Monday, 13 July 2015

Integrating the Alien - Refugees

When people leave their country of residence due to oppression and/or a fear for their life, they become refugees. The Hebrews, in the book of Exodus, were refugees.

The story of the Exodus in the Bible doesn't actually deal with the refugee situation very well. After all, the Biblical account tells of the Hebrews forcing their way into a land occupied by others with blood-shed to claim the land of Canaan as their own, under God's guiding hand, reflecting refugees as a danger to any host country.

There's no archaeological evidence to confirm that an entire nation wandered the Sinai desert for 40 years and most scholars now except the story as a myth constructed purely to demonstrate God's guidance and action in Judaic history. I was even taught as much at college. It isn't disputed that there was some kind of 'leaving' Egypt. The detail in scripture, although not providing any definite names or dates, does correspond to facts drawn from history with regard to the slavery taking place. The account in Exodus would probably not have been important enough to add to scripture if there was absolutely no experience of those conditions. But, it's now generally accepted that there was no war to claim any land, the Hebrews purely slid into the area and became absorbed as part of the population.

Canaan was a fertile place, situated on the Levent, we now know as the Near East, where there were rivers to water the land and vegetation grew easily. Why would they want to settle anywhere else. This was a land of milk and honey. The Hebrews went where there was adequate safety and nourishment for them to thrive.

They didn't have to apply to any governments for permission to stay in Canaan, they just settled there. Of course, back then, there was no border protection and no passports. The main stay was agriculture, and the more there were to work the land, the more prosperous an area became.

How does that story reflect on modern life?

Events in and around the Mediterranean Sea, over the last few years, has brought the same old conversations about refugees back into the spotlight. It's a conversation that mainly concentrates on whether we should accept these people into our country or not. Most notable is the reaction to those who are willing to speak against bringing them onto British Soil. They are stigmatised as inhumane and racist. Without a doubt, there are some who fit both of those titles, but not all. They are prepared to face such accusatory verbal abuse to try and bring an awareness of the economic impact these people have on our society and our own lives. It's a real fear, and to ignore and suppress it only serves to send it under-ground and fester it into an anger that splits our society.

Back in March, the Daily Express ran a story with the head-line:
"Tackling immigration fears in UK only way Britain will support EU in future"
And although the article was mainly with regard to free movement in the EU, the fear of which it reported has been heightened by reports from countries on the north side of the Mediterranean Sea. The Refugees escaping from war and tyranny, cramming onto small, usually unseaworthy, boats is a worry and concern to an entire continent.

Last week, the Guardian reported:
"Italian authorities were dealing with the arrival of another 2,900 migrants at southern ports, after 21 boats were rescued in the space of 24 hours from water off Libya."
2,900 people in just 24 hours. These figures include children, even babies. It takes desperation for a mother to risk the life of her children unless she felt it was the only route of protection. These are people trying to find safety.

Last year, Italy took in 170,000 of these refugees and so far this year 68,000. That equals, in the space of a year and a half 238,000 people. That's more than the population of Rochdale. Greece has taken in even more than Italy, estimated at 80,000 so far this year.

We need to also remember that, 1,800 people have died attempting to make similar journeys, and that figure is only for the first six months of this year. The refugee situation is a major European emergency.

The point our media keep bringing to our attention is that many of these haven't ended their journey, they have hidden on lorries and trains trying to reach our shores, good old Blighty. Our benefits system, the NHS, our housing policies make this the preferred destination of many. It seems, we are the Canaan of our times.

It's often been quoted that refugees are supposed to seek refuge in the first safe country from their homeland, but that's not the case. Neither the Geneva Conventions, subsequent protocols, Human Rights acts or any other treaties state where a refugee MUST seek asylum. However, all of these treaties and the governments which have agreed to them have presumed, and even expected, that it will be the first country, meaning that, although Italy, Greece and other south European countries are providing safe haven, following their rescue, they don't have to stay there.

We're a little island, which, over the last century has increased in population by 40%, from just under 43 million in 1914 to just over 60 million by end of 2014 (approximately). How much money does our little island have to provide for all these people? How much work is there to distribute? How many houses will need to be built to provide a home for everyone? Can our NHS cope with the health needs of all these people. Our NHS is struggling, millions are in poverty and dependent on foodbanks, charities and good will to feed and clothe them, benefits and services have been cut. We, as a nation, are struggling to care for our own. That's the cry! These are the fears. "charity begins at home".

