The Realisation


P1020269For the past few years we have been making regular visits to our little getaway shack in the mountains. It is a tranquil place in the bush which gives us the opportunity to escape from our suburban existence, commune with nature and recharge our personal batteries.

Recently, while sitting on an old car seat close to the ground, my wife was enjoying watching the activities of the birds as they flitted from one bloom to another in a native bush nearby. She reached over to pick up the drink she had on the ground beside her seat and found her hand was within centimeters of a very large brown snake. She instinctively knew the extreme danger in which she found herself.

I’m not sure who got the bigger fright but all you learn about keeping still when you are confronted by a snake, particularly one as venomous as a one and a half metre Australian brown snake, went out the window. She sprang out of the seat and fortunately for her, the snake squirmed off in the opposite direction.

In looking at the situation later over a calming cup of coffee, we realized we had not made any provision for what we might do should an emergency situation occur while we were at our isolated hideaway.

We at least had a first aid book, so we both read the latest technique for handling snake bite and located the place we had stored some pressure bandages along with a box of band-aids and a tube of antiseptic cream. We did not have the phone number for the local medical centre located some 12 kilometres away. Nor did we have the phone number or any idea of the location of the nearest hospital which we knew was around 60 kilometres away.

As a result of this experience we now have a reasonable first aid kit and the emergency phone numbers listed where they can easily be seen. We have found the location of the local medical centre and have directions should we need to travel to the hospital. As a precaution we have also placed some stout sticks in various locations around the perimeter of our little shack.

All this has happened as a result of an experience which brought to light how unprepared we were to confront a serious situation that could have had life or death consequences. It set me thinking about how we often float through life without preparing for some events until they happen. And, like the situation with the snake, perhaps we should be more conscious of the implications of our lack of preparedness.

Death is often one of those situations we prefer not to even think about until we are confronted by it. The death of a close friend or a medical diagnosis which shatters our understanding that we are bullet-proof and will live forever can bring some frightening realisations.

As an exercise, perhaps we could ask ourselves what we might need to do in our life now should we be forced to face our maker in a very short space of time. Like the Boy Scout motto says, we need to ‘Be Prepared’.

Peter Mack

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R001-033Kids always think parents worry too much. They never see the problems that they have to face in the same way as their parents.

It seems parents are pretty much the same all over the world. So parents, take heart – you’re not the only ones out there worrying about your children.

Kids! It looks like the problem is universal. Whether you realise it or not, you’ll probably grow up having the same types of worries about your kids, as your parents have about you.

However, with all our worry and anxiety, we must learn to be careful. Worrying can make us ill and reduce our effectiveness as parents.

Maybe we need to trust our kids a bit more. Sure they will make mistakes – didn’t we when we were their age. But if we have instilled in our children the values we believe to be right, then they will remember these when it comes to decision time.

Worry can cloud our minds and seriously affect our ability to react in a positive way when the problems we’ve been worrying about call for some clear thinking decisions.

If we tend to worry about situations before they even happen then we are the ones with the problem, not the kids.

Peter Mack.

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antlersSome people’s lives are filled with excitement and constant activity. Other people find themselves waiting between emergency calls or for the tide to change, for the pot to boil or for a doctor to arrive.

Waiting is an important part of our life. Our bodies need to wait in sleep in order to regenerate our strength for the next round of daily activities.

Farmers need to wait for the rain and the sun, before they harvest their crops. A mother waits while her baby prepares to meet the world. Parents often have to wait in a hospital’s casualty ward while a child’s life hangs in the balance.

Throughout our lives, there are many occasions when we all have to wait in a queue somewhere. Many of our waiting periods can be a source of considerable frustration. But why tie ourselves up in knots – all the anxiety and built up anger we might be exerting on ourselves at the slowness of movement in front of us will do nothing to shorten the queue.

Sometimes it’s good to be still, to wait, reflect and learn from all that’s happening around us. We should use these periods of inactivity in our lives to our benefit. Here is an opportunity given to us to slow down if only for a short time, to think, to plan or even to pray.

To use our waiting time effectively, we need to accept that being quiet and practicing patience can often be just as rewarding as active participation.

To test out this theory we just need to wait!

Peter Mack.

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P1020088Just as there are no two leaves or flowers alike throughout the world, there are no two people alike. Everyone is a unique person with personality and temperament different from anyone else.

Physical characteristics differ between people and races and there are not two sets of fingerprints the same.

Because we’re human, we sometimes try to be someone other than ourselves. We spend, often beyond our means, to keep up with the Jones’ (as the saying goes). We also try to impress others or to attempt to change, in their minds, their opinion of who we really are.

There is nothing wrong with us trying to improve ourselves, but life has enough problems for us to confront without us having to constantly live out the lie of trying to be someone we’re not.

Anyway in the long run, our true self will always shine through and we’ll realise we’ve probably only been fooling ourselves with our airs and graces.

It’s a lot more comfortable and a lot less stressful being ourselves, because after all, we are unique people.

Peter Mack

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Unconditional Love


HandsMums and Dads probably never really understand love until they’ve survived their kids’ progress through adolescence.

