One of the ninety two year old men that I mentioned in a recent post had one of those Inspirational words of wisdom quotes above his desk for the whole of his working life.
Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change what I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
He was a very serene man. Being in his presence you always felt that he had time for you, he wasn't about to rush off somewhere. He was greatly loved by all who were lucky enough to know him.
When he was with my mum and dad they would often swap their favourite inspirational words of wisdom. My dad had loads, many of which were made up by him. He liked to quote Confucius and tell us that we were going to have an old Eastern custom at the dinner table. This meant we had to be quiet. It sounded really nice the way he put it, to sit there in silence pretending we were samurai.
Today I read a quote by Abraham Barzali along the lines of,
Without the desert, there is no oasis.
This made me think of water again and how precious it is. Only this year there has much distress caused by floods that like everything you can have too much of it. I know of people in Britain who have been living in rented accommodation for months because their homes have been wrecked by the floods earlier this year. Now in ex-Yugoslavia people are suffering because of too much water. It seems there are great shows of solidarity and courage as people help each other, all their differences forgotten.
When we lived in Belgrade, Yugoslavia was one nation. The friends we made were very proud of this. Seven countries, with different languages, all joined together and flying the same flag. Now of course they are separate, as is ex-Czechoslovakia. In September there will be another momentous decision to be made about Scotland.
Thinking about all these countries that may be happier apart reminds me of another words of wisdom quote by Mark Amend, which seems a great name for a wise person.
Be strong enough to stand alone,
Be yourself enough to stand apart
But be wise enough to stand together when the time comes.