….Stripped bare!

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Its eerily quiet, you can barely hear the wind whistling by but you can feel it surely. She stands all alone, you can sense the pain of loneliness, her feeling of raw emotion barely checked. It’s almost palpable; the despondency that she holds at bay even as she acknowledges the inevitability of her sorrow. Deep sorrow, coursing through her like the rivulets of a slow flowing stream but still she stands. Grasping with bruised knuckles, the rags of reality that barely cloaks her nudity….yet she stands with head upraised and that steely gleam of resilience in her eyes, because she knows. She acknowledges. She has been there before.

Its fall season, and very soon the biting cold of winter will creep in as surely as the sun shines. She stands unadorned of any finery, yet regal in her posture because she knows that what defines her is not what can be taken away by the whims of life. Like the elderly matriarch at family gatherings, she stands with outstretched arms still and not cowering in fear like all hope is lost. Every scar is visible to the eye, some as recent as today made by the very same that she had readily accommodated in their helplessness. As of today, they are all gone but she knows that in no distant future, some would still find solace beneath her boughs as soon as they encounter the  genuiness of her stability. There are no chirping birds, no scurrying animals, none of the lovebirds with their outspread blanket and picnic basket….they are all gone and even as they pass her, warmly ensconced in their bulky garments, they barely spare her a glance but she knows that despite being stripped bare, soon this season will end.

Below lies the foliage that once was the allure of all eyes, every leaf stripped off her not because she chose to but because life is a stage and we are all cast members, someday we will each have our time on stage and regardless of the role cast on us, we must make every moment count. Nothing can prepare you for the curved balls that life  throws at you but with discernment and past experiences, I know that life is a cycle. Sometimes just as you’re recovering from being sucker punched, you get blindsided yet again but with gritted teeth, teary eyes, you painfully draw in breath and stagger to your feet because you know that your place is not in the dirt. No matter how many times you get knocked down, arise you must or else your role will never be played and what a woeful tale that will be, that you lived a life without purpose.

Now to me personally, the Book of Job is a synopsis of life! Those very things that you once thought defined you could be taken away in an instant and then what would you be left with? Afterall fortunes are lost in the blink of an eye regardless of the safeguards carefully placed, because it never really was yours to keep in the very first place. What a shame if that’s all you are – the temporary possessions and provisions that have been leased to you for the benefit of others. Now some of you have never been knocked down and so with barely concealed contempt, you trot with disdain around those struggling through their knockdowns but I can assure you that life is like the four seasons and you must someday get to experience all the seasons…..and till you do, keep your tongue in cheek because you definitely cannot relate with that pain and anguish someone else might be going through. A life lived is one that is accompanied with precise choices, esteeming others higher than yourself as you make every day count for something.

To my friend struggling with medical issues, to the husband/wife who has been so viciously betrayed by their partner, to the parent with a seriously ailing child, to the addict refusing to give into withdrawal symptoms just for the brief pointless escape, to the chap who just lost his job and just had his only home foreclosed in the same day…..hear me, there’s a reason behind every season and at the very least, see beyond the pain of the instant because your experiences if you choose right will be the panacea to somebody else’s down the lane. How much wisdom can you impart if you have learned nothing or refused to learn? How much care and empathy can you show if you lack the warmth from having walked in those same shoes? Words are but a balm but when accompanied with the requisite action, they become an avenue for hope rekindled. How can you stir up flames from the burning embers of a dying fire if you have never kindled one yourself or known the cold from the lack of a fire?

Life is best lived when we make the right choices, and how do we know what choices exist if you have never encountered and overcome the despair of arriving at a crossroad? Whatever you may be passing through right now is just to strengthen you so that you in turn can strengthen another, for sorrow when shared is halved but joy shared is doubled. Learning to embrace yourself for who He says you are despite the season, is the beginning of a triumphant life. Learning to heal from the hurts of others actions is the beginning of a joyous walk in freedom. Now forgiveness is a divine ability however we do not have to seek it like the Golden Fleece because we were forgiven before we even acknowledged our erring ways. To forget the pain of betrayal, spite and abandonment might not come easy but as you embrace another down your own path, you etch deeper in your heart the knowledge that this is just a season.

Seek to cauterise that wound before it becomes gangrenous. The scars will not disappear but with time they become not just scars only but the marks of triumph gained through persistence and dependence on Him who’s made and called you for a purpose. With each knock down, you realise that rising up is not as difficult as it was the first time……and then you suddenly realise that there is still strength to help another to his feet. It begins with choosing to ignore the fair weather acquaintances  of fame, cheap accolades and sycophancy; and focus on those who are experiencing their own stripping, therein lies a worthier cause. Gather your garments around you and stand to your feet, let that gleam come alive in your eyes as you look around and become a conduit of hope and comfort to someone else.

