Follow up post – matters!

I started writing this post yesterday. And then, due to a chain of events beyond my control, I had to stop. By the time 7pm rolled around, I was just too exhausted to ‘be present’, and so here I am…. editing as I go…. finishing what I started 😉

On Wednesday morning, I wrote and published this post.
By lunchtime, in my mind, there was so much that could be added to it, so much more that needed explaining properly, the realisation that I had probably not expressed myself correctly.
And as I lay in bed in the dark, trying to still my mind and drift off to the place where all my dreams come true, ( gee, I wonder why 😛 ) I concluded that the post should probably be deleted, for a multitude of reasons.

It wasn’t written properly – my posts are very seldom what could be called well-researched though : most of the time, I just speak from my heart.
It would probably be misunderstood because it may have come across as a contradiction to the other things I say.
It probably wasn’t ‘clear enough’ in general – no one would relate in any way, and the lack of clarity (and seeming contradictions) would probably unleash quiet judgements and disappointments in me/my character.

I woke in the morning, determined to log on and delete the post – hoping that those who had already read it would still visit my blog again sometime.
But first, I needed coffee. And I needed to attend to the ‘Mom’ side of life – so I got my daughter going, got myself ready, took the girls to school (my daughter and her friend), put a load of washing on and gave the dogs their breakfast.

I logged on to WordPress, and found a comment on my post that had me reeling, in a good way. From a regular reader whose blog can be found here.
Read. Love. Livethe above is why your words meant so very much to me.
AND…
Your words reminded me of something that has become so very special to me in the last few months – words from another dear friend and blogger :
If you helped one person from their brokenness and despair to the place where they realise their potential your life would be a life well lived.”
(I actually have this printed out and stuck on my bedside cabinet so that it is the last thing I see at night, and the first thing I see in the morning.)
Those words have come to mean so much more to me though than just ‘brokenness and despair”.

They are a constant reminder to me that I cannot change ‘the world’ for everyone, but I might be able to help make it a little easier for at least one person!
That I may not be able to make a difference to a multitude, but I can make a difference to someone, and that matters!

And so my post remained, because Read. Love. Live commented – and the real shocker for me was that they found it the most relatable post thus far!
I probably could have deleted it… because I had my ONE person. But I decided to let it stay, just in case there was someone else… and there was. And then I thought, ”Well, who knows… maybe in a few months someone else will stumble upon it and need it, so I’ll just leave it right where it is.”

Some feedback on all the ”perhaps” parts of the original post :

I reached out to two of my ‘close circle’ – who both live about twenty minutes away from me, but I don’t get to see them very often because our schedules seldom coincide. Ha ha ha! (And of course, there’s currently a pandemic!)

But I reached out to them realistically.
I knew neither one could actually practically help me. I also knew that they probably couldn’t help offer solutions simply because the things I have going on have not been a part of their own personal life experiences.
So there was no expectation that if they responded, things would magically disappear or change.
And I also didn’t expect ‘proper’ responses – because I understand ‘life happens’, being busy with commitments happens and has no reflection on whether or not they are ‘making time for me and love me’.

These two friends are a mother and daughter. They have been in my life for 24 years now. And yes, we have that friendship where we can go a month without talking, and you’d never say it when we do get together, or get to chat – other than the amount of time we spend together because hey, a lot happens in a month! 😛

The ‘mother’ friend is in her early sixties. She’s been like a mother to me, but most of all, like a friend. She’s young for her age 😉 In fact, I often ‘forget’ how old she really is, until things happen with her health, or in the case of the pandemic, and someone has to remind me that it’s ‘because she is older now, you know’. On the odd occasion when we get to catch up, she’ll leave her house at 10am, telling her husband she is coming to me… and he’ll ask, ”What is there for supper, because I KNOW you won’t be home in time!” HA HA HA! And he’s right…. she usually leaves at about 8pm that night!
I sent her a message asking if she was free for a call, and she ended up calling me instead of replying. We spoke for just under two hours. We were apparently both on downhills, and we were both cross with each other for not letting the other one know 😛 Neither of us could help each other with the issues at hand in any way, other than this : genuine sadness about each other’s situations, and then a brief trip down memory lane with a good few giggles.
And the agreement at the end of our chat was that we both felt like we had just had a great big hug.

