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Ecclesiastes 3 : 5    … a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,  a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
Carrying on from last week, there is a strict code of conduct that must be adhered to between participants on the course. One rule is that there is to be no physical contact between prisoner and visitor, other than a handshake. No hugging! For very good reasons, I’m sure you will agree.

During one of the sessions, the woman telling her story (I will call her Patti for this illustration), became quite upset. The emotional telling of her story affected every person in the room. There was hardly a dry eye by the time she finished. The facilitator asked if anyone had any questions for Patti, and there was a heavy silence in the room. Eventually one big burly prisoner said, “I’d really like to give you a hug, but that’s not permitted. You are the bravest woman I’ve ever met.” There were murmurs of agreement around the room.

Moments later as the room descended into thoughtful silence, the facilitator announced that we would break for morning tea. “And just this once,” he added, “with permission from the Chaplin and Patti, and within the confines of this room, anyone who would like to give Pattie a hug, may do so.”

I’ve seen this go the other way too. One of the prisoners became quite distraught while telling his life story, and afterwards, one of the female participants asked the facilitator if she could give him a hug. He later said it was being hugged by his grandmother who had passed away while he was ‘inside’.

Patti later told me that those hugs that morning helped to heal something inside her. Who would have expected that a victim of crime would find healing inside a prison, amongst prisoners?

… a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing…

DJ

 

 

Ecclesiastes 3:4 ‘…  a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,

For the last three years I have been involved in a Restorative Justice program. I have been part of the program at two different prisons and have seen first hand how restorative justice can work. Being a victim of crime, I share my experience of the long road to recovery, the financial and emotional burden on myself and the family, and the personal victory that came about through sheer hard work on my part.

The course runs once a week for 7 or 8 weeks, and involves a select group of 10 -15 prisoners and a group of around 7 victims of crime. Each week stories are shared and for all of the prisoners, this is the first time they have heard from the perspective of a victim.

As you can imagine, there are some heartbreaking stories on both sides, and tears have flowed from the most unexpected people. After I told my story one morning, one of the prisoners left the room in a bit of a hurry. Minutes later one of the other prisoners came to get the Chaplin who went and spoke with him. When they both came back, the prisoner asked to speak to the group. He said he was aware that many of the participants knew he was a bit upset outside, and he wanted it to be known that after hearing my story, it was the first time he’d ever wondered what his victim had gone through and thanked me for telling my story.

…a time to weep and a time to laugh… The emotional roller-coaster of this course is often peppered with laughter too. That’s what makes our stories so special.

DJ

Ecclesiastes 3:3. (there is) a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build.
Monsieur Charles de CatA few years ago, our 16 year-old cat, Charles, developed kidney problems and his body could no longer process the protein from food. He grew thin and was in pain. I took him to the vet and held him as they injected him with a lethal dose of aesthetic. I shed a bucket load of tears. He’d been part of our life since he was 5 weeks old. I vowed that I couldn’t go through that again. No more pets. I thought I was going to miss him forever. Rev

Over the coming year my grief did heal, and about 18 months later I decided that I wanted another cat. So off to the Animal shelter I went, and come home that day with Revv. He’s been an absolute delight and I have no regrets about bringing another fury friend into our lives.

Time really does heal if you let it. Healing can also be a matter of opportunity. If that opportunity presents itself, grasp it with both hands (or head and heart) and move on.

 

photo of Donna RoseFollowing on from last week, verse 2 of Ecclesiastes 3 reads: (there is) a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and aMum time to uproot.

Births and Deaths. These two pictures are of my mother. The first was taken when she was about 8 years old, I think. The other was the last formal picture taken before she died at the age of 52. Next week she would have been celebrating her 78th birthday. She didn’t change much in those 44 years, did she?

Even though she’s been gone for 26 years, I still miss her very much. I often catch myself thinking ‘Mum would have loved this.’ She died when our youngest of 4 children was just 1-year-old.  That child now has two children and we are looking forward to the birth of our 8th grandchild. It saddens me to think of all that she has missed out on.

gardenPlanting and uprooting. The seasons are changing so fast, that if we don’t hurry up, we’ll not get our next season of vegetables planted. We had to ‘uproot’ the last of the celery and capsicums in order to fill the raised garden beds with wonderful rich compost. I’m excited when I look at this and imagine what it will look like in 3 or 4 months time. Before we know it we will be enjoying the produce.

