Friday, 25 February 2011

The Cost Of Children.

I met with two of my good friends yesterday and spent a pleasant hour just sitting chatting. One of the friends I have something very much in common at the present time. His daughter has just opened a hairdressing business in the village, my son as you know has just set himself up as a sole practitioner   in law.
We were joking that even now at this stage in life we find ourselves offering support to our children, and we would have it no other way.
What brought this to the fore in our discussion was that we had noted in the news that the government was again telling us the cost of raising a child. Once again they had the bold figures and they were so far off the mark. Morever the figures only scratched the surface of a beautiful story.
The government recently calculated the cost of raising a child from birth to 18 and came up with £80,140 for a middle income family. They did not say if that was a child who ended up going to university or not. The figure was bland and open to discussion.
But lets take that figure.  It is not much more than £1000 per year, or 85 per month or £20 per week almost £3 per day.
My friend reckons that is almost the cost of his dog.  I was thinking about it all as I walked home. What do I get for my money?
            Naming rights. First, middle, and last!
            Giggles under the covers every night.
            More love than your heart can hold.
            Butterfly kisses and big hugs.
            Endless wonder over rocks, ants, clouds, warm days full of laughter.
            A hand to hold, usually covered with jelly or chocolate.
            A partner for blowing bubbles, flying kites
            Someone to laugh yourself silly with, no matter what the boss said or how your day really went.
             
For the money  you never have to grow up. You get to:
   finger-paint,
   carve turnip lanterns,
   play hide-and-seek,
   catch fish, and
   never stop believing in Santa Claus. You have an excuse to:
   keep reading the Adventures of Piglet and Pooh,
   watching Saturday morning cartoons,
   going to Disney movies, and
   wishing on stars.
   You get to frame rainbows, hearts, and flowers under refrigerator magnets and collect spray painted  hand prints set in clay for Mother's Day,
    and cards with backward letters for Father's Day.

 For the money,  you get to be a hero just for:
   Retrieving a ball off the garage roof,
   Taking the training wheels off a bike,
   Removing a splinter,
   Filling a paddling pool,
   Coaxing a wad of gum out of tangled hair, and coaching a football team that never wins but always gets treated to ice cream regardless.
 You get a front row seat to history to witness the:
The first step, the first word,
the  first bra,
the  first date, and
 the  first time behind the wheel.
You get to be immortal. You get another branch added to your family tree, and if you're lucky, a long list of limbs in your obituary called grandchildren and great grandchildren. You get an education in psychology, nursing, criminal justice, communications, and human sexuality that no college can match.
In the eyes of a child, you rank right up there. You have all the power to heal a boo-boo, scare away the monsters under the bed, patch a broken heart, police a  party, ground them forever, and love them without limits.
So one day they will like you, love you without counting the cost. That is quite a deal for the price!!!!!!!
Love and enjoy your children & grandchildren.

They are worth every single penny spent.


Sadly we so often know the cost of everything and the value of nothing.

Have a great day.

See why I have put this art back on in my other blog. The Four Seasons


Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Remembered Thoughts.

Yesterday as hard as I tried I could neither find the energy or the inclination to do very much. This cold has eaten into the very core of my being and drained me of anything. I spent the biggest part of the day just lying in bed taking warm drinks.

There can so easily be a tendency to feel very sorry for oneself when you are feeling ill. My cell phone bleeped to signal incoming emails. I almost reached over to switch it off, but did not. One email from a very dear friend carried the terrible news of the death of his 26 days old grandson. There are no words that can ever reach into the depth of such sadness, but just being there is all you can do.

Such news certainly makes you think of life in its perspective. As I lay in bed last night trying to find sleep in the midst of the coughing and restlessness I thought of  all the words and all the stories and none of them fills the gap.

So I share with you some of the scribbling’s from my notebook of sayings that seemed to make some sense to me.

Enjoy life and the changing seasons, we know not how long we have them.

