In the twilight zone……

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In the zone

Twilight

“Science may have found a cure for most evils; but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all — the apathy of human beings.” – Helen Keller

It has been exactly 907 days ago that I last found myself in this similar office setting that characterizes most white collar jobs and it can go without saying that I am being flooded with memories from the last decade, some with wistful nostalgia and some with the renewed resolve not to ever subject myself to such distasteful experiences that the very memories almost want to make me bolt out drenched in perspiration and puke, but it all makes for a good telling someday. My back is screaming out from the contusions of my vertebrae, but as usual I will still soldier on, despite the pain because it goes without saying that there can be no pain without pleasure.

So much has taken place between my birthday (a couple of weeks ago) and now, and truly it just seems that in all reality, life’s most significant changes occur in the space of moments but the question is that most times, we are so blithely unaware of the changes that we spend the rest of our feeble days toiling with the effort of trying to grasp the changes that have been so magnanimously wrought on our behalf. I am so not concerned with my lack of ability to do so many things because, life is much more fruitful when I concern myself with those things that I can still do with this weakened but yet living body. I began the year on a good note and I still intend to stay true on that path…..recuperating from a sudden bout of allergies and the seemingly gradual route towards getting better care for this body are things that I hoist above my head and this movement disorder, try as hard as you may, I am not yet done.

Talking about change is a subject that is as vast as time itself however when these changes are wrought by no willful choice of mine, then it usually seems to be a mite harder to cope with but what makes for difference is that change is inevitable but what we do with that change is our own signature trademark that we have passed through this life not just as an inanimate pawn but as a piece who is aware that life is one to be lived. I was in the company of one of the nicest orthopedic surgeon and nurse on this side of the continent and he remarked that he was blown away by my personality (as a child, I thought that superheroes were always super cool anyway but I guess it is a thing of choice or else why would there be villains) but I explained to him that we always have a choice to either complain or just make the best of whatever life throws at you. Now this was no carefully scripted media piece but one borne from my experiences as an individual struggling with a rare, incurable neurological disorder. We can choose to see life as a suction pump inexorably sucking out our juices and leaving us with so much bile that we are indifferent to the lives that surround us every day or we can choose to see life as a funnel with which we can share as much of the goodness, grace and blessings that we inexplicably receive each day. Again, it is a choice to be made.

One of the very first idioms that stuck with me all through childhood is that regardless of how thin a slice of bread is, there are two sides to it. Now the question that haunts me especially in my dealings with majority of people is why the vast majority of us are so stuck in twilight zone that we feel obligated to infect others with as much as gloom as possible. Where has all the love gone to? Smiles back in the days were free as in the word free, what is with all the false warmheartedness that so thinly conceals gall and bitterness in today’s world. I always deem to stick with the two simplest rules – love your Creator with all that you have got (it was a gift anyway) and do unto your neighbor what you would wish done to you (if the shoes were reversed), and from my candid opinion, it can not come any simpler than that. Life is like a leaf gently being blown in the winds of spring and just when you think what a splendid time the leaf is having, a gust throws it down the drain and its gone for good. We will never know what number our days will be but we can choose how we number them – making each moment count for the good of someone else because it is only in giving that we truly receive. The best thing to do in times of despair is to give as much as we can and feel a sense of elation and lightness that we not only did but that we were able to.

Would I have done things differently without the scourge of this disorder? I dare to say that I am privileged to be in the position where I can say that pain has no hold over me, it may just make me do things a lot slower but it sure gives me more drive to do the very things  that make just that other person a little better. It has given me the rare opportunity to realize and acknowledge that family is not based on blood only, but in the ability to reach out and acknowledge that each of us is here on earth for a time such as this. Does it suck as much as it sounds? Yes and more, but being able to pick myself up everyday and refuse to remain in the twilight zone where indifference is the theme of the period is what I choose to do each and every day. Being indifferent has never gotten anyone anything, it is definitely not going to change now and so whilst it may seem like the normal thing to do, shake off those eerie chains that so tenaciously yet invisibly hold you back from being a productive you and be different, take a stand for something, dream something and work at achieving it. Stop being bound by the isolation of your office work space and the confines of your work hours (which you most likely hate) and do something else that screams out ‘I am here and I choose to be purposeful’.

Break out of that mould that you have placed yourself in and begin today, it is better late than never. Do something nice for someone else who may never be able to repay you back and watch the seed you have so bravely planted, blossom into such a thing of beauty. Cut a swathe of cheer and happiness as you walk through life and see the gloom of the twilight dispel in your face. Now is the time to make hay because very soon the sun will go down as it must and then you can truly be glad that you did.

lמסתדר טוב עד שניפגש שוב בזמן שלו

Adios!

Plunging Deep…..

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With a level 3 heat wave warning already being broadcast, the very first thought that crosses your mind as you step out into the streets is the alluring image of yourself in gaily coloured swim trunks, abs defined, plunging into a  cool swimming pool (preferably isolated for people like us) with a poolside bar that serves chilled daiquiris with the umbrella thingy and a rainbow straw or a chilled tumbler of well prepared chapman with bitters and then with the harsh brightness of the wonderful sun, suddenly you realise that the mind really can play tricks on you. Watching people of all sizes and shapes, many in very indecent apparels (all in the guise of getting a tan), you can only but appreciate the beauty of the seasons. For with every season, there is a beginning and an end, and the teeny weeny differentiator for us as individuals is choosing to pull out mid season or holding on till the end of the season and the commencement of a better one.

