The other side…

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What?

“Never look down on any individual except you want to look at their shoes!”

How and when did being truthful become an anathema? Oh, the ways of men! Well I opine that most times, we prepare for the fight but lay down and stay down when the fight is on. What is life that we are so ensconced in ourselves that when another person asks a simple request of you, it easily hurdles over the common decency of ordinary courtesy. Growing up, courtesy was not taught, it was implemented but alas now courtesy is a favor that is bequeathed from your throne to an underling. 2021 is already shaping up to being a year that as it unfolds, allows us a better glimpse of what are really priorities and what should not even be mistaken as a priority. The last month was a period of facing harsh realities and overcoming demons because a life with no purpose is a life firmly embedded in misery. Yes, social media has become an art gallery filled with so many fraudulent copies of truth, and so there is an unending line to get into that gallery because in there, we can enjoy the dearth of anonymity and its accompanying lack of expectations.

The grass always seems better on the other side however what of those that have been on both sides and can attest that where you are is a platform for you to learn or teach. Remarkably, we have attuned our hearing to ignore what is being loudly spoken of, and rather choose to attempt to redefine insanity. True, we are each a work in progress whether narcissism and ego choose to allow you to acknowledge that. Like the shifting sands of the desert, the experiences we ought to learn from are immediately forgotten and buried because that is what we choose because it calls for no effort on our part. Today is a gift (and ironically it is also the beginning of a new month), now the question is what do we plan to do or are we set up to fail because we have hastily cast off the responsibility and discipline that comes with making a plan, sticking with it and also having the flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances. I lost a peer recently and the world is still moving on, does that mean that I am bereft of emotion or just dealing with the grief in my own way? It is the latter and even as the lessons he imparted in the 4 decades he lived are mine to implement or discard where necessary, life goes on.

In the course of beginning a new career, I have truly been swamped by the glaring inequality of life. Like a rollercoaster; up today and down tomorrow with absolutely no clue as to when we must get off that ride but then my ability to choose is something that nothing and nobody can take away from me. Who are you? What are you? Why are you you? These are questions of intense gravity because within the answers lies our purpose. No matter how much we long to be on the side, there is a time for that and regardless of how manipulative and deceitful we choose to be, what has brought you thus far is certainly not going to be able to take you to the next place and unfortunately for many, it will be a reversal in so many ways. Till the right time, even when we cunningly make our way to the other side, rest assured that like fish out of water, you are most likely unable to survive because to every season, there is a time just as there is a beginning and an end to every season regardless of how long you have been there. Identify your weaknesses and focus on transforming them to strengths instead of flaunting them as laurels because even as you bask in the false and rapid applause of those who are gifted in flattery, the truth is we must be willing to learn from every circumstance or else you face the agony of life; emotionless in her teaching.

Each morning, I am reminded that the troubles of every new day are never that God has changed His standards midway but rather it is about me choosing to make the day count by seeking out and focusing on the blessings that come with each new day. And so with the obvious blessing that is illustrated in the fact that I am not concerned about the quality of air that I breath (even while I slept), there is so much that we can do not just in being thankful but by actually living it out. The slogan is ‘keep on paying it forward’ and that is without having a sense of entitlement to a better response because it is truly not just about me but rather it is about what I do with what I have with respect to the lives I am blessed to encounter. That summarily is how I live each day until my name is called and my role is finally over, but till then I owe my Creator and the lives I come across an obligation to be better than I was the day before – the last encounter. This is a journey, with no idea if it is a sprint or a marathon however the rules still apply – you can do something with what you have and as long as you apply yourself to doing the best you can, be reminded that the rest is up to God. Once again, I remind myself not to grow weary in well doing because there is seed time and harvest time, I cannot afford to let the challenges of the completely mysterious ways that others respond to me become my primary focus.

I am who I am because God made a masterpiece in me and whilst the full brilliance is still unexposed, I must journey on with the knowledge that I am a masterpiece not due to the actions or inactions of others but because that is what I am and will always be. I choose not to give up and I encourage you to do same because there will always be a day of reckoning and I definitely want to be on the Roll that is up yonder.

