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Monday, 26 December 2016

Part 2 of My 89 Years


As I have mentioned several times before, I am not into the word religion, but respect other people's viewpoint in regards to it. 
To me holy are those who give up so much of their lives to help others.
That heading has prompted me to start off my blog this time with
the memory of a great soul that has touched my heart very deeply
since I first heard about her. She is now called St Mother Teresa.
A number of years ago when she came to visit New Zealand on one
of her charity missions, a gentleman whose name name I have failed
to capture wrote this lovely poem about her.

             There’s a feeling on earth of thanksgiving.
               There’s rejoicing, neath the Cross and the sod,
                 Choirs of angels are singing in Heaven,
                    Mother Teresa has gone home to God

               A little lady from Albania, we called Mother
                  Uncomplaining she lived from life’s crumbs,
                     Never seeking earth’s plaudits or honours,
                       Just remembered as Mother of the slum
                        
                          A real friend of the lost and lonely,
                         With compassion, she filled beggars bowls
                           With a hope for a brighter hereafter
                          She brought comfort to millions of souls

                       From the gutters and slums of Calcutta
                           Upon the destitute and dying she smiled,
                      She heard and understood the pains of Motherhood, 
She heard the cries from an unborn child

                                 So many Missions of Charity she founded,
                                  The Nobel Peace Prize her earthy reward,
                                     For a lifetime dedicated to the needy,
                                   Her ambitions, a worthy servant of The Lord.

                                    We recall how she once came to see us,
                                   She was humble, around her head a cloth rag.
                                     She had a heart full of Love for New Zealand,
                                        And her belongings in a common cabin bag

                                                Her smile she gave of so freely
                                                  A smile was the simplest of her pleas
                                                      For the unloved, unwanted.

While I’m on the subject of Smiles that develop from the loving heart,
I would like to draw your attention to another very beautiful person
who touched my life very deeply. She was known as Sister Yvonne
Heffernan. I spent some very precious hours in her company while I
tried to help out in the Matthew Talbot In Sydney. I have spoken about
this in the book I self-published about part of my life.
I wrote a book of poems, and I dedicated this one to her.

                      Sister Yvonne Heffernan
                    This lady of the Matthew Talbot is,
                              so lovely and divine,
                        has touched the hearts of many.

                     Her master-stroke of wisdom is
                          that wonderful sincere Smile,
                                 that universal reflection
                               touched by the hand of God.

                                And when they see her coming,
                                   their eyes light up with joy
                                for so few can understand them
                                   like Sister Yvonne Heffernan,
                                      that everlasting shining star.

Then to top up that beautiful subject on the Smile, I was given an item
to run my eyes over, so I will share this with you as well. Who knows
what it might bring out of Its depths.

                                       Airport Musings (1)
The fairy lights shimmer above. Christmas is in the air, even though the temp is
35 degrees. Still the children’s faces light up when Santa passes by, placing lollies
in their eager hands.

Yet, I am invisible. I sit alone, no different, yet the same as every other traveller,
clutching their hand luggage close for fear of losing the most vital part of their
identity. I can sit here noticing, but not noticed. people look, people watch, but no
eye contact is made. Unless you Smile.

The smile can change the world. Can make someone’s day. why don’t people smile
more freely? It doesn’t take much - a twitch of the muscles, to light up the eyes, and
then the Soul.

Some people have the knack. My grandmother was one, always smiling, always
chatting to all and sundry - at the bus stop, in the grocery shop, at the doctors
surgery, just wherever she happened to be, she would light up the lives of whoever
she smiled at. The people in this airport terminal could really take a lesson from her.
Most are engrossed in their own families, husbands and wives either happy, or
stressed, tut-tutting at each other, trying to control their offspring who are both
excited and overtired to be at a busy airport terminal.

