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  • Writer's pictureSam Goodchild

Gifting with Love – ‘Craig’

My brother’s friend, let’s call him ‘Craig’, is very intelligent and kind. He has Asperger’s and has overcome challenges to find work he loves. Until March 2020, he had a good life: A few friends, a job he loved and a great relationship with his parents. He had also been dating in search of someone special.

When we went into lockdown in March 2020, Craig’s mental health suffered. He was furloughed. With an over-analytical mind and a being a keen critical thinker, he started researching the situation almost obsessively. He was constantly reviewing reports and data, frantically looking into what was happening and what the solutions could be. Isolation was very bad for Craig and he admits his Asperger’s became a problem for the first time in his life. He could not wear a mask. The panic and distress was too great. He experienced abuse just for going into a shop. Last summer, his company started making plans for employees to return and when masks were mandated in the workplace he couldn’t comply. After a stressful and distressing series of interviews via the occupational health process Craig was sacked despite his valid exemption. (He’s started looking at legal help).

Craig used his time in furlough to help others, give people lifts and support people in the local community in practical ways. His relationship with his parents broke down however, he had good friends to support him emotionally. He is a genuinely good person. A likeable fellow.

Why am I telling you about Craig?

I’m on a community chat group – there are about 60 local people in it including Craig. There are so many messages every day (over 200) that I mostly end up deleting them without reading them! Three days ago, I opened the chat preparing to delete the messages as usual, but something made me pause. I had a quick scroll and saw there was a voice message from Craig. I decided to listen. He was in a bad way, reaching out for some emotional support. He said he was feeling overwhelmed and couldn’t cope. He needed a job but his panic and anxiety was so great he was finding it hard to focus on getting new work. He was devastated that he might have to give up his flat and his independence. He was struggling to pay his bills and for food.

I immediately knew I’d heard his message for a reason. I got in contact with Craig and explained I ran a donation only meditation group where we pool the money to help people in need. I said we would like to give him the pot of £140 - it won’t solve his long term problems but would buy him a little time to figure out a solution. He gratefully accepted. I think it meant a lot to him to know that people cared, he wasn’t alone and people wanted to help. It was a small practical gesture. It might help Craig buy food and stay in his flat for another week. More importantly, it might calm his distress long enough to find a more permanent way forward.

I would like to express so much appreciation to all who have donated for the Sacred Sunday Meditation sessions you’ve attended. You helped Craig. You gave him the opportunity to experience real compassion in a world that had become very cruel to him. Thank you.

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