עד שאלוהים יפסיק לתת לנו נשימה, מראה הפנים שלו יזרחו עליכם לטובה!

Adieu!

Happy Birthday Mom….

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In my few years of existing here, I’ve heard life characterized by many adjectives but nothing quite prepares you for the fact that it ceases especially when it goes all ninja like. Sneaking in and taking that which you least expected would be taken; then a whole lot begins to actually make sense even though all your life, they were familiar. The true value of anything is really known only when it is lost and so when the absence hurts the most is when events associated with that loss come up. Life actually never ceases but there must always be a transition, and then we really have no sway over that phase of life and maybe that is what sucks the most.

Happy birthday mommy!

Today would have been my mom’s 74th birthday however I choose to mark this day on this side of life being thankful for all she did to make me the man I am. Yes the regrets still come up but there’s nothing I can do about them but to apply them towards making today as significant as it would have been. As a father, I see her in her grandkids and that gives me some solace because therein is a reminder that she truly imparted values that would last generations. Ironically today is quite special because I was also introduced to the world on the same day, and I never could understand why she always told the story of my birth – I was born premature but today I’m thankful because I can tell the beginning of my story having heard it so many times.

Grief is like a sponge, cleansing even though it’s painful so today I choose to celebrate her in a different way. I realize that there are so many dimensions to our lives but we get to choose and prioritize. She was the embodiment of her name; victorious and full of vitality. And for us growing up, she held nothing back to ensure we had that leg up that many unfortunately never had. In retrospect, after her transition, I realized she had so much secreted away for reasons best known to her. In the light of some of these revelations, do I hurt? Yes I do but it was her choice and that I will always respect.

Just like Samson, I opine to say that she achieved more in her passing than she did whilst she lived. I just got off the phone, yet another reminder of what she lived for. My dearest aunt tearfully calling to remind me that today would have been her birthday and I think I get it. There are relationships that despite the divide in life, transcend the norm and as I try to do her honor, I must acknowledge that she was the best of us. Just like the matador in the arena, we were only spectators but how glad I am that she put up such a fascinating display as a lady, a wife and most importantly as my mother. She was almost everything and her standards were the best even with her imperfections.

In honor of her, I commit to being the best version of myself regardless of present circumstances and deep down I hope she is proud of me because I am eternally grateful to have been part of her life for 43 years and some. Now going forward, I listen to her grand daughter who fusses over me just like her grandmother would. In the blossoming of her life, I cherish every moment as she grows into the lady that I am and will always be proud of because I see and recognize virtues and priceless traits that bridge generations even as they are passed on. I never experienced the hard knocks my mom received so I wouldn’t have to and so I take the knocks today so that mine would never experience them too.

The least I can do is never give up in carrying her legacy on. And even when it feels like I’m getting swamped, I’m rejuvenated by the fact that she gave life her best shot and so I have no excuse but to give life my best shot. No excuses at all!

Happy birthday mommy and till we meet again in heaven, may your memories be a constant source of blessing to me and mine. I love you now and always! Your son.

Values, Discounts & You….

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Be You!

Admittedly this has been quite a break and in essence nothing truly substitutes the loss of a loved one especially a mother and yes, time must go on but once again a completely unexpected event has provided me with the opportunity to re-evaluate what my priorities are especially in the wake of a brand-new year. So as is demanded by common decency and etiquette, I want to bid you all, “Happy New Year!” and that is completely ensconced in a prayer that 2021 will be so much better than the chaos that characterized the past year. Nonetheless history has taught me that we can get so bedeviled by traumatic events that before we know it, we are so bogged down in the past and thus unable to appreciate new beginnings. Yet again I choose to be thankful for the gift of life and new beginnings. In retrospect, I am confident that this year has no option other than besting the last year – a year plagued with so much fear, uncertainty, sadness and adversities however adversity forces us to rethink and to borrow the words of a well-respected Minister, ‘setbacks happen so that we can prepare ourselves for a comeback.’

