Life can be so hard sometimes but it can be so easy too. Things often seem more difficult or hard to deal with than they actually warrant. We ourselves can make life’s situations more difficult but if we could just stop and think things over we might find no problem really insurmountable. In every area of our lives this is so. However, it is one thing to overcome everyday situations we feel we could not previously handle and another when it involves others. Relationships with fellow humans can be fraught with difficulties especially where there is a clash of personalities, ideas, beliefs and so on but it shouldn’t be that way. It is a matter of how much we really love the other person, do we humble ourselves and put them first even if we know they are wrong? As Christians we are told to love one another, to love our neighbour (which is everyone else living on the planet) and in doing so honouring Christ. It doesn’t always work that way as anyone will tell you. I was watching a television program whilst waiting for another program to begin and it was called ‘Nightmare neighbour next door’. Many in the UK will probably have watched it themselves. The title is somewhat self-explanatory but in essence it reports relationships about people living next to each other who for one of many reasons just don’t get on with each other. Often the friction is one-sided and often it is based upon trivial concerns. As outsiders we can see the whole story and the stubbornness of people who simply cannot see their way to make an effort to resolve their differences. It is about love and putting others before ourselves but at the same time we shouldn’t simply let others take advantage. Being humble doesn’t mean being servile. Whilst watching one incident between two neighbours it seemed obvious that only one of them, a woman, was the source of the problems between them. The guy who lived next door had to put up with her unbelievably bad behaviour and for some time until one day he took complete control just using words. At this point I fell about with laughter at what he had said. Leaning over the wall which separated them he calmly said to her face ‘God you are ugly’ and then walked away. He had no further problems from that day forth. Now I wouldn’t advocate being verbally abusive to anyone but I had to admit he had made his hard life a lot easier with just a few words.
If there is anything in life I dislike the most it is waiting. I dislike waiting for anything but of course I am not going to break out in a fit of rage because I have been kept waiting, no, I have learnt to be patient. There are things in life we can control and there are things of which we have no control over. It is a wise person who can discern which is which and not get upset if something causes them to wait. Having said that I have learnt to be patient, it is usually in relation to things I know I cannot change. Once in a while though I get surprises, not expecting something to happen immediately then discovering it happened sooner. I like those kinds of surprises. It was only yesterday (see yesterday’s post), Thursday, that I placed an order on-line for a pair of high-heeledstilettoshoes as a treat for myself. It isn’t that I don’t have any high-heeled stiletto shoes, I do, in fact quite a few. You could say that I have a ‘thing’ about owning high-heeled stiletto shoes and you would be right, I just love wearing them. This pair are not quite as high as some I already own but they will be slightly more comfortable to walk in at four and a half inches (about eleven and a half cm). Once it was that I couldn’t walk past a shoe shop in the high street without seeing a pair I liked and then went in to buy them. Anyway I received an email from the company with whom I had placed the order letting me know that I could expect the delivery of the shoes within three days. An hour later a guy turned up at the door with my package! Yes they fitted and I wore them for a short time just to make sure, well actually I just wanted to wear high-heels. That experience, being surprised and not having to wait could not be applied to my current garden project in removing those bluebell bulbs. There are still plenty of them to dig out and all was going well until the weather turned nasty when I had to start playing the waiting game for an opportunity to resume. It is Friday as I write this but it will be Wednesday before you read it. The weather is forecast to improve and may well have done so by now but I am not sure if as I write I can say that I had the opportunity to carry on with the work. It is the kind of waiting I have no control over.
