A Sense Of Contentment

Contentment in this world isn’t easy. When we are young, we have little or no sense of time, things just happen as if by magic, although I hasten to add that is not the case for everyone, as appearances can be deceptive and what seems to be a happy, contented person may be concealing hidden truths. Many feel they ought to to ‘fit in’ with others; not always, but often. As they get older some may hide their true selves, for fear of being bullied or perhaps taken advantage of. As I have said previously, we can be drawn in to unfortunate circumstances, wrong behaviours, doing things that are not just wrong but illegal. The old phrase ‘be sure your sins will find you out’ is so very true, as I learned at quite an early age with something I did that was wrong. It was relatively minor but it taught me a lesson, as it was meant to do. I was punished appropriately. I also saw it with others, notably when a work colleague who had not been with the firm for very long was summarily escorted out of the building as they had seriously contravened a company law. I don’t know, but they may also have been prosecuted. In any event, they lost their job. It brought home to me the absolute importance of always telling the truth and of obeying the rules. If the rules are wrong then do your best to challenge them, but still abiding within the rules. Violence is rarely the solution, diplomacy is better and usually leads to a far longer lasting end to a conflict or disagreement. But not telling the truth, trying to distort the facts, is wrong. Plain and simple. As I feel sure my military friends will tell you, that was drummed into them from day one. I am told that during his time in the army, one of my brothers developed a bad skin problem, dermatitis, which affected his scalp. It meant that for a while he had to carry a note with him at all times to prove that for medical reasons he was excused wearing a hat or cap. Without it he would have been on a charge for being improperly dressed. My early years at work were a bit stressful, for me it was nothing at all like school! In my case I did not lie, but on one occasion I did not tell my manager when I was completely overwhelmed with work but I hid the paperwork, in the hope that I would find the time to catch up. The work was discovered, but the worst part for me was when my manager told me quietly how disappointed they were with me. That struck deep into me, so I learned and never made that mistake ever again. I was encouraged by some good people and I gained in self-confidence, as I mentioned in a blog post a few weeks back I even stood up for myself when someone at work began bullying me. I was also moved around a fair bit and that was really good for me, as I had hoped to make BT my career if I could, which I did. I do still wonder quite what some of my work colleagues thought about that though, as I moved every two or three years or so to a different job, office or department, at times even to a different city, learning about the business as a whole. But each time, at some point afterwards there would be a change made, in some cases with the office closing! As a result, a few folk became rather apprehensive whenever I arrived! For my Nottingham colleagues I was there for five years and for Birmingham we moved to a brand new office, though in one Sheffield office I was there just six months and in the other just three years until their work was relocated and they took on new work. I assure you, none of it was of my doing! Wherever I went, it was usually to try and better myself, although one move was most definitely to improve my health. Even that expanded my knowledge and I was content in my faith and belief that difficulties could and would be overcome in time. But finding contentment is not always easy. Whilst it can take almost no time at all for some people to know what they want in life, for others it can seem to almost take forever. One of my school colleagues knew at the age of fifteen who it was that she wanted to marry and indeed she did. I believe they are still together. But some dither, one guy I worked with kept asking us “Do you think she’ll have me?”. Eventually we all persuaded him to ask and happily she said yes! I too was married for a while and she then decided I wasn’t what she wanted and we went our separate ways. After that it took a while for me to trust again, that wasn’t too easy but life goes on and I expect that a few of you reading this may have heard of the same or similar situations. It is sad, but there are some extremely selfish people out there who will sacrifice almost anything, even their own families, in order to save themselves or get what they want. As we grow up, we may treasure certain things, they may perhaps be clothes, presents, items that may hold little monetary value but which remind us of a person, a memory or an event which is why we get so upset when we lose something, or worse still if it is stolen from us. Some folk never seem to be content with what they have, they are forever wanting more, the latest gadgets or the latest telephone. As I write I am reminded of one fun experience! A number of years ago whilst working for British Telecom I was at a Sales stand, demonstrating their latest range of telephones. They were modern ones, nothing like the old ones we were used to seeing and they weren’t cheap items, either. One was a Mickey Mouse telephone and on the first day of the event a lady approached me, she saw this telephone and promptly ordered one. The following day another lady approached me, asked about the same phone and ordered one. The next day yet another lady walked up to me and said that her neighbours had each ordered a Mickey Mouse telephone so she had to have one as well! The order was placed. Some folk want the newest, the latest, they treasure possessions whilst others consider money itself to be important. There are those who say that money is the root of all evil, but they are misquoting from the Bible, as the correct version is “For the love of money is the root of all of evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows”. ~ 1 Timothy 6:10. So it is not the love of money, it is what is done with it that matters. We read so often how people seek both peace and contentment and it is often those who lead a simple life without many possessions who are, as they have enough food and clothing for themselves and they do what they can to help others. They give thanks every day for all things in their lives, the good and the not so good. Such folk are content.