Remember “Let us learn to appreciate there will be times when the trees will be bare, for then we can better appreciate the times when those trees will abound with fruits”

עד שנפגשנו שוב, אולי התענוגות שלו להיות העונג שלך לעשות

 Adios!

….Ubuntu!!!

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There will never be the ideal time, that’s a myth in itself….we make out time for what counts to us (either by true perception or by sentiment, preferably the former) and the last few weeks have been a sad reminder of that. Just like Professor Dumbledore of Hogwarts in the fictional Harry Potter world, so many thoughts (like his memories so brilliantly captured in the movies) have been swirling round and round like a colourful kaleidoscope in this fascinating display I reserve in my mind. Special thanks to two outstanding individuals for being my muse this time around because I only needed to start with a word and they each in their own way nudged my hands. The Zeal behind Graeme Blaque and The Earl of Dunbroch (someday I’ll be honoured to be your guest).

Remarkably, I’ve been really occupied with stuff ranging from the inevitable daily unrelenting battles with myoclonus to the fervour of parenting combined with participating in putting together a reunion of my peers from College after 3 decades of that first encounter in the age long halls of our alma mater. And nothing so truly brings to life this truth that “Men and women are like wine, age bettering the good and souring the bad”. Needless to say that in every association, there will always be the good, the bad and the ugly (mind you, the latter actually comprises the first two and looks never really count). The task is aspiring to keep the balance tilted in the favourable position of the good or how else will change be wrought if we allow the seemingly natural dictate of today’s world, that so readily celebrates the bad and stultifies the emergence of good, to become the norm.

My buddy, The Earl so graciously shared this and with his tacit approval, I do same.

‘An anthropologist proposed a game to the kids in an African tribe. He put a basket full of fruits near a tree and told them that whoever got there first won the sweet fruits. When he gave them the signal to run, they all took each other’s hands and ran ran together, then sat in a circle enjoying their treats. When he asked them why they chose to run as a group when they could have had more fruit individually, one child spoke up and said “UBUNTU, how can one of us be be happy if all the others are sad?”…’

‘UBUNTU’ in the Xhosa (Zulu) culture means: “I am because we are”

Now to many, this is just another of those many tales that gets hardly read before its so quickly shared on the scary and grossly misused world of social media but permit me to do what life has taught me, moreso since being diagnosed….it’s always in the details!

We have witnessed the birth of more than two generations now; the Generation X and the millennial so and so suffice to say that we have inadvertently been thrust into the world of imparting and mentoring but the question that begs answering is what can you give if you’ve got nothing. With the euphoria of reconnecting with so many distinguished individuals who inevitably played a role in making us who we’ve become, it’s very easy to get caught up in the rip tide of a river that’s been dammed for over 25 years and is now opened up. Nostalgic memories, childhood pranks, mischief and some choices that still haunt us today, like many of today’s kids, we had our own fill but now inexorably, roles are reversed and we have to give back…willingly or unwillingly, the choice is yours.

It is with a profound sense of pride that I can see representatives and peers strategically placed all over the world. From the glossy pages of the Forbes magazine to the pages of a cuisine book. From the oil wells in North America to the swampy but rich oil oilfields of the Niger Delta. From the sterile wards and surgical theatres of the best hospitals in developed countries to the derelict and abandoned communities in 3rd world countries where the almost forgotten are being taught community medicine. From the rapidly skimming boats and choppers conveying Safety Professionals and operatives from platform to platform to the Entrepreneurs slogging it out daily through chaotic traffic striving to grow their businesses. From the corporately dressed executives walking the halls of financial institutions in West Africa and Europe to the Stock Trader on the London trading grounds. From the literary uprisers to the parent who despite the looming recession, caters to the needs of their kids and home by whatsoever means possible. From the Metropolitan London Officer to the Investigator in West Africa. From the school administrators & teachers to the Optometrist working with kids in Europe, I can go on and on however just like a burst of pollen, we have all been dispersed by fate on the winds of life to wherever we find ourselves today.

