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Monday, 26 September 2016

Chapter 5

Now I am going to try and keep part of this chapter as honest and sensitive as I can, with a hint of frustration thrown in. I try my best to make a successful exit when  honesty is not met with honesty. I don’t think that you will find too much unfairness, or harsh judgment when it comes to my up and down powers of observation of the things I find hidden, then try to bring them into the light. When it comes to passing my views on the things I find near impossible to believe in, I could be classed in many ways as another Stephen from Acts six in the Bible. As Christ said, “The Truth will set you free. Yes, it may get you killed, but then you’ll be free anyway. And Victor Frankel says, “What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.

While I was living with Kathleen I got a letter from the Tribunal of the Catholic Church of New Zealand. It read:

Dear Mr Robinson
I write to let you know that Sybil Robinson has asked this Tribunal whether her marriage with you was a marriage that the Catholic Church would consider a permanent one. This is a Church matter only, with no effect in civil law. We can only know the truth of what happened if we hear both sides of the marriage story, so I am writing to tell you what is taking place, in hope that you will take part.
We would be grateful if you would agree to talk about the marriage as you saw it. (I ask your holy pardon how would anyone describe a question like that when you fall in love, get married, have four children, then have to deal with all the circumstances that it brings with it) I won’t insult your intelligence, other than to say, “Man is certainly a law unto himself.
So, the letter goes on to say, we would be grateful if you would agree to talk about the marriage as you saw it. This would mean talking to me at a place and time to suit your convenience, so I ask you to contact me at the above telephone number or address to arrange this.
We do not take sides in this matter. (That’s an escape clause if I ever heard one) We promise you sensitivity and confidentiality at all times. If anything needs clarifying, please do not hesitate to phone me or write.
I look forward to hearing from you,
Yours sincerely
Sister Patricia M. Hannan

Well, I said to myself, what the hell is going on here with a very ironic sense of humour and curiosity running through my mind. I had separated from my wife in late 1989 after close to 34 four years of marriage. Two years later she divorced me in Civil Law, now in 1997 she and the Church wants to have the marriage a something that never happened even with four lovely children to prove otherwise.
Well, I said to myself, I’ve got to follow this one up, and let’s see whose faith is stronger in regards to God’s teaching, mine or The Catholic Church.
There has always been a lot of misgivings in my heart about the faith I had been dragged up in. My poor mother tried so hard to keep us in line with the Catholic Faith. She had been educated in a Convent, but trying to convince my father who was of the opposite persuasion brought havoc to the whole family. You’ve only got to read my book to get an idea of that.
Now, I always try to be as fair as I can about people’s religious beliefs. This is in no way an all out attack on the Catholic Church because I have seen and felt a lot of wonderful things it has done for humanity, but like all other religion’s it strongest chain at times, can become it’s weakest link. We as human beings tend to lose sight from time to time, of the real values of life. And i am as guilty as anyone else.

But what I’m talking about here is not putting the Church or my wife into any kind of a bad focus. This is something that has been festering on and off for quite some time. “Christ says, “The Truth Will Set You Free. I believe in Him, and only in Him. It is only through reading The Bible, and then writing from it that I really began to understand the real Spirituality of what life was all about for me. And whatever you may believe, in or not I respect that. So after getting that off my chest, I will get back to the follow up episode of where that letter started the ball rolling for me

I did see Sister Hannen, a very nice lady, but our beliefs were not on the same side of the fence. She certainly didn’t have that sense of human compassion that Sister Yvonne of the Matthew Talbot had. I doubt if the Church will ever make a Saint of her, But no need to worry I have. And I’m sure many others who knew her will also agree with me.
But I do understand Sister Hannen had a job to do, so I just told her what I could and left it at that to see what the outcome would be. Yes, more or less as I expected, I got a follow up letter from a man called the Rev Dr Anthony Malone O.F.O.

Dear Mr Robinson
I am writing to personally advise you that the tribunal has given a decision in the matrimonial case introduced by Sybil Vivien Robinson and the decision is ; Affirmative, i.e. it is clear about the nullity of the marriage. The whole case and the decision must be forwarded to the Appeal Tribunal in Perth, Australia: this the decision given here, then her original request is completed. Be assured I will inform you immediately once I have heard from the Appeal Tribunal.
You have a right to appeal the decision. If you wish to do this I ask you to advise me in writing within fifteen days of receiving this letter.
If anything needs explanation please do not hesitate to write to me at the above address.
With every good wish,
Yours faithfully,
Dr Anthony Malone o.f.m.
Associate Judicial Vicar.

