In the Eclipse……

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“The final mystery is oneself. When one has weighed the sun in the balance, and measured the steps of the moon, and mapped out the seven heavens star by star, there still remains oneself. Who can calculate the orbit of his own soul?” – Oscar Wilde

I remember vaguely the first time I witnessed a solar eclipse, and though there had been the usual fore-warnings, it still seemed very eerie. Suddenly but gradually watching the day turn to night and feeling as though time was standing still. I recollect wondering if that was how the end of the world would look like however several years later, with the benefit of knowledge and the chances I encountered, I know with absolute certainty that we will never tell what the future holds but we can with absolute certainty live our lives each day as though it were our last.

In the space of three days, I have sadly witnessed the passing on of three lives – three individuals who at different stages of my life left an impression on me. Even as I write now, it is still almost unreal however I know how fleeting life can be and how with the appropriate knowledge, we can make our lives at the very least count for something. A high school mate in his 40s, leaving behind a wife and two little kids. An amazing pastor in his 60s leaving behind a wife, two daughters and grandkids and most painful of all, a friend and sister succumbing to cancer just today. How do I feel? Shell-shocked and sorrowful but mourn them I will because it was indeed a privilege to have crossed paths and shared in each other’s life tales.

In the middle of the darkest phase of my life, when I was diagnosed with myoclonus dystonia, I remember how numbing it was to have my life turned upside down. And as I grappled with comprehending this major shift in my life, I desperately wanted to be left alone because I needed the time to process what life-transforming changes were taking place. Nonetheless, it is not unnatural to grieve but how we allow these moments of sheer grief and sorrow shape us is entirely up to each one of us. I remember how painful it was to lose everything that hitherto seemed priceless and begin to re-learn what the word priority meant and what things truly counted in life. I remember listening to the sermon titled ‘An ordinary life in the hands of an Extraordinary God!’ and bawling my eyes out as I sat unnoticed and brand new in Bethel London Riverside Church. For me, that was the beginning of another chapter of my life as I gradually began to make choices that counted for something.

That was where I met Pastor Ken Williamson; soft spoken and mild mannered along with a couple of others that I am truly honored to still call my friends. When I could barely afford the devastating fees associated with dystonia management, least of all muster the strength to feed myself, the church was there (a family of strangers bound together by the love of God) picking me up for service and dropping me off. Getting a welfare package regularly and getting to meet some of the nicest people on earth, I learned that it is really an awesome responsibility when your current location is but a vantage point that allows you see a need, because you see the need in order to attend to it. It is not all about money (that is a vital resource), it is the ability to put your storms/issues behind and stretch out a hand to someone else who is at the risk of succumbing to their own storm. Life is a journey whose distance we will never know and so how wise is it to ensure that each day is lived as an expression of gratitude to God as well as an expression of kindness to the lives we come across.

I remember vividly the first day I met Christina – jaunty and with a twinkle of mischief in her eyes and smile, clad in a simple black skirt and plaid shirt with tails tied together above her skirt. I remember how independent she always wanted to be, yet she never spared an ounce of kindness and concern wherever she was. That was the beginning of a relationship that would span a lifetime, through the good times and bad times. I remember being treated as a son by her parents, their house probably the only place I could get to without asking questions (I really suck with directions/navigation). I remember being there at the start of what would eventually be her marriage (recall her twinkly disbelieving laugh when I told her this was going to be it), and working very hard behind the scenes on her wedding day. Neither of us knowing where our paths would take us but completely eager to live a purposeful life.

And when my storms all but broke me down, she was there with me helping cater to the needs of my daughter and I. Selflessly setting her own issues afar and loving the best way only she could. And even when I got her to talk about her challenges, she did so with that unique style of making it sound as though it was nothing at all. A loyal friend, easy to talk with regardless of the thousands of miles that separated us – she was that friend who sticks closer than a brother. I remember the call, utter disbelief in her voice, informing me that she had been diagnosed with cancer. As always, I listened and together we encouraged ourselves, with me being the one with the ‘most’ experience. Reminding her that medical science can have its say but as long as we never give up, someday the eclipse would be over. Experience has taught me never to ask why because we actually lack the ability to comprehend even if we are privy to the answer. And when she told me that the doctors had said the chemotherapy was not working, I told her what I tell myself every morning – “this is my life and I choose to live it without surrendering!”