For those traveling solo it is a different space. We are the invisible ones, we have no
rights. So I try an experiment. I smile at anyone and everyone. The reaction is mixed.
Some look at you as if you have escaped from an Institution. But others, just a few,
will smile back, and then the whole world tips slightly. It’s not such a bad place after
all. I am no longer invisible. I have my place alongside all the other weary travelers.
I have a right to be here. I belong…

                                   Airport Musings (2)
I once instigated the conversation. Don’t ask me why. I don’t usually! Normally
I travel incognito, unnoticed and invisible. But this one time fate took a hand and
gave me a nudge in the back. The result was extraordinary. Rather than being
invisible I suddenly had a traveling companion who was, or appeared to be,
interested in what I had to say. As we sat and waited for the next connection flight
we bantered and laughed in an easy manner and the hours slipped away. Never mind
whether he was married or single, that wasn’t the intention. It was just to connect
with another person and not be invisible. I saw him one more time at the baggage
collection, passed one more comment and we headed off in different directions. The
journey made slighter lighter for having connected with another weary traveler.
Why is that so difficult.
B.P.

I will finish off my blog so that I can launch it off into the New Year with
A letter I got from The Vatican. Those of you who have been following
blog will have reasonable understanding of what I am about to present  
to you as I disclose the contents of this short letter to you. And anybody
that might seem curious can always have a look at my blog.

No. 323.636

                                                      From the Vatican, 25 November 2016

Dear Mr Robinson,

        His Holiness Pope Francis has received your letter, and he has asked
me to thank you. He appreciates the concerns which prompted you to
write to him.

    His Holiness will remember you and your children in his prayers.
Invoking upon you the healing love of Our Lord Jesus Christ, he sends
his blessing.

                                                     Yours sincerely.
                                                     
                                                     Monsignor Paolo Borgia
                                                     Assessor

Later in the next week or so, I will send a very sincere letter of thanks
in response to that very welcome letter from His Holiness Pope Francis
from the kind hand of Monsignor Paolo Borgia. And I will post it on my
blog for all the world to see, should they care to do so.

So on this last day of 2016 here in New Zealand, I would like to wish the
whole world a very Happy New Year, as I believe no stone should be left
un turned to in some way try and heal what wounds we can for our fellow
human beings.
Terry Robinson    

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Part One of my 89 years




I have decided to change course again like any good navigator does when he considers his options. Mine being one of aging health, and dollar bills. I did state that I was going to put a book together on a cheap scale, but have thought better about that so I will just continue with my blog with anything that takes my fancy. Some of what you read about may be repeated items, but may be a tune up won’t go astray. At the very least I’m still providing you with series of what I believe are reasonable moments of humanity not worn smooth by routine. Yes, I no doubt will be stumbling as my mind is taken up with different tastes. But you having one of your own can push aside what shadows or clouds I may form, and let the sun’s rays of your own mind create version.

I am going to start off with an article I may have presented to you before because I believe it stands out on its own without any shadow of doubt.
It was written by a man named Zinker: He says;
If a man in the street were to pursue his self, what kind of guiding thoughts would he come up with about changing his existence? He would perhaps discover that his brain is not yet dead, that his body is not dried up, and no matter where he is right now, he is still the creator of his own destiny. He can change this destiny by taking his one decision to change seriously, by fighting his petty resistances against change and fear, by learning more about his mind, by trying out behavior which fills his real need, by carrying out concrete acts rather than conceptualizing about them, by practicing to see and hear and touch and feel as he has never before used these senses, by creating something with his own hands without demanding perfection, by thinking out ways in which he behaves in a self defeating manner, by listening to the words that he utters to his wife, his kids, and his friends, by listening to himself, by listening to the words and looking into the eyes of those who speak to him, by learning to respect the process of his own creative encounters and by having faith that will get him somewhere soon..
We must remind ourselves, however, that no change takes place without working hard and without getting your hands dirty. There are no formulae and no books to memorize on becoming. I only know this: I exist, I am, I am here, I am becoming, I make my life and no one else makes it for me. I must face my own shortcomings, mistakes, transgressions. No one can suffer my non-being as I do, but tomorrow is another day, and I must decide to leave my bed and live again. And if I fail, I don’t have the comfort of blaming you or life or God

That’s a real awakening call in my estimation. And very fortunately for me I was able to respond to it with the great help of God Himself. How or why really doesn’t come into the picture, it’s more about your willingness  to change from the dark side of the street, to far brighter side, that lifts you out to a more fertile landscape that’s always been waiting there to accept you. It is only in the process of defining yourself, you slowly become who you really are.

