Earlier on this year, I had the great privilege of going back to Denmark to celebrate my mother-in-law’s ninety-second birthday. In case you hadn’t read my bio I got married in Denmark for nearly thirty-two years ago and I lived in Denmark for two years.

I even learnt to speak the language. It is not an easy language to learn. There are so many things you need to memorize as there is no reasoning for some things about the language. But I also got to appreciate how difficult it is for foreigners to learn English. When you look into it, English is not an easy language to learn either. To speak or write. Learning another language or culture is not easy.

That is what life is like though. Before you judge someone try to put yourself in their shoes. Jesus said something similar, and there is also an old Native American Indian saying along similar lines. “Don’t judge a man until you have walked in his moccasins”.

It was a wonderful time and a fantastic country to live in. The Danes don’t eat to live but live to eat. It also was and still is a very clean country. I remember my mother came over from NZ for my wedding and we did a quick trip over to London. I was astonished by the rubbish in the rail car we were to travel in, as the floor was completely covered. For me, that was a big culture shock. It also surprised me at that time that the tube in London was so dirty. I couldn’t understand why they couldn’t clean it up with so many unemployed. I was young and naïve back then so thought it should be an instant fix. Cleaning it all up.

As you get older you have more tolerance I feel, and tolerance also comes with experiencing different cultures. It is great to see how others live and appreciate the differences. The differences in the landscapes of different countries. Denmark and most of Britain are both very flat. I remember driving with my father in law thirty years ago, and him saying something about just over that hill. I looked around for the hill. Couldn’t find it. It turned out to be a small rise by kiwi standards. When you fly from Auckland to Napier and see the very rugged landscape you realize how others are amazed at our terrain. I always am.

Maybe I am reminiscing as I have just hit my sixtieth birthday. I question why I do things and are they for the right reason. I am a very selfish person at heart so need to question my motives at times.

Life can be hard at times. But these hard times make us what we are in this moment. We wonder at times how we will get through things. I know I have wondered how I could make it through to the next day. I wonder how my young thirteen-year-old grandson will get through the bullying he is experiencing at school. My husband suffered the same bullying when he was young and he still finds it hard to deal with it today. But as I say to him that has made him into the empathic person that he is today.

We wonder how we will get through things as we are going through problems but we always come out the stronger person.

We may not realize it at the time but we are never given anything that we can’t handle.

We chose our life, our experiences, our trials and tribulations. I don’t know about you, but I sometimes think that I put a bit too much on my shoulders. But we bear up, we put our shoulders back, and we battle on.

This is life we are here to experience, toil, and enjoy.