THE closest most men get to a contemplative life in a monastery, one bolstered by a vow of silence, is a visit to that relatively recent innovation — the men’s shed.
That idea has been so successful that it has been incorporated into many facets of life. It has, just occasionally, replaced the collegiality once found in our pubs but without the downside.
An art programme run at Marymount Hospice, as part of the 30-week Our Heroes project as part of the men’s shed initiative, has been a huge success. It has, according to Marymount “created awareness of the positive impact the project is having on participating residents in terms of how it has touched the spirits of the men involved”.
And why wouldn’t it? It brought two of the most powerful forces in our culture together — the need to express ourselves and the need for an encouraging environment in which to do it. In a world increasingly defined by whichever screen we are facing it seems a good thing to remind ourselves of the power of intimacy, of sharing, of encouraging in a more personal and direct way. And where better than in a men’s shed.
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