No return address

I sent my two on their bikes to post a card last week. It was only after they came back that I realised I hadn’t written my address on the back. What if they want to write back, or what if it gets lost? I worried that afternoon and then I asked myself, why does it matter if they have no way of replying? This way, they’re not under pressure to write back. The whole point of the letter was to offer sympathies, not to garner any recognition for myself.

As I clapped for the NHS one last time last week I thought, why has it taken this long to respond to what they have been doing for decades? As I announced on Facebook that I’m stopping my evening candle prayer post after this week I thought the same thing- everyone everywhere needs a prayer, always have, always will. Why does it feel like I’m stopping something that should never end? I suppose the prayer thing is another no return address act and it shouldn’t matter if I do it now without any acknowledgement. But the NHS have existed like that for a long time.

(I’ve written a book! Read it monthly, subscribe for £2.50)

I wonder who else feels like they’re doing a job for no return? Parents a lot of the time. Teachers, retail staff, bin collectors, ministers, vicars, park wardens and the police to name but a few. Artists are also sending their work into the void most of the time for no praise. Street buskers play all day for pennies and street litter.

Every single one of us desires a smattering of applause in our lives, don’t we? A like on Facebook, a ‘well done’ when our child does something they’re proud of, a silent line of bowed heads as the hearse passes.

I wish we’d known before this time to thank the people who are so often forgotten. I wish it hadn’t taken this hidden existence to make us see them, maybe for the first time. I wish we had been able to tell them.

I wish there had always been a return address.

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