Writer’s note: I wrote this not to advocate any position, or to say anything in particular. It’s simply a collection of observations, stories, hushed chats and whispers. There’s stories in here that aren’t my own, and it’s certainly not my intention to sound like I’m advocating a position. It’s in a minor key, it’s a bundle of observations and a collection of mumbles.
Bekka’s turning 18, coming of age, party at mum and dads. Scotty spins the tunes and dad throws up the fairy lights, mum caters to fill teenage stomachs – it’ll come up in the front paddock in a few hours anyway.
Mason’s got a new truck, lifted with an LED bar light to be seen from space. He’s the first to arrive at this festive event, and his country dimples cover valleys of insecurity. Cowboy hat bent at the front, ma and pa secretly hope he’d turn his eyes towards their Bek – if only they knew.
Stace, Maria and Bree tumble out of someone’s back seat, pre-loaded. Dressed to the nines, their heels sink into soft country soil, squealing with each squelch, their lives work to snob you off.
Jase makes an entrance, circle work in his beat up ute. The joker, always the laugh. Bekka’s beau, the half bottle of cheap bourbon held by it’s neck. He’s the joker, but she’s got a creeping suspicion the joke’s on him. 20 years old, on the same an hour, with no prospects of increase.
Family comes, smiles abound. Uncle Frank and Aunt Nina, there’s grandma and gramps. Cousins of all ages. Dad playfully grabs Danny in a headlock, trying to explain that his sodomite son is merely creative, like you can try to explain the gay away. Thanks dad, but they both grieve, unable to move past recent revelations.
Raye and Chrissy sit in the tray of Mason’s ute, necking cheap vodka straight from the bottle. He could have both in a heartbeat, but his sights are set on other targets, perhaps tonight he’ll pipe up the confidence to tell her.
Dwayne sings along to the country ditties, he’s unusually talented that way. Laughing off the compliments, he wonders how life might be different if not yoked with three generations of expectation breathing down his neck. Still, he hums along, wondering, even for a second, if things were different.
Kal, as everyone agrees, is classic wife material, the mother hen of the group. She chats CWA with mum, half an eye on Danny, blissfully unaware he’ll make no woman honest. She mistakes his compliments for flirting, and the thought crosses his mind that perhaps he could fake it, until he made it.
Speeches, and mum and dad praise their perfect Bekka. She spies Jase, he’s getting amorous with Raye, and way too close to his bourbon. She pats her tummy – a week late, and she wonders how daddy will react if she breaks the news to him.
And the party continues, and the fire crackles. They all continue to live their lives together, all in secret.
Picture from https://www.google.com.au/imgres?imgurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.lovethispic.com%2Fuploaded_images%2F108685-Bonfire-Party.jpg&imgrefurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.lovethispic.com%2Fimage%2F108685%2Fbonfire-party&docid=2BomfXY3f8L2kM&tbnid=ahC-QHXakHIw-M%3A&vet=1&w=500&h=332&bih=708&biw=1517&q=teenagers%20party%20bonfire&ved=0ahUKEwiY4ePVj7_SAhVrrFQKHcKHDpgQMwhFKCMwIw&iact=mrc&uact=8#h=332&imgrc=ahC-QHXakHIw-M:&vet=1&w=500
My son came home from Kindy yesterday with some craft, as he so often does. He had brought home a picture of a bucket with things inside. He’d learned about ‘love buckets’. You’ve probably hear about something similar – needs, love banks and alike. My son exclaimed that we need to put deposits into each others love buckets. You can make deposits be being kind, saying nice things, showing someone you love them. For the record, I’m accepting deposits into my ego bank at the moment 😉 .
Why do we put deposits into someone’s love bucket? I guess some answers would be because we love them, we want to show them and we want to invest in their life.
In a sense, love is an investment. I’m quite sure we invest love into someone, because we expect some type of return – love, support, kindness, companionship, the best for them. Whilst I think it’s wrong to give, expecting some type of return (this will usually lead to disappointment), deep inside I think we all want some type of return on our investment.