Needless to say that we are who we are because we were inadvertently influenced by the lives that so sublimely surrounded us then and still surrounds us today. Now despite the frenetic and fragmented picture that today’s society shows us, we dare not stop fighting for positive change and development. It is so easy to believe that we are, simply because we did! Now that in itself sounds weird because no man is an island. We weather storms each day, and each day just like I do, I pick myself up regardless of how bruised I may be and I choose. I choose to reach out and grab just one more hand, grab that hand to pull someone else along towards the finish line because there is so much desolation out there and people just need to see that someone else cares. I have seen and experienced compassion from the strangest of places and the least expected however each tiny gesture aided me in making the choices by which I live today.

Now, life comprises season and every action proves a response or a reaction; equal or not. Now is the time for us to give back. Now is the time to reach across time and space, get someone else’s hands and pull each other towards fulfilment. Or how comfortable would you be with a stomach distended and engorged with the niceties of life while right across you, a homeless starving person is in your line of sight. Again, it’s a choice that has to be made but this thought I bring to you that notwithstanding where you are, what you are, the hue of your skin, the texture,tone or accent of your spoken words;  there’s but one common denominator to us all humans and that is, we all bleed red! No greater unifying factor than the blood that courses through our body signifying the presence of life exists, I dare opine.

As I mark this phase of life along with my compadres from every work and facet of life, battling each new day with its own unique challenges, I admonish everyone who has taken the time to accompany me on this journey that “I am because we are” and so let’s reach across every divide created by man, throw off the unnecessary weights of class, wealth, fame etc and link hands with each other and make our way together in the spirit of humanity and brotherhood to the celebration of life…..”BACK TO WAFFI 2017! Remember that the difference between ‘I’ and ‘WE’ is just one letter, let that one letter be at the very least someone else and no greater joy exists than one shared with others.

עד שנפגשנו שוב, אולי התענוגות שלו להיות העונג שלך לעשות

Adios!

…in the valley again

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Its eerily silent, with the evening breeze not so much caressing as biting my skin. My bones feel heavy, each joint creaking as I try to rise to my feet. Its almost like de ja vu as I look around and see nobody, save for the bones of the fallen at my feet. Like a sailor aboard a ship in the middle of a fierce storm, my legs feel all rubbery but still I must rise otherwise I might very well lay down and cradle the bones strewn around. And bones do not make for comfort.

I can hear the voices of people above and around me, seemingly oblivious and my voice grows hoarse as I call out for help, however the response is the echo that comes back to me. It is weird because this is like the reeling scenes of a movie once seen before. The callouses on my palm are a sore reminder of the last time I clawed my way to the top and although they are all but scars but still the memory of the climb is still nestled somewhere at the back of my mind.

The twinge along my spine is not of fear because that has been conquered long ago, it is just a painful reminder of the limitations of this vessel. The medication alleviates it but still like relentless waves of an angry sea, it bashes again and again with an almost uncanny determination to knock me down and keep me down – I object to that and acknowledge that even in the silence, I sense strength and hope for me.

Like the bucking rider on the bull, I am reminded that there are just but two players in the arena and regardless of whether there are silent or rowdy spectators, that does not change the fact. I have called out and He hath sent me help and this time will not be any different. This is not my first rodeo even as I yet again gather my garments around me and stumble to the the sheer walls surrounding the valley. Hoarse voice, calloused hands, aching body….still I know this is not my destination.

My head slumps just as another bout of pain hits me, and I see my own hands in the twilight – these are the only hands that will always help me up and rightfully attached they are to my own arms. I will not succumb! I did not and I still will not because there is more than just me to think about. No white flag will ever be hoisted above me in surrender because I am more than a conqueror and needless to say whether the circumstamces acquiesce to that or not, that is my choice.

I am not just going to be another set of bleached bones because this vessel holds dreams and aspirations and to them I will see, though time hastens by but with each footstep I take, I know that this battle has already been worn. The silence of those around me do not make me despair rather they drive me on, and as long as I’ve got a voice, it will be heard. I will not spend any energy in raising clenched fists in anger and disappointment, I need the strength to make my way up because as always when I crest the top, the beauty is a sight to behold and with heads bowed in shame, they will make way for me.

The climb must begin once again because this is not my destination, I know where I am headed and companions in due season will arise and play their role but for now I must do it all by myself and with the inexhaustible reserves of strength He avails me. Battered, bruised and bewildered but still I journey along. The stones feel very cold to the touch as my fingers search out the tiny holds to enable me pull myself up. This is not an exercise in futility because climbing takes me upwards and there I must be. A beacon of hope to those who have fallen down into their own valleys, an inspiration to the few amidst the many who have never been down, a message to all that life is not fair but the choices we make determine who we become – caregiver, friend or just another set of willing hands.