I very seldom if ever write about my personal relationships in my posts though I have been more open in my personal pages above regarding such things. It is hard for me to do so now. Life can be so difficult at times. Stressful situations, personal relationships, financial problems, poor health, irritating neighbours and many more can all have a detrimental effect upon us. As a Christian I am called to rise above these things yet I may still have to deal with them, in fact being a Christian does not mean I will never be affected by them or that they will somehow magically disappear, they won’t. Our difficulties arise when we don’t know how to deal with them. Fellow Christians will say things like, ‘Trust in The Lord’, ‘Lay all your burdens at His feet’, and they would be quite right but we have to meet Him half-way. We have to do our bit too. If we approach things in the right way and trust in The Lord’s guidance we will overcome. Sometimes though no matter what we do it doesn’t seem to work, at least as we thought it should and that is the point, not everything is going to work out the way we want it or expect it to do. Good friends give good advice. We’ve all heard the saying, ‘Some people will never change’, yet we often continue attempting to persuade them. This has been especially true in my own situation. My ex, ‘E’, is a prime example. Over the years (forty-four) I have known her she has been stubborn. We used to go to church together at one point but her heart wasn’t in it. She always blamed her mom for ‘forcing’ her to attend church when younger and that is why she says she doesn’t believe in God. Many times I have witnessed to her but the main way was by example, showing love, being tolerant and understanding and not putting her under pressure. Nothing worked and still doesn’t. I have to live with her and it can be so difficult. I could have left her, deserted her and left her to her own devices but because of my love and concern I persevered. I still persevere and will continue to do so until I die though she may never change. Aside from her beliefs just living together is sometimes problematical for me as I am very often not treated well by her even though I treat her with love and respect and we end up not speaking. Usually it is because of her stubborn refusal to apologise for her behaviour toward me when she is in the wrong. My friend tries to cheer me up and she tells me not to let E’s behaviour affect my own peace and happiness but that is so hard to do. I get knocked down but I get up again and again and again. I refuse to give in to her bad behaviour yet I have to forgive her. I always forgive her but it never seems to have any effect. Sometimes I feel at my wit’s end wondering if things between us will always be this way. Unless you live with a person like E you will never really know what it is like. Leaving her isn’t an option, she needs more love.
For anyone who knows Shirley Anne they will know she tends to get impatient and she hates waiting around for things to happen. Maybe that is a bad thing but it is who she is. I am writing this on my older laptop on Monday afternoon and it has been playing up a little. Oh how I hate computers! The weather outside (where else would it be?) is lousy though at this very moment the sun is beginning to break through the overladen sky. It has been raining a little during the last few hours but that has ceased. The wind however has become stronger in the wake of the latest storm to hit these shores. Storm Katie has reeked havoc in the southern and eastern parts of the country, bringing down power lines and trees and ripping off roofs. We have been fortunate here and have suffered no ill-effects because the storm was too far south of us but it is still managing to induce high winds across the whole country from west to east at our latitude. Whatever the reasons for the high number of storms we have experienced over the last couple of years there is little we can do about it. This morning E and I set about fixing squeaking floorboards in the bedroom in readiness for the carpet to be laid, tomorrow as you read this. We had left doing that until everything else was done in the room. All I can say is I am thankful for battery-driven drills for we had to screw quite a number of boards down to the joists. Old houses often have squeaky boards as the wood has gradually shrunk and the traffic upon them loosened the nails. It is almost impossible to eliminate all imperfections but I can say the floor sounds a lot better now than it did. E decided to over-paint a couple of old wooden chairs that had been standing in the room before we began refurbishing it. The room as it stands at the moment without a floor covering makes it the ideal place for painting them. They will be moved further upstairs in storage once they are dry.
Before we ate lunch E drove me to a house I had been working in on Thursday where I had left the Swiss army knife I use for my electrical work. I hadn’t noticed it missing until I wanted something else from the tool box. I can usually tell in an instant when one of the tools is missing. Anyway and fortunately the house wasn’t far away. I will be needing it tomorrow (Tuesday) as I will be at work in the morning. Now the sun is shining brightly and the sky is turning blue but the wind persists. I am at a loose end and am impatient to get something done, trouble is, there isn’t much I can do!
