There is so much truth in this! What phenomenal value there can be in a smile.
I have a couple of good friends that I don’t get to see very often. Sometimes its months since we’ve seen each other. Sometimes when we talk about our lives and what we’ve been up to I become aware of the differences between us. Sometimes I get sidetracked by focussing on those differences between us -how they see life in a certain way that I don’t, or they feel strongly about something I don’t or vice versa. And then I remember… the reason we are friends is because of the things that we have in common, the beliefs we share, and the memories of experiences we have shared together in the past, the meals we’ve shared, the times we’ve laughed together or cried together.
What makes us friends is not our differences but what we share in common.
This quote is one for the ‘mental note to self’ category: to focus not on what separates us, and makes us different but on what we share, and what unites us.
Wine-stained memories, shards of which –long since extinct;
Money, time and memory’s folly,
Splintered picture can never be restored,
Crumpled dreams – broken glass and rubble;
Life repaired but what is lost remains lost.
Glance into the future – an unwritten history of what might be,
The hourglass continues to run its course,
What is unseen, unknown, remains lost to us
Unless we make it so: Create and Live!
Or sit and sup and wait to die.
Expectations of prior generations already drowned,
Fewer possibilities survive, – like seeds
The chance of life if only one would take and plant them
And take the time to let them grow,
Before winter comes and we are lost,
Our lives reduced to endless snow.
I think it’s fair to say I’ve traveled a bit. In my twenties I did what young New Zealanders do and did the big OE [Overseas Experience] – it’s sort of a rite of passage here because we are so far away from the rest of the world. Many young kiwis [New Zealanders] go to Britain and then on to Europe from there. Not all but most New Zealanders end up coming home at some stage. Until I traveled, I didn’t understand the reason so many kiwis come back home (other than family and friends).
I was overseas for several years the first time, then traveled again in my thirties but for much shorter periods. I’ve spent a lot of time in Britain, traveled through parts of Europe as far as Turkey (loved Turkey!), explored big chunks of southern and eastern Africa and Morocco (also particularly loved Morocco). Have spent a little time in the States (but not enough), parts of Asia, Australia and the South Pacific.
What I learnt from travelling (that I hadn’t expected) is that I love to explore. I never knew that I’d so enjoy exploring new cities – and it didn’t matter whether I was travelling with someone or on my own – I just loved it!
I also didn’t realise how patriotic I’d become until I was away from home. I didn’t realise what I loved about New Zealand until I was no longer there. I knew I’d miss family and friends but there’s so much of the kiwi lifestyle, and parts of kiwi culture that I really love. The mountains and hills, forests, lakes, the wide expanses and freedom, native trees and native birds – the incredible beauty that is my homeland – I just never really appreciated it until I was elsewhere. I also didn’t realise how friendly New Zealanders were until I wasn’t around them! Then there’s the culture, the ‘can do’ attitude, the mix of nationalities and the diversity those nationalities have brought to current kiwi culture. And ice cream. The koru. Jandals. Togs…. And there’s so much more I could say (I could go on and on).
The point is – I did all my exploring and came back to where I started, and because of the experiences I’d amassed along the way, I found that I saw things differently; my perspective had changed.
“…we shall arrive where we started and see the place for the first time”
That’s what coming home was like for me after that first trip away, and each time since. That sense of seeing my country for the first time, seeing it differently, and the renewed appreciation of being back home. It’s incredible and awesome. I’d even go so far as to say: priceless!
Some of you may remember my post a few months back about being a sunbeam – or wanting to be a sunbeam (when I was a small child). I’m going to go back to the sunbeam theme for today. I like this quote and the photo of a neighbour’s honeysuckle, taken about a fortnight ago. The honeysuckle was pretty amazing – it’s a huge bush and covered the majority of the fence which lines the front of his property – so this bush is fairly massive!
The honeysuckle flowers always look sort of ‘happy’ to me – maybe it’s their colours and their scent, I don’t really know, but whatever, it makes me smile. And that’s my aim for today – to metaphorically be a sunbeam, to smile my sunbeam smile and hopefully to encourage others around me to smile too.
Wishing you joy, and smiles, friendship and the absence of shadows.