I wonder how many of you ever take time to just sit on a seat in the park. I never used to; always rushing through on a mission, or not wanting to stop when a reluctant toddler was already taking ages to move along the path. When I was on the bike, it was my mission to get through without falling off (more of a possiblity for me sadly). Sometimes, in the picturesque walled garden at Lady Dickson park I would see the occasional elderly person sitting down to enjoy the beauty of the place, or young couples wanting to prolong their time together. But mostly, the benches are empty. People are walking dogs. chasing children, jogging past, speed walking with a friend.
Not me. I can’t jog, I can’t chase and my dog walks are a strict two a day regime, plotted along routes where she can run and I can wait for her to come back. Yesterday the kids took her to the park and I came to be around when they tore about with her. I sat down and told them that was where I would be if they needed me. I reached into my bag and realised I had no phone, no book, nothing to make my sitting look purposeful. And yet, maybe because of that, everyone that passed me spoke to me – two elderly ladies who were illegally driving round the park (there were no signs telling them not to!), a man on a bike with a ball thrower and a Golden Retriever doing what he called ‘the lazy dog walk’ where he launched the ball as far as he could, the dog retrieved it and he did it again. After those two, a woman came along with two dogs. I thought she would just say hello, but I was a captive audience for her so she talked to me for several minutes. If I had just been walking, jogging, cycling past her, that conversation wouldn’t have happened. And maybe it was the only one she had all day, or maybe she thought I needed her more.
So. My challenge to you is this: go to a park, find a bench, don’t get out something to do and just wait. You never know who needs you to be present for them.
Of course, you may look a bit odd and no-one might speak to you, but there’s always the views. Sitting down can be the complete opposite of wasting time.
Go on, give it a go and you never know who you’ll bless.