Categories
grateful gratitude

How to be grateful when life isn’t being fair

Photo looking across a wooden fence through trees that are just starting to turn autumnal towards a waterfall. Taken by Diane Woodrow
Swallow Falls, Conwy, taken by myself on Sunday 10th October

I’ve been having a quiet rant to God on behalf of a friend. I’m not sure if she’s ranting too but I am. Last week her youngest daughter gave birth to her first child in her early 40’s after years of trying; miscarriages, IVF, etc. But then at the start of this week my friend’s dad died suddenly. It isn’t fair, I am shouting into the heavens. Why can’t her and her family enjoy the awesomeness of this miracle baby just for a few months without having to deal with grief? Why???

The season in GodspaceLight is gratitude, and I know I’ve also written about gratitude on here in various guises, but my thought for today is “how can I/we be genuinely grateful when life is being unfair?

But then as I walked the dog in the park this morning I experience the second awesome sunrise of this week and also had a heron fly from the pond almost directly in front of me. It got me thinking – I only get to see the sunrises on my dog walks now because the days are getting shorter, daylight hours are getting less. And I can marvel at how there are amazing colours in the sky for a good 20-30 mins before the sun rises officially. Even if I get up in the summer really early the sun doesn’t do that same thing of filling the sky with colour and light earlier than it pops its head up. If it wasn’t for that shortening of daylight hours I wouldn’t get to see this. So a place to be grateful when the dark is getting more?

Also what I felt when all this was going on around me is that yes life isn’t fair but there are good things going on in the unfairness. It reminds me of the fact that the trip to Paris to launch my daughter into university was marred because my father-in-law died that same weekend, so when I look at the picture of her grinning over a very very frothy cappuccino I think of his death too. Life throwing one of its unfair curve balls.

So all I can say about how to be grateful when life is being unfair is to accept and grieve in the unfair bits, the death bits, the darkness, but also be grateful in the sunrises, the births, the trips to Paris.

Both are allowed. Both are ok. It is not ‘either or’ but ‘both and’.

A few years ago I supported another friend though the first year after her husband’s suicide and we cried lots but we also laughed lots. We were able to be ‘both and’. Even now when we meet we do both – laughing and crying – more often than not in a public place

So I will hug my friend as she grieves and laugh with her as she delights in her new granddaughter. Together we can accept that life isn’t fair and that there are sunrises and there are sunsets. Somethings are beautiful and some things are tragic. That we do not live in a world where only good happens and somethings we have to deal with both things at once. But we can do it!

And for that whole humanness of who we are I will be grateful

Categories
accepting humble Talent

Talents

A photo of a boot print in soft sand with a piece of seaweed nearby. photographed by Diane Woodrow
Taken by myself on Conwy Beach in September 2021

This post is really a follow on from my post on 7th Oct about Sharing One’s Achievements. It’s taking it one step further and unpacking it more

My poem was one of the top 7 poems pick from hundreds and hundreds – so many in fact that they needed to extend the decision date – from the Science Museum’s National poetry competition. You can find it here – https://www.sciencemuseumgroup.org.uk/blog/celebrating-national-poetry-day/

Of course I was very pleased and have been moving into sharing my achievements rather than keeping quiet about them and hoping others just happen to come across them, which is what I used to do. Then I would get upset that friends and family didn’t know what I’d done. But of course I hadn’t told them. So I shared far and wide, and my mum and others shared onwards too. A comment from one of my Mum’s friends was “What a clever lady, just to look at an object like that and then give it a voice” My response was to say that I “found it a natural thing to give the pot personality. I do it with all sorts of random objects.” But it got me thinking about how my Mum’s friend and others don’t do that sort of thing. And yes I do do it was all sorts of things.

It got me wondering about how many things we can just do we take for granted rather than celebrate. For instance my seeing inanimate objects with personalities, being able to cook up an amazing meal from random ingredients, people being comfortable sharing their stories with me. And I am sure there are things about me that others see which again I just think that’s “normal”.

My husband retains facts and is a whizz at University Challenge, complicated maths equations, learning new things on the IT/engineering front that I can’t tell you about because I don’t understand them. He takes it as obvious and will say something really sciencey and then say to me “isn’t it?” and I just have to look back dumbly. But also he can’t remember where he left his keys or his phone!!!