So, does being humanitarian have to start at home?
Which should we protect first, our current population and its desire for a more comfortable way to live, or should we protect those whose lives are threatened and need the safety of our shores?
Perhaps the question is
Charity ................ or love

Have we made money and possessions more important than the care of our own race?
Matthew 6:25
"do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?"
Do these words not tell us that our needs and nourishment will be there, naturally, if we all pull together?

And that great philosopher, John Lennon, wrote:
"Imagine there's no countries, it isn't hard to do, nothing to kill or die for, and no religion too."
Was he not telling us that the divisions we construct for our protection and stability become tools used to separate us as a race?

In reality the majority opposed to the influx of refugees ... and I'm not referring to racists, .... wouldn't dream of sending them back, they do understand that these are desperate people, they do understand that these people need safety, but they are fearful of the effects if we welcome them with open arms. It's a fear that is sharpened because we are still clawing ourselves out of one of the worst recessions in decades, a recession that placed many western countries, including our own, very close to Bankruptcy, a situation we wouldn't have dreamed possible ten years ago, and a sad reality for Greece. As to what they think the alternative is ........... that isn't the position they're standing in, and so most even admit they don't know, while others believe we should be intervening with the root problem of the terror the displaced are running from.

But, is there an economic problem to accepting refugees?
Many believe that refugees are an asset to the host country. Not only does it create jobs for those who need to care for them and retrain them, but, in the long run, those refugees will give back to society more than the initial cost.
The Forced Migration Review or FMR have tried to work out the cost a refugee has on the host country. They said:
"The problem to date has been the lack of a comprehensive framework with appropriate analytical tools and systematic methodologies to provide the evidence base by which to evaluate the 'winners' and 'losers', and to develop policies which respond to the actual or potential impacts."

There have been, in the past, many refugees that have not only been an asset to the economy but also given to our pool of wisdom, the arts, philosophy and science and many other areas of beauty and knowledge that we would never have known if there hadn't been a safe haven from oppression and fear. Imagine how much money the rock group 'Queen' generated, and yet, Freddie Mercury was a refugee, along with his family, when they had to flee from Zanzibar. Lord Maurice Saatchi and his brother Charles are the sons of an Iraqi refugee. Einstein was a German Jew who fled to America to escape the nazi's. It's true, that among the current influx into Europe, there will, undoubtedly, be much talent. Do these few, alone, offset the cost of thousands?

Charity begins at home!
Where and what is home?
Is it within the walls of our own place of residence?
Is it the community in which we live our lives?
Or is it something else?
A few months ago, during a service at my church on 'Beauty', a picture of our planet was put up on the screen ....... or more correctly, up on the wall. When I asked what word came to mind, one person said "Home". Does our understanding of where our boundaries lie, make the difference? Is our desire for Social Justice and care directed by where we sub-consciously perceive the boundaries of 'home' to be?

The Hebrews saw the earth as their home. All they had to do was find a spot to settle where they would be safe and could be self sufficient, a place with arable land where they could support themselves without new fears of drought or famine. That's what humans do, what 'we' would do if we found ourselves having to leave the land we knew to settle somewhere else.

The difference between then and now is economic, Canaan gained from the Hebrew settlement, but then there weren't any Companies and corporations with power agendas, self sufficiency didn't depend on gaining work from an employer, it meant living only on what you could produce from the earth, along with handed down skills. What you couldn't produce yourself you gained from others in the bartering of your own surplus. And before I make it sound too fluffy, there were problems, there were disagreements, there was still a risk of failed crops and diseased livestock, as well as greed and war and other foes of a tranquil life. But population was sparse and the land itself was still a long way from any formal government or social structure. The land of Egypt, the land they fled from, was one of the first to form itself into a structured nation. The Hebrews ran from that structured life because they couldn't be part of it. Today's refugees run toward a structured life, in the hope of being part of it.

The dream of 'one world, one people, one loving race' is, no doubt, a vision we hope for our future, but it is when there is a human emergency that we test the water as to how far away we are from making that dream a reality.
Charity or love?

In our self review, we could ask the question:
If a stranger was in need outside our own front door, would we bring them into the house and care for them without counting the cost of the tea and bandages they use?
"Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?"

To believe that charity begins at home begs the question:
Where is 'your' front door?

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Freedom of Respect

The acts of terror that took place in Paris last week were, without any doubt, a disgusting and appalling action by those who have very extreme religious views. Such acts have come in continual flow since the horrors in the U.S. back in 2001.

