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RONAN SCULLY: Live a life of meaning

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‘Thought for the week’ columnist with The Clare Echo, Ronan Scully reflects on the importance of a life worth living.

Life can be so unfair and heartbreaking at times. My work in parts of some of the poorest places in the world made me realise that, and now recently the very traumatic sadness of my niece Aoife’s tragic passing, and of course the fear and worry of the coronavirus that is having a disastrous effect on our world.

But life can be good too. I have a loving and caring family and also some great and genuine friends and come from an amazing town of great people that have and are helping me on my life’s journey especially over the last week or two. I wish you who are reading this, a good family and friends too, because they really are a life blessing. Friends all the same do come and go, but the real ones stay around or are part of your life when you really need them. Nurture the good ones.

Being kind, caring and loving, really matters in life. Buy them a drink or a meal now and then and tell them how you really feel and their honesty will help you be you. When in doubt or afraid, just take one day at a time and try to live in and for the present moment, one step at a time. Life can be very short. Love and care as much as you can, for the time allotted to you is never known.

It’s okay to be different and to have different views and beliefs once you respect others. Not everyone will agree with you but the people who care about you will still care about you even if they don’t agree with what you say or do.

Sometimes tomorrow never comes 
Don’t become settled, always try to strive for better. You are always good enough if you put your mind to it. Believe in yourself and your goodness. Don’t compare yourself to the best others can do, but do the best you can do. It’s okay not to feel okay but it is always okay to ask for help or support. Remember it can take a long time to become the person you want to be. Don’t be afraid to cry or shed a tear or to let a loved one especially your family and children see you cry, it can make a difference to them and can bring healing to you and your loved ones.

You can be right and you can be wrong. Not everyone will agree with you even if you are right or wrong. Remember that you should always leave loved ones with loving words. It may be the last time you see them. Always remember regardless of your relationship with your loved ones, you will miss them terribly after they die. Keep a diary of all the good memories. Print off your photos from your phone, digital cameras and computers, don’t lose them.

Tell the truth, it really does set you free. I know, I have experienced it. Don’t be a walkover or too easy going. Be as strong as you can be in everything you do or want to do. You don’t have to win every argument or discussion or football or hurling match. It’s okay to give off to God who ever you believe God to be. Thank God for your blessings and ask for strength for the journey. Say thank you often.

Go After your Dreams
Don’t go to bed or let the sun go down on your anger. Don’t be jealous of others. Always try to be thankful for the blessings you have in your life and cherish them for you have no idea what it’s like to walk in another’s shoes. Always try to control your attitude or it controls you. Go after your dreams at all times when you can, especially if it involves genuine love and care. Try to do and be what you love. Be aware and work on your problems if you have them and always look for a good and speedy resolution for them. Always remember that we are responsible for what we do, no matter how we feel. Always keep trying and moving forward. Always consider the power of your words carefully as they can hurt for real.

Look at things from every angle before you make a decision or a statement for they too can hurt. Always pray for others intentions and if you’re like me always light a candle for someone. I believe that prayer candles really work. Live for today and the present moment as it is special and real for tomorrow might never come. Make everyone of your days here on earth count for the good of yourself and for others.

Choose life and love for something can be lost and gained in living life everyday. Go to your doctor for check ups and look after your health, no one else will. Help your friends and your work colleagues always or as much as you can for they are central to your life. Don’t worry about what people think of you. Love yourself and then you will be able to love others. If you want something ask for it because if you don’t the answer will always be no. Don’t judge others or compare yourself to others, work hard at being you. Wake up, get up, clean up and show up in everything in life and make the most of it as much as you can. Never give up or give in and always give it your best shot.

Don’t put pressure on yourself. It’s okay to say No. Dwell, pray, breathe and listen. Listen to Music as well. Enjoy nature and the fresh air as much as you can. Walk or run or do both. Be active physically and mentally if you can. As the Christy Moore song goes or what myself and my brother did last year “climb mountains or jump in a lake.” Life can surprise you.

Meditation and Reflection
Keep the Serenity prayer always close by so that you can have the courage and the wisdom to be the person you want and can be. Always as much as possible express your thanks and gratitude to people who have helped you along life’s way. To forgive or not to forgive is one of our life choices, I think from my experience in life it is always more freeing to forgive. When you say sorry or seek forgiveness always mean it and if people don’t accept your apology you can do no more and you’ve just got to do the best you can with your life and move forward with it.

Don’t give part time people in your life a full time position in your head. Also remember you can do something in an instant that will give you heartache for life but also remember if you believe enough in yourself you can keep going long after you think you can’t. Don’t spend time hating or being envious. Sometimes the people you expect to kick you when you’re down will be the ones to help you get back up, while the ones you expect to help you are nowhere to be found.

Remember that sometimes when you are angry, you have the right to be angry, but that doesn’t give me or you the right to be cruel. Know that no matter how good a friend someone is, they’re going to hurt you every once in awhile and you must forgive them for that. Remember that you cannot make someone love you. All you can do is be someone who can be loved. The rest is up to them.

Try to always look on the good and bright side of life. Take chances in a good sense. Know that heroes are the people who do what has to be done, when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences. Always remember that no matter what you do in life that there is no greater thing that you can do than to love someone or care for someone or be there for someone. Be that someone, for that is what life is really all about at the end of the day! Real genuine Love is and will always be the answer to this life.