Today, I got the dreaded message and in this case, the third time wasn’t a charm in anyway. After a year of fighting hard, long after the date given by doctors, she finally succumbed and I envy her because I know for certain that she is finally rid of it all. She is in a place where there are no eclipses, where the horrifying grip of pain and anguish is not allowed….but still I mourn! I mourn because so many have intentionally deceived themselves into believing that money will get them the best boat, boats that have been certified ‘indestructible’ by men just like them. I mourn because amidst a world filled with hurting people, many intentionally turn a blind eye and when they are forced to see, their response is a torrent of meaningless ‘well-wishes’, copied prayers and total apathy. We will not be judged by what we have but rather what we have given, and someday when the inevitability of the end arrives, it will be clear what a life of misery and selfishness we have lived.

My battle is far from over but today I celebrate the lives of my friends whose giving has influenced who and where I am. I hoist aloft a banner of victory on their behalf, praying that when my time comes, someone will do the same for me. As I journey on with tattered sails, a battered vessel, I hear the voices rooting in my corner for me and the only option I choose is to pay it forward, regardless of recognition or reward. I choose to remember the words of William J.H. Boetcker that ‘the difficulties and struggles of today are but the price we must pay for the accomplishments and victories of tomorrow’ and so I press on even in the darkness of the eclipse, eyes searching out those who have all but given up. Giving a helping hand, listening ears and a piece of my bread so that together we will press on armed with the knowledge expressed by Elie Wiesel, ‘There are victories of the soul and spirit. Sometimes, even if you lose, you win!’

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

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!

Gone with the wind???….

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It is 3.40am and the very walls of the house are trembling as the winds buffet everything in its path and although it may be scary for many but for me, it is yet another silent message that nothing just happens and even when we are buffeted on all sides by the winds of life, realize that there is a purpose to it and whilst in the midst of the storm, it seems inexplicably difficult to acknowledge that – get this; it does not change that truth, nothing just happens.

It is two years now since I was officially diagnosed with this gargantuan medical challenge and neurological disorder and I can assure you all that it has been a gargantuan change to my life and just like St Jude as she howls and stamps her presence, so much garbage and debris has been blown out of my life, giving me the unique privilege of having a clearer perspective to those things that I once took for granted and appreciating better the gift of the Present. Making me realize that even amidst the howling winds, there can be peace within the storm not because of what may seem to be happening all around me but because I have chosen before now to define what my foundation shall be and having the certain assurance that regardless of this 89 mph wind gusts of St Jude, my anchor holds within the storm.

I watched with keen interest as the tree that stands in the front lawn relentlessly lost her leaves and as each leaf was torn off and blown away, it seemed such a hopeless and despairing event because those leaves have been torn off from the familiarity, security, comfort of home, not by choice but by events that they certainly had no say in. However, as each leaf was borne away, it also marked the beginning and end of another season. Now as I sit in silent contemplation of all the events that have taken place in my life within the last 24 months, I can enjoy the beauty of a whimsical smile because, what a journey it has been. From the very first moments, the words ‘rare and incurable’ were uttered by Adrian Casey, it has been a tumultuous journey. I recall the nights when the rumblings of my stomach were loud enough to be heard on the phone during international calls – not because they were symptoms of a movement disorder but from sheer hunger. I can remember the despondency I felt, the isolation, the many unanswered questions, the bleakness of the present then…..

Today as I yet again share my heart, I am thankful for the winds of St Jude that threatened at times to overwhelm me but that have unerringly blown me across the many paths of the beautiful people I can call friends today. I thank God for the times all the flights and trains were grounded (for safety reasons which I could not appreciate then), for the atrocious conditions that forced me to force my way forward, head down and scarf lifted with limited visibility, with nothing but just my faith and the infallible truth that I was created for a purpose and a much grander reason than I may have been able to imagine then. I have had my very moorings almost blown away, my foundations shaken, veneers of a past life peeled away painfully, exposed to the elements with nothing to seemingly live for. I have experienced the deepest betrayals by those I chose to have looked up to, been cast aside in derision like an old rag doll, ignored by those whom I weakly reached out for some assistance. I have experienced the depths of isolation and loneliness, cast and borne by the winds of change, away from what I called security and home before now. I have lost all that could be lost, shed tears from acute physical, mental and emotional pain but I am still standing today – what a journey it has been indeed.

