Every Cloud…And All That Claptrap

Muslim woman looking thoughtful.
Photo by kilarov zaneit on Unsplash

Sorry, sorry, SORRY for being so lax about updating you with my own particular brand of mayhem over the past few weeks. You know what house moves are like, and then there’s the day job, and an overdue revisit to my fiction writing. Added to which, some weeks it is just so hard to pull the words together, particularly when I strive (honest!) to make good news the focus.

I know that my ramblings sometimes pertain to my personal frustrations about bad news, but on the whole, my medication and a desire to live a more harmonious life for the sake of my mental health, lead me to try and see the brighter side of life.

However…it’s impossible to ignore the dark cloud over NZ at the moment. I’ve been ruminating about it, and I’m still not certain what we are supposed to take from this shocking act of terror, other than (the fact that there are c..ts out there that don’t deserve to breathe the same oxygen as the rest of us), to acknowledge the incredible ability to forgive of those most directly affected by it.

I assume that in the wake of crises such as these, there is little choice other than to pick yourself up and go on in the best way you can…if you can. But let’s also not forget that the magnitude of some acts of evil is so great that those left behind find it impossible to forge a path ahead. No one can fail to have been moved by the recent loss of a mother to suicide after the murder of her children by their father and of the two fathers who lost their children in school shootings.

But we are given one life, and our job here is to make the most of it.

Forgiveness takes courage, faith and maturity – particularly in the face of such a terrible act of depravity as the one in Christchurch. And while I’m not a religious person – nor particularly forgiving – I do see the ability to forgive as an upside to religion – even if it does find itself so often at the core of these atrocities.

Fortunately, however, not only do such tragedies offer a reminder of the bad in this world, they demonstrate the good and the generosity of spirit in most humans, as well – no matter what their beliefs. And I am certain that the stoicism and forgiveness shown by the bereaved relatives and friends of the victims will have an influence, and ultimately makes us better people.

Obviously, I can’t move past what happened without mention of Jacinda Ardern – my poster girl for all that is wonderful in this role – and her role in picking up the pieces of those broken hearts in NZ. A woman who epitomises great leadership, Jacinda has proved once again the value that women have to offer to politics and positions of authority. And let’s hope that when Gladys Berejiklian takes up the mantle of NSW Premier formally, she follows Jacinda’s lead. We need more women like these to represent us. While Gladys’ politics may not be to everyone’s taste, she appears to be a woman who is capable, fair, and with the right amount of empathy to tackle sensitive tasks – even if, at times, her spending habits are questionable.

Perhaps, more significantly, she appears to be a politician who listens.

But back to forgiveness – a process I am struggling to extend to the scientists who admitted this week that they don’t really understand the extent of the danger of eggs on our health. Although, thanks to Egg Boy, they have been given a new purpose. And while I’m on the subject of the often questionable work of scientists and their research – space, anyone? – allow me to also extend my personal thanks to the researchers who discovered the benefits of cheese this week.

Every cloud…and all that claptrap.

Forgiveness And The Ability To Say Sorry

valentines-day-3135789_1920 (1)Ask any member of my family and they will confirm that one of my biggest faults is my lack of forgiveness and more pertinently my inability to say “sorry.” It is not something I can deny, and neither will I apologize for it – obviously.

 

Perhaps my absence of empathy in this regard has something to do with my star sign – because Leos are renowned for their arrogance – perhaps it is a defense mechanism that I have developed over the years to prevent myself from getting hurt, or perhaps it is because I lack any spiritual influence in my life.

 

Don’t worry, I’m not the sort of crazy that scratches cars with sharp knives or sews out-of-date prawns into curtains. No, my punishment of choice is much more evil. It is the punishment of silence and eternal banishment to another kingdom, never to be heard from again – so, as you will appreciate, not an attractive quality, and not one that I am not particularly proud of.

 

The old man has certainly experienced the brunt of my anger on many occasions and once NC and I endured a four-day sulking match when she was still barely out of nappies. However, maturity and the loss of some dear people in my life has taught me that we don’t always get the chance to say “sorry” – which is something that terrifies me, particularly when my grudges, (in hindsight), are particularly shallow. So, while in years gone by I could justify ignoring my father for years, these days I force myself to thaw out quicker and extend the olive branch, ever-conscious of the fragility of life.

 

That being said, the attitude of the father of the family killed in the murder-suicide last week astounded me. Because I’m certain I would struggle to employ the word “forgiveness” in the same sentence as the alleged murderer’s name, a matter of days after my four children had been murdered in their beds. As you know, I am the staunchest supporter of mental illness, but I cannot condone or excuse murder or domestic abuse on any level. Perhaps, I might muster some small sense of pity on my own deathbed, but in no situation could I see myself forgiving such a heinous perpetration of my family’s human rights and trust in the immediate aftermath of such a tragedy. As the police have confirmed that the father is not a suspect in the tragedy, I can only attribute his quick response to shock, medication or faith. Yet…if he has truly managed to find forgiveness, I have to commend him.

 

It is important to remember that ‘just as important as defining what forgiveness is, though, is understanding what forgiveness is not. Experts who study or teach forgiveness make clear that when you forgive, you do not gloss over or deny the seriousness of an offense against you. Forgiveness does not mean forgetting, nor does it mean condoning or excusing offenses.’ What it does do, however, is ‘bring the forgiver peace of mind and frees him or her from corrosive anger.’ (Greater Good Magazine)

 

The wisdom and clear-headedness (!) of age confirms the futility and danger of anger to both our mental and physical health and offers us the alternative solution of removing toxicity out of our lives completely, rather than trying to maintain the perilous ties of a damaging relationship. I am an expert in this field. From British stock – hence, over-apologetic and terrified of confrontation – whenever I have found myself tested and unable to handle the emotional fallout and consequences of relationships-gone-bad in the past, I have either stuck my head in the sand or walked away and severed the tie completely.

 

However, the problem with that approach is its capacity to leave us very lonely, which is (fortunately) when that wisdom of age can step in again to remind us that some relationships are worth egg on your face and fighting for, and to stop acting like a dickhead.