In the stillness…

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Be Still

There will always be that time when it seems like I can barely escape the shadows. When all else quietens, and the sound of my beating heart reverberates through the silence. It is in those times that I reminisce on the topsy turvy of the journey I call my life’s tale and find true beauty in the ashes.

From the plucky little chap in his bright shorts and shirt, tugging on the leash of my toy doggie; Snoopy. The world in all of its enormity, a conquest to be had with nothing looking remotely like an obstacle. I remember how much of a daredevil I was, mischief twinkling in my eyes with hands and feet that couldn’t stay still for long. Searching for and accepting the craziest dares, it looked like I was invisible but life is a mystery box and when jack pops up – it is either of two options, a heart attack or a rush of adrenaline. Regardless of how neatly life appeared, a neatly stacked line of dominoes, nothing really prepares you for the uncertainties.

Even through high school, when friends were made anew with a promise of always being there, life was like a walk in the amusement park with a pocketful of quarters. Never hungry or butt naked, every phase was a trail to attaining a milestone and life was truly beautiful. Sneaking through the pantry with mother’s catering books, whipping out pastries and trying out recipes, nothing could possibly have been better. However there’s always going to be that turn in the road, when visibility is so limited and despite how hard one tries, you cannot see beyond the turn. Stopping, getting down and re-evaluating is not always feasible especially when the thrill of the ride is euphoric.

I remember the concussion I suffered when in my haste (why I always ran is still unfathomable) I ran through the discus sector and got hit by the discus. I remember having my fair share of being picked on and childhood fights. I remember walking home in tattered clothes because my ‘experiment’ blew up in my face and gave me 2nd degree burns (earning the nickname Acidman). I remember being so sick only to find out I had weird allergies. I remember witnessing a nurturing home and loving relationship being torn apart by folly and the influence of wrong company. I remember my first automobile accident, tumbling over and over. I remember being shot at. I remember waking up one night unable to breathe, the race to the ER. I remember journeys to strange places and encounters best left unshared. …….but I survived because of God’s mercy and love.

I recall the university years, being the enigma to many even as I sought to stay true to myself. Plunging headfirst into as many events as I could, getting the down side of misplaced priorities when I chose to continue my internship despite the fact that lectures had commenced. Grateful for the fact that I could be the ear to those in need, a shoulder to cry on for the broken and the elixir for the depressed. Life was beautiful indeed and with the mixture of highs and low, exhilarating describes it best. Graduating from university and going off to the unknown, I knew I would survive because that was just who I was. A blend of healthy spiritual fundamentals and a healthy body, I blossomed within an awesome relationship with God. I was prepared for anything!

Commencing my work career, I thought I had it all planned out and even when I dropped the white collar job for a stint in the military, the confusions of many was the least of my worries. Parenthood was another season and as always I had it all planned out in my head. Setting up a trust for tuition, acquiring what I wanted, it was all going well but it’s in our nature to plan however it is God who decides. Knowing I had that relationship served as a buffer when things went south occasionally, however I had been raised to believe in myself and so I always did. Just when it seemed like I had it all together, life happened. Series of events that I never imagined started unfolding bringing to fore the idiom, ‘when it rains, it pours!’

The culmination of a life in tatters was in December 2011, all around me that carefully built life in heaps of wreckage and just like a skilled burglar, night had suddenly and swiftly crept up on me. Struggling with those fiercely entwining tendrils of darkness, it was a struggle to make head of it all. And each time, I chose to head for the light, the darkness just got longer. This was no medical condition, this was my life now, almost completely subjected to the dictates of the rare, incurable neurological condition termed dystonia. Then it hit me right in the gut; there were no voices lifted in celebration to be heard, no hand to lift me up, no strength to light a match. This was now my life, like a pariah condemned to dwell outside the city walls, isolation was a welcome thing. However, we are a result of our choices and so I learned to bargain with an adroitness I never knew existed. Learned to lace my own shoes with brow furrowed in pain, every little gesture a battle of wits, things previously taken for granted were now things I had to relearn. Circumventing steps to conserve my little energy, being the object of compassion either as I was wheeled in a chair or as I struggled to make my way home leaning heavily on my cane.