Avoid grand plans: just respond to things as they arise.

Push your own self to one side, as far as you are able, so you can see other people more clearly.

Instead of seeking fulfilment, seek only to be empty. This will create space for true understanding.

Do not value power, but do value peace.

It’s alright to swing between joy and sadness, glory and failure for there is not great difference between them.

Breathe slowly and listen for the order in the universe.

May today be one of peace to all those who read this and all those I hold dear.


This blog is linked to my other where I speak of the artwork used. Poppies

Monday, 21 February 2011

Anybody Could Do That

I have had a miserable cold for the past three days that has meant that I have felt like doing very little, if not even just doing nothing. I have watched more television in the last three days that I would normally watch in a month. Some of what I have watched has been dire, but even working the remote has seem challenging.

I watched a film about a village, in which there lived an artist. Yes your typical tousled haired rather witless daydreamer. Not the kind of person you would ever call about to offer advice or help.

Reminded me of the comment made about my abstract last week that it could have been painted by a nursery child. How often have you visited an art gallery and overheard somebody commenting that, anybody could do that?

The truth is that we artists are pretty practical people. Think of the many skills it takes to produce a painting. Stretching paper, canvas , mixing colour , preparing the surface. Then choosing the mount or frame to compliment the painting, so it goes on.

It is not a case of just slapping paint on paper or canvas. You cannot just put red on top of blue, unless of course it is not red that you want.

The finished painting that viewer sees and comments on is the result of attention to detail. Mental, and physical thought, honed artistic inspiration, and much more. Also all the many disappointments when what you set out to do is not what you end up with.

To destroy the beautiful is easy, requiring only carelessness, malice or greed. But to create the beautiful, as the artist knows, requires practical and persistent engagement with many different realities.

The mystic will understand.

So today on my other blog I reveal the last in the series of my Vivaldi – The Four Seasons.

More of that on my other blog.   Winter Has Come

Friday, 18 February 2011

Building The House.

Yesterday I made a real start on my new plot. It is amazing the amount of stuff that you can get into a little shed, if you put you mind to it, or don’t. It took me more than four barrow loads to remove all the rubbish , the old rotten wood, the empty bags, empty plant containers and all sorts of other bit and pieces. After about an hour I found that the shed did in fact have a floor on it.

At the bottom of the plot were two old and rotting cold frames. Another four or five barrow loads and all this rotting wood had been taken to the rubbish, Now I could really see the task before me. Having cleared away it is now time to consider the constructive part.  I measured the space, 33yards by 9 yards wide. At present it looks like a field of weeds. I hope by mid summer it is a place producing vegetables.

That will only happen with care and nurture.

My Plot

Reminds me of the tale of the man who all his life had worked in the construction business, building houses.

Now an elderly carpenter  was ready to retire. He told his employer-contractor of his plans to leave the house-building business to live a more leisurely life with his wife and enjoy his extended family.
He would miss the wages he earned each week, but he wanted to retire. They could get by. 


The contractor was sorry to see his good worker go and asked if he could build just one more house as a personal favour.
The carpenter said yes, but over time it was easy to see that his heart was not in his work. He resorted to shoddy workmanship and used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end a dedicated career. 

When the carpenter finished his work, his employer came to inspect the house. Then he handed the front-door key to the carpenter and said, "This is your house, my gift to you."


The carpenter was shocked! 

What a shame! If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently. 


So it is with us. We build our lives, a day at a time, often putting less than our best into the building. Then, with a shock, we realize we have to live in the house we have built. If we could do it over, we would do it much differently. 
But, you cannot go back. You are the carpenter, and every day you hammer a nail, place a board, or erect a wall.
Someone once said, "Life is a do-it-yourself project." The attitude, and the choices you make today, help build the "house" you will live in tomorrow.
Therefore, Build wisely!
I hope you have a productive day and a wonderful weekend.
This blog is linked to my other. Lavender Fields
   

Thursday, 17 February 2011

We Are All In Our Own Way Roses.

