Posts Tagged ‘forgiveness’

The Four F’s of Christmas

December 14, 2013

Ah, the season of good will, the celebration of the arrival of the Messiah, or a very naughty boy; the time for excess and extravagance. Yes, Christmas is upon us with all its glories and terrors. I’m sure we can recall some shockers from the dark recesses of our past, but let them stay there: lingering to remind us what not to do, what to avoid. This year, my dears, as I appreciate my abundant life I am focusing on four simple things: family, forgiveness, food and fun.

pink treegreen tree

Family, which does include the sub-set of friends for this post, is the centre-piece of Christmas. In a chat in my new (and normal) staffroom it’s clear we’re all spending the bulk of the Christmas holiday (Christmas Eve to Boxing Day) with our families. It’s a time for gathering together, for traveling to a centre point where we spend a few days together, kicking back, relaxing: being a family. We catch up, chat, laugh, eat and drink. We pair off for a while, help in the kitchen, take the dog for a walk. It’s a time to be in the heart of the people you love the most, the ones who love you as you are, just as you love them as they are.

family

The spirit of Christmas is strongest in the heart of your family – as long as you make it happen, as long as you don’t take them or being together for granted. And don’t forget those who are far away – make sure they know you’re thinking of them too. Which of course is so much easier these days with the ubiquitous Face-Book and the lovely Skype.

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Forgiveness is perhaps more relevant to me this year than in previous Christmases. But a year of tumbling down, of troubles and worries, of struggles and sadness; of people near and far acting aggressively and maliciously I come to Christmas knowing forgiveness is the right choice. Carrying the anger and frustration and pain of injustice from others does me no good. It won’t be doing you any good either. People are thoughtless: those you despise and those you love too. You are as well. So, as in the prayer, forgive others, as you would have them. It lightens your load, it lightens your life. It will stop Christmas exploding into anger and sadness. (Picture is not related to topic, just a nice one of my girls hugging and Terry)

forgiveness

 

Food is my favourite part of Christmas. For many years I have been queen of the kitchen, presiding over my dominion with pretty much absolute and imperial authority. I do take requests and I do consider others, but I am the one who decides, the one who does, the one who presides. Now, it is a bit tiring but I love it. I like the run up, the looking in the supermarket for what’s possible, reading new recipes, making my lists, stocking up and the timing and doing. Not to mention the eating. Oh, yes, dear friends, as my pictures denote, I am a devotee of food. Cook it and very much, eat it.

This year we’ll be enjoying roast pork, turkey leg and breast roll with stuffing, baked spuds and seasonal veggies, carrots, brussell sprouts, Yorkshire puddings (a new arrival, on request this year) apple sauce, gravy; egg and bacon pies, little cheesy biscuits, corn fritters, mars bar cheese-cake and my tropical punch designed to drink all day to make you mellow, not fall over before lunch. Oh, and we’ll have a big eggs and bacon breakfast. Possibly too much, but what the hell, as long as there’s left overs for Boxing Day, all is good.

food

Fun is of course different things to different people. In the golden olden days when my beloved and I were young, it was the afternoon in the pool with glasses of the aforementioned punch the kids and friends before we spent an evening playing a very enthusiastic game of Trivial Pursuit. For many Boxing Days I would watch the start of the Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race with my dad and glass of bubbles and a plate of left-overs. Sadly that won’t happen again.

fun

Now we indulge in Charades, which took my daughter’s boyfriend some time to come to terms with; we play Articulate, sometimes Scrabble, but always in teams. We walk the dog, we sit and talk, we tease each other and laugh into the night, and given how bloody cold it is at this time of the year in this silly country we, don’t go outside much at all.

fun2

There are, naturally other F’s of Christmas, but I might leave that to your fertile imaginations. Happy Christmas to you all, be safe and take care of those you love most – you can never be sure how long you’ll have them. (Pictures from Private Collection)

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Friendship – the art of infinite hope

November 18, 2012

I have reached such an age and lived a life such that I have friends across the planet and across quite an age range.  I consider this part of my life to be both essential and empowering. To have friends is to be affirmed, to be loved, to be accepted for who you are. Friends are as important as lovers and family.

Friendship is as much about forgiveness as about sharing and doing things together. We all manage to hurt those we care about, whether through carelessness, or some degree of malice. Being alive, being in relationships means we fall out, we drift apart: we forget why we were friends.

Watch small children, teenagers – what hurts them the most is not bullying (another blog) but when they fall out with their friends. They hate being shut out, ignored or forgotten. Often they don’t really know what’s happened or why – why the nasty comment, the not invited to the movies, the silence in the room?

As a parent the very worst thing is when you can’t mend or fix things for your child, when you can’t make their friends like them again, or explain why they’ve behaved as they have.

 

It’s also one of the mysteries of our own life – why do we fall out with our own friends? Consider the following:

Distance – when we move apart the closeness and sharing we once had becomes difficult unless we’re willing to work to keep the friendship going. FaceBook has overcome this to a large extent and we should be grateful for that but we’ve still got to post regularly and send messages to keep the love going.