From my lips, emanate praise to The One who makes it all come together for me, for He was, still is and forever will be. Inch by inch, I pull myself up – the grazes matter but nought to me. This is my climb out of this valley and my place will never be with the bones…

מאי להאירובנעימות עליך עד שנפגש שוב .
Adios!

Flintlock, stone and barrel…

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“The world has the habit of making room for the man whose words and actions show that he knows where he is going.” ~ Napoleon Hill

Geez! This has me reeling from so many emotions however I presume its the inevitable result of not doing something in a long while and it kind of reminds me of the phrase “Bless me Father, for I have sinned. My last confession was over 6 months ago….”. Now this is less a confession but more of a sharing of my experiences and utilizing the experiences garnered during various encounters to first of all hoist myself up (just incase I have slipped down little bit) and then at least one other person who really needs this.

Its more like beginning another phase as I write this post because it truly is the end of one phase, prelude to the beginning of another. Am I truly grateful and blessed for this concluding phase? A definite and resounding yes, because I have been given the priviledge of meeting varying individuals for varying amounts of time and simply just trying to learn more than I know and when possible, letting another person know what makes me stand out. Am I completely free of Myoclonus? No however I still stand by my choice and bullishness not to give in to some disorder as I make each day on this personal journey count for something. Medical conditions are just that – they are conditions and not the manual for your life or who you want to be.

I spent a couple of days in San Diego, California and there I was opportuned to actually get to see and hold a flintlock and sure it was part of a priced collection owned by an artist whose ancestor was one of those real men back in the days. Days where boys grew to become men and lived as men, confronting life and its challenges head on without flinching. Men who understood instinctively what terms like family, parenthood, moral virtues stood for. Men who aged gracefully even as the threads of their lives unravelled as will ours as we approach our destination. So much has taken place that have been so significant that it drives home the fact that not only are we living in the last days of this world but that every little gesture made from a sincere compassionate heart reverbrates thoughtfulness, kindness and compassion…..these are virtues that are rapidly becoming extinct even as we all whole-heartedly apply ourselves to making a living as against just living life and learning.

One remarkable thing about the flintlock is how powerful a little spark can be, and when applied at the right time, the results were astounding (pretty sure whoever stood at the other end of the barrel back in its days will so emphatically concur). Now, one statement I read has stuck in my memory and even though it was used in the context of driving but I do say that it applies to life in itself……‘be a pebble in a rapidly flowing stream’….and that I dare say is not too difficult to imagine. We are all created equal but we definitely do not end up as equals and the difference is  in the choices we each have made and get to make each and every day. Do we choose to live in the past (allowing the experiences of the past so cloyingly overwhelm us that we limit ourselves) or do we learn from the past so as to create our own future because that is what our hands and hearts are for.

Undeniably, the flintlock is the past but it played its vital role in the world we live in today and even though it is more relic than relevant but the point is that it played its role. I have come across individuals who are yet to determine who they are, least of all applying themselves and my question usually is ‘how many versions of you actually exist (updated or obsolete)?’ And this question usually goes to drive home my bewilderment in how some just choose to do nothing with their lives. In our own little worlds, we can at least be the stone that strikes the flint. We can choose today to resist the clamour and popular option of being nobody in today’s world or put aside all vestiges of complacency and just do something. Fail if you must because in failing, at least you have learnt one way not to do what you just attempted. There is no better art than attempt because opportunities of all kinds assail us everyday and whilst we refuse to do a thing, the opportunity passes and most times, we unfortunately do not get to see it again.

No better person than Thomas Edison in recent history could have put it better; “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” Take a shot or a swing at life, and if you miss, try it again because life in itself is a journey that we all must undertake and we are going to be remembered for our indifference or for our efforts. I honestly do not keep count of the things I regret not doing but I do look forward to keeping a consistent effort in making my life something I would be proud of in retrospect. Notwithstanding the limitations of this frail body, there is more in life that we can by just doing something (and I do want to emphasise – do something that is right). Regardless of how numbered our days, we each have something to bring to the table but first of all we must find it lest we have nothing to give. There is much joy in giving freely anyway….

There will definitely be storms (that’s one characteristic of life) but those storms help shape us especially when we realise that our own strength is puny by itself, and His strength is there just for the asking. As the water flows past the pebble, and weathering occurs – realise that no matter how smooth that pebble becomes, it is still capable of igniting a fire when used properly. Take a look around you and see that hurting person close by, and realise that nothing happens by chance. You are where you are for a reason, understand the reason and do something at that moment in time and place. Empathy is not a synonym for weakness but it is an attribute of humanity. Let us not give into the craziness that is so rapidly engulfing us but be a light in the darkness….in two words; BE DIFFERENT!

