About Paul Alexander Wolf – ‘Continuer à essayer’


 
Don’t tell us what we can’t do, but ask what together we can do for our human destiny!
 In a nutshell about Paul Wolf

He likes:

Family life. – The art of leadership. – Human rights. – The idea and concept of Peace. – The politics of change for the better and more justice. – Good books & musics. – Great and genuine people. – Writings. blogging kayaking. – Sailing. Travelling (when again?) – Relaxing near the Ocean in Robe or Wirrina Cove.

!!!>>AND CAPPUCCINO<<!!!! 

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now“–Chinese Proverb.
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It would be nice to be able to stick to this Chinese Proverb, and keep growing…. It is never too late planting a tree or seeds for renewal and wisdom!

About myself, – the writer of this blog… Following the above proverb I keep trying, as mentioned. Not sure whether I am always successful, but it’s always good to keep trying! (‘continuer à essayer‘)

Being fortunate with the type of work I have, (a doctor’s job), – my family and I have been able to see a few things of the world. Hence an international family with 3 children. All born in three different countries.
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In a nutshell:

Born and bred in the Netherlands, both my wife and I went together with our baby son to South Africa…  Working as a rural doctor in the very far north of the country, together with some 8 other doctors from overseas. All at the same hospital in Venda (Siloam Hospital).
..In retrospect it was  a fairly short-term involvement for just over one year, which was nevertheless an unforgettable experience in a time of turbulence. It is interesting that short commitments at times may have a profound impact whilst other longstanding positions seem to pass by…For various unrest related reasons we went back to the Netherlands. After 2 years the journey continued to England, then Scotland and finally direction Australia. (For people interested in the order of events just look at my LinkedIn profile down below)
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In Australia we found home now for some 14 years. The children have grown up with one working and living in Queensland and the other one in New York. They all like to travel as well. My wife is still an enthusiastic tapestry weaver and works in different art sessions with various people.
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At present I am working as a GP in a rural area not too far away from Adelaide. Busy job! Locum doctors don’t cover the weekends here and we have only 2 GP’s … So not enough time to see more of the world or go to Europe and see old friends or relatives etc at the moment. Bit sad at times but that’s life at present. Going for a short break to eg Europe means 2 jet lags in one week.
Relaxing near the Pacific Ocean, or very close to the Gulf of Vincent in South Australia, is always possible for a couple of days, – which we enjoy really very much. And we make good use of this.
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About my future?…Don’t really know as yet. But somehow, being a ‘family physician’ at present, I would like to have a different engagement at an unalike level,  – at some stage..

Who knows!…


Keep planting seeds or trees, if possible!
Je vais continuer à essayer.
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But all this aside.

About my past family history: ….

Lets start with some archives, and only read this when interested:
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The archives of the Wolf family go back to the 17th century. Elias Wolf was born in Rostock in July 1717. Becoming Mayor of Jever he married Margarethe Christiene Kohnemann. One of their children was another Elias Wolf, born in Jever on the 24th May 17 68 and he became the owner of some plantations in Essequebo (Guyana). He was President and adviser in the Criminal Justice Department of this colony and married on the 5th of May 1792 with Sarah Barkey in Rio Essquebo. They got 5 children, including Frederik Hendrik Elias Wolf, born on the 30th of November 1803 in Breda. He became Reverend in the Dutch Reformed Church at Leeuwen and married in Gendt on the 9th of April 1828 with Johanna Henrietta Coenen. Both got 5 children including Elias Frederik Hendrik Wolf, being born in Leeuwen on the 18th of January 1829 and this Elias became a Reverend in the Dutch Reformed Church in Utrecht. He was married with Sophia Carolina Charlotte van der Goes. They got 7 children, one of which was my granddad.

Considering the directions his brothers and sisters took in life, I can only assume granddad had a colourful family. My granddad (Louis Gustaaf Wolf) was born in Klundert ( the Netherlands) on the 15th of February 1865 and married grandma (Louise Ploos van Amstel) on the 3rd of May 1899. She was born in Reitsum on the 16th of July 1877 and was the daughter of Reverend Johannes Jacobus Ahasverus van Amstel and Anna Geertruida Binksma. They had 6 children including 1 daughter who died at a very young age.

