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!

Catching The Glimpse…..

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Oh my! Spent last night counting down the hours as I sought the very elusive sleep but that is not the point behind my getting on to my keypad. Yesterday morning I did something that was completely out of character for me.  Mind you, I had a torrid week – frequent bouts of sciatica, each one seemingly more severe than the other and even immediately after my hurriedly scheduled session with my favourite chiropractor and friend, I was almost scissored in two as I was hit by another bout however I guess that is how the proverbial cookie crumbles. Life is consistent in its assigned task of the gradual process of crumbling cookies, whichever way the cookie does stand, someday it gets crumbled – an inevitable end! But in the words of Martin Luther King Jnr “Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man (situation/dystonia/FMD) can’t ride you unless your back is bent.” (emphasis mine)

And so as I yet again dealt with the arduous task of putting on my shoes (I am particular about that task because it certainly brings to bear all the control I can muster up just to perform that seemingly routine everyday chore), I decided to switch on my cute iBush HD television to distract my mind from the associated pains. And I had a mind-blowing experience as I listened to Oprah on Super Soul Sunday hosting popular American motivational speaker, Iyanla Vanzant and as I listened to her story, there were certain nuggets that hit me in the right place and made me catch that glimpse that we all need sometimes in our lonely sojourn down paths that we would never have chosen if we were given the chance to choose. I pushed aside the pain and straightened my back regardless of the tremors and intense pain along my spine because whether we choose to accept it or not, He speaks to us every moment – the question is what we have chosen to listen to.

We are blessed on all sides by gifts but most times we are not prepared to receive those gifts even when we are handed those gifts in hand. And there again, I am compelled to return to my choice subject – chance versus choice. All of us are given the chance to make an opportunity of our lives, whether we choose to acknowledge that we have been created to live a life and not solely existing for the reason of being a statistic in global population. That is an express manifestation of whatever choices we make because the chances will continue to inundate us on all sides and even as I trudge through this tunnel, I choose to catch a glimpse of the hope and rest that awaits me – knowing that every day brings a ray of hope that the cobwebs of depression can do nothing about. I look around me and I see countless others who are struggling with their own pains and hurts and I choose to realise that I can set mine aside and help them realise that in each of our darkest hours, nothing can stop the light from piercing through but it is our choice to catch that glimpse and move on or succumb to the gloom that so eagerly desires to clutch us in its embrace of cold hopelessness and depression.

“Each days dawn is like a recurrence of the first act of the Creation as if again a decree had gone forth: Let there be light. And as the earth whirls on its orbit, there sweeps westward a band of brightness, fringed by the half-light of daybreak. The suns rays, themselves all energy, bring new energy to every living thing.” – Anon E. Moss

And so each new day, I choose to wait and catch that glimpse of light, confident in the knowledge that as long as there is a ray then the whole essence of creation is and can at some moment in our existence be awash with the fullness of the light that so clearly illuminates our weaknesses, resentments, hurts, anguish, betrayals and gives us that blissful opportunity to choose to be born anew shedding all that so easily besets us and forging on with the sparkle renewed in our eyes and hope in our hearts that we can be of some assistance to just that one person who like so many of us have chosen to be swept along the rapid currents of life, not even taking a moment to appreciate the fineries and beauty of creation. I have spent many a nights, tossing in agony trying so anxiously to tell myself that pain is not synonymous with birth. But the truth remains that there must be labour pangs before something more beautiful is birthed.

Not giving in to the crushing weight of helplessness, so graciously expressed by the ignorance of many a physicians but realising that we can choose not to allow our backs be bent by whatever assails us. I was recently discussing with my friend, Mwenya and we both agreed that the time for change is not to be determined for us by anyone but that  the catalyst for change lies deep within us. Regardless of the hordes that trudge past us daily as we struggle with this elusive disorder, nobody can stop us from catching that glimpse associated with each new day. Putting aside the neighing of many, as they pretentiously whisper the usual words devoid of any sincerity and warmth, I acknowledge the few who despite their inability to fully comprehend what FMD is, still yet stand by, pledging their availability whenever the storms almost overwhelm me. I know that it is not about the path most travelled, it is about the courage to walk your own path and dare to be yourself. Pulling myself by my shoe strings and accepting that on each new section of this journey, there will always be just a few out there cheering me on. I admit that I will accept those few gifts, whispered in hushed tones and discreet gestures, knowing that each life I meet – there is something to pass on.

I realise that as the darkness swirls overhead, nothing can blot out that glimpse of hope and like many a sailors, perched on the wreckage of their vessels peering through the fog, someday I too with triumphant voice will loudly proclaim these words “LAND AHEAD! I have reached my destination” and whilst battered and bruised my body might be, my spirit is aflame with hope that victory is certain and sure. “I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure that it will cost to maintain this liberty, and support and defend what has been so fiercely obtained. Yet through all the gloom I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory. I can see that the end is worth more than all the means.”

Remember, to live a life or simply exist is a choice that must be made, nonetheless the fact is we were created for purpose.

פרידה עד שנפגש שוב בתזמון שלו עצמו

Adios!