Ironically St Jude according to Catholicism, is the saint for the hopeless and the despairing and how appropriately named is today’s windstorm. I have come to realize that each time I experience these storms, there is a better future awaiting me and I will always choose to believe that since I am still with breath, then I am but stronger in all aspects. Without these winds, I will not be doing this. Without these winds, I will not be blessed with the friends that I have made. Without these winds, I will not be who I am today and I know that I can never be gone with the winds because the winds are here just to move me to a better place and the stronger they are, the further and better a location I am getting to. The stronger it blows, the more unique individuals I get to come across albeit for a brief period of time and so I have learned to make every moment count because all I have is the now and so I have chosen to make everyone count. Now I can truly appreciate how blessed I am to be surrounded on all sides by a family defined not by blood but by the vicissitudes of life and the awesome realization that God alone rules over the affairs of men and therefore there is a purpose to everything.

I count myself blessed to be able to say ‘it has not been by strength or by might but by the provisions of a God whose love is so real and sincere’. I choose to lift my face in the winds, with my legs spread apart and my staff firmly held and just breathe words of thanksgiving for a journey that is bringing me to my expected end. For the lives that I have had the privilege of passing through, for the lives that have inspired me and been inspired by mine – no truer experience is worth reliving and despite the downs (countless they may have seemed then), the ups will forever be etched in my life. And whilst like a Lone Ranger it has seemed many times, I am truly grateful for the Tontos that have accompanied me each phase of this windstorm. I am thankful for the lesson that has taught me to understand that
encountered the most profound of moments and learned that life is like a coin, pleasure and pain are the two sides. Only one side is visible at times but remember that the other side is waiting for its turn to be visible.

And even as silence and calm precedes a fresh burst of wind, I have come to acknowledge that it is only the cowardly and foolish who believe that just because difficulties differ in intensity then they are immune to their own storms, however the wise use these moments of calm to hurriedly reach out and grasp a floundering arm, a struggling life and make a significant impact. Nothing lasts for ever and so dig deep and press on, for this storm is just for a season. You can choose to complain that roses have thorns or rejoice that thorns have roses, the choice is always yours to make. And as I wrap up this, I am thankful for you all that have been willing to share this journey with me and glad for the opportunity to have been bold enough to share it with you.

“I believe in going with the flow. I don’t believe in fighting against the flow. You ride on your river and you go with the tides and the flow. But it has to be your river, not someone else’s. Everyone has their own river, and you don’t need to swim, float, sail on their’s, but you need to be in your own river and you need to go with it. And I don’t believe in fighting the wind. You go and you fly with your wind. Let everyone else catch their own gusts of wind and let them fly with their own gusts of wind, and you go and you fly with yours.” – C. JoyBell C.

Remember that we are all creatures of purpose and pleasure, make every moment count because now is all you have – yesterday is gone and tomorrow is yet to come.

lמסתדר טוב עד שניפגש שוב בזמן שלו

Adios!

Family of strangers?….

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In the family, happiness is in the ratio in which each is serving the others, seeking one another’s good, and bearing one another’s burdens.” – H.W Beecher

Today, I met Angela at the bus stop and summer is finally over (what a beauty the weather is…). Angela responded to my ‘hi’ and despite the drizzle, we both agreed that it was such a wonderful weather. Noticing my tremors and my staff of authority, she enquired more and having never heard of Movement disorders or Dystonia, I was pleasant enough to show her my health card which explains Myoclonus and describes the symptoms (saves me from having to do much talking) and in addition, states my medication. Quite a handy card, I will say. Being a little bit distraught with what she read and observed, she kindly helped me into the bus 29 and shared my seat, peppering me with questions borne with loads of sincere care and concern. A grandmother of Irish descent, she encouraged me to visit Ireland someday and complemented my sense of humour and cheer despite the ominous words that describe my condition, before getting off a couple of stops later. With an extra boost to my spirit, I continued onwards to my medical consultation acknowledging that I can never be alone no matter how bleak the days may seem. I have got a family in over seven billion people.

As a little kid, one of the phrases continuously drummed into my ears and passed on from generation to generation is ‘Do not talk to strangers!’ and as the years fell away and maturity set in, there inevitably followed a change in perspective and a greater appreciation of these childhood phrases and the appropriate application of wisdom and understanding. I recall vividly the story of the Good Samaritan that back in the days was as good a bedtime story as any and the underlying meaning behind the story: good neighbors (family) are those who help when you are in need and in the words of Archbishop Desmond Tutu “You don’t choose your family. They are  God’s gift to you, as you are to them’. Now I have truly come round in my little circle of life to appreciate the depths of these words, family is not defined solely by blood but by a genuine expression of concern and affection and an unquenchable desire to help alleviate another’s burdens – that is what makes family. And as I plod through life, I am blessed to meet family in every race, of every age, tongue, religion. Hey! we all have one origin and One Father and so regardless of the inactions of a few, how doth that measure against the over 7 billion that populate the earth?