Remember “There is no failure except in no longer trying.” ~ Elbert Hubbard. May the sunlight illuminate your paths and fair winds greet your sail because you are never alone.

עד שנפגשנו שוב, אולי התענוגות שלו להיות העונג שלך לעשות!

Adios!

Shattered existence….

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…Shattered Image.
 

“Do not be weary in well doing, for you will reap in due season………..if you faint not” – Galatians 6:9 (God’s Manual)

Phew! Happy new year!! It is the start of yet another wonderful year – 2016, it just rolls off the tongue and its so exciting that it is a leap year, makes it all the more special I dare say. Having my beautiful daughter explain the concept of a leap year is something that every parent would cherish because in those moments therein lies irrepressible and undaunting hope, and an embodiment of a greater tomorrow. When something occurs just once in four years, what are the odds that it will not be special. So I say it is a special and while I also acknowledge that it also represents time gone, my next task is evaluating and reviewing the time spent with the objective of improving on the good and discarding the bad. Resolutions? No! More like goals to me and being as regular as I can blogging, with improvement (one of the most obvious goals). There is also the goal to being a better me that I was last year, now that encompasses a huge lot….
 
I did not get to do anything since my last post in November (my unreserved apologies about that) because it was and will always be filled with lots of activities each persistently varying for my full attention and I am not the best at multi-tasking but I try to apportion and appropriate the limited resource that time is. Nothing has further drawn me closer to the fleeting and brittle nature of our existence with the births and deaths that closed last year. Now I unashamedly admit that regardless of how far a relationship you share with someone, a loss is painful and grief is not a sign of weakness. I have shared the pains with those who lost and celebrated the joys with those who were blessed, and either way, life does have its ups and downs. Fitting in requires something of a balancing skill if you want to have more than just a weak shot at living. I was sharing portions of my life story with a young friend and I told her that certain events occur in your live that reveal more of your humanity. Weeping is not exclusively for the weak, in actuality, it is a revelation and display of both empathy,compassion and our humanity.
 
I remember, not very vividly, the first time I beheld a mirror of my own back in the days ( it was kind of a luxury/’self centered’ icon) and taking out time to check out the acne, your own facial features (yep it was a handheld small one not the full length…) – funny now in retrospect but back then it was quite a task. Ensuring every hair strand is in place, the smile rehearsals for occasions that may come up, and even the different game faces, was it not a lot back then. And then like every other thing, it just happened, one day haste got the better of me and it slipped from my grip and hit the ground. Shards of glass all over the place…geez! being incensed does not quite capture my emotions, who I was incensed at did not even matter because it was all about the mirror. Getting the largest sliver, after hopelessly trying to childishly put it back together like a puzzle, I realized that the largest shard would have to suffice because trying to get a reflection from a put together cracked mirror is almost as frustrating as trying to leap into a moving plane (I am no Tom Cruise and even he had the necessary gear etc).
 
Attempting to put that shattered mirror together comes with some pain, glass is sharp (scars unequivocally attest to that) but in reality some things cannot be fixed. You did not make it in the first place even though you broke it, so move on. I have long ceased trying to fix others especially when it dawned on me decades ago (April 27, 1992 to be precise) that I so desperately needed fixing myself, but I choose to use that aspect of me that can encourage others to get a glimpse of themselves and realize that it is not as hopeless as it seems. Now having seen more than my fair share of medical experts and heard their droning, believe me when I say nothing is as hopeless as it seems even when you are the one responsible for the mess. Making the choice to be nice even when all the laws of science demand the alternative is not as easy as it is being written, said or read, you simply cannot do that all by yourself – you will drain yourself of your life energy. And so, I choose this year to continue to be nice even when I can not explain the reason to the next person. I choose to aspire to encourage even on the very bad days, and there have been quite a deluge of those days in recent times. The resonating joy is that I am doing things that I could not dare imagine some years ago. so for me, it is still a day – good or bad.
Looking back, like I tend to do, reminds me of how much time we spend expending so much negative emotions at everyone else and everything but ourselves that we fail to realize that regardless of how bad a situation may be, something can be salvaged from it. Without delving into my battle with Myoclonus, I have come almost a full 180 degrees based on the ongoing challenges I face and the ones I have overcome and still are. Joiv repeatedly tells me how unsettling it is the way I currently respond to situations, the usual reaction that was my trademark is slowly but evidently loosing its influence and I am not even aware. What I do know is that there is more to be gained treating others not just the way I want to be treated but maybe even better than I would (if that is possible). Does the truth have to be told? Oh most definitely, honesty is fundamental – the vehicle that conveys that truth is what you certainly have to make a choice on. Malleability was one of my best words in high school because of the definition and having it as a trait (from the human perspective) is also nice, being able to adapt to change without being too rigid or too amorphous goes a long way in living life easier. Pertinent to note is that whether we like it or not, change is indeed the only permanent thing in life. Word play is an art, and is best utilized by the greatest minds.
 
