The Wedding

The recent status update of a friend of mine was: Loving all this royal wedding business. More of it I say. It’s such a nice change from all the floods, cyclones, Tsunamis, earthquakes and ferals killing kids. I’m disaster fatigued and I reckon we all need a nice wedding to soothe the soul. So Tiara up friends, it’s party time.

I read that and thought how right she is. I must admit, whilst I am certainly not an anti-monarchist, I don’t have much time for the royals. I find the whole ‘royal’ thing rather archaic and wonder at it’s relevance in todays society, certainly in light of all the unrest and significant issues facing the UK at this moment in history.

And yet…maybe, like my friend said, we are all disaster fatigued and sick of hearing about the heartache around us, due to both natural and man-made causes. Maybe a bit of a royal wedding, complete with horse drawn carriages, a flowing white dress and more pomp and ceremony than you can poke a stick at, is exactly what we need.

We do need relief from the onslaught of problems and catastrophies that assail us whenever we turn on our tv sets. We need something to tell us that there is still good out there. That sometimes a commoner can snag a prince and that fairytales can come true.

As it turns out, I am going to a Tiara and Tea event on Friday night. I originally said yes because I love being with the people who will be there but maybe now I will go, with tiara firmly in place and teacup in hand, to also enjoy watching a simple girl marry a prince and give myself some reprieve from the problems of the world and believe, even for just one night, that sometimes life can be like a Disney movie.

Hope

I recently had the pleasure of attending the wedding of my friend’s daughter. It was just lovely; the bride was glowing, her parent’s were teary, the groom was puffed up with pride, and, as usual, the little kids tried to steal the show by shedding suit jackets, ties, shoes and belts in the middle of the ceremony at centre stage.

I have known the bride since she was seven and it was wonderful to see her all ‘grown up’ at twenty four and taking the big step of a marriage commitment.

The atmosphere at the wedding and subsequent reception was one of optimism. With both families overjoyed at the union, there were no negative undertones or conflicts. It was refreshing to be present at an occasion where the main ingredient of the day was pure joy and hope for the future.

The day caused me to reflect on hope and what it means to the human psyche. The emotion of hope is a significant one to us as people, and one that is often underestimated.

The dictionary defines hope as: –noun: the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best; –verb (used with object): to look forward to with desire and reasonable confidence.

Basically, we need hope. Without it, why would we strive for anything in the future? Hope keeps us going. If we do not have hope, we would not plan, dream and ultimately, act. If we had no hope of ‘happily ever after’, would anyone make a commitment to another person for a lifetime? If we had no hope, would we put money aside and save for that overseas trip? Would we make business investments and plans? It’s in the sportsperson who trains every day, in the hope of being good enough to make the Olympic team. It is in the persistence of a suitor with his eye firmly on the hope of attracting the attention of the woman of his dreams.

It seems to me, that hope is one of the very essentials we need for survival. Social workers will tell you that it is the teenagers bereft of hope who often partake in the most self-destructive behaviour. It’s the adults who have had hopes and dreams stripped away who slide into depression or even alcoholism. It’s the societies whose governments have abused the people’s goodwill and hope for the future that are thrown into civil unrest.

When people around us, or ourselves, are dealing with the various difficulties and challenges life can bring, we need to be mindful of the power of hope. Our resilience in apparently ‘hopeless’ situations is astounding, as is our ability to thoughtlessly take another’s hope away. Sometimes, hope is all we have to cling to when our world has been shaken to the core.

Hope, by it’s very definition is optimism for the future. Helping sustain another’s hope is one of the best gifts we can give. Standing shoulder to shoulder with someone as they look disaster in the eye, spurring them on and being a voice of hope when theirs drops to a whisper, is an important privilege bestowed on those who choose to take it on. We can do much for those we love by simply not allowing them to lose hope. Let’s give hope where we can and look toward a bright and vibrant future, no matter how dim and dull the present may be.

Looking out and looking down

We have just returned from a little mini getaway. It was sheer heaven. Miles of white sandy beaches, more rockpools than we could feasibly explore in four days and an exquisite lack of other beach goers.

It is amazing how far one can walk on a beach. Time seems to slow down, legs don’t grow weary and children don’t seem to grumble about being hungry or thirsty.  With a mixture of clambering over rocks and just walking on the sand, we found the days melting into one another and our little holiday stretched into that lovely feeling of timelessness.

