Sad Music, Dark Literature and Positive Thoughts 2

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Tag Archives: gratitude

The Hardest Thing To Accept

The Serenity Prayer – Reinhold Niebuhr

God, give us grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.

Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.
Amen.

Have you ever witnessed someone you love or care deeply about continually do something that even they acknowledge as stupid?  They continue no matter how much you try to reason with them.

reinhold_niebuhr

Reinhold Niebuhr

Most of you know what I’m talking about before I even spell it out, I reckon.

My twenty five year old daughter (no longer my stepdaughter – Yasmin calls me Dad, nowadays) has a professional occupation, her own car, rents her own place, is very attractive, has a good figure…well, she’d have no problem finding a new man if she wanted to.

So why is Yasmin still keeping with her boyfriend who even she describes as very immature.  None of her friends have good words to say about him but there he still is in her life.

I won’t tell her how to live her life.  I don’t believe that controlling another person’s life is an act of love.  I have gently advised her that she is possibly wasting a big chunk of her life as she would not be confident that he would have sufficient empathy to help one of their children suffering an emotional crisis at, say, thirteen years old.  I won’t tell her what to do but let her consider whether she is just wasting her time.

Yes, it is so hard to give others the latitude to live their own lives.  However, this is what decent human beings do for the ones that they love and care about.

I was thinking of The Serenity Prayer penned by Reinhold Niebuhr this week.

With Yasmin, I can sleep easy knowing that she isn’t the victim of domestic violence or some other barbaric practice, but is only putting herself through unnecessary mental pain.

But what of those who cannot help themselves?  What of those school aged girls who are first raped and then forced to marry their rapists under pressure from their families?  What of the child soldiers forced to shoot their own parents?  What of the innocent civilians maimed by previously unexploded cluster bombs?  What of those victims of the modern slave trade?

There are millions of girls, boys, women and men who are living through everyday hell with no means to save themselves.  This has always been true of this World.  However, I find it more the stuff of nightmares nowadays as we are living in the twenty first century.

All I can do is to change the things that I can change and accept that I cannot rescue the World.  If my actions can relieve the suffering of just one person, then my life will have been worth a great deal.

If half of the population of the United Kingdom joined me in this then the lives of 30 million people around the World will have been improved forever.  And what if half the inhabitants of each relatively rich and free western country improved the life of one other person?  How much better the world would be.

On my own I cannot change the world  A multitude of willing if meagre efforts from the millions also living in the same society as me can save the oppressed in this World.

On the plus side for Yasmin, her boyfriend did spoil her with several gifts for her birthday.  If he can be a bit more considerate of other people’s feelings then he too will be improving the world around him.

There is hope for this.  He isn’t a vindictive or bad person.  Hopefully, he’ll wake up one morning and just curse himself for acting before thinking of other people’s feelings.  I do actually think he is capable of that.

My fears

One thing that won’t be thrust upon the world is the first draft of this evening’s blog post.  No sir-ree!  You’ll have to make up your own thoughts on the basic human emotions of fear and greed.  Well, at least for now.

Nowadays, I’m more driven by gratitude than I was about twenty years ago.  Nowadays, I’m grateful that a number of the things that I feared have not come about.  Some have, yes, but a lot haven’t.

So, I’ll trash my earlier draft post and this evening concentrate only on what I have already got and not what I fear won’t be part of my future.

I saw this picture online a little while ago.A-Father-And-His-Daughter11

The girl/lady reminds me a little of Yasmin – early twenties, long dark hair and still hanging around me in spite of the traumas that we’ve both given to each other.

Man, if only I looked as good as this lady’s father with my shirt off!  I keep my shirt on as a public service. 😉

The picture makes me smile.  I’m just so happy for these two people.  It’s great to feel happiness for someone else.

In readiness for Christmas…

In readiness for Christmas, I’m testing out a new cocktail called Ginger Storm.  It’s a whisky cocktail and will make a change from the usual Black Russian.

As you can all see, the drinks cabinet is full.  This year is the first time that this has ever happened.  When I was a kid there was never a full drinks cabinet and since I’ve been married there has never been a full drinks cabinet.  Not until this year, anyway.  Go back about eight years ago and Christmas saw a cabinet with just a few fizzy drinks in it.  This year Gloria and I have been blessed with some money to spend on ourselves and I am thankful to God for that.GingerStorm

You may notice a few things in my cabinet.  On the shelf above the drinks there are five photos.  The two at either end feature Gloria’s father who passed away from a heart attack when she was ten years old.  To Jesus’s right is a photo of my father’s grave and to the left of Jesus is Gloria and Yasmin when Yasmin was only four years of age – nineteen years ago!

Gloria’s parents were both from Saint Helena while my mother is Jamaican.  Because of this differing heritage, you can notice that Gloria and I have different textures of brown skin when we stand next to each other.

Yasmin, meanwhile, has that enviable skin that tans nicely in the summer thanks to the brown blood on her mother’s side.  In spite of this, she still resorts to using fake tan from time to time.  A total waste of money in her case.