The ‘daughter’ friend is in her late twenties now – I met her when she was just five years old! Now she’s married, and has a little three year old boy of her own, who my teenage daughter adores. The ‘daughter’ friend is like the sister I never had – and like me, has two much older brothers and so she feels the same way about me. She’s my baby sister, and I am her big sister – I don’t think I ever fully appreciated my role in that until a month ago when she phoned me for advice, and I gave her my honest opinion based on personal experience, and she replied with, ”Well then that just confirms for me what I already knew – thank you. You are someone whose opinion I really value, and I know I can trust what you are saying. It’s so nice having a big sister to talk to!”
I had NOT reached out to her, because she was at work. Her mom got to her first, and that evening I got a surprise voice note from her! It made me laugh out loud :
”If Blake wasn’t sick at the moment, I’d have stopped at your house on my way home and slapped you upside the head! WHY haven’t you told me everything that has been going on? Mom filled me in, and I know I can’t help with the issues, but what CAN I do?”
A few voice notes later, reminding me of things from the past that had ‘worked out’, and made me a better person, and how hope truly never leaves this silly old heart of mine which is something she admires, and well? It helped me get off my butt on that downhill so that at least I was standing! ❤

And those conversations were exactly what I needed for yesterday’s chain of events when I got knocked down – because I just got straight back up again 😉
(In my mind there is a medley right now…. ”I get knocked down; I’m still standing; I will survive) 😛 😉

Interestingly enough, the song I Will Survive was originally released a couple of months after I was born 😉 And I just copied the link and the last three letters in it are my short version for MY name! meg! (I’m still processing that little titbit! 😛 )

I’ll end with these words that I have read a few times in the last few days, by a lady named Rachel Martin :

”Your day doesn’t have to be perfect to have meaning!
Showing up matters
Giving matters
Trying matters
Loving matters
Being there matters
Perfection doesn’t matter
YOU MATTER.”

Thanksgiving Thursday

It has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

In my country we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving. There is, however, an awareness of it – probably most of the credit for that going to the wide variety of American movies we feast our eyes on.
(Up until a few years ago, Halloween wasn’t really acknowledged either – and then suddenly our shops were filled with the decor! There is still no official trick or treating though, because of huge safety concerns.)

But because I have an American spirit 😉 it is a holiday I have always acknowledged in my house. Not fully – because there is no such thing as Thanksgiving decor or meals… but I make an effort and make something of my own. We have never tried pumpkin pie though – mostly because my children refuse, so I’ve never bothered with making it. This year, in celebration of this special day, I shall. And although I will force feed a teaspoon of it to each, I am almost certain that my all my meals today will be pumpkin pie – pretty much the entire thing for only my consumption 😛

What you may find interesting to know is that South Africans have only recently jumped into the Black Friday traditions. I think it was about ten years ago when I first heard of Black Friday – and I’ll admit it, I thought it was to do with racism. 😛 I had no knowledge of what it entailed and so that was my first reaction. After some discussion, I understood more and knew better, and so when it arrived in SA I wasn’t outraged like many others.

Black Friday only became ‘a thing’ here about four years ago. Our deals are nowhere near as good as those overseas though. So far, it’s been relatively successful for retailers, and an absolute nightmare for consumers. In a third world country where most things very seldom ‘work’, overpopulation is a problem and crime rates are exceptionally high, Black Friday is now another day where ‘the bad stuff’ just escalates alarmingly. Add to that the pressure of our failed economy and most people having so little and being after deals for survival, it’s more than the usual reported US chaos. It’s no surprise to me that non perishable foods are apparently at the highest percentage when it comes to sales here.

My children are caught up in the hype and buzz, and both wish we had an abundance of money to spend on all the sales – because, ‘we can save 30%’ if we shop tomorrow, Mom’! To which I usually reply,

“We can save 100% if we just stay at home, and don’t visit any online sales.” 😛

But back to Thanksgiving….

I found this story and I wanted to share it, because it speaks to my heart and as you should know by now is very much in keeping with the way I feel generally :

When Mrs. Klein told her first graders to draw a picture of something for which they were thankful, she thought how little these children, who lived in a deteriorating neighborhood, actually had to be thankful for. She knew that most of the class would draw pictures of turkeys or of bountifully laden Thanksgiving tables. That was what they believed was expected of them.

What took Mrs. Klein aback was Douglas’s picture. Douglas was so forlorn and likely to be found close in her shadow as they went outside for recess. Douglas’s drawing was simply this:

A hand, obviously, but whose hand? The class was captivated by his image. “I think it must be the hand of God that brings us food,” said one student.

“A farmer,” said another, “because they grow the turkeys.”