I love almond nuts, cannot seem to truly encompass the beauty of those little nuts but I sure do love them. On thursday, I met Dee for the first time, all the way from the States, my first meeting with a stranger who had heard of me and had determined to squeeze out some time during her hols with her large family to say hello. Knowing of my love for almond nuts, she had walked into a departmental store in the States, purchased that bag of almond nuts and travelled with it all the way just for me. What an enjoyable period of time we spent, talking about my challenges, the current medical procedures, life, hope and above all, the faith that so unerringly defines and dictates my life. Now many would say, what is a pack of almond nuts compared to my regular weekly medical expense of £150 at the very least (excluding consultations), and my response would be that life is not all about money. Without the thought, there can be no giving and the pack of almond nuts was and is a clear case of giving. Dee, in those few hours, alleviated my burdens with her light hearted chats and lovable personality. Affection, care and concern are not resources that have a price tag, it is an expression of true familial ties, one borne from choice and not dictated by ‘tell me if you need something and I will be family to you’.

I opted to attend my high school alumni meeting on Saturday because of Dee. Having made a hash of my directions, I paused to get some rest from my severely aching back and tired legs (just to mention a few) and then across came Ian as he hurried along ostensibly to meet up with a pre-arranged meeting. Stopping by, he enquired if I was ok and in response to my stuttered need for directions, he pulled out his iPad phone, dropped his duffel bag, typed in my destination and then pointed me on my way (my destination was just two apartments away). “No worries,mate” was his parting words to me as he retrieved his duffel bag and watched me head in the right direction. As I contemplated on the kindness of a stranger, these words hit me “I don’t care about whose DNA has recombined with whose. When everything goes to hell, the people who stand by you without flinching — they are your family.– Jim Butcher

A couple of days back, I just had to do some errands – (I live alone) and help does not always come when you want it but things have to be done. A letter to post, a return to be made at ASDA and because of my mobility requirements, I just have to take a break now and then or face the inevitable consequences of tremors etc. I stopped by at Precious Moments to pawn my ring and also grab a chair and then I met Goli, beautifully wrapped in her hijab and ordering a pendant for her daughter. Devoutly muslim and a mother of four kids, she asked what she could do to make my respite better and enquired about my super hero outfit, yet again out came my card and with a ‘La il laha il Allah, Muhammad a rasool Allah.’, she fussed over me and after I explained where my hope, faith and strength came from even in the seemingly bleak situation – there is but one God and for every season, I trust Him to lead me in line with the reason, she gave it some thought and then delved deep into her purse, extracted a ‘prayer’ and handed over to me. Bading me well, she concluded her business and I was astounded by her public, unpretentious display of care and concern. “Strangers are just family you have yet to come to know.” – Mitch Albom

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As I receive countless opportunities of meeting various people, i count it a privilege not just to share my faith, my convictions, my hope but also to realise that I am never alone. Surrounded on all sides by strangers, I can now say that “The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life. Rarely do members of one family grow up under the same roof.” – Richard Bach.We are all blessed with so much to give and yet we choose to be so constrained by our self centredness, not realising that as we walk through life, we all have the opportunity to truly understand what a family of strangers that encompass us daily. And there can be no words that can ever eclipse the actions of our hands. I look around and am amazed at the mass of dead seas that persistently choose to receive and receive and receive, choosing to deny the beauty of blessings that amount to us if only we can but give from the little or the much that we are daily blessed with. For there is but one truth, and no amount of denial will upturn it – how blessed are they that give, for it is in giving that we truly express but a fraction of the love that we continuously receive from God above.

I can recall the conversation I had with my sibling several months back, when he so vociferously attempted to make me understand that the few friends that have stayed with me will someday disappear and I will realise that family is what counts (whether they act as such or not). Now in retrospect, I realise that the circumstances we find ourselves shape us to become better, stronger and wiser and so like Scarlet O’Hara, all resentment is gone with the wind because I not only know that some friends stick closer than brothers but that family is neither something we choose or is it only defined by blood but also sometimes and in some circumstances“Friends are God’s way of apologizing for your family.” – W.W Dyer (quite a quip, isn’t it?). The truth is that when we truly love another and unashamedly express it, then we truly embrace the beauty of family and realise with sudden clarity that we are surrounded on all sides by a family of strangers. All we can and should do, irrespective of your circumstance is stretch out a hand and help raise another up because all around us are countless hordes who are definitely unconcerned about how much we know until they know how much we care and then we can begin to change the world by spreading God’s love, one person at a time.

