I am also thankful for a great family life with Uta, our three children Arno, Kai and Nadja, their partners Suné, Alan, Hugo and our grandchildren Alexander and Isabella. We have been blessed in many ways and Uta and I have learnt to deal with inevitable complexities in a better way. Our children are great; I am proud of them and pleased that they have all succeeded in their private and professional ways. My grandchildren are amazing. At their young age of six and eight, they already speak three languages and know what they want. They will turn out to be great adults.
My wife, despite working as a teacher and later managing her own interior design business, has been very successful in raising our children and providing a stable family environment. Is there such thing as a perfect family? Obviously not, and for my part I know that I have caused hardships.
There are hardly any long-term relationships without complications and complexities. It is the way we handle and resolve them that determines the outcome. The saying that every human being has to take responsibility for his or her own life is relevant. This is irrespective of influences others have on us. We need to accept our own accountability and power, no matter how others may have provoked us. In theory this sounds obvious and straightforward, but consenting to personal responsibility and the way we react or reply when hurt, is no small matter. To fully appreciate what this means, and agreeing that blaming others for the way we experience problematic encounters is the first step. We need to deeply understand reasons and the motives must be heartfelt in order to achieve change. It requires us to step back from familiarity, question our behaviour when we are provoked or perceive provocation, and develop restraint when impatient.
Those who believe in reincarnation suggest that the difficulties encountered in this life are issues not dealt with in our past. They provide the purpose for change in this life, and, if remaining unresolved, any further life cycles. Growth of the human spirit will continue as we move forward and play our collective part. I sincerely hope that we will not regress.
There were times when I have conducted myself wrongly and this has negatively affected others, especially my family. I trust that I also contributed positively. In my personal ledger the balance between the positive and the negative, the ‘good’ and the ‘not so good’ has swung in my favour, which is probably why I can now retire in peace. Perhaps the time to identify whether I have changed enough, and have applied sufficient awareness, will be when I die. Will I then be suitably relaxed so as not to be consumed by regret? As I am sitting here, I have no issues with death. In fact, if reincarnation is a reality, then I am quite willing to try a new venture. But we don’t know – so I will keep on enjoying the present endeavour for as long as it lasts!
I met pilgrims on the road with differing experiences – some pilgrims looked back on their lives with sorrow and regret, which made me realize that I have reason to be grateful.