A life to be thankful for

Today I attended a funeral of a couple who are friends of mine who’s 43 old son died last week, leaving a wife and four children.

I was more than happy to go as the mother of the son who had died had unexpectedly attended my mother’s funeral just a few years ago, and It had meant a lot to me that she had been, and she and her husband had been such a support to me since that time.  I generally prefer funerals to weddings, not because I like people dying but because your presence alone means a great deal to those suffering around you, whereas at a wedding I’ve often felt just a casual observer.

I was rather surprised to be affected by this funeral, as I’ve attended quite a few this has been one that affected me the most apart from family members of course.  I didn’t know this couple’s son very well, but I couldn’t help being moved by first looking at the order of service and seeing the man who I will call John looking radiantly happy with his wife, that happiness cut short, and then the picture at the back of the four children left behind, also seeing John’s father walk in with his arm protectively around his wife following his sons coffin beautifully decorated with photographs, which must have been an ordeal for them followed by the large family impacted by John’s death. I couldn’t help the large amount of tears in my eyes.

At the same time there were some moments which were funny, with my kind of humour I couldn’t help noticing someone nearly trip over part of the pew that’s used to kneel on, later on navigating a song that either didn’t have the correct words printed  or the organist got the wrong music, whichever thankfully  there were quite a number of voices got round that particular mistake well.  It’s usually me who gives people laughs at funerals, at my nan’s funeral I was sharing a car with my cousin and it was thundering and lightening, I said to my cousins, well at least she went off with a bang, which made them both laugh. my eldest cousin said “only you could get away with saying that”.  At my mums internment it had been snowing heavily getting round the tombstones was rather difficult I climbed over a large mound of snow only to discover I was clambering over a tombstone which made my nieces laugh.

Towards the end of the funeral the father gave an overview of his son’s life.  I sat there thinking about the fact John was only a year younger than me he had a wife and children I hadn’t and he was more worthy of living than I was, but after hearing his euology, about his love of sport, that he travelled extensively, studied at university, travelled again, and settled down with is wife and became provider of his four children, I got the impression he loved life and lived it to the full.  I came to the conclusion that although his life was short he had achieved a great deal most importantly loving his family. Although this is a deep loss to his family and friends no one can say he hadn’t lived his life to the full, and after all isn’t that the purpose of life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

War and Peace

Like most people I was shocked at the events in Paris recently and some of the response from around the world.  After various conversations and reading it got me thinking about our notion of war and our notion of peace.

What is peace? Is peace always the absence of war?  What is the purpose of war? If people describe themselves involved in a faith as peaceful what does that mean?

Peace as a noun can mean freedom from disturbance: tranquillity

War as a noun is defined as a state of armed conflict between different countries or different groups within a country.

Those are what I call strict definitions.  But there larger uses to these words, peaceful resolution, war on want, warlike, peacemaker amongst many other uses.

I think most people want and believe in peace, but how do we get it and maintain it.  For those who believe in peace, is there a possibility of having peace without conflict or any kind of disturbance to it? Can we really have peace without experiencing war in order to appreciate peace?

After considering pacifism I have problems with the notion of it.  One of which is that we can have peace without conflict, another is that communication and negotiation prevent war, hmm well I disagree for various reasons.

1 Peace without conflict

How realistic is this notion, in everyday life we can find ourselves in a form of conflict or disagreement, whether it’s ideas, beliefs, opinions and that’s just in human conversation.  How can we avoid conflict, the fact is we simply can’t.  Interestingly marriages that never have conflict tend to break down more than those that do.  They bury their issues and they fester.  I can think of a country that’s a bit like that apparently there is peace, but more like an uneasy or fragile one where there’s been a huge compromises so that certain groups don’t pick up arms again, suspicion still reigns and the power is really in the hands of people who may well have bloody hands and never been brought to justice.  To me that’s not peace that’s intimidation and manipulation how is that peace.