My thoughts are turning to gardens today. Last night I attended the annual meeting of the Allotment Society, the meeting of those of us who have garden plots in the same place.  I officially took ownership of my newer and larger plot. The plot, I am taking over, has been tended by an old man called Sandy. He has had it for the last 30 years, so there is a sense of nostalgia at his moving on.

So often, when we take over from another, we go in like the new broom and change everything. This was in fact my initial reaction. Sandy grew along the top of the plot a row of flowers. They were not the most beautiful of blooms and they were taking up enough space to grow a row of edible vegetables. Last night as I lay in bed I decided that the row of flowers would stay and I would tend them. When they bloom I will take a bunch of them to Sandy and his wife. Maybe even more than one bunch, a bunch during the flowering season, every week if I can.

While thinking of flowers I thought of the story of the man who was growing a rose.

A certain man planted a rose and watered it faithfully and before it blossomed, he examined it.
He saw the bud that would soon blossom, but noticed thorns upon the stem and he thought, "How can any beautiful flower come from a plant burdened with so many sharp thorns? Saddened by this thought, he neglected to water the rose, and just before it was ready to bloom... it died.
So it is with many people. Within the inner being of every person there is a rose. The good qualities planted and nurtured in us by parents and teachers. They grow amid the thorns of our faults. Many of us look at ourselves and see only the thorns, the defects.
We despair, thinking that nothing good can possibly come from us. We neglect to water the good within us, and eventually it dies. We never realize our potential.
Some people do not see the rose within themselves; someone else must show it to them. One of the greatest gifts a person can possess is to be able to reach past the thorns of another, and find the rose within them.
This is one of the characteristics of love, to look at a person, know their true faults and accepting that person into your life, all the while recognizing the nobility of the inner them.
We each can help others to realize they can overcome their faults. If we show them the "rose" within themselves, they will conquer their thorns. Only then will they blossom many times over.
But one little thing we must always remember, that we cannot nurture a person by only looking at the rose within for a person to really grow they need to also acknowledge the thorns that have also taken root in their lives.
My goodness here I am again almost at the preaching. Thank you Celeste for the words of encouragement on that front.
This blog is linked to my other.  Cornflowers

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

The Answer Is Never Far Away.

I set myself so many challenges yesterday that I was almost doomed to failure before I began. I was running with my young lad. I wanted to clean my car of all the winter grime. I had white painted and wanted to paint winter.

The car was the easy one. I had found a new product, DryClean. It cleans the car without water and polishes it at the same time. Spray it on spread it then with a soft cloth remove, it works, I could not believe it.

The run went well. For the first two miles we ran and chatted. I was aware he was saying little but still at my side. I said to him, “It is always good to run at a pace where you can still hold a conversation.”  He replied, “Can we slow down then, I can’t talk.”

I painted and the result of my painting is on this blog. I will make no comment here, because I leave that to my other blog.

Before the day was over I added a final little challenge. I managed to walk for two hours. 

As I sat down for the evening, I had a warm glow, of having at least something to show for my day.

How easy it is to look at the prospect of the day and think it cannot be done, and because we believe that nothing is done.  Let me explain!
If you put a buzzard in a pen six or eight feet square and entirely open at the top, the bird, in spite of his ability to fly, will be an absolute prisoner.

The reason is that a buzzard always begins a flight from the ground with a run of ten or twelve feet. Without space to run, as is his habit, he will not even attempt to fly, but will remain a prisoner for life in a small jail with no top.

The ordinary bat that flies around at night, a remarkable nimble creature in the air, cannot take off from a level place. If it is placed on the floor or flat ground, all it can do is shuffle about helplessly and, no doubt, painfully, until it reaches some slight elevation from which it can throw itself into the air. Then, at once, it takes off like a flash.
A Bumblebee if dropped into an open tumbler will be there until it dies, unless it is taken out. It never sees the means of escape at the top, but persists in trying to find some way out through the sides near the bottom. It will seek a way where none exists, until it completely destroys itself.
In many ways, there are lots of people like the buzzard, the bat and the bee.