As I write this on Sunday the sun is trying to break through the overcast sky. It is somewhat windy just now and there is the prospect of more rain to fall, however, it is the 21st as I write and we are now two-thirds of the way through winter. It can only get better but where I live that cannot be guaranteed. It has been some weeks since E’s nephew and his crew were here working on the front steps but the work isn’t yet finished. That is due to a couple of reasons but I suspect primarily the weather. It is the same for the roof repairs though I fancy that if I don’t keep pestering the guy who does the roof repairs it won’t get done. I am hoping at this moment that it is simply the weather which is holding things back though we have had enough dry days whereby it could have been done. The problem is that scaffolding has to be erected and even that hasn’t yet been done. I am trying my best to be patient though when I think about the damage water can do I get frustrated that things are not moving along. To be fair, like I wish the weather was right now, the ingress of water is not large, it is more like a slow build-up of a minor leak which looks worse than it is. The sun is shining and the sky is turning blue and that in itself puts me in a cheerful mood. I am hoping that in a couple of week’s time work will have started in building the bedroom furniture and then E and I will be able to choose the colour of the paint we want for the walls or what will remain of them on view. Those parts of the wall which will be hidden inside the wardrobes have already been painted. I have also to cut and fit a picture rail once the furniture has been built. E is arranging for the curtains (drapes) to be lined and we also have to fit a curtain rail and a ceiling light once we have selected those things. Finally we will have a new carpet laid but we won’t need to buy a new underlay as the one we took up is as good as new. In the meantime I have been quite busy working at my electrical business to help pay for all of this.
Many of you will have heard that saying and understood its meaning but some may not. Before I continue with the theme of this post I will explain what a saint really is. Notwithstanding what the dictionary definition is, a saint in real terms is described in Scripture. When saint Paul corresponded with the believers (in Christ) in the various places dotted about the Mediterranean Sea he began by writing ‘To all the saints in….’. He was addressing them as saints and therefore by the same token all those who are believers today can call themselves ‘saints’. Incidentally, there is no hierarchy in sainthood as some churches would have us believe. They talk about ‘special’ saints and address them using the capital letter ‘S’ but in fact all saints are simply those who are followers of Christ. To be a Christian (saint) is to have among many things, patience and forbearance especially when all things seem to be coming against us.
Over the last weekend I began to feel a tenderness and sensitivity in one of my front (incisor) teeth and after a day or so I began to feel a general ache beneath the surrounding teeth. I knew a visit to the dentist was needed but in the meantime I kept the pain down and rinsed often with an antiseptic mouthwash believing it to be an infection rather than a tooth problem. By Thursday morning I could no longer put off going to the dentist but I had two electrical jobs scheduled. The first one was at nine o’clock and was easy to do so I spent little time there. My next job although quite a few miles distant would take me past my dentist‘s surgery so I called in there to make an appointment. As by now I was suffering with toothache I was fortunate to get an appointment at 2.15, immediately after their lunch break. It was only ten o’clock so I had time to go to my next job and complete it. I drove off but about a mile from my destination and on a country lane I could hear a strange noise so I stopped the van to see if the ladders on the roof were secure. They were but then I looked beneath the van to see the exhaust end box on the road. I could do without a problem like this at that moment for I wasn’t feeling too good, was a little tired and I wanted to get on with the day ahead. It is fortunate that I was in a van carrying electrical cables and tools. A length of earthing conductor and five minutes on my stomach soon had the exhaust box supported and I was on my way. A simple steel strap wraps around the box and is suspended from a flexible rubber band but the strap had corroded leaving no support for the box. I arrived at the house and was greeted by an old lady who after hearing my story promptly made me a cup of tea. I discovered that her husband had taken the dog for a walk but that if I needed a long ladder there was one on the extension’s roof. I was to replace a floodlight but it was at high level. I don’t carry long ladders now for I don’t usually work at such height from a ladder at my age. I made an exception and got on with it but it wasn’t easy and it wasn’t straightforward. I will spare you the details suffice to say it was a proverbial pain and just something else to try to rub me up the wrong way. The second light unit I had to replace was at low level and I thought that would be far easier but again there were problems. What else could go wrong? Finally I was able to drive back homeward stopping off at the dentists on the way but I was over an hour too early for the appointment. I found a place to park the van and walked the short distance across the busy main road to the surgery. By now I was in real pain but had to sit it out. I was the only patient in there at that moment and for a while afterward. I was also feeling quite hungry but could I really eat anything before seeing the dentist as I couldn’t brush my teeth? What dentist wants to see a mouth full of bits