But I need to not be upset that I don’t know all these techy, clevery sciencey things the same as he should not be upset that he can’t do somethings too. We all need to celebrate who we are and what we can do.

I did a post ages about about being humble, which I can’t find, and explored how when we are told in the Bible, or elsewhere, to “be humble” it isn’t about being self-effacing but it is about honouring our achievements. It is ok to boast and say “I’m good at putting character to intimated objects” or “I’m good at learning technical things”. The same as it is good to say “I don’t get technical things and often think it is working in the dark arts” or “I really don’t see how you can give a pot a personality”.

So my suggestion today is to look at what comes naturally to you, realise this is a talent that you have, then tell yourself how amazing you are to be able to that. Then if bold enough tell others that you can do X and realise however small it is a talent. Remember the story of the talents in Matthew 25:14–30. Everyone had a different number of talents and the only reason the person with one got in trouble was because they didn’t use that one talent.

So get out there boast about that talent, share that talent and who knows we could start a talent revolution, changing the world one confident step at a time.

Categories
accepting Achievement

Share One’s Achievements

Bronze bell jar from Science museum group collection
https://collection.sciencemuseumgroup.org.uk/objects/co129140

I wrote a poem a while ago about the above object. I sent it off hoping but not expecting to win anything. But I have! Out of hunderds of poems of a high quality, so many that it took them a week longer to decide which seven poems to publish for National Poetry day, mine was one of those picked.

Check out https://www.sciencemuseumgroup.org.uk/blog/celebrating-national-poetry-day/ to read mine and the other six.

I had planned to do a blog post today [my hope is that I do at least one post a week regularly, but promise nothing – even to myself 🙂 ] So thought I could share my poem here. My plan was to just share it in a blog post and leave it at that, hoping that people would see it. But then something in me whispered “share it with everyone” and as I am trying to ‘listen to my heart/inner self’ I thought I’d go for it. So it has been shared on Facebook, with those in my writing group, via email to various friends and on to WhatsApp. I might have even shared further but don’t have any other way of sharing.

Yes it has been lovely getting the messages back that say how good the poem is and congratulating me, but what it has also got me thinking is about how often we share our successes.

I think it is more a British thing than an American thing but we too often work on the “don’t be too proud”, “don’t show off”, “be humble”, etc. And then, I don’t know about anyone else, but I get upset when others don’t notice what I’ve done. But then how will they notice what I’ve done if I don’t share it. Yes the email that said ‘Congratulations’ will know that they are some anonymous person who I might never meet. I want/need/expect my friends and family to be proud of me, to be pleased for me, but if I don’t tell them how will they know.

Being one who, a few years ago decided that I’d do New Year Resolutions all throughout the year, I have decided that my 7th October Resolution is to be more open about sharing what I achieve, sharing my success. And my hope from it is that I will start a revolution where we all stop being so self-effacing and to be proud of what we achieve, what we do and most importantly be proud of who we are whether we win competitions, whatever success criteria we base our lives out. Instead let us be proud of who we are, what we can do and get on a be.

I suppose this is a blog that continues from What Have I Achieved? and is now looking at ‘What Am I Achieving Now” and taking it onwards and forwards.

I will finish with a photo of me with Abergele’s mayor and mayoress outside The Gift Shop, Abergele. Alan, the mayor, who is a huge encourager of people, suggested I get in touch with Tracey who runs The Gift Shop to promote my book, The Little Yellow Boat. But not only did he encourage me to do that he then was the first person to come and buy a copy of the book to get it out on Facebook for advertising for this Saturday’s event when I will be in the shop for two hours signing books. He not only encourage but supported too. And I do think that if I am going to go forward with shouting about my achievements I need to also get behind others to shout their achievements, to encourage them and to help us all take a step forward into realising what amazing people we all are and what an amazing world we live in.

Photo of Mayor, Alan Hunter, Mayoress Cheryl Hunter, author Diane Woodrow, her dog Renly, outside The Gift Shop, Abergele promoting Diane's signing of her book on Saturday 9th October 12-2pm
Also found on https://www.facebook.com/LittleYellowBoatBook/