Now, I am going to give you what you might call a bit of my ego.
I found a page of something some had written to me, or about me while I was getting rid of a lot of stuff I had written a while back. Trying hard to leave as little as possible around for my daughter to clean up when I move on.
Anyway, here is part of a letter I received from a lady whom my book touched in some way. I will let you decide what kind of a meaning it has for you.
Terry Robinson is the author of A Walk With An Irishman. It was this book which provided me with a sort of a lifeline to sanity a matter of nights ago. Those of you who know me, know that the last few years-2009 in particular have been rough ones for me. God only knows I have bitched about and moaned about things enough to fill a balloon with hot-(hopefully this balloon would not be one belonging to the horrible Heene “I want my 15 minutes of fame to turn into an hour” parents!) This is one aspect of my personality I hope to change and work on immediately-and this desire to change in a positive manner came from reading Terry’s book. Thanks by the way to those of you who have stood by me through my various meltdowns-this past year especially! Good thing I’m not a nuclear reactor eh? I woulda Chernobyl'd  us all by now?

A Walk With An Irishman is about Terry’s life. One might think -ok a book book about one of us regular workaday people with no murders, no vast accumulations of fort fortunes gained and and lost etcetera-how interesting could that be? My answer-extremely interesting! Terry Robinson has a great gift-a way-of talking about the events and people in his life that makes you want to turn the next page.

Terry had a breakdown at the age of 55 that lasted quite some time. But what he couldn’t have imagined at this point in his life-this nadir and bottomless pit of hopelessness, was that he was to emerge like the mythical Phoenix triumphantly  after a series of globetrotting adventures. Terry describes perfectly the way I was feeling a matter of nights (and well into the early am) ago. That night I was in a state of desperation. getting the paperwork together for my disability case was turning into something that felt like being in a Woody Allen movie directed by David Lynch! I don’t know how many of you will have seen “Inland Empire”-but at one point when I was talking to one of the people who were supposed to help me I wouldn’t have been surprised if the soundtrack to the movie started in the background along with the dancing girls and rabbits. I truly felt on this night that after the day I had, that I might be having a mental breakdown. Not only that but my body felt like the proverbial wet dishrag. I was in pain and had barely enough energy to make it to the bathroom.

I had this thought- “ know we aren’t supposed to kill ourselves, but what if one truly feels that they have nothing left to give to others-and at the same time feel like an enormous mountain -sized burden on the people that you love. Would it be such a horrible thing to do? Would it be such a karma-soaked basket of consequences in the next world (if there is one) or another human existence (if there is one) ?” Then I remembered the struggles of Terry Robinson. I remembered he had an awful time and had come through his difficulties and strife with a beautiful new outlook on life. I went to the page where he describes his initial breakdown:
“I woke up one morning feeling as though my body had completely given up on me. It was the most horrible feeling of hopelessness to ever touch my being. I could hardly move my limbs, and my body felt as if all the blood had been drawn from it...Later in the day I dragged myself out to the back door steps and sat there completely demoralized. I felt as if I was living in a void. In my shattered state of mind I found it hard to relate to anything except anxiety.

Terry’s words describe my own state of a few nights ago perfectly. However, even though I was still in quite a state-questioning the value of continuing on -somehow I knew I would find something in his words and thoughts to get me through the most “nightus horribilus” of my life. Sorry for the lame take on QE2’s “annus horribilus” ! And Terry Robinson being the treasure he is, provided me with a lifeline-a rope to lift myself up-whereas before I might have found an object to hang myself with.

I have misplaced the second page of this letter but the real joy for me was that I had touched base with another human being because I managed to shed a very dark cloak  at that stage in my life. And the strength that came from that experience helped me to become a lot more human.
I have been very fortunate to have a number of people come to me and say, “Well done Terry, “I love your life style.

I will finish this blog with a few words by Desmond Morris Now I understand he is referring sexual relationships, but I also believe that good friendships also fits in here. Any kind of interaction between people is also very much wrapped around harmony of some kind.
“He says,” Arrive at a state in which all contact seems repellent, where to touch or be touched means to hurt or be hurt, in a sense, has become one of the greatest ailments of our time, a major social disease of modern society that we would be well to cure before it is too late. If the danger remains unheeded then - like a poisonous chemicals in our food - it may increase from generation to generation until the damage has gone beyond repair.