In the stillness, my eyes slowly adapted to the darkness and my ears became attuned to the groans of those fallen around me. This was my life but still there was a purpose to it and regardless of the absence of ‘friends’ or ‘family’, one truth stood out; this was my life and so every choice I made had to count. When the cold hands of depression sought to console me, I chose to shrug them off and in the stillness, I found hope that I hitherto believed was lost. I found friends who became brothers and I realized that purpose is not shaped by your experiences rather it is given more clarity during those experiences. Today, I am not just a survivor but I am a victor because even though I have been scorched by the flames, I am now stronger just by the process of walking through the raging flames.

It is in the stillness that you learn some of the hardest lessons, letting go of pride and ambition whilst embracing compassion and aspiration. It is in the stillness that I have learned that my life is not dictated by the size of material wealth but by the riches of intangible values. It is in the stillness, empathy assumes meaning and pain can be shared. I have known abundance and lack, however I have also learned that contentment is wanting what you have, kindness is giving when all else is screaming, ‘save for the rainy day’. It is in the stillness that I have learned that it is better standing in the rain with a friend or someone in need than struggling not to get wet beneath a poncho. In the stillness, I have learned what true strength is, what trusting God means and what living actually means.

Sticks, stones and words will hurt but the resilience of the human spirit is so much more greater. That is what will define you when all else has gone silent. That is what nothing can take away from you except you choose to let it go. It is all about the stillness….

עד ניפגש שוב, תן אהבה שלו למלא ולשמור אותך!

Adios!

Taking Stock….

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Taking Stock

Choose to listen to your inner voice, not the jumbled opinions of everyone else. Do what you know in your heart is right for YOU. Its your road, and yours alone. Others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you. And be sure to appreciate every day of your life. – Melchor Lim (emphasis mine)

I have been struggling with severe excruciating bouts of sciatica for the last week and honestly it effectively dampened my desire to come alive here and do some heart sharing however I am better now, almost emptied my pharmacy of their supply of ice pack compress. A no holds barred struggle between the tremors that accompanied the initial icy feeling and the amelioration of the intense pain, I won!!! And the last week of the month was an exciting one, had an interview in Central London and despite my efforts to appear as normal as possible, it obviously did not work because most of the symptoms were triggered and caused quite a bit of consternation for Tony, Lloyd (?) and Hugo, who admitted that they had never seen anything like it within the five (5) years they have been dealing with individuals and unabashedly, I can take that as a complement now because they see thousands of people daily but most importantly, they were eager to learn and that tells me how amazing they really are. Life is all about learning and only stops in the grave, stimulating their ability to see the big picture was such a surreal experience and I left there knowing I had made new friends and shared myself with them.

Yesterday, I spent the best three hours this year in the company of one of the most remarkable ladies I have ever been privileged to encounter. Yeah, twas a lunch date at Harvesters’ and I truly left there with a great harvest excluding a filled belly of ribbed steak, mushrooms, chips, a healthy portion of vegetable salad and a glass of sparkling Chardonnay to round it off with. Now that is something for you to drool over…….

One of the issues that came up recurrently was the undeniable fact that every one of us has a facade and it is only the brave who are able to step out from the security of their rooms and face the world without that facade, armed with the knowledge that being different is the best compliment you can ever pay yourself. We took stock of our individual lives because hey!its December already and I remember how stunned I was whilst rearranging (I do that every moment when I can) my room when I came across my medical report dated January 2013 and it only seemed like the day before I sat with Professor Hanna reviewing my case on that day. Nostalgic indeed but so much has gone by so quickly that like the dropping leaves from the trees, we rarely ever have the time to notice when they drop. I have realised that the best thing we can and will ever get is NOW and so what we choose to do with it is as significant as the rest of our lives and yes, erring is an ability but our response to that ability is what differentiates us from the rest of the billions all over the globe. I have had my ups and my downs, each in its own varying measure but both present nonetheless. I have overcome a lot of the shackles that hitherto held me back, still trusting God for the perfection that He has promised and I eagerly await.