Actually I don’t know too much about granddad’s younger years. He went obviously through primary and secondary school and opted to go into Medicine but in his 5th year of this study, just before the clinical part, – he realised that this was not the future he wanted. After careful consideration he stopped medicine all together despite good results (I don’t think his own dad offered him to try a different study as there were more children to raise)…

Mind you, after 5 years, – but he did do the right thing by doing what he wanted.

How and when he met grandma (oma ), I don’t know. He moved with his wife to Canada and started about 1890 one of the first Dutch settlements near Yorktown. Perhaps he was comfortable to be a bit away from his family as he did not follow the usual patterns of life, – or family expectations. Who knows. Auntie Sophia was born in Yorktown and did live amidst the real wolves and Indians. The stories were quite colourful.
Image result for pictures about Yorktown canadaAfter a couple of years, my grandma became terribly homesick and both granddad and grandma returned to the Netherlands with their family. Obviously if grandma would not have been homesick in those days, – for sure I would not have been able to write this story in Australia. – History then, for our family, would have been totally different. This applies as well for my mum and dad.

I found the stories about Canada and the 2nd World War always very interesting experiences in my family background.

Being home sick can be quite bad (with other things perhaps) and the family had to settle again in the Netherlands, after the Canada experience. For granddad this was perhaps not the easiest time in his life as he really liked Canada, – likewise his daughter Sophia who loved the lifestyle in the outback and the horse riding etc. For grandma it was clearly different, as again she was more close to her own family.

For sure the conditions in Canada in those days were really different than they are now.
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Granddad got eventually employment with the “N.V. Maas -Buurt Spoorweg” (Maas-Buurt Railway Company) in the County of Brabant and became President – Director of this Company in 1918 after the retirement of President – Director J.M. Voorhoeve, – after the 1st world war. When granddad took over the reigns it would seem he did do this in an energetic way, with leadership and insight at times of challenges and turmoil. With an increasing number of bus companies in those days, leading obviously to growing competition, and with the economic recession, this job was really a tough job. In the Company there was the need as well for more social reforms in those days and granddad did properly engage to this, so I am led to believe. He loved his job and cared for his employees. He showed fairness courage and determination, besides a good sense of humour. In speeches he could be quite funny.
Image result for pictures about Maas-Buurt Railway Company gennepImage result for pictures about Maas-Buurt Railway Company gennepOn the 1st of June 1935 he retired from this position. Both grandma and granddad had 6 children. One daughter died at very young age and Elias (my dad’s only brother) died suddenly in 1934. His death drove grandma to total despair. She recovered very slowly.

During the 2nd World War both provided shelter for some Jewish people in their own home at the Parklaan in Bussum. This was a tense time, last but not least as due to my dad’s activities in the resistance movement. Granddad died on the 27th of March 1948 in Bussum at the age of 83.
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Even though he died far before I was born, he made a real impact on me when I was a child. Not sure why.  Perhaps because he was both a pioneer and had lots of courage, besides being very caring for his family. His original painted picture frame is still positioned in our hallway as if he is keeping an eye on the family.

Grandma was as remarkable as granddad, but in different ways. She survived him many years and died later in the 1968 after being moved to Apeldoorn, the place where my mum and dad lived with my 3 brothers. She left a history of memories in Bussum and at her age she could not coop with this transition. Changing old people to a different place often has a major impact.

From the lives of this special granddad and grandma I sensed somehow that life may become harder when we live for others, but it also becomes happier and it brings more fulfilment.

Perhaps not everything was that positive in my later childhood (in my experience), but examples were not the main thing which gave direction in my life, it was the only thing.