Although I was never in agreement with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which emanated from the 9/11 attacks, I could see the necessity to try and eradicate the underlying danger. As both wars are apparently now finished, Al-Qaeda has continued, albeit, without Bin Laden, but a new Islamic threat has materialised in ISIS, which only goes to prove that the answer has to be more focused on dealing with 'frame of mind' and the educational understandings than on physical combat.

It is becoming evident that the behaviour of 'The West' has been a large factor in the aggressions.

Many of us, the majority I suspect, are thankful of living in a country which prides itself on 'Freedom of Speech', but, as the old saying goes, "Give 'em an inch and they'll take a yard". What 'The West' appears to have done is, with its pride of freedom, is to forget to ensure that respect is never allowed to dwindle or disappear.

Those who have bothered to investigate and educate themselves on the religion of Islam will, undoubtedly, know that its teachings are ultimately focused on care in the community, caring for the suffering, and on equality. Of course, its teachings are contextual as are those of Judaism and Christianity. We all have to appreciate that, as a society, we have built our own country's culture and judicial system around the scriptures of the faith which once ruled our land. And so it is with other nations. Whether or not we agree with the fundamental principles of another nation's expectations and laws, the people of each nation have, within their own history, chosen the book or teachings which they wished to build their nation on.

Most world religions do not require any respectful behaviour from outside the faith but there are exceptions. In the case of Islam it is well know that to make any attempt at depicting the prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is an insult to the entire religion and its community. Most decent people, outside of the faith, wouldn't dream of doing such a thing and causing such a distress because we understand the principles of respect.

In the U.K. and other western nations, there has been a continual slip towards individualism. The result of mixing 'freedom of speech' with individualism is that it becomes far too easy to ignore how other people feel about the things we say and do.

I have no doubt that the staff at Charlie Hebdo feel hurt and angry about what happened to their colleagues last week, but when we want to make a stand against the tyrant we need to think about how we aim our stand at the terrorist and ensure we don't insult or hurt the innocent in the process.

Charlie Hebdo's form of satire reflects 'Freedom of Speech' in print form, and therefore, encourages it's opinion on others, as does any writing, painting, drawing or anything which turns the individual thought, feeling or opinion into visual state. By satirising the Prophet, as means of revenge, they have managed to insult the entire Muslim faith and not just the terrorists. As Al-Qaeda and ISIS see 'The West' as disrespectful and sinful, drawing this as the basis for their crusade, Charlie Hebdo's actions have not just confirmed that opinion but also heightened it. In turn, Charlie Hebdo's actions will, undoubtedly, affect us all in 'The West' in the months and years to come. Alienating a faith which leads over 20% of the world population is naive and encourages the terrorist rather than deter them.

It's time we all started analysing our freedoms and using them responsibly. True Freedom is that which flows with care for our fellow human beings. Instead of focusing on our 'Freedom of Speech' we should be driving the importance of Freedom of Respect.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

World War I - How we remember

It would be impossible to miss the fact that, this year, it is one hundred years since the outbreak of World War I. It's on the news, there are special editions of much loved programmes, and even favourite tourist attractions are plastering themselves in memorabilia.

Although there are no longer any veterans from that conflict still alive, there are a great many of our population who suffered from the aftermath of it. Some have had to grow up with a father or uncle who had been scared or affected by 'shell shock' or the mustard gas. There are many more who were deprived of parents or grandparents, and even great-grandparents, because of the untimely deaths of so many young men, many of whom were forced into the trenches under conscription. The affects of all war ripples down the generations.

World War I was considered to be 'the war to end all wars' and perhaps that is why it has often been referred to as 'The Great War', although that title makes me cringe. The naivety behind both of those titles, designed in such hope, must have made the outbreak of World War II feel all the more painful.

I feel like I'm stating the obvious here, but I want to make it very clear how much I understand the importance of remembering such a life changing and social ordering event. One hundred years is not really that long ago, if we remove our own life-spans from the timescale. It is right for us to recognise it and remember the fallen. Just as much, it is also important to remind ourselves of what was learned from such a war. The problem I have is the overwhelming amount of reference to it, that I'm becoming concerned that such a catastrophic event is being glorified and even turned into a celebration. No war, no matter how long ago or who was considered to be the victor, should ever be celebrated.

