Dr John Smith

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How limited our experience is, how easy it is to think that our life is like everyone else’s.

And to a certain extent that is true.

We are born, grow, learn, fall in and out of love, become a father or a mother, suffer disappointments, encounter moments of sheer joy and, at times, misery, become sick, grieve, grow old – the list is an endless one.

There is a commonality to our lives but there are huge differences too.

When we perceive these differences and with it the lives that people lead, we are caught short, feeling uncomfortable with our comfortable lives.

So it is with me.

Last week I went to see the play Port by Simon Stephens at the National Theatre – the story of a young girl’s life from the age of 11 to 24.

An alcoholic father, a mother who abandons her.

Dreams crushed, relationships ruined, mistakes made... marrying a man just like her dad.

Rejecting the love of a good man who has a job and keeps it, who loves her and not just her body. All this and poverty and homelessness too.

These are not my experiences and, I hope, not yours either but they are very real for many, many people.

I watched the play, I squirmed in my seat, I hated the language, I hated the despair and the desolation and I realised that I have a part in this too.

Nobody should have to live like this, this loveless life where mistakes are repeated time and time again.

This is our society and we are all responsible when some have so much and others so little.

Love is an easy word to say. Love one another, care for them, look out for them. Do not love for what you can get but for what you can give. It is an experience we all deserve to share.

And Rachael, the girl in the play – she survives, transcends all the tragedy in her life and gets a sense of something better... of making out, of loving and being loved.