Steps to telling a great story
Andrew Stanton is the Pixar writer and director behind both Toy Story and WALL-E
Andrew Stanton is the Pixar writer and director behind both Toy Story and WALL-E
HOW TO GET A PAY RISE (7 QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF)
With several thousand articles on pay rise, I am guessing you might be asking yourself what I have to offer that others haven’t said. I guess the only thing I have to offer in a real sense of it , is experience of trying this out. In terms of value of this experience, I will let you be the judge of its value.
As some people that know me can testify, I am a big believer in experiential learning. In the past I had read way too many “personal narratives” of the way to success and I realised that while there are some similarities, there are many ways to the same goal. I am also a believer that people should not talk about something they either haven’t experienced in their lives as if they have or dish out directed advice (i.e if you do this, you will get this )
This brings me to the topic at hand, about 2 years back I decided to undertake a bit of a social/work place experiment on what I felt to be a very tricky issue. As you have probably guessed from the name of this, I decided to try to get a pay raise. After all, what did I have to lose?
Now before I continue I would like to quickly put a disclaimer out. I am in no way saying that this is a guaranteed way to get a raise however this is what actually worked for me. Also as you will soon be able to tell, I am not a writer nor am I an aspiring one. I am simply someone with a story to tell. I also would never ever advice anyone to experience something in order to know if it was true in all circumstances and to discard written work (some of which is based on good research). That is simply bad advice. My advice here applies mainly to me and my experience in seeking a raise.
Now, let’s go back to where I was. I have chosen the road of writing about the 7 most important questions that guided my “quest” for more money for a few reasons. Firstly, I don’t think you will get much value in me talking specifically or in detail about what I did every day . Secondly, there is a good chance you would get bored and scroll to the end if you are anything like my loving wife (see what I did there J ) so I will keep this short and reader friendly. Thirdly, while this is from experience and at no point from beginning till the end did I refer, read, watch or listen to any other writing, articles, peers, videos or audio advice; I am not so brave or silly to not give this some thought before attempting to proceed.
To cut a long story short, while trying to get a pay rise these are the 7 main questions I asked myself and a brief outline of why.
1) Are you really worth more? (Honestly?)
Let’s be honest here, most people think they are worth more than they really are or worth less that they are. It is very important to use your introspective skills (Introspection is the examination of one’s own conscious thoughts and feelings). Do a personal combined analysis of past achievements, professional accomplishments and development and your present value to the business compare it to similar businesses and similar jobs in those businesses (try to compare apples for apples if you can). It’s important in determining if this might not be the right time to ask for a raise. Your chances are quite slim or I dare say would be based on luck if this isn’t asked first.
2) Can you prove you are worth more?
While it is all well and good that you think, feel or even know something. In today’s world nothing means anything if you cannot “prove” it. Now I did not go creating a super power point presentation of why I was worth more but, a few things like feedback from colleagues (seniors and direct reports), past reviews, attendance history and lateness records would help a lot. What would help even more is if there is something to compare it to. Now, I must state at this point that I am in no way talking about showing how much better you are than specific colleagues as that would be very unprofessional. If you must compare, make sure it is generic data, such as average statistics for that department (present and future).Make sure it is relevant also.
3) Exactly how much more do you want?
Everyone would like a million pound pay rise. Yet there are very few occupations in the world where you could actually be asking for that and it would be realistic. There is no point asking for something and not knowing exactly how much more you want. It is usually best to keep it in percentages (10%, 15%, 20%) etc. Also ask yourself, Is it feasible or unrealistic for the company? This for me tied directly with the questions of worth. For every business there is an expected return on every pound or dollar spent. You need to know if you can deliver this back. It’s called human resources for a reason (hopefully that doesn’t sound too harsh). Do not be un-aware of it. I was taken more seriously because I had an exact figure I wanted and why I wanted it.
4) Who should you be speaking to about more money?
Now this one is something I honestly did not know mattered at all. I always felt that if you wanted a pay rise you should simply speak to your manager. However, 8 out of 10 times, this is probably correct but in my case it really wasn’t. Unfortunately sometimes your boss through no fault of theirs is more a figure head than anything else. Find out who determines the acceptance of your case and build the earlier steps again for that person also. You would still need to speak to your manager even if they aren’t the ones that determine if it is accepted or not but there is a good chance it could be more to inform them than anything else. It could be your bosses boss or even HR that determines this (though extremely rare for the latter)
5) What is the overall perception of you?
Now let me start by saying that there is a real difference between your real self (who you are) and your ideal self (who you aspire to be). Some people have managed to become who they aspire to be but for most of us, this is not the case. It is also important to note that just as a perceived grievance should be treated as a real one. It does not matter if who people think you are, is not really who you are. People would always treat you based on who they think you are. I guess a simple explanation is would you allow a perceived (not a convicted) serial killer into your home? Does it really matter that there is no proof to support your belief? Try to find out (using a soft approach) about who people really see you at work. You might need to fix an image problem before proceeding. Do not under estimate the power of the “right impression or perception”. Are you seen as a model professional, lazy, difficult, a work complainer or untalented?
6) Are you ready to negotiate?
Let’s start with a quick reality check. You are in an office that only stays afloat and profitable by their ability to mitigate risk, manage costs and expenditure effectively and negotiate its existence amongst competitors and new entrants and now you are asking for more money to do the exact same job. You must be prepared to have a conversation or a few about your request. Do not expect to win or get what you wanted just because you asked. You are attempting to navigate the ever tricky waves of price versus value. You must treat this as such. Be prepared and in my case it ws very beneficial to ask for slightly more than what I would have been okay with.
7) Are you prepared to fail and try again?
No thanks is a very real possibility. Think of this like the first time you met a person you were interested in. Now unless, you think you are God’s gift to the dating world or have an over blown ego, there is a chance you knew you could get shut down. There is also a chance you knew you would have to reattempt the exact same thing again. The main difference between this (looking for a raise) and that (dating) is If at first you don’t succeed, make sure you find out why. Dont just say “it’s okay, thanks for looking at my proposal”. If possible get a review date.
Now in my opinion, by combining this 7 things I managed to get almost 50% pay rise in 2 years (two different pay rises).
Be prepared and good luck with yours. Please feel free to let me know if this helped and better still if it worked for you.
Its been a long time since I wrote, I guess I just needed time to re-process things and hopefully understand the things before me.
Life can be complicated but sometimes it can be blissfully simple. In the period I took to step away I discovered that reflection and meditation on circumstances is no longer a luxury afforded by only the wise but now a necessity of every man.
I have had time to think about family, love, wealth (money), work and religion. The more I searched, the more answers I felt I got yet in those answers new question arose. This made me come to the inevitable conclusion that no matter how much value we place on the things around us a few things come on top as priceless.
Yet, in all I see three main things a person cannot or maybe I should say, should not do without.
1) A Sense of Direction, Ownership and Belonging (D.O.B): Similar to the blessed trinity the most important thing comes in three.
A) A sense of Direction: I used to dream about days when I would wake up and not have a single thing to do or place to go. I don’t know if you were/are like me and dreamt about winning a massive lottery.
It was the best of my dreams and then one day it happened. I had taken a 6 month leave from work (lots of reasons why which I won’t go into details about) I woke up with nowhere to go and to be honest it felt great for the first few days, I stayed home, looked after the kids, did the laundry and dishes, made meals. It was amazing and then the days turned into weeks and then months. I am not saying it was all bad as I had the option to go back to work earlier if I wanted. What I am saying is that a taste of this allowed me a unique learning experience. There is no life without purpose.
I am not saying that your purpose should be work, all I am saying is that at least when I woke up every day I knew exactly what was needed of me and weekend rests felt better because they felt earned. I am convinced that a sense of direction is vital but even more so that it is only a third of a perfect piece.