I've noticed that there are many recitals of poetry and letters written to loved ones by those on the front-line. Many of us recognise the ironic scepticism and human fear behind much of those writings. It is, undoubtedly, important for us all to be reminded of the human fear and suffering, and, ultimately, that war consists of innocent people fighting on behalf of politicians. Sadly, there are young people that will only catch on to the 'bravery' aspect. They will see war as the strength and might of men standing shoulder to shoulder, as in the picture here.

It was right that there be a commemorative service at Westminster Abbey and in four years time it will be right to demonstrate a celebratory feel to match that of such a horrific war coming to an end, but our media need to be very careful of how their behaviour in-between could turn young opinions to a state of 'glory in conflict' even if unintentionally. It is interesting that, even up until recent times I was never aware of what caused the outbreak of World War I. It was always very clear to me, even as a child, the cause of World War II. It makes me wonder, to what extent, our own country regretted the allegiance that dragged us into such horror. As much as nations should unite against any kind of impending invasion or political atrocities and tyranny, there are ways and means to all peace-making and I wonder if there was something else on the table which, having been rejected, would have been a better option. I can't help being suspicious of things which appear to have been kept silent, especially under such historic circumstances.

I've been told, although I don't know how true this is, that these references to World War I are going to continue along this route for a full four years until we reach the centenary of the end of the war in 1918. I truly hope not. We need to stop now and return to everyday thoughts, news reports and programmes, until we are called on to mark the other end of that war in 2018.

If anyone wants to demonstrate to any youngster that war is NOT glory, let me take you back to the earlier picture. If we home in on one soldier .......

War is heartbreak, no matter which part you play, no matter how close or distant, it is heartbreak.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Emotions of Loving Kindness

Emotions are the oddity of creaturely life! Emotions are the 'unseen' that paints our behaviours and our lives. Emotions can be beautiful, they can display the love, compassion and true connection for others and our world, the part of us we call 'the heart'. At the other extreme, the display of hatred and anger when understanding is hampered and the only emotion which comes forward is fear, which blocks all other feelings. In the middle is a vast array of other colours and shades that form our character, temporarily or permanently.

Emotions are working on us all the time, 24 hours a day. The emotions that we pay most attention to are the ones that have intensity. The most recent, in my case, and as an example, was that of fear, not the aggressive kind, but the one that puts butterflies in your tummy. We refer to such times as 'nerves', and yes I was nervous. When I'm nervous, I pace, which actually amounts to good exercise too ....... who knows how many calories I burn off!!! (laugh!) Luckily, most of those around me found it amusing and in doing so, helped me keep my sanity. I love making people laugh and, part of my brain kept switching to 'fool' mode and, for brief seconds, switched me back to normality. Others were sympathetic which demonstrated I was being 'held' and that was good too, as 'playing the fool' is sometimes inappropriate. It didn't calm me down, nothing was gonna do that, but it did demonstrate understanding.

What is important here is how our reactions to the behaviours of others can make all the difference!

When we identify emotional extremes in others, our reactions to those extremes demonstrate our connectedness. We show others what we desire for them. Our reactions are 'key' to the marks we place on relationship. When you place this trail of thought onto the 'bigger picture' we all have the power to send people along a particular thread on the web of life. Again, using my recent experience as an example, because I was treated so lovingly during my nervous experience, I was enabled to recognise my own nerves and laugh at them, and even accept them as part of what was happening, as it was a big occasion. In turn, this meant that as the event I was nervous about took place, it was for me to find my own centre and experience it to the best of my ability. In other words, those around me had given me permission to be myself and allow the outcome to be in my hands. The thread I would have been sent down is the one which held the positive outcome. Had I experienced adverse reactions to my nervousness, my nervousness may have increased and so, not only the event, but the reactions of others would have added to how I was feeling, possibly leading me to lose sight of what I had to do and then the experience itself, had it gone badly, would then have coloured my self-esteem, even inviting levels of blame. The thread I would have been sent down is the one which held the negative outcome. In both cases, I'm moulded, effecting how I respond the next time I feel nervous.

Fundamentally, we are rarely aware of our reactions, we 'do' by instant reactionary impulses and don't 'think it out'. Because these things happen so naturally, we display, without intention, 'who we are'. Isn't it a natural human need to be seen as loving and caring and be liked and loved? Yet, we can affirm or dispel these positive thoughts towards us, by others, in a split second.

