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UK September 2008 023This image was taken back in 2008 on a visit to the UK.

It is special because it is the front door of my family home, the place where I was born, navigated childhood and left as a young  bride.

Inside the awkward door and the thick cob walls is a small room with flagstone floors, framing a threadbare carpet square. An old Inglenook fire-place, complete with bread oven and blackened by centuries of use, is carved into one wall. The recess is over looked by a mantle, holding treasures of a bygone era along with family photos, cobwebs linking each object together. An Aga, covered with fatty grime, dirt and dust sat to one side and the smell of old soot always seemed to hang heavy in the air. Furniture consisted of a square table with four chairs, a Victorian sideboard, two armchairs, a small desk and lots of paperwork and clutter filling every available space.

There was another large door on the opposite wall to this and that is the one that was in constant use. The inside and outside space sadly looking rejected, reflecting the life of my father, an old farmer, refusing to leave his home of sixty-five years in anything but his ‘wooden box’, his words not mine. He lived contentedly amongst this chaos, suffered unnecessarily with a stubbornness that kept everyone at arm’s length and verbally abused anyone who tried to help.

My trip that year coincided with a hospital stay and like a good daughter I rolled up my sleeves and started to clear the mess, strip back the dirt and even cleared a path to the front door. What was a quaint old door with mystery and intrigue became a sterile mess that needed even more work once I had finished, producing a picture that is not on my favorite list. The once highly polished brass door knocker, now tarnished, suddenly became visible, filling me with a sadness that couldn’t be polished away. Layers of paint were also peeling, revealing a long history of colours and shades, reminding me of all the highs and lows I had experienced in life.

Then, rather than appreciating my long hours of labour I was chastised, his anger never abating or forgiving. An attribute I had grown up with over the years, making it so much easier to emigrate to the other side of the world.

Now as I look at this image it always brings a smile to my face as I think of a father who succumbed to the revenges of time. Age slowly creeping up on him, just like the ivy and its tendrils gripping every part of life and ability. He was well-known for his eccentricity, quick temper and dark moods. Every village more than happy to have that one character that sets themselves apart, so long as they did not belong to their family.

It reminds me to leave some things alone, not dig too deeply into the past, or attempt to do the impossible. I wanted to clean up my dad’s life, create a healthier environment, find his better side, feel loved and valued. Instead the great divide became wider and regret became my friend.

My dad has passed away since that time, the room was cleared and worm-eaten furniture along with so much of his life was burnt, my brother more than happy to strike the match. We both mourn and chuckle at our attempts to please this man, reminding ourselves often that some times we just have to let things be.

My thought: A leopard can not change their spots, but we can choose to view them through a soft focus lens and move on.

(c)Sandie’s Snippets 2013

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Ephesian 4:1-3, suggests we live a life worthy of the calling we have received. Being completely humble and gentle towards those we come into contact with, patiently bearing with one another in love. Making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

Most of us have rubbed shoulders with people who irritate or annoy us at some time or another. Some like me, have even been known to go out of their way to avoid this type of person, but we are told that an oyster is wiser. When an irritating object like a piece of sand, gets under the mantle of their shell, they simply cover it with the most precious part of their being and make it a pearl.

 Every annoyance that comes into our lives is an opportunity for pearl culture. We may not revel at the idea of embracing those irritating things in life, but if we cover them in love, compassion, understanding and wisdom, we may find we contain a treasure trove of these fine lustrous gems.

Wear them with pride, because a true pearl is a victory over irritation.

© Sandie’s Snippets 2012

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