Flattery leaves us
Hearing a person’s words but
Missing their intent.
Suzanne Rollinson (Oct 2016)
Flattery leaves us
Hearing a person’s words but
Missing their intent.
Suzanne Rollinson (Oct 2016)
Are held within the attics
Of our cluttered minds.
Suzi Rollinson (July 2016)
The poet John Donne once proclaimed”No man is an island, entire of itself”. Poetry can be a tricky thing to interpret. Is a poem meant to be read in a literal sense or is it merely symbolism to convey an idea or subject the author is pondering? We can never know for definite and that is one of the things I love about poetry and art. It is left to our subjectivity and the interpretation we choose.
However in this case I think by reading further on Donne is merely saying that we’re not meant to live our lives alone. We’re meant to live in community with others and it’s only when we have that interaction we are truly ourselves.
The Bible speaks of us being members of one body, again portraying how necessary we are to each other and it speaks of us rubbing each other’s rough edges off”as iron sharpens iron”.
The truth is we need each other. I’ve said many times I’m an introvert. I find small talk painful. I don’t find social occasions easy. Often, even with people I know well I stand there frantically searching my mind for something to talk about.
But I try to persist because I value the people in my life, past and present, whether I have the courage to voice it or not.
I’m grateful for women who came alongside me in my lowest moments of depression. These women sat with me when I was afraid to sit alone. These women shopped for me so I didn’t have to think about what to feed my children and cooked for me too. They sat and sorted and folded my laundry pile when it was stressing me out to look at it. These women and men came up trumps the last few years when money was tight and the future looked precarious and uncertain.
Food gifts would appear on our doorsteps, money and coffee gift cards through our letterbox. They walked the walk. They showed they cared.
I’m grateful for those whose preaching I sat under, those friends who opened up the word and things of God to me, in church and in their homes. I’m grateful for the times of fellowship that went along with these times and the many people who fed our large family.
I’m grateful for the people who trusted me with duties and roles in the church and in the job world and painstakingly encouraged me the very many times I doubted myself and if I actually had anything to offer.
There were times as a teenager I felt I could die from loneliness, despite being surrounded by friends.
I felt like that island. Alone and isolated. Cut off from people and land. Left to fend for myself.
Today I live in a house populated by a small army I created myself, as the saying goes. I know every parent says it and thinks it but my kids are amazing.
All different characters, all different traits, all good at different things but all kind and helpful and loving. Don’t get me wrong, we have all the sibling rivalries and arguments and family dramas but we are a unit, a stronghold. And on the days I am seeking a little peace and a little solitude and the only place I can find it is the lavatory(normally with someone banging on the door asking if I’ve almost finished!) I reflect on the fact that I need these people. I’m not an island and I’m glad of that.
Till next time.
Never underestimate that brief squeeze of your arm,
that kiss dropped upon your forehead,
that “text me when you get home so I know you got there safe”,
that ” Do you need a lift?, that “Call me if you need to talk”, that ” I noticed you’re quiet, are things ok? “.
Do not fail to appreciate that clean, folded pile of clothes left on your bed,
that bag of groceries left on your doorstep,
those bedcovers folded back for you,
that cup of tea or coffee made for you without asking.
Never underestimate those people who walk into your lives and make it home, however brief their stay.
The ” I saw this and thought of you “mention,
That breakfast in bed you were not expecting,
That sunny morning you awoke to and conversely that rain that refreshes the humid day.
The breathtaking splendor of a sunrise or sunset or thunderstorm when the skies put on their light display for you.
The unfailing love of a Saviour,
The times spent happily doing nothing much with your favourite people.
Slow down. You know the cliché ” Life is short”. But be grateful. Count your blessings even if they don’t immediately spring to mind.
All of the former are signs of love. People may not always voice their love and care for you but take note of what they do and what you do for them.
That is theirs and yours love language.
Do not underestimate it.
Many years ago I was a college student. Known for my chattiness, my tendency to stay up late and my proclivity for procrastination. It’s not that I wasn’t capable of working hard or of getting good grades. It was just that other things seemed more appealing.
My inclination to leave my homework to the last minute possible began at the end of high school and it seemed carried on until college.
In short, I lacked discipline.
From what I recall one holiday season we were given a project to do for college and it slipped my mind. I don’t know what else I was doing instead but it wasn’t my project anyway.