Most important to all of this is how we are all part of the web of life, not just our own part, but we are interweaved with everyone around us. We are so connected and yet 21st century life seems so individualistic, disconnected. Our aims are, so often, purely to do with our own wants and needs that it becomes far too easy to forget to check ourselves for how we respond to one another. If we could all remember just how amazing life is and that we are so much part of each other's lives, even to the most fleeting of interactions, the guy on the bus, the woman in front of you in the queue at the supermarket, the salesman, the taxi driver, the doctor, etc, etc, etc,. We leave marks on everyone we meet. How amazing is that?!!!

And so:
Speak slowly and hear the words coming from your mouth.
Speak slowly that you have enough time to recognise the impact of what you say.
Speak slowly that you are sure your words will have the effect you wish for 'the other'
Speak slowly that you are sure your words will colour you in loving kindness by 'the other'
Speak slowly and precisely.
In the words of Max Ehrmann "Speak your truth quietly, and clearly"

May we meet each other on the web of life at the point of 'loving kindness'.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

My Favourite Things - Part 2

It's been a struggle to keep adding to my list of favourite things. Our eldest cat, Freddie, died just over 24 hours after my last blog and, as anyone will know when they've had loving animals in their life, my heart was heavy with tears.

It seems to be the mornings that hurt the most, when he and I would have been alone together in the office. After his morning meal he would come to me for a fuss before he curled up beside my chair and had a 'cat-nap'. He was with me for 15 years and it's not going to be a speedy adjustment to his passing.

It is because of the hurt I've felt that I have continued, although slowly, with my list of 'Favourite Things'. It has been important for me to remember that such heartbreak comes 'within' life and not to 'devour' it. And so, after every little crying session, I've forced myself to think of additions to my list so as to bring the balance of life back. When I need to be sad, I'm sad, but when the tears are over, it's time to get back on life's train.

When I said, in my last blog, that doing a list of 'Favourite Things' was therapeutic , I had no idea how valuable a therapy it would turn out to be, and continue to be.

Of course, I'm not going to keep blogging lists, I'd bore everyone to tears, but these additions to those mentioned before, I publish as a dedication to a beautiful soul who oozed wisdom and had much to do with the making of the person I am today.

In memory of Freddie Andrew Webster, 25/04/1998 to 05/11/2013.

1. Warm towel when I get out the shower
2. Nat King Cole
3. Squidward (from Spongebob Squarepants)
4. Led Zeppelin IV (Four Symbols LP)
5. White Linen air freshner
6. Fireworks (organised displays only)
7. Revels (I may not eat chocolate often, but these will always hit the spot)
8. The film 'Deep Impact' (because it could happen, and how humanity can still be self-sacrificing for the sake of others.)
9. Watching the degu make their bed after a cage clean
10. The hymn 'Dear Lord and Father'
11. My partner holding my hand
12. The old 'Tom and Jerry' cartoons
13. Hindu chants (Asian, Near and Middle Eastern music in general)
14. Platform shoes (considering my height)
15. Buddha (skinny one for meditation and fat one for a smile)
16. Ralph McTell's 'Streets of London' (very poignant)
17. Terry Wogan
18. A certain line from 'Mrs Brown's Boys' (I'm not telling which one)
19. Puppies with big clumsy paws
20. Lego
21. Lord of the Rings
22. The sound of an Infants School playground
23. The end credits to 'X Factor' (because it's finished)
24. Central Heating
25. Arm and Hammer toothpaste
26. Watching the sunset from Lindisfarne
27. 2p machines in Blackpool (yes I do watch 'Tipping Point')
28. Potato and Leek Soup
29. Tomato Soup
30. Ralph Catts' laugh (he's a fellow student at UCM)
31. Yellow highlighter pens
32. Stationary in genera
l 33. Desiderata (usually credited to Max Ehrmann)
34. Walt Disney's 'Mary Poppins'
35. Esther Rantzen (for Childline)
36. Greg Lake's 'I believe in Father Christmas'
37. I'm a Celebrity ... get me out of here (but not when their eating creepy crawlies)
38. Sunlight
39. Twiglets (it's that 'Marmite' taste)
40. The song 'Fly me to the moon' (especially sung by Frank Sinatra)
41. Our degu fighting over 'who's got the biggest walnut'
42. Any 'Queen' song (but not too keen on Radio ga ga)
43. U2's 'The Joshua Tree' LP
44. Donkeys
45. Tigger (from 'Winnie the Pooh')
46. The Tao Te Ching
47. Gary Barlow (excellent songwriter but does a lot of good work too)
48. Beaumaris
49. Miss Dior (perfume)
50. The urge to sway when singing the hymn 'One more step along the world I go'
51. My partner Pat doing impersonations in embarrassing places
52. Having my feet massaged/tickled/stroked
53. My favourite tree at Luther King House Theological College
54. Phil Waldron (fellow student - excellent sense of humour but also gentle and kind)
55. Wholemeal bread
56. Singing 'loudly' in the car
57. Walt Disney's 'Jungle Book'
58. 'Compare the Market' adverts (Meerkats)
59. Coffee
60. General Assembly Meetings - lots of Unitarian faces, lots of Unitarian friends
61. Philip Schofield
62. Any book written by Graham Hancock
63. My partner's fascination with 'baby' programmes (CBeebies)
64. Mike Oldfield's 'Tubular Bells' all three volumes
65. Cognac

