With A Little Help From My Friends

What would you think if I sang out of tune?
Would you stand up and walk out on me?
Lend me your ears and I’ll sing you a song
And I’ll try not to sing out of key.

I can’t remember what I did yesterday; I can remember the complete lyrics of songs from 50-60 years ago…

I get by with a little help from my friends…

A number of recent conversations have been about mental ill-health – feeling low following surgery, frustration with dementia, eating disorders… medication, counselling, suicide… feeling alone and isolated, the need for a little help from perhaps non-existent friends.

Emma Ineson tells a story about her son doing a university acting course:

‘…things had gone badly wrong for one of his classmates in a rehearsal. He messed up a scene, it went wrong and he started to cry. As tears welled up, embarrassed by what was happening, he went to walk out of the rehearsal room, but the teacher gently blocked him from doing so and encouraged him to stay. ‘Don’t leave,’ he said, ‘Stay and cry in this space with these people…’

A lot of my best memories involve spending time with good people doing stuff together – in school, in church, in the community – sharing ideas, skills and efforts… working together through problems to a positive end. A little help from my friends… feeling good.

Emma’s story takes the ‘little help from my friends’ a stage further. The distraught student was brave enough to cry with his fellow actors. He shared his failure and grief and received their support and compassion.


…St Paul’s words: ‘Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep.’

…Sharing failure together as well as success. I need a little… perhaps a lot of… help from my friends to share weakness and vulnerabilities, fallibility and failures… to ‘sing out of tune’ together… creating a place to hold each other in our hearts… a place of compassion, trust and safety.

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