As is wont with me, I just have to point out that time has not ceased because we are already in the 2nd month. Now with that firmly established, what are my take-aways from 2020? What am I leaving in my rear-view mirror? What am I thankful for but most importantly what is my comeback going to be? What were those issues that I wrongly valued? What am I committed to in a bid to grab the pen and write my own narrative? The truth is that life just like a show must still go on and how do I intend to do things my own way? Have I truly re-evaluated myself? Yes I have and as is the case with many, I have come to the sad conclusion that I have so horribly discounted myself both in intentional and unintentional ways. I personally am not fond of going to shops and shopping however in response to the pandemic, I would say I am fortunate. On the few occasions I have had to shop which includes the frequent refilling of my medication, getting a discount is always a nice bit of surprise – just like having shepherd pie with apple pie truffles during a very normal and ordinary visit to a chum’s home.

Inexplicably, I have given away too many discounts to my detriment and whilst I pride myself on being assertive, I listened to a speaker who reminded me that I do not have to wait for permission to be me and that includes still living with dystonia. The truth is that the world is actually waiting for me to step into my shoes and be the best version of myself and as easily as it is for me to write this, I can assure you that there is a process to doing that and again experience has taught me that the process that leads to growth and personal improvement is usually never a walk in the park but I have since learned that most times success comes dressed in coveralls. The default nature is to have everything handed to me with me doing the least amount of work, but hey! I just have to put in the work. Disabuse my mind of all what I previously tagged as valuable even when the result is like having a yard sale with no cost tags attached, Amusingly, I have found myself in situations where I am vociferously trying to convince myself that the result I see is not simply a product of my efforts. Garbage in, garbage out!

There is a darkness and force that consistently strives to put out my light however my permission is needed for there to be a ’Lights Out!’ and I refuse to permit that, rather I am doing more to reignite the flames within and cause me to be a stronger source of light to myself and others that I am blessed to encounter. In order to be the best version of myself, I have signed executive orders – I commit to learning more; reading materials that align with upward growth, doing a yard sale for my ego and actually walking the talk regardless of how long that walk just might be…….I do have a rollator anyway.  Browsing through the past and actually reinstating activities that hitherto, I felt were not just for me. Besides, what better way to influence the associations I keep other than living what I often have glibly spoken of. Doing just that in itself will definitely attract the associations that will assist me in bringing about change that is both inevitable but desperately needed.

I chose to end the past year by commencing the new one with an authorized acknowledgement and visible evidence that I am committed to this journey. I can only keep what not just attracts me but will definitely bolster me. Building new bridges and new relationships along with nurturing those that have been very impactful to me. This is more than a competition for recognition but rather a determined campaign to be more accountable to myself and others who have achieved more than they could ever have imagined. So welcome to Team Ubuntu because I can only be a subset of who my associations are. And of-course I welcome the opposition because therein do I find some affirmation that I am doing right. And even when it seems like there are more things to complain about, I choose to focus on the few things that resonate the dream within me. My focus is defined and determined by me because I already know that I was created for a noble purpose, and so still I choose to apply Script’cure because the storms will come but I am definitely ready and rather than throw in the towel, I choose to die where I stand as I press on.

The most inspiring people are not those measured by society’s definition of success but rather those who have consistently used what they have been blessed with to bless others. I am going to be more than just an inspiration but also an example. And for you who thinks nobody sees you, I do see you and rest assured there is more than enough room beside me, come on and with prayer and hard-work, we will leave a legacy that will be an attestation that we are only as strong and valuable as we have been tagged by He who resides in the heavens but yet presides over the affairs of men.

Let us remember that “Difficulties are meant to rouse, not discourage. The human spirit is to grow strong by conflict.” – W.E Channing

עד שניפגש שוב, מי ייתן וcountenace יזרח לטובה עליך!