Anyway, I did go and see Dr Malone to see if I could sort out this man made law with all it’s flaws of character defects. I was greeted by a wet handshake, and what was to follow.
As we sat down and went through a few of the Church’s guidelines, I said to him. So, now my children are all to become bastards if the Church and my wife have their way. He got up from his chair quite agitated saying, No, No, not in the eyes of the Church. Then I said to him, who passed judgement on this worldly wisdom of the Church. He said three men of the cloth. I said could I speak to them. Another big No, No, It was then I suddenly realised before I let myself be wound up to that place where nothing sensible was going to come of all this. It was time to leave. One thing I had learned if nothing else, that in the heat of any kind of emotion, your judgement tends to waver, so you’re better to walk away under the sun of reason.
Till next time around, try to enjoy that sense of reason you are capable of making for yourself.


Chapter 6

About two months after I was living in Howick, I chanced to meet a real nice man at a bus stop. Like myself he was on his way into the town center of Howick. The only difference being our destinations. I was going to have a stroll round the town center, then have something to eat, while he was going to the R.S.A. Well as you should know by now I seldom miss a golden opportunity when it comes to making new friends by trying to extend my awareness to others. There are patterns of a thousand possibilities of learning to be made aware of. Aware of situations, people's feelings, admiration for the flow of nature, and all the other bits and pieces that bring you a sense of satisfaction to help you on your way through each and every day of your life. Some may not be so good, but we have to in some way make the best of them, for if you let your sense of awareness to become dimmed for one reason or another, your growth is always going to be impeded.

So, finding out during our conversation that I played snooker, he invited me to lunch at the R.S.A. and a game of snooker. So, off we went and he signed me in. We had a very pleasant meal, then we played a couple of games of snooker. So that became a wonderful form of friendship for the short time we were destined to spend together. He also invited me to where he was living with his daughter for a meal and a chat. He lived there in the basement flat when he wasn’t living in Australia with other family.
A short time later he told me that his daughter had won a car with a raffle ticket she had purchased at a chemist. And as they had three cars, they were going to get rid of what they called the old one. So a few days later he approached his daughter and told her that I had need of a car. So she put a price on it of $1000, and I was over the moon. I had just had enough to cover the price, and tax it for a short period of time. I was told a few days later by John that she had an offer of $2000, but stuck to the bargain she had made with John on my behalf. I call that a real nice human gesture on her part.
So, for the next few months on and off, John and I did a little driving around during the day, and I started back on my late night prowls to the music world. John was not up to my late night adventures, so we just did our day time thing.

Well, it was time for change again. John was going back to Australia for a spell, so I decided to go back and live with my daughter Rachel and family. So I bid John and Kathleen a big thank you for the kindness and the friendship they had bestowed on me, and we went our different ways.

Soon after I got back living with my daughter I joined the Huapai Golf Club. I paid the fees over five months as I remember it. It was really great to be back hitting a golf ball again, and making new friends. As I had to give up tennis, at least I had something to look forward to.
Then a few months later I met one of the lady’s I used to play tennis with in Beach Haven. She asked me was I still playing tennis, so I told her what the doctor in Australia had told me, so I had to give it away. Then she said, please come down just for a short spell just for the fun of it, we would all love to see you.
So about a week later a little apprehensive I started to hit the ball around. No ill effects whatsoever. So then with that confidence boost I said that I would come back next week and try it out again. Once again I had no problem. So I said I would join up for the remainder of the season, and pay the fees over a couple of months. Well I never looked back from that moment on, and till i was eighty, I played some of the best doubles tennis I was capable of playing in different venues on the North Shore. God, how I would have loved to have gone back and told that so called doctor who told me that I would never play tennis again, that he really didn’t know all that much about the human body, or man’s faith in himself when he takes the trouble to seek it out. But another lesson evolves here. Had I enough faith in myself, I could have tested the ground that had that had been laid before me. Reason itself can be your worst enemy when you give in to it. Those who are easily convinced, build a shallow grave for themselves. I often wonder how many a sad tail people like him inflict on others with their well meaning, but at the same time, untimely prognosis.

