Union Jack

To mark the 75th anniversary of V.E. Day (Victory In Europe) which was celebrated in the UK on Friday 8th May 2020, I attached a new and vivid Union Jack flag to the front of my stone built barbecue in my garden.

It is held down by stones and in the unseasonably warm weather which we had over this Bank Holiday weekend, it stayed fixed in place as a mark of patriotism and gratitude to the men and women who died in World War 2 and to those who served and lived throughout those dark years which I was not born into.

Today, the weather is cooler and I noticed a light and blustery breeze lifting the flag and wafting it up into the air, occasionally landing back straight where I had placed it, but oft times pushing it back to land on the grill of the barbecue.

It seems to me that the flag needed a weight to hold it down, but perhaps it is best left to flutter and feel the force of the elements and be free to display its sharp and vivid colours of red, white and blue.

The fluttering flag in the breeze and the freedom which it signifies, from tyranny yes, but I am thinking more about the freedom to be blown about in the tumultuous air, made me ponder on my emotional life, which in any case I often do.

I seem to strive for a state of mind and a resolve which is fixed, and I feel disappointed when periods of calm seem to come to an end as abruptly as they started. Once again I am in a vortex of inner strife and fear which renders me with feelings of hurt, feelings of fear and a sense of failure for being so changeable in my mood.

Perhaps the flag, which I contemplated weighting down to suppress its glorious freedom, is a similar response to my emotional journey.

I think to myself, as I write to you in this post, that “Is it so bad after all to be carried into the air by the elements, to be flipped and turned and dropped back to the original starting point, only to be carried high on another wave of the breeze a few moments later?

To weigh myself down, to avoid the range of feelings and the sense of hopelessness in my feelings of anxiousness and occasional despair are parts of me which are as valid and true as those feelings I have when I am calm and content.

A drug might suppress them, or a permanent change in the direction of my life might have an impact to suppress the longings of my heart, but to numb the pain would be to deny myself the capacity to connect with the very essence of being me, and being me is the best I can ever hope to be.

William Defoe



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