Adios!

The Loss & The Pain…

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Wear it well

It’s still so unreal…31 days ago precisely I received a call with information that could have been phrased better (but semantics aside, we get to choose to be kind or mean, compassionate or manipulative). 31 days exactly and my life has forever been inexorably altered, not knowing how scarred I am, I do know I’m not the same person.

For 2 decades and 4 couples, I’ve always asked myself ‘what would Jesus do?’. Now I can’t seem to do that or mebbe my ears have copped out on me (something on this body seems to give in every other day currently) and I just need to be louder. He is sovereign (and was man too) and His reason for calling you home is not one I’d think of asking. Nonetheless, it’s pointless cos I know my mind lacks the ability to comprehend His reason but still I trust. As the veils start coming down, I still hear you say, ‘Edu, you’re my son. Everyone can’t be like you.’

Mommy, I tried! Wiped off the derision spat at me in the last decade, ignored the haters and toiled as much as I could. You represented the glue, you walked the talk even though you were far from perfect like everyone else. Mommy, I forgave cos I was forgiven. I addressed needs when I saw them despite your reproach, ‘You know you need all the money you can get!’ but I’ve always lived by a different set of rules anyway. You taught me to be kind and compassionate but you also made it clear, each life has its own path.

The friends I was contemptuously told would abandon me are still here till this day, and I’m grieving hard because I erroneously believed my heart couldn’t be broken, pandering to the false notion of machismo. Nose to the grinding mill, I persevered like the orphan with no one to call family. Through the darkness, there was always the flicker of a candle spurring me not to give up. Now the dam is breached, irreparably I fear and I acknowledge my heart wasn’t ready because even with the odds and limitations, I try to assuage the pain by praying you know that I really tried my best.

Mommy, you said fighting doesn’t make you a man but the truth is that as a man, you must fight. And even though I’m confident that He who began the work in you has perfected it,, why can’t this gnawing hurt and sadness ease so I can breathe? Even as I look at the unbalanced scale, I hope I made you proud. I hope you see the plans, God willing, I had for you. I hope that even as I grapple with your tragic exit, you’re alive in me. But even though I was able to tell you how much I loved you, it still doesn’t bring the relief I crave.

Your wings were ready, my heart wasn’t so I still struggle to give peace a chance, that was your final mission. And forgive me if I don’t turn the other cheek because I see how quickly the vultures and hyenas lie in wait. Know this mommy, the wicked will have no peace and for the sake of He who hath called me, I will yet look to the hills for strength and I pray that I’m not consumed by this unrighteous rage. Rest in peace because you earned it but nothing can fill this void caused by your exit, still I will trudge on and ask that you guide me lest I give in to the darkness that beckons to me.

Thank you mommy, for making me who I am and teaching me that knowing the ‘who’ will always trounce the ‘how’. Adieu mommy and rest from your labors. I love you but miss you more, Edu.

The Reverberation of Silence…

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I’ve felt silence, I’ve known it for quite some time but this is so different. Cold, long tendrils wrapping around my soul. This is so different, it’s reverberation is deafening, drowning out all other noises. It’s cold and far from being ethereal. Definitely unwelcome, it’s forced its way in, flaunting and taunting, teasing but staying out of reach. This isn’t the night, this pushes the night just a tad longer and I remind myself that the day is still out there and so weary I may be, that’s the hope I cling to even as the choppy waters churn all around me. Hope seems little but it’s borne my weight so many times.

You can rest easy, mommy

How could it be real, unexpected and unwilling to negotiate? Why does it seem as though the cacophony of the cicadas and the tweet of the birds sound so out of rhythm? Whys cloud my thoughts and their sheer weight force me to my knees. I’ve been knocked down so many times so I’ll try and rise to my feet again even though there’s some comfort in the ground but that’s not what you embodied. Self-belief, esteem, being unstoppable, letting go of the reins and just feeling the wind all around me but it’s still dark and I know I’ll never get the explanation I should seek. The words I’ve used before now sound so shallow to me and though they evade me, your lessons still stand out.