Now that I had a set of wheels, and back living in a closer environment to all my social and family needs, I felt more at home within myself. But like so many others, I will always be indebted to Kathleen and John for their life sharing time with me. Because of them, I had become a more fortunate man than I am already. There there has been many such people like them that have touched my life in so many ways, and all I can do is to say a big thank you to them, and leave the rest up to God.
As I may have mentioned before, I try not to harp to much about myself because I don’t want to bore you with trivial things. Of course this will happen from time to time, but I’m sure you will be big enough to drop them in the waste paper basket. I do just that with a lot of stuff I come across, so the same option applies to you. And, i must express that my story is not the run of the-mill one, because I am forever changing direction. I spent far too long in that motionless place of not being really human,

I used to go quite frequently to a pub called The Dogs Bollix in Newton Auckland to partake in the Tuesday night music session with my little music egg, and sing a few songs.
On this particular evening an acquaintance of mine came in not long after I arrived and introduced me to a lovely lady called Elizabeth who accompanied him. A while later she relayed to me the unhappy circumstances that surrounded her first visit to New Zealand.
She lived in Melbourne in Australia. She related to me quite openly that she had met this Kiwi in Melbourne, and love blossoms started to fall all around her, and swept her off her feet. Well, I guess they would if you decided to put all your furniture and belongings in a container, and then ship them off to a place that you had never set foot in before, and then go and live with a guy you just met out of the blue. Strange thing love. I’d even go so far as to say, stranger than fiction at times, If I may take the liberty among its other beautiful definitions as i would be the last one to take anything from it. Well, like so many other jump in and hope for the best encounters, the blossoms soon turned to ashes in a remarkable short period of time. I’m sure you’ve heard that old saying, “To know me is to come and live with me. Well, that’s obvious without me taking sides, other than to try and help the one that’s experiencing distress. My three years in that home for destitute men in Sydney had been a great learning lesson for me in that department. The moment you let another person pass their judgment of another person on to you, you can so easily become trapped in a never, never land. Everything I really believe depends on the circumstances that surround each and every case that involves each human being. And to state a valuable point, yours are the only ones you will really have any real knowledge about. Helping other people is always a risk. You can be taken to the extremes when good intentions collapse for some reason or another. But I also believe the good will on your part, will just about always make some kind of an impact as long as your intentions are honest. But I must admit as I have done so often, that I never cease to be amazed how people and circumstances have wrapped their way into my life since I had the guts to change it around at the age of 89. And I don’t believe for one moment that it's anything to do with sheer coincidence because its been far too repetitious. But you can be the judge of that as you walk with me.
Till I come knocking at your door again, keep as songful as you can, as you move through the uncertainty that can only be yours to unravel.


Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Chapter 4

About two weeks later my left shoulder was giving me problems. I could not afford to play golf, but tennis, snooker and table tennis were still available to me. So I took myself off to the medical center in Newtown, and later after having an X-Ray on both shoulders, I was informed by the doctor who sent me that I had arthritis in both my shoulders, and that I would have to give up playing tennis. I can’t really put into words my feelings at that particular moment because it seemed to be one thing after another was grinding me down, and down, and down.
Thought I couldn’t understand it at that time because of the emotional strain I was under, another very important lesson was coming my way. I will try and make that clear later.

So, a few days later I realised the writing was on the wall for me. Do I move out of Sydney and try my luck somewhere else in Australia, or head back to familiar territory. So, I put what pride I had left behind me, and went back to New Zealand. I am not a quitter by any means, but sometimes discretion is the better part of valour. I think this poem I call” To Hunt or Free Me.

             Whatever comes to hunt or free me can
                     take some time to figure out if that’s
                        at all possible, but one thing for certain
                          I’m never the same after each episode.
                                But then again, if I’m not here for
                                  change, what am i here for

When I got back to New Zealand I was offered a change of scenery. A lovely lady whom I will call Kathleen because I don’t have permission to use her name, offered me a room in her house in Howick. It would have been in my circumstances more sensible to stay with my daughter in Birkenhead closer to just about everything I needed, particularity not having a car, but as you should know by now, I am not a sensible person. And in all probability that’s why I love that saying, “Life is too serious to be taken seriously. If I thought that, I would have given up a long time ago. Anyone thinking of suicide, might like to think about that saying if you don’t mind me saying so.
That zest for adventure was still flowing in my veins. What I had to try now was to keep my expectations at bay. It’s not easy I will agree, but at the same time your expectations can be a soul destroyer.
This move turned out to be a lot more beneficial than I ever dreamt it would be, as you will see if you are still with me. There are a lot more undercurrents in my story than you may realise. And also I beg you to realise, that only those who are willing to take risks, will appreciate where I’m coming from. My story is all about trying to help others to believe in themselves. It took me a long time, but believe me it’s well worth that inner trip. I call it an inner trio, because it’s all happening within you. Where else could it take place,
Before I go any farther, if you haven’t noticed by now has a lot of repeats in it due to the fact that I get carried away by not going over what I have written. A lot of what I have written is coming up again. So I had to make a decision, do I carry on, or try and twist things around to suit those of you who read my blog. So I put my pride in my pocket and decided to carry on with story overlapped as it may be. There are two reasons for this. One is that I don’t really care what people think. And the other is to make a little book of it by having a cover designed by my daughter, and doing a cheap staple job on it. Plus I will give it a bit more uplift with some of my poems and quotes. To increase self-confidence one must always be adding something new to one's life.