B) A Sense of Ownership: This is the second piece of the puzzle. When I was home I realised that even when I was at work I did not exactly feel accomplished. I felt like I had failed to some degree. Did I hate my job? Not at all, I loved it. I loved meeting new people every month. I knew almost everyone. I was respected by my colleagues, delegates and superiors.
Yet something was missing. I realised that what was simply missing was that it wasn’t mine. It was a good job, not the best pay but good enough but it wasn’t my company. I felt no responsibility for the job. This allowed me come to the conclusion that responsibility is also a good this and it brings with it ownership.
What am I saying here? I am simply stating the obvious, My family (son, daughter and wife) are my responsibility and because of that simple irrefutable fact I know exactly what they need from me (doesn’t mean I always do it though). There is ownership in the family unity and this allowed me to enjoy the challenges that come with it. I relish the challenges and pray I am up to them but they are no longer negative. A sense of ownership is very important but even with direction and ownership there is still something missing.
C) A Sense of Belonging: I am not sure you even need me to explain why this is even important but I will all the same. Have you ever thought about the tragedy of abandonment and the evils that sometimes come from people that have suffered isolation and abandonment? Or ever thought about radicals or gangs? What makes people give up their lives for a belief? What makes life and family mean so little in comparison? It is a sense of belonging. It is such a powerful motivator than it leads people to abandon everything they see and know and in extreme circumstances to abandon morality. A sense of belonging can also be used in a positive way. An example that comes to mind is missionaries delivering food, help, health aid and charities with international reach. At this point I feel that I would be writing an irresponsible post if I do not interject and state that a sense of belonging does not in any way mean an abandonment of your own desires or who you are.
As a matter of fact I believe that they go hand in hand. A quote that comes to mind that explains it perfectly is by Brene Brown;
“The truth is: Belonging starts with self-acceptance. Your level of belonging, in fact, can never be greater than your level of self-acceptance, because believing that you’re enough is what gives you the courage to be authentic, vulnerable and imperfect.”
She also goes on to echo my discovery when she states “A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don’t function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick”.
For anyone that has never heard of her, she is worth researching. My sense of belonging comes from more than just myself. I belong to my family as much as they belong to me. I belong to my friends and I belong to this world. I am responsible for how I leave this world when my time is up (no matter what day that happens).
You see, in order to fully appreciate a sense of direction you must see it in connection to ownership and belonging and then and only then do you see the full picture of why they are important as individuals yet part of a family.
2) Love: I am glad I discovered this well into the early years of marriage. The love of a wife can be a bedrock. Before I could really understand this I first of all had to understand that I am not perfect in anyway. The fact I have love does not mean I will not abuse it or take it for granted and this only helps to make me take a step back and see how lucky I am. When I talk about love here, I am in no way talking about love from Hollywood movies or from romantic books.
I am talking about love where you are hurt but still don’t want to leave. The kind you are afraid to lose and it keeps you working on yourself to become better. I am talking about the kind you know and you feel as real as your own hands. I won’t bore you by telling you all the details of how I came to this conclusion all I will say is whoever you have let them know. If you can’t say it , then write it. If you can’t write it then sing it, if you can’t sing it ask someone to help but don’t stay silent. Love breeds love. Can you imagine a faith worse than loving with nobody to love? If you are lucky enough to have someone to love and someone that loves you back then they deserve to know. Love forgives, love cares, love appreciates, love grows, love never dies, love never looks back but love also needs love to burn brightest.
3) Attitude: I guess this might come as a surprise to some, as attitude is very often not discussed as an important part of a purposeful life. Attitude is simply a settled way of thinking or feeling about something.
Why is this important? I guess it is simply because we are all a victim or product of our perceptions. We react to the world based on the way we see the world. Our attitude is governed by it. Yet we very often forget that though we may not have the best of everything or anything. We have a choice on how to behave. My friends please don’t kid yourselves the way I have always done. We have a choice in every situation. We have a choice on how to react when we get fired, when our partner leaves us, when we fail to get what we want, when someone cuts in front of us (we all know how irritating that can sometimes be). We can “chose” to rise above it or chose to dwell on it. Our attitude is our choice and ours alone. We are not even victims of our biological urges as most people like to believe. We own our attitude, we own our choices, we own it and must take responsibility for it.
Now the best part about attitude is that even if you have a poor attitude, this can be fixed. It is not something you were born with. It is something you develop. A very useful strategy to develop is “looking at the bigger picture”.
“Keep your face always toward the sunshine – and shadows will fall behind you.”
― Walt Whitman
A few examples might help. When I was 8 years old, I fell “in love” (as much as a child can) for the first time. I was totally crazy for a girl I met in school. I felt that this was the single most important thing in the world to me. I never told anyone about it but to me, she was everything. In that moment at that time I felt like if I did not get her then “life was not worth living”.
I don’t think she ever knew who I was or how I ever felt. Now, over 20 years after and it makes no difference what I felt then. It has no impact on my life and thankfully I am still here. Now before you disregard this and call it “puppy love” please note that this was very real to me. If a person perceives something as real then it will always be in your best interest to treat it as such (regardless of your own personal inclinations). I was just as hurt then as I would be now.
Another example is one that is very personal to me. Almost a decade ago (during my freshman year) I met a lovely lady who turned out to be a very good friend. She made my first year at university that much easier. She was nice and though we never had romantic feelings for each other she was as good a friend as I could ever ask for. About 3 years ago she unfortunately took her own life. It looks for all indications to be as a result of lost love. I was so devastated by this because we had not been in touch for over 2 years and I just wished I could have offered her what she offered me when I needed it. I cannot even begin to imagine the pain her family is going through even till date. She really was a saint yet in a similar situation she just could not see the light at the end of the tunnel. I cannot blame her ex-boyfriend as he has a right to pick who he wants to be with. He has a right to choice.
In the present world of social media it is quite easy to develop a negative attitude, especially when one looks at what “the rest of the world” seems to be doing.
A few realistic steps might help
1) Be careful when developing your attitude and never compare yourself to anyone. What a tragedy it will be if we ever forget the thing that makes us uniquely us. Our experience are uniquely ours and what makes us beautiful and stronger ( A treasure chest of wisdom).
2) Whatever people say is simply their opinion. They are entitled to it but it does not mean you have to take it (obviously I still recommend listening to good counsel). No one can make you feel inferior without your consent so stand firm on who you are.
3) Smile and do what makes you happy as long as it isn’t harmful to yourself or others. We still have a responsibility to others so one unfortunately must reflect on this advice more than all the others. I am in no way asking you to stay with someone you know you do not love at all for fear of breaking their heart. I am simply saying pleasure must be enjoyed with caution.
4) Ignore people who simply tell you that you cannot do it and never offer advice as to how to overcome a problem. What good is it telling someone of a problem if it is not backed with a solution? You need positive people around you especially because there will come a day that you might lose belief in yourself. You will need someone who helps you see it.
5) Enjoy yourself in everything. Enjoy the unexpected or result that were not what you expected. Many people have discovered great things in error. A positive attitude will help you see through it all.
6)Have a positive vision and be happy for other peoples success. I know it might be hard to be happy for your ex when they find someone else they love but try to understand that true love involves being happy for someone else even if they are not with you.
7) Finally, always be true to yourself. Not who you think you are or what you would like to be but who you really are (strengths and weaknesses). Never beat yourself down and never compromise or search for dodgy shortcuts. Work smart and not harder but always know who you are what you stand for lest you fall for anything.
Your attitude to success will ultimately be the thing you rely on when things go wrong. When (and not if) problems come along the way. A positive attitude will keep you focussed and goal oriented. It will give you power over your circumstances. No matter what you face in life always look at the bigger picture. Are you worrying about work? Well, If you got fired today, your company will be fine as there are several hundreds to do your job (so take a break and enjoy life). Your life has been lived many times before you by many others before you (so enjoy the ride and love the people around you while you still can). There will always be wealth on earth (so try not to spend your entire life looking for it). In work, in family in life, always give more than you expect to receive in return. These my friends is how we find real purpose in life.