My mum and dad met during the 2nd world war and whilst my dad was actively involved as the leader (so I am led to believe) of the “Flying Brigade” resistance group, my mum was dedicated to her role as a “courier” for this group. Many messages and documents went as such from one group to the other. Intelligence about German defence systems across parts of the Dutch coast line passed as such as well to Allied Forces in England.
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Both my mum and dad were the only survivors from this group, following someone betraying the “Flying Brigade”…This fate, – this coincidence actually, determined the path to their marriage – which ended some 26 years after the 2nd world war. My dad at the time was planning with his group a 4th assassination; this time on a fairly high profile and dangerous Gestapo Officer, responsible for lots of Jews being transported to concentration camps.
(It proved that providing shelter and food for Jews was not enough)…
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During the meeting he felt uneasy about the way the planning was approached, and the meeting was stopped for 2 hours. Meanwhile he tried to find his “second-in command” (who had not turned up) to discuss asap a few matters of concern, – but arriving at his house he noticed various police cars under the trees and his friend was not at home. ..He felt more uneasy and his level of suspicions increased…Going back he was stopped by my later mum, at the corner of the street whilst going to the Youth Chapel where the meeting was held. He wanted to get in but was stopped in the back yard by the ministers wife. The Gestapo had seized the Chapel already, she told him. “Get out of it..!”
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All those people who were in, were there were taken into “interrogation chambers”…
In retrospect it proved that the negotiations were held with an assassin hired by the Gestapo to infiltrate in the “Flying Brigade”… The whole resistance group was killed after 3 days of interrogation. My dad had now to find shelter during the rest of the war, as he was  a prime target for the Gestapo. …He finished his law degree and had the opportunity, straight after the war, as an Attorney to cross-examine the Gestapo officers who captured his group.
I can only guess this was both painful and interesting…

In retrospect my parents were very good and decent people and though their relationship with each other had such imperfections that it could not sustain, they tried to live life as good as possible. They made an impact in what they provided for their children and what they expressed in their own ways to friends, relatives and in their jobs. My impression on my dad was that he was permanently stained by the war, the experience of losing his friends.
After I was born we spent for many years to come our holidays in a place called Haamstede. Great place, especially in those early years where everything was fairly unspoiled at the time. NOw it has been more commercialized with modern and expensive dwellings near the dunes and the sea.
I loved the walks with my dad in the forests near Haamstede when I was young as he always told me about things of interest. He showed a lot of interesting places in Zeeland, like eg particular spots at Zierikzee and Middelburg. He loved historical sites and old churches, the last were he played the organ at times.

I still see my mum cooking in the kitchen of our holiday house in Haamstede on hot summer evenings, with the evening sun shining through the side window, – and children sharing the table after playing football. With always the noisy sounds of the little usual quarrels among kids.
The owner of the little local Foodland at the time (“Van Dijke”/ van Dike) was always kind enough to bring a supply of shopping home in those early days, or bringing e.g. a new gas bottle. He started from a little shop his Austria style dwelling. Those Austria style dwellings have been a present from Austria after the major floodings in Zeeland in 1953, and they are still existing for some part.

I was really fortunate enough to start my life within those comfortable circumstances. No matter what the difficulties were at some stage, no matter what the challenges were when I was a teenager… where it really comes too in life is affection, respect, encouragement and good examples , the last generating the sort of strength and love which is essential in life, – besides “meaning” or purpose.

Personally I had many good examples, both nearby and far away… I still have warm feelings for all those people in what they gave me during various moments in life. This appeared often in little things and most of the times they were not aware… It is one of those mysterious things in life of what we give to each other without knowing it, – and the impact it has at times.
Sometimes this happens during trivial circumstances and simple encounters, – sometimes this happens during vital moments within our human ventures. Moments with seeds being planted in our hearts and minds, and wisdom – at times many years later – growing through the grace of God.

In my case there have been people I never met who made an impact.
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Both my oldest and younger brother are still alive. One brother, 4 years older only, died suddenly in 1999. His name was Tjakko. He had a strong and solid character, also kind and generous. We played a lot when we were young and apart from some rivalry there was always encouragement and support.

Many of my childhood memories go back to this village of Haamstede at the lighthouse, where so often we went on holidays during the summers, often in the company of childhood friends.
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Like my dad, – Tjakko went later into law studies  (in Utrecht). It was for some reason perhaps to suspect that he did consider a career in politics at one stage, – but the political dynamics in the Netherlands did not really appeal to him, neither was he attracted to Courts of Justice. At young age however he became Director of a Road Construction Company. Both as a result of this and his investing endeavours in property he became quite prosperous in Haamstede, where he lived for several years already. Three days before he died we had a last telephone conversation in which we discussed a family reunion in the Netherlands. I was living at that stage with my wife and children in Scotland. When we heard about his sudden death on the Monday, we travelled as soon as possible to Haamstede to be part of the funeral preparations and share with the family in sadness, together with his wife. They had no children. For various reasons his life was an unfinished life, – he died far too early.