We are struggling about with all our problems and frustrations, not realizing that the answer is right there if we just raise our sights.

I hope that does not sound like me reverting to my preacher mode, I do not intend to.  My young lad managed to stay with me for the six miles. I suspect he had an early night, but I also suspect he was feeling very good about himself.

Have a challenging and wonderful day.  As Jerry always says, “Today will be a marvellous day.”

This blog is linked to my other.   Winter Is Not The End




Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Pens and Pencils


 Well yesterday I was back running first time since my disagreement with the car. Today I have my first out with the young lad. It had not nearly dawned on my that this is a considerable challenge, a man of my age and a young man who even when you multiply his age by three he would still be younger than me.

But a bigger challenge awaits! Yesterday I purchased the white paint for my winter abstract. While buying the paint a paint brush shouted out at me that it wanted purchased also. So I have a new baby to nurture into my ways of working. Soon we will be close friends.

This reminds me of the story of the pencil maker and his pencils.

The Pencil Maker took the pencil aside, just before putting him into the box. 

"There are 5 things you need to know," he told the pencil, "Before I send you out into the world. Always remember them and never forget, and you will become the best pencil you can be."



"One: You will be able to do many great things, but only if you allow yourself to be held in someone's hand."



"Two: You will experience a painful sharpening from time to time, but you'll need it to become a better pencil."


"Three: You will be able to correct any mistakes you might make."



"Four: The most important part of you will always be what's inside."



"And Five: On every surface you are used on, you must leave your mark. No matter what the condition, you must continue to write."



The pencil understood and promised to remember, and went into the box with purpose in its heart. 




Now replacing the place of the pencil with ourselves. 

We must always remember the same things, never forget, and we will become the best persons we can be. 



One: We will be able to do many great things, but only if we allow ourselves to be held in some guiding hand. And allow other human beings to access us for the many gifts we  possess.



Two: We will experience a painful sharpening from time to time, by going through various problems in life, but we need it to become a stronger person. 



Three: We will be able to correct any mistakes we might make. 



Four: The most important part of us will always be what's on the inside.



And Five: On every surface we walk through, you must leave our mark. No matter what the situation, we must continue to leave good marks.

Let me end by singling this down to you.



Allow this parable on the pencil to encourage you to know that you are a special person and only you can fulfill the purpose to which you were born to accomplish.

Never allow yourself to get discouraged and think that your life is insignificant and cannot make a change.
 

Have a marvelous day. I am off to get ready for the first challenge of my day. Are you ready young man?

This blog is linked to my other.  Aonoch Eagach Ridge

Monday, 14 February 2011

I Cannot Ignore The Day,


 I remember from somewhere in my distant past the little ditty, Roses are Red, Vilolets are Blue, sugar is sweet and so are you.

Valentines day did not take much place in my life of school. We Scottish are somewhat reluctant to show emotion so it took a lot longer to take off as a day . The odd fellow pupil would give a card to a girl but not very many and never any coming my way.

Now we have them all including the rather meaningless Fathers Day. I say meaningless in the sense that I cannot find behind it the religious significance of all the other days. Maybe somebody can enlighten me.

So Valentines Day reminds me of a little tale that I will share with you.

Her name was Rose, and her favourite flower was of course the rose, those of the blushing types. So every valentines day they would arrive, a large beautiful bunch of red roses. The card on them would always say the same thing. I love you more this year than I did on this day last year.

The particular year I talk about the roses arrived as usual, even although her husband had died before Valentines Day. The Card said the same, I  Love you more this day that I did this day last year. She assumed that before his death her husband had arranged for them to be sent as usual.
She trimmed the stems and arranged them in a vase as she did every year, and as every other year there was a tear running down her cheek as she placed them on the dinning room table.