To the right of the picture (for those using tablets or mobiles, you may have to open the photo in a new window to see this), hanging on the door handle are two tabards that Gloria wears to her work in a local infant school; the same school that both she and Yasmin went to.  Gloria really enjoys her work there and it’s the most relaxed that she’s been in years.  She gets on amazingly well with her bosses and we’ve been to a few of their private parties.

Generally, we have been blessed when you look at where we have been in years past.  But, there’s always someone that you wish that you were sharing the good things with.  I know who I’m missing, who are you all missing this year?

It finally happened…but nothing changed

It’s easy to become too gullible and believe everything that people or the media tells you.  I remember growing up filled with the belief about how Britain yearned for a men’s Wimbledon tennis champion.  However, nothing much changed when Andy Murray finally won this title a couple of years back.

This week, the media built up the vote in Parliament on whether to authorise British air strikes in Syria.  I was eating my supper and watching the headlines after the vote was announced.  They then cut to a correspondent in Syria and asked the reaction.  I wondered why as surely no-one in Syria was sitting by the radio listening for updates.  The correspondent confirmed that no-one in Syria even knew about the vote.

But that’s Britain for you – and possibly it’s the same everywhere.  A number of British people (I suspect the vast majority is a good estimate) think that the World revolves around the life experience as they see it.  We live in the same street as each other and have no idea of the life experience that each of us experiences.

stress-squirrel-drunk

No one is safe from stress

I had a text message at 12 noon today from an old school friend who doesn’t work.  She was offering me an appointment for when she would visit us with her husband.  It was four and a half hours later that I answered her when I started my lunch break.  I told her that I was starting my lunch break and that I am working on the date that she offered, right up until the evening so it depended on the time.

Yes, she was offering a weekend date, but things are hectic where I work right now and I also have several things to organise in my spare time.  There’s Monday’s visit of a workman to fix the after effects of the water leak for example, which will involve me moving all of the lounge furniture about.

I haven’t heard back from her.  Maybe she’s sulking that I didn’t answer straight back.

Oh well, she might have no idea of my life experience.

Stay home and do nothing

This post is a more serious than normal.  At the end of it I’m going to make a suggestion for anyone reading this that can make a massive difference to the world whilst costing you nothing more than a few moments of your time one evening.

I wish that I could think of something really funny to post this week.  Being able to do so would provide the perfect antidote to the conversations at work.

If people aren’t ranting to release their stress from the multiple projects at work, they’re instead discussing foreign affairs and especially the recent events in Paris, France.

I try to keep out of any discussions at work merely for the fact that political arguments in the workplace can be divisive.  There used to be someone who worked with us who would get quite angry when people did not agree with his views.

As far as I am concerned everyone can do exactly what they want so long as what they do  doesn’t affect anyone else’s freedoms.

Using this basis as my moral code, I know it’s not okay to spend the weekend in a football fan mob physically attacking passers by for no reason but for the love of a fight.  Yes, this obviously affects the freedoms of others.

But it goes further than this.  Everything that each of us decides to do has the potential to affect the freedoms of someone else.

Driving your car above the speed limit in urban areas removes the pedestrians’ right for safety.  Hmmm…a lot of people seem to have difficulty realising this.

And what about buying chocolate or coffee that isn’t fairtrade?  What about the freedom of the coffee or chocolate workers not to be slaves?

And what moral stance robs the helpless more of their freedoms?  Do we ignore the atrocities being committed in Syria, Iraq, Yemen etc?  Do we ignore what happens to girls, women – and men – in these far away countries?  Do their freedoms mean nothing to us?

If their freedoms mean something then we are morally obliged to think of how we give our fellow humans freedom.

By the way, this is not an argument either for or against war.  I do have my own belief as to what we should do but I don’t feel it’s important to try and convince anyone of it via this blog.

Doing nothing is often the greatest way to remove the freedoms of others.  Recent British history is littered with people doing nothing and letting a few famous people continually sexually abuse children.  An extreme example, maybe, but I hope that you get what I mean about doing nothing rather than something…anything.

I’m not going to make a case for or against war on this blog.  What I will say is that I respect those who are ready to go to war as well as those who don’t feel that war is right.  So long as they have sensible reasons for their stance it’s not a simple answer to say that either is wrong.

The most important thing is to be doing something to make the world a better place.

If all you do is talk about what’s right and what’s wrong and not do anything yourself to help anyone else, then what are the consequences of your actions?

To paraphrase a saying that I once heard, evil wins when the good stay home and do nothing.

Right, I started off by writing that I’m going to suggest something that you can do to improve the world without spending more than a few moments of your time.  Well, if you cannot work in a hostel, in a poor country helping the needy or by giving to charity maybe you can write a letter.  And I mean a letter that can literally save a fellow human from being tortured.  Here’s something I’ll be doing.  It’s called Write For Rights and is organised by Amnesty International.

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