Countless times, you gave of yourself, not once holding back and even in our differences, you still commanded the respect you so rightly earned and nobody could ever hold it back. A matriarch in every letter of the word, that’s who you were. Reminding me that being different was also good when being different sometimes meant taking that unbeaten path. As long as you saw the positive impact on my life, you never thought it twice. Giving and giving and given but the scales are uneven, why am I short? Every laborer is deserving of her wages, who’s fit to collect yours.

‘Stand for something’, you’d always say. ‘Embrace change because life and change are almost synonymous.’ ‘Go out there and from your experiences, pick that which suits you best’. Knowing that you raised us right, you were liberal even when loving meant punishing. Now I think I have a clue to some of your utterances – ‘nobody is perfect’, ‘we’re all flawed in one-way or the other but ensure to make your life count for something’ are a few that readily come to mind. You were there whenever I called and so I know this silence isn’t the evil to be scared of. It’s just the feeling that gnaws at my heart as I stare at this unbalanced scale, not able to do more now. Could I have asked for a better mother? That I can confidently answer.


Now I stare in consternation at the fragility of life and I know you lived for something – you lived for your brood. Unafraid that we would be snatched up by the birds of prey because of how grounded you made me. And now even though I know that those scales can never even out but still I must carry on the legacy you represented – that dignity and honor isn’t about what you can buy but what you choose to attain. A lifestyle unique in its own way. So I must pass on more than you taught, without repugnance in any form. Yes it’s hard to turn the other cheek but it’s not about what I think is right but to do what is right irrespective of interpretation or perspective. You made your brood your life work and now as you rest in the room well prepared for you in heaven, I choose to honor you by acknowledging that apologizing doesn’t make me the smaller man.

Of the many lives you so passionately shaped, I can still hear the anguish as your absence sinks in. Encouraging and understanding, you were never a pit boss whose skill was in the dexterity of her card shuffling. You hated gambling anyway but I must acknowledge that you raised 6 kids in arguably one of the roughest cities and today we all stand in different cities and continents to honor you. That is what you deserve at the very least. Thank you mommy! For all the sacrifice, ‘thank you”. For all the pain unwillingly caused, ‘I’m sorry mommy’ but now I still hear you say, ‘not everyone can be like you but remember that all of God’s creation have one head just as you do.’

Adieu mommy! Let us take this on and run with it so that generations ahead will have a piece of you in their hearts. I love you, rest easy!

A Measure of Anger…..

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Little stone bridge

Woke up feeling bruised and nostalgic, then my eyes fell on a pair of camo pants that I received as an exchange gift when I had the opportunity of working with some operators from the Forsvarets Spesialkommando (FSK). A reminder of who I used to be, what I wanted to be and who I have become and I thought it rather whimsical as I also remembered the Norwegian fairy tale of the three Billy goats Gruff. In times such as these, I grapple with the mystery of human life and the lonesome way it gets when you feel all by yourself and then you are confronted with several options but the choice of just one. You play it over and over in your head wondering at the possible outcomes and their relationship to where you are currently. Taking a swan dive of the cliff edge into the water below….

Four characters (3 billy goats – Gruff Sr, Gruff, Gruff Jr and a nasty troll), a stone bridge separating hunger and satisfaction and a fast-flowing river; a fairy tale with lots of ‘what ifs’. Now Billy goats are averse to water but the bridge offered them safety and oh boy, were they hungry but all that separated them from assuaging their hunger was the little stone bridge….and what lurked beneath it. But alas, there’s always more to life than meets the eyes and several versions of this tale plays in our lives. We must look beyond the stifling and overwhelming pressure of our immediate circumstances and search out that glimmer of hope. However the finest of roses must be cleverly taken from its bed of thorns. Trolls still exist and right from the Aesop tales, they have never capitulated to the many wishes that they would give up their odious nature and just for once be a friend.