Romance – this is a killer! Your friend’s partner (or your own) may not like you, or you them and it puts an enormous strain on friendship. There are ways around this, mainly to do with patience and kindness and a strong desire to keep the friendship going. Remember love is blind – for all of us – and sometimes your friends endure longer than your lovers and even when you do settle down you still need your friends. Being a friend when your friend has a boor or a fool or a bitch for a partner can kill the strongest friendship.

Core beliefs – this is where essentially you do not accord with your friend on a fundamental basis about questions of ethics, morality, politics, religion. If you see the world too differently it can push you apart. You can adjust to an extent but if it is fundamental to who you are, ie you are a confirmed tree loving Greenie and your friend is all for progress and business development then your friendship will fundamentally fail.

Trauma – illness, death, divorce, some of life’s nastier moments rent friendship in two. Sometimes your friends (you?) cannot muster the strength to be there for your friend when they need you most. Seeing your friend struggling through chemotherapy, getting over a stroke, dealing with the loss of a child or spouse can be too hard for some of us. We can hover at the edges, send flowers, bake a casserole, do the garden but when the trauma is on-going as these matters usually are, we need our friends to hang in and not everyone has that sort of stamina. Perhaps they feel that being too close will somehow taint their lives too?

Treachery – a wide and encompassing category. Sometimes our friends let us down so badly, they betray us so deeply it is a treasonable offence. The friend who steals our lover or partner; the friend who chooses the side against us; the friend who smiles with us but gossips about us; the friend who is so charming and beguiling it takes us ages to work out they are under-mining us, telling lies, betraying our secrets and trust. Treachery comes in many shades of crimson.

But sometimes, sometimes we can come back from these things, sometimes the core of our friendship survives. Sometimes, and usually this is after time has passed and the wound has healed with the scar barely visible, we can find our way to let our friend back into our lives. Forgiveness comes in many colours of blue, shade of forgiveness that heal us as well as our friends.

Time allows the pain of betrayal, of being let down to fade, and if we’re lucky the good times of the friendship find their way back to the surface of your life and you can have your friend back again. But perhaps with a more cautious heart… (Images courtesy Google Images)

 

Let’s Stick Together

March 18, 2012

Not just a fabulous Bryan Ferry song but another piece of advice in an occasional series about staying married and sticking together throughout it all. For better and worse, remember…

Do things together. Why have you got together if you don’t do things together? It can be as simple as having dinner together, walking the dog, or grand passions such as golf, fishing, the theatre, as well as the number one doing thing together: having sex, loads of it for as long as you can. It is important!

Do things apart. You need time away from each other. Do things with other people; keep your friends, your interests. You don’t become an extension of the other person, only able to exist with them, because of them – that way boredom and resentment lie. Sometimes extended time apart is a good things too – a trip away – to remind you both of what you have in each other. Absence, of a timed nature, does make the heart fonder.

Don’t be afraid to fight. If you don’t fight you’re not involved, there is no passion and what are you doing together? Are you sure there’s nothing to fight about – are you letting things wash over you for the sake of a quiet life? Be careful of this – this is the road to resentment and ruin. Fighting is essential to clearing the air, to sorting your differences. Fight frequently but small, don’t let things get so out of hand that fighting means the end.

Forgiveness has its own time. You must make up but we need our own time to get over things. Some of us have quick recovery rates, others take a while to bounce back. You can’t make your partner get over your fight in your time, you have to let them work through it. But that doesn’t mean they sulk for days, or play no-speaks. Knock that right on the head – it is corrosive and controlling behaviour, don’t stand for it. But don’t badger them either.

Agree on the big things. This means things like children, getting into debt together, where we live, what our moral and ethical compass is. These things matter, you need to have some ground rules about what is important, if these are deal breakers then go your separate ways as these are unlikely to change. If one partner is forced into a big thing by the other it will lead to disaster, sooner or later. Don’t force the other one to have children if it’s not their scene, they will resent you, the child and everyone’s life will be shit. Travel and spending patterns can be the same, as can personal indulgences. Agree about boundaries, allow some wobbles but be clear about your own bottom line.

Let little things go. This can be so hard to do! But you can’t harbour resentment over every missed kiss, lack of flowers, not having sex every night of the week, buying the wrong CD for your birthday (Doctor Hook, really dear, when did I ever say I liked them?) A missed compliment, not shaving for three days, snoring, a forgotten arrangement doesn’t spell the end. Remember all the things that work, the little kindnesses along the way – always better to see what is there, than concentrate on what’s missing.

Be truthful. Trust comes from truth, but softly said and wisely placed. Small lies hurt no-one – two drinks at the pub when it’s really four is fine, claiming the shoes were only twenty dollars when really they were fifty is acceptable too, but a child by your housemaid (Arnie) is not really okay at all, is it, nor is some truth from the past that could rear up and rip your head off. Even if you lie to yourself, avoid lying to your loved one – they’ll only lie to you and you’d hate that, wouldn’t you?

Remember why you got together in the first place. This is really important. As the years go by and we age and crumple, fatten and thicken, our sparkle dulls we need to look back to those magic moments from the early days. Remember how you used to feel, what it was about them that made your heart race, that made you never want to be without them. Those things are still there, if a bit hidden from view. Have dinner out, spend time together, reminisce, be nostalgic, hold hands across the table. Remember no-one else knows you as well as this person does and still loves you just the same! (Images from personal collection)