Guest blog: From little seeds

29th May 2020

As we continue to adapt to different ways of staying connected during covid-19, our guest blogger Rev James Currall writes about the positive power of saying “Hello”.

Hello how are you doing?” That’s all I said to the old man sitting on a bench by himself. He got up, threw his arms around me (this was pre-lockdown) and said “you’ve just made my day”.

The Highland Hello project came out of that encounter, when folk from a number of charities and voluntary organisations got together in Autumn 2018. At that meeting we were all given a tiny potted seeding to look after and in the 18 months since mine has grown a lot (see picture) just as the project has.

In my work as a minister, I see at first-hand the loneliness that’s long been a problem in our society and which has increased markedly with ‘lock-down’ and ‘social distancing’. But what a difference you and I can make in someone’s life by simply saying “Hello” to them. You don’t have to know them, you just need to recognise in a fellow human being, the need to connect with someone else, however fleetingly.

Whatever you may think, the job that I do is not primarily about taking services on Sundays, which of course isn’t happening anyway at the moment. What I spend most of my time doing is meeting with people, listening to them and walking with them in sad times but also in happy times. You have no idea how much tea I drink in the course of a normal week :-)

For the last ten weeks things have been rather different for us all. We can’t meet up in the way that we could and many people (including myself) have not be able to go to work in the usual way. I know that lots us have found that really hard, because in some sense we feel we’re no longer the people that we were. But dwelling on what we can’t do, is to see the glass as half empty. There are lots of new opportunities that being stuck at home opens up. Initially quite a few clergy felt ineffective and discouraged because of what they weren’t able to do … and then, slowly and gradually the creativity started to transform both what they did and how they felt. The glass was now half full, and rising! It was as though for them there was a new sense of meaning and of their own identity.

If you’re feeling lonely or isolated or discouraged, one thing that you could do, is every time you’re out, to say “Hello” to complete strangers. You might be the first person to have spoken to them today, or this week or even this month.

If you’re shielding, or for whatever reason, not able to get out of the house, you could phone up one or two people that you haven’t spoken to in a while. I’ve found, this last couple of months that people are unbelievably grateful for an unexpected phone call, especially if they are feeling low. And you know what the big bonus is? It’s not only them that gets a buzz from the call or the encounter, I find that it really gives me a boost too – a win win.

From that meeting at which the Highland Hello project was born, little seeds have grown and grown. Say “Hello” and make your day and someone else’s day today and every day.

– Rev James Currall


Interested in writing a guest blog for the Scottish Recovery Network?