….Stripped bare!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

עד שנפגשנו שוב, אולי התענוגות שלו להיות העונג שלך לעשות

 Adios!

….your perspective?

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Lift up your eyes

Looking UP

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

I am fully recovered from my time with the Winchester 1200, the 91/30 Mosin Nagant amongst others and yes I am still dealing with the frosty displeasure of JOIV (for embarking on such activities, I understand and apologize) however I have and am fully committed to acknowledging that life is but a journey and today is the gift we will receive and so do what you have to do (the right things) because tomorrow you will have no regrets. Oh yeah, I do have to deal with the repercussions of subjecting this body to crossing the line that has all together become too close to me and yet I choose to go to bed each day, most times bruised and aching but nonetheless with a smile on my face.

I am still finding it extremely difficult to do an objective comparison between the health care I have received before now and the one I am receiving presently. Although the words – incurable, rare neurological disorder along side other big sounding no longer scary terms like ataxia etc, are still the same but they are delivered in such a beautiful and concerned manner that my convictions about never succumbing to whatever it is remains unmoved. I know countless many out there who either by ignorance or sheer helplessness have become victims and yet I am also acknowledging with thumbs up raised, those that have chosen to stay down in the trenches because whether the war is won or lost, you will always be a victor.

It is less than 72 hours since my last review with the wonderful medical team that I have been blessed with, and I know that whilst I may not know the length of time ahead, I am convinced that I am having and will have the best days of my life. That remains my choice and even as I battled to ease the usual anxiety that accompanies my every visit to the hospital or tried to explain to the harried nurse why she would never be able to take my blood pressure with the beautiful electronic sphygmomanometer, I steeled myself with the beautiful truths that I keep forever in my sights……surmised in the beautiful quote by Maya Angelou. Events are ceaseless and sometimes beyond our control but how these events play out is a thing that we definitely have control over.

One of the phrases/questions that has bemused me in the past days is ‘how are things looking?’ I love photography and one of the first lessons I learned was that whatever you can see in the lens is what gets captured in the picture and so when I lift up my eyes to the hills where my strength comes from (that is within my control, regardless of blepharospasm) then inadvertently everything around me has no other option but to look up. Now the picture of our lives is simply a reflection of what we have chosen to look at. Regardless of your physical and/or geographical location, perspective will always be defined by the choice you make with your eyes and your mind. Now correct me if I am wrong when I say those senses are still within your control, no matter how bad a condition you are in. I can recollect with clarity, the humorously creepy stuff we used to do whilst in high school – a friend of mine would tape his eyelids to his forehead in a bid to keep awake so as to study and would inevitably fall asleep with his eyes wide-open. Now that was a choice made!

And so even as I reminisce some of those days past gone, I realize that there were priceless lessons that have made me who I am today. Our purpose in life can only be attained when we refuse to be denigrated by whatever life throws at us because our choices, no matter how little they may be, will always count for something. Even if the FICO god has not heeded our supplications, there is One who is more than able to help us through whatever storm we are in but hold on a minute, we have to look up in earnest and in utter dependence on His ability to see us through and not just see us through but do so in such a manner that we emerge at the end (from the furnace/storm) with the best fragrance that cannot be fathomed by those who have given up on us and those who have made themselves silent spectators (#haters). 

“Every man must do two things alone; he must do his own believing and his own dying” – Martin Luther. For me, I have learned that no one else has plans that can completely encapsulate you, so why not make something out of what and where you are today. Not just for yourself (cos that would be selfish and small) but for the benefit of the one or two that will cross paths with you. Make each day a lesson, an example for others to follow in today’s world because even in the dungeons there is hope, if only you can but lift up your eyes and so I say that being of good cheer is a choice that you can make whether your cards are maxed out, your employer has done the unthinkable, your assets have undergone a name change and the bills are billowing all around you like a discomfiting dust storm. Remember that the night may be long and seemingly unending, but discover and nurture that which has been placed in you, hold onto it because surely the day will come and then if, and only if you have sown, wait because surely there must be a harvest. That too must come……

Remember “I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God. Amen.” – MLK

עד שנפגש שוב בזמן שלו, לא דגל לבן הוא אי פעם הולך לתלות מהמשקוף שלי

Adios!