“There is a magnificent, beautiful, wonderful painting in front of you! It is intricate, detailed, a painstaking labor of devotion and love! The colors are like no other, they swim and leap, they trickle and embellish! And yet you choose to fixate your eyes on the small fly which has landed on it! Why do you do such a thing?”
– C. JoyBell C.
If you have any more suggestions or comments, please feel free to leave a comment below. Thanks for reading.
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To see a world in a grain of sand,
And heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.
William Blake – Auguries of Innocence
Have you met you?
For the past week I have wanted to write about a new topic I feel God laid in my heart and every time I started to write I honestly felt God tell me to stop. He always said, “do not write about something you know little about. I will teach you what it really means to see yourself, not what it means to see your reflection but what it means to have reflectivity”.
After 5 days of fasting and praying I am fairly confident that I have a better understanding of the difference.
During my week I was reminded a few times of what it feels like to be hurt by someone really important to me, someone I placed a lot of value on. All my little confusions came back and I was quite devastated but amazingly God reminded me of a particular scripture that quickly changed my view to a lesson to be learnt.
Matthew 7:5 “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye”.
Jesus was not talking to just one person he was talking to everyone, he also taught a similar lesson when he was with the woman accused of adultery and the crowd wanted to stone her to death in John 8:7 “ When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”
It is my understanding that Jesus was not saying that sin was good and did not deserve to be punished, he was simply pointing out the deep level of hypocrisy that lies in the heart. The false view we all have for our selves. We had failed to see ourselves for what we really are. I believe the day we truly meet ourself will be a life changing experience for anyone. This to me is what first leads to true conversion.
Romans 3: 9-12 “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands: there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”
I realised that just as this person was hurting me again, I have also hurt many people in the past. You see one of the most amazing parts in life with God is that you will never stop learning. You will be refined all your life. You will have to come face to face with yourself several times and just like Paul, you will inevitably not like what you see, unless you are blocked by denial.
Romans 7:18-20.” And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it”.
You see one of the most amazing parts in life with God is that you will never stop learning.
James 1: 2-5 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,whenever you face trials of many kinds,because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything”.
The real question assuming this is true for every one of us “And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature”. How will we ever see ourselves for the evil that is really in us if all we do is use our mirror image (reflection) to judge?
The only solution to this is what can be termed “reflectivity”. This simply means to see yourself as others see you. If you are really serious about change in your life, ask the people that really know you. Ask the people you have hurt or are still hurting and ask the people that really love you.
There is a big difference between what we think we are and who we really are. If you are one of the many people I have met that go around deceiving themselves saying or thinking that just because you have some concept of what your weaknesses are then, this does not apply to you. You think “well I know what is right even if I don’t do it”. You have missed it totally for you still lack knowledge of what Gods love is meant to do in you.
James 1: 22-25 “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirrorand, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.”
I don’t know about you but when I read this and meditated on it I noticed that it says “not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.”
James 1: 26:Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.
You see true reflectivity comes from beyond seeing yourself from the eyes of people around you but even from people you have never even met (imaginative others). What kind of writer would I be if I wrote a book for just my friends? It has to cut across; people who have never met you should be able to learn from you. Isn’t that what the bible is about? When Jesus says in the bible “you were told” he was very often talking about laws that were given 14 centuries before his time. Some where laws God gave Moses and others were man-given. It was really interesting to learn that he never once spoke like it was a law of the past. He spoke like Moses told them a few hours ago.
Finally true reflectivity or the emergence of a true view of one’s self comes from being able to evolve constantly. Remember you will never be perfect but according to the bible Psalms 51:17. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart These, O God, You will not despise.
This is what ultimately creates uniqueness and imaginative accountability ( i.e being accountable to people beyond what you see around you).
I believe that if you can do this (see yourself for yourself), you will be more accommodating of people. It is the same principle that works with Alcoholics anonymous (AA) or eating disorder groups. They are bound and show love to other members because they know that they are all weak.
This will help you get one step closer into actually learning to obey what are the two foundations of faith. Matthew 22: 36-40 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Seeing yourself helps you appreciate God’s mercy, it helps you understand the sacrifice and it also helps you truly love your neighbour. Since the fall of Adam we have been bound by this common problem. This however can only be done with honesty. If you fail to be honest with people at least in your private time be honest with yourself.
May God grant us all the courage to meet ourself and the humility to ask for his help in life.
She’s staring’ at me,
I’m sitting, wondering’ what she’s thinking’.
‘Cause talking’ just turns into screaming’.
And now I’m yelling over her,
She’s yelling over me.
All that means
Is neither of us is listening,
(And what’s even worse).
That we don’t often even remember why were fighting.
So both of us are mad for Nothing’
Fighting for Nothing
Crying for Nothing
But we won’t let it go for Nothing’
(over our dead bodies)
I know sometimes
It’s going to rain…
But Love, can we make up now
‘Cause I can’t sleep through the pain
I know there is nothing to gain.
Love, I don’t want to go to bed
(Mad at you),
And I don’t want you to go to bed
(Mad at me).
And it gets me upset, Love
When it seems you’re constantly accusing of not caring.
(Asking’ questions you should know the answer to).
We’re fighting this war, baby
When both of us are losing.
(This ain’t the way that love is supposed to go).
What happened to working things out.
We’ve fallen into this place
Where you aren`t backing down
And I ain’t backing down.
So what the hell do we do now…
Is It all for nothing
Fighting for Nothing
But we still won’t let it go for Nothing
(No not for anything)
This should be nothing, we`ve seen too much together.
Love, can we make up now
Love, we’re gonna be happy.
Forget what love felt it should have been, live in love now.
Searching in love lost dreams will get us nowhere.
Grab onto what you have now
And I know we will go the distance
I need your hand
Let me lift you up
Take you to places you`ve only read of
Treat you the way you truly deserve
Spoil you with things you might never need
Fill your ears with words the fill the heart
Kiss you till you can`t feel your feet
Drive my hands through your hair and lift your soul higher than eagle’s wings
We`ve got to let go
Let it all hang out
Give me yourself with no reserve
Give you the love you deserve
No more angry words
No more reservations
I might not have done enough to win your heart
But I have done enough to win your ears
It`s time to really end the fights
It has to be all for something.
NB: I dint know what to call this song. Suggest names in the comment section of this page. This song was originally written in 2009 but never published until now.
Even though she never needed, wanted or asked for it. I gave her my heart, I gave her my soul, and I gave to her all the love that I hold within me. I gave her my respect and understanding. I gave her my compassion and my passion; I gave her faithfulness. I gave her my laughter; I opened my heart like never before and let her know my fears and insecurities, my strengths and weaknesses. I gave her my dreams and made her dreams mine.
I gave her my encouragement and my undying belief in her. I made her my future. If I could love her forever, that wouldn’t be long enough. All these things I give to her freely, willingly and without regret, because of my love for her, and they shall always remain hers for no-one else is worthy.
But I know now that I have to try hard to move past her, because of the way she affects my everyday thoughts. I know that I have to quit hoping that I will ever get to hold or kiss her again. I don’t want to wake up anymore, in the middle of the night, thinking about her and not being able to get back to sleep.
The feeling I get in my heart drives me to the point of absolute insanity for now I see her without me. I need to fill that hole in my soul that I carry with me, from losing her, but I know that it will never go away. Love doesn’t work that way.
I need to know what it takes for me not to see her perfectly made face in my heart every time, even when she is not around, I still see her as if she is sitting right next to me. Oh! her beautiful smile, exquisite laugh and perfect body. My heart remains lifeless at the thought of permanently losing her smile, the sound of her laughter, her tears, her scent, her belief in me, her encouragement and the unending compassion that lies in her heart.