So the question is, what do you do when someone invests love into you?
What do you do with the love that is shown and given to you?
Some people’s hearts are high-risk investments. They are volatile, their return fluctuates depending on a myriad of factors. Sometimes, they give a huge return, showing massive amounts of appreciation, support and love. Other times, they are a negative investment, taking all that you have to give, the return on the investment is hurt and disappointment. The giver of love is left in deficit, the taker of love has squandered the gift entrusted to them.
There are hearts that seem to be closed to deposits. You know the type – people who’ve built walls around their life for whatever reason. People, where you’ve tried to show them you’re feelings and thoughts towards them, but they just don’t seem to be receptive to you in any way. Maybe you’re married to this type of person?
Then there’s are hearts who gives a steady return on an investment. A heart that pays interest adds to the love already deposited in it. What do I mean? Unlike a bank, there’s no cost to paying interest on a deposit of love in your heart. When a bank pays interest, they have already carefully calculated the cost of paying interest. There’s no cost to paying interest on a deposit of love, however!
So how can you pay interest on a deposit of love? I think there’s a range of ways. A word that isn’t used that often is gratitude. Being grateful to the one who deposited love into your heart. Being thankful of the love that’s being deposited can be a great way to pay interest on an investment of love. It might pay to ask the best way to pay interest on the deposit of love – you may be surprised! Showing love back is a huge return on the investment put in your heart.
Is there someone trying to put deposits of love into your heart? What type of bank are they investing into?
Are they risking it all to sow into your life – will their investment tank or will you allow it to build you up?
Is your bank open to deposits? Can you allow someone to invest love into your life?
Is your heart a bank that will warmly pay interest on the love it’s been entrusted with?
Open up the bank of your heart. Be receptive to the love someone wants to invest in you. Be generous with the interest you pay that love. It’s the only investment where both people give, and both people are richer for it.
So you want to date my sister?
First up, this has no relation to my sister, or that boy that keeps showing up in her Instagram photos. Or any of my brothers who are hell bent on protecting our sister from teenage boy tomfoolery. No relation what so ever. Everyone in this blog is purely fictional. Please, if you think this is in relation to you, it’s not.
So, you’ve taken an interest in my sister?
That’s nice. So have others.
When you started showing up in my sister’s Instagram photos, I joked with her that I’d probably start checking the police database and googling your name, just to do some preliminary searches. You know, you can never be too careful, can you now?
So after joking that you might wake up next to a horse’s head, my sister told me that you could ‘easily’ beat me in a fight. Now, I expect that she’s right in that respect. Just to dispel any lingering doubt, we probably should go toe-to-toe. I’m usually a bareknuckle man, but we can use gloves if your hands are particularly dainty.
I need to mention that I’m on first name terms with police in every reporting district in SE Queensland and Northern New South Wales. For some reason, I thought you might like to know that.
Well boy, I expect you are quite nice. By the look of those Instagram pics, you certainly have kind and soft features. Let’s not beat around the bush – many gals these days enjoy the company of a ‘beta’ guy. Naturally, I’d prefer my sister to be keen on someone more masculine, but each to their own.
So if this relationship is meant to be, I expect we’ll be seeing a whole lot more of you. Of course, we will love to warmly welcome you into the family. I think I speak for my brothers that we are all looking forward to meeting you and getting to know you.
I’m sure my sister has mentioned it, but every year all the brothers like to go away for a fishing and camping week – we’d love to extend an invitation to you. You can fish, can’t you? I could not see any evidence of fishing, hunting, camping, fire-making, drinking home brew or any other usual manly activities on your Instagram, facebook or snapchat messages that seemed to have made their way into my possession. I remember two years ago with the annual boys camping trip when we brought our sisters last boyfriend, Wayne. Gosh, he was a nice guy, but it’s a shame he left the camping trip mid-week and was never found again, not even by police or emergency services. I do hope Wayne turns up, he was such a nice guy.