In the last few weeks – the closing of last year and the beginning of this year, I have seen more of the idiosyncrasies of individuals up, close and personal and it does not drive me as oddly (up the wall fast) as it used to because it is so much easier to live when you appreciate that people are simply a result of the choices they have and are still making, throw in handful of the experiences they have been through and how much they allowed themselves to be torn up or thrust up, accompany that with the lifestyle they presently choose and you have yourself a meal, oops a package/profile of that individual. Now, admittedly,  it has not been very palatable but it just helps in being able to process very fast and still choose to be nice without loosing your cool and reverting back to that inherent vicious brute that is somewhere hidden inside. For me; up, close and personal is certainly not the best of options for me (no thanks to myoclonus) but I have also seen that you are forced to make instant decisions on whether being a Christian is a garment that can easily be tossed aside when the gloves come off or that it is a lifestyle that inevitably calls for some sacrifices that are so difficult to make. Closed quarters just like adversity brings out the real you.
 
Our lives are more than a reflection of our physical semblance in a mirror, they are the instruments for living out a tale that will motivate others to move up to higher and more stable grounds…or not! We are all on this journey called life and no matter how reclusive you are, you will always encounter someone else and the moments you spend with that person might be all you may ever have, so what deters us from making those moments count. I have been bitter, resentful, unforgiving etc and so I can recognize them when I see them but I choose to learn from my own playbook (God’s manual) and not get into the trenches with those negative emotions because that right there is a leap backwards, a plunge into mucky waters…when we ought instead to be moving forwards and heading upwards. That is actually where the best is! Learn from the mistakes of history so that we do not repeat them, the history has been done however the future is still to be. We choose either to dwell continually in the past or make today count towards a better tomorrow, however the resource called time is not ours to fiddle with.
 
I have stopped trying to see a reflection of myself from the put together pieces of a broken mirror because it is just futility to the letter, instead focusing more on what I have learned from past reflection, I am moving on with as much spring as my knees and back can take, my cane is quite handy too. With a jaunty whistle to the tune in my heart, I move on because it is not so much as the reward that awaits me in due season, it is also about not growing weary and fainting – now therein lies the question that only me/you can answer. Where does my/your strength lie? And my response is still unchanged, my eyes are lifted up to the hills where His inexhaustible reserves of strength lies awaiting. For this new year, where do you choose to draw strength from because we both assuredly know that we cannot do it all by ourselves by any means. The harder we try, the less we have of ourselves to give but give we must so there had better be something good to give otherwise we will be so minimized; with all the negative emotions already overwhelming society, that our lives will count for nothing and to me that is the most pitiable thing that can ever happen to an individual.
 
Remember that there is just one of you amongst the billions in the world, make that count by aspiring to be the best you can be, there really is no competition save for walking in accordance with the purpose of Your Creator. Let go of striving to see ourselves in the warped reflection of broken mirrors, adjudging yourself by the expectations of people and just be YOU! Even when you think you have failed, get back up and begin again, you are in no competition with another you. My prayers are that this year will not just be the best year we have lived but that we will each plug into the life cord that flows from God and together live such a life that the world would be saddened to see us go.
 
מאי להאירובנעימות עליך עד שנפגש שוב .
Adios!

A Jolt in the road……

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.....the jolt changes things!

                                                                        ….the jolt changes things!

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, rather we are spiritual beings having a human experience” – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Most times, very significant events are captured by an exclamation of some sorts like the popular ‘Eureka!’ to its being described in some fancy words like ‘the aha! moment’, the aim is ultimately to try and share the clarity of vision received following such an event. For those who like penning down stuff, it’s that thought that takes such a grip on you that the ability to attend to some other task is almost non existent. Expressing it is like the release that you so crave, it rids you of the restlessness of your inner being….that desire to comprehend in some form, the sudden change of events that hitherto had seemed almost perfect – just like we planned????