One of our favourite pastimes was looking for shells in the rockpools. By unspoken agreement, we would each find our own section to scour, risking life and limb as we traipsed barefooted over slippery rocks in search of the ultimate prize. And prizes we found. Shouts of “Look what I found!” would ring above the roar of the waves and we would leave our posts to inspect what lay proudly in the outstretched hand of another. Once each find was suitably oohh-ed and aahh-ed over, and safely stowed in the ‘shell-bag’, our heads would once again be bent over the rocks, and the race would be on to be the next one with a treasure to show.

Spending so much time looking down over the last few days has renewed my appreciation for the small things in life. I spent much time gazing out to the horizon, too, and was struck once again by the enormity of our oceans. Looking out at the sea brings home how big and glorious life is, the beauty of the seascape is simply breathtaking. Yet, delving into the little pockets of sealife in the rockpools also filled me with awe and wonder. The tiniest shell that is an iridescent blue; the perfectly formed curves and sheen of a cowrie shell; the crabs with their shell-homes on their backs scuttling in and out around our feet. It is all full of astounding beauty.

Looking out to see the big picture is inspiring and important, just as it is important to remember to look down and appreciate all the ‘little’ treasures life has for us. Whether looking out and seeing the glorious big picture or looking down and seeing the smaller things in life, we can gain a sense of just how much in life there is to breath in and enjoy.

Eating humble pie

Humble pie isn’t very palatable. We have all had to take a slice from time to time; and sometimes it’s just a small, slither of a slice, other times it’s a huge, chunky piece. The humble pie I needed to serve myself, just yesterday, was of the huge, chunky piece variety, and, frankly, it didn’t look particularly appetizing and I really wasn’t looking forward to having to ingest the horrid thing.

The friend I apologised to was her usual gracious self. Her attitude really made a difference to the taste of that pie – a bit like a big, ole dollop of cream on top, making the whole experience much easier to swallow.

Being gracious didn’t mean my friend simply excused my error or give me platitudes to make me feel better, rather, she acknowledged what I was saying and she certainly didn’t disagree that I had been wrong! I felt heard and by not simply brushing my apology aside, her acceptance and subsequent forgiveness was real and genuine.

The next time someone does me wrong and then approaches me with a slice of humble pie in hand, I will be ready with my bowl of cream so I can make their eating experience a little more pleasant and meaningful, too.

Humble pie really is good for us, with or without the cream, but, honestly, who likes to eat any pie without cream on top?

Happiness

I have recently made contact with an old school friend, someone I lost touch with when my family moved to Queensland. Catching up on 25 years worth of news was wonderful, with many more conversations and memories yet to be shared, and laughed at!

I was struck at the end of the conversation by how easy it was; picking up the threads of our past, weaving them into our present and choosing new coloured threads for the future. Some souls never forget each other, even though the space between conversations can be 25 years wide.

During the floods, we made some new friends and although no history is shared, barrring that week of isolation, there is a connection and firmness to the friendships that, I think, doesn’t happen that often. Some souls instantly connect, even though the space between meeting and the present is only a few months distance.

For me, life is all about relationships; the relationships between us and others, between us and nature, between us and ourselves. Successful relationships are those that somehow traverse and navigate the juxtaposition of keeping ourselves happy and keeping the other person happy. It is true that we are responsible for our own happiness and that true happiness and joy are not external things that happen ‘to’ us, rather, they are internal things that happen ‘in’ us, yet the art and practice of making others happy is significant in our relationships. If all we did was keep ourselves happy, we would be living in a society full of divorce, disunity, and selfishness – oh wait….we are.

Some schools of thought are big on the “Well, if I’m happy first, then I am a better mother, wife, sister etc.” True to a certain extent, yet all around me, when I look hard enough, I can see people who place another’s happiness before their own. These are the people who seem to be the happiest, who have found peace and the joy that comes from giving. When you really boil it all down, what else do we have in life, but those we love and who love us and at the end of the day, keeping ourselves happy will really only get us so far.

Once we really and truly reconcile ourselves to the fact that we need each other, that our very existence on this planet relies on our co-dependency, only then will we see real change in our societies and relationships.

Who are you going to make happy today? 🙂