For the many like me, who are passing through such challenging times struggling with dystonia and movement disorders, realise that we each have a family of strangers who unceasingly pass through our lives for times such as these and whilst we are seemingly compelled to succumb to the whirlpool of despondency and depression, we can choose to stand tall and make a difference whilst we yet stand. “Let us make one point, that we meet each other with a smile, when it is difficult to smile. Smile at each other, make time for each other in your family.” – Mother Theresa

Remember what a miserable tale ours would be if we choose to just exist rather than live purposefully.

lמסתדר טוב עד שניפגש שוב בזמן שלו

Adios!

Friend or foe………

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FriendshipIt is the wee hours of this beautiful Saturday morning and already the birds are first tweeting their excitement even though they have no inkling of what will come the next moment – now that is TRUST. I can literally watch/hear the dawning of this new day and what a blissful experience it never fails to be. Now is it that I am unable to sleep, nope it is simply due to the fact that sleep comes from GOD and what better way to put these waking moments to use despite the fact that I have already ingested 20mg of clonazepam as part of my daily regiment of drugs. Yeah, it is dystonia and it is real but that ain’t the subject matter.

My best friend Joiv is currently attending the wake keep of a departed friend and colleague, who in less than 6 months before her demise had to lay her husband to rest. Sad right? Now she is gone leaving behind a couple of kids who currently are running around greeting the few ‘uncles and aunts’ who have turned up to pay their last respects. Emphasis on the word ‘few’  because we can afford to be casual and indifferent about the pain of others as long as it ain’t close to home and my heart does go out to these little ones who have seemingly had their world shattered because right now, their care is dependent on folks who are not their biological parents and I can assure you that  “Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes… but no plans” – Peter Drucker.

Friendship is one of the most distorted words ever uttered by man because under the guise of friendship, many a mortal blow is dealt and amongst every twelve there must be a Judas. Taking a brief backwards or downward glance into the lives of some of the great historical names we were weaned on, their end was at the hands of those whom they called friends. For these little ones, I am confident and of the indisputable fact that children are a gift from God and ultimately He alone has worthwhile plans for them (although I also tend to draw the line at the modern day values where children are rapidly becoming a negotiating chip and the end result of two fools engaging in something honorable just for the fun of it).

I am blessed with awesome duty of stewardship of these bundles of blessing (well mine is a bundle as of date….) and it is amazing what responsibilities lies with this duty, for we will be judged not by the accolades of the ‘friends’ we amass in response to our philandering or philanthropy but by the achievements in our own home. Having just read a post of facebook by a lovely lady, I was forced to comment on the topic “for all mothers” because again in my opinion “to give alms is nothing unless you give thought” – J, Ruskin and so the status of motherhood should be further elaborated as not every lady who suffers the pangs of delivery is a mother. One of my most favorite and earliest learnt latin phrases is “cucullo non facit monachum” meaning “the hood does not make the monk”

Now it does seem I am digressing however bear with me, the heart is so filled that words are simply an inadequate form of expression however it will do for now. Taking an indepth look at the rising perils faced by these little ones, it is so disheartening that life in China seems like an option where the number of kids per family is determined by the state ( they have their own reason anyway, we know it). The astronomical rate of child abuse is traceable to those closest to the child, our friends, right? Many like Tia Sharp have had their lives bestially ended by ‘friends’, Ariel Castro was a friendly neighbor, the Hospitaller Order of St John of God was supposedly a place of haven and the list is endless.

The question that begs answering is who is your friend? For me, I opine that you choose wisely because there are friends who stick closer than brothers (take it from me) and in the long run, just like the string at the end of a kite being tugged by the hands of a child, your friends are those who enable you sower above whatever dreadful circumstances you may be in. They stay longer after everyone is gone and remain even when in moments of desolation and despair, you cast them away. They never leave and whilst we are keeping our enemies closer, realise that just one friend is worth a thousand foes.

I have found one even after 2 decades and just like the cacti, they may not be the most ornamental but they last and survive in some of the worst climates. Tell me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are for birds of similar plumage……We were never meant to walk alone (I am no Liverpool FC fan :D…) but “When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand.” – H. Nouwen

Be a friend today. Adios!

פרידה עד פעם מפגישה אותנו שוב