Changing the WordPress scenery

I thought that my WordPress blog was looking particularly plain so I have just been fiddling about with it using the WordPress customizer (sic).

It was a little frustrating as extra widgets kept appearing when previewing different themes. For some reason, I still had these extra widgets within the unused widget area. These showed up when previewing different themes. (I’m not even trying to figure that out).

Anyway, this may not be the most eye shattering blog that you will find on the web nowadays but it’s not so plain as before.

I needed to take my mind from the dramas that are happening today. Believe me, when you have an ill wife and a daughter in her twenties with emotional problems, it might be a good idea to spend a little time messing with the WordPress customizer (sic).

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.

And so, to the weekend…

The next few days will prove eventful, although I cannot thank myself for any of this action.

Tomorrow afternoon is the funeral of my half-sister’s mother.  She was a Polish lady who married my late father soon after the Second World War.

I don’t know the story, so I cannot share it with you.  I’ll tell you what I know.

After War was declared, Britain internally evacuated school children away from city centres as there was uncertainty how soon Germans would start bombing British towns.

My father was at school when the Second World War broke out and was evacuated to a place called Liss.  He loved to preach at the United Reformed Church in Liss as he had fond childhood memories of the village.  I remember driving him there on several Sunday mornings.  At that time I drove a white Proton Persona.

On D-Day plus three, my father’s best friend was killed in action.  My father ended up in Germany at the end of the War and, so I was told, spoke German in the accent of one of the nearby villages so well that some German residents thought that he was a native of this nearby village.  He also remained a pen friend of one of the German POWs for life.

Soon after returning to England, he married a Polish woman that he had met.  Tomorrow, this lady will be laid to rest.  She was a pleasant woman with whom to speak, which Gloria will testify to.

On Friday night I am on driving-Yasmin-and-her-friends-to-town-on-their-night-out duty.  I haven’t done that for a few months.

And on Sunday, my nephew Otis is running in the London Marathon for charity.

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A screen grab of my nephew’s fundraising page

He hasn’t yet hit his fundraising target, unfortunately, but he is still raring to run and raise what money he can for a charity that has grabbed a place in his heart.

He has run a marathon before so knows what to expect.

At the moment, Otis is sleeping on a camp bed in my mother’s bungalow.  It wasn’t the best idea for him to stay on where he had been lodging.  My Mum wanted to put him up to help him save for a deposit on a better place hence his address for a couple of weeks has been the same as his grandmother’s.

She worries about him a lot although I am certain that he’s more capable than she thinks.  She probably worries about him because he never raises his voice or show any upset or anger with anyone, no matter what happens.  I think that she in concerned that he’s too easily bullied.

He will be moving to his new place in the next few days.

So, an active weekend without me doing too much effort myself.

Life can be mundane

This week has been one of those many weeks when nothing noteworthy seemed to happen.  A week when the normal routine kicks in and the enjoyment of life jumps out of the window.  A week full of days that morph into each other.  You surely know the kind of weeks that I’m talking about.  One of those weeks when each day is just the routine that you get up, you work, you eat, and then you go to sleep.  Before you know it, the week has slipped past.

It’s the mundane weeks that really test your character.  I like to remember that character is continuing to do those things that you ought to do even when the initial excitement has ended.Dull_and_Boring

A few things have happened this week.  Like, I telephoned a call centre yesterday morning and moaned about my direct debit payment last week.  Hmmm…oh yes, during the week I booked my car’s MOT test as well.  Oh, and Gloria’s work friend’s daughter invited us to her twenty-first birthday meal one Saturday in May.

Actually, I could make up some amazing post about any of those three things if I wanted to exaggerate the truth of what happened.

I could talk about my car.  It’s so old that it still has a tape player rather than a CD player.  My first car didn’t even have a radio.  I love sunroofs and my car has one.  It is a manually operated sunroof but I love it.

Did I ever tell you about when I bought the car?  I telephoned this number and found myself in a rather seedy situation.  The dealer was down a side alley near a train station.  Walking down the alley which had a taxi rank sign from years ago when this was a different business, I was greeted by a padlocked gate and a massive dog.  The barking dog was then joined by a rather unsettling tough guy…

No, I haven’t told you that story?  Well, that’s another blog post I guess…

 

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.