I’m the kind of person that hates conflicts and arguments, and I would avoid it as much as possible even though I could have an argumentative mind and could argue.  Many years ago I remember confronting someone over an issue something that they had done behind my back, this person received what I had to say with good grace and it really improved the relationship, I learnt a valuable lesson, a relationship without conflict or confrontation is not a secure relationship, but one where there is that level of honesty is secure, I gained respect as a result of that confrontation.  Over the years I had many conflicts with that person to this day although I have no contact with them anymore (not for any bad reason) there’s still respect and ultimately trust.

2  Communication and negotiation prevent war

If pacifists believe this notion then why are some of them the most difficult to have dialogue with, they don’t practice what they preach with words.  I have found they tend to win an argument rather than a relationship.  If they really believe in pacifism they would handle discussions, debates differently, they may not use guns or believe in the use of them but their mouths are pretty good ammo.  Death and life are in the power of the tongue.  Much destruction and pain can be caused by words.

Does this mean I’m a proponent of war? , yes but only in some conditions.  First I will address some causes of war.

I get irritated that people will say religion causes wars, well yes some, but many are caused by other things, land, tribal issues, greed, resources.  The Falkland islands was over territory, something like 98% of them wanted to remain in the UK.  The conga, conflict there was over gold, Rwanda, tribal issues.

These are the conditions to go to war, defence of territory from an invasion, protecting people around you from threat of attack from outside territory which should be proven obviously, defending those who can’t defend themselves.

Does this mean I’m a war monger, far from it, there are stupid reasons for war, some based on ridiculous ideologies, some based on, the idea we bomb the hell out of a place then rebuild it, no they are not good reasons.  There has to be a valid reason for war but also an objective once war is over. I do believe in peace as far as possible, yes I believe in negotiation, but remember even saying the wrong thing could create conflict anyway, I believe war should be a last resort when other options have been exhausted.  As I write this discussion about bombing Syria is being discussed, I don’t like the idea of bombing the place, I think it plays into the wrong hands at the same time there are know threats to this countries security, does that mean we sit back and do nothing and have another July 7th? Well I’ll leave that with you to make up your own mind. In the meantime I purse peace not war. Peace everyone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Losing my way

I haven’t written a blog for a while here’s why, I feel lost, well more accurately I’ve lost my way.

I had one of those weeks last week where I felt let down and blocked at any progress I was trying to make.  So I come to a full stop.  How do I proceed and where the hell am I going?

As a child I would get lost, who wouldn’t, my solution find an adult or more accurately I would have lost an adult and try to proceed finding them, it would result of tapping someone on the shoulder or shouting Dad or mum at somebody only discover it was someone else, embarrassing.  Sometimes I’d be looking for a vehicle only to get into the wrong car that would look very similar, that’s happened to me about three times.  I’ve lost my reading glasses a million times or more I’m sure.

In times past I felt I’d lost my faith born out of dryness, disappointment or doubt, the truth there is God knew about the feeling of being lost when he shared the parable about the woman who had lost the coin, the interesting thing about the other two parables and that one is that the people had lost something that belonged to them, something that was already in their possession I’ll let folks think about that one.

The thing is I’ve lost my way, my direction in life, but I’ve not only lost my way or direction, I’ve lost my destination, what is my destination? Is it true that having lost my way I’ve lost my destination?

Destination determines something way off in the future, as human beings we are programmed to think ahead, destination determines outcome or achievement.  That notion of achievement is thought provoking,  should achievement be the end game of everything we do?

My problem has always been I may have a destination but my strategy in getting there is poor, I’m not really a strategist, it’s not really my strong point.  In some situations your destination can seem like an agenda and not a good one.  How many of us for instance in order to arrive at our destination we try and manipulate people or circumstances in order to arrive at the most beneficial outcome to us?   We may not be the only ones on that particular course of direction or destination.  Athletes compete in a race for the prize  they are heading the same way, their approach and strategy determines who wins, but it also determines who loses.  Is life about winning and losing, or rather should life be about winning or losing?

