My song today is ‘Streets of London’. This song is by Ralph McTell, and it was first recorded in 1969 for his album, ‘Spiral Staircase’.. It was not released in the United Kingdom as a single until 1974. The song has been covered by over 200 artists. The song was re-released, on 4 December 2017, featuring McTell with Annie Lennox as a charity single for ‘Crisis: the Homeless Charity. Roger Whittaker also recorded a well-received version in 1971.
I have spent the bulk of my life reminding other people (as well as myself) that however badly off they consider themselves to be there will always be another person somewhere who experiences worse circumstances. The intense pain of my cancers has been greater for me during the past few months than I have ever known in my life, and yet I do not deceive myself for one moment that there are not others in the world much worse off than myself.
I discovered a long time ago that focusing upon what one does have in their life is far more beneficial to one’s sense of emotional wellbeing than concentrating on what one does not have! Ironically, the more one places one’s mind on what they are blessed with, the less one worries about the things we have not.
All a person in ill health needs to qualify them as being worse off than I am is to be without any one of the following blessings I possess in my own life. These are blessings that sustain me from morning until night and which preserve purpose in my life throughout the day. What are these blessings of mine which sustain me throughout with greater physical, psychological, mental, and emotional ease? What are these blessings, which if you do not have in your life, effectively renders your daily condition worse than mine? You might be surprised?
Anyone who does not have my belief in God has less than I have. Anyone who does not enjoy a happy relationship with a loving partner has less than I have. Anyone without the loving support of good friends and family is poorer in existence than I could ever be. Anyone who has no country or place where they can rest their hat and call ‘home’ is in a much worse condition than I am. Anyone who does not have adequate and safe accommodation is worse than I am. Anyone who has to live on insufficient income to support the day-to-day living expenses of their family knows poverty of circumstances I have never known. Anyone who does not enjoy the practical, moral, prayerful, and psychological support of a family structure knows loneliness that I have ever had.. Anyone who has the additional worry of pressing debt, no friends, and an increasing feeling of hopelessness and depression in their life is far worse than I can ever be. Indeed; the absence of just one of these identified blessings that most of us have in our lives (although we may occasionally forget) will make that person worse off than I am.
Often, I have thought that I would prefer to die in the life I currently enjoy than to live in theirs. Never delude oneself that there is no one who is worse off than you. If you do not believe me, “let me take you by the hand and lead you through the streets of London, and I’ll show you something that will make you change your mind’. This is such a poignant song of the time, that it could only be improved by changing the final word in the ending from ‘mind’ to ‘life’ because each time we are able to change our mind, we are also in the mindset of being able to change our life.
Love and peace