Some years between the age of 16 and 18,  I spent with a lovely foster family in Apeldoorn. I was able here to finish secondary school as only this environment provided the support being required at this stage in life to help me with some attention & concentration issues at school. This was a somewhat different environment than I was used to. Quite an artistic and warm hearted family actually. There were 3 other children, all a bit younger. Wilgert, the oldest, died at the age of 25 in Groningen following an accident with a bus. One of those terrible moments where a split second of lacking the required attention to avoid danger proved to be fatal.
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Some 10 years ago we went for an enjoyable family reunion and stayed almost obviously in Haamstede, – besides travelling to Scotland and see other old friends. Having had the opportunity to live so close to the sea in Cullen, in-between Inverness and Aberdeen, was a great experience for both my wife and 3 children.

Together with their own friends, our children often jumped from the harbour in the sea. I often did this as well, but a wetsuit was definitely needed as due to the cold sea water.
Image result for pictures about Cullen harbour scotlandThere has been always something special with Scotland, the country of both “the high road and the low road.”

Unique as well was both our stay in England and South Africa, – all before this.

Funny enough I still remember some early preschool events and St Nickolas arriving by boat in the harbour of Goes. The city where I was born. Goes was a great place in my perception and I was sad for days with the prospect of moving to Apeldoorn.
Image result for pictures st nicholas arrivingAdapting to Apeldoorn in 1961 took time. The (pre) school was different, likewise the general culture. However, also here some new friends were made at an interesting primary school being called the “Sondorp school”, named after the previous school inspector. (My dad took over this function, after an earlier career change).

There are many stories about this school and my old school mates have many memories as well, last but not least about the head master. He made the school what it was , with pride, but on another note he often used his hands when kids were naughty, or when “he thought” the kids were naughty. He reigned with a vigorous regime, not rarely at a cost of the children.
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The first part of Secondary School was not that good. I found myself often in trouble with some teachers. The school system at that particular school at the Church Lane (Kerklaan) in Apeldoorn, next door to the swimming pool, was less than inviting or stimulating – the least. It went somewhat better at a different school but I think my mind was a bit preoccupied with other things going on.  At home things were not ideal and my parents went through a divorce.
Following secondary school, matters changed profoundly – actually after finishing the Teaching Training College in Amsterdam, and after passing an entry test for the medical faculty. I found direction. Medicine has been at the background of my mind for some time already. However I did not had the right qualifications, hence those entry exam in various subjects.
Being able to do the Medicine study in Maastricht, in my view the most beautiful city of the Netherlands, did open various doors to the future. The city was great for students who loved the outdoors as well, like e.g. rowing on the Maas, or climbing rocks in the hills of Belgium. I did do both as much as possible. For sure not only this!.. The concept of the Medicine study was based on problem orientated learning, – new for me and most interesting!  Problem Based Learning (PBL) was almost a replica example from the McMasters University in Canada, the last still known as a high impact University.. The concept of PBL is still with me and part of anything I want to learn.

After graduation in Medicine, life evolved further in Sneek, the county of Friesland. This as part of a hospital job which combined General Surgery, Obstetrics and A&E..Busy busy job!..It was a reasonable preparation for working and living in the far north of South Africa (Siloam Hospital).

Later, with England and Scotland in between, we arrived 10 years later in Australia…This is now in 2015 some 14 years ago, time flies!
As you see I made a few big jumps in my history whilst writing this. It is just to give you a bit of insight in my background, – the writer of this blog.

The lighthouse in Haamstede -in my awareness- was built to give light, was built to endure and burn for decades, if not more.

I still have this picture in mind and it has meaning for me.

Lighthouses do not move, they give direction, – they persist in the storms of life…
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Coming back on this blog, which offers an escape for my usual work:

The articles in this blog are a reflection of trying to engage modestly on some of the questions of our time and generation and will continue on a periodic base, – depending on my “inspiration” and workload in other activities.

Feel free to comment on the contents of any of these articles (in the comment section below), if there is anything which strikes a chord or resonates with you..

 “We dream of things that never were and say: .. “Why not?”
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Turning to a different but somehow related topic:
Some of the people mentioned below made a profound impression on me as a person, even though they died already long ago, What they had in common was that they all had more or less strong attentions to easing some of the anguish and suffering about less fortunate people in their communities..

Hence some of their citations are quite nice actually.

They often found their path through unassuming interactions with their inner wisdom and did not worry about social disapproval..

