Days, Events, People!…..

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I am in the habit of sharing my thoughts in some of the most ingenious way because sometimes the world just seems too gloomy for inhabitation. I had a tank top made in London with the caption; ‘Everything seems funnier when you are not allowed to LAUGH!’ Now that is my general overview of the human emotions and the workings of this complex system we call our bodies. Up one day and down the next, and this is deniably the trend for a majority of us however when you get that feeling that something is really off with you then it is best to check it out. A full bellied laugh is such good medicine to the soul but we do not have to wait to be pigeon holed before we act as human beings.

Within the last 6 – 8 weeks, I have been barely active on social media (which includes this) because for some unknown reason, it just seems like my body is gradually coming apart at the seams. Wracked with relentless bouts of severe back spasms, unpredictable as usual, it has been more than a task to sometimes breathe freely and although the words, ‘NEVER GIVE UP’, are always within eye sight, it just seems that every round might be the one that finally bests me. Nonetheless, still I strive and with the unsure gait of someone who seems to be inebriated, I choose to take it one step at a time. And when I do have to let out the occasional groan, it is not for want of attention but rather a vent to all the pain going on inside.

All over the world, calendars are marked full with international celebrations (the dates may differ depending on where you are) and it is quite amusing that we still are wary of seizing our destiny or better still yielding to the capable Hands of Our Creator. We are creatures of purpose but the inevitability glaring us in the face is that without identifying and then understanding our purpose, abuse is certain. And as is oft the case with me, i take a step back and just try and grasp my own perspective of things. May 12 marked Mother’s Day in North America and what a beautiful day it was, there was no rain despite the fact that the day before the roads were flooded and the forecast was pretty grim. But still it was a beautiful day to celebrate mothers; that unique category of individuals who are for the lack of a cape, our modern day superheroes. Mothers in this post is a title that transcends biology, age, race and cultural proliferation!

Happy Mother’s Day!
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Truth be told, there are men too who would unashamedly be celebrated because of their parenting skills even with the added difficulty of being a single parent but then what about the countless women who single-handedly make the world a less dangerous place for their children. And for the men just mentioned above, the truth is that without a mother, it would be a case worthy of debate that you might very well not be the man you are today. Parenting, undeniably is hard work and just some hours ago I had a conversation with a friend who I had texted ‘Happy Mother’s Day!’. It was almost the same conversation as she bemoaned how difficult it was just trying to keep the home in one piece without letting the bills breach the hull of her home. Did I have the wise words that would make it all disappear? Definitely not, however I did let her know that we never know our best and if we let the pursuit of the tangible break us then what a twist of fate it is. It is my own opinion that life wants to put you on a treadmill with broken control knobs and if you choose to remain on that treadmill then better get properly strapped in because there is really no end in sight until you keel over in exhaustion and transit this life.

I have since learned that even though there are certain dates marked off on calendars hanging on the kitchen wall, it does not require a feat of supernatural strength to simply appreciate on a daily basis the sacrifices people make on our behalf. I remember when I was liquidating every asset I had at the onset of this battle with dystonia, and literally going around with cap in hand (if only I had an inkling as to how expensive the battle would be…), I was asked by a few would be helpers; “have you disposed of everything in your name?”. Summarily and predictably, they never did show up with their funds and my question till date is; when you see a need, do your actions depend on what the needy already have or do you just give regardless and move on. Funny but many of us are wannabe givers but then we need some justification that your hard-earned money will be the last piece to make the puzzle complete. It is just another tiny detail that we very often forget; we made our entrance naked and will depart in the same way so all that you gloat over daily isn’t really yours. Please work hard but remember every blessing we receive is a gift from God!

