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……

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“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!

About depths and heights….

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Undestanding height through depth!

There’s a big picture!

“To reach a great height, a person needs to have great depth” – Unknown

A couple of days ago, I wept! I failed a test that I had so long being preparing for, and it wasn’t just that I failed the test but I felt like I had failed myself after the unrelenting battle with myoclonus  (I’m still standing). Felt I had failed my very own because of the sacrifices we had made just to get to this stage, financial sacrifices, emotional sacrifices, the list seemed unending….but above all, it was a sore reminder that failure is an inevitable aspect of life. Needless to say, when you focus so much on the hurt and agony of hearing those words “I’m sorry, you failed!”, you fail to recognize that just like everything else, there’s a choice to be made. Pick yourself back up, more determined and more resolute or wallow in self pity and the dearth of hope that usually accompanies such situations.

Well, thanks to life’s experiences and the priceless support of JOIV, I chose the former – analysed my mistakes, went back the very next day and aced the very same test. It was a humbling reminder that even though at times, I feel like Superman considering where I’ve come from, I’m still human and it is clearly stated within the handbook that it’s neither strength nor swiftness that wins a race but the whom you choose to focus on. When the nerves flutter, and the winds buffet, when the clouds hang gloomy overhead; the question is who do you focus on because I can yet again say that we are most definitely limited in our output. It’s really not about just you, it’s about comprehending that there is a big picture. Height and depth are simply locations and both have lessons to be learned, whether we acknowledge those lessons and realize that our life is not just ours to do as we will, the outcome of our lives can be almost certain.

I have learned that failing strips me of the air of invincibility that I sometimes occasionally fall into, it pushes me to realign myself with my purpose and if I can’t get my purpose then what really is my worth. We each get drawn into the fallacy that success is only about winning but I beg to differ because you can only appreciate heights when you’ve appreciated depths. The best lessons are often learned during adverse times, accepting those lessons are our choice to make. The times we grope around in the valley are usually not that different from the times we luxuriate at the heights of the mountains, it’s the lessons and their application that are different.

The fact that I had bolstered and encouraged many to succeed whilst I had failed was further driven home by the loneliness I experienced. There will be times when it’s just you and you alone, you just have to work through the pain and draw the strength that’s so readily available when we are at our weakest. The challenge is that more often than not, we allow ourselves to succumb to the pressure of allowing ourselves be defined by the wrong standards. When we were made, the mould was broken and that says in no little way that God believes we each are His masterpiece – how we embrace that fact goes a long way in determining how we make it through life. I chose again to remind myself that my life is worth more than failing a test, it is also an opportunity to learn what mistakes I should not make going forward because the journey is forward going not standing still in a puddle of tears. What does not kill you only makes you stronger! Am I focusing on being nearly slain or I’m focusing on the new reserves of strength that’s being availed to me?

All around us are people who are facing their own unique experiences, are we going to become weary of well doing just because of a minor setback? My answer is no; because you can only receive when you have created space by giving and for as long as you give, you will never run out. Life events might infer the contrary but the truth is that givers never lack, wisdom and knowledge is meant to be shared not hoarded. Today, I am paces ahead because of that failure and I’m emboldened to strive ahead each new day, good or bad, high or low – this is a journey and the finish line has been predetermined, completing my journey or not is mine to decide. I’ve got all the help I need because my life is purpose driven and I’m fully equipped by The One who delights in my living. I choose not to dwell on just one aspect of life because there is definitely more than one aspect. Regardless of how thin a slice of bread is, it’s still got two sides.

We are all created to attain great heights but in order for us to do that, we must have great depth or else ours will be an incomplete mix with more than a pinch of woe and misery. In order to become champions, we must learn from the defeats we sometimes suffer. Today, I am reminded that I am more than a conqueror through Christ Jesus, all the hard work is done and so when I fail, it’s a reminder that my success is already predetermined but I must learn and move on with the lessons. There is so much to life than just prejudiced definitions, make your own definitions and move along with your own convictions – you are being an asset to more than just yourself, which I think is the very essence of not being an island unto ourselves.