As a growing kid in a large household complete with 5 siblings, the house helps, relatives, pets and the frequent house guest; it was mandatory to start off the day by attending to the chore that had been assigned to you by the matriarch. One of my earlier chores was cleaning up the master bedroom which also included one of my favourite tasks – making up the bed, and there was something almost soothing in transforming the neatly folded square of bed sheet into the bedcover that spanned the breadth and width of the mattress. Smoothening out every crease, making every tuck as neat as possible, maximum concentration and the quiteness, it was almost like the bed should never be slept in because it appeared so beautiful however that was what I’d have liked as against the very essence of the whole exercise which was to prepare the bed for the next sleep in. That was what the bed was made for, the exercise of dressing it up was just a process to get it to fulfil the purpose for which it was made. If it was not slept in, I guess there would be no need to make it up and then there would be no chore of that sort again. In retrospect, I suppose that task played a role in how I deal with neatness and almost being too particular about how stuff is arranged.

A couple of days ago, I was almost involved in the second rollover in my entire driving history and geez!it is indeed a miracle that it did not happen but it began just like the first one, there was that annoying jolt in an otherwise very smooth road for the last hundreds of miles. It is no testament to how far I’ve come on this journey, banned from driving 5years ago by medical experts due to dystonia but God has sometimes shoved me when I had almost given up on myself, and His grace is so evident in the very fact that I was even behind the wheels. Battling the hesitation from medical experts, turning a deaf ear to the concerns from some that it might be more of a con than a pro because of the stress involved but it’s something I’ve always loved doing (driving and road trips) and just being able to enjoy it again has been such a delight. The last few weeks have all but gone by in a blur and just when it seems like everything was going according to plan (slowly but surely)….. It happened again, I struck that jolt in the road, not because of medical fears but just something that could happen to just about anyone, I swerved to avoid an object! – need I mention how smooth the last hundred miles had been? Now it’s like my very worst fears might be realised, the road trips might come to an end and the prospect was so horrifying some minutes ago….

It’s so weird that in our world today, we are seemingly more comfortable with trusting human opinions or technology made by man when in all sincerity, these things that we are choosing to base our existence upon are creations of our hands and mind you, our knowledge is very limited. We readily turn to Google for the answer to that question that was just thrown at us, and without even stopping to consider, we are ready to run with the answer supplied by Google. Funny enough, there was no Google in high school and I barely relied on it in college but I did succeed (sure it might have made stuff easier but still ….). It is so strange how more often than not, we make the choice to run with what we consider our best plans and get so lost in it that it actually requires that jolt in the road to make us realise how feeble and limited our own attempts at making and living the best plans out are. We so quickly get so drawn into the smoothness of the road that we forget that life is in itself more of a journey than a destination, it is a series of stops and when we allow ourselves to get lost in the smoothness of some portion, we may very well miss the next exit and the entrance to the next and usually better phase of our lives.

As Christians, it is so easy to profess our faith when the going is smooth but guess what, faith is tested by trials and it is during those trials that we have to come to terms with our faith and profess it because we believe even when the situation says otherwise. One of my favourite Scriptural verse is encapsulated in the story of the three young Hebrew boys born and bred in captivity, under the rule of Babylon; what is most compelling is that they stared their own death in the face of the fiery furnace and yet their words whilst depicting the possibility of their own human fallibility strongly proclaimed their faith in God regardless of whether He came through on their behalf or not. It’s become more than just words to me on this journey, I choose to believe that my Creator has the best plans for me because I’m constantly reminded on a daily basis of my limitations (no thanks to Myoclonus). And yes it has taken yet this jolt to bring me around but I’m glad that I have come around to acknowledge that my well being is not defined by how smooth the road has been or will be, but rather it will always be defined by the gradual manifestation of His purpose in my life. I choose to enjoy the moments as they come and not flinch when it ends because as surely as day and night, seasons will begin and end.

Even as the winter winds howl, and the temperature plummets, I am reminded that this is yet another season that has begun on the ends of the previous one. And even though the prospects seem scary, I know that choosing to worship rather than worry will always put me in good stead. We have to make the painful admission that we do not know it all and our best plans pale in comparison to His purpose and plans for us. We have to acknowledge, sometimes painfully too, that He has got us even though it might look like its the isolation of the darkness again. I look back and I acknowledge how far I have come, despite the overwhelming hopelessness of some of those times and I know that the jolt is less of a deterrent but rather more of a prod in the right direction. Understand that you can only encourage yourself in Him when you are all by yourself, alone and sometimes frightened. You can only understand the wisdom of sorrowing times when you truly lose and are sorrowing, the process includes pain and pleasure but its up to you to choose on what you’d rather dwell on. I’ve gotten past the worst times, what else but better times await me ahead. There is no counsel save His that takes preeminence in my life and even though I stand alone in these times, I will stand tall and true because I know He is all things to me. Such comforting reassurance even as I face the uncertainty of tomorrow, I am truly glad for the privileges and opportunities – the opportunity to be differ ent, the opportunity to leave positive impact on the lives I’ve been blessed to encounter, the opportunity to hear people say how inspired they are and above all the opportunity to share my story and watch hope burst into flames in the life of those who had given up and those who almost had.

