SHAKESPEAREAN WISDOM IN THE RIVER THAMES
The Blessings in every situation – be blessed always.
Life started for me in a private road a stone’s throw away from the tidal wash of the great River Thames.
PRIVATE ROADS IN ENGLAND
Private roads usually have gates that are tightly closed, but at the entrance of this private oasis was Pitsea Methodist Church and everyone was invited.
When the road was private a significant number of the inhabitants were practising Methodists. This included not reading newspapers or having a television. Time should be spent reading the Bible and some actually did.
FROM PRIVATE TO PUBLIC
When I was still a child, I overheard my parents and our neighbor Mr King talking. It was about the road and how the local council wanted to take over the road – to turn it from a private road to a public one.
NEVER A SMOOTH PATH
My father, Donald McKenzie, and Mr King (Church elder and brother of the church organist) opposed the change and the matter went to court. My father and Mr King lost. I remember them being very thankful that the council in its infinite mercy had not pressed for costs. I remember the shock they had on their faces when they lost – it was as if a whole way of life had come to an end. And to a certain extent they were right.
WE NEVER CLOSED OUR GATES OR HEARTS
I asked my father why they had lost, and he explained it was because we never closed the gates. We might be a private road but we had behaved in an open, public way!
THE IRONY OF LIFE
What an irony! – that because we had not exercised our full rights to keep the gates closed that was a justification to take the road and our way of life away from us!
A CHURCH WAS LOST
At the same time we also lost the church at the top of our road – I am not sure exactly why but I think the council took that too. I spoke to the Reverend Holden and asked him: “Why? Why?” I never did get a satisfactory answer but with its closure and the change of status of the road – the whole atmosphere changed. Church elders moved away saying that they wanted to be closer to a church and moved nearer to other Methodist churches. Grassy lawns and trees gave way to road widening.
My parents did not join the exodus from Brackendale Avenue. This was an ebb period but there were other reasons to stay such as the wonderful surrounding picture-perfect farmland and Pitsea marshes.
NEXT TO THE SEA
Pitsea is a beautiful area of England, yet close to the Fenchurch Street Line with high-speed access to London and with the Wat Tyler Park and the tidal part of the River Thames – the great river that runs through London.
EBBS AND FLOW
The ebb and flow – is the increase and decrease of the tides of the sea and the tidal parts (near the sea) of rivers.
REALITY OF LIFE
Life has increases and decreases in our fortunes. In other words, ups and downs.
TIDES OF TIME
One of the benefits of growing up along the tidal part of the River Thames is that we were reminded of the ebbs and flows constantly. We could swim, play on boats, fish and watch more wildlife when it was high tide. All we could see was mud and lots of mud at low tide – and there was so much wet mud. If you did not get out quickly enough – you were left high and dry (well actually muddy) – literally.
SHAKE UP YOUR LIFE
Shakespeare talked about the tide of affairs. His views on this subject were that if you take something at the flood then that will lead on to success.
MORALS FROM THIS STORY
SEE WHAT IS LEFT
Never is everything lost – what seems like a setback may not be a setback at all. It may be a life changing event. For some a status of private to public and the lost of a nearby church was unacceptable and had to be marked by them leaving the area. For others life went on in the same way just that the world around them had changed somewhat.
SHAKESPEARE IS RIGHT
Life is about ebbs and flows, flows and ebbs. And if you can take a situation at its flood (the highest point or if what you think is the highest point) then there will be success. Also use the ebb periods to regroup, rethink and reflect how you can do better in the future. Remember in all ebb periods the tide will come in again and are you ready for it.
EBB AND FLOW BLESSING
B: Be prepared for life – get on that boat and ride the waves of ebbs and flows. Be prepared for changes and meet those changes armed with solid values that guide you to the best decisions.
L: Life starts somewhere and life proceeds somewhere. Let life flow as strongly as you can make it.
E: Ebbing away is your life, so make sure you flow with the best of life and it is for you to fish for that best life.
S: Shakespeare’s wisdom benefits us all: Take life at the flood and you will be successful. Shaking up your life at times can do wonders. Shake it up when you want to jazz it up with more life.
S: Stand for something even if there is a chance to lose but benefits from the lessons of the lost.
Y: You have time on your hands but how you use this is up to you – do you use your time as wisely as you could?
O: Our way of life will change, and many changes may take place but keep your faith in God and your faith in the greater good and hopefully you will swim and not sink.
U:Unearth the good in every situation.
An I CAN READ English specialist with over 20 years teaching experience, I have worked in the British Council and Linguaphone, well-known language institutions. I am a London-trained lawyer and have been the public affairs officer at the British High Commission, Singapore, as well as an editor in an international book publishing house and a national magazine. In 2006, I was appointed as an Ambassador of Peace (Universal Peace Federation and Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace). I am also co-author of two law books: English Legal System and Company Law, published by Blackstone, Oxford University Press. For enquiries about I CAN READ classes, email firstname.lastname@example.org. FOR DAILY BLESSINGS: www.abetoday.com