This morning I had an illustration of how important it is to be alert to the inner voice. This morning I was in the kitchen preparing my coffee as normal and I turned on the TV. I had a choice of BBC breakfast TV or looking elsewhere which was in this case TWI short for Transworld International, a religious station broadcasting 24/7. I want to make it clear at this point that I do not ‘do’ religion, I seldom if ever attend church and yet I do have a faith that works for me based on Christianity. Funny to recall that Jesus was not a Christian but a Jew. There was a preacher on at that time, Rev. David Jeremiah, talking about the world and our attitude to it.
He pointed out that the word ‘world’ was used in the New Testament in three ways. First as a description of the physical planet, secondly referring to the human beings of the world and their state and thirdly the ways of the world in other words the entropic trends.
He mentioned the text in Matthew’s gospel “blessed are those who are hungry and thirsty for righteousness”. He pointed out that it did not say “Blessed are the righteous” though that should be obvious. It is the hunger and thirst that is blessed in other words the effort. On this particular day at this particular time that was exactly what I needed to hear. I felt the burden of guilt about my shortcomings lifted from me and experienced an overall feeling of freedom in that moment. Amazing, un-planned and unexpected.
If we extend this example to others. You never know what effect your words are going to have on others. I almost give up hope for those buried in the mobile phones because I think they’ve switched off the world. I’m talking about normal conversation and that we should never be frightened to say what we think for fear of offending people. So long as it is said in a loving way and supportive way, and that they know that we love and care for them, it should be well taken.
On the topic of mobile phones, I was very heartened to see that in France the use of mobile phones will be banned in schools as from March next year. The head teacher concerned was saying that during the breaks, numbers of children are seen to be standing on their own staring into their devices and that is really not what playtime which is a time for bonding and relaxation is all about. I would love to see phones banned as an experiment for seven days just to see what would happen. As I said before, I refuse to wear earphones and listen to music while I’m in the street because I think we have a duty to be aware and available for others should they need it, not to mention the presence of friends and acquaintances who might pop along at any time.
This night of blustery showers to an open evening at the Writhlington secondary school where the amazing variety of orchids are displayed. These youngsters of 15 and 16 are considered world experts, capable of teaching school groups in for example South Africa.
To the S’ton Easton Garden group for our Christmas party with entertainment by a small music group, the singing of carols which we got into tune most of the time, a potluck supper where everyone brings along something. It is amazing how although people have no awareness of who was bringing what, the result is always a balanced repast. We had general knowledge quizzes, songs, and a raffle.
I talked with a jovial young man and his wife, who was a piano teacher of children and adults. I told them about my diary writing and the young man told me that he would find it too much of the discipline to keep a regular diary. I respond that that’s what I would have thought prior to starting but it has now become part of my end of day routine and I cannot not do it. I said all you have to do is to write a sentence and another sentence follows. Most of the time it almost writes itself but it is not a labour and it is not work, just a joyful expression. I said that you benefited from the experience itself, summing up the experience when you write about it in the later on revisiting the experience and enjoying it again.
On the way home, we did a short cut over the hill from the venue to home. The lane floods regularly when there is extended rain as there was today. Water rushes off the fields and runs along the road. If you drive very slowly you can get through most so-called floods provided the water is not more than 8 inches deep. So on we drove in the moonlight, avoiding fallen branches in the road and admiring the lights of the town to our left. A crystal clear evening and a perfect end to a busy day.
Christmas time is normally the period when I get depressed, particularly the time between Christmas and New Year. This year, I hope I’ve got enough self awareness to avoid this void. I think the trick of avoiding depression is being aware when you’re going to fall into it and catch yourself before you do by a combination of self-discipline, removing any state of mind akin to self-pity and doing something positive.
Today I went to see a job in Wellow consisting of cutting 80 m of hedge bordering a lane reducing it from about 8 foot high to 4 feet. It is a job that a tractor and a cutter could do in about 10 min but the lady concerned did not know any friendly farmers or contractors so manual labour it has to be. The customer is a delightful lady of about 85 and told me that the house could be identified by a sculpture of the Virgin and Child over the front door. I hope she accepts my quote. The price I have quoted is not low but the work is hard and will take a long time, about three days with an assistant. At least it will pay for our Christmas costs. If we don’t get it, something else will come along. It normally does.