“Pedal the Road Of Life”
At first, I saw God as my observer, my judge, keeping track of the things I did wrong, so as to know whether I merited heaven or hell when I die. He was out there sort of like a president. I recognized His picture when I saw it, but I really didn’t know Him. But later on when I met Christ, it seemed as though life were rather like a bike ride, but it was a tandem bike, and I noticed that Christ was in the back helping me pedal. I don’t know just when it was that He suggested we change places, but life has not been the same since.

When I had control, I knew the way. It was rather boring, but predictable. It was the shortest distance between two points. But when He took the lead, He knew delightful long cuts, up mountains, and through rocky places at breakneck speeds, it was all I could do to hang on! Even though it looked like madness, He said, “Pedal” I worried and was anxious and asked, “Where are you taking me?” He laughed and didn’t answer, and I started to learn trust. I forgot my boring life and entered into the adventure. And when I’d say, “I’m scared,” He’d lean back and touch my hand.

He took me to people with gifts that I needed, gifts of healing, acceptance and joy. They gave me gifts to take on my journey, my Lord’s and mine. And we were off again. He said, “Give the gifts away; they’re extra baggage, too much weight.” So I did, to the people we met, and I found that in giving I received, and still our burden was light.

I did not trust Him at first, in control of my life. I thought He’d wreck it; but He knows bike secrets, knows how to make it bend to take sharp corners, knows how to jump to clear high rocks, knows how to fly to shorten scary passages. And I am learning to shut up and pedal in the strangest places, and I’m beginning to enjoy the view and the cool breeze on my face with my delightful constant companion, Jesus Christ. And when I’m sure I just can’t do anymore, He just smiles and says, “Pedal.””

Thought for the week
As your thought for the week, look at your life’s experiences and see what you are doing about them and as the saying goes, go after your dreams, for happy are those that dream dreams but even more happier are those who try to achieve them. Remember it’s not what happens to you and people that’s important. It’s what you and they do about it. Go after your dreams. Go achieve them. For Life can be and is short!

But Life although very short at times is very beautiful, just as roses are beautiful but it has challenges which are like thorns and have to be faced and overcome by all. Those who accept these, challenges and succeed, are the ones who know how to live life in its true sense. Thus, enjoy life but also be prepared to bear the pricks of pain. Life is too short to judge a book by its cover. Everyone has their own struggles and journey so never be mean to someone when you don’t know their story.

This world needs more understanding, caring, loving, compassionate and sympathetic people, there are way too many mean people out there. Life is too short to be mad at someone forever. Forgiveness to those that have hurt you is a powerful way to let yourself feel free. Make the best of your life while you still can for life can be shorter than you think! So May Everyday be a thoughtful day for you. When Your Spirit leads your prayer to trust each trouble small and wide, with faith into God’s care. Let every new day always prompt your heart, to stand upon the truth, to bring real peace and love into your heart and our world. And with every dawn hear that invitation to a new beginning. With every dawn hear the possibility of new life. With every dawn hear the Divine Yes to your existence, to your beauty, to your life.

Keep well and safe everyone and give joy and kindness as much as possible to everyone you meet. For unto you shall come this day the joy of a compassionate heart that lives in giving of oneself to care for the least and lonely ones among us, for those now lost in anguish and despair. Their desperate hearts cry out to you – to be their Hope upon the way, asking that you would gently bend to share a morsel for the day. And in this giving of your blessings God’s abundance begins to flow, streaming outward, blessing others, making all the world whole. In this moment, you shall know the meaning of a life for good, Give to bless another’s need and joy returns a hundredfold.

May the light of your soul guide you. May the light of your soul bless the work that you do with the secret love and warmth of your heart. May you see in what you do the beauty of your own soul. May the sacredness of your work bring healing, light and renewal to those who work with you and to those who see and receive your work. May your work never weary you. May it release within you wellsprings of refreshment, inspiration and excitement. May you be present in what you do. May you never become lost in bland absences. May the day never burden. May dawn find you awake and alert, approaching your new day with dreams, possibilities and promises.

May evening find you gracious and fulfilled. May you go into the night blessed, sheltered and protected. And Dear Lord, Our world waits in darkness longing for Your light. In the midst of darkness, enkindle our hope. As we long for lasting peace in the midst of war and terrorism, be with us. As we long for families to be reunited, be with us. As we long for homeless and abandoned people in our communities to be cared for, be with us. As we long for enemies to be reconciled, be with us. As we long for cures and healing, be with us. As we long for decent jobs, decent homes, shelter and economic security, be with us. As we long for love and community, be with us.

Fulfill the deepest longings of your people and dispel the darkness in our hearts and in our world. Let your word ignite the hope the world needs to bring to life your love and justice for all people everywhere, especially those most in need.

And may we who are merely inconvenienced by this awful coronavirus remember those whose lives are at stake. May we who have no risk factors remember those most vulnerable. May we who have the luxury of working from home remember those who must choose between preserving their health or making their rent. May we who have the flexibility to care for our children when their schools close remember those who have no options. May we who have to cancel our trips remember those that have no safe place to go. May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market remember those who have no margin at all. May we who settled in for a quarantine at home remember those who have no home. As fear grips our country let us choose love During this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other let us yet find ways to be the loving embrace of God to our neighbours. Let us always pray for and stand up for all our great nurses, doctors, emergency workers, first responders, front line staff, Gardaí, Army, Aer Lingus pilots and staff and volunteers. Amen

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