It is important in life to remember that our hurts are our joys and our joys are our hurts. Both are important in order to be sure that we have lived our lives with love.


Monday, 4 November 2013

My Favourite Things

Isn't it strange how we remember the bad things in life easily but not the good? In Customer Service training, it is common to prepare a new workforce in the statistics that a customer will probably only tell 1 or 2 people about a good experience and yet tell 15 to 20 people about a bad one. What a miserable lot we are.

Yesterday, while driving home from chapel, I started thinking about the Julie Andrews song 'My Favourite Things' ..... you know the one, from 'Sound of Music' ..... "Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens ..." About half way through I started wondering what the words would be if I had written the song, what are my favourite things?

At first, Julie Andrews was a hindrance because I couldn't get her list out of my head ..... the 'sing-a-long problem. Then I started using her list as a guide. 'Raindrops on roses' does nothing for me but I like thick snow where no foot (not even a paw) has trodden. 'Whiskers on kittens' reminded me of how much I love our Matthew (the cat) padding my face to wake me in the mornings. In the end Julie and her list were no longer required, I was building momentum on my own. Here's just a few (in no particular order):-

Dunking bread into soup or stew
Bay City Roller songs (they're usually happy and bouncy)
Marmite and cheese on toast
The mountains of Snowdonia
Listening to Ludovico Einaudi with my eyes closed
Fields covered in bluebells
Bohemian rhapsody
Being greeted by the dog when I come home (my partner never shows that much excitement)
Brass bands
Red welly-boots
Sitting outdoors on warm summer evenings with friends, chatting
Watching the guinea pigs at 'Pets at Home' (I want one but we've got enough animals)
Long, slow walks (although I don't get the opportunity often enough)

The list is still growing and surprisingly getting longer as I continue to search my brain for the brighter things in life.

It gets easier when you start categorising e.g. favourite films, favourite books, favourite places, favourite food etc...

This is good fun, I highly recommend it. It makes you feel good too. I wonder how long my list will get?

Sunday, 27 October 2013


I dreamt a dream of yesterday
It's presence clear and strong
It told me of tomorrow
and the gift of right and wrong

It held me in its wonder
And smote me with its might
It growled its evil thunder
And soothed me in my plight

"Be gone!" my silence whispered
"Take all of it away,
Tomorrow is my mystery
And deceives what is today."

Its fingers grasped me tightly
And laughter filled my head
"Don't you wish for yesterday
And regret the things you said?"

My wincing heart then crumbled
And my dreams became a mist
And the things which I depended on
Took on their evil twist

"Come with me to yesterday
And view the things so wrong
I'll show you how such mournings
Are not where they belong."

A scrape of ungreased latches
The creaking of a door
My steps so slow and cautious
As I glanced toward 'before'

And then the dream stopped me
"Why follow what is gone.
The dealt hand of experience
Is where it must belong.

Temptation is to listen
To things that are not there
To brood on where the living
Was cruel and so unfair

Your heart is not broken
It only shed the shell
Of the hurt that you keep living
While you grapple with the spell"

The hand of my tomorrows
Gently touched my cheek
"You failed to answer rightly
But it doesn't mean you're weak.

For yesterday is always there
It cannot be ignored
And its memory will always raise
The acts that you deplored.

Follow not the voices
That lead you to the doors
where you locked away your past
and turned on your 'before'.

You are what you have been through
It made you what you are
The price you paid for yesterday
Will always have its scar

Let it lead you to tomorrow
And not toward the past
Feed it with the dreams you've made
And a love you know will last

And when you've learnt to have such faith
Your cup filled by 'today'
Then well oiled doors will let you in
To sweep the past away."

I dreamt a dream of yesterday
And I'll dream it many times
As I live in my tomorrows
'til acceptance becomes mine.

Copyright - Shammy Webster