I have decided to devote this month particularly to taking stock (I kinda do that every morning but this is special) because I am truly overwhelmed by the faithfulness of The One whose purpose and counsel no one can thwart. I am humbled by the greatness of His Grace and favour bestowed upon lil ole me, even at those really dark moments when I just did not want to be found – His Grace found me. Amidst the gales and storms of the year, when it seemed like I had finally been cast adrift like flotsam on the vast oceans of the earth – His Grace found me and upheld me. What an awesome experience it is, being able to bask in and luxuriate in His Amazing grace……………………….. Getting that sms from my father in response to my congratulatory message to them on their 40th wedding anniversary, telling me that their journey would have been incomplete without me being a part of it was just beautiful. Such reminders, subtle and loud compel me to acknowledge that I am and can never be just a statistic in this world. Regardless of how rough the road is, I know one fact – there is an expected end and whilst I am being directed there, I choose to utilise every moment with everyone who has graciously given me their time, their resource, their support, their derision and disrespect (these ones really don’t know any better). And thankfully, I have gotten my back brace so I am glad to have been there to provide a shoulder for those who needed it and for those who will.

The Christmas trees are all out, the decorating is in full earnest, shopping is in crazy mode and I pause and wish I could tell as many as I can that everyday is a day to be grateful for and rejoice in. Take a look at the very things that you have even as you take your shower and be thankful, naturally we all get to shower at least once a day so…..! Be thankful for those moments of absurd laughter, be thankful for those moments of sorrow (it definitely made you think just a little bit deeper, didn’t it?), be thankful for the different seasons – spring, summer, autumn and winter, not everyone can. I still chuckle when I recall Joiv capturing distaste for London’s weather because she almost ‘lost’ her toes to frostbite but that is a reason to be thankful for because I remember my walk with Lawrence who had lost his toes but was still cheery enough to egg me one when I just felt like giving up. I am thankful for Vixen, for daring to do something different and demand happiness from life. I am thankful for Lisa, gorgeous and stunning but who has been such an amazing support of strength and encouragement. I am thankful for Elaine, Pam and my fellow compadre in this battle with dystonia, for being able to rip off that facade and stand tall and strong even with the pain. I am thankful for Shirls, Ele, Vichy – refusing to quit even when I was more than a burden. I am thankful for my brothers from High School – Como, Djecomms, my friends from University – few but awesome even in their little number.

I can go on and on, however I am very grateful for you all that take the pains to read and walk this journey with me. Alas! the night is indeed over and what a wonderful time we will enjoy now the day is come.  For you, my appeal is use this time NOW, to be thankful and grateful for the mistakes and the lessons you have learnt because without learning, you are sure to flunk the tests of life. Be thankful for yet another opportunity to take stock of your uniqueness and acknowledge that there is so much that you can do with just that one person that you encounter, but you must choose to or else regret the opportunity past.

“Life without thankfulness is devoid of love and passion. Hope without thankfulness is lacking in fine perception. Faith without thankfulness lacks strength and fortitude. Every virtue divorced from thankfulness is maimed and limps along the spiritual road.” – John Henry Jowett

Remember yet again, that a life without thanksgiving is worse than those who have passed away. Make your NOW count and rejoice in the memories tomorrow.

lמסתדר טוב עד שניפגש שוב בזמן שלו

Adios!

Stripped bare……

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Stripped n bare

“You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is like an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Admittedly, I have been yearning to get back to doing what I love best – this! however it has been a tumultuous period in the last two weeks and just when I desire to get back, something else comes up and yet still I strive to do my own little bit in the lives of the few people who I have been blessed to encounter. Now it feels like what has been dammed these past weeks just wants to gush out and that would inadvertently drown quite a few including myself and so I have to apply self-control or stand the risk of sounding like a blithering idiot. Like I have chosen to inculcate, each day is such an amazing experience whether I am down under, burdened by the travails of this medical challenge and besought by the emotional desolation that so doggedly accompanies this disorder or I am infused by the joys and beauty of life in every waking moment – I choose to make each day count because every day is a Present in itself and like a kid, I carefully unwrap it…….I cannot do otherwise anyway, being obsessively compulsive has its pros.

A few days ago, I travelled to beautiful South Yorkshire and even though travelling is wearisome and I have to make it as comfortable as possible, it is still a necessity. I actually fell in love with the region and above all I loved the fact that it was colder than London because I have learnt to accept that I am also a Super hero – Mr Exothermic, that is also one of the merits of this condition – accelerated metabolism enhanced by the regular tremors I experience, which translates to the need to be in a cooler atmosphere than most people would like. I was privileged to meet Ibrahim, Mark(s) and Hilary – sharing the stories of their own lives and the beautiful attitude they exuded even whilst doing their jobs. Such encounters make me realize that you can choose to continue to mourn what may have seemingly be lost or choose to celebrate that which you are blessed with finding each and every new day. Of course there were the ignorant ones who thought the shakes were quite amusing or those who seemed to be freaked out by my super hero outfit. All put together, it makes every day such a blessing because I know something that can never be taken away from me as long as I breathe – everything is working together for my good. Try as hard as you may, deride me, ignore me, withhold from me – I will still smile because you don’t and can never define me.