True, there are for sure many things we can’t control, but if we try to focus completely on the things we love, with similar courage and dedication as those in the following quotations, we are on our way to a better life.. A life with compassion and moving forward towards a better state of humanity in ourselves and with others… Even if sadness and disappointment is passing our way…

So still, – – don’t tell us what we can’t do, but let’s ask ourselves what we can do together, – and collected we may have this rendezvous with human destiny, even if it is only simply showing the ways for our fellows to find their own light….

Why not?
Again THANKS for reading some articles in this blog!
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I wish you all well in your own personal life journey, with hopefully lots of inspiration and good health!
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And if possible: explore the unexplored with the best possible wit or sparkle!

Live long and prosper!

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“There may be times when we are powerless to
prevent injustice, but there must never be a time
when we fail to protest”
Elie Wiesel

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——————
“Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks
wrote so many years ago: to tame the
savageness of man and make gentle the life
of this world”
Robert F Kennedy
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—————–
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he
stands in moments of comfort and convenience,
but where he stands at times of
challenge and controversy”
-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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———————–
“But peace does not rest in the charters and
covenants alone. It lies in the hearts and minds of
all people. So let us not rest all our hopes on
parchment and on paper, let us strive to build
peace, a desire for peace, a willingness to work
for peace in the hearts and minds of all of our
people. I believe that we can. I believe that the
problems of human destiny are not beyond the
reach of human beings”
-John F Kennedy
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“A good head and a good heart are always a
formidable combination”
-Nelson Mandela
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——————
“I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits
than strict justice”
-Abraham Lincoln
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———————-
“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness
is the key to success”
-Albert Schweitzer
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Keep planting seeds or trees, if possible!
Gardez la plantation des graines ou des arbres , si possible !
Mantenga las semillas o la plantación de árboles , si es posible !
Halten Pflanzen von Samen oder Bäume , wenn möglich!
Tenere semi o piantare alberi , se possibile !
Przechowywać nasiona do sadzenia drzew lub , jeśli to możliwe !
Mantenha plantando sementes ou árvores , se possível !
Derzhite posadki semyan ili derev’ya , yesli eto vozmozhno !
Ueru shushi ya jumoku, kanōna baai o shite kudasai!
Jìxù bōzhòng háishì shù, rúguǒ kěnéng dehuà!
Pidä istuttamalla siemeniä tai puita , jos mahdollista !
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If we have loved well while we were alive..


“If we have loved well while we were alive, there is life after death here -our love will go on for generations” – Desmond Tutu.

“I am what I am because of what we all are” – Ubuntu.

“A time of crisis is not just a time of anxiety and worry. It gives a chance, an opportunity, to choose well or badly.” – Desmond Tutu

If we consider the will to live in and around us on this planet as part of a cosmic manifestation which started with extreme forces in the universe some multi billion years ago perhaps, one of the things we may wonder  is that we owe to the sun. Sounds strange perhaps. Without sun there would be no life on this planet. However the sun never asks what we can do in return, never asks for a favour. It is pure energy and light.

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Love in the will to live and to manifest in all our energies brightens the world, – like the sun brightens the sky.

Love is one of the major substances of nature,  human life, and the universe.  As human beings we can love far more than we ever did before. Love does not ask for favours.  What this love – of a different kind  – creates is positive energy which will one way or the other flow back to us,  – resolve problems and divisions and many more.

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As part of our creative abilities and being receptive to what is going on around us we can make the choice to look for the things we love, – what we love in other people, in events and circumstances.

Before we go to bed and fall asleep we may consider and feel what we love in all those little things and this on its own will lift our spirit. And obviously as proactive human beings we have to try to go for the things we love and like to do, – without wasting energy on pointless obstacles, if we are able to turn away from this.

If at bed time we are too exhausted and fail to have the energy to wonder about what we love or to realise what our gratitude requires, we can easily skip a few days, – as long as we try to make a habit to do this before bedtime at least once a week.

We can make the impossible possible for what we really love as we have our imagination and endless opportunities to dream things which were never before, with the conviction that it will happen (that it actually already happened).  Not always but often we can make things true of what we so strongly believe.

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The gift to play with our mind in the positive may have been lost for some who may say this belongs to childhood. But if we keep control over our mind, our mind and heart will never be our enemy. If we train our mind to feel love and give love on top of our gratitude to all those people who may have had an impact on our inner and outer life, – the implications can be life changing.