“It looks more like a policeman, and they protect us.” “I think,” said Lavinia, who was always so serious, “that it is supposed to be all the hands that help us, but Douglas could only draw one of them.”

Mrs. Klein had almost forgotten Douglas in her pleasure at finding the class so responsive. When she had the others at work on another project, she bent over his desk and asked whose hand it was.

Douglas mumbled, “It’s yours, Teacher.”

Then Mrs. Klein recalled that she had taken Douglas by the hand from time to time; she often did that with the children. But that it should have meant so much to Douglas …

Perhaps, she reflected, this was her Thanksgiving, and everybody’s Thanksgiving—not the material things given unto us, but the small ways that we give something to others.

Readers Digest

Here’s wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving, and plenty of pumpkin pie.

But most importantly, I wish you the opportunities to share and care, to express kindness and love, and to be the recipient of sharing, caring, kindness and love too.

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Photo credit : oprahmag.com

tentacles of life

Many years ago, as soldiers fought in the heat of the jungle, they experienced something very frustrating, to say the least. It was bad enough that they were hunting, and being hunted, by an unseen enemy. But they also had nature to contend with. There was a prickly vine that would attach itself to them, trapping them in such a way that the more they struggled to get free, the more the plant would send extra tentacles to entangle them. They named the plant the ‘wait-a-minute’ vine because they were not able to move forward and would have to call on their team members for help. “Hey, wait a minute, I’m stuck!”
Now if they didn’t ask for help, they’d probably die of starvation and thirst eventually.
They called out for help though. But what would the result have been if, upon arriving on the scene to help, the entangled soldier did not allow them to help? Yes, death, but this time with an audience. (we all know they never would have watched their man die, but for the purposes of this blog, let’s just go with my chosen outcome 😛 )

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We all get stuck sometimes. Things happen in life that
send unseen tentacles our way that entangle us and
prevent us from moving forward.

Retrenchment, a failed relationship, the death of a loved one – these are only three in a very long list of life occurrences that can have detrimental effects on our happiness and general well being if we don’t handle them correctly.

Acknowledging that you need help and asking for it is NOT a sign of weakness – it is in fact a very strong and courageous thing to do. 

These occurrences will often have emotional responses attached to them. It’s important for us to be careful of the effects our responses may have on our hearts and thoughts, and the impact of that later on in our journey.

We shouldn’t make permanent decisions based on temporary emotions.

And getting back to those soldiers…. it’s easy, particularly in the blogging world, to pour out our hearts and our emotions and acknowledge that we may need help in certain areas because of external influencing factors. It’s easy to tell our friends, ”I lost my job today. I may need to call on you for some help at a later stage.”

The actual act of doing so is where it gets tough.

Because it makes us vulnerable. Because there may be a learning curve attached to whatever it is we are going through in that moment. Because we may actually have to deal with something painful within ourselves so that we can grow. And because human nature is proud and stubborn.

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Photo credit : picturequotes.com

Being able to admit you need help is half the battle won. But if you keep saying ‘no’, you’ll never win the war.

You’re going to stay stuck.

And if you choose to just give up on that tentacle that is weighing you down – ”I’ll never find another job with the current unemployment status of my country”?

You’re going to stay stuck.

The most important part of getting unstuck though is this : moving forward.

The soldier acknowledges he needs help – ”I’m stuck”! The soldier then accepts help – his mates thrash away at those tentacles and eventually free him. But then…the soldier HIMSELF is the one who has to move forward.

I wish I could tell you that moving forward when you’ve become unstuck is easy. It’s not. These tentacles usually bring with them a fair amount of emotional pain. But these tentacles are very often the obstacles that are representations of opportunities for personal growth. And we all know that personal growth can be painful. A big part of accepting that help is also accepting the need for change within yourself – a change in attitude, if you will.

It’s not the time for flight. It’s the time to fight. To reassess your values, put an end to the limiting belief that ‘it will never happen’, embrace your mistakes and challenges, and continue on in hope. In the words of Mahatma Ghandi :

It’s the time to be the change you want to see in the world.

 

 

 

 

 

Shipwreck

The ship was sinking. Fast.

It had been slow at first…the water seeping in through a small hole…
But the pressure had built, and now something so small had grown into something large enough to create chaos and devastation.

In what seemed like a shorter space of time than what it actually was, the ship took one last look at the magnificent orange and red hues of yet another almost perfect sunrise. It disappeared beneath the depths of a very large ocean, immersing itself in the dark depths below.

And sometimes, this is life.

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