Planting and uprooting can also be looked at in another context – that of moving to a different house, or town – or even country. If this is you, try to put down roots and grow where you are.

A time to be born, and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot.

AnzacDayRemember

Ecclesiastes 3: 1 – There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

Here in Australia we have just remembered our fallen and serving military personnel. Now is the ‘season’ of remembering those who fought for our freedom. An emotional time for many.

 

The word ‘season’ is usually used in the context of weather. Tornado season, Summer, Fire season and so on…

But life has seasons too. For a while, I was a daughter and sister. Then I became a wife and mother – while still being a daughter and sister. My parents both died and I was back to being a sister, wife and mother. Now I’m a grandmother, Aunt and Great Aunt.

For a ‘season’ I was a correspondence teacher to my children, I’ve been a secretary using my typing skills, and the list goes on…

This is called LIFE. And what ever is going on in your life at this time is simply a ‘season’. So look out a window or up at the sky. What happened when you did that? Your chin lifted :) So, chin up and enjoy your season.

Love to you all,

DJ

 

So…. how did you go with the Procrastination posts? Did anything hit home and change the way you do things?

Now something to think about. What is successful in your life and how do you define success? 

According to the Oxford Dictionary, Success is defined as: Outcome of undertaking; favourable outcome, accomplishment of what was aimed at, attainment of wealth or fame or position.

I like the first part of that definition :) Outcome of undertaking. Sometimes the outcome might not be what I hoped for, but at least I gave it a go.

 

success

Pro 5For the last four weeks, I’ve been posting on Procrastination. These are not my words – I downloaded this PDF years ago, and there is no identifying info on it, so I have to go with ‘author unknown’. Here’s the last in the series…

Are You Guilty of Chronic Procrastination?

Chronic procrastination is a problem that’s real and is nothing to be laughed at although there are many jokes about procrastination. Procrastination has caused people to lose jobs, personal possessions and even their spouse.

But most medical professionals fail to recognize the problem as real, classifying it as simply a bad habit. It manifests itself in low self-esteem, shame, underachievement and life can become unmanageable. Many procrastinators also suffer from adult attention deficit disorder but it isn’t acknowledged as such.

Chronic procrastination grows into a compulsion to avoid existence. It’s addictive and as harmful as any other addictive drug becoming your drug of choice and your method to circumvent the reality of life.

It’s a form of escapism. Chronic procrastinators often turn to drugs and alcohol. Drug and alcohol abusers sometime become procrastinators. So which came first? How do you recognize the symptoms?

Procrastinators are constantly disappointed in everything. They expect all things to go wrong and are inwardly happy when they do. Their lives are surrounded by clutter in the home, car and the work place.

They’re not aware of what’s really needed in their life and seek frivolous things for fulfillment and instant gratification. It’s hard to say no. They suffer from low self-esteem and are glad someone needs their help, but rebel by never completing the requested favor.

Procrastinators are late for appointments and have difficulty estimating the amount of time it takes to arrive at a destination or completing a task. They even resort to tricking their mind by setting their clock or watch a few minutes ahead.

If you think you’re a chronic procrastinator admit to your problem and make a decision to overcome it. Seek help. Therapy can be useful to learn new attitudes and overcome fears.

Ask yourself why you’re avoiding the things you dread. Make a list of dreaded activities and what’s the worse that could happen if you avoid them. You’ll quickly see this could result in dismal consequences. Also make a list of happy activities and why you would want to do them. Yes, there are happy activities too.

Time management can help. Stop giving in to activities that waste time. Develop a routine and break down your daily activities into small steps and tasks. Set a lesser deadline and meet it. Replace your “have to” with “want to. You don’t have to do anything. You have a choice. But, weigh the consequences of that choice.

You’re on your way to recovery when you do what you say you will do when you say you will do it. Success attracts success. Work on things you enjoy even if insignificant. At least the small things are getting done. Never feel guilty. Never submit to self-defeating mentality. Choose to improve the quality of your life and a life of quality will choose you.

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