You see, I finally learned what real love is and the pain it can bring, and that real love is defined through her every day smile. If you ever find that ability to love and care for someone that much, where each waking day is better than the previous one only because she is still a part of your life, and no matter what happens or what your station in life is, be it rich or poor, love given or withdrawn that nothing can change your heart, because you love someone unconditionally then and only then shall you truly know where real strength and love come from.
I wish God found me worthy to be the head of her heart but I can’t take back what’s in my heart or all the feelings that go with it now, or the fact that every good thing I am today or was capable of becoming, I owe to her and leave with her. Real love is a rare and wonderful thing, and as with most rare things, very hard to hang on to and believe it is truly yours.
It’s not just saying the words; it’s when you cradle that person’s face in your hands and look them in the eyes as your heart beat races and say to them “no, I really mean it, I truly love you”.
It is knowing that the absolute worst thing about dying would be missing her and not being able to see her anymore. It is about indefinable understanding regardless of situation, life’s changes or whatever she does, so that every day is like the very first time God showed you mercy and blessed you by putting her in your life.
It is knowing that you listen to your heart and follow it, because you know that there is nothing stronger or more powerful than the unconditional love of another. It can bring you to heights unimaginable, or it can slam you so hard that you think even living isn’t important anymore. It’s about believing because it’s such a hard thing to keep.
I write these feelings and words down in the hope that anyone seeing it knows what true love is when they find someone who sees them as beautiful when they don’t even try, amazing when they don’t feel it and perfect when they know they are far from it or forget it. It will put the feeling of success in your heart; to know what an amazing feeling it is and how free it makes you feel if you can only embrace it and count yourself lucky. It’s like being able to fly without actually leaving the ground; not many people ever get to truly have that and even less enjoy it for life for love is sometimes fleeting. I know in my heart that I have lost one of the biggest parts of me because the hurting never goes away; it will always be there but it helps to make me a stronger person in some ways
So whoever reads this know that if you ever find someone who loves you as much without you having to change yourself first, keep it in your heart and lock it away and keep it there for eternity and beyond. Don’t be afraid to enjoy it reflect on it and to tell other people, Take your time and appreciate the scale of how loved you really are and count yourself as God blessed because it really is the one real and true thing that we can have in our lives that can guarantee a great family, a great life and a life of real purpose with absolutely no limits. Watch as everything else gently starts to pale in comparison and your life brings with it a new direction as it heals and forgives all.
Love long, hard, and forever and If you are yet to be blessed by the undying unconditional love of one may an inextinguishable love find and accept all that is you; bad and good, forever and ever in all conditions.
Skinny. Nerd. Wimp. You name an insult, I’ve probobly been called it. It doesn’t help your confidence when you have every reason to not be. But, as is in every man, the allure of love found me. So here I was, in fourth period math, thinking of (let’s call her) grace. She wasn’t the prettiest of women, but I didn’t care . We had been freinds for some time, she was smart, funny, and, as Matt ruff once wrote, “when you see through love’s eyes, anyone can be perfect.” and so, there I was, daydreaming of spending the rest of my life with her. But there’s another thing wrong wih me: I have social anxiety. I wake up in the morning super pumped, and I walk up to her ready to ask her to date me, and then I run away like a coward. So one day I told myself “no more” and I decided that “hey, in fith grade, I had a girlfriend for a week, how much harder can it be?” And I was right. And I walked straight up to her, and I asked her the question. I can’t quite remember what i said, because right after I went into a frenzy of excitement, and from then on, I never doubted myself again. So every morning, take a look in the mirror, and say “hey, i am a human being. I know what I want, and the only person out there who can get me what I want is me, so I’m GOING, to live this day, as best as I can” once even a sliver of confidence finds its way into your head, anything is possible.
MY NEW OLD STORY by Dami O-Aliu (Second song attempt)
As I watched my lady sleep
I felt her pulse race
My heart skipped a bit
It’s an age old story
like beauty and the beast
An age old song
But never told like mine
No one can feel this
Give me your hand
I’ll give you my world
Show you everything
Stronger than the perfect storm
We’ll stand together
Burning through it all
Hotter than summer
Made to never weather
Built to last forever
Thoughts running everywhere
Much like my hands all over your body
You have never known passion like what I ve got now
Teach you new things that would shock even me
From top to bottom
Feel every nerve
Even ones you dint know you had
Get all excited
Its a trusted hand
Give me your hand
I’ll give you my world
Show you everything
Stronger than the perfect storm
We’ll stand together
Burning through it all
Hotter than summer
Made to never weather
Built to last forever
Let me get your head right
Get things looking tight
Give you a new reason to brag
Show you what passion really means
Get you all excited
Seeing old things new
Feeling all things gone
Trust this kid
Trust this old new hand
Sing you my New Old story
Give me your hand
I’ll give you my world
Show you everything
Stronger than the perfect storm
We’ll stand together
Burning through it all
Hotter than summer
Made to never weather
Built to last forever
Oh baby, let me sing you my New Old story
NB: If you want to use the lyrics or sing the song. Feel free to leave a comment asking to.
Daddy’s dark smile (song on living a lie, written at the request of Samuel Ishie)
Light of the world
I look in my daughters’ eye
Crying to daddy wondering if she will be alright
My little light
Today is here again
I cant hold this pain
Feels like I am in chains
If only you looked close you would see it in
Daddy’s dark smile
Daddy’s dark mind
Where daddy stays a while
Where daddy cries a mile
Yet it’s hidden in
Daddy’s dark smile
Another day just like the day before
Need to be brave
Can’t let it make me a slave
I feel another closing door
Want to let it go
Can’t take it any more
I lay on the floor
Hoping maybe today I won’t feel so sore
I can’t think of me
My baby needs me
Cant let her see my weakness
Only let her see her uniqueness
Daddy must keep smiling
Daddy’s dark smile
Daddy’s dark mind
Where daddy stays a while
Where daddy cries a mile
Yet it’s hidden in
Daddy’s dark smile
Baby come in
Hold daddy’s hand
Daddy will smile for both of us
Till you are ready to smile on your own
All my love I will throw
All my strength I will show
This can’t be the end
Something good, God shall send
All you have to do now is look at
Daddy’s dark smile
Daddy’s dark mind
Where daddy stays a while
Where daddy cries a mile
Yet it’s hidden in
Daddy’s dark smile
NB: Not a true story but written as a challenge. Picture is Sacred Angel of Comfort by Terese Nielsen (Very good artists, check her work out).
This is the prayer I assume Adam (of Adam and Eve in the bible) would have prayed to God after he and Eve were banished from the Garden of Eden. It’s just a bit of rhyming for fun.
Dear God almighty
Last night I wore a nightie for the first time in my life
I feel a new pain like a knife to my heart
I want to blame the woman you gave me
But when she first came all i saw was art.
I never thought she would be the one to pull us apart
Ever forgiving king
I cling on hoping that one day you can take away this sting
Its spring now
The suns out today
but there is no sunshine in my day
I miss the days when all was nice and gay
Forgive my wife lord she was a victim and prey
We pray to you lord hoping there is a chance you will turn even for a quick glance
Please change your stance lord
Dont leave us to die by the sword
Helps us thrive once more
Protect us as you once did
Just as a father would for his kid
We were your pride
You never left our side
Yet all we repaid you was shame to your name
Our days are now numbered
When we die maybe we might be remembered
But till that day lord even if you can’t forgive this one
For all you gave and what we have done
Forgive our sons and daughter now and forever more
Restore our generations
Build a new nation
With no more rations or conditions
If you ever loved us then honour our one last request.
