We are back home again. The luggage is unpacked, the body clocks reset, and the photo processing has begun. The holiday won’t be forgotten any time soon. Time for a change of direction on the blog though.
I’m feeling a little philosophical this afternoon. A shared morsel of wisdom then from one who is getting steadily richer in years, and in the process has discovered he is a slow learner.
It’s something of a wonder to have finally realised that the deepest satisfaction in life is found in relationships. I don’t mean the sort of relationships where one is ‘in’ or ‘out’ of; the stuff of Facebook; celebrity magazines; agony columns and the like. I mean the unconditional love shared with my wife Sue, and with children and grandchildren; the comfortable acceptance of relatives and friends; and the gentle caring chats I experience with colleagues and a range of sometimes unlikely other people I encounter from time to time.
Memories are made of these things. Life has substance through them.
I swallowed so many myths earlier in my life that kept me from seeing the important things. Fluff and bubbles, mostly. That’s not to say there was no truth in any of them. I wouldn’t recommend totally disregarding them either. Its more a matter of balance and of assigning priorities.
Here are a few that have lost some of their shine:
1. Be cautious, follow the rules, don’t take risks, be good, stay safe (in the process fail to grow).
2. Take yourself seriously (and fail to realise it’s not all about you).
3. Compensate for feelings of inadequacy by chasing achievements and goals you hope will impress others (they aren’t looking – they are too concerned about themselves).
4. Keep others at a safe distance (they might see who you really are and like what they see).
5. Devalue the power of grace and forgiveness (thinking instead you must earn acceptance by being someone you are not).
I carry the scars of experience. I realise I have wasted much time and effort in life chasing the wrong things and respecting the wrong rules. Finally I have arrived at a calm certainty that the point of life lies in relationships and in love given and received. Looking back, the rest seems, at best, to have been a distraction; a waste of time.
I can’t help being thankful to God for persevering with me in the meantime and not giving up in exasperation. Not that it can be said I’ve arrived at any point of final enlightenment yet either. Something tells me there are one or more lessons still to learn.
I’m a slow learner I guess and some of you will have tumbled to all of this long since. Anyway, as I said earlier, I am feeling a little philosophical this afternoon.