Tag Archives: relationships

When is enough?

How many times must I forgive my brother, Lord?   So says Peter in  a question to Jesus Howmanytimes, Peter postulates a good number up to seven times my Lord? Jesus replies not up to seven times, Peter is probably thinking phew that is not so hard then when Jesus hits him with the knockout,

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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

Ghosts of the past

The past is the past.

One of the challenges many people have to face in their lives is to move on past negative experiences they have had in their life.  I will use me now instead of they, I hope that in this post people may recognise or identify with the things I put onto this page.

I have had some negative experiences in the past some really distant and some not so distant, these have left various impacts on me. Some have seared their way into my mind and have showed this by invoking a set pattern of response when I encounter these things. Some words can do it for me, whatever is one of them I could explain to you how I feel or what I think when the word is said, but why, enough to say that it does, so how does one get past the word whatever? Backtracking a little I think a small explanation of whatever is necessary to illustrate the reaction. The urban dictionary defines whatever as being used in an argument to admit that you are wrong without admitting it so the argument is over. Merriam Webster says anything or everything, no matter what, or can be used to express surprise or disbelief, it can also mean no matter what.  This is not an exhaustive definition of the word, it does go to show that there are a variety of meanings and some of those have positive connotations, some didactic and some decidedly negative in tone.

Whatever for me is associated with a throwaway remark that denotes either a derisive attitude or a dismissive go away, why you may ask? Well the past, in the past that is my experience and it brings an almost conditioned classical Pavlovian response, that of defence, not hackles raised and growling but a shrinking of my soul and a fight or flight response, rapidly followed by a, what did I do, internal referencing, soul-searching, navel gazing, waste of time. Why a waste of time? Well simple really, because most of the time I actually don’t have a reference to put the word into, no locus.  So the reaction that I have is just the ghosts of the past beating their drums inside my head.  Well it’s not like that for me I hear. Well that’s good for you but here it is for me.

This reaction produces nothing worth having the question is how to get past that response so here are a few ideas,

  1. When you say whatever, can you be a bit more precise, I need some clarification.
  2. Did I say something wrong?
  3. Is something the matter?
  4. I need a bit more direction.

You get the general picture, it can be a loaded word but my response is already loaded, I am packing buck shot, finger on the trigger ready to shoot, (ok hyperbole but I am a poet).  The thing is the word most likely comes up in a conversation with someone significant in your life, it certainly does for me.  I could ask the person not to use the word but it is me who has the issue.  There are words that are more than words, derisive, nasty put-downs.  Whatever is unlikely to be one of those and my partner certainly does not use those words towards me, so why am I charged.   As I said it is past ghosts.

Some ghosts have to be exorcised from our lives, the memory is too painful, embarrassing, traumatic even.  I have a good memory, far to good in fact and I have carried a lot of hurts with me over many years.  I am aware of these and reflective enough to know when I am being triggered albeit sometimes not in time to prevent an instant response but enough to know when I need to reflect and move some things along.

My mother’s advice about saying nothing if you have nothing good to say is sage and has been given universally, some people mistake that as a weakness, ah there I have you now, nothing to say I must be right, the temptation is to rise to that but it is again not worth the effort, people like that are generally insecure and have a deep need to be right, I know, I used to be one.  I will leave this here for now bar the disclaimer that I am not perfect and still get caught in this behaviour, but less and less these days, try to think before you engage in a disagreement, try to decide is this worth having conflict over, I learnt as a child that I couldn’t be beaten into submission physically, and any verbal beatings to induce agreement are shallow, hollow victories that are just pale and worthless.

Love well and laugh loud, if you can’t sit on your tongue to stop yourself from talking then just breather through your nose

Paul

One great love, really?

This is a notion that I have wrestled with for a couple of years.  For a number of reasons I wondered if in this life we are destined to have just one great love.  I know this is a result of suffering loss, Continue reading

Two weddings and a few funerals

Weddings and Funerals

I have been thinking about both of these things lately, my son is being a best man at Easter for a friend of his, 20 years old and getting married, the first thought that pops into my mind is don’t,too young, that is informed by a number of narratives, personal experience, societal norms mainly.  A friend of mine attended a wedding recently, too hard she said, too many memories, couples everywhere.  Another friend of mine was expressing similar thoughts about a wedding he is going to.  There is a common thread about these feelings, negative experiences, hurt and cynicism inform them.  I have attended a couple of weddings since I became single, after thinking about them I have to say that I had different attitudes and experiences at both.

Weddings and funerals have a lot of similarities, both take a lot of planning and involve preparation and expense.  They are where friends and relatives come together and share emotions, love, mostly, and grief, yes grief even at weddings.  Sadness and happiness inextricably linked with each other, even at their most base level, grief only comes through knowing love.  Weddings and funerals have elements of loss and gain in them. Rites of passage they are both and they are important milestones in society.

For me they are a reminder of my own singleness, however I am not going to bang on ad infinitum about me.  I am going to talk about regrets.  As I was driving home from Auckland the other day I reflected after another near miss as a camper van took a sudden turn towards me on the express way.  I have had closer experiences with disaster, squashed between a truck and a power pole in a vehicle crash, electrocuted underneath a house to mention a couple of experiences.  I vowed then to live a fuller life without regrets.  Most of the regrets in my life have come from inaction rather than actions I have done.  I counselled someone this week that doing nothing was not an option for them, someone close was dying and they were not sure if they could cope with visiting them.  “paying respects” at a funeral just doesn’t really cut it.

I understand some peoples reluctance when they are going to see someone who is terminally ill, what do you say to them, whispering, weak, wet platitudes, how are you doing doesn’t seem to cut it…..  There are some people who thrive on the drama of death and dying, professional mourners almost, I have experienced these at some funerals and at death bed scenes, noisy and seemingly abject grief which at first glance looks like they must have been extremely close, yet the reality is far different.  Similarly I have been at funerals where people have said they won’t last 5 minutes.

In the case of the former I do wonder if through their very public showing of grief if they are trying to make up for actions past?  Perhaps they are mourning the cost of their own actions.  In the case of the nay-sayers at weddings, I don’t see why they would come to a wedding that they thought won’t last, why would you waste your time, surely the lure of food and drink is not that strong?

A constant theme that emerges at family funerals I have attended is the narrative that we should meet as a family at celebrations of joyful occasions, we just don’t seem to be as close today in terms of contact with aunts, uncles, cousins as I was in growing up.  The effects of separation and divorce hit this as well.

None of these reflections probably come as a surprise to most people I am quite sure, these  is  symptoms of a modern society that is extremely focused on the individual and are a natural consequence of the all-pervading religion of consumerism that drives society today.  Our dog eat dog world is a pernicious sickness that invades and pervades every institution from the church through to that unholiest of places parliament.

I know this because I recognise it, I see it in myself and it disgusts me.  If it is not in something external that I do it is that which I see in my own heart.  I have seen it in a new light recently and I have had to make some decisions about that which I value and give my time to.  It means that some of the things that I have given value have to fall away whilst I concentrate on doing the primary thing that needs my attention and that is being an effective and caring parent.

What does this have to do with weddings and funerals you may well ask.  Weddings and funerals are places where regrets are often remembered.  I hope that I don’t have those regrets at any of those life markers that I attend.  I have enough regrets about things that have impacted on my and my children’s lives already. I do not want to add to that list.  My hope is that you read this and examine your own lives and if need be make some adjustments of your own.

With peace and love,

Paul

 

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

Testing times…

I have had some integrity challenges lately.  One of them was when I was in my local supermarket the other day, I was buying some sliced ham Continue reading