That all the nations might look to you and be blessed
With this last request
We bow our heads
And honour the God Head
TO MY FAMILY (THANK YOU FOR BEING MY REASON TO SMILE)
Same day different thoughts
I sit hear remembering the first poem I ever wrote.
Oh those youthful days full of hope,
Full of love
Full of endless zeal
What has happened?
I am a shadow of my former self
Self confidence replaced with self pity
Zeal replaced with despair
It now feels wrong to hope
Feels false to grow
I want the old me back
I am losing myself one day at a time
Help me get it back
Where has my smile gone?
Not the smile of “things could be worse” but that of “the world is my pedestal”.
Is this what growing up brings?
If this is it then I chose to not grow any longer.
I see my end now
When all I saw was my beginning.
I am giving all of me to everything yet still falling short
Caught in my own court room
Looking for a new bloom
My face like a costume
With a view to a future consumed.
I tell myself everyday
It doesn’t have to be this way
Hope never left
Smiles were always here
And when I start to doubt that which I should know
I hear my babies cry and I know
I look in their eyes and I feel
Only a fool cant see
In them I see my future
I see my past
I see my present
In my family I see myself as I once was
In them my heart truly beats for this world.
Can you die of a broken heart?
I guess it’s quite a deep topic. A few days ago I read the paper and saw an article about a woman that was married to her husband for over 70 years. He was her high school sweet heart and until the day he died they were un-separable. He was 93 years old when he died and then a few days later (3 days after) she also passed away. As I read this article the inquisitive part of me came to life and I started to ask so many questions came to mind.
The first one was about their love. I looked at the 2012 statistics for England and wales and it showed
There were 13 divorces an hour in England and Wales in 2012
• Women were granted 65% of all divorces
• 9,703 men and 6,026 women aged over 60 got divorced
• One in seven divorces were granted as a result of adultery
• 719 (less than 1%) divorces were granted because of desertion
• The average age at divorce was 45 for men and 42 for women
• 9% of couples divorcing had both been divorced before
• 48% of couples divorcing had at least one child aged under 16 living with the family
• It is expected that 42% of marriages will end in divorce.
In the USA about 40 to 50 percent of married couples in the United States divorce. The divorce rate for subsequent marriages is even higher.
How did they manage this feat? How did they stay in love for so long? Did they worry about the same things our present generation do? Did they ever fall out of love and needed or worked on falling back into love? What about commitment? We know that love and commitment are not the same thing so how did they manage this? What was their story?
You see, I wondered these things because I was recently married. I loved my wife and we had been blessed with kids but both my wife and I were from broken homes. Both our parents were separated. In my case they were married for over 20 years before the separation. I was curious and afraid because I wondered if it could happen to me. I just wanted to learn from their mistakes if possible and gain from the now deceased couples experience if applicable.
As I researched couples another question came into my mind and this question is the reason for me writing just now. It was a questioned that appealed to the hopeless romantic in me. Did she die because it was her time to go or did she die from a broken heart?
You see the thing is if it was a one off story then I guess it would be more likely she did for any number of reasons besides a broken heart. Now let me ask you a question, Is this the first time you have ever heard or read such a story? Is this the first time you read a story about true love and the second half dying shortly after the first?
According to Dr. Holly S. Andersen, “The answer is yes. A traumatic breakup, an extreme argument or experiencing the death of a loved one can elicit the release of stress hormones that can trigger a heart attack in people prone to them, induce a life-threatening arrhythmia or cause a syndrome that mimics a heart attack in otherwise healthy hearts.”
Another notable quote is from Shauna Springer: “One hallmark of couples who have passed into the ‘soul mate’ phase of their marriage is that they continually bless and inspire others through the way they treat each other and those around them. Another hallmark is the ‘widower’ effect – when two people become one, it is often the case that the death of one is closely followed by the death of the other. This isn’t merely romantic nonsense propagated by Hollywood movie-makers – this actually happens with notable frequency for closely-bonded pairs.”
Source: Shauna Springer, Ph.D. “Soul Mates Do Exist – Just not in the way we usually think…” PsychologyToday.com. 7/28/2012.
I am a big believer of research and in it comes as no great surprise that two people can form a bond so strong that when one dies the other could lose the will to live.
Separate studies involving thousands of couples in Scotland and Israel concluded that the risk of death among widows and widowers surges anywhere from 30 to 50 percent during the first six months after their beloveds pass [source:Dahlstrom]. After that initial period of bereavement, the statistical risk of death diminishes [source:Martikainen and Valkonen]. (See hyperlinks if you chose to read more)
One of the most prominent cases is that of Minnesota couple Clifford and Eva Vevea who were ‘hopelessly in love’ for 65 years of their marriage, died within hours of each other.
No matter what people say to you or tell you it is possible to die from a broken heart but that does not mean that you cannot chose to live. A way to understand or think clearly is to ask one simple question. What would my other half have wanted from me? If they truly loved you (and I guess they probably did) then the answer would inevitably be that they wanted you to live. Another thing to bear in mind is that most studies looked at people aged over 50 years old so it is not clear if this applies to younger people. Now I have to take a stance at this point and be clear on the fact that I am not saying that it doesn’t apply to younger people. I m just saying that there aren’t enough studies to conclude that it does.
My post has to do with true love. Not someone leaving you, not the normal day to day part of dating but the real deal. The type people sometimes spend their entire life looking for.
I am writing this just in-case there is anyone out there that has just lost someone they loved, their soul-mate. I want you to know that what you feel is true, it real and it is possible to still live for those you have left. I do not write this because of experience but because in some cases just knowing that you are not insane helps. Cry out to the people around you because you can die of a broken heart.
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THIS POST.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE “A GOOD PERSON” OR A “BAD PERSON”? THE PROBLEM WITH MORALITY.
“Life is neither good or evil, but only a place for good and evil”.
What is Morality? Why does this topic even matter? What’s so special about having a moral reference point?
Morality is from the Latin moralitas which means “manner, character, proper behavior”. It is the differentiation of intentions, decisions, and actions between those that are “good” (or right) and those that are “bad” (or wrong).
I believe the issue of morality is very vital as man in general is born blank (i.e not racist, immoral and no idea of what good and bad consists of) and can be socialised into violence or a number of ideas. This obviously also raises questions on the right way to raise a child, the right process for rehabilitation for the criminally convicted and so many other questions.
The problem with the question is in the definition. Who or what determines what is good or bad? Who says what is acceptable and what is not?
It is no secret that morals can vary from person to person and culture to culture however many are practically universal, as they result from basic human emotions.
A few years ago I came across this problem in a public forum between Christians and Atheists. The topic that was raised was not necessarily one on morality but one on a divine deity and its responsibility towards the starving folks from third world countries.
Though my topic has nothing to do with my previous discussion, I feel it might be necessary to repost it for the sake of clarity.
The post read as follows:
“I have read a number of views here from both Atheists and Believers especially with regards to starving children in Africa.
First of all let me start by saying that I am African, born, bred and raised in Africa. When we speak about Africa and its problems you must understand that God has nothing to do with it. Africa is one of the richest places on earth. Our people believe that we did not develop so many things in the past because there was no need for it. as necessity is the mother of all inventions. Africa has an abundance of food and in cases where there isn’t there is the land which is rich and fertile, we have good weather so there is a lack of need for massive structures and prior to colonialism there was respect for animal life. We did not kill animals except for when it was needed. Africa in a lot of ways is the cradle of life for the world.
The problems in Africa are complex but I can assure you they were not caused by God. They were started by colonialism, extended by slave trade and have continued by racial discrimination. Every single one of these is caused by men such as myself. When Barack Obama became president it was a big deal that a black man was elected. This feeling was not developed by God it was done by people. African presidents who were taught corruption by colonial masters have for centuries plundered and stolen its resources for their own good and starved their own people.