There are so many sayings and quotes on the subject of contentment, as we are all different. Even in what we see, because others may be looking at the same view, yet what they perceive may be different. I can look out of my room window at a sunset and enjoy all the beautiful colours, but what of a person next to me who is colour blind? I do not know what they see and they cannot describe it to me. Someone who may have been deaf from birth might now, through modern technology, be able to ‘hear’, but they cannot describe the sound. Some years ago now I had grown a moustache, as at the time I played a trumpet in a brass band and my tutor, a former trumpet player with the BBC, had said that not shaving that area helped strengthen the muscles on my upper lip. Then one week I was working at a BT exhibition and demonstrating telephone equipment for people with disabilities when a gentleman walked up to me and we chatted. Then after a few minutes he stopped and said “You have no idea, have you!”. It turned out that he was in fact deaf and was lip-reading me. He asked me to trim my moustache so that my upper lip could be seen and ‘read’, which I did, that evening. The following day the same man returned, took one look at me and exclaimed “That’s better, thank you!” and purchased the item that he had seen the previous day. I hadn’t realised he was deaf and it made me appreciate that first impressions can indeed be deceptive. I have watched items on YouTube where a person is in tears simply because their sense of sight or sound has been enabled. There are no words to describe their feelings. I grew up in Whittlesey where the vicar of the local St. Mary’s church, Revd Quinion, had poor eyesight as he had cataracts. After he’d had a successful eye operation he then saw my father, but did not know who he was until my dad spoke to him as the vicar only knew him previously by his voice. What can be very difficult though is when a sense, a capability is lost or at least reduced. It is then that we are most in need of our memories, when we can remember. But we should surely also maintain a positive outlook on things, knowing that we can say ‘I did that’ or ‘I was there’. In my teens I played a trumpet, first at school, then in a local brass band. I sang in the church choir and later in various choirs both large and small. I was invited to join the Peterborough Chamber Choir and I accepted. I was very glad I did, as I gained much pleasure in being part of that, in fact to me it was an honour. It was hard work as we were a small group, but well worth the effort. I can look back now and realise how very much I enjoyed all the various things I did. In that I am truly thankful, as I hear of many who are or have been unhappy with their lot, but to me the idea has always been to try and make the best of whatever circumstances I am in. The time may come when things change and I am unable to do even the things I can now do, so in that I am truly thankful. Where I am now in this Care Home I am noticing how inmates live, as they are for the most part a little bit older than me. There is a definite daily routine for both Carers and Inmates and given that many have dementia in various stages, that makes good sense. They have a fairly settled routine. Some may at times make demands that cannot be met, usually down to their dementia, but everything is done as much as possible for them. Happily some are getting visitors now and I am certain that is helping them, but there are times when an inmate will get upset and needs calming down. I continue to do as much as I can, it is certainly why I continue with my daily diary, my morning online greetings to a few folk and my weekly blog posts such as this. I keep up to date with basic news, both here and abroad, I scan Facebook, ignoring the adverts though, or most of them anyway. I still recall my time over a year ago now when I woke up in hospital, not knowing quite where I was or what had happened to me. The room had no windows, so I had no concept of day or night and I will admit to wondering for a very short time if I was even still alive! But that soon passed, especially when a television was placed where I could see it. As things are, I am content but I continue to look to the future. I learned years ago to avoid saying “I never will…” as the strangest things can happen to us all. To me, the important thing is to remain as positive as I can in thought, word and deed and to be thankful. To maintain that inner feeling of contentment.

This week:
In France…
They say a Miss is as good as a Mlle.
When making an omelette they only use one egg, as one egg is an oeuf…
I asked a French person whether they played video games, they said Wii…
I was taught to always say thank you, even for little things. You know the old saying, be grateful for small merci’s…

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