We largely know that desperate times call for desperate measures because it was a well known fact that beneath that tiny bridge spanning the gap between a need and its solution, in this case hunger and abundance, lurked a troll who gobbled up everything that tried to cross that bridge. I’m pretty sure the word ‘bully’ resonates with the mention of the troll. As the hunger pangs grew in the bellies of the goats, they strategized and came up with a plan; a plan just as bold as it was daring. The youngest goat, Gruff Jr made its way, frightened to its core, across the bridge and true as was expected, out popped the troll threatening to gobble up the kid billy. ‘Oh dear troll, I’m but the youngest of 3 and judging by your size, I doubt if I would satisfy you however if you let me pass then my older brother who is bigger than me would come along and you can have your fill with him.’

With that, the troll’s greed was stoked and he let him pass. The same thing played out with the 2nd Billy Gruff who also pointed out the seemingly senseless point of gobbling him up when the largest Billy Gruff would more than satisfy the troll. So right as rain, two members of the Gruff family made it across unharmed. Oh how excited the troll was, he had waited this long and was going to get his hunger completely assuaged. Prancing back and forth he caught sight of Billy Gruff Sr and knew then that patience was truly a virtue regardless of who practices it. With nothing to lose, Billy Gruff Sr with just a hint of trepidation in his steps began the obviously terrifying walk across the bridge. As the troll hopped about in excitement, the Billy Gruff Sr picked up his steps into a canter and before the troll could interpret the situation, Gruff Sr lowered his head and rammed his horns with all his strength right into the thick hide of the troll. With a loud shriek of pain and an even louder splash, the troll was thrown off the bridge and safely all 3 were united and ate their fill of the luscious grass as the troll was swept away by the stream.

Trust

As I look at today’s circumstances, I’m forced not just to acknowledge the despair but also the fear that comes with despair. But like the Gruffs, I choose each day to put the fear aside and focus on the light at the end of the tunnel or the solution on the other side. In choosing to believe in myself, I realize that most times, we are thoroughly equipped to face whatever situation life throws at us. It’s just a question of fear or faith; what dominates our thoughts and actions. There will always be trolls, be they naysayers or haters, but what matters the most is we must choose faith over fear or remain petrified, unable to move. There’s no temptation that comes our way that catches God unaware, and that includes covid-19, the novelty of the virus is no different than the dystonia and myoclonus that is trying so hard to stupefy me but nonetheless God promises us a way out if only we can listen and be obedient.

Now I’m in no way diminishing the severity of our circumstances, I’m just saying there’s always a way to see the brightness of the sun – be it in the form of obeying public health guidelines, assisting others safely and just doing the simple things but more importantly realizing that there’s refuge, protection, provision and wisdom in the city of righteousness with God as its Sovereign Ruler. Two words – Trust and Obey, no vagueness or ambiguity in their definition. We have used them many times but now is the time to walk the talk, and therein lies the difference. Am I going to pile up more nights and shut out the light of day or endure each night whilst anticipating the joy that comes with the day because as long as there’s night then the day must come, regardless of whether it’s daylight saving or not?

It’s no fluke of nature or a decision by the constellation of stars that we are where we are and yes it’s a far cry from what we imagined but if we begin by being grateful that we aren’t what we used to be then that’s a good start. Let the rage be stoked until we do something positive, because by our actions, we inadvertently make the path less burdensome for those coming behind us. A merry heart is good medicine for the body but the joy of that simple phrase is that though our bodies be broken and held together by duct tape and soldering lead, our hearts cannot be reached unless we hand it over. We can rail at the circumstances all day but I bet that it achieves nothing so why devote energy to the things we have absolutely no control over, when we can achieve much more by attending to the little things we can change.

Lord, grant me the serenity to submit the things I cannot change to You, the strength to change what I can and the wisdom to tell the two apart!

עד שניפגש שוב, אני מתפלל שפרצופו יאיר עליך לטובה!
Adios!

SOAR

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A poem composed and written by the Red Phoenix. Gives me such an honor to share it with you.