I am dedicating this piece to Carrie Ann who has finally bested dystonia and every illness, today she stands on the other side victorious and free of all disorders and disease and whilst her passing is painful but yet again it presents us with an opportunity to live our lives continually grateful that we were blessed to know her.

Amazingly, it is no news that we may be having the best winter since 1947 and honestly I look forward to it – weird or not! Every time I gaze out my window overlooking the front lawn, I am drawn to Miss Betula Lenta (the Cherry Birch tree) and as usual she stands stripped and bare as she is readied for the months in winter. To many, she has lost her beauty and appeal – gone are the chirping birds, gone are her beautiful leaves, gone are the exquisite buds…..however she still stands and teaches lessons that are priceless if only they can be grasped. If only we can but stop, dare to liberate our minds of all the meaningless junk that we have chosen to walk with and just learn, what a world of difference it will make to us as individuals and creatures of purpose. WHAT A CHANGE THAT WILL BE WHEN WE LEARN AND REALIZE THAT WE ARE FOR CREATED FOR PURPOSE!

How much I love these words ….“Let’s tell the truth to people. When people ask, ‘How are you?’ have the nerve sometimes to answer truthfully. You must know, however, that people will start avoiding you because, they, too, have knees that pain them and heads that hurt and they don’t want to know about yours. But think of it this way: If people avoid you, you will have more time to meditate and do fine research on a cure for whatever truly afflicts you.” – Maya Angelou……because humanity is like the ocean and its beauty is not defined by the few dirty drops. Walk with the few that God raises up for you when you are in need, determine not to dwell on the many that avoid you or that ignore you or worse still, the many that utter loads of balderdash and do absolutely nothing. My life, stripped and bare it may seem now is just a phase that is a precursor to the beautiful seasons ahead, and guess what, I am better off each passing day. I choose to continue to give from what I have, and whilst I may not have by the standards of many but I am so enriched each day by countless blessings that I have become attuned to appreciate even as I stand bare and stripped. And I am grateful to be stripped of all what I do not need now for this season, because it is such an awesome time to really acknowledge what I freely receive – from the new friends that prop me up each day to the lives that I can associate with despite their pain and challenges. I am thankful to be stripped of what has so long burdened me so that I can receive anew what truly counts.

I have seen seasons, experienced the lows and the highs and I have come to acknowledge without an iota of doubt that life in essence is simply a journey and each of us has a choice to make regardless of the circumstances we seem to have been thrust into unwillingly and seemingly without preparation. To realize that when we are forsaken by many,  it is yet an opportunity to be accepted by others. To acknowledge that when we are deprived by those that we thought would stand by us, it is yet an opportunity to give of what we have to those who stand alone like us and be cherished by others. To acknowledge that when we are disappointed by many, it is yet an opportunity to be a source of encouragement to another – choosing not to focus on the bleakness but painfully lift our eyes beyond and grasp the beauty of what lies just ahead. Acknowledging that when we can no more do what we used to, it is yet an opportunity to reach deep and pull out the potentials that have hitherto lain dormant within us. I choose to make the most of what I am blessed with daily, taking the taunts and the indifference and turning it inside out to be a stronger and better individual because the journey is one of endurance, perseverance and unrelenting faith in a Father who is able to perfect that which He alone began.

“How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world.” – William Shakespeare

I am ready for the winter!

lמסתדר טוב עד שניפגש שוב בזמן שלו

Adios!

Keeping it real…..

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I hate travelling but again that is a necessary evil. A complete turn around from my pre-myoclonus era where travelling was so much fun and one of my hobbies. Anyway, life is not fair because life in itself has been tarnished and tainted and still is and so just being yourself is one of the most difficult challenges you can ever dare to undertake. I recall the tale of the tale of the simple lady who was invited for lunch at the Queen’s request on account of her widespread gestures of concern for everyone she ever came across, and when she was interviewed on what set of manners she intended to display during the courtesy lunch, her answer has always been one of my fundamental principles “I have only got one set of manners and that is who I am“…..impressively profound. In the course of my travels, I have come to acknowledge that life is much more than an endless pursuit of fame and wealth and recognition, a concept I wholeheartedly abhor but one that appeals to majority of individuals – ‘it is all about the green backs!’.

