Donovan Shaw life update… for my one or two blog followers (who don’t have a life and) are interested 🙂
2012 was the WORST year of my life. Some of the reasons for this were out of my control, some were caused by me. I won’t go into details… I may touch on it in a future post though.
The good news is that most of 2013 has been the totes cray cray (yes I have children) BEST year of my life! I think that can be a pattern in the seasons of life, times of suffering can bring us to a point where our life is peeled back to the bare bones, we reassess and realise what is most important. Here are some of the good things that have happened…
After many years the connection with my 86 year old father has been restored. As far back as I can remember the relationship with my Dad hasn’t been an easy one. He had a turbulent violent upbringing, experienced atrocities in World War 2, was a boxing, hard drinking, fiery, opinionated man. Yet I can see more clearly now that there were aspects of him that also knew how to show love. He had suffered abuse as a child and although I also experienced his anger, many verbal attacks and at times his violence, I now understand him so much better.
Over the years we have rarely seen eye to eye and differed on topics from religion to politics and everything in between. Some of the burdens he has carried were losing his older brother in WW2 in a Japanese POW camp (infamous Burma Railroad) and a daughter who tragically died years before I was born. I’ve noticed how often these subjects came up over the years whenever the topic of God came up. It’s obvious that these events affected him very deeply. The alcohol could only do so much to numb the pain.
My Father Gordon Shaw During His Navy Days in WW2 and Boxing in the Merchant Navy
Looking back now, I really do believe that he tried hard to be a better man than his own father was. I have also tried to be a better father than to my children too. So we have that in common.
My wonderful wife and I have raised three amazing grown adult children and have three incredibly beautiful foster children. We’ve worked hard to bring our older ones into the world without screwing them up too much… I will leave it to their future assessments and posterity to declare a verdict on how well we’ve done. Perhaps raising another three kids is God’s way of saying, “alright, let’s see if you can do it better this time Dono!”… it’s an interesting experience, Trish and I would have been empty nesters by now, we must be suckers for punishment. Speaking of punishment, I used to occasionally smack our older kids with a plastic spoon when they had misbehaved. We don’t smack the foster kids though primarily because legally we are not allowed to do so. Because of this I think we have gained an insight into the ‘smack or not to smack’ debate, I plan to blog on this subject sometime in the future. But I digress…
Back to my Dad – One of the main reasons I have been able to reconcile to my Dad is because something radical happened to me about six months ago that changed my life. What was that you ask?!? I’m going to leave that for a future post. The main thing is that my Dad and I have come to a better understanding of each other. We still disagree and it’s not a bed of roses but there is more mutual respect between us now. I think that giving him a bottle of Johnny Walker Red when I visit helps too!
My wife and I have been married for almost 24 years. We have had some rocky times but mostly it has been bliss. This year we have learned to love and appreciate each other a lot more, it has been a wonderful experience. I am SO SO SO blessed to have my wife and six children in my life! I also have wonderful friends; attend a great NON fundamentalist church in Sydney where the people show genuine love and compassion. Do I experience heartache and pain? Yes of course I do. But I’m learning how to regulate and control my wants/needs/desires which has greatly lessened my personal suffering.
This internal change has enabled me to love more and worry less. Things I yearned for before like prestige and attention from people don’t interest me much these days. I seem to have finally come to the realisation that these things only provide a sense of temporary satisfaction. I have work to do… my job in this world is to be a good father to my children, a loving husband to my wife, a diligent worker for my employer, a trusted friend to those I love, and lastly, have a heart of compassion to my fellow brothers and sisters across this crazy, gritty, amazing, spinning planet we call earth. It’s not work really though because I LOVE IT!
As mentioned I will share some information about my new life journey in a future post, in the meantime here is a quote from one of my current favourite authors, Jim Palmer from Nashville Tennessee:
“Sometimes it seems there are so many things in this world and about our lives that we have little or no control over. Remedy this burden by being present to the moment, and respond as the situation requires, however slight that response might be. Don’t judge these moments or responses as not being significant or spiritual enough. This is a trap. God and life are inseparable in every moment. You don’t have to gin-up your life with something you deem “spiritual.” Do you suppose Jesus was always looking for some great spiritual thing to do? No, instead he greeted each moment in a spirit of love and compassion, and simply responded as situations required. 95% of these responses of Jesus would have been considered quite mundane.”
See you sooner good people! :Dx