Andrew James Whalan

Poet Blogger Writer

Tag: speech

Horse and Carriage or Unfinished Symphony

I had to laugh (out loud on the train)! For My Dad, Kevin Whalan’s latest blog,opens with the same words as the following speech, written and delivered in 2001,  while I was going through…

“Love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage “

Well, you don’t see that any more do you?

Do I mean horse and carriage or love and marriage?

There is a hidden pandemic of loneliness occurring right now.

It’s called second and third marriage or permanent singlehood.

Actually it’s really divorce.

Most marriages fail. Most second or third marriages fail. Most divorces fail too!

What is the triumph of hope over experience? A second marriage!

But all is not lost! Like flowers in the desert after a rain shower, a new industry has sprouted to upend this trend.

Books, radio shows, tapes, videos, courses, even laws and of course marriage counsellors are lining up to help you and your loved one out of your marriage! I have checked out some of these resources. Unfortunately, few have been helpful.

But I did find something. To paraphrase Sherlock Holmes, when you take away what’s left, whatever remains, no matter how strange it is, is the answer.

Or what I might call Whalan’s law of failure, success is the path you take when all else has failed!

My neighbour loaned me a book. The basic idea of that book was that the man is the problem. And if he helped around the house a little bit more: let’s just set the scene…

The wife has gone out somewhere or is working and has come home late. The husband has just finished washing up and is putting away the dishes. He’s a bit bald, maybe a bit of a paunch, but tonight to the wife, he has never looked more attractive.  When she comes home, she is so glad to see him… scene cuts to the flames burning fiercely in the fireplace.

So you men, if you wash up marital bliss waits. Maybe even a second honeymoon. I wonder what do I get for doing the washing and my own ironing too?

One other book, which I bought and attracts dust, also says the man is the problem. If the man stopped going to the footy or cricket, stopped watching TV, didn’t go out with his friends, gave up his favourite hobbies then marital bliss awaits. Just spend more time with your wife and family.

But I ask you, what man has enough time to do all of this and the housework as well?

And suppose women are the problem.

Yet another book says the above. Laura Doyle’s “The Surrendered Wife: A Practical guide to finding intimacy, passion and peace with a man”. Luckily for me I haven’t read it even silently or aloud to my wife or coloured in the pictures.

For instance her advice is for the woman to stop nagging the man, even covering her mouth with duct tape to do so. She should say, “Whatever you say, dear? “ Talk about the inaudible language of love!

The woman should always say “Yes” and be available for the man. What does this mean? Maybe I should get the book…

The woman should never ever tell the man he is wrong. Does this mean that I’m always right! I can’t remember that time!

Or as I saw in a leaflet which prided itself as a prescription for marital bliss. It suggested that when the husband came home from work, the wife should have all the children lined up to greet him all squeaky clean and neatly dressed. The wife should be perfumed and also neatly dressed, made up etc. She should do all the cooking and housework and hang on every word the husband says.

Obviously, the wife does not work and the children are robotic. Not even in the Brady Bunch, could they make this happen. Even with Alice and Carol Brady slaving away…

It seems ridiculous that Ms Doyle can write a book saying the way to marital bliss is to let the husband do as he pleases.  Please no cheering men, for if what she says is true, men are Neanderthals with a no thickening veneer of civilisation and have to be appeased.

It always seems to me that its either the man is the Conqueror and the wife Surrendered. The women’s liberationists hate that and rightly so!

Or the other way around. The man is submissive and the woman a conqueror.

Maybe there’s a market for a book called the Surrendered Man. It would probably sell to the sensitive new age guys (you know, the ones with boyfriends) and I would have the other copy.

Maybe we should live like accountants, counting up and valuing every task and redeeming them for prizes. Like a game show.

Is there no common ground between men and women except mutual selfishness? Its that the answer?

Or is there not another way?

Maybe there’s a market for a book, video series, etc, called the Surrendered Spouse where both husband and wife promise to live for each other alone.

Maybe they could commit to mutual respect and work together and find that two people can do more together than each alone!

Maybe instead of trying to change each other for selfish gain, they could just change themselves one day at a time.

My point is that the only person you can change in your marriage or any part of your life is yourself. How is up to you !

That takes more courage than slavishly following a reverse tit for tat marriage manual.

Perhaps then marriage (And Life Itself) be an unfinished symphony!

Through The Eyes of a Child

This is a speech I wrote and performed  during my time in Toastmasters.

See podcast on SoundCloud

See transcript:

One more story. One more story. One more story. Please.

PLEASE. I’ve already read you 3 or 4 stories already and its late.

What time is it now ? Story time daddy.

I’m tired. Sleep Time. Good night.

Another story. Another story. Well, maybe I’ll tell you one.

 

A little boy wakes up from a dream and sees the world for the very first time. He sees the seconds becoming minutes then hours and then to days and weeks. He’s too little to think about years yet. He wants to hurry up and grow up. After all grown ups have it all.

 

Like you, the little boys asks lots of questions, He wants to know everything and now. But no-one tells him all the answers. After all grown ups know it all. He doesn’t see them asking questions. But he still wants to know.

 

He gets a little older. He gets hurt as children do. But sometimes its too much to bear. And so he looks to his grown ups. When hurt comes they don’t flinch. So he does the same. He sets his face like flint.

 

But sometimes, something catches his eye. Like a flashlight behind his head.  Seeing a sunrise. The orange glow then the sun popping its head over the horizon. Watching the waves break tall, the spray cloaking the lighthouse. Like a flame around a match.

 

In time, his delight died. Now older more wiser nothing could touch him. He had seen it all.

Now he was grown up. A rational being. Just the facts and figures. Everything in black or white or shades of grey.

 

But life’s a stream that flows. He tries to send love away but it sneaks in even when he is watching.

The boy now a man, fell in love and married. Is this all ?

 

The river of love carries him forward. The boy now a man becomes a dad. At first being a dad is just another job. Deadlines to meet, tasks to do. A fairly demanding boss.

But sometimes something catches his eye. His daughters first smile. Or something tickles his ear. Her first laugh as he picks her up. And then it happens.

 

Cooped up in the house. Its raining. So loud on the roof that he can’t hear himself think. The air so close like a wet towel that doesn’t dry you. The baby crying of course. Must stay calm. If I’m calm the baby will be calm. The rain stops. The sunlight through the window  Need a breath of fresh air. The sun has just come out. The rain is gone. And she turns and looks. Then she points. “What’s that ?”

 

Just the facts. “Well after it has rained, the sun shines through each raindrop. Each raindrop splits the white light into its constituent colours. This is called the spectrum” And she stops him. She turns and looks and says “What’s That ?”

 

And he stops and looks and sees for the very first time. It’s a rainbow. And it has many colours. Red, green, yellow, blue, purple, orange. And (gasp) it is beautiful. And look closely. It’s a set of colours that seem to weave in and out of each other. Yet each colour is its own. And you could almost reach out and touch it.  And it delights him.

 

I thought I had seen it all. I was blind. I see the sun dancing on green leaves and gilding them gently. Like Icing on a cake . Now I know what gold-leaf truly is. A breath of breeze changes it all and its still icing on the cake. The painting in motion that is a sunset. First the wispy pink clouds in the east turning to purple and then dark . While the sun pours out golden glory in the west

 

And I know like a child that through such things comfort will come. Beauty is always waiting to be found. To steel yourself inside against such things is to steal yourself from the beauty, joy and sometimes ugliness that is this world. At least now I’ve stopped playing hide and seek and can come out to play.

 

But I don’t know it all. Like a child I want to know more. I always did. And there still are questions that cannot ever be answered. But they still have to be asked. Children ask them. Adults should. So do I.

 

I thought grown ups have it all. They don’t. I don’t. I’m just a borrower. Like a child when I see something beautiful. I just want to pass it on.

One day I saw a rainbow coming home on the train. And it was perfect. And so coloured. I was the only one that noticed . Everyone had their heads down. “get up everyone, look at this rainbow”. I wish I had said that. Later on I realised. It doesn’t matter. The rainbow was just for me. All I have to do was pass it on.

 

When you see through the eyes of a child, one sees the world for the first time. When you see through the  eyes of a child, one knows the world was crafted just for you. And then you know what it is like to hold the hand of GOD !

 

 

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