The following year, the roses arrived again and again the same card. There must be a mistake. She called the florist to explain there must be a mistake or somebody was being very cruel to make her feel so sad. The florist asked if she had read the card. She said she had not, because they most surely were not for her.  The florist assured her they were . Her husband had paid well in advance and there was enough in the fund for her to have roses every valentine day till the day she too died. He said that he had been instructed to include a special card the year after he discovered her husband had died. So this year he had.

She opened the envelope to read.

Inside the card, she saw that he had written her a note. 
Then, as she stared in total silence, this is what he wrote... 
"Hello my love, I know it's been a year since I've been gone, 
I hope it hasn't been too hard for you to overcome."
"I know it must be lonely, and the pain is very real. For if it was the other way, I know how I would feel. 
The love we shared made everything so beautiful in life. 
I loved you more than words can say, you were the perfect wife.
You were my friend and lover, you fulfilled my every need. 
I know it's only been a year, but please try not to grieve. 
I want you to be happy, even when you shed your tears. 
That is why the roses will be sent to you for years.
When you get these roses, think of all the happiness, 
That we had together, and how both of us were blessed. 
I have always loved you and I know I always will. 
But, my love, you must go on, you have to do some living still.
 Please try to find happiness, while living out your days. 
I know it is not easy, but I hope you find some ways. 
The roses will come every year, and they will only stop, 
When your door's not answered, when the florist stops to knock."
He will come five times that day, in case you have gone out. 
But after his last visit, he will know without a doubt, 
To take the roses to the place, where I've instructed him, 
And place the roses where we are, together once again."
I hope you all have a lovely Valentines Day. The skeptic Scot has given in.

This blog is linked to my other and please do read my explanation for the artwork chosen. 

Friday, 11 February 2011

The Right Invitation.


I was asked yesterday if I would help a young man achieve his goal. He need to get his fitness level to a certain standard I was told. He has been advised to run. Now I had a quandary, one that I have faced before, being a pacifist here I was being invited by a parent to help their son get ready for his physical to join the army. I know their son, he is a really nice young lad, and there is no doubt he will be better finding an ambition in life than all the alternatives. So I have invited him to join me on my daily runs as soon as I get back on the road.

I have a feeling I might live to regret this decision. He is a young lad and will soon reach a level of fitness that my youth deficiency will not longer allow me to attain.

So this invitation leads me to think about what we invite upon ourselves.

A woman came out of her house and saw three old men with long white beards sitting in her front yard. She did not recognize them. She said "I don't think I know you, but you must be hungry. Please come in and have something to eat."
"Is the man of the house home?", they asked. "No", she said. "He's out." "Then we cannot come in", they replied.
In the evening when her husband came home, she told him what had happened. "Go tell them I am home and invite them in!" The woman went out and invited the men in. "We do not go into a House together," they replied. "Why is that?" she wanted to know.
One of the old men explained: "His name is Wealth ," he said pointing to one of his friends, and said pointing to another one, "He is Success, and I am Love." Then he added, "Now go in and discuss with your husband which one of us you want in your home."
The woman went in and told her husband what was said. Her husband was overjoyed. "How nice!!” he said. "Since that is the case, let us invite Wealth. Let him come and fill our home with wealth!"
His wife disagreed. "My dear, why don't we invite Success?" Their daughter-in-law was listening from the other corner of the house. She jumped in with her own suggestion: "Would it not be better to invite Love? Our home will then be filled with love!"
"Let us heed our daughter-in-law's advice," said the husband to his wife. "Go out and invite Love to be our guest."
The woman went out and asked the three old men, "Which one of you is Love? Please come in and be our guest."
Love got up and started walking toward the house. The other two also got up and followed him. Surprised, the lady asked Wealth and Success: "I only invited Love, Why are you coming in?"
The old men replied together: "If you had invited Wealth or Success, the other two of us would've stayed out, but since you invited Love, Wherever He goes, we go with him. Wherever there is Love, there is also Wealth and Success!"
OUR WISH FOR YOU... Where there is pain, we wish you peace and mercy.
Where there is self-doubting, we wish you a renewed confidence in your ability to work through them.
Where there is tiredness, or exhaustion, we wish you understanding, patience, and renewed strength.
Where there is fear, we wish you love, and courage. Peace to you

And I do not think we can offer anything better to our friends.