Mother’s Day! Heck there are 365 days in which to tell a mother that she is truly appreciated, why wait for that one day and oh by the way if you are on the taciturn side then there are also 365 days to tell people that you encounter daily how special they are. It is rather amusing that we bind ourselves to a piece of paper that seemingly dictates how to appreciate people. Unfortunately, I recently lost a mate and despite the pleas not to stress myself, I wanted to and eventually did give something to ensure his family is not left desolate. Did it cost me something? Oh it definitely cost me a lot but what a joy it is that I could be part of something that defining – letting someone else know that they are not alone. For me, hearing conversations like, ‘the family seems to be doing well’ or ‘the family is financially buoyant’ is just a huge downer. Give because you want to and not because you think they are desperate. I can assure you that desperate times are not the best of times to act especially when there were windows of opportunities to act in good faith.

For every breath we take, I know there is no record keeping of how much air we consume neither is there a quota that you are entitled to. And so if that is the case and we truly acknowledge that, then be as generous as you can when you can. There is such profound joy in giving, ignorance is a choice you make intentionally. I bade my family every night with these words, “Sweet dreams, I love you and I’ll see you tomorrow!”. I am by no stretch of imagination the timekeeper but I do know that now is all I have got and so it definitely falls within the category of the wise to make NOW count. My dad told me this years ago and they are still relevant, “A parent who is unable to ensure his offsprings have the opportunity to become better than him or her should be deemed to have failed.”. I do know that it is subject to debate because there are choices to be made however what we can do today is look around and put a little glimmer of sunshine in someone else’s life.

And so to all the mothers (this transcends biology) out there who consistently refused to be overwhelmed by the dictates of child upbringing, I celebrate you today, tomorrow and the next. Thank you for the sacrifices made because now we can invest in the next generation without tying the investments to the portfolio size that makes us feel comfortable.

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

Adios!

Clearing Debris III……

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Clearing Out

Still on this subject? I am tempted to ask myself that however I have since learned that there is a difference between staring at the same point from the same location and looking at an object from different perspectives – the former stultifies while the latter informs and empowers. I have to admit that it has been a horrendous weekend for me but again in the light of the options available to me, I choose to still be thankful because what I just might consider as ‘granted’ can and is usually someone else’s luxury. I walked into my daughter’s room this morning after the usual protocols had been observed and once again, it looked like The Flash had just zapped through her room. And oh boy, did I learn in unforgettable ways that ‘cleanliness is next to Godliness’ As a growing child. However I now know that the context in which cleanliness is used is in reference to holiness (that is another subject to share on) and so the many unforgettable ways did not really help me until I understood what it meant.

Me : “Why are your clothes strewn across your bed?” Her response was sensible but more of an explanation for not doing what is right, “Oh, these are for washing cos I have worn them before and the others are for ironing…..” well to just sum up the entire conversation, we agreed that anything not properly stored in its place was destined for someone who needed it more because families had lost their all. Well, this post is not from some far off city where the devastation was seen on TV, we witnessed it and we do know families and friends who had to leave everything behind (and lost almost everything) so that they could be evacuated by The National Guard using an RFB. Now, the road to recovery from the Hurricane is still ongoing and may very well be for a long time however with each drive through the city, the debris on the front lawn of homes are still reminders of how we were saved from the storm. Yes, I said saved. The default instinct of natural man is to ‘store for the rainy day!’, but when the rainy day is here, we still find an utterly ridiculous reason to still keep storing and before we know it, we create breeding grounds for pests and put ourselves in harm’s way.

Clearing Debris III

For the dump

It just occurred to me a while ago that we each have varying amounts of debris in our lives and it takes the occurrence of a storm for us to seriously and quickly determine what counts and what can be recovered later. All this going through my mind as I wondered how on earth I still give in to the temptation of sleeping or trying to sleep by laying on my stomach; that was my default sleeping position pre-exacerbation of dystonia and its dx. I can be very graphic at times but when the pain on your lower back feels like your lower spine is in a huge torque wrench, and the lightest of movements feels like that torque wrench has just been given another turn, then attempting to chronicle these frequent episodes is quickly forgotten. In high school, I encountered the term ‘opportunity cost’ and it just made a whole world of things clearer than before. