On a week that has witnessed the most privileged among us discussing the lack of fairness in one’s life, I’ve woken today with a shout of agony as my back has decided for some reason to not play ball, contracting the lower muscles into an agonising, screaming knot of pain and discomfort.
“You’ve retired” I hear you cry, “you can take the day orf and put your feet up”.
That might well have been the case when I was younger, but as time passes, you begin to realise that there are less days in front than there are in the rear view mirror and if I don’t crack on, the Whip Master General (WMG – a nice TLA for those who like such abbreviations) will have my proverbial guts for garters and string me up for malingering!
Gravel and stones don’t move themselves you know and although help would of course be offered, given, gratefully received and thankfully applied, in these present climes we all have to be mindful of the fact that Covid-19 has not just gone away, it is lurking furtively, just around the corner, waiting to pounce on the unsuspecting and unwary travellers to my door.
Ici dans la campagne français de France, I am lucky to have a place of seclusion, where few venture, (save the driveway repair chappie from the Mayor’s office who kindly lay some road gravel last week, but even he remained in his tractor cab whilst ruminating avec moi over the garden wall), and as such, my exposure to disease and pestilence is limited to what can be blown my way across the distance of a field.
Sat sitting then with a coffee, while the Codeine takes effect, I am given an opportunity to jot a missive to the ether on the subject noted above.
Why today of all days, when after washing by hand for the past thirteen weeks, today is the day when a washing machine is due to arrive and I need to be on physical top-form to move it inside and plumb it into the kitchen? Why does my back even do this when I’ve spent so much energy getting fit and strong for all the tasks that need to be performed before her-who-shall-be-obeyed joins me here, later in the year, to inspect my progress? Why do I now look like a frail old man, well advanced of my juvenile years…? Where is that painting of my visage in the attic and what does it really look like aujourd’hui…?
Why is life not easy? Why do we have to face an uphill struggle to survive? Why me…?
Now, to many, the luxury that has been afforded me in being here in the first place would outweigh any complaints or niggles that presently have me curtailed in mobility. Being able to leave work before a governmentally prescribed 67 or 68 years and be solvent, is afforded to few and therefore, I have no right to grumble about passing disabilities, but quite frankly should shut up and get on…
Without going into too much detail here how previous life experiences and the passing of life’s rich tapestry has given me this wonderful chance to work for myself at such a young age, there are those who question even my modest existence here and wonder how it could be possible.
So I’m not going to mention that Charlotte is considerably younger than moi and has no intention of stopping earning and working, all going together with the fact that purchasing property here in France is far more affordable than the UK. In fact, I’ll be drawn at this point to use a word that for the last twelve years and six months would not feature in my daily working life vocabulary – cheap! The market here is very different to the UK housing market and there are still great bargains to be found. Property wise, ‘from where the range starts’ in France really is cheap!
So why do we complain about our circumstances? What do we gain by saying how hard-done-by we are and that others don’t make life easy for us?
Riches of birth position or of a financial nature do not protect us from our inner human nature. We can all look at those who have more than us or an easier life than us and wish we had more.
To be content in whatever state we are in is a difficult Eutopia to achieve, but it is only in suppression of the green eyed monster, the greed within, that we can truly be happy where we are in life. Chasing a dream purely of financial wealth misses the point of life in all its fullness. The true wealth of this life, however long or short it ends up being, surely has to be time.
There can be no greater richness than living in the moment, not worrying about the past or the future but being alive right now. ‘Time to stop, and stand, and still the fleeing tide of time’ wrote someone who shall remain nameless, unless you have a copy of a book of poetry I once wrote…
Why me? Because I’m alive. Right now. Breathing. Living. A wonderful creation of existence no matter how hard or easy, rich or poor, long or short this life is, I have this Gift of Life. We have this Gift of Life. A life too short to waste complaining about the what ifs, or buts, or maybes, or it’s not fair, or why me!
No one said that life would be easy, the path smooth, flat and wide. Life’s Rich Tapestry is just that. Full of ups and downs. Mountains to climb and rivers to cross. Happy times and sad times.
We have Life in all its fullness right now. Life and Time, rich in all its twists and turns.
Crack on chaps, the night is coming when no one can work (John 9:4). Stiff upper lip and carry on regardless!