As we take each day as it comes, let us remember that the choices we make are not just going to impact ourselves…..when we do remember that, then we will experience the pleasures of both the heights and the depths. At every location, there are lives around us that we can bless, let’s not grow weary but continue in doing good works because it is better to wear out than rust away.

עשוי לעמוד בפני ברקו בנעימות עליך עד שנפגש שוב!

Adios!

It’s just the broom…..

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Do it well!

                      Do it well!

“Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance” – Will Durant

I really don’t know how long ago I actually put myself to work (on my feet) armed with paper towels and a bottle of windex glass cleaner, but as the task went on, I realised that with every wipe of the glass, not only did I rightly anticipate the associated physical discomfort, but what was much more satisfying was how much grime was sacrificed to let in brighter light. Now it was not as though the glass pane was thoroughly dirt streaked or an eyesore however it sure could look better and it did look better at the end. The satisfaction I derived from something so mundane in nature was mine to savor because I succeeded in putting to rest the fleeting worry of ‘can I do this?’

I learn each day that we are solely responsible for the paths we choose to walk on, however my question to myself each time is ‘was the choice really mine or was it just me living out someone else’s goal like a puppet?’ Now if the answer is the former, then I have succeeded in pushing back the drapes of ignorance just a little bit more. However if the answer is the latter, then corrective actions need to be promptly taken to get back on track. Why? You can never give what you don’t have and I’m not taking about something loaned to you by a friend/associate or whoever, I’m talking about ownership and responsibility. These words represent values that are gradually becoming extinct and in all reality, it’s not raising as much furore as the extinction of the dinosaurs but in order to inch forwards towards the lofty goals set, we may have to experience some discomfort. Is this a case of the end justifying the means? Absolutely not! I dare say that it is you realising who you are and regardless of the mistakes we might make, nothing triumphs the satisfaction of being you.

Like I said in my last post, the recent weeks have not just been hectic but they have actually tested my resolve as a human being (especially one facing the challenges of myoclonus head on), whilst being cast alongside the hordes of humans that surround us everyday. The question is are you just part of a surging population or you are willing to break the mould, open up that closet and do some spring cleaning. Now would very well be the best time. In times like this, where we are surrounded by technological advancements and giant leaps, the fundamentals can not be forgotten – that in itself would be as grave an injustice as can be. I remember my first lesson as a kid, just recently assigned my daily chores comprising making my parents’ bed and sweeping their bedroom – armed with a broom (sic), brush and dustpan, I recall how difficult it used to be initially, ensuring that the broom stayed right in front whilst steering it in broad arcs (as far as my tiny arms could) gathering the dust, dirt and whatever else right to the point where you could sweep it all into the dustpan and call it a day. Sometimes in a bid to do something more pleasurable to me, I’d sometimes let the broom get behind me and usually, I was compelled to redo it all over again.

My issue is how many times have we allowed our resources master us as against it being the other way round? Are we certain that the satisfaction that accompanies fulfilling a task is worth the effort put into it? Wednesday was yet another learning point for me, as I watched an intern drop out of training because he didn’t ‘think’ his training was a process that would culminate in achieving a goal and that the risk was not commensurate with the income. Now, in retrospect, I believe that many of us have not really set in motion the process of educating ourselves because we have become so complacent that even our choices are not really ours anymore. It’s a tirade of ‘my friend convinced me to’ or ‘I’m expecting a baby so my mum suggested I need to make more money’…. I could go on and on but in all reality you are the one in the race and when the cards don’t line up and you get so frustrated that you get inducted as a member of the Quitters’ Society, it’s you making that choice. Ever heard of ‘winners don’t quit and quitters don’t win’? I am yet to see this time proven statement revised so that it encompasses things like disabilities or restrictions, for me; it’s just two classes of individuals – winners and quitters.