Again, I do eagerly await getting to know you some more and spending some time with you.
p.s. a word of advice – when you meet my sisters parents, please, for the love of God, dress up. A shirt, dress pants and highly polished shoes as an absolute minimum. Please come prepared with your resume, your parents last tax assessments and your fathers occupation and of course, yours and your parents birth certificates, if they have been issued in Australia or similar Commonwealth country (Canadian or British preferably) – I’m sure you’ll agree you don’t want to be dating ‘outside your own kind’!
The wilderness. A place far away. The wilderness of the soul. The wilderness of relationship. The wilderness of being. A place where all senses are both parched, starved and then finally, restored.
I’ve been pondering times when I, and those around me have been in the wilderness. When ones I’ve loved have been far away – either physically, mentally, relationally or spiritually. Times when no amount of reaching out could save them from the scorched earth they have found themselves in.
History is littered with times of people who have had wilderness experiences. Some are self-imposed, some are enforced by outside forces. I think of Joseph, head filled with dreams and promises, sold as a slave. I think of Moses, wondering around the Middle Eastern desert for many, many years. I think of David, who was promised to become king, running into the desert for his life.
All these stories have similarities. These men’s lives start full of promise – whether it be dreams, a royal upbringing or a promise of greatness. I think of a life changing event or events these men had – challenges on their life, a fissure between their promised glory and their present reality. I try to empathise with these men – how would I react if everything I held dear was ripped away from me? My home, my family, my comfort, my stability taken away and I was flung into the desert.
There’s a few ways we can react when we are having a wilderness experience. When everything seems far away, when even a little comfort seems unattainable. When we thirst for refreshment of the soul, of the mind, of the spirit or some nourishment relationally.
I guess there’s a stack of ways you can act when you’re in the wilderness. You could just let it overcome you. You could fight it out. You could go into survival mode. I guess everyone is different and deals with those experiences differently.
The more I hear of people that have had ‘wilderness experiences’, the more I see an emerging pattern. After being in the wilderness, there’s a restoration, but that restoration is always a choice. People generally don’t chose to stay in the desert forever. We all know the aforementioned stories end – Joseph does not lose sight of his visions, regardless of what life throws at him (and a stack is thrown at him). He stays true, he believes, he is lead through his many wildernesses. Moses? He led the Israelites out of Egypt. That’s no mean feat! David? From shepherd boy to giant killer to desert wanderer to King.
Here’s the crunch. What were those dreams you had in your heart, all those years ago? Where are they now? Have they been snubbed out by life? By a wilderness experience? Maybe your partner walked out on you. Perhaps you lost your job. Maybe your faith has been battered by the storms of life. Maybe the lure of riches ended up just being a rusty fishhook.
I truly believe those dreams were put in your heart for a reason. I also truly believe sometimes we need a wilderness experience to remember those dreams. To remember what it is you believed in, those many years ago. You don’t need to be in the wilderness forever. You don’t need to be separated – from life, from promise, from relationship, from destiny, from hope forever.
What has being in the wilderness taught you? When all has been stripped away, what is really important to you?
What’s stopping you from getting out of the wilderness? Pride? Past hurts? You’re right on your own? You like being in the middle of the desert? Whatever it is, you can be restored – but you need to make the decision.
Look around you – the world is full of stories of the odds being battled. Of sunshine after the rain. Of the stillness after the storm has past.
It’s time for you to write your story of coming out of the wilderness.
Image from http://www.hashtagpics.com/?p=595
Being selfish to help others. Is there such a thing?
I was having an
argument robust discussion with a friends the other night. The wife in the relationship explained how she tended to all her children’s needs before tending to her own. The husband told me that he had to look after himself before he could help others.
Have you ever met those people that do everything for everyone else and look absolutely ragged? The person that seems to help everyone except themselves? You know the type – the martyr that just looks tired and worn? Sure, they are selfless and generous and loving, but they wear everyone else down with their – their – I’m not too sure what the term is! They just seem to draw attention to themselves by being the one that ‘always helps out at great expense to themselves’.