My place is in hitherto uncharted territories

SOAR


“The sky’s the limit,”
My mom says
“Aim for the moon,”
My dad says

My expectations are high
But I still want to be
The bird that learns how to fly

Opportunities are limitless
Barriers can be broken down
Time won’t be on our side
To help save the memories stolen

The world is my stage
And I am a beacon of light
Called to clear all darkness
With God’s holy name

I choose to let go of the railing
The doubts and the no’s
The disbelief written all over their faces
I want to let it all go

With one push
Both hands off
Suspended mid-air
I SOAR

– Red Phoenix

Year 2020

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I’m absolutely delighted to post this piece from my daughter……the better version of me by all standards!

Many people think 2020 should be forgotten, but this is actually the most important year of our lives. This is the year that will force us to overcome the spirit of slumber. This is the year that yells for us to acknowledge the pain that people of color have to endure. This is the year that forces us to identify the different point of views that have been ignored because we refuse to embrace equality and change. This is the year that fuels the passion within, waiting for the moment to build up and pour out onto the streets…

Into the hearts of the Justice System….

Into the hearts of our everyday neighbors.

The heart of humanity.

This is the year that all voices will rise up while the passion behind the words will touch every soul on the earth. This is the year that we will stand up and march alongside each other to the beat of our hearts. The same hearts that were created by our lord Jesus Christ. This is the year of hope; the year to remember!

Written by Red Phoenix

What’s Normal?……

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What next?


‘Daddy, have you written anything recently?’ This has become almost a chant from my daughter and it is quite difficult explaining the oft frequently encountered hassles associated with writing however it brings me much joy as I see her scribbling away (writing yet another poem) in the middle of a television show usually our attempt to catch up with what’s going on. Nope, it’s no sabbatical but it just seems the right thing to do in a world where the word ‘normal’ has become a concept to understand each new day. Just like watching the birth pains of a mother-to-be, I know that we’re yet in the middle of the birth of a new season as consternation is etched on the brows of so many, nonetheless I know just like I live and breathe, that with every season, we will most certainly emerge changed in so many ways. I have refused to write because in so many times – past and present, I have treasured the silence and the physical companionship of the few I am honored to call friends in the midst of really adverse times.

Where and how did we get here? A question I have asked myself countless times in the past and the issues are real; we have become overwhelmed by the inordinate desires of a few strategically placed individuals. However seeking to understand their thought process will just be a journey in a gigantic maze; every turn and twist leading us further into a labyrinth that seemingly has no end. I live with hope inexhaustible because of the invaluable sacrifice of The Cross and The Death, and because of that, there need not be and can not be any more death worthy of such an impact. Like the guard asleep at his watch point, we have been beset by contemporary issues that have their origins in centuries past. Issues that were never really entirely dealt with. Now they emerge from the woodwork, no longer taking solace in the darkness but strutting around in full glare, and the consequences are in play today.

I pray most sincerely for the lives lost needlessly and I have sat in silence with grieving ones as they try to make sense of a seemingly senseless situation. I know it, I have lived it, I still live it but while the end might not seem in sight, in my heart I know that an end looms but that’s not what needs to be said at the moment. I can only grieve with the hundreds of thousands, casualties of pride and ignorance. Destruction comes hastily on the heels of ignorance and the liberty which has been so casually taken for so long now is being seen clearly and the huge expense with which it was obtained. Thrust in the churning waters of an unbridled waterfall, we can only pray and act in faith, trusting that we are not plunging headfirst to our deaths even as we grasp for something to hold on to. Numbers are no longer just digits, they represent lives; lives that were paid for by the costliest of sacrifices. As mortals, we are grossly incapable of creating lives so it is a profound responsibility to treat every life not unctuously but with some modicum of respect.

Hope exists!

