Cambridge Form Besom Project
Having had a session on Form all about social action where we also learned about our local Besom, we couldn’t say no when we were asked to do a project. There are many Besoms across the UK whose aims are to create a bridge between those who can and want to give and those who are in need, with their strapline being “sweeping away suffering”.
We were asked to paint the hallway and living space of a woman living alone in the centre of Cambridge who I will call Rose. We had been informed that she suffers with anxiety and it was clearly a struggle for her to let us absolute strangers into her home. When she came around to allowing us in it became clear to us that it wasn’t going to be as simple as getting on and slapping paint on the walls. She still had many things which needed to be put away safe from stray dollops of paint and there were still pictures on the walls waiting to be taken down. It was clear that she took comfort from and loved all these things, so she then had to trust us to not damage or lose any of it. When we finally did get to painting, it also became clear that Rose was an extrovert who hadn’t talked to anyone in quite some time! She had a lot to say and it was clearly a relief for her to get all these thoughts out which had been buzzing around her head for so long.
Rose didn’t normally go outside because of her anxiety, but throughout the day she gained confidence, stepping out of her front door into a gloriously sunny day a few times. Once we’d finished, she got out her box full of family photographs. She had many fond memories of her mother which she happily shared with us, spreading them out on the floor around her. We ended with a prayer, speaking truths over her which she happily accepted, despite having told us that she doesn’t believe in God. When we stepped out of the door to leave, she stepped out with us, hugging us goodbye and waving us off, stepping further away from her front door than we had seen her do all day. She was a different person from who she was that morning, hiding behind her front door. While we may have given her home a new lick of paint, God gave her joy and confidence and showed us how just one day from us can make a huge difference to someone else.
Written by Holly Haselgrove - Form Cambridge