Being cast into the physically challenged category has been an eye opener in many regards and a completely new field of learning for me. I have come to appreciate that being able to do anything at all is something worth being proud of, so pause today, take stock of your abilities (regardless of how little they may seem) and say a word of thanks to Him that has blessed you. I recollect the many times I have been forced to take a large dose of patience pills just because insensitivity abounds and is largely becoming a second skin to many individuals, waiting on board many an aircraft whilst all passengers disembark just because I have special needs and being subjected to hurtful and derisive looks and remarks because we have largely refused to be human in our everyday living. And now, I know that wherever I meet any individual striving with some form of physical challenge, I choose to pause and salute their bravery because being yourself without any form of inhibitions is difficult enough without adding on some form of physical challenge.

Each new day is filled with its own share of troubles but remember that even when life throws the kitchen sink at you and knocks you out, wake up with the courage to still be yourself but duck next time where you can. “Sometimes it is just easier to tell a stranger than to tell the people you are close to. The freedom of speech is my liberation from solitude and if you should take that negatively or with annoyance then that’s on you to look the other way” – Nicole Hill. I have come to realize that so many of us are absolutely terrified of even attempting to discover who we really are and so my question is if you are scared to define or know who you are then what business do you have at attempting every other thing because life consists of not just knowing who you are but being bold enough to stay true to who you are. I may not have been born a quadriplegic but even if I were, that is not who I am. People ask me a lot if I was born this way, and amidst my answer lies this truth – I was born for a purpose and I dare anything to make me believe otherwise. Behind my smile, lies a whole lot of pain and an unappealing  bouquet of other discomforts but I choose to still be myself irrespective of how unfair life may seem presently.

Today marks a new beginning, and I walk in that knowledge knowing that even in chaos, God can work out order and harmony. Vacillating between many personas just goes to show how shallow your understanding of life is because as long as you fail to accept yourself for who you were made to be then yours will just be a charade for people with understanding to learn from. Each time the dime drops, I dare to bend over and pick it up even if it means exposing my backside for life to kick me over but guess what, you still have the dime in your hands so pick yourself up and do something with what you have got in your hand. Desire to dream but do something with what you have now and stay true to who you are. Many extraordinary individuals have opted to jettison their right to choose to be themselves for the sake of a life of pretense and despair in order to maintain a facade that hides sheer cowardice and stagnancy. Always realize that ‘No matter what you do in life, your words, your actions, your looks, your thoughts, you are never going to please everyone’ – Nishan P. so what is the point in embarking on a fruitless venture when you have a unique life ahead of you?

I am constantly stunned by the sheer audacity of individuals who are hell-bent on trying to be what the world wants them to be – by choice of career, relationship etc, many are actually skilled at blaming others for daring them to be themselves, hurling and trading insults every time you scratch their fake veneer. – because if only they could channel just a mite of that energy into discovering who they are then maybe, just maybe we will find ourselves being more loving, more accommodating and more sensitive to the lives all around us. For every time, we choose to make our lives more meaningful by doing those little ‘grand’ gestures to those around us, what a doorway of anticipation and self-development opens up for us. I will never know what it means to be perfect just yet but what I know is that I can be myself despite my aspiration for perfection someday and choose to make my own life an example for as many as I come across. That is my watchword even when the days seem so lonely and my journey unending, I will stay true to who I am.

I have to live with myself and so 
I want to be fit for myself to know.
I want to be able as days go by,
always to look myself straight in the eye;
I don’t want to stand with the setting sun 
and hate myself for the things I have done.
I don’t want to keep on a closet shelf 
a lot of secrets about myself 
and fool myself as I come and go 
into thinking no one else will ever know 
the kind of person I really am, 
I don’t want to dress up myself in sham.
I want to go out with my head erect 
I want to deserve all men’s respect;
but here in the struggle for fame and wealth 
I want to be able to like myself. 
I don’t want to look at myself and know that 
I am bluster and bluff and empty show.
I never can hide myself from me;
I see what others may never see;
I know what others may never know, 
I never can fool myself and so, 
whatever happens I want to be 
self-respecting and conscience free.

