My curiosity and ability to swop, shuffle and re-organise my commitments made it possible to attend at least the opening event on the first day.
I went with 3 other women to the women's morning. A programme designed to inform, support and entertain women of all ages, faiths and walks of life. The gathering was well attended I must say and the atmosphere one of fellowship and friendship. With only one of the group having attended this festival we were in fact all greenies. Didn't know what to expect and were pleasantly surprised to see so many women joining us.
The guest speaker knew how to address a crowd and she spoke on the event's theme - Celebrate Life.
Her words and relay of personal experiences hit home on a personal level. As she pointed out, there wouldn't have been any woman there present who hadn't in some way experienced sadness, trials or tribulations, disappointments or other of life's ' nasties' at some time in their lives. I can only say AMEN to that statement. Pain and sorrow has certainly been present in my life. There were times when I thought how unfair things were and didn't see how I would get through those times.
So, how do we celebrate life? How do I celebrate life? When have there been times when I didn't want to celebrate life? Well, I sure came up with some thoughts and answers on that question.
Yes, I celebrate birthdays, Christmas and New Year. I celebrate Easter and anniversaries. The birth of my grandchildren....but celebrating LIFE? What came to mind were the 'sad' moments. How did I react on those as they happened? When did I start to pray? Immediately or after I had tried to find out WHY something had happened or was influencing my life in a negative way?
Did I immediately seek help in prayer, or did I wallow in the poor me, why me?
I often hear people say (and I do so myself) " I am who I am because of what I have experienced. I have learned lessons the hard way, I have grown stronger due to the adversity in my life". The speaker made me research my heart, my way of thinking and my vision on celebrating life even in adversity.
No, I am not saying that one should say ' thank you for my illness, or thank you that I am unemployed.....' but to be thankful that there is a place to go for help, for advice for treatment, for the strength to carry the burden, for the people around me who help carry me in times of sadness or stress. To be especially thankful and celebrate the victories after battle.
I also listened to a sermon from Jan Verschoor ( whom I mentioned in an earlier BLOG- is dutch spoken) dated 18-11- 2012. He also touched on the subject from a different angle. The newspapers are full of all this negativity regarding the world's monetary crisis. In the Netherlands we have rising unemployment. As he pointed out, in the media we get the stats on unemployment - not on the employed. So 7% unemployed gets the attention, whilst we don't gain any satisfaction and joy from the fact that 93% ARE employed. Celebrate THAT!
I am glad I went, glad of the company I was in- and extremely thankful of the opportunity to take a step back, to rediscover what my life is about and how to live it more fully.
It is (always) time to CELEBRATE!