A “thank you” for the gifts we receive(d) under almost all circumstances and to others, may help us to give in the same measure as we did receive in both the past and the present. Neither the present nor the past can prevent both our gratitude and love for what we want and believe for the future, – as long as we don’t harm.

Whilst life is not without struggle or defeat in our perceptions, – through gratitude felt by our heart we may find compensation in the “trials” of life.

The more we give in terms of love and gratitude, the more we will receive as well, – as love is really the major part of our substance. Major part of nature and the universe as well and if we we don’t see things with our own restricted human eyes, – somehow it will reflect back to us from various directions. Our links with the universe are of an unseen nature, which does not mean that those links do not exist. Through the energy of love in which we take part as products of this universe, we may give in abundance and may receive in abundance. The more we give this way, the more we receive the other way in ways we don’t need to understand.

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The last only if we don’t give to receive, which is a subtle but important difference of our mindset. It does simply not work when you give to receive! I will reflect later on an early childhood experience.

Faith indeed is somehow trusting and believing and loving the things we don’t see, – and at some stage seeing the things we believed.

It requires a mindset of a different kind and love of a different kind.

It requires as well to say “thank you” for the things we received, – like Einstein did at least 50 times a day when he was asked what his major achievement was. He did thank the people who played a role in his life, people who had an impact on him and his circumstances. Perhaps this was one of the reasons that the universe provided him with the wisdom and the knowledge of the kind he received. It was Dr Albert Schweitzer as well who learnt to show his gratitude and his act to travel to Lambarene and start one of the first mission hospitals in Gabon was an act of love, – tough love. This mission started in the last century.

Let us never forget that Jesus said “thank you” before he performed a miracle.

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There is more going on than we can see or hear in the interactions between our planet and the universe, but if we harness us with the power of love with abundance and the right energy, we will receive with abundance and we may enjoy this, – even though the world as it is is far from perfect.

Just anecdotal, I learnt my first lessons the funny way when I was close to eight years old only, – spending the summer holidays in Haamstede (Zeeland) with my parents my brothers and some friends. It was a place close to the sea, dunes and forest with a large gliding airport. I loved playing with a kite as kids do.  My kite often crashed and the lifespan of that kite was often not longer than a week as the stronger the wind the stronger the crashes. On the 16th of July it was the birthday of grandma and I did send her a nice card with a biblical text which was suitable for her as she was a very Christian woman in her 80ties. This was a gesture without expectation as it was her birthday, – would have been different perhaps if it was my birthday at the age of eight. It was a very pleasant surprise to receive a few days later an envelope with lets say some $25,-.  I forgot to say “thank you” to grandma (she lived some distance away ) and bought straight away a new kite, – which  crashed various times as well. This kite was done within 10 days (lasted a bit longer) but there was no pocket-money left.  My dad gave not any further pocket-money and the local little “Foodland” refused to give me a loan kite. Well, – I decided to send grandma a new card with this time a better text of similar nature. A few days later an envelope came in with $10,=.  At this age I did not understand why the moneys were reduced, but anyhow,  again I forgot to say a genuine “thank you” and bought straight on a new kite which obviously was of less quality. My slightly older brother started unfortunately to send cards to grandma as well.  My new kite did not last longer than 3 days this time, which was bad luck and a new card with the right text did not receive any response. My brother did not receive anything and felt perhaps unfairly treated. Grandma was aware obviously what was starting to happen but she took everything in her later life with a loving smile.

Experiences of “right and wrong” or half “right and wrong”,  giving and taking etc  do start at early childhood in every human being.  As long as people learn and are able to take the next step.

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Some do from this point of view better than others. Most important is that a level will be reached of compassion, both love and gratitude, – the last  for what we received through the labour of others. Both in the spirit and the material things they provided for us. Both from people who already died and are still alive.

When I became a little older and in contact with people, – through circumstances and being engrossed at some lengths in the greater human spirits of our time,  I became to realise that what we give in love may live on, – and that the force of love and gratitude in life can make the impossible possible.

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Nothing in this world is impossible as some did show the way they gave to humanity.

Let’s be grateful for every human spirit who kept our inner life alight, for any situation which helped us further, for any joy which left us in the positive, and for the One external force in God which protects us,  whatever we have to face, –  in death or being alive, but foremost during our lifetime amidst the expressions  of life in and around us.

