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Reform Magazine | May 18, 2024

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On the pilgrim way: 'The blessing of living through others is that it can bring self-forgetfulness' - Reform Magazine

Sheila Maxey finds there is value in living through others

At present I seem to be doing a lot of living through others rather than for others and wondering whether it is a cop out or a gift.

My daughter, Ruth, has just been walking part of the Santiago de Compostela pilgrim way. I would have loved to do that when I was younger but now I eagerly awaited her daily blogs and photos, sometimes even being moved to tears. I did not envy her at all – just lived it through her.

German relatives came to stay. They talked about their children and grandchildren, with many photos, and about their lives as newly retired people – voluntary work teaching refugees, chairing the local inter-faith body etc. Then they eagerly wanted to know all about the UK extended family and I talked about their lives, hopes and disappointments. At the end, they reminisced about their previous visits, beginning with the 1970s when my parents were alive. I realised how richly connected I was to all these many people through whose lives I lived…

Sheila Maxey is a member of Ingatestone United Reformed Church, Essex

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This is an extract from an article published in the November 2023 edition of Reform

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