of food? I could eat later. I was more concerned about the toothache which was getting worse and a newly developing headache. I was a wreck! Finally I was sitting in the chair with the nice young dentist peering into my mouth. He is so nice and has the dubious pleasure of looking after my dental needs. He treated me on my last visit and will remain my dentist as long as he is there. He took an x-ray and five minutes later I was called into the room again to be told I had two teeth which needed filling and I had two abscesses also. They were in separate places and were caused by an infection. He prescribed antibiotics which I have to take for the next few days, My next appointment on the 18th inst. will be the first of five in order for him to do what is necessary. This is going to cost me a pretty penny! At the reception I was to have the prescription stamped and I had to arrange for the next appointment but all I wanted to do was to get the prescription filled out at the chemist store two doors away and go home. There was a problem, I had a bad headache, the phone rang continually, the only receptionist had her hands full with another patient and there were other people ahead of me in the queue. Soon I was in the chemist but they were busy in there too! At last I was sitting in the van whereupon I took one of the antibiotic capsules and a headache tablet I keep in there with the water I also keep in the cab. I could go home but no, I had to visit the tyre and exhaust depot first to see if they could do the repair only to be told when I got there that they no longer hold stock and the part would have to be ordered but that I could drive a couple of miles to a service station who might have them in stock. The drive took me out-of-town in the opposite direction to home. The guy there told me the bad news, no, they didn’t have the part but it could be there the following morning. It would also necessitate replacing the tail box as the strap securing it is now welded to the box! That meant extra expenditure to the tune of £70. I couldn’t have the work done in the morning as I had a job to do so made the appointment for later in the afternoon. When I got home all I wanted to do was sit down and doze off to sleep but I needed something in my tummy and ate some fruit. It was too late for lunch and too early for dinner. The phone rang and it was yet another job request. Now just to rub salt in my wounds I discovered I had problems with updating Norton security on my computer and had also lost the Norton toolbar again for the fourth time. I have had nothing but problems with Norton when using Firefox ever since I upgraded to Windows 10. Once was acceptable, if anything should be acceptable, twice was an irritation, then three and now four times is really not acceptable. However I took in in my stride though in fact wanted to scream. I contacted the Norton help desk and was again connected to an agent who took control of my computer and with great efficiency had the problem sorted in less than thirty minutes. It is reasonable to hope that this will be the final time but who knows? Despite everything that happens in my life I remain patient and unruffled but then I have the patience of a saint.
Life is a waiting game. We spend many hours in our lives waiting for one thing or another to happen, We may not realise it but waiting promotes patience and patience promotes peace. We may not like having to wait for certain things but often we have no choice. Stuck in a line of traffic waiting for it to move can be infuriating especially if we have an appointment to keep but there is little we can do about that except start out on our journey earlier. Many think their urgency is the problem of others and get annoyed if the rest of us take little notice. Waiting for other people who might not be as reliable as ourselves as far as time-keeping is concerned can step up the anxiety in us unless we can remain at peace with it all. Those amongst us who seem to have no sense of urgency in their lives are our children. We have to keep on top of things and take control in some circumstances. Of course many children expect things to be done for them at home. It takes a disciplined heart to negotiate around that one. As they grow we expect more independence on their part and more responsibility for their own lives and by and large that is what happens. Once in a while they may return for help, perhaps some physical assistance with something or financial help to get them out of a problem or situation. I don’t remember ever having to rely on parental help once I flew the nest. Not so with my own children. It may be a sign of the times and probably is. Job prospects and salaries may not be as they once were when I started out in life. Both my sons have asked for financial assistance a couple of times, one more so than the other and I have obliged. What they both need, apart from better jobs, is a little spare cash for a rainy day. One of my sons is currently saving as much as he can for a deposit on a house so he will have such a pot of money to fall back on. The other son it seems hasn’t been able to save much and when something out of the blue happens he has to rely on my generosity. That has happened a few times over the last five years or so. It happened again on Saturday when I had to deposit some cash in his account to tide him over. The father of his boss has just died and for some reason that has affected my son’s salary getting paid on time. He hadn’t that financial cushion he should have by now. I encourage him to save something each month even if it is a small amount. Either his situation won’t allow a small amount of saving or he just doesn’t know how to save. Maybe he just spends too much. So I have been patiently waiting for better times in the lives of my children. It is a good thing that I save when I can isn’t it?