Assuredly, the process can so beat you up that you just want to throw in the towel but if you do, what new lesson have you learned about yourself. We all have the ability to dream be it; opening a haberdashery or establishing your own firm or refusing to be perpetually beat up by a disability, whatever it is; You choose to continue or give up. It is no new fact that the cemetery is an expansive collection of unused potentials and great ideas just because many have shirked away from facing the hard work ahead but instead want to jump the broom and land in the kingdom of Oz. Remember you also have to click your heels and put on the dress too, however if you are so ensconced in running away from work then you’ll never get anything done. I see people on a daily basis throwing away chances of self fulfilment just because they lack the resolve to put their backs into it. Yes, people may yell and scream when you make mistakes but remember that life in itself is a learning curve and I am yet to see and/or hear of anyone who has never made a mistakes. Mistakes just teach us ways of not doing things inimical to our progress.

Each new day like today, is yet another opportunity to decide and take action. Do away with the incessant whining and being mummy’s boy and do something for you because each time you opt to jump the broom, guess what you’ve just left behind…..the opportunity of having a clean room and the joy of accomplishment. Ther are no set down timelines for us and so we must make hay while the sun shines because whether we like it or not, we don’t control time and there will certainly come a time when the sun goes down and you can collect no more hay. Work smart is the fad now but you must first work hard so you can learn also how to become smart and then apply it. It’s more than just living your life out there on social media (do you really believe people are that focussed on your everyday action?), do the honourable thing by showing people values like inspiration, commitment, dedication and more importantly the capacity to care about others. When that room is swept and all tidied up, it sure ain’t going to be you alone who will some day and at some point, make use of that room.

Our actions today, impact on others and on our tomorrow and so whilst you are at it, make it a goal to be the best you can ever be, because there is really just one of you. Do away with the ‘Somebody, Nobody, Anybody, Everybody’ poem and just do you; that is really all you can do anyway. You can influence the actions of others but you can’t make choices for them and if perchance you’re one of those who are so ‘protective’, that bird will never experience the thrill and satisfaction of flying with its own wings. So instead of contributing positively, you’ve chosen to put out an uninformed and irresponsible person in addition to the countless others that are already wandering about, desperately searching for something they won’t even recognise when they see it. We must all have something to believe in, why don’t you start with yourself – that’s all you’ve really got anyway. And if you make a hash of it at some point (we are all learning anyway), chuck the experience behind you but move on with the lesson learned. Life has been likened to many things; it is like a classroom but you had better know why you are there and want to be there or you’ll just be a rabble rouser (if you’re even that good).

Remember, it’s better late than never. It’s never too late to begin again whilst there’s still breath within you. The world is already sad enough without your own addition, be the difference – be the game changer, be an inspiration, be the considerate one, be the one who exudes joy, be the encourager, be the difference between someone giving up and someone choosing to strive for change. It is a large world we are in but you can only do your bit and pray God makes it significant to another. There’s a huge difference between leaping in faith and jumping the broom, your convictions and choices will determine which route you take.

It’s dystonia month, and to the many champions out there, we can’t afford to put our oars down now. Let’s put our backs into it, make them aware and challenge them because if we can, what excuse would they have?

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

Adios!

Defined in defiance…….

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Bring it on!

                                              Bring it on!

Every great man, every successful man, no matter what the field of endeavor has known the magic that lies in these words: every adversity has the seed of an equivalent or greater benefit” – W. Clement Stone

Sometimes, usually most times, the best of us is glimpsed when the going is at its most toughest. It is no huge fear of intellectual superiority that brings the realisation upon us, that we all must have some sort of anchor even as we sail on life’s unpredictable waters. The question is when the storm hits, how firmly tethered are we to our anchor and more importantly what are we anchored to? It has always been a much easier route to just allow ourselves to be like flotsam on the seas however what exactly is the achievement of flotsam but to serve as deterrents, chaff and sometimes nourishment for another living organism but one with properly defined purpose.