Love and gratitude are the most important ingredients for a life in abundance.

Thank you!

Paul Wolf

 

Further memories


Many things happened.

English: West Schouwen lighthouse (Haamstede) ...

English: West Schouwen lighthouse (Haamstede) Nederlands: Westerlichttoren – eigen foto (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My mum and dad met during the 2nd world war and whilst my dad was actively involved as one of the leaders of the “Flying Brigade” resistance group, my mum was dedicated to her role as a “courier” for this group. Many messages and documents went as such from one group to the other. Intelligence about German defence systems across parts of the Dutch coast line passed as such as well to  Allied Forces in England.

Both my mum and dad were the only survivors  following someone  betrayed the “Flying Brigade”, and this fate, this coincidence actually, determined the road to their marriage – which ended some 26 years after the 2nd world war.

In retrospect my parents were good and decent people and though their relationship with each other had such imperfections that it could not sustain, they tried to live life as good as possible. They made an impact in what they provided for their children and what they expressed in their own ways to friends and relatives.

I loved the walks with my dad in the forests near Haamstede when I was young, as he always told me about things of interest and he showed a lot of interesting places in Zeeland, like eg  particular spots at Zierikzee and Middelburg.

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I still see my mum cooking in the kitchen of our house in Haamstede on the hot summer evenings, with the evening sun shining through the side window, and children sharing the table after playing football.

The owner of the little local Foodland at the time (“Van Dijke”/ van Dike) was always kind enough to bring a supply of shopping home in those early days, or bringing e.g. a new gas bottle.

I was really fortunate enough being born within comfortable circumstances. No matter what the difficulties were at some stage,  no matter what the challenges were when I was a teenager,  where it really comes to in life  is affection, respect, encouragement and good examples   generating the sort of strength and love – which is essential in life, besides meaning.

Personally I  had many good examples, both nearby and far away. Still do I have warm feelings for all those people for what they gave me during various moments in life. This appeared often in little things and most of the times they were not aware. It is one of the mysterious things in life of what we give  to each other without knowing it, and the impact it has at times. Sometimes this happens during trivial circumstances and simple encounters, – sometimes this happens during  vital moments within our human endeavours. Moments with seeds being planted in our hearts and minds,  and wisdom – at times many years later – growing through the grace of God.  In my case there have been people I never met who made an impact.

In moments of reflection we may look back at the colours of our own life. For each of us they are different. If we are lucky,  the colours may get warmer when the years pass by. However not for all of us do the blend of light and the peace of nature come together, – like it may happen e.g. in those late sunny afternoons where the mix of circumstances and light do create an inner peace with whatever we experienced in life.

Both my oldest and younger brother are still alive.  One brother, 4 years older only, died suddenly in 1999.  His name was Tjakko.  Among the brothers he was perhaps the “lion” of the Wolves,  both fierce if required but also kind and generous. We played a lot when we were young and apart from some rivalry there was always encouragement and support.

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Many of  my childhood memories go back to the town of Haamstede at the lighthouse, where so often we went on holidays during the summers in the company of childhood friends. Like my dad,  – Tjakko later went to study law (in Utrecht). It was within reason perhaps to suspect that he did consider a career in politics at some stage,  but the political dynamics in the Netherlands did not really appeal to him, neither was he attracted to courts of justice. At young age he became director of a road construction company. Both as a result of this and his investing endeavours in property he became quite prosperous in Haamstede, where he lived for years already.  Before  he died he was able to reconsider his options in life as he had the type of wealth he could afford this. He was not the type of person who would be happy with an easy lifestyle as he had a degree of restlessness making him to seek new endeavours. Three days before he died we had a last telephone conversation in which we discussed a family reunion in the Netherlands. I was living at that stage with my wife and children in Scotland. When we heard about his sudden death on monday, we  traveled as soon as possible to Haamstede to be part of the funeral preparations and share with the family in sadness, together with his wife.  They had no children.  Quite a number of people were profound devastated.

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For various reasons his life was an unfinished life, – he died far too early.  – Still I do remember sailing with him at the lake near Veere (Veerse meer) in the county of  Zeeland, both with him and his future wife at young age.