Dystonia; an unwelcome company reluctantly refusing to cooperate or at the very least go its own way independent of mine, yet I still have more issues beset me and I am learning new tricks even as my knees creak with each step I take, I am confident that there is purpose to it all. It definitely doesn’t appear to make any sense still but there must be hope in purpose otherwise we will be trodden to death underfoot by the rushing masses seeking to escape this unrelenting and inevitable global confusion. This truth I share as often as I can, ‘wherever you’re today, you were placed there for a reason; either to teach or learn!’ however if the intoxicating fumes of power and wealth rob you of reason, it’s an exercise in futility to think that nothing will change. Woe betide those who have lost all reason and have gotten inebriated on what they know nothing about; let those who think they stand be careful because their fall will be catastrophic.

I am glad that even in the chaos, there’s always something to be grateful for and I am grateful for a lot – for the Zoom call with all my siblings after almost 7years of ‘each man to his/her tent’, I am thankful that I am alive and can still be a friend to that one individual who thinks they’re in it all by themselves. I am thankful that God has given me friends that have transcended friendship to brotherhood, always ready to pick me up when I cry out but most importantly I am thankful that I have a God who knows my name despite being Sovereign over all things, I am grateful that not a hair on my head falls to the ground without His knowledge and permission (I’m beginning to really thin on the crown of my head…). He is The One who I go to for refuge and solace because I have since given up on trying to understand the ‘whys’. So hear me out, amidst the grief and loss and the murkiness of today’s uncertainties. I am grateful that now I can empathize more than before and act with knowledge. I am grateful for my brother who suffered a mild stroke and is fully recovered because I know illness is no small burden but like the stone skipping across the waters, there’s always ripples spreading out to those around you.

Today I say that all I need, all I’ve ever needed was and is still ‘You, Lord!’ and amidst the indefinable moments that’s all you need too because there can be no life if there is no hope. Regardless of where you are at this moment, all we need is Him. I say this despite those who think of me with scorn or those who treat or have treated me with varying levels of insouciance, I can’t be the perfect person no matter how hard I may try so kindly tolerate my idiosyncrasies (you don’t know the journey I’m currently on). If you see a need, you can do something about it; give less thought to the size of your actions or whether they’ll be appreciated, just do what you need to and move onto the next life in the ladder of lives we each are honored to come across in our life journey.

Remember that even in the valley of dry bones, hope lives and all we need do is cling to that hope because He knows your every hurt, and circumstances be damned, He is most assuredly actively involved in the affairs of man which inextricably encapsulates all of the issues which plague you and me. Time like everything else can be contextual or seen from a perspective so know that His delays are by no means denials, it would be much more lighter when we succumb to His call and leading. There’s hope eternal and it exists only in Him. Even when I don’t see or feel that He is working, He never stops – the very same applies to you too!

עד שניפגש שוב, אני מתפלל שפרצופו יאיר עליך לטובה!

Adios!

Contentment….

Standard

What does it really mean to be content? Because I opine that you cannot be what you do not understand and so yesterday was another sore reminder that contentment is a function of the relationship you have with One who is everything and a total submission to His Will not yours. Considering I cut my teeth in the banking sector, I abhor banks because they are and always will be ‘the merchant of Venice’ and yesterday brought that bile to the fore.

Contentment isn’t about what you’re able to gather, it’s knowing that regardless of how good or bad a day is, provision, security, purpose comes from God. And He’s no man that is variable or besmirched by the brush strokes of unfaithfulness. And so when days come around that seem to nullify the effort you put into it, it serves us well to remember that there’s just One approval that counts. If He’s not complaining, why should we? In order to change someone’s story, we should have a life that displays a changed story or else it’s akin to peddling what you don’t even have.

Today, I’m thankful for another new day. Yesterday’s over and done with and so it’s time to choose; wallow and deprecate about yesterday or stand tall and ready to do something new today. I choose the latter even when it seems natural for me to feel bad. For every new day, I’m thankful at the end because I choose to search for the light in an ordinarily dark day. It’s actually that simple but difficult however there’s strength to keep it simple and I pray you encounter that strength today.

Adios!