Then there seem to be the other group of ‘pathological helpers’. These people still manage to do amazing things BUT they look after themselves first. It might be going to the gym, reading or gardening. People that seem to ascribe to the old airplane rule of ‘help yourself before you help others’. They are selfish, so they can help others. Their selfishness is often unseen – waking early for a morning gym session or stealing away at lunchtime for a quiet read. They do things to recharge their own batteries before helping others.
So what am I trying to say? There’s no point in running yourself into the ground to help others (even your own family) if it’s going to be at your expense. I know there are times when your personal resilience is going to be put to the test, when you’re going to be busy and when life just sucks. I’m convinced however that everyone has the ability to make time for themselves, to recharge their own batteries.
There’s a Pearl Jam tune called ‘All those yesterdays’. The lyrics are here:
“All Those Yesterdays”
Don’t you think you ought to rest?
Don’t you think you ought to lay your head down?
Don’t you think you want to sleep?
Don’t you think you ought to lay your head down tonight?
Don’t you think you’ve done enough?
Oh, don’t you think you’ve got enough, well maybe.
You don’t think there’s time to stop
There’s time enough for you to lay your head down, tonight, tonight
Let it wash away
All those yesterdays
What are you running from?
Taking pills to get along
Creating walls to call your own
So no one catches you drifting off and
Doing all the things that we all do
Let them wash away
All those yesterdays
All those yesterdays
All those paper plates
You’ve got time, you’ve got time to escape
There’s still time, it’s no crime to escape
It’s no crime to escape, it’s no crime to escape
There’s still time, so escape
It’s no crime, crime.
All those yesterdays
If you’re one of those people that loves helping, how do you manage your own resilience? is it boundaries? Doing your own thing? Having your own escape? Are you one of those people that just seems to have no time to themselves? How do you plan on changing that – for you?
Life’s like being on an airplane. You can’t help others until you help yourself.
Image from: http://elmo.cl/?m=200609
The phone was out of range.
There was no internet reception.
We only had each other.
We couldn’t instagram the bush tukka.
We couldn’t log into Facebook at check in with friends.
We couldn’t tweet about how amazing this place was.
Many people scoff when I tell them that I don’t have a phone. Well, I do have one. I share one with my wife. She has it Monday to Friday, I have it on Saturday while she’s at work. She uses it, I pay for it!
It seems that we’ve been so accustomed to sharing the ‘best bits’ of our life on social media. I’m not saying that’s good, bad or ugly. It’s just how we’ve become narcissistic in this social media age.
I truly believe that being disconnected is one of the best states we can be. When it’s just you and perhaps those around you that you love. When there’s no distractions. When you’re not tied to an electronic device that ejaculates inane crap 24/7. Don’t get me wrong – I’m quite partial to a bit of facebooking and my instagram addiction is well documented. What I’m saying is there is just something fantastic about being ‘off the radar’.
It’s hard to be disconnected in this day and age. When we are, it’s usually by technological malfunction rather than choice.
I want to know how you get ‘off the radar’, if you do. I’d love to know what you think about when you’ve got no facebook feed to check out or thought to post on twitter. When all you see is purely nature, and not a filtered photo on a small screen. Do you get scared about being disconnected? Do you relish in no one being able to contact you? No boss to ask about that project. No report to turn in. No phone calls to return. Nothing required of you, except to enjoy the moment.
How do you ‘disconnect’?
(yeah, I’m totally aware of the irony of asking about disconnection on social media, too!!)
Photo totally ripped from http://titaniumrunner.net/2011/09/disconnected/
Now a lot of my feminist readers (thanks Germaine) got all in a huff that the ladies didn’t have flags to wave in a relationship. My last post certainly saw a chorus of interesting opinions from both guy and gal. So to keep the ladies included, I’ve derived a set of equally usable and apt nautical flags that the ladies can use to communicate key thoughts, feelings, needs and emotions to their special gentleman friends.
