My song today is ‘Grace’. This song is by Scottish singer-songwriter Lewis Capaldi. It was released as a digital download on 21 September 2018. The song peaked at number nine on the ‘UK Singles Chart’
I found this song to be one of the hardest to sing from scratch. It is however a beautiful song and is well deriving its Number 1 spot in the ‘UK Singles Chart’
It is sometimes said that many dogs and owners are perfect matches in image form. It is also said that a person is often given a first name by their parents that does not fit them and never will.
Grace finds its roots in Latin and is derived from gratia. It existed as Gracia in the Middle Ages but was not in common use until the Puritans adopted it along with other Christian attribute names in the sixteenth century. The meaning of Grace includes charm, goodness, and generosity. In Greek mythology, the name of Grace is tied to beauty and joy.
The first Grace who I came across was on the film screen, the film star who married Prince Rainier of Monaco in April 1956. She was blessed with the voice of an angel, as she and Bing Crosby in their duet of ‘High Society’ in 1956 demonstrated. In September 1982 she tragically died in a car crash. Monaco’s royal family was surely one of the most glamorous in the world. However, its glamour was tightly interwoven with tragedy.
I have never personally known a female called Grace. The only Grace, apart from the late Princess of Monaco, I recall was a woman whose story I read in a newspaper. It concerned a woman who had won some ‘slimmer of the year’ contest. She had seemingly been overfed by her mother who overcompensated the love she felt for her daughter by the use /misuse of food. When she was a 12- year-old girl, her weight was 12 stone, and by the time she was 20, her weight had proportionately increased to 20 stone. And surprise, surprise, you do not need me to tell you what she weighed when she was age thirty!
By the age of 35 years, Grace had lost every relationship she had ever been in because of her overweight and lack of attractive features. Then, one day, she eventually decided that enough was enough. The ‘last straw’ which led her to join a fitness club and then a slimming club was when she was out shopping one Saturday afternoon. She had to use public transport that day as her car was in the garage getting repaired following a minor accident a few days earlier. While on the crowded double-decker bus that was almost full, the only remaining seats were upstairs on the top deck. She started climbing in trepidation and found it impossible to negotiate the narrow spiral staircase with her shopping bags. Someone behind her (who was also trying to get a seat on the top deck) kindly relieved her of her bags which were passed like a party parcel game to the bottom. Despite this passenger help from behind, the frame of her grossly overweight body was too large to physically negotiate bus stairs.
The upshot was that the woman stopped and was unable to move. The more she tried, the more it hurt. Passengers could neither ascend the spiralling stairs nor come down. The Fire Brigade was called, and until they managed to cut away the stair rail which climbing passengers used to steady themselves, Grace could not be extricated from her embarrassing dilemma. It would seem that the shape of Grace’s portly body was a large round of fat, so she was not able to gain any advantage negotiating the bus staircase by turning her boy to its side (which is usually slimmer) and walking sideways like a crab.
As the woman was assisted off the bus by some ambulance attendants who had now arrived at the scene, Grace was shocked by the words of an innocent girl aged around four years. The girl said to her mum, “Why do they let fat people go on buses, Mum?” Apparently, it had been the innocent words spoken by the child that had shamed Grace more than the pantomime involving calling out the Emergency Services to rescue her that had the greatest impact on her; enough to change her lifestyle and to lose lots of weight over the immediate years ahead. Requiring the Fire Service to cut her free from the bus staircase made her feel like a rescued creature, like a cat who had foolishly climbed too high up into the branches of a tall tree and who could not get back down. Grace felt that it had been her own foolish behaviour that had placed her in her dire predicament, and that she was being saved from ‘her own foolish behaviour’.
That article I read, got me thinking about the power that hearing a person’s words formed in a question can have upon any individual at a certain time in their life. I have heard of how a passing pedestrian on a bridge smiled as she walked by another individual before realising that the other person was considering jumping off the bridge in a suicidal leap. She simply said as she approached the other person, Good morning there, but is everything alright? You look to be lost?” The brief intervention proved sufficient to make the bridge jumper ‘think again’ and decide against ending their life. As a Probation Officer for nearly thirty years in West Yorkshire, I came to learn how important it can be to ask the most relevant question in the trapped mind and body of a troubled person, at the right times in their life. For instance, many adults who had been sexually abused in childhood and had repressed their experiences and had never spoken about them, crave to be asked the question, “Have you ever been sexually abused?”, because there will be times in their life when their reduced level of repression might lead them to say, “Yes!” before breaking down in tears and unleashing an emotional dam of sadness, anger and relief!
I smoked cigarettes for fifty years of my life (from the age of 12 years to 62 years). Despite being one of the foremost authorities on Relaxation Training in the country by the 1970s, and knowing the physical harm that smoking tobacco did to a person, I ignored all medical advice, and despite having two heart attacks in the same week that almost killed me when I was aged 60 years, I did not quit smoking until two years later after I had admitted that I was a tobacco addict, and if I did not want to die before my time I had better stop now! Many doctors, medics, and all manner of professionals had often asked me ‘why I did not give up smoking cigarettes?’ but at the time, I was just another of those people who thought he knew better. The time was not right to be asked that question because I was not mentally and psychologically prepared to answer it.
When the time was right, a new trainee dentist in Mirfield asked one morning while she was engaged in some hygienic work in my mouth, “Why does a man of your apparent intelligence still smoke cigarettes, Mr. Forde, when surely you know that they will eventually kill you? Meanwhile, they make your breath stink of stale tobacco, like an old ashtray!”
Like the girl on the bus who saw Grace stuck up the staircase, the question from the junior dentist had been voiced at the right moment of my life; at a time when I was prepared to take it on board for serious consideration. Her factual truth of stinking like an old ashtray blew my mind apart as I considered how bad it must be for a non-smoker being partnered with a heavy smoker? In truth, were I living my life again I would not date, make love to or marry any woman who smoked tobacco. In my day of the late 50s and early 60s we were even led to believe that smoking cigarettes looked sexy, was good for one’s adult image, and even relaxed the smoker!
I have become more interested in the notion of the country and the world moving wholly towards matching personal health circumstances (that are induced by the individual by adopting an unhealthy lifestyle) with the responsibility of having to take the consequences of one’s own action. While I do not advocate that people who abuse their own bodies through a ‘ life choice’ of putting the wrong things in the body in abundance in the pursuit of pleasure and hedonism, while doing the wrong things with one’s body or not doing enough of the right things, should never be denied free access to the NHS, I believe that all such people (who have not yet reached the stage of substance addiction), should be placed farther down the list to receive NHS treatment, than all other patients whose medical condition has not been brought about and aggravated through their choice of lifestyle. Why should a person whose lust, gluttony, greed, overindulgence of any substance, be it sex, drugs, alcohol, tobacco, food and a total absence of exercise receive priority medical help at the expense of individuals who have paid the same amount of tax and who have chosen to adopt a much healthier lifestyle?
Before I receive a load of negative comments because my words have not been properly read or correctly interpreted, please note that I exclude from my list of NHS treatment demotion all those current addicts who can never make the correct choice until their health is restored and until their addiction is broken, I also exclude all other medical conditions that are a result of circumstances beyond the individual’s control, and where no choice has been exercised, because no choice could be at the time. Subsequently, all people choosing to take all manner of addictive drugs and adopt all types of unhealthy lifestyles tomorrow, with the information at their disposal today, I would place further down the NHS priority treatment list.
Love and peace