These beautiful words from Edgar Albert Guest, painstakingly learnt and memorized in High school are forever etched in my memory. Make today count because that is all we each have got, and be mindful that when you do, you can cherish them tomorrow.

lמסתדר טוב עד שניפגש שוב בזמן שלו

Adios!

 

Associating with knowledge……

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“A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving” – Albert Einstein

For the last two weeks, I have not only been in a roller coaster of emotions enhanced by the unpredictability of Myoclonus but had to shake off the feeling of being a dilettante and bestir myself from the bleakness of the present and focus on the beauty at the end of the tunnel and I must apologize for the short break from writing. Talking about the very things that constantly and endlessly swirl through my brain, which is one of the effects of insomnia, I choose again to make my life of some meaning whilst I yet trudge through this solitary journey, enjoying the company of the very few that God has placed in my path. In the last fourteen days, I have terminated some relationships, renewed some, re-birthed some and made a few new ones. For the very journey we all engage in would be as desolate as the cemetery without the presence of the variety of individuals we all come across – the good, the bad, the ugly and the different.

A couple of Fridays ago, I was opportune to attend the Old Students meeting of my alma mater, and expectedly it was a beautiful reunion; meeting with individuals after 2 decades and some odd years ago. Many had passed through before me, and ironically I was the baby of the group however there is nothing like a fora where you get to mingle with individuals, some of whom had left legacies or feats of daring and probably stupid acts. And as Pope John XXIII stated “Men (and women) are like wine – some turn to vinegar, the best improve with age”,  it was a stunning display of truth as we all mingled and regaled ourselves with old tales. Generations mingling with generations without the limitations of the dictates of high school. I was fortunate to attend one of the best Unity High Schools back in the days, of course with the usual mix of tyrants, bullies, the fair, the weirdos, the geeks, the beauties and the hotties. Unsurprisingly, each of us had some story to share and it was a beauty to see many who have distinguished themselves in their chosen paths.

Unerringly, tales swirled around experiences back then, the lives of those who had passed on and the opportunity to stand shoulder to shoulder with some who we had received a few slaps from, with those who had meted out corporate and non-corporate punishment. Standing with those whose names back then was enough to send us scuttling for safety. I recall vividly a couple of chaps who I felt were personally assigned to make my life a living hell, and also recalled the privilege of walking the same paths with the progression of years as those who had before us. I recall that as newbies, we were forbidden to walk on the pavement in front of the classes belonging to those in Upper Six (someone had aptly painted it red, so twas the red carpet for us and woe betide you if you had the boldness to step on the red carpet). We looked upon some as though they were giants and adored the likes of those who were remarkable enough to overcome the predilection for juvenile delinquencies and grasp the opportunity to positively impact the lives of those below them. Looking at schools today, one can weep because in our bid to give our kids what we didn’t have as kids, we have absolutely forgotten to also balance it with what we did get as kids – as a society, we are hopelessly shirking our responsibility as parents and as generations pass by, the kids have become the parents and we have devoted ourselves to doing their bidding.

One of my greatest appreciations is the years I spent in my alma mater and even though, back then it seemed as though it was horrendous especially in the early years but as the years progressed, I realized that without the experiences received back in the years, I just may not be who I have become today. And that is exactly what life does to us, sometimes it seemed as though we were (and are) being continually and persistently punished for just being there but guess what, our cores were being formed and just like I always say, we were making choices to be who we wanted to be regardless of the birthing pains of character development. Life is a process! I made friends, many I have lost contact with but the few who I am in touch with constantly sing the same tune – what a privilege it was to attend Federal Government College, Warri. What an association of brotherhood (and sisterhood) has been formed, one that with the years, forges bonds that are so strong but can yet be stronger. Scattered all over the globe, are individuals who were thrust through the furnace of FGCW and have emerged stronger and better. some more vile, a few departed but alas we are still a result of our choices.

Primolevi says “In modern times, it is only by the power of association that men of any calling exercise their due influence in the community” One truth rings clear, we must exercise our due influence in our community but the question that always go unanswered especially when men and women gather is what does our community really care about – how much we know or how much we care?

