Ten Ways to Tell that You’ve Had a Successful Summer Recess

You know you’ve had a successful summer recess when:

1. You spent less time in the emergency room this year than last year
2. Your house looks like Genghis Khan rode through
3. You have bright, shiny new graffiti on your walls
4. Your laundry is threatening to break out of the laundry room
5. You still can’t find where that smell is coming from
6. Your cupboards are bare
7. Your neighbours are still talking to you
8. You managed to put together an acceptable school uniform
9. You opened your last jar of coffee on the day they went back to school
10. And despite all that, all you can think about is going back to bed to catch up on some sleep!

Congratulations. You’re a survivor.

The Box

Memories and feelings
All wrapped up in cotton wool
And bubble wrap;
Gently placed inside the box
With polystyrene pieces
And packs of desiccant;
Sealed and marked,
“Do not destroy,”
And archived.

For now, I have no need
Of memories or feelings;
Now that you’ve gone
And left me all alone
To face the bleakness of a future
Filled with sadness,
Filled with tears,
Filled with grief,
And uncertainty

Maybe, some day,
Our great grandchildren
Will look inside
To marvel at the love we shared.
“How quaint that they should be
Together, Oh so long!”
And give us pride of place
Upon their shelves
And mantels.

Or maybe you and I
Will reunite
To open up the box
And let the memories rekindle
The love that bound us
Together, forever;
To set the feelings free
To flood our hearts
And souls.

‘These three remain:
Faith, hope, and love;’
Anchors for this lonely soul
To which I cling with calloused hands
That long to feel
The softness of your cheeks.
Faith, hope, and love
That soon we’ll reunite
In Paradise.

I know many of my readers will have read this when I first wrote it.

It was originally written (with a different photograph) as a tribute to friends whose long and happy marriage tragically ended when she lost her battle with cancer.

Recently, however, it has taken on new meaning for me and I wanted to share it again. I hope you understand.

You can read more of my poetry here

You Are Not Alone

Royal Crescent 1

When we are struggling to cope with the things that life throws at us, it’s easy to think that the whole universe is conspiring against us. We know it’s not true. It simply feels that way.

I spoke with a woman, recently, who raised this very issue, but from a more balanced point of view. She rightly pointed out that she feels that despite trying to do good to others, bad things keep happening in her life. But then she explained that when she sees what some people have to endure she realises that she’s not so badly off,  after all.

It’s a lesson we should all learn. I’m not suggesting the concept that some people have: That there is always someone worse off than us. If that was true then who is in a worse position than the person in the worst position? It’s a specious argument that only wastes time in pointless reverie. It leads to no real gain. It’s a nonsensical debate. I’m sorry if you believe in such a form of meditation but I’ll cover that in another article.

Yet we do need to be realistic. Our problems are real. They do exist. And they do cause anxiety. But we need to be careful not to see the whole of our lives in one day’s worries. Yes, we have problems, and yes, they may be long term. But consider this: If you made an appointment with a doctor, a bank manager, a counselor, or any sort of adviser, how many other people would be visiting the same consultant within hours, or even minutes of your appointment? Why? Because we are not alone.

Ok. Let’s accept that our problems are real and they cause anxiety. But look around you. All those people also have problems. Maybe they are not the same as yours. But to those people they are just as worrying. Whether it’s chronic illness or chronic finances, it’s just as worrying.

What makes the difference between coping and not coping is our viewpoint. We could turn inward and think that we are alone. Or we could look around us and appreciate that everyone else is suffering in some way, too.

Read Widely

British Library

When it comes to peace of mind the advantages of reading can be very underrated. Reading slows down the pace of life. It creates an oasis in the desert of our existence. It gives us the time to sit quietly and breathe, activities known to calm shattered nerves.

But, to be effective in developing inner peace, our reading must not be hurried. Take time over it. Savour the words and phrases. We need to imagine ourselves in the scene. Even if our reading material is academic we can still drift into the picture by imagining that we are explaining the material to someone else.

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