This is the reason why I do my blog, and try and reach out to those who feel they want to be reached in some way. I come across people for some reason
who are afraid to become involved in a better way of life for both themselves, and others. And in many cases it's wrapped around letting go, forgiveness. Sure the pain may be great, but to hang on to it destroys everything that is built around it.
So I will leave you to hopefully pick  something from what I’ve put before you till next time.
May your days create whole truths, and not half truths. It’s only in full truth you are forever becoming.
Terry      

Friday, 11 November 2016

Chapter 12


 


Not long after I got out of hospital after the first operation to get my water works flowing again, I got an email from Elizabeth in Melbourne asking me if  would like to come and spend a little time with her. She had moved into a new apartment she had purchased. Well, you already know what I’m like when opportunity knocks, no matter what the consequences may be. You can’t really have any kind of a life without consequences playing their part.
So, without giving any real thought to my weak condition I was in, I said yes. As I have already stated, I don’t like the word, No: even though you can have your share of regrets in not using it. And you will gather this from what I am about to unfold to you.

My plan was when I got there, was to amuse myself during the day while she was working. Then in the evenings we could talk, play chess, and amuse ourselves in general. Then at the weekends, take in the sights, and whatever.
One thing I forgot to mention which was to play something of a dramatic part in this little story, was the fact that my daughter Rachel had on request from me, painted a picture that I fell in love with the moment it was completed. And I was going no distance without it. So I packed it carefully into a cardboard case I made up for it, and along with my other gear set off for the airport.
Well, the first part of this well meaning, but sad story started when I lifted my luggage bag onto the weighing scales. I felt a sharp pain between my legs, and then a leakage from my penis.
For a moment I felt this awful sensation going through my mind as to what I should do next. It was obvious that I had strained something in that area that had been causing me a lot of problems. The question was now, should I cancel my trip, or risk going on. It had to be a quick decision because I was going through the booking in procedure. Well, to coin a phrase, faint heart never won fair lady. Mind you that phrase had nothing to do with Elizabeth, her honest friendship was all I required, she would be far too strong a woman for me to get entangled with.

So, I decided being the crazy person that I am, plus taking myself on a another little adventure, I would take what faith had in store for me.
So after checking in, I took myself off to the toilet to see what I could do for myself. Lucky, I was wearing a pad because I did leak from time to time. So I cleaned myself up, then went upstairs to wait for my flight. As, I was on the way, I suddenly realised I was minus the most important piece of my luggage, my shaving bag which I carried my passport, and flight tickets. I rushed back to the toilet in panic, and gave a big sigh of relief to see it just where I’d left it when I had put all my gear down to sort myself out after coming out of the toilet.
I thanked God, then after waiting a while in the boarding lounge, made my way onto the aircraft without any more mishaps, and made my way to my seat hoping to relax for a while, after all I’d been through.
After we reached Melbourn, and got through the passport checkout, I went to collect my luggage. And as it appeared on carousel, I asked a man beside me if he would be kind enough to lift it off for me. I had done lifting for one day.
Later, after wandering around the outside terminal for about twenty minutes feeling very strung out because it was getting close to midnight, Elizabeth came running up telling me that she had to park her car further away than than she thought she might. Anyway, We hugged each other, and then made our way to her car. I didn’t go into too much detail about the about the trying experiences I had been through. I thought a good night’s rest would see me in better shape next morning.

Soon, after after we arrived at her place, she made me a cup of tea, and we chatted for a while. She said, I am getting a new bed for your room, but in the meantime all I have is a blow up bed. She showed it to me, and it looked o.k. So a little later I hit the sack. Well, I don’t know about you as far as blown up beds are concerned, but I felt like I was back in that bed John and his wife expected me to sleep in. The ribs sticking out between the loins, and the all-over discomfort, plus getting up and down to go to the toilet, was one hell of a long sleepless ill timed adventure. So just as I was praying for daylight to come, I had already decided without a shade of doubt that my holiday was no longer a priority, but getting back to New Zealand was.

