I have shared before that I love connecting with people and it’s one of the reasons I blog. I have missed my blogging community these last two weeks due to being called into work full-time, as illness and holidays struck. As a result, I wanted to write this post about the constant stream of relationship which goes on in our worlds, not just within our blogging community, and how through love, acceptance and being present, we can make the world a better place. This week I had a great many conversations with people, some new to me, some not, so the following is some insight into this stream of connection, the revealed ups and downs of relationship:
~A young Greek mother of 2 young children and her older mum. Both had flown up to north Australia for the daughter to perform in a Greek dancing festival, replacing a much younger girl who couldn’t make it. Her mother said “She was like a queen”. She was so proud and clearly this mother daughter bond was alive and well. No wonder this young woman has a real sense of presence and strong sense of self about her, with a mother who thinks so well of her and tells her. During the same conversation, the older mother and I traded our fear of flying stories and high fived each other in encouragement. She shared how she had struggled on the short flight with a deep anxiety. I congratulated her on her achievement, facing fear and making the trip.
~A woman who seems to live in a disappointing relationship, bored by her husband and his older ways. But I wondered about her ‘boredom’ and lack of real connection with people, replaced by absorbtion in her work, a rather poor substitute for real people and real connection. I wondered at what emotion her boredom really covered.
~A young woman embarking on the possibility of a new relationship. Her muted excitement, her sudden joyful hope. I notice her self-care ramping up as she begins again to wear make-up. I notice her brighter smile.
~A nun who is a dear friend of mine and who has been really ill and failed to ask for help or even notify people. She had collapsed at home and lay unable to seek help for 4 hours, before she could drag herself to the phone.This same woman has visited the dying for years, without renumeration, just as an act of love. She has impacted on many lives. I used to work as a volunteer with her so I know the hours she put in and the difference she made. And yet, when she needed help, she wouldn’t ask for it???
~A woman with major back pain, who had to get a cortisone injection to overcome the enormous pain. The day she had the injection, she went home to rest, only to find that next door they were cutting down three trees and so electric saws would be going all day. Really, what are the odds??? So, though unable to sleep and recuperate, she still struggled into work.
An old woman and her daughter who were shopping together. I could sense a respectful tension about the daughter (probably aged in her fifties) as though she never quite felt good enough around her mother and she certainly evidenced a real lack of self-confidence in my conversation with her. There was a weariness about her and a resigned tone in the way she spoke with her old mother. It seemed as though there was an underlying competition between them and the daughter had long ago resigned herself to not being good enough to match her mother. And yet, I also sensed a love and respect between them and it reminded me of both the frailty and tenacity present in all our relationships. All relationships which survive, seem to do so because both love and acceptance of the other’s failings or brokenness, has been in place. Relationships which survive allow space for each other’s less fine attributes and still see the full wonder present in the other. I am not talking of abusive relationships here.
~A woman and her husband who are building a new home for their 6 children and are struggling to cope with moving while the old one is pulled down and the new one re-built. The mother is simultaneously grieving her father’s death.
~A man who is dating a woman 10 years older, at the same time claiming he still hopes to marry someone young enough to have kids….he’s 40 and never been married. He still lives at home??The woman is accepting the situation, in hope that he changes, but in full awareness of his agenda. I wonder at why this bright attractive woman is prepared to accept second best?
~A mother whose daughter is getting married in two months
~A young mother who is breast-feeding and struggling with fatigue but loving motherhood.
~A woman who speaks four language but not the language of gentleness and patience as I witnessed her jab someone in the back with her key because the woman was in her way.
~A young man who has hopes about his future and yet struggles with the study.
~A young girl embarking on an overseas trip with her boyfriend, the prediction is that he will probably propose while overseas.
~A woman who is dying due to cancer.
~A man who fears he is losing his memory as he ages.
~A woman who had just attended a funeral.
~A woman who was hurrying to make it to tuckshop (school canteen) where she was doing her duty for the fifth child.
~A couple who have travelled extensively, talking about and sharing their travels. The woman was Italian by birth. Her husband Australian and he loved going home to the country of her birth.
~A lady who was planning a trip to Tasmania and asked me advice based on our recent travels to Tasmania. I was able to share some accommodation information for which she was very grateful.
~A father planning to take his family around Tasmania who had borrowed our trip plans to replicate and use as a guide. He phoned to ask about one section of the trip.
~A mother who left her husband for another man and suffered serious guilt and anxiety over her decision and its effects on her family.
~A young woman who is concerned about her mother who is too easily slipping into relationships with men.
~A narcissist who, no matter the conversation, always took the other person’s discussions into her own world….eg ‘ I’ve just come from a grandmother’s funeral’…..narcissist’s response…’oh, I remember when my mum died’…..eg ‘my mother fell down the steps and broke her foot’ narcissist response ‘oh yes I know how it is when my son broke his leg while riding his bike I was told it was the worst break the surgeon had seen and we spent months ……’ you get the drift. Never is she able to stay present to the other person’s world and I see the look on the face of the person she completely misses.
~A group of woman laughing hysterically about shared embarrassing moments. When one of the women had returned to pick her child up from pre-school after a dress up day where he went as a policeman, the teachers had been mightily amused because when they asked her son where he got his uniform from, he had replied that the policeman hat had been borrowed from his friend, the gun was a toy gift from his friend and the hand cuffs were from his mother’s bedroom. They were in hysterical tears over it but she valiantly tried to explain, that in her bedroom she kept a box of toys, including the plastic handcuffs, for her young kids, to keep them amused, while she cleaned her room and got dressed. She’s pretty sure those teachers are still laughing.
So, in conclusion, we are all humans trying to make sense of life’s ups and downs, births, deaths, marriages, new beginnings, closures, endings, changes, wounding, healings…all of it is part of the colour of life. It seems that, even the sad and painful aspects of life, can be made good if we choose to learn lessons and find new directions and new healthy choices to make. Pain can often provide a glimpse into our own inner world. Being grateful and accepting of every minute we live, may just be the most peaceful way to live because if we are not arcing against what life offers, we will be both open to learning and be more accepting of each other.
I wish you all the best this week and I promise to try to catch up on those posts of yours I’ve missed. Thank you for reading. Below are some photos from our trip to China, where some 1,351,657,890 people live, also living with struggles and joys and life with all it’s colour.
Chinese woman working in a silk factory
Chinese Buddhists worshipping at their temple in Shanghai
Another view of the Chinese Buddhists during worship. I wondered about what each one was all praying for, what dramas were present in their life or what they were giving thanks for.