What do you say when your daughter with long blonde hair arrives home one day with a haircut that has left her with a ragged clump on top flanked by bald edges? Oh! by the way, the right side of the clump is blue and the left, orange. It tends to take your breath away a bit.

Or watching the T.V. News, you see your student son being forcibly taken to a police paddy wagon. He’d never shown any interest in fish before so you really wonder at his need for a violent stance at a ‘save the whale’ rally.

There are times when parents must feel like putting a sign up at the front gate that says, “Maturing teenagers – Proceed with caution”.

It seems that through this turbulent period, the best parents can do for their adolescents is to continue to be there for them and to love them, hard though it might seem to be.

The kids will probably act as if they don’t want to know you, but there is no doubt it will pay off in the long run if they are continually reminded of the love you as parents have for them. Unconditional love – it’s when you give totally of yourself for those you love and get precious little in return.

Parents’ efforts with their teens probably won’t prove fatal but we need to persist in loving them through the good and the bad times. When they eventually mature they will realise the value of your unconditional love and understand the significance of your actions.

Peter Mack.

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P1040739Twilight – The name has a certain magic ring about it.

It’s that short transition period of each day that divides the light of our day from the dark of the night.

Artists, poets and photographers down through the ages have been captivated by this period of our day and have made many attempts to express their understanding of its beauty and tranquillity.

As the sun disappears over the horizon and the sky heralds our day has come to an end, the birds return to the security of their nests and our cities twinkle with light from generated power.

This is a good time each day for us to try for a moment to put aside the thoughts and worries of our day and marvel at the wonders of creation freely given us by our creator.

It also doesn’t hurt to be thankful for having survived another day.

Peter Mack

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P1040570Most of us love to travel and with tourism being the world’s largest industry, it is no wonder so many visitors come to our country.

Meanwhile on the home front some Aussies restrict their movements to seeing the wonders of Australia, while others satisfy their wanderlust by overseas trips to all parts of the world.

The urge to explore seems inbuilt in our nature, from our early crawling days when we ventured from room to room, to the dream holiday we often plan for that special time in the future.

It is often been said our life is a journey. If this is so, then we are all explorers searching the unknown, looking for the best pathway through life.

If we are on a journey through life perhaps we should resolve, not only to enjoy the trip, but to help our fellow travellers enjoy themselves as well.

Peter Mack.

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TrappedThe lift jerked twice, then stopped somewhere between Floors 17 and 18. The interior light flickered, dimmed and went out. I was alone in the blackness.

I’d often thought about what it might be like to be stuck in a lift, now I was experiencing it.

In the dark, all the buttons on the wall felt the same, so I pressed them all hoping that one of them would ring an alarm somewhere and alert someone to my predicament.

There’s nowhere to go in a dark lift. Two steps in any direction brings you up against a wall. It seems pointless calling out, your voice bounces back at you. And thumping on the metal doors seems only to hurt your fists.

The building’s air conditioning doesn’t extend to the lifts and it gets quite warm in the confined space. You feel caged in and the darkness seems to compound the problem.

After all my attempts to get help seemed to have failed, I found myself sitting in a corner listening for any sound that might represent rescue. I could only wait and hope someone would come to my rescue.

Sometimes in our day to day life we have the same feelings of restriction and aloneness. We can be involved in situations where we feel trapped and incapable of movement in any direction.

We must learn not to panic but to have patience, for our life is like a lift full of ups and downs and the odd occasions where we must wait and hope.

Peter Mack

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IMG_4157There was a song around in the 80’s called “Touch”. The rock group who perform it, “Noiseworks”, exert a lot of energy in calling on the listener to ‘reach out and touch somebody’, as if it’s the most important thing you can do for one another.

We can touch others by our kindness and concern, or by our understanding, our sincerity or our actions. Yet the greatest touch of all is that of the physical.

The touch when we shake hands may well be part of a formal introduction, but it can say so much about who we are. The touch on the arm of a friend in need of support; the gentle touch of a loving hug and the coolness of a caring hand on an aching head, all say much more than words.

There may well be electricity generated when two people touch. However, this can’t be compared to the feelings of assurance and support obtained when a touch is given by one who may not even understand your problem.

As the song calls on us to reach out and touch somebody, let’s spend more time cuddling our kids and our loved ones. Just holding hands with a loving partner will touch not only our hearts, but the lives we’ve been called to share together.

Peter Mack

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Old HomeAs people’s lives change and they choose to move from one State or Country to another, they often find themselves daydreaming about what life was like where they used to live in earlier years.

It seems inherent in our natures that we want to return to our beginnings on a nostalgia trip to once more experience the memories of yesteryear.

Our dreams are often shattered when we do get the chance to return, for we find our old house in need of repair, or overgrown with trees and shrubs which were so small when we were younger.

Having made the trip back, we are generally happy to return to our present existence, our mind having confirmed our original decision to move.

Our life is a journey forward. It is, as it is now. Life can never be, as it once was. So while it’s nice occasionally to look back on what has been, we should concentrate our efforts on living today and having hope for tomorrow.

Peter Mack

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