It’s not fair.

I am told by my parents that when I was a child, my catch-cry to any given situation was “It’s not fair!” Maybe it’s something to do with being the youngest and feeling hard-done-by because my youngest often says the same thing.

And I’m still saying it, but hopefully without the whine and over more important issues than what face a normal eight year old ๐Ÿ™‚

Life is not fair. Categorically true. What goes around doesn’t always come around. Good people have bad things happen; bad people have good things happen. Wealthy people win the lotto; those battling to pay the rent lose all they have in a natural disaster.

Life is definitely not fair.

It’s not fair that we in the western world enjoy the life we do, while so many on our planet struggle to feed their children and find shelter each night.

It’s not fair that people right here in our backyard live below the poverty line. Or that people who most need their jobs, lose them. Or that those who have already suffered great loss, lose another family member.

Fairness and life seem to have nothing to do with each other at all.

So, if life isn’t fair and is unlikely to ever be so, what can we do to alleviate the pain of others going through unfair things?

Listen. The power of a listening heart cannot be underestimated. Sometimes, we can help practically – make a meal, run some errands, babysit children, but in amongst those practical things, we need to take time to simply listen to the pain of another.

And that is not an easy thing to do, which, I suspect, is why we would rather be ‘doing’ for them, than listening to them. It is hard to listen to the anguish, knowing we can do nothing to change it, that life is simply unfair. It’s hard to hear the tears of a life ripped apart. It’s hard to not rush in with advice and a list of things the person should do.

But it is what is required of us, if we truly want to be there for our friends and family. And we all have the capacity to be listeners. It takes some practice to be silent, to simply sit and listen but we all have it in us.

Life is not fair and there will be many times we will need to confront that, either for ourselves or someone we love. Listening and just being present in the face of unfairness is no small thing and, often, the greatest gift we can give someone or be given ourselves.

Acceptance and change

Loving people is tricky. We talk about love so flippantly. We treat relationships and people so casually that the lines of love have become blurred, it’s real meaning clouded.

To me, loving completely is a paradox. How do we fully love someone and accept their faults and shortcomings, yet still urge them towards their own self betterment? How can the two objectives live side by side?

Like I said, tricky.

It seems impossible to live with both acceptance and rejection. Accepting the faults with one hand, looking to encourage change with the other.

Yet, love isn’t real unless it is calling us to be our better selves. One thing I take note of when watching a couple is – do they encourage each other to be their best selves?ย That is a good indicator of real, true, honest love.

Real love does not tolerate behaviour that causes us to deviate from our best self. It embraces all of who we are, whilst simultaneously urging us onto higher living.

To find an example, we only need to look at the parent/child relationship. Parents (well, good parents!) accept their children, warts and all, yet will discipline and correct behaviour ย that is not for the good of the child. Any parent of a teenager will have uttered the words “I’m doing this because I love you” and it is true, despite what the teenager thinks at the time!

Loving people in the truest sense does not mean condoning and supporting bad behaviour. That’s not really love at all. There is some truth in the term ‘tough love’. Sometimes love doesn’t feel like love at all.

So the next time the one you love, gently, or not so gently, points out something that might need changing in your character/life, before you react, think about whether that person loves you. They may not be ‘picking’ on you just for the sake of it, or saying you are an all round bad person.

It just might be that it’s their love you are hearing.

Remembering

Today is one year since my friend Trish passed away. I feel like it has been a mere blink. I had intended to spend some time reflecting and remembering her and the times we enjoyed together.

Back in the day, when our girls were just 7 and happily chatting and giggling, we would sit and drink tea, talk about being mothers, wives, about friendship, washing tips, dinner options and sometimes, the bigger issues, about life and purpose.

As the girls grew, our conversations changed to include problem solving the issues that raising adolescent girls brings, and laughing at how the time had flown between barbie dolls and bras.

I miss her.

When I thought more about how to spend the day, I wondered what she would suggest I do. And then I knew.

I arrived at my daughter’s school late morning, requesting she be sent to the office with her school bag. I wrote ‘family reasons’ in the space on the form to sign her out.

And that’s exactly what it was…a family reason. I wanted to spend time with my beautiful daughter, just her and I. To savour and appreciate her amazing nearly-15-year-old self.

We went to the movies and saw a romantic film, where we both ‘appreciated’ the lovely Channing Tatum ๐Ÿ™‚

And it was good just to be together, to do something fun and girly, just her and I. She is, and is becoming, an awe inspiring person. One whom I am mighty proud to say is mine.

If Trish were here, we would stand back and look at our beautiful girls in amazement, smile at each other and shake our heads. “How did we manage that?” we would say to each other.

So, this one is for you, Trish, in remembrance, in celebration and in gratitude for all you gave to us both.

 

Home.

So I arrived home late Sunday after finishing my week at the coast by having the family there for the weekend. I brought the girls home and left the hubby behind where he will now enjoy a week on his own.

After an absolute horror of a drive home (read: two and a half hours stationary in the pouring rain on the highway due to an accident ie a two hour trip, turned into a four and a half hour trip), we arrived home, tired, hungry and, okay, maybe a little testy. Not at all the perfect ending to my week of bliss I had imagined.

As I sat in the car on that highway, I could feel all my relaxation and de-stressing unravelling behind me like a dropped ball of yarn. A headache had emerged and was enjoying jackhammering my skull from the inside. Thoughts of work started pressing in. Back to reality with a thud, you could say.

But.

I thought…No! This is NOT how it’s going to be. I am not going to let it go, I said. I will not allow that week to be wasted.

So, here I sit, at my desk at work, and I feel pretty good. Sure, I have spent the entire day so far answering and sorting emails, and I need to concentrate on the tasks at hand but I can still maintain some calm, some serenity amongst the work.

It won’t last. I know that.

That’s why I have already said to my husband that I will be doing the ‘week away by myself’ again.

Every month ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

Day five and six

So the days here have passed predictably quickly and I find myself staring down the barrel of my last day here by myself.

I have been interested to note the little routines I have created for myself. I find this surprising as I am not really one for routine, especially on holidays, so I had a chuckle today when I realised what I had done.

The days have pretty much gone like this:

Rise sometime between 7am and 8 am, make cup of tea, take back to bed and read for an hour or so.

Shower, get dressed and head to the coffee shop for usually two lattes and some fruit toast. (Except for that one morning I deviated and had an instant coffee in the unit – disastrous!).

The night before I would have decided on one activity for the day eg walk the surrounding area to see what’s there (Monday), hot stone massage (Tuesday), movies (Wednesday), car drive to who-knows-where (today).

So from the coffee shop I would head out to the designated activity and be back at the unit sometime around lunch or early afternoon.

Then it would be reading and writing time, listen to some music, drink wine or cups of tea.

By about 4pm, I would walk to the beach and spend an hour walking the shores.

At about 5 or 5.30, order tea – thai, fish and chips, indian – and back to the unit to eat it, with a glass of wine, of course.

See? Routine.ย We really are creatures of habit, aren’t we?

There were things that changed though. The sea, who is now in a much happier state than when I first came; the shells on the beach and the spots where they congregate are different every day; the people in the coffee shop; and me.

I’m different every day. I have stretched my thoughts out in my head like a wad of gum, pulling it first one way and then another. Expanding my thinking on some issues, contracting it on others.

So while externally, I have found a little routine, that has allowed me internally to be as free as I like. The space to think and just be (things we don’t always get to do in our normal lives) has been an exquisite pleasure.

To simply be. No expectations, no demands. Just being.

Bliss.