Africa is in trouble because of people and not because of God. God by nature has given us free will and as such will not deny us of the consequences of our choices. When a king/president rules with terror do the people not suffer?
Look to yourselves and see if you ever learnt anything from the 1st or second world war. Millions of people died. Did God cause this? How about global warming, Did God cause climate shifts?
More important than blame what have you done about it? I can honestly say that in all my years in Africa I have never seen one so called NGO or charity asking for £3 a month to help children ever.
I am happy for the girl that got to go to Disney land but I also know that even in the bible God did not always come down from heaven himself to make a change in the life of his people. He sent someone to deliver them. Look at Moses, Nehemiah, David, Habakuk and Jesus (who walked as a man).
To my fellow Christians be careful not to miss what that really means and my fellow Atheist be careful when speaking about things you really do not understand but have only seen from the media. God has nothing to do with problems in Africa. Africa is damaged by people. To borrow from a saying “Guns dont kill people, people kill people.
When you refuse to feed others when you have enough, you have starved him (not God), When you refuse shelter to a friend, you have made him homeless (not God). God answers prayers through people in a lot of cases so do not say he doesn’t. I have so many testimonies to share but not enough time as I am only passing by.”
In retrospect the post read more like a vent than an educated ramble but it still raised the question of morality. Who determines in your life or in the life of the people around you what is Good and what is Bad? Maybe if we can solve this we can solve the problem of human responsibility and maybe make the world just a little bit better.
Is morality determined by man (as an individual), society (collection of men), emotions or by a divine moral reference point.
Let’s examine the problems with the first one.
Morality defined by man:
“The whole course of human history may depend on a change of heart in one solitary and even humble individual – for it is in the solitary mind and soul of the individual that the battle between good and evil is waged and ultimately won or lost”.
M. Scott Peck
If the definition of what is right and wrong is determined or left to be determined by you or I then what we are essentially saying is that anything outside of myself cannot determine if what I have done is right or wrong.
I guess morality is a philosophical discussion more than it is a scientific one. If morality is defined by a man then ultimately does this mean that if that said man feels that it is morally right to beat a dog till almost death as a teaching then he is right? What does this bring?
In essence what we are really saying here is that if Thomas Smith decided that he wanted to beat his child as a sign of love (maybe in his own way he feels that if he corrects a mistake today it is unlikely to happen again tomorrow). Would you say Thomas Smith is morally a “good person”? After all Thomas Smith is doing this because he feels he is being good to the child.
What if it wasn’t so destructive in nature? What if all Thomas Smith believed was just as he was born without clothes, he feels he is right to walk around without clothes? As man ages so does his preference. A very powerful quote that explains this can be taken from a man called Paul who once persecuted and killed Christians but later became a Christian himself and suffered the same persecution he himself had met out to countless others.
Pauls famously explains the ever changing nature of man in 1st Corinthians 13:11 “ When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.”
Also as important in morality as defined by man is the question of the Will of man. What happens to his Will?
Albert DeSalvo (A serial killer) famously said “It wasn’t as dark and scary as it sounds. I had a lot of fun…killing somebody’s a funny experience.”
The problem of morality as defined by man is even clearer in the case of Peter Sutcliffe where he also famously stated “The women I killed were filth-bastard prostitutes who were littering the streets. I was just cleaning up the place a bit.”
If he defines/determines morality and in his mind he was doing the world a favour; is he morally wrong? How about TV’s most beloved serial killer “Dexter Morgan”? What he morally right as he only killed serial killers?
Morality defined by society:
How about morality as defined by society? In order to even discuss this one must start with culture. In the simplest definition of culture, it is the way of life of the people. Culture is man developed but more importantly collectively agreed. This means that just because Samantha jones likes to run around her neighbourhood naked, it does not make it the culture of that society. It must be done and agreed by the collective to be so. Culture in a lot of ways is similar to language. It is mans distinction from animals or the beasts of the fields. We (Man) have managed to create structure where it ordinarily won’t have been. This has sometimes been done for the survival of the species and other times for sexual satisfaction (not implying that these are the only two reasons).
Regardless of why a culture started, it brings in some really important questions to the table. A good way to explain this is to look at certain societies both past and present. The first that comes to mind is pre abolishment of slave trade. For the most part certain societies in the world (developed societies) believed that it was okay not just to own, rape, force labour but to kill at will as it was their “property”.
This was a society that did not even treat dogs that way at the time but seemed okay to do this with humans. Were the owners evil or was it society that defined it? Clearly it was society as now that the mentality of this has changed (even though racism still strongly exists) it appears that so also has society.
How about the Holocaust? Was that society or man? In modern times there is a society/village in Papua New Guinea that accepts cannibalism as a way of life. Are they “morally right”? After all it isn’t a crime to eat other humans there? Is the argument for morality as defined by society also based on location (we know cannibalism is not legal in the USA or UK)?
Also importantly is the fact that the only thing that is really constant in life is change and just as we all know now, Slave trade is no longer legal. Society has changed its mind on it, same as being gay. This means that society can also change its mind on other aspects. If Society changes its mind on its stance on Paedophilia, does this make it right? Do you see the problem with morality when defined by society? Can we also customize/manipulate society through public propaganda so morality can also be changed (Just as with Slavery and Homosexuality)?
Morality defined by God (Spiritual Deity):
Let’s look at morality as defined by God/Spiritual Deity. The first and most obvious immediate problem with this is “Which God”? There are many extinct polytheistic religions that man never heard about simply because they died out before man invented written language.
In Hinduism alone, there may be as many as 330 million gods. Some religions worship a pantheon; some religions believe that there is a god in each of us or that we are all a part of a god. There are potentially billions of gods if you follow this system.
Even in religions that agree on a singular deity that deity still differs. It seems like the search for the one true God from an educative perspective will take more than a few hundred life times to know the truth and even then I think if viewed by the same rigidity required for scientific hypotheses to be determined a “fact”, mankind will still come up short.
Now lets see if possible to go away even for just a bit from that problem of
“What God first” and take the assumption that there is only one true God. Lets for the sake of conversation say that this is the God of Abraham/Ibrahim (please notice I did not say Christian or Muslim). I use the God of Abraham simply based on the fact that this is the only time that Christians and Muslims agree on deity and they represent the largest religious sect in the world. Every thing after that simply becomes a disagreement. Unlike “morality as defined by man” and “morality as defined by society”, there is some hope here. First of all in order to be a God, God cannot change which means that his stance on good and evil can not be speculative. God is totalitarian (This is found in the definition of being a God), this means that he has a clear distinction on what is classified as good or evil and this combined with our previous point means that the reference point in theory will be eternal. He has no beginning and no end and is seen as the creator of mankind. This means that he is ageless and timeless.
Even with those being major positives it is also difficult to move away from the fact that God seems to exist through a spiritual consciousness (I am also not saying it is impossible that God is physical) but very often when people talk about hearing from God they are very often not speaking physically. This means that it is impossible to avoid the problem of “manipulation”.
I can presently think of 9 examples when this has been a problem
1) Human sacrifices in Buddhist Burma (over 500 bodies found)
2) Members of lndia’s Thuggee sect killing over 20,000 people a year (estimated to have killed over 2 million people) to appease the goddess kali
3) The Mountain Meadows massacre by a group of Mormons and Paiute Indians (120 men, women and children).
4) The Medieval Inquisition is a series of Inquisitions (Roman Catholic Church bodies charged with suppressing heresy) from around 1184 which tortured and killed thousands (true amount uncertain).
5) The witch trial by Puritans that settled in Massachusetts in the 1600s (20 alleged witches were killed and over 150 others imprisoned).
6) Roman Persecution of Christians (Christians were rounded up and killed. Some were torn apart by dogs, others burnt alive as human torches. This lasted over 100 years). The death toll also in its thousands if not 100 thousands.
