Friday, April 06, 2012

positive thinking

This is true joy in life, being used for a purpose recognised by yourself as a mighty one; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.

I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community, and as long as I live it is my priviledge to do for it whatever I can.

I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no "brief candle" to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)

This quote was used by Wendy Lee in her keynote address at an ELP 'Inspiration Day' I attended with the rest of our teaching team in Whangerei a few weeks ago. I had to stop myself from laughing out loud as I read it on the projector screen as it basically summed up the sermon Phyllis had been writing the week before which had obliquely been aimed at someone we know who then epitomised
a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making [her] happy rather too well.

I copied out the quote and passed it on - bringing some laughter to the day after another rather thankless visit to the aforementioned
friend. Thankfully several trips to the doctors later the state of health and mind of this friend is much more positive, but not before it took its toll on several of her friends.

Picking up the pieces behind her made me look back on times when I know I've not been in the best of health physically and/or mentally and wonder if I was ever quite so negative about anything and everything. I'd like to think that I wasn't, but I know there were times when well meaning people have made suggestions that either I'd long since tried to no avail or just wasn't ready to hear yet (or in some cases simply couldn't afford). But in general my 'Pollyanna streak' has meant that I've always been able to see that things could be much worse and have been 'glad' they aren't. Also I know that half the time I've ended up like that it has been because I've taken the philosophy of GBS a bit too seriously and not left enough time and energy for looking after myself. 

It is a fine balance, knowing when to look after yourself at the expense of helping/pleasing others so that you can still do other things for the greater good. This is something our Monthly Meeting has been grapling with over the last few months. Those of us still fit and able have many other committments, some of which being serving Quakers in other capacities (I think I have the set - MM, YM and international!). So others, who aren't really able have been trying to muddle through and are definitely feeling 'thoroughly used' up.

Just after I get back from Kenya a special joint Meeting is being held with our MM and the (much bigger) neighbouring one with a view to forming a new amalgamated MM. It will be large with the potential to be unwieldy, but also with the potential for future realignment of other MM boundaries to make more sense of the rather bizarre arrangement that exists at present. So it could be that our MM problems could lead to all kinds of growth in other ways that otherwise wouldn't have been possible. As long as enough people take the wider picture view of what is good for the community and not focus their own grievances....

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