Not long after my mother passed away, I discovered a cache of old newspapers and magazines that she and my father had collected and saved. Among them was aJun 6, 2012 1 of 405View Source
Not long after my mother passed away, I discovered a cache of old newspapers and magazines that she and my father had collected and saved. Among them was a souvenir program that had been printed for the coronation of King George VIthe father of our present Queen Elizabeth II.
I remember how thrilled I was to find these in 1976. Our parents raised us to think of ourselves as British subjects, which in fact we were back then. I suppose you could have called my parents monarchists, and been quite accurate.
Sadly, when we suffered a house fire in 1985, all those lovely pieces of history went up in flames.
My beloved and I are very much fans of the Royal Family, and consider ourselves monarchists to this day. Queen Elizabeth II is in fact the "Queen of Canada", and David and I consider her our Queen.
Each Christmas, the Queen gives a televised `message' and that message has been a part of my Christmas tradition all of my life. Canada does have a Prime Minister, who is the head of government, but our head of state is the Queen, represented day-by-day in Canada by "vice-regent", the Governor-General.
The two of us have been paying avid attention this last week especially, as the celebration of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee has been taking place here, and in England. We have been very conscious of the fact that we are living through the making of history. There have only been two diamond Jubilees for the British Crown, and both have been achieved Queen Regents. The other one, of course, was attained by Queen Victoria.
The Jubilee is the celebration of the Queen's 60 years of service. Notice I said service, and not reign. The word `reign' brings to mind images of power, opulence, self-indulgencewords that simply don't fit our Queen at all. She is the embodiment of the word `service'.
Her Majesty has been known in the past to walk through the Palace in the evenings, turning off lights that don't need to be on. She has put off renovations to the various properties and has ordered a scaling back of expenses for state dinners and balls (a lot of which she finances herself) to reflect the times. She could afford to spare no expense, but is sensitive that her people are going through difficult economic hardship. Ever frugal, she has been even more so in the last several years.
During the Second World War she trained as an ambulance driver and mechanic. When she turned 21, the then Princess Elizabeth gave a radio-address in which she pledged to dedicate her "whole life, be it long or short" to the service of her country, and the Commonwealth.
Over the years when I would hear different news commentators wondering aloud if the Queen would "retire", I would shake my head because of course, she will never retire. She will be Queen for the whole of her life, period.
These special celebrations this past weekend are celebrations that will likely never occur again. The two next in line for the CrownPrince Charles and then Prince Williamwill probably not attain 60 years on the throne, because they will be so much older at the time of their coronations than Elizabeth was.
And who knows what the future holds for the institution itself? At the moment, the Queen enjoys an 80 per cent approval rating. Yet the concept of having a King or Queen does seem to some people to be archaic. Monarchies can be considered institutions of the past.
In a hundred years, they may not even exist.
Old fashioned monarchies might be, but I can tell you that I, for one, have greater faith in Queen Elizabeth to put first the interests and well being of her people, than I do in our Prime Ministeror any elected politician, for that matter. There is not a single occasion that I can recall, where she has done anything that could be considered even the slightest bit self-aggrandizing.
Politicians by their very nature have extremely healthy egos. They seek office, and who among them does so for purely altruistic reasons? I cannot name a one.
Our Queen has been on the job without a vacation from her duties for 60 years. She has been there, through good times and bad times, ever dutiful, unwavering, and solid. At 86 years of age, she continues to inspire me.
God Save the Queen!
You ve heard it said, I am sure, that people come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. My problem is I can t tell the difference. I amAug 28 405 of 405View Source
You've heard it said, I am sure, that people come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. My problem is I can't tell the difference. I am constantly, even eagerly, slotting folks into that last category. I'm like an excited little puppy all wound up having someoneor several someone'snew in my lifea puppy who gets all frisky and happy and bounces back and forth as if saying, "Wanna play? Wanna play?" Then when things happenthings that seem inexplicable to me, things that leave me wondering what I could possibly have done wrong, I'm left broken hearted because those people turn and walk away with no backward glance whatsoever and I am left feeling totally and completely bereft.
I'm beginning to suspect that the only thing I keep doing wrong is slating people into the "lifetime" category who never should have been there in the first place. I've only begun to realize this flaw in my previous behavior because the ones I have now in that "lifetime" slot were the ones meant to be there all along.
I know I can't be the only person this has happened to. Life has taught me that very, very few of us ever experience something that no one else ever has. I've had a number of traumatic and tragic things happen in my lifetime. I know that probably most of you have, too. At some point, maybe twenty years ago or so, I came to the decision that if life really was only 5 percent what happened to me and 95 percent how I dealt with it, then I'd better see if I could deal with things in a way that would be beneficial to others, and therefore beneficial to myself.
Yes, that's another variation of making lemonade out of lemons.
Because I am, down to my soul, a writer, then dealing with things in a beneficial way meant I had to write about them. Those who can look beyond the wink-wink-nudge-nudge of my novels will discover that I deal with a lot of issues that many of us struggle with in life. What I don't deal with that way, I manage to tackle within the pages of these essays, every week.
Life is a journey and like any long trip, not all of it is made over smooth roads. Sometimes we have to travel the gravel side roads, and sometimes we find ourselves on deeply rutted dirt trails. Sometimes we're making our way in the company of good companions, and sometimes we are achingly alone.
Everyone has to define the terms under which they want to live their lives. We each of us have our own priorities, and we're not all the same. We aren't all given to the same purposes or causes; we don't define happiness or sadness in exactly the same way. We really are unique, each one of us. We share a common humanity, yes, and a common spectrum of possibilities, but the fine points, the details, are different for us all.
As I've gotten older, as more milestones have gone by my personal window on this, my life's journey, I understand as I never did before how self sufficient we are, and at the same time, how isolated we are.
I believe that we were created to help one another. Do you want to have a good, really good, feeling inside of yourself? Then take your eyes off yourself and help someone else. Do you want to feel as if you matter? Then matter to othersdo something that makes a difference either to an individual or a group.
Are you the only one who has ever made a horrible mistake, lost someone dear, or suffered an injury to your body or your soul? Of course not. We all have. Is every day a day of joy and laughter and all things positive and light?
If only. Nope, there are at least as many dark days as there are light ones in anyone's life; the difference lies in how we rate them. I personally give happy, sunny days a 5 rating, and the gloomy, sad ones a 0.5 one.
Oh yes, that is stacking the deck in my favor, but then I can do that if I want to. Because the most important principle I have learned in life says I can. What is that principle? Gosh, I am glad you asked.
It's that, in the final analysis, everything emotionaland I do mean everythingis a decision. How you handle the firestorms that come your way, is a decision.
Life doesn't control your heart or your mind or your soul. You do.