An old Swedish proverb that once hung down the rafters of ‘Ye Old Tavern’ Ronneby, Sweden says that ‘happiness when shared is double happiness, and sorrow when shared is half sorrow’. Looking around, we are witnesses to so much sorrow borne by ourselves and others and whilst some of us are capable of handling theirs, many around us are almost consumed and overwhelmed by their portion of sorrow – be it physical, emotional or spiritual. There can be no clearer appreciation of the labors of other men in our lives if we choose to turn a blind eye to those who are in dire need of a shoulder to lean on. There are needs to be met, and  it takes a supreme effort and a clear understanding of our purpose on earth to go beyond just asking ‘what is wrong with you?’ and actually do something. Yesterday, as I shakily boarded the bus, Madge (the driver) bellowed several times “Can someone please give this disabled man a seat?’ and as I made my way to the vacated seat, I cringed at the obvious term but I have refused to allow that becloud my ability to convert the little I know into expressions of care. Associating with my family of strangers, be it for a few stops or a few minutes, to let them know that I will not succumb to Myoclonus and there is enough joy to go round the world……if only they make the right choices.

Despite my struggles with Myoclonus, OCD et al, I choose to  do what I can with the little I have in making that one life just a little bit more bearable because I know that my core is and will always be strengthened by The One who alone can be relied upon. It is my core that remains unflinching in the face of all the bleakness, and whilst my body tries to adapt to these unpredictable bouts of incessant painful changes and weaknesses, my core remains strong in Christ alone and I can boldly tell you that regardless of what you are passing through ; Andrea, Shannon and the rest of us who are battling this, realize that I associate because I truly care. Putting aside my own troubles and pain and tremors, to share some humor and care to as many as I come across. I do not need good luck because I know that my end is pre-determined and there is only one outcome – no white flag is ever gonna hang from my door.

Remember that people do not care how much you know until they know how much you care. Make a choice to live for something worth dying for. Do not be a dead sea!

lמסתדר טוב עד שניפגש שוב בזמן שלו

Adios!

 

Yet life continues…..

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Today I had to strike off a second name from my praying list, Debbie has gone to be with her creator and stands triumphant over ill-health, sufferings, anguish and above all the insensitivity of those who never ever have just that tiny room to accommodate another besides themselves. For me, it has been a weekend plagued by severe bouts of sciatica and lack of sleep and now I can empathise with sleep walkers just because their bodies are not in sync with their neurological system. Clawing my way through the webs of despondency that seek to keep me entangled, feeling especially the betrayals and hurts brought on by having to erroneously depend on another who clearly cannot share your situations and needs.

There is an Irish saying that goes thus

“May love and laughter light your days,
and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours,
wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world
with joy that long endures.
May all life’s passing seasons
bring the best to you and yours.”

And in as much we all would gladly acquiesce to these words, life sometimes is more than just smooth sailing and when the gloom and despondency assails, what will our response be? I feel the hurt of letting people go, not because I have got a pool of available and willing hands but because it is a choice that has to be made, acknowledging that life is a solitary journey and what a pleasure there is when you can get but that one who is willing to walk some distance with you and whilst the pleasure may linger, there must come a time of parting. I take solace in the fact that there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother, and what glorious hope awaits me as I make my way wearily down this path strewn with so much rubble that every step looks like it just might be my last. However, I glance around and behold many who have had the gauntlet thrown down in their face and have eagerly conceded defeat without a thought of what their life might have been.

Amidst the anguish of the weekend, the memory of my LBJ fills my heart with strength and will to carry on because “Friendship needs no words – it is solitude delivered from the anguish of loneliness.” – Dag Hammarskjold  I know that this tunnel is just that, and at the very end I can espy the glimmer of light shining through and despite my aching bones, I trudge on remembering to exchange words of hope to those that I am privileged to encounter because it is in giving, we receive. I know what lies ahead will make the present pale into insignificance but for the now, I brace myself with strength supplied from on High and plod on. Disregarding the smirks and whispers from those who wallow in their ignorance, the quickly withdrawn hands thrust out spitefully and the desperation of those who failing to attain the heights I have, now seek in absolute futility to pull me to the depths of their woeful existence.

I am being blessed daily with innumerable portions of joy and peace and I choose to acknowledge these, incomprehensible by those who stand with arms akimbo and yet I accept the company of the very few who are raised up on my behalf and to them I gladly extend my arms in warm embrace. So life continues, irrespective of how low I feel because mine is a life of purpose and fulfill it, I must.

Let us remember that we were made to live and not just exist.

פרידה עד שנפגש שוב בתזמון שלו עצמו

Adios!