"Three years ago I was informed that I had a terminal illness, and though all days be good to the taste and be thankful for, some days are sweeter and are easier to swallow. Today is a good day. Today is Chinese New Year Day (the year of the Monkey). According to our birth years, I am a Horse and my wife Sheila is a Monkey. It looks like this year is Sheila's year and we are having a Chinese New Year meal at the Old Folks' Home of mother-in-law, Elizabeth, to celebrate our lives.
I have always tried to make God a part of my daily existence instead of an intrusion into it. During my life I have always tried to help others and I do genuinely believe that what goes around comes around. From one period in my life to the next, my method of helping may have varied, but however differently I wrap up any talent or gift I possess and can hand on, I am forever guilty of handing out the same present repackaged over and over again from my bucket of hope and well of love. My mother used to tell me as a child, 'Billy, it's better to give the poor your love and hope more than money. Money is spent today whereas hope can last a lifetime, especially when its companion is love!'
There are so many things that I could tell you, so many words I could say to express myself, but in the final analysis all would fall short. What I do know with absolute certainty is that 'love is life and without one the other is pointless.' I believe that we each have a purpose in life, and it remains vital that we follow it, as it's the only route to finding our true selves. My purpose since my late teens has remained constant and is always at the forefront of my mind. It is the same now as it was when I visited the Cheshire Homes regularly between the ages of 18-21 and spent numerous hours listening and talking to many people who were destined to soon die. My life's purpose is to help people to live and die in a happier and more hopeful state of being.
Ever since childhood, the commandment that has always made the most sense to me has been 'To love your neighbour as yourself.' I do truly believe that the expression of love from one person to another is a reflection of mankind's ultimate goodness and represents the surest path to peace and happiness within the world. I know that many good people cannot or do not believe in the presence of a God, yet act every bit as good in their thoughts, words and deeds as their Christian neighbour or any other believer possibly could. This fact has always enabled me to see the inherent goodness in everyone and believe in the possible redemption of all through our deeds and honest intentions.
I know that there are some countries like India and China who have many Gods who appear in many forms. I also know that some people do not pray in the formal sense to a supreme being, yet I know that we all speak in thought if not word from time to time and frame our inner feelings into hope for the future. So I have this morning composed a brief 'poem' or 'prayer' as a special 'thank you' to you all for your kindness towards me over the past few years which has supported and sustained me in my illness from day to day. Though I be 73 years old to you, in the eyes of my God, I remain a child of creation. The Creator holds a special place in His kingdom for the prayers of each one of his children. I believe that upon the very opening of every child's heart, even before the uttering of their first word, the child's prayer is granted instant access into the ears of God:
'Dear God' By William Forde: Copyright February 8th, 2016.
'Dear God, they say you are good and ever so kind,
I do naughty things, yet you don't seem to mind.
You never have stopped me or turned me away
from temptation or sin, nor led me astray.
It's as though you know that I'm not really bad,
and can choose my own fate, either happy or sad.
Sometimes I think you are talking to me,
but when I look round there is nothing to see
except laughter and smile on another man's face,
the kindness of thought in another man's grace
as they share with their neighbour and grieve with their friend
and talk with the lonely and give, do not lend.
It is then that I see you as you're meant to be,
in him, her and us; in they, them and we.'
Happy Chinese New Year." William Forde: February 8th, 2016.