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Some years between the age of 16 and 18 I spent with a lovely foster family in Apeldoorn. I was able here to finish secondary school as only this environment provided the support being required at this stage in life to help me with some attention & concentration issues at school. This was a somewhat different environment than I was used to. Quite an artistic and warm hearted family actually.  There were 3 other children, all a bit younger.   Wilgert, the oldest, died at the age of 25 in Groningen following an accident with a bus, one of those terrible moments where a split second of lacking perhaps the required concentration to avoid pending danger proved to be fatal.

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Five years ago we went for a broad family reunion and stayed obviously in Haamstede, – besides travelling to Scotland and see old other friends. Having had the opportunity to live so close to the sea in Cullen,  in-between Inverness and Aberdeen, was a great experience for both my wife and 3 children. Together with their friends, our children often jumped from the harbour in the sea. There has been always something special with Scotland, the country of both “the high road and the low road.”  Very special as well was both our stay in England and South Africa,  before this.


When I was 4 or 5  I was hit by a motor bike whilst skiving off preschool, – on my way to a friend’s house.  Can’t remember the impact but when I woke up there with many faces bending over me, but I lost conscious and woke up days later in the hospital of Goes, in the county of Zeeland. Considerable head injury and an open fracture of my leg was the verdict. My poor pre school teacher Miss Mathla was possibly in trouble as young kids are not supposed to escape from preschool. I could recover that summer in Haamstede but it was not the most pleasant holiday.

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Funny enough I still remember some preschool events and St Nickolas arriving by boat in the harbour of Goes. Goes was a great place in my perception and I was sad for days with the prospect of moving to Apeldoorn, if I knew what sadness was in those days. At least I did not like it.

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Adapting to Apeldoorn took time. The school was different, likewise the culture. However, also there were friends at an interesting primary school being called the Sondorp school, named after the previous school inspector. There are many stories about this school and my old school mates have many memories as well, last but not least about the head master. He made the school what it was with pride, but on another note he often used his hands when kids were naughty, or when “he thought” the kids were naughty. He reigned with a vigorous regime, not rarely at a cost of the children. Practices as in those days at schools would not be tolerated today and it always puzzled me why my dad did not make the required efforts to tame this man, – but it would seem that the other teachers did respect the way up with his approach. He became the victim of his own attitude and one day -(so I was  led to believe)-  a mob of teenagers were waiting for him.

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We had a good class though, – at the time of this headmaster, united in our awareness of the daily potential dangers. Some pupils were  however more at risk than others. My performance was seriously not that great with this teacher in the last class of primary school, whilst with some other teachers before I worked hard because they were really nice and genuine.

The first part of secondary school was not that good. Often in trouble with teachers. The school system at that particular school at the Church Lane (Kerklaan) in Apeldoorn, next door to the swimming pool, was less than inviting or stimulating – the least.  It went somewhat better at a different school but I think my mind was a bit preoccupied with other things going on. Things were not ideal at home.

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Matters profoundly changed after finishing the Teaching Training College in Amsterdam,  after passing an entry test for the medical faculty. I found direction.

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Being able to do the medicine study in Maastricht, the most beautiful city of the Netherlands, did open various doors to the future. The city was great for students who liked the outdoors as e.g. rowing on the Maas, or climbing rocks in the hills of Belgium.

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Life evolved further in Sneek, the county of Friesland. This as part of a hospital job which combined General Surgery, Obstetrics and A&E.  It was reasonable preparation for working and living in Venda (South Africa), which we did at Siloam.

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With England and Scotland in between, we arrived 10 years later in Australia…..

 

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We all may have our specific mission or goal in life which provides fulfilment, despite obstacles. No matter what can be taken away from us, still at the end we have the last choice within the given set of circumstances we have.

The lighthouse in Haamstede was built to give light, was built to endure burning.  I still have this picture in mind and it has a meaning for me. Lighthouses do not move, they give direction.

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Thank you!

 Paul 

Paul Alexander Wolf

https://paulalexanderwolf.wordpress.com/2011/03/31/early-childhood-in-goes-a-memory/

https://paulalexanderwolf.wordpress.com/2011/04/03/granddad-and-grandma-wolf-rostock-mecklenburg-roots/

https://paulalexanderwolf.wordpress.com/2011/04/01/my-dad-during-the-2nd-world-war/

https://paulalexanderwolf.wordpress.com/2015/07/07/about-paul-alexander-wolf-continuer-a-essayer/

https://paulalexanderwolf.wordpress.com/2013/01/06/we-dream-of-things-that-never-were-and-say-why-not/