Now, I would like to share something that made me do a lot of thinking when I was in the process of changing my life around. The punch line comes at the end of this simple story called,”The Little Prince. It was written by Saint Exupery. The story is built around a wondrous little boy and a fox. Please let your mind be open to this as best you can.

This little boy lives on a star, and he has nobody or nothing on the star except a great baobab tree and a couple of volcanoes. For instance, he loves sunsets because they’re both beautiful and a little sad. Because the planet is so tiny, every time he moves his chair, he can see another sunset, and so he can see as many as forty four sunsets a day.
One day a little seed comes, and he watches it grow into a rose. He watches it intently as it blossoms and becomes a gorgeous flower. He has never seen a rose, and along with becoming beautiful, the flower becomes very vain. She preens herself, and says, “Protect me from the sun, and “Protect me from the wind, and she is literally driving him mad until he decides that he doesn’t understand her at all. He leaves her and flies down to other planets to gain wisdom by finding out about love, life and about people. He encounters some pretty strange things.
On earth among others, he meets a very wise individual, a fox, and the little fox says to the little prince, “Tame me. The little prince says, “well, i don’t know what that means. What does it mean to be tamed? And the fox tells him how to form relationships with people, how to get into people, how to care. The little prince says, “If I tame you, remember that I can’t stay with you very long. I”ve got to go away. And the fox replies, “Indeed, when you do, I’m going to be very sad, I’m going to cry. The prince asks, “Why on earth would you want me to tame you if it is going to cause you pain? And the fox says, “It’s because of the colour of the wheat fields. And the prince says, I don’t understand.

I do not eat bread. Wheat is of no use to me. The wheat fields have nothing to say to me. And that is sad. But you have hair that is the colour of gold. Think how wonderful that will be when you have tamed me! The grain, which is also golden, will bring me back the thought of you. And I shall love to listen to the wind in the wheat.

And so began the ritual of taming, which is the beautiful ritual of getting into each other.
So the little prince tamed the fox. And when the hour of his departure drew near, Ah, said the fox, I shall cry. It is your own fault, said the little prince. I never wished you any sort of harm, but you wanted me to tame you. Yes, that is so, said the fox. Then it has done you no good at all. It has done me good, said the fox, because of the colour of the wheat fields. And, then he added. Go and look at the roses. You will understand now that yours is unique in all the world. Then come back to me, and I will make you a present of a secret. Then the little prince went away to look at the roses. You are not at all like my rose, he said. As yet you are nothing. No one has tamed you, and you have tamed no one. You are like my fox when I first knew him. He was only a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But I have made him my friend, and now he is unique in all the world. And the roses were very much embarrassed. You are beautiful, but you are empty, he went on. One would not die for you. To be sure, an ordinary passerby would think that my rose looked just like you, the rose that belongs to me. But in herself alone she is more important than all the hundreds of you other roses, because it is she that I have watered; because it is she that I have put under the glass globe: because it is she that I have sheltered behind the screen: because it is for her that I have killed the caterpillars (except the two or three that we saved to become butterflies) because it is she that I listened to, when she grumbled or boasted, or even sometimes when she said nothing. Because she is my rose.

And he went back to meet the fox.
Goodbye, he said.
Goodbye, said the fox. And now here is my secret, a very simple secret. It is only with the heart that one can see rightly: what is essential is invisible to the eye, the little prince repeated, so that he would be sure to remember.
What is essential is invisible to the eye.

The bell that rings for me is that what is essential is so vast and constantly changing, but we lose sight of it because of our perception. Our fixed minds. More is going on in our lives than we will ever have time to really understand because we limit it for one reason or another.
Wonderful things are out there, and always have been, but we seldom take the time to discover them And, you might say, how do I find the time because of one reason or another. All I can say to you with all my heart, please find that special time. Every path in life takes you to some place of advantage or disadvantage, and both can be as much a blessing as the other. And if we part company by giving each other something to hold on too, then we must have connected.