According to my dictionary, a manifesto is the public, written declaration of the intentions, opinions or motives of a sovereign, a leader, party or body. It is the document they have gathered together their ideas so that they can share them with others.
My head was whirling with ideas. Those who know me know that there is nothing unusual about that. However, I needed a way of pulling them together in an understandable format so that I could share them with others.
I had faced a few challenges myself. Making a fresh start after a long and ultimately unviable marriage added some practical challenges to the list. Then there were challenges I faced within that marriage. Some of these were related to finances. Others were linked to mental health issues. All of them were compounded by political and economic issues beyond our control.
Part of my fresh start included attending a drop in for those struggling to face life’s challenges. I started as a volunteer and then became a part-time employee. That was where I met other people who had also faced challenges.
It would be hard to forget John. He had been diagnosed as mentally ill after the police had become concerned about him living in his car. His marriage had broken down and his deteriorating mental health had made it hard to maintain relationships with his brothers and sisters and even his mother.
John was in a better position than some people when he came out of hospital. At least he still had his car and its contents. It is remarkably easy to lose everything you have if you are renting a house. You are too ill to deal with things like paying rent. If you have no one outside hospital making sure the rent is paid then the landlord will exercise their legal rights and in due course will take possession of the house. It does not happen immediately but if you are ill for a long time it can happen. When it does you will lose everything that you had in the house.
There are many reasons for people finding themselves in difficult circumstances. Not all of them are their own fault. If government policy leads to the demise of an entire industry what can you do other than start all over again? What often happens though is that individuals make their own choices which put them in a vulnerable position such as the example I gave of renting a house. Others, like the landlord, then make their choices and this then pushes people into an even worse situation.
Why write this Manifesto?
The inital aim of The Manifesto that is NOT for Wimps was to put into words the reasons for developing something as extensive as Lily’s Place. In the process I drew on my knowledge of British social and economic history as well as the Bible. I also used a smattering of ideas drawn from wandering around the business world.
I started writing the book as a means of stirring up people to see the needs so spark a desire to get on and do something. After all, I believed that this was one of the major obstacles that made progress towards Lily’s Place so slow.
I was getting increasingly frustrated. Why was it so hard? The first drafts of The Manifesto that is NOT for Wimps were written before the God’s Lily website was started. It was when that website got going that I started wondering about what to use for the strapline. I added a page about why I like the strapline here. (It is a bit long so beware. Maybe one day I will split it up into a series of journal entries so it is a bit more digestable.)
The dream of Lily’s Place had not died but I had moved on. Instead of just trying to bring that dream to reality I realised that there were vast armies of other people who already had a desire to help others but who like me had struggled to find a way forwards. We were all frustrated and wanted to see more done.
On my journey, I have encountered a variety of obstacles both personal and corporate. I have learnt the hard way that it is fine having a grand dream but it is something very different working towards making it happen. I had been there done that and bought the t-shirt. That meant that I had learnt a few things along the way that I could share with others. I might not have reached my destination yet but I am a few steps ahead of many others who are on this journey.
Why turn it into a series of journal entries?
One answer is that I needed to find a relatively quick way to add a lot of content to the site so that other people would want to visit it. The interesting thing is that it has turned into an editting exercise as the latest draft has been broken into peices and put together in a slightly different way than before.
It is also an opportunity to bring The Manifesto more inline with the web site and help me make sense of my frustration. That of course will make it easier for me to help others who are on the journey towards building a fair society where the needs of the weakest are met in such a way that it strengthens them rather than weakeneds them further.