I hit one of my low ebbs yesterday and it is quite difficult but oddly familiar encountering the blank stares from people when the subject of dystonia is brought to the fore. Well, nothing really to be alarmed about because this is from the journey of one who has had the very rug swept so violently from beneath him that calling it a fall would be be a stunning display of tactfulness and diplomacy. I have witnessed, sometimes in such an emotional rollercoaster of a ride that even vertigo is almost blissful, the depths of strength that we unknowingly possess and just like the five foolish virgins, we allow the best moments pass us by because we have failed to understand the times and therefore are ill-prepared when those moments arise. Nurturing that seed discovered during great diversity is definitely not a task for the faint hearted, it is what truly defines you however it frequently is associated with the tenacity to defy the odds so heavily stacked against us.

There is nothing that cannot be achieved when we truly set our minds, apply ourselves to and keep our heads and eyes uplifted even in the face of smirking attitudes of detractors and naysayers. Do give it some thought; because one of the very first lessons I learnt in science is that nature/life abhors vacuum and so regardless of your indifference, you are either helping prop people up or simply put, you are gleefully tearing others down or so viciously attempting to do so. Hey! You must be on one side and unfortunately the skill set to vacillate between both ends is yet to be created, so where does that put you? Facing the struggles of pulling yourself up is no mean task and quite daunting I must admit. However, the strength to push through the odds and limitations that we have been unwillingly thrust into is the beginning of a signature lifestyle that will be an example for many.

As I toiled with my perceived failings of yesterday, I was quietly reminded by JOIV that I am usually my worst critic and sometimes we need to be reminded of where we have come from. Dwelling on the successes of the past has the ability to either make you a dreamer with no urge to wake up from the self-induced slumber or it can challenge you to make today count with its own share of success, irrespective of how seemingly tiny the steps we have made. The bottom line is that it is best to totter forward on tiny steps, with the appropriate attitude of gratitude to God who is in charge and quietly steering us towards an end that is simply incomprehensible when we dare to imagine, than slide backwards. The reality is not that we are limited by dystonia or whatever fancy words that science has so eagerly tagged these limitations but how desperate are we to defy these convoluted words and constraints, and actually use the broken bricks in our life to fashion something worthy of being a Masterpiece. That has always been what we are, we just so obviously lack the knowledge and understanding!

The great heroes from the past had their own struggles, not like dystonia some will vociferously argue however these heroes would not be if they had succumbed to their limitations. Moses was a stutterer, Peter was uneducated, Paul was a fanatic and yet they changed their world, defying authority and the traditions of men that had been blindly followed for centuries. Beethoven defied deafness, Handel defied blindness, need I mention Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder and Fanny Crosby? They were defiant and refused to succumb to an acceptable symbol of helplessness, instead they defined themselves through these limitations and so I  dare to ask myself, why not? I am unashamed to say that defying odds is no easy task and of course there will be days like yesterday where your limitations best you and ignorant people amuse themselves at your expense but then they are doing what they can only do, they did not create me and so why should I let their ignorance and misplaced priorities define me. That call is mine to make, and that towel will never be thrown into the ring regardless of how unsteady I seem or whether tremors are seen as fear or some other unrelated emotion.

I am defined not by the utterances of men but the carefully crafted promises of an infallible God, who does what He says He will do and without counsel from anyone – who dares to counsel Him anyway? Who can rewrite His script for my life? Who can relocate me from where He has placed me or has a better destination for me than His? He has blessed me and so what can stand against that? And so even as I set my face like flint, with the radiance of His beauty illuminating my paths, I know that I can do all things because He’s my strength and what inexhaustible reserves are available to me. I have walked through the valley at its darkest and emerged strengthened not weakened. Stumbled through thorns and emerged with the fragrance of the roses permeating my life. It is with this encounters that I am convinced that despite the low of yesterday’s experience, today is the present and marks yet another opportunity to have a better day – that is the choice I have made already in the wee hours of today. I am committed to finishing well not just for me but as a symbol of appreciation for the gift of my life, and the lives of a myriad of others that I am privileged to meet.