I can never know it all, that’s impossible but I know who does and with every passing breath (it’s quite visible these times), I choose to defer to His Will and plans because it has and will always be about Him. Nothing else matters more!

פרידה עד שנפגשנו שוב בתזמון שלו, וייתכן שאהבתו של אלוהים להיות אמיתית לך!

Adios! Continue reading

Luxury of sleep……

Standard

“You may not control all of the events that happen to you but you can decide not to be reduced by them” – Maya Angelou

This is not going to be just another one of them, this is indeed a blank page that can be filled with words that mean nothing or something however the call to choose is one that cannot be tossed aside in a spate of emotional outburst. I’m surrounded by a kaleidoscope of lights and noise even at this hour and it goes without saying, that sleep is a luxury meant to be enjoyed by the deserving. Control is absolutely nothing without power, I believe that used to be one of Pirelli tyres advert lines but I have less than an hour before I must cease writing and tackle face on the challenges of the brand new day, so I need to gather my thoughts from the swirling bowl of my mind before it is too late.

i was in Cuba a couple of weeks ago and the terrain, among other things, was breath taking – it was one of those moments where you realise that this should have been on your bucket list but notwithstanding its absence, you just enjoy the moment and be glad that you did. It has been a journey and sooner than we know it, it’s going to be time to usher in a new year and possibly evaluate our achievements. How well I have fared is a question that may best be answered by me however I do not possibly know all the answers but I do know that I have been the major player and regardless of how much control I had over the events of my life, the outcome reflects the consequences of choices made and whether they can be construed as successes or failures. After these events, am I reduced or built up?

My dear friend just informed me that she was relocating on account of a new job, and as we strove to catch up on happenings in our lives, she mentioned something that struck me – God brings us to a place for a reason and disperses us for a reason, how He disperses us is best left to Him because even if were given the privilege of being made to understand…..we never will and so we roll with the punches, mourn with those who mourn, rejoice with those who celebrate and generally just move on. This is a journey that began someday and will definitely end someday, having the same set of people at both times is nigh on impossible because with every change, there are new people in our lives. How we leave them is something that we can influence and so whether we are remembered or not, the fact is that we had the opportunity of meeting new people – we get to incorporate them as we write our story, and so parting can either be sweet or sour – the choice is ours to make.

Not everyone will relish our company, but will that deter us from being creatures with purpose? Besides being your own super hero or super villain, nobody else possesses the unique set of skills that you have and so yet again, hero or villain? The choice is ours however I have learned that you can be several things to most people but to yourself, you can only be you – that you owe yourself and so even as you traipse all around your world, you are either without clear cut goals or you have recognised what your goals are and are striving to work towards achieving them. This is one event that you definitely have or don’t have control over, what your preference is will be made manifest in your journey. It’s an abstract world we live in and sometimes we are like the raging bull in the china store while other times we are the demure maid in the house on the hills, regardless of the circumstance, we must play our role as close to perfection as possible.

Someday the curtain will drop and all that we used to know will cease to exist, our very lives will be laid out like a scroll and we will be evaluated not based on the influences that availed us but on how well we utilised them. Did we succeed in making our lives worthwhile or we just barged through life without a care or thought for the other person? That in itself is quite irksome for me because it is more than just a roll of the dice, it is an evaluation of how closely I worked with regards to the plans of Him whose works I strive to do each day. As the day unfolds before my eyes and I watch people scurry around with time being the universal criteria, I ask myself this – are the decisions I’m making aligning with the purpose of my existence? Hopefully, the answer is a resounding affirmation from My Maker…..nonetheless I do what I have to because I want to and pray that somewhere, someday a life will be inspired to do more than just the limits that we so blindly set for ourselves.

In all reality, what are the limits? What are our boundaries? That, dear friend, is best left for each one of us to answer. My desire is that when all this is done, I will truly enjoy the luxury of a well deserved sleep as I pray you do too.

Adios!