You need to understand, however, that a guy will use a flag to communicate a simple, specific meaning. The ladies on the other hand – much more difficult. So I’ve tried to distil the ladyflags down to the key messages that I hope you gals would want to communicate to your gentleman lovers. I’ll still keep the original nautical code, for context.
So, here goes:
Nautical code: I am taking in, discharging, or carrying dangerous cargo
Relationship code: This flag is aptly named, in nautical themes, the ‘red flag’. If a gal waves it to you, it means she’s, well, its that time. The dangerous cargo referred to could be anything from a kilo of chocolate to a box of tissues (deadly in the wrong hands)
Nautical Code: “Yes” or “affirmative”.
Relationship code: When a gal waves the ‘Charlie’ flag, it usually means ‘yes’. But it might not. It could mean ‘I dare you too’. Or ‘Yes, but if you do, you can get used to the couch. So it’s a yes, but it often has certain, unstated (or unflagged) caveats.
Nautical Code: I am maneuvering with difficulty; keep clear
Relationship Code: I’m driving a manual, stay off the footpath
Nautical Code: I am disabled; communicate with me.
Relationship Code: Something is wrong, but I don’t want you to fix it. I know you can fix it quickly, but that’s not the issue. I don’t want you to fix it. Yes I’m crying but it does not mean that anything is really that wrong, I just need to cry. I need to talk about it. For a long time. Shut up, I’m talking to you.
Nautical Code: I require a pilot.
Relationship Code: It did not look like this on the map. This is one of those times when I don’t just want to talk about it, I need you to help me find my way out of the city. Yes, that means come and get me.
Nautical Code: I have a pilot on board.
Relationship Code: My mum is driving with me. We had a lovely chat and somehow ended up on the wrong side of the river.
Nautical Code: Coming alongside
Relationship Code: I just want to cuddle. That’s all. Absolutely all.
Nautical Code: I am on fire and have dangerous cargo; keep clear.
Relationship Code: I’m moody and I don’t know why and everything you do is going to annoy me and my tummy feels sore and I just need chocolate and oh honey please give me a hug and geeze you are annoying me and why isn’t there any chocolate in the fridge and geeze no I don’t want to talk about it and I was saving that last cornetto for tonight and why do you have to be so annoying and ughhh! Can’t you just be quiet and watch Greys Anatomy with me but whip down and get some chocolate for me?
Nautical Code: I wish to communicate with you.
Relationship Code: I want you to tell me what I told you, except in a deep, manly voice so my idea sounds good and rational.
Nautical Code: You should stop your vessel immediately
Relationship code: Why don’t guys ever ask for directions! You should have stopped at that service-station and asked for directions!
Nautical Code: No or negative
Relationship Code: Definitely no. Most definitely no. Don’t even dream about it.
Nautical Code: Man overboard.
Relationship Code: If you do go out with your mates, don’t come home. Ever.
Nautical Code: Do not pass ahead of me
Relationship Code: What do you mean you will meet me at the restaurant? You are not going to pick me up from my house?
Nautical Code: You are running into danger.
Relationship Code: You are WAY PAST running into danger. Danger was minutes ago. You are way past that point. Keep digging. (Often given with ‘the look’)
Nautical Code: I require assistance.
Relationship Code: There’s something creepy crawly in my room and you need to get it out. Yes I know it’s past midnight. Yes I know you are 20 minutes away.
Nautical Code: I require medical assistance.
Relationship Code: Don’t even think about coming over until you have brought chocolate.
Nautical Code: Stop carrying out your intentions and watch for my signals
Relationship Code: I’ll tell you when it’s time for ‘cuddles’ and no, it won’t be before the end of Downton Abbey.
Nautical Code: I require a tug
Relationship Code: I’ve broken down and I don’t know how to change the tyre and I don’t want to call the autoclub cause the guys are creepy and strange and I don’t like them and they’ll be hours and can’t you just please come and change my tyre. Oh and bring me some chocolate?
So gals… Do you think it’ll take off, or should I start running?