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Language: English / Gàidhlig


Chamber and committees

Meeting date: Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Meeting of the Parliament 18 September 2018

Agenda: Time for Reflection, Topical Question Time, Bank Closures, Business Motion, Parliamentary Bureau Motion, Decision Time, United Nations International Day of Peace 2018


Time for Reflection

The Presiding Officer (Ken Macintosh)

Good afternoon, everybody. The first item of business is time for reflection. Our time for reflection leader is Mrs Brenda Reid, who is a celebrant from the Humanist Society Scotland in Arbroath.

Mrs Brenda Reid (Celebrant, Humanist Society Scotland, Arbroath)

Presiding Officer, members of Parliament, ladies and gentlemen, I thank you for inviting me to come and speak this afternoon.

On being asked to speak, I decided to look not at what I am, but at who I am. Who I am is reflected in the role that I am fulfilling at the time. I live in the heart of Angus, where I am known as Brenda, the lady who conducts funerals or officiates as weddings, but I am also known as Graham’s wife, a mum, a nana, a neighbour or friend, and as someone you can call on in times of trouble.

I have the opportunity to be those things because I have what so many people in other countries crave these days: freedom of choice. On 21 November, it will be 100 years ago that women like me were given the opportunity to vote. We were given the right of freedom of choice, so how do we choose what we do? Do we criticise or condemn, or do we teach, encourage and lead by example?

We like to think that we are happy and that we work hard at achieving that happiness. We would like to lose weight, buy that bigger car, have a more expensive holiday or retire. We all say that some day, when we have more time, we will do that, but the time to be happy is now.

Alfred D Souza said:

“For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin—real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first ... Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.”

When I left school, I became a nurse and then a midwife. Seven years ago, I trained as a celebrant with the Humanist Society Scotland. Little by little, I have knocked down the obstacles that I thought made me unhappy and have found a vocation that excites me. I love my life, and that makes me happy, whatever role I am undertaking.

So, choose to lead by example; build people up and do not knock them down; support others to have choices; treasure every moment that you have, and treasure it more because you have shared it with someone special. Remember that time waits for no one.

Our lives will always be filled with challenges, so it is best to admit that and to be happy, because happiness is a journey, not a destination.

Thank you for listening.