About a week into the new term my fellow students began handing in their projects. Not tiny slim files but thick bulky files of what looked like copious pages of work .
My heart sank as the forgotten project came to mind. One of my classmates was kind enough to lend me her project notes as a guide so all I had to do was a similar thing in my own words.
You would have thought this scare would have been enough of a kick up the backside to get going….. But oh no.
Tetris had just come out on gameboy (told you I was old!) so my free time was taken up with that.
The night before the project was due, yes you read that right, I sat down in front of one of the only computers and started typing. I typed and typed and typed. It was a long project. It took me several hours. I think I finished it roughly 7am the next morning. To say I was tired was an understatement.
Of course it was all my own fault. I’d like to say I’ve learnt since then. That is probably the most sticky situation I’ve been in……
It was my usual Friday morning ritual. I sat and heavy handedly applied maple syrup to my pancake laden plate. Bob, my border terrier sat perched on the window ledge above my sofa that had quite frankly seen better days when I first had it. A little large for the sill his paws dangled precariously over the radiator behind it. It was his favourite spot claimed long ago in his puppy days, as soon as he was big enough to climb up and toast himself in the warmth of the sun or radiator depending on which was giving out the most heat.
I’d never intended to get a dog. My girlfriend had dragged me to the rescue centre. The tiny puppy lying miserably in the corner tugged on my heartstrings and a dog named Bob came home.
He was occupied in his favourite hobby, yapping excitedly at the family of blue jays in the eaves of the house opposite. He was entranced with their comings and goings wagging his tail so furiously his perch threatened to dislodge him.
I studied him fondly mid chew. He was anxious for his morning constitutional and I was running late. His lead dangled from his mouth as he continued his survey of the street, a vestige from his puppy days. His right ear was half cocked as he curiously watched the postman emptying the mailbox. I had a stack of mail I needed to post piled on the breakfast table beside me. I tutted at a few drops of milk that had broken free from the milk jug and slightly smudged the ink of one of the addresses. I was hopeful one of these job applications would lead to something. It was no fun being out of work these days.
Deciding I’d sort the dishes later I rose from the table, grabbed the nearest coat and shoes and whistled to Bob. “Come on boy, walkies!”.
This post is inspired by a daily prompt called a dog named Bob . It had to be written in 20 minutes and had to include the words, a dog named Bob, mailbox, blue jay, plate, syrup, ink.
When I was a child and read a story I was happy and satisfied if the book ended “and they all lived happily ever after “. I could close the book and imagine Snow White or the heroine in domestic bliss with Prince Charming and all her babies.
The trouble with growing up is we eventually realise that life is not a fairy tale. If we are lucky we will experience some wonderful moments in our lives but we will also experience some awful, terrible moments too. Moments that will make us want to slam the book shut and hurl it out of the nearest window.
And what is happiness anyway? Surely it is different things depending where we are in our life’s journey? The superficial things that made me happy as a young child are not the things I am passionate about now.
If we are only happy when we buy things or obtain the newest technology eventually the buzz will fade and we will have to go shopping again to regain that thrill. If we are only happy when we have a certain career or certain people in our lives what will happen if they are suddenly taken from us?
The Bible has a verse that is fitting for this situation. It speaks about not storing up treasures on earth where moths and rust destroy and thieves break in and steal but rather store up eternal treasures in heaven.
Happiness, I have found is usually a fleeting emotion based on a certain combination of elements producing an idyllic time or moment. Joy or contentment however are entirely different and not based solely on our current circumstances. We can choose to see the good in things, we can choose to look for blessings where they seem to be deeply hidden. It is simply a matter of retraining our thinking and cultivating an attitude of gratefulness.
Sometimes I am aware of being in a certain place with a select group of people and the thought comes to my mind “I’m happy now”. Bizarrely it always seems to be at a time in my life where outward circumstances should conspire to make me feel otherwise.
For example, the end of the month will see the end for us as a family to a situation that has been hanging over us for almost 2 years. Not knowing the outcome I should be living in fear and dread at what might happen. Instead I am taking each day as it comes and trying not to anticipate what might happen. I am not afraid. Whatever happens, we will be OK. We are a strong family unit, we deeply love each other and that will see us through. That and the fact that I also believe God is in full control and He will bring us through, however our happiness rates on the world’s scale.
This post is in response to the Daily Prompt – Happily ever after.