Sad Music, Dark Literature and Positive Thoughts 2

Art helps me to reconcile my past whilst my goals push me into the future

Sometimes, it’s a matter of perspective

I am not going to write one of those inspirational blogs posts telling you to be positive before adding life is what you make of it and that positive thoughts conquer all.

You know those posts that I mean.  Those posts based around those little play on words to convince you that a great attitude will change your life for the better.  Something like there being a mile in each smile…anything like that.

printer_Agony

My printer problems were due to first the orange followed by the red segments of the pie chart.  Hmm, pie…

I don’t think that life can be improved by telling yourself to look on the bright side of anything.

But, please don’t get me wrong.  I do believe that you should try to have a positive attitude because, if my own experience proves to be typical for everyone, you will find life a little more bearable and a little bit more enjoyable.

A better perspective on life certainly reduces your stress level.

This week, a number of things seemed to be going wrong for me.

It has been a great week to look at my World Vision calendar by my bed and read the month’s thank you message from one of the children my contributions have helped.

This month, eleven year old Ayesha is thanking me and all the other Raw Hope contributors for her school equipment.

I imagine for one moment the life that she leads and then realise how insignificant my own problems are.  How thankful to God I should be that my life is so free of trials that I have the luxury to waste time feeling aggravated by my printer playing up or the apparent fault with my mobile telephone SIM card.

So, thank you Ayesha, I have been able to face my problems with more serenity and a better perspective of how unimportant these niggles in my life really are.

Positive thoughts have not improved my life this week.  Little things have kept on happening, a new issue shrieks at me every day it has seemed.

Thinking positive thoughts has led me to feeling a lot less stressed, instead.  Thinking positive thoughts has led to my being an easier person to live with over the last week or so and left me better able to enjoy the next week when things go well for me.

The Arms of Sorrow

If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got – Henry Ford

I was amazed (probably, I shouldn’t have been) that on the Internet this quote is attributed to other people besides Henry Ford. One business website attributes the quote to Albert Einstein, for instance.

Anyway, I digress.

I think last year I mentioned that February and March is a sad time for me and I end up taking time off work with illness.  In February 2015 I was absent from work with sickness for four days and the same thing happened again in March last year.

March 2009 was when my father passed away, whilst I lost contact with someone special to me during March 2014.  February is connected to that same person for a special reason which I won’t go into right now.

In November last year, I planned ahead and booked some time off.  My leave started Thursday last week and I returned to work yesterday.  It meant that I would be home on my own to grasp time for myself to think about the two people I mentioned in the previous paragraph.

I was pretty ineffectual as a human being last weekend.  Sunday saw me biting Gloria’s head off at the slightest thing.

During my week of leave from work, I had chance to sort a few things out around the house; those DIY (Do It Yourself) items that I have been putting off for a number of months.

One thing was to sort out a box of paperwork that I kept ignoring week after week for…I don’t know how many months.  Some of the post in the box was my late father’s which dated back as far as 1984.  That box is no longer making the place look untidy, so I scored a success there.

Seeing that post and realising how quick each task I completed was, I lamented how I have been putting things off.  If I keep on putting things off, I will never get to finish my studying for that IT exam, for example.

This week – and every week – I have a choice.  If I carry on as before, I know what will happen.  I will die without making an impression on the world.

For all of the anger in my heart at the evil out there, I will have helped to change nothing.  At present, my ideals are not resulting in enough action.

The realisation came to me of how scared I am to be bold.

I am sure that if I were to die today, there are people that will remember me as someone with a kind heart.  I’m not mocking that, that is fantastic.

However, I want to look down from heaven and be able to see at least one person living a better life because of something that I have done whilst still alive.  I want to admire myself.  I hope that expression isn’t too clumsy.

 

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.

Mediocracy?

Some of you may be happy to read this blog post.  Others will be either disappointed or indifferent to the news that I am returning to WordPress, Google+ and Twitter.

You might ask the question, ‘What has happened to me over the last half a year whilst I have been mostly absent from social media?’

Well, a lot has happened last year.  I won’t go into the details of everything that has happened as this will reveal many personal details about myself and a few people that are close to me.

I will no doubt mention things in the next few weeks that will touch on a few of the issues that I have faced, but please forgive the non-explicit nature of any explanations.

My good friend Ebely has in recent months enquired after me via Twitter and email.  I mentioned to her about a bit of a health problem that I was having.  The symptoms that I described to her were psychosomatic – or, at least, they were partly due to how ragged I have felt in my head and body.

But, no matter.  I’ve re-jigged my diet and routine a bit to help with these things.  The result is that I am feeling better than I was.

I suspect that I’ve missed loads of exciting news from all of my friends.  I will be reading through every outstanding blog post from each of the blogs that I follow.  This will take a little while so please bear with me.

I hope that you all will be happy to see me back.  If not, then I know that you will have good reasons which may in part be due to your own personal crisis.

One of these days I gotta get myself organizized

No, I’m not becoming a real life Travis Bickle, nor am I uploading another post of quotes that I like.

I really do need to get myself organised.

It’s more than a month since my last activity on WordPress.  For several months I’ve been posting nearly every Thursday; each month saw at least four offerings from little ol’ me.  So what happened?

It was the middle of May and I had to work late one Thursday night.  I actually finished at 1 am on Friday morning, slept a few hours and was then back in work that same Friday morning.  After work, and up until dusk on Sunday, I was busy with ripping down my old garden shed and putting up a new one.  So, no posting activity that week.

20160516_NewShed_2

At least the new shed looks good

From then on, I started to find that things happened to me rather than be controlled by me.  It has become clear to me that I am not controlling my life so much as I should do.  I have never been well-organised and this has got to stop.  It’s affecting my health.

Every week, I’ve being feeling increasingly rough each day when I’ve awoken and Monday was spent in the bathroom emptying the contents of my stomach rather than going to work.  It’s a good job I have made some improvements to my diet and my weight already this year as I dread to think how bad I would be if I hadn’t.

Enough already, I must take control of my life.

No, this has not been a complaint against life but rather a confession of my own failings.  Life has treated me very well over the last few weeks when I consider how badly I’ve been pursuing my life.  I gotta get myself organizized.

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