Remember this, no other man has the capacity to define your life but you and so instead of rolling over like a possum and play dead, I arise today determined to make it count for good. My limbs may tremble, doubts may lurk at the corners waiting to jump out but I will be defiant in the face of all the odds and make my journey worthwhile. That is what I, at the very least owe myself because there will always be many others craving for that ember of hope just to persevere, and that is what I can and do give.

פרידה עד Continue reading

Second chances, One change…..

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Make that chance count!

 Make it count!

Separation is almost as applicable to man as is the desire for the achievement of set goals and dreams. When a man (or woman) is stripped bare of the fineries of material riches and geographical comfort, our response or reaction usually marks the distinguishing factor between individuals. I’ve had friends break away from glitz, glamour and fame just to go into isolation and rehab because the clarity of realisation suddenly dawns on them that there’s so much more to life than what today’s world offers. Am I inferring reclusion as being the best way of life? That I certainly am not doing….however I acknowledge that most times, change is preceded by separation or else how would you achieve any change by remaining in just that one spot?

I was recently faced with a friend’s dilemma (and when I say friend, I mean that he’s not just kicking cancer’s butt, but he is also one of the nicest and most modest people I’ve been blessed to meet). It was actually one of those ‘moments’ for me, when he told me that he’d been diagnosed with cancer, and yet you could see that he was committed to making every moment count each time we interacted.  It’s funny but the best perspectives are usually gotten from people who have had their fair share of life throwing both the kitchen sink and the entire plumbing at them. Now it’s more meaningful to me why he was so beat up when I recall our last conversation. He’s an instructor and as is the norm today, a basic requirement for any career/job/internship is the inevitable drug test. What was his dilemma? He just lost a couple of his bright student trainees because they failed their drug test/urine-analysis and he was so beat up about it because he felt that these people were trying to turn their life around and for some reason, the system would not let them.

Now that right there is the beauty of association, it offers a different perspective because when I heard the news, I took the well trodden path that people should assume responsibility for the consequences of their actions (more of harsh truth, less of tenderness…oops!). I opined that it is common knowledge that you must pass a drug test prior to being accepted as a new employee or as an intern, and just incase my opinion is skewed….it is always clearly stated in bold print usually that one of the first requirements is that you are subjected to and must pass a drug test. It’s done everywhere; sports, blue and white-collar jobs, even in jail and so more often than not, you have the opportunity to discontinue what wrong habit you have been indulging in (separate yourself) because chances for change do not come everyday. I feel bad hearing such news and it’s closer to heart when I am somewhat involved with such persons. Why is it so difficult for people to admit to themselves the truth that they’ve made mistakes or are still making them but are man enough to be willing to face the consequences? From experience, the consequences (when there’s an admission, realisation and repentance) are a little more than a smack on the back of their hand because not only is forgiveness divine but there’s a love so profound that when we do acknowledge and give in to it, we luxuriate in the truth that He’s borne it all just for you.

The startling truth is that, more often than not, we reject the most profound of loves and the best of relationships and naively or ‘wisely’ choose the ever-present short cuts in life and convince ourselves into believing that we can get to a destination on our own terms without breaking a sweat. Nope! Life is one hard task master; so experience has taught me that the short cuts in life are usually still under construction and so in our bid to be smart, we find ourselves stuck all by ourselves surrounded by others like us amidst tons of debris, completely unable to make it to the other end. (And I kid you not when I say that’s definitely not a venue for making worthwhile relationships, heck!you cannot stay calm or be at your best whilst you’re being smothered and sucked under debris). Is life unfair? It sure has to be in order to accommodate everyone, the difference is our response to our perceived unfairness of life. Separation is indeed a hard choice to make, sometimes we don’t even get to claim the bragging rights, because it’s just what it is at that moment of intervention. In hindsight however, separation precedes change. We have all been given second chances, some are on their ninth chance but irrespective of it being your second or ninth, it’s still another chance and could very well be the last.

