Sad Music, Dark Literature and Positive Thoughts 2

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

Category Archives: Charity

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.

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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.

(Sittin’ on) the dock of a bay, or running the London Marathon

I mentioned in my post last week that my nephew Otis would be running the London Marathon that Sunday for Charity.  Hence the title of this blog as his father named him after the singer Otis Redding – a singer who, sadly, passed away in his twenties.

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The London Marathon progress tracking map during the event

On Friday evening, Otis set off from my Mum’s bungalow to London as he has a friend who lives in London.

Saturday was St George’s Day which means a number of fish and chips themed promotions in England.  On Saturday evening, Gloria and I joined my Mum at a Fish and Chips supper with accompanying quiz night at Mum’s local Church.

We were on team nine which included a seventeen year old boy coincidentally named George along his mother.  Being a typical teenager, he was a little short with his mother.  Those two took over round one which was deciphering the names of phobias.  George mentioned a few times that he was sure of the definition of this phobia and of that phobia although he had failed Latin.  That highlighted the difference in the education that he and I had both received.  It was good to have him on the team or round one would have been very embarrassing for team nine.  He was useless with the songs lyrics round, however, and embarrassedly watched his older team mates right down answers even to songs that were released within the last two years.  I say songs in the last two years but I really mean ‘song’ as I recognised the lyric from “Happy” by Pharrell Williams.

George was good company, as were the whole team.  I’d happily go for a drink with any of my team members from that evening.  But we finished fourth – we were cheated! (Joking)

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Otis’s progress page on the London Marathon website

Anyway, Sunday was the London Marathon.  I didn’t see Otis on television as the BBC seemed interested in following the professional athletes.  I was able to follow his progress online so my excitement remained high.  Otis slowed down dramatically after the first fifteen kilometres which is not too surprising.  From the photos on the London Marathon website, I can see that the pain started to hit him half-way through the course.

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Otis after successfully raising over £500!

He completed the London Marathon at 3:30pm having set off at 10:09am.  I had been texting updates to his mother all through the afternoon and then I telephoned my Mum at 3:45pm with the news that he had completed the course.

He stayed dans chez friend in London with his friend after the race and is due back at my Mum’s bungalow tomorrow.

You’ll notice that I wrote ‘dans chez friend’ – mixing French and English.  ‘Franglais’ is the nearest most British people come to speaking a foreign language!  As last weekend was St George’s Day I’m showing off my national heritage. (lol!)

Otis inspired me with his efforts on Sunday.  He raised more money offline than he did on his page on the London Marathon website.  Several hundred pounds for charity for five and a half hours of pushing his body through a big pain barrier.  Wow!

Otis, you’re “the man” this week.  For now, I’m relegated to “Harry…a man”!

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