Category Archives: Hope

Feb the 1st

Feb 1 has come and gone, Feb 1 was my mums birthday, I thought about her as I often do and wonder how things might have been different if she were alive today.  She has been gone 23 years now and whilst I still miss her it is nowhere near the intensity of when she first passed away. Continue reading

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Waiting for God

I have been corresponding with a friend of mine recently, her mum is seriously ill, hanging on to life by a thread, she has had a reasonable innings and also has cancer, so if her current illness doesn’t get her the cancer will.  She is waiting for God, I haven’t met her at all but from what I know she has had a full life Continue reading

Bring On The Clowns.

I was reading a book this morning and it reflected that life was like a circus.  Well perhaps the author has seen my house on one of our chaotic days, joking aside I thought about the preposition and it had some merit. Continue reading

Manopausal perhaps?

Actually I think that dress makes your bum look big said no man ever…. well possibly not ever. Continue reading

Jars of Clay

I went to church tonight as I am want to do on occasion, yes Friday night anyway that is for another time.  the speaker was talking about the future and my mind flicked over to a poem I wrote, one of the first that I wrote, it is called Jars of Clay

Jars of Clay

Lumps of dirt,
sweated from the ground.
Pounded and minced. Continue reading

Faking it, not me….

I am not so good at it these days. A whole lot of reasons really, sometimes I think I am just too old for that crap these days, but am I? I gave my children some money to spend on clothes the other day, not a whole lot but enough for a few things and then I did something I haven’t often done, I stood back and left them to it and they went and bought clothes. My daughter, a beautiful young woman bought herself a pair of boyfriend jeans, similar to these but with a few more rips and frays etc.  I remember once saying to myself as a friend bought some “pre stressed jeans” bloody hell, paying extra for half worn out s..t!

Well my only instructions to my children were to consider the season, we are going into winter and she did that, they were not shorts! Well my daughter proudly showed me her loot and produced these jeans and then asked me if I liked them, and like George Washington and not Bill Clinton I could not tell a lie and said I didn’t, she was devastated.

I was at pains to assure her that actually it didn’t matter what I thought as it was her choice but she was still disappointed. Now should I have said something different? Well so it is with my life. I can paint on a grin for a while but when things are not so flash it is not hard to read me. I was reminded of this the other day when a student was really concerned about me, I re-plastered my grin and said I was fine when on the inside I was far from that. Most people who know me are not that easily fooled.

I have been told before that I wear my heart on my sleeve and I guess I do in a lot of ways, I can be very professional and have had to be at times when dealing with trauma and damaged children, with dealing with offenders who are repugnant to me I have remained relatively dispassionate and nearly always professional, rapists, killers, pedophiles I have worked with them all. I have had friends who are racist and bigots, although these days most of them are gone by the wayside as I am want to be truthful with them.But if you know me then you will know, if you ask a straight question you will get a straight answer.If you ask me how I am I will tell you, it may be the edited version but it will be authentic. Sometimes it may be warts and all, and sometimes that is not so pretty. But like I say often, never ask a question that you do not want to hear the answer to.

I read this little piece in Relevant magazine a few weeks ago it said that “authenticity begins with acknowledging, rather than hiding, that we have shadows in our souls” In some ways I count the ability to be truthful with others as a burden because to be truthful to others is to be truthful to yourself first.   In doing so we face our own shadows, our imperfections, foibles and frailties. On a personal level, authenticity begins with acknowledging, rather than hiding, that we have shadows in our souls. http://www.relevantmagazine.com/god/practical-faith/there-such-thing-being-too-authentic#Oy126vbiR4rBh2oD.99

Often in reply to being asked how I am I say that God is good and his mercy is everlasting because I am a terrible sinner at times. I try to be authentic as much as I can, as a teacher when I read a piece of work I look for something to say that is encouraging and truthful like hey that’s great so much better than last week, here is what we have to do to improve it. You won’t get bullshit from me however, if it doesn’t meet the mark I will tell you whether you are a student, a boss, a politician, lover or friend. It is a risky business at times because there are many people who cannot handle authenticity because I think that it exposes the shadows in their own souls, for some they are shadows that have not seen the light ever or for a very long time, and people can be very afraid that should those shadows see light they may consume them and shake their worlds beyond that which they can handle. They often remain crippled by doubt and making the same mistakes in life and love over and over again, and yet I am told it is that authenticity which makes my writing compelling and interesting, a reader wrote to me that they felt almost like a voyeur reading my writing, almost like looking in my lounge window yet they felt drawn to read more.