This blog is linked to my other. Nature Fights Back








Wednesday, 9 February 2011

The Big Society.

I try so very hard to keep this blog neutral in every sense of the word neutral. I have my views about religion but I try hard to keep my stories so that those with one religion and those with none will feel comfortable with the story. I have my political beliefs, even though I not longer really have any political affiliations, but I try to keep this blog so that those from all sides of the political divide might find something to think about.

This gets harder and harder at present in this land I live in. So forgive me if just for a moment I stray into forbidden territory.

These last few days I have heard very little but people talking about what our government calls, “The Big Society.” I have listened and listened to try and learn just exactly what this means.  Let me rant just for a bit . You can stop at any point as long as you read the last two lines or so.


Where have we arrived and seem to be continuing to head?
We have taller buildings, but shorter tempers; wider motorways, but narrower viewpoints; we spend more, but have less; we buy more but enjoy it less. We have bigger houses and smaller families; more conveniences, but less time; we have more degrees, but less sense; more knowledge, but less judgment; more experts, but more problems; more medicine, but less wellness.
We drink too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry too quickly, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much.
We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often. We've learned how to make a living, but not a life.  We have added years to life, not life to years.
We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbor. We've conquered outer space, but not inner space. We've done larger things, but not better things.
We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul; we've split the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less; we plan more, but accomplish less.
We've learned to rush, but not to wait; we have higher incomes, but, lower morals.
We build more computers to hold more information to produce more copies than ever, but have less communication.  We've become long on quantity, but short on quality.
These are the days of two incomes, but more divorce; of fancier houses, but broken homes.
These are the days of quick trips, disposable nappies, throw away morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. Where indeed are we heading?
If we die tomorrow, the company that we are working for could easily replace us in a matter of days. Or in my case the art world would forget me.
 But the family we leave behind will feel the loss for the rest of their lives.

And come to think of it, we pour ourselves more into work than to our family an unwise investment indeed.

So what is the morale of the story????
Yes let us think about the big society and make this a better place to live but I think we need to start thinking about closer to home. If we could get family right, society would take care of itself.
This Blog is linked to my other. Summer Will Come


Tuesday, 8 February 2011

A Touch of the Poor Me


How easy it is to suffer from the poor me.  Right now I am fighting very hard not to do so. But before I begin I need to explain something about yesterdays story. The character Barry was a very real person,and many people treated him like that. I remember him well.

Today I am going to keep this short because sitting here for long periods is not at all easy. Yesterday while out running in the rain and the gale force winds I had a difference of opinion with a car and it won. While trying to avoid a place in the road that was flooded a car sped round the bend under the bridge where I was. The next thing I knew I was lying in the road and the car was still speeding off. Today I can hardly move, so no walking today, never mind running.

This reminds me of the story of the frogs.


A group of frogs were travelling through the woods, and two of them 
fell into a deep pit. When the other frogs saw how deep the pit 
was, they told the two frogs that they were as good as dead. The 
two frogs ignored the comments and tried to jump up out of the pit 
with all their might. The other frogs kept telling them to stop, 
that they were as good as dead. Finally, one of the frogs tookheed to what the other frogs were saying and gave up. He fell down 
and died.

The other frog continued to jump as hard as he could.

Once again, 
the crowd of frogs yelled at him to stop the pain and just die. He 
jumped even harder and finally made it out. When he got out, the 
other frogs said, "Did you not hear us?" The frog explained to 
them that he was deaf. He thought they were encouraging him the 
entire time.