I have not been able to muster the funds for my standing air conditioning unit so I’ve chosen to utilise my little halogen fan and basically ride out the season (save myself a couple of quid especially as I am seeing my Pain Specialist on Friday and my spine popping Russian this week too). Admittedly, I have to admit that the last few days have been so filled up with appointments that at the end of the day, being passed through a huge milling machine is kinda like an understatement and when the questions come, I can only respond that certain things I just have to do myself even at my own toddly pace. As for the strength, you know as I do, I have run out of mee own strength reserves but thankfully with an upwards glance, I acknowledge that there is an inexhaustible supply which I gladly choose to exploit.

Now again, just as one of the many perks of being in this medically challenging period, I was privileged to listen to one of the most unique couples in this part of the world recount their tales of utilizing their time and God-given potentials to change the world one person at at time and it especially came on the heels of a video clip, that my solicitor and friend sent me of the shameless display of thuggery and sheer insanity in one of the ‘hallowed’ chambers of parliament in one of the states of the self acclaimed sleeping giant of Africa and it is in indeed no wonder that things have gotten this bad and obviously still will because I was also opportune to watch the debate between Tony and Ed which was almost like a game of who can provoke the loudest laughs in the chambers. Clearly a huge difference between both scenes but the message is clear that whilst we choose to do nothing, let us loudly remember the words of Helen Keller “Science may have found a cure for most evils; but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all — the apathy of human beings.”

Aboard the District Line, we were regaled by a pair of jovial fellows with a guitar and a violin, as they chose to play and make that little moment something worth remembering and in response to my question, one of them remarked ‘we just do it for fun’ and I add life is too short to spend all the time on the dive board awaiting the perfect moment to dive in. I say, just plunge in and get swimming! For a huge number of us, we choose to spend more time on the sidelines being very vociferous even to the extent of being obnoxiously annoying when all that is needed is just for you to hold your breath and plunge in. Get those energetic words into action, life is way too short to spend it all on the bylines, sending out video clips on youtube and doing absolutely nothing else is abysmal. Like I always say, begin with that one. You may not know the decision makers for your borough but you do know your next door neighbour who has tons of decisions to make and whether we want to admit it or not, those decisions can very well alter your own life. Remember the story of the cow who was so indifferent when the mouse came complaining about the trap the farmer was setting, well life is cyclical and so opt now to do something about that issue that seems so unrelated to you.

Lyndon Bowring (CEO, C.A.R.E) shared one of the most memorable moments of his life, not from his offices across Westminster, not within the rooms of 10 Downing Street but in the steps of the Oxford Station (if I recollect clearly). Just as I advice everyone I come in contact with, do not ask ‘you doing alright’ just because everyone else says it but ask it with sincerity and expect an answer because you do care. So Lyndon came across a laddie vending the Evening Standard and asked him the question………and waited for the response. Wait for it……the laddie with a grimace revealed that he was so sorely pressed that he needed to dash across the street and avail himself of the restroom and was only hoping for someone who would be kind enough to cover his post for a couple of minutes (nobody is really that fast…lol!). Now there was Lyndon, briefcase in hand confronted with a need and with a second to choose, he offered to help. Within seconds, briefcase plunked down by his side, there was Lyndon (not just any person) vending the Evening Standard whilst the laddie hurried off to do his business. In Lyndon’s words, those moments remain one of his most memorable moments and permit me to say that those very moments are so hurriedly passed by when they constitute memorable in every letter of the word. Yeah, he sold off quite a few and was just getting into it when the moment passed but he plunged in and got refreshed and continued with a lesson learnt.

It is not always behind the doors of Parliament that lives are influenced, yes, decisions concerning all of us are made there but for many of us who are awaiting that moment when we can strut through the front doors of 10 Downing Street to the awaiting paparazzi, every day presents a unique moment to plunge into the life of someone and make a difference. I have this to say to the many professed Christians “Christians have no business thinking that the good life consists mainly in not doing bad things. We have no business thinking that to do evil in this world you have to be a Bengal tiger, when, in fact, it is enough to be a tame tabby—a nice person but not a good one. In short, Pentecost makes it clear that nothing is so fatal to Christianity as indifference. ” -W.S Coffin Jnr

We are regaled every waking moment with delightful opportunities to plunge in and get refreshed by doing just lil bits of kindness and good to just one person, but alas many of us choose to watch at the sidelines forgetting that life is a moving train and you definitely cannot be motionless on a moving train. With a series of severe back flares yesterday under the keen eyes and hands of JOIV, I still had to answer the call of my good friend who just returned again from the hospital for the second double bypass surgery in less than three months. And even as we sat chatting, I chose to make it memorable by reminding him that we are all alive for a purpose and in moments like these, when we awaken after a life threatening medical challenge, the onus lies on us to make better use of the days we now have. It does not have to be when you are incapable of speech and bereft of movement that we are compelled to make that choice, we can choose to plunge in now. I may be incapable of walking the miles or giving lengthy encouraging speeches however I have chosen not to be trampled underfoot by this disorder.

I choose to live, and not just live but live refreshingly through the lives of the very many fascinating individuals I come across. Like Teddy, with severe Down’s syndrome, who was joyously showing off his brand new wristwatch to as many as he came across. As I watched with dismay, the looks of annoyance flashing across the many faces he shared the moment with, when it was my turn – I delightfully exclaimed his was nice but mine was even nicer and just that response evoked a gentlemanly kiss on the back of my hand as he and his fellow mentally retarded peers were headed away. Now that made me beam indeed because “It seems to me that no matter what religion you subscribe to, acts of kindness are the stepping-stones to making the world a better place–because we become better people in it.”
― Jodi Picoult.

Let us take that plunge today, and I am all ears when it is time to share how refreshing an experience it was.

And remember………………we were made to live for His pleasure and not just exist.

 פרידהעדשנפגששובחבריםיקרים ….

Adios!