7) Aztec Human Sacrifice (over 20,000 sacrifices a year). The sun God needed daily sacrifices of blood. This also is estimated to be in its millions.
8) Islamic jihads (holy wars), mandated by the Koran, killed millions over 12 centuries.
9) Thousands of pagans murdered by self proclaimed Christians not including the crusades killing an estimated 1 million plus people.
A few famous quotes on good and evil when decided by a spiritual deity include.
“God did not create evil. Just as darkness is the absence of light, evil is the absence of God.”
“In each of us, two natures are at war – the good and the evil. All our lives the fight goes on between them, and one of them must conquer. But in our own hands lies the power to choose – what we want most to be we are.”
Finally just before I end this introduction to this very controversial topic and give you a chance to share your thoughts. It seems like no matter what route you chose in defining morality or picking a moral reference point. There will always be the issue of manipulation.
Manipulation very often has a negative connotation to it and in fairness there are genuine reasons why this is the case. However, it is performed daily by almost every one of us and every sector. Think of your local McDonalds for just a second. Have you ever gone in and the music is slow paced just like your pricey restaurant? Even the music is designed or put to create an atmosphere of fast food. Lets take another look at the shelves in a shop. Do you think the ready made meals and the drinks are next to each other by chance? Think about your favourite political speech. Do you think it was not tailored or designed to elicit such a reaction from you? Think about a theatrical preview of a new movie. Is it designed to get you to watch it or not to?
Maybe all of this sounds sinister, Lets think about the first time you went after a person you liked (obviously I say this on the assumption you are a well balanced person). When you went on that first date? The clothes you picked or even dressing up for an interview. Were you seeking a particular response?
So can we say knowing fully well that we use it to survive and it is actually a vital requirement for successes in this present age that it is wrong to be manipulative?
They are all attempts to control the variables in our environment to suit a response in which we find favourable. It affects a person’s free will and choice and when people are really good at it we know them as social puppeteers. Prostitutes use this, politicians use this and religious leaders use this.
Or do we excuse ourselves as well that it is okay as long as we determine it to be (morality as defined by man), maybe according to society (morality as defined by society) or maybe as long as my religion says its fine (Morality as defined by Spiritual deity).
No matter which one of the three we (people) chose to live our life by, it is arguably more dangerous to not have a moral reference point so this remains a question that requires an answer. Maybe the answer is in the question, maybe its not. Maybe you know an answer. I sure would love to read your thoughts on it. So please share your thoughts, don’t just read and go.
I spent a long time thinking about what to write here and I felt that it might be better to write from the heart based on exactly how I feel.
I don’t even know where to start in praising God for his favour in my life. It’s like every thing I touch and ruin, he blesses and every time I fail him he forgives.
In the last few weeks it can easily be said that I have learnt to fall and get up. To pray for forgiveness repeat a sin and still pray knowing that God is my every present help and if not for him I won’t be here. I have seen that I need to forget about all I have done and how every sin I commit nails him back to the cross and think about what he already achieved.
Please do not mis-understand this message. I do not claim to be a perfect man in Christ. On the contrary, I claim to be quite the opposite. It with intense humility and pain that I write and acknowledge that just like anyone that might feel that he has squandered his inheritance like the “prodigal son” in the parable of Christ. I too am an unworthy “co-heir” with Christ. My imperfectness still astonishes me. His capacity to forgive and set straight to crooked road is beyond my comprehension.Now I have only but a faint grasp of the song “What manner of man is Jesus”.
I have not failed by lack of desire in that I am truly successful but through lack of action I am but rags. If my desire made me righteous then I am rich but my actions lead me into wretched poverty. If you are reading this please understand that this note is not about me. It is not even about you and all you might or might not have done and whatever sorrow and deep gutter you might be in. Lift you eyes and see what I saw. It about a real experience with a God that never see’s you as less. It is about the favour and forgiveness that comes from knowing a “loving God” that never judges a repentant heart.
In all my transgressions, my father has never left my side. In all my failures he has never departed me and now I truly see that the love of God knows no bounds. His love puts me to a shame that makes sin even worse to accept and the guilt that follows indescribable. I have nothing of personal worth that I should boast of now. Not even a single thing that men think are worth anything yet through the love that God has shown for me I know that my steps have been covered before I can even conceptualise my journey.
I bring to you the only hope we have of a future and a present. The gift of Christ’s sacrifice for a person like me. A gift that “whosoever believes in him will have ever lasting life”. This is not a tale from a book written from generations ago. This is the very story of my life till this very day. A story of Gods undying love and compassion for a dying and unworthy son and just like David in the psalms I am in awe that such a God could be mindful of man. Who are we father that you would take notice?
I could sit here and try to awe you and excite you just like in a multi million dollar movie with stories of Gods goodness or I can hope that whoever reads this note knows that the writer speaks deeply from their heart about a love that can only be understood when felt.
I have made many mistakes in my life and because of the ragged body I will still wear till the day I meet the one I put all my hope in. I know I might still fall even again but the one thing I know can never be a mistake is accepting that I cannot save myself. Heaven knows I have tried in the past and failed every time without exception. I cannot be my own messiah for in the chains of this body sin lives and no matter what I do only God can bring me peace.
I thank everyone that has been with me through my somewhat boring journey of faith and would like to say that I am a life that was saved. God found me through you. One person in particular who has always kept me humble through it all and made the love of God real in their own very unusual but special way. May God bless you, keep you and give you all your hearts desire. May the spirit of the lord never depart you and bring you a future that shows how blessed he has made you. A life time is not enough to show how much it has meant and will always mean to me. Ten life times is not enough to show you just how much you have given for the lord. Even though you never knew you did.
Like shattered pieces of Porcelain
I picked up the fragments of my heart
Oh the feeling of love
Here today, gone the next
One taking you high enough to soar with the eagles
The other dragging you by your hair
Leaving you to be ridiculed by your emotions
Self-pity mocks me, sadness knows my soul
Loneliness knows me by name
Reaching deep into the very depths of my heart
Burning through my spirit
Like a wild fire feeding on the Village homes
Leaving me in a void of desperation
My shattered heart forced to heal
Hope whispered in the distance,
To recover my lost love.
But I know I must move on
Hold the pain and embrace as I do my own beating heart
Maybe then life might make a little more sense.
I will find a way
Indeed I will
WISDOM FROM ANCIENT AFRICA ( PRE COLONIALISM)
Wisdom from the Yoruba Kingdom translated into English.
NOW SHARE WITH THE WORLD.
In this message Peter Pretorius describes his life story how having being a tobacco farmer and formula one driver his life was remarkably changed. Peter and his wife Ann literally left everything to pursue the call that God had for their lives. They also head up an aid organisation based in Africa where they feed, clothe and educate over 1 million children a day. Peter and Ann spearhead evangelistic crusades across the continent of Africa.
LISTEN TO A VERY POWERFUL TRUE STORY OF HOW A TOBACCO FARMER (ATHEIST) WENT ON TO SAVE AND FEED OVER ONE MILLION PEOPLE.
NB: This message was originally recorded in Destiny Church Edinburgh on the 12 Sep 2006 and all copyrights belong to them and the speaker.
CLICK ON THE PLAY BUTTON ABOVE TO LISTEN.
Good evening Family,
As a new month comes into play and old things go into the past, it is with a heavy heart I am writing this letter. I have decided to no longer just keep silent and watch as things destroy and are irrevocably lost but to speak up. I think it is time.
In the unexplainable web of family rivalry, bitterness, mixed truths, sadness, despair, depression, tears, hatred and conflict. I want to start by saying that just because I have taken the decision to speak up please never let it be said that I have taken the moral high ground or I have somehow put myself as “holier than thou, riding on the proverbial high horse”. I only speak because even though it is seen as an old fashion concept I still believe in “Family”.