 

So for me being authentic remains at my core, it drives my belief in family, friendship and love. It would be so much easier to be less authentic and I am sure that I have paid what at times seems to be a high cost for authenticity and I may be about to pay the price again as I grapple with decisions I need to make but I know this for sure that authenticity is that which gives me hope for the future, it enables me to have relationship at all and to look in the mirror. Authenticity gives me integrity and without integrity I am nothing merely dust on the soles of a dirty pair of shoes.

We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be.”

With Aroha,

Paul

No White Flag (even though I may have sand in my shoes)!

Tihei mauri ora, if you have ever head a Maori orator speak you will be familiar with this phrase.  Loosely translated it means the breath of life, like the first sneeze that a baby has as it takes its first breath.  I have witnessed this first breath as I have also witnessed manawa kiore, or last breath.  The first of these two is a rare and wonderful privilege.  The second of these is quite different.  A rather strange subject you may think, first and last breaths? I was out for my walk tonight and took a brief sojourn through the old cemetery in our town, nothing more forlorn than a headstone saying nine days old.

It got me thinking, a little about life and death as I walked, and then two minutes later a car pulled up on the other side of the road, something was not quite right. Next minute there was loud shouting and cursing, a full on domestic in the car, I noted the registration, called the Police and decided it was time to intervene.  Just as I walked towards the car it drove off at speed.  My mind flashed back to the Woman in South Auckland and how she was calling for help and no one came.  In this case no one was calling for help.  I didn’t feel very vulnerable, I had a decent Maglite baton torch on me and I had called the Police already.   But in the end I did not have to do anything.  The Police are following up and I will probably never know the outcome of my decision not to mind my own business.

The thing was I made a decision. Indecision has been crippling me in some ways for the last year. I dropped the ball with weight and fitness under the stress of a pretty torrid personal situation, added to that is severe ongoing pain.  But I still could have made a decision.  I was listening to Dido last night and there were two songs that stood out to me, Sand in my shoes and White flag, both talking about a love lost, well that is not my narrative tonight, I don’t want to go down that road at this time, perhaps another night, but the theme that came through was no surrender.

It reaffirmed my decision around life in general.  If I live a life of quiet acceptance, crawl back into my shell, allow the weight I gained to stay and increase then I have gone down with my ship and waved the white flag.  I had lost my urge to write and the writers block seemed to be there except for the fact that I had not tried. I had made a couple of desultory attempts to  write a blog but I hadn’t sat down and hammered something out.  No poetry has fallen on to my slate for a long time apart from one small commissioned piece, but that has been a self imposed hiatus, (awaiting publication of my book) put on hold as other things took more priority .

The thing is this, we can become consumed by our battles in life, overwhelmed by the unfairness, the harshness, the lonely nights and the numbness of feeling alone.  Tiredness was eating at my heart and soul.  But doing nothing is not an option. You see doing nothing is an act of deviance it is the cruel mistress of mediocrity and I will not have that curse upon my lips or life. I am sure that sometimes I  will make the wrong decision and my hope and prayer is  that in doing so I don’t bring any hurt or harm and anyone else.

I can’t make any long term decisions at the moment and I guess that is kind of de-focussing and disappointing, but I can plan for the day, the week the year, beyond that who knows.  The awful reality is that none of us know what tomorrow brings us, we can organise our lives as much as we want, have our lawns manicured and our cupboards as tidy as we want but in the end things can change in an instant.