinking I should have done this or that.

      • Chloe says:

        I’m often really torn. Like when people ask for money. On the one hand, they need it more than I do. On the other, studies say that it’s better to give to a shelter or refuge, where they’ll get food and a warm bed, than direct to the person who may well spend it on drugs or alcohol. Tough choices…

      • I know what you mean. I wouldn’t have given them money but if there had been somewhere open, I’d have gotten the person (what looked like a woman) trying to sleep in a doorway a cup of tea. It was so cold, it would have warmed her up. And then I was wondering if that would be patronising.

        I did take sandwiches to homeless people in London once and most told me to f*** off and asked if I had alcohol instead.

  3. Chloe says:

    I have to admit, I’d feel quite nervous trying to “help” homeless people in London directly – getting shouted and sworn at scares me. However, you’ve reminded me that last year I took food to a shelter before and after Christmas. I shall do that again this year :)

    • Yes, safety first. I was younger and a bit more naive then.

      But the shelter idea is a good one. Or maybe even just buying the Big Issue when someone offers it to me, rather than wandering on by and being stuck on my own stuff.

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