So, after I heard Elizabeth get up, I got dressed and came out of my room and told her the full story of what had happened. I didn’t say anything about the bed. No need to rub it in any more than I had to. And also the fact that I no longer had face another night on it.


I said Elizabeth, I am very sorry to have to tell you that I must head back to New Zealand because I feel in need of hospital medical treatment. Trying to get it here is nothing short of time consuming and upset for both of us. Naturally she was both surprised, and disappointed. So she said, I will go to work and book you a flight back to New Zealand. She rang me later to say that she had booked a flight that would get me into Auckland around 1pm. She said I won’t be able to take you to the airport, because I can’t get home in time to take you there. I have arranged for a taxi to get you there.
I thanked her very much, and said I will try and make it up to you at a later date.

About an hour after Elizabeth rang, I rang my daughter Alex to tell her what had happened. She said, “Dad I’m proud of you. Even though you knew the odds were against you, you still went and did it. I burst into tears. It was just what I needed at that particular moment. Then she said, let me have your flight number, and I will pick you up at the airport. I said that will be around one in the morning, you have to go to work, I will get a taxi. She said, no you won’t, just do as you're told. I thought to myself, at times like this I don’t mind doing what I’m told.

The taxi arrived in good time and whisked me off to the airport..
I collected my ticket, then waited till it was time to to pass through the checkout. While I was waiting, I started to reflect on all that had happened in that short space of time. I guess at times like this you start to question the whys, and why nots of your actions. Apart from feeling a bit sorry for myself, and upsetting Elizabeth, there had to be a deeper motive, or learning curb behind my actions. And I’m sure some of you have been in some sort of a similar situation, at one time or another. I would be interested to hear from someone who would like to express their feelings on this sort of topic.
What I write about myself, or those who touch my life is not meant to convey a dull story of everyday life, but something meaningful to both you and I. For that’s where life begins, and then flows onto wherever it may take us, providing we don’t give up on it. What we have to say is never the first or last word on anything. It’s all been said before, but there’s always room for plenty of improvement.

As I was sitting there completely engrossed in myself, I suddenly noticed a couple filling in a departure form which I had completely forgotten to do. So I quickly filled it in. No sooner had I completed it, it was time to go through the departure gate. When I handed my passport to the officer, he asked me how I was, and did I enjoy my short stay in Melbourne. I told him roughly about my mishap, and he very gently sympathized with me. A real nice caring person. Then, as I went on towards where they have to make sure that you're not carrying any prohibited goods, or such like, I suddenly realised I hadn’t got the picture that my daughter Rachel had painted for me. Talk about alarm bells going off in my head, I’m sure a few people must have heard them, because of my reactions. I rushed back to where that lovely passport officer called James was seated, and told him about my dilemma. 
He got up straight away and said, “Let’s go back and look for it. “But I said, I will be taking you away from your important job. Don’t worry about that he said, there’s plenty of of us here. Let’s go and see if we can find your picture. Well, off we went to check out the two places where I had been sitting.
 But no picture. I said, thank you James, but it looks like it's gone. I must say my heart was sinking into my shoes, for I really loved that picture. And what would my daughter say. Then James said, “Let’s not give up on it just yet. So he took me to the Lost Property Office which seemed a million miles away because I was leaking, and really worn out because of what was happening. “Well, when we arrived there I could hardly believe my eyes, for there on the back counter was my picture as large as life, unwrapped from the packing I had placed it in. They had to open it to make sure there was nothing dangerous in it. After all I was an Irishman.
I thanked the lady behind the counter, and never stopped thanking James for his kindness to me. And I would like that to go on record at Melbourne Airport.

Well, I had a good flight back to New Zealand, and my daughter Alex was there to take me back to my little flat in Northcote. We had a few laughs about my little crazy adventure.

I am now going to wind up my blog and my story attached to it.
My plan now is get what I can of my continuing life story into some kind of cheap book form, then put it together for those of you who might like to read it. After that, I will go back into my blog and let the weeds and flowers that will flow from my mind, have their own say. 

Hope those of you who have tuned into my blog find some kind of a helping hand, or maybe a smile or two from it.

God Bless for now.
Terry