“I am only one, but still I am one.
I cannot do everything, but still I can do something.
And because I cannot do everything,
I will not refuse to do the something I can do.”

Edward Everett Hale

Friday, 30 November 2012

Thank Goodness for Friends

I've had a busy week. In fact, I've had a busy month. And I would not have got through it, had it not been for the love and support of my family and friends.

I am reminded of the beautiful words of the Arabian proverb:

"A friend is one to whom one may pour out all the contents of one's heart, chaff and grain together, knowing that the gentlest of hands will take and sift it, keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness, blow the rest away."

And also of Roy Croft:

"I love you, not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you.

I love you, not only for what you have made of yourself, but for what you are making of me.

I love you for the part of me that you bring out;

I love you for putting your hand into my heaped-up heart, and passing over all the foolish, weak things that you can't help dimly seeing there, and for drawing out into the light, all the beautiful belongings that no one else had looked quite far enough to find.

I love you because you are helping me to make of the lumber of my life, not a tavern, but a temple;
Out of works of my every day, not a reproach but a song.

I love you because you have done more than any creed could have done to make me good, and more than any fate could have done to make me happy.

You have done it without a touch, without a word, without a sign.

You have done it by being yourself. Perhaps that is what being a friend means, after all."

Thank you; thank you all.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Making the Best of Who We Are

Today I was in my local supermarket, doing the weekly shop. One item that I wanted was at the back of a top shelf, and those of you who know me in the flesh will know that I am vertically challenged - only a little bit over five feet tall.

So it was way out of my reach. Then I had a sudden sense of being loomed over, and a very tall young man in the supermarket uniform came up behind me. I asked him whether he would be kind enough to reach the said item for me, and made a facetious remark along the lines "It must be nice to be tall."

Then he blew me away, by turning and smiling, and saying quite simply "We have to make the best of what we're given, and give thanks." It felt like a moment of deep sharing. Then he gave me the item and walked away, before I could thank him for the good lesson he had taught me.

We have to make the best of what we're given, and give thanks.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Thank you!

Every morning, when I log on to my computer, the first thing that I look at is Clare Law's blog, Three Beautiful Things http://threebeautifulthings.blogspot.co.uk/. Every day since 2004 she has recorded "three things that have given me pleasure", and I love being reminded that there is so much in life to be grateful for, to be thankful for. As she says: "Gratitude is not just for Christmas. It works because it's about noticing what the universe does." Let me share a typical day's entries with you (Alec is her young son):

"1. Alec and I have had fun this morning. As I am carrying him to nursery, I say: "I wish I didn't have so much to do this afternoon. I'd like to keep you with me to cuddle and nuggle and read stories."
He replies, quite firmly: "Bye Mummy."

2. To finally sit down and sew that bloody button back on.

3. The crystal water jug is standing where the sun falls on the table. The light splashes around the room, shuddering, dancing, laughing at me."
It's a new way of looking at the world, of appreciating your blessings, and being grateful for the wonders and joys of everyday life. For we live in a world of wonders.
And in the last few months, I have been trying to take a leaf out of her book, by recognising God / the Spirit at work in my life every day. Mostly these are things to be thankful for, but I am learning that sometimes they are things that challenge me to look at my life whole, so that I can grow into the best Sue Woolley I can be. And I try to be grateful, although it is often hard.
So today I wanted to record my thanks to Clare, for starting my day with a smile, and to Meister Eckhart, the 14th century Germany theologian, philosopher and mystic, who wrote "If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough."
Thank you.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Accepting Change

It seems I need to take my own advice ... at the moment I am finding it very hard to accept some forthcoming changes in my life.

For me, it is quite easy to embrace change on a work level, but much harder to do so on a personal level. And it is all around me. My friend Linda is moving back to the States at the end of the month, and my two children, no longer children, are both in the throes of applying to university. And I am happy for them all, but very sad for me. To be truthful, I have been wallowing in self-pity, which is never good.

A crowd of sorrows (image from creativeeveryday.com)

So I turn to Rumi's wonderful poem The Guesthouse for comfort:

This being human is a guesthouse
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
Some momentary awareness
Comes as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and attend them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
Who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture,
Still, treat each guest honourably.
He may be clearing you out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
Meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
Because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.
Welcome difficulty.
Learn the alchemy True Human Beings know;
The moment you accept what troubles you've been given,
the door opens.
Welcome difficulty as a familiar comrade.
Joke with torment brought by a Friend.
Sorrows are the rags of old clothes and jackets
that serve to cover, and then are taken off.
That undressing, and the beautiful naked body underneath,
Is the sweetness that comes after grief.