‘Weekend Thought’, published in the Suffolk Free Press (15th October 2020)
A grey day in September, just after the weather turned, and I was in a kayak on a reed-congested stretch of the Stour. This was part of the ‘Source to Sea Litter Quest’, collecting plastic from the river. There were a couple of us volunteers on the water from the Foxearth Meadows Nature Reserve (A Rocha UK) and we were reinforced (socially distanced!) by three kayaks and a canoe from Sudbury Canoe Club. It was hard work pushing through river vegetation and fallen trees, but we ended up with quite a haul: bottles, bags, balls, buckets and more.
‘Source to Sea’ is part of the ‘Great British Beach Clean’. What starts upstream will often end up on the beaches and in the sea. The problem gets passed on and our carelessness upstream can affect oceans and marine life hundreds of miles away.
The point is, our actions have knock-on effects. We’re realizing that as we enter another difficult phase of the COVID crisis. This sounds negative; but I want to turn it round to the positive. A kind word, a thoughtful action, a stand for what is right: we may not see the knock-on effects, but they can be more than we realize.
Jesus took the old version of the ‘Golden Rule’ (don’t do to others as you wouldn’t have them do to you) and turned it positive (do to others as you would have them do to you). That means taking the initiative to do those positive things. Jesus took the biggest initiative ever to turn things round for good when he lived among us and gave his life for us.
We don’t always get it right. (I speak for myself here!) But let’s commit to doing those positive actions and setting up some positive knock-on effects.
Written by Andy Jowitt, Community Engagement Officer at Foxearth Meadows