Writing this is actually bringing tears to my eyes and I am not speaking figuratively. I cry out to God over my family and the life of every one of us. I write this from my heart and I hope that somehow just before the new month starts it gets to each and every one of you just in time.
A few years ago on a holiday trip to England. I attended New Wine Church in London and amongst everything the pastor said. I have held one thing closest to my heart. He said “just as God has given us free will and an ability to do just as we please, so also will he not deny us the consequences of our choices”.
In other words “We are where we are because of what roads we choose”. There is always more than one way to re-act to every situation.
You see the thing is, In the error of youth I believed that just as long as a human being is not mentally incapacitated or emotionally blunt his/her attribution of self-inflicted hardship has no excuses. What I am trying to say in simpler words is that “If a man has 2 eyes, 2 legs, 2 hands and 2 ears then whatever situation you find yourself financially is your fault and yours alone. I soon found out this was not an absolute truth. Getting out of a situation when you have put your all into it has as much to do with hard-work as it has to do with timing. I had spent countless frustrated hours feeling emotionally drained and physically exhausted because I believed that I failed because I kept making only “bad” choices and so focused so much on the perceived failure that I missed the opportunities that was present in every situation.
One thing you sad Dad that I would always remember is that “If you were born poor it is not your fault but if you remain poor it’s your fault”. For decades I have watched as individuals blamed their surroundings for the circumstances in which they found themselves, they have blamed God, their children, their wives, their husbands, their government, their family and even their children but have always managed to be too blind to see their own inadequacies.
Do I speak of one person when I write this? No I do not. I am not excluded. If anything I might even be the biggest culprit of it all.
I believe that every human being is beautifully and wonderfully created, but most importantly that they are armed through life with the ability to make rational choices (not easy choices but rational choices).
There are a few ways in which I could address all the ongoing issues. I could start by taking the road of pointing out who is telling the truth. This road of pointing out inadequacies and faults is one we have always taken but have never gotten any result. We could go on and say “Mr this” should never have said or done whatever to “Mr and Mrs that” but I think our catalogue of faults as a family are more than I am willing to write or go into. It is honestly a miracle that no one has killed someone else. We have all been hurt “very deeply” by each other and the scar from wounds of years ago still show up every day.
We could also go one to take the approach of saying to everyone that they should all just apologise and move on but what good is a half apology or one in which we do not know or accept we did anything wrong. In other to learn from our mistakes one must first of all acknowledge that they have made mistakes. Do we accept that we have all made mistakes? I guess this is a question that only you can answer.
I would like to start by saying that I know I have and I am sorry to anyone I have hurt in the process especially in my youth.
The final option is taken from a biblical principle taught by Jesus over 2000 years ago when a woman was about to be stoned to death for being a prostitute by a crowd of people. Jesus calls out and looks to the congregation and says “Let him without sin cast the first stone”. So I say this to my family, let him without sin cast the first stone.
Let the person that knows they are innocent of all sin be the judge of all. If you have sinned against your family in whatever way either as sons, daughters, mothers or fathers then I beg you not to throw stones in glass houses. I know how hurt everyone is but the problem is that EVERYONE IS HURT AND NOT JUST ONE PERSON.
It is time for peace and a turnaround but this must first come from a heartfelt acceptance when we cannot ignore the hurts we have caused others. I know there were times I disappointed the whole family but only self pride will keep me from knowing that everyone was affected but my decisions and not just myself.
Everyone one of us starts every argument (Please have no delusions about this, everyone does this and does it very deeply also) or disagreement by talking about ourselves, How it affects us, how we feel, what we wanted to do, what we did and how we do not want something. In the role play of our individual lives we are all victims of life.
It is time to stop thinking about how things affect us but how it affects others. I know it is easier said than done and I don’t think it will be easy but I promise you all it is worth changing or fighting for. Life is more than just how we feel or what we want or even our own happiness.
For me, it is now about my family’s happiness. I live for my family and know life has no real meaning until we live for others. Take a look at Nelson Mandela, we do not celebrate him because he was the best man in the world but because he lived for others, same with Jesus.
My family we are not victims. We are the causes of our own hurts and there is only one solution.
Love is the only choice we have, Love can build a bridge between our hearts. Love can overcome all the sorrow, the pain, the countless days of tears, the days you wished life would depart and the depressions we felt. Love will be our bridge and don’t you all think it’s time?
When we stand together it is our finest hour. We can do anything. I write in tears because I still believe that in between all these there is still love somewhere. Please do not prove me wrong or just a dreamer.
In the presence of darkness only light can overcome it and when light comes darkness cannot comprehend it but must give way to a stronger being at the expense of itself. Let love be the light the fixes all darkness.
1 Corinthians 13 (New International Version): If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
I think it is time. I put myself on the line to say let our last name be more than just letters but something that unites us. It is time to let go not because you were not hurt, not because you are not right to be hurt but because it is time to let go.
We have lost almost a whole decade as a family. Who can remember the last time we all smiled as a family? I have only a fading recollection of this. Time lost can never be gained so let’s not lose anymore. Let it be now.
I know we must all follow our paths but the best way to do that is to know what path we are presently walking on. My family we have gone astray and a lot is lost but not all is lost.
I do not write this to chastise or for self regret. I only say we made mistake because it’s about the road that gets you to a place where you finally see yourself for what and who you are and lose all sense of false self grandeur. The day you weep your eyes out because for the first time you really see your flaws and you realise that just knowing what they are means nothing if you continue to do nothing about it. That day “our” world takes a new shape. That day friends and family that have stood by you mean even more; “everything becomes an opportunity”, a second chance to get things right. That day maturity grabs you by the throat and becomes your best friend. You finally dissect yourself accurately and on that day self-pity leaves your side and self-action takes its place. Blame departs along with loneliness and new life takes its place.
That day you realise that even though your life and options aren’t what you want you learn to take the highroad (not your way), maybe you do this because you learn to look at everything as a lesson, or because you don’t want to walk around angry anymore hoping to rationalise life, or maybe it is because you finally understand the cards that are laid before you.
In life there are things we don’t want to happen, but have to accept. There are people we can’t live without, but have to let go and that there are things we don’t want to know or face (often about ourselves), but have to learn.
Doing something about what we already know is our fault is the real difference.
I have learnt that failing to see one’s own inadequacies is one of the biggest handicaps a person can have and to not see that ensures the real cause of a problem is never addressed.
It sometimes makes me sad that in a lot of peoples situations they need to go through sadness to appreciate happiness, they need to cry to know the value of a laugh and they need to lose a loved one to appreciate the beauty of life. They need to search for love to know never to take it for granted. This to me is one of the greatest tragedies of the human condition but ultimately it is what makes us human and not divine.
I present love as choice and just as I mentioned earlier it is one in which if we chose not to accept God will not deny us of the consequences just as any other choice in life we make.
Yes! We all made mistakes but falling down when trying is not failure it is just a learning curve and should be seen as one. It can be difficult and frustrating to fall but this is also a good thing as the deeper the pain the more you want it. This pain is good and I can honestly say take heart, it gets better. This fall should never be allowed to be the reason to give up. This is just part of life. Life will throw you curve balls and we do not always get to pick what happens in life but we do get to pick how we deal with what is thrown our way
My family what values do we place on each other? The time for talk is long gone. It is time for actions.
I do not want to end this on a low as a new month shall shortly begin so I would like to say this in the form of two quotes.
“There is neither happiness nor misery in the world; there is only the comparison of one state with another, nothing more. He who has felt the deepest grief is best able to experience supreme happiness. We must of felt what it is to die, Morrel, that we may appreciate the enjoyments of life.
” Live, then, and be happy, beloved children of my heart, and never forget, that until the day God will deign to reveal the future to man, all human wisdom is contained in these two words, ‘Wait and Hope.”
― Alexandre Dumas
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