This story reminds me of two important lessons:



1. There is power of life and death in the tongue. An encouraging 
word to someone who is down can lift them up and help them make it 
through the day.


2. A destructive word to someone who is down can be what it takes 
to kill them.

Be careful of what you say. We have to be careful what we say. Speak life to those who cross our path.

The power of words... it is sometimes hard to understand 
that an encouraging word can go such a long way. Anyone can speak 
words that tend to rob another of the spirit to continue in 
difficult times.

Special is the individual who will take the time 
to encourage another. 

I apologise to anybody I have ever hurt by saying something that was thoughtless.

This blog is linked to my other.   Autumn Will Come

Friday, 4 February 2011

The Four Wives of Life.


 Well my computer has arrived and this is the first blog I have attempted to write on it. I am sure I will soon come to terms with this new operation system and have it doing as it is told. In the meantime I am the learner again. My previous computer is sitting at the other end of my desk almost forgotten. I called him Gandalf and he served me well.

It is amazing how attached we can become to things, or as the modern age says , stuff. We surround ourselves with stuff. The stuff becomes important, sometimes far too important and we lose friend because of it. I am sure we can all think of examples.

There is a lovely story of the old ancient and his four wives. So of whom he treated just like stuff. Let me explain.

There was a rich merchant who had 4 wives. He loved the 4th wife the most and adorned her with rich robes and treated her to delicacies. He took great care of her and gave her nothing but the best.
He also loved the 3rd wife very much. He's very proud of her and always wanted to show off her to his friends However, the merchant is always in great fear that she might run away with some other men.
He too, loved his 2nd wife. She is a very considerate person, always patient and in fact is the merchant's confidante. Whenever the merchant faced some problems, he always turned to his 2nd wife and she would always help him out and tide him through difficult times.
Now, the merchant's 1st wife is a very loyal partner and has made great contributions in maintaining his wealth and business as well as taking care of the household. However, the merchant did not love the first wife and although she loved him deeply, he hardly took notice of her.
One day, the merchant fell ill. Before long, he knew that he was going to die soon. He thought of his luxurious life and told himself, "Now I have4 wives with me. But when I die, I'll be alone. How lonely I'll be!"
Thus, he asked the 4th wife, "I loved you most, endowed you with the finest clothing and showered great care over you. Now that I'm dying, will you follow me and keep me company?" "No way!" replied the 4th wife and she walked away without another word.
The answer cut like a sharp knife right into the merchant's heart. The sad merchant then asked the 3rd wife, "I have loved you so much for all my life. Now that I'm dying, will you follow me and keep me company?" "No!" replied the 3rd wife. "Life is so good over here! I'm going to remarry when you die!" The merchant's heart sank and turned cold.
He then asked the 2nd wife, "I always turned to you for help and you've always helped me out. Now I need your help again. When I die, will you follow me and keep me company?" "I'm sorry, I can't help you out this time!" replied the 2nd wife. "At the very most, I can only send you to your grave." The answer came like a bolt of thunder and the merchant was devastated.
Then a voice called out : "I'll leave with you. I'll follow you no matter where you go." The merchant looked up and there was his first wife. She was so skinny, almost like she suffered from malnutrition. Greatly grieved, the merchant said, "I should have taken much better care of you while I could have !"
Actually, we all have 4 wives in our lives
a. The 4th wife is our body. No matter how much time and effort we lavish in making it look good, it'l  leave us when we die.
b. Our 3rd wife ? Our possessions, status and wealth. When we die, they all go to others.
c. The 2nd wife is our family and friends. No matter how close they had been there for us when we're alive, the furthest they can stay by us is up to the grave.
d. The 1st wife is in fact our inner being, often neglected in our pursuit of material, wealth and sensual pleasure.

This blog is linked to my other.   Can I Tempt You