Believe me I’ve thought a lot about some of the things I’ve wanted to do, my motives for doing them are they pure, justifiable.  My search for work is difficult because I’m not the only one wanting work, so do many others, Is it arrogant to think I could be better than someone else to do a job?  To be fair having a dual disability means I’m further down the food chain of desirables from an employers perspective as being the best choice.

For all the advice people give me in my life, there are no simple answers.  and my problems can’t just be fixed.  There’s nothing worse coming away from a conversation feeling as though that person has it all worked out and you feeling as though you don’t measure up to those standards they are inadvertently setting.  To be fair I’ve done it too , come up with solutions for people when it’s not what they need at that time, when they have lost their way, or they don’t know what to do, in those circumstances all people need is empathy,  a listening ear and most of all encouragement, not solutions, pat answers or questioning.

In the meantime what do I do?  Well the only answer I have right now is rest, I don’t mean do nothing but not strive for answers, let go of trying to come up with solutions that are depressing which a lot of them are.  Just let go of trying  to work it all out.

I have to trust that somehow, somewhere or someone, will bring some light into my pathway, so I can move forward.  In the meantime I stay lost.

The Audience

During the time I’ve been writing my blog, I’ve realised it’s not been entirely easy.  Coming up with ideas is one thing but when to post them and how to write them is another.  Throughout my blog posts one thing that is continuously at the back of my mind which is actually quite crucial is my audience or readership.  Part of my audience who read my blog posts are people that I know including some family members and a few of my friends.  I am conscious of the fact I don’t want to write anything that would cause offence to them particularly if a post may contain stuff with any of them involved or in mind,  it might just be an event which I relate which involves someone who reads my posts, if I relate it incorrectly or inaccurately, it could be deemed inappropriate and I might unwittingly cause offence which could even be due to misinterpretation.

I also have a wider audience of people I don’t know, I don’t know their backgrounds outlooks on life their beliefs or persuasions.  Can I write with them in mind?

Another area where audience is something that rumbles on in the background is in the realm of social media,  in some groups I’m in you don’t know your audience or you may know some, I find that it can be easy to forget that it isn’t just you and a few of your mates reading your posts it’s people from all walks of life, cultures and systems.  With that in mind you find you have to think carefully before you post or comment on a post  because you really don’t know your audience.  Sometimes you see people come out with statements which are purely black and white without any thought to the people reading them.  A thought is stated without much filter.  People feel they can get away with saying what they want  because they don’t see or know their audience, I mean it doesn’t matter, I mean the audience and the person messaging or posting may never meet.  That appears to be the mentality from some I’ve seen.  I’m not saying that anyone who posts comments things in this way are deliberately setting out to upset people or shock people, but maybe a small proportion need the attention of an unfiltered remark to get the acceptance or attention they need.

I’ve also seen this where public speaking is taking place, the person speaking has no thought about how to address their audience, who they are speaking too, for instance I know there have been several occasions where a speaker has made unkind comments about people who live in a particular area of the country and it wasn’t in jest either, fine if that is a comedy event that sets out its about knocking the area your living in, but not in general meetings or conferences.  I sometimes wonder if people who are involved in public speaking in any way are trained to think about their audience.

Filtering is normally necessary in social media, blogging or public speaking or in most forms of communication because by its very nature it’s public.  In private you have the freedom to say what you want, in public that’s a different matter.  Does that mean that we have to censor everything we say, no of course not, it’s purely about thinking about how those who do these things deliver what they are going to say to the audience or readers they are dealing with at the time.  I’m not suggesting here you always have to  walk on eggshells all the time,  but you have to test the temperature of  the people your addressing,before running headlong into saying or writing something that hits between the eyes or ears.  Believe me when I say at times I wish I had applied wisdom to something I’ve either said or written  and thought I wish I hadn’t of said or wrote that.  So first consider whether they would be ready to read or hear that or not, as the old saying goes there’s a time to speak and a time not too.  Remember though that no matter how much thought you put in what you are going to say or write you can’t guarantee that you won’t offend or hurt someone sometimes.  Well with all that in mind and so much to ponder I think it’s time for me to sign off before I write anything that might offend anybody 😀