The trifling issue is if we are ready to make that change, then the harsh losses associated with separation is something that we must be ready to put up with. The pains arising from withdrawal symptoms, the discomfort of the transformation, the loneliness et al are things we must be prepared to face. I remember the words of my swimming instructor during my late teenage years when I had barely two weeks to learn swimming and prepare for a comprehensive certification exam; a prerequisite for working in the oil sector…”keep your eyes focussed on the prize (in this scenario, it was the end of a 50m pool) and as long as you see that wall, I know you’ll ace the test”. Needless to say, I did both of us proud by passing my certification exam in swimming and today, swimming still remains one hobby that is no longer just a means to an end but it’s become many things; therapy, an avenue to meditate and a place to clear my head.

Now, unfortunately for many of us, we convince ourselves that we can beat these tests of life – I’ve heard quite a few ‘intelligent’ comments –

‘buy a bottle of detox (I don’t even still know what that is) and drink it at least 48 hours prior, then you will be fine!’ (#geniusforfree)

‘get someone to pee for you, so you can swap the containers cos your employers don’t really care how you pass’

‘turn up your charm knob to the maximum, and talk your way through it, they’ll remember your personality and not care about your performance!’

I can go on and on but in all reality, there’s usually always one casualty and that’s you. When we realise that it’s in our nature to err, we must always realise also that for us to be better, we must separate ourselves from that recurring error (elementary mathematics!). Admission always precedes repentance! If we don’t, the change that you so desperately crave will be gone before you even realise it, and not only does it ruin your chance for change but it gets put on your personal records (personal yet public) – still grappling with what I just said? I leave it to your imagination to paint the domino effect you’ve just set in play that will irretrievably affect your future. Regardless of the errors we made in the past, remember that there will be an opportunity to right that wrong and therefore we must be prepared to recognise the chance when it comes and make that change we so desperately need.

‘He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep, just to gain that which he cannot lose’ – Jim Elliot. We are all created for a purpose, the passion needed to fulfil that purpose is inherent in us but first we must pass through the ordeal of separation so as to emerge tried, tested and proven. As we face our fears, let us confront them with faith that despite the glaringly difficult and thorny road that stares us in the face, there are roses too, but run we must because the moment we stop running with God who alone can strengthen you, then we feel the thorns prickling us on all sides. God never promised us smooth sailing, but He did promise that He’d be with us through it all and guess what….we will see clearly when the rain is gone. Our lives depend so greatly on how much of our good (status, riches, comfort..) we are willing to sacrifice for the best that we deserve, and even though we be besieged on all sides be it in the form of dystonia or cancer or addictions or the relentless pressure from the world to be someone else, we must keep our eyes open and make that chance count.

The chance to be nice, the chance to be less self-centred and more selfless, the chance to be a shoulder for another, the chance to rewrite our story and give another hope just from reading it, the chance to surmount our physical limitations and soar on wings as eagles, the chance to give and not always take, the chance to empathise and share another’s burden, the chance to love even if we’re not loved back, the chance to just sow some good in the lives we meet, the chance to be a friend to some stranger and/or be rebuffed but still not give up on other strangers, the chance to spread a message of love, hope and faith….because not only do we actually become better people when we take these chances but we also reach out and touch someone who is going through tough times and give them a reason to forge ahead. We can make it if we really want, but we must try – allow The Perfect One all the room He needs so He can take the wheel of our lives and steer us right. That should be our story, long told after we are gone, that he fought the good fight and now there’s an example to follow.

Remember, keep your eyes focussed on Christ cos He’s the author and finisher of our faith. Strap yourselves in, we’ve got some smooth sailing ahead and even when the storm hits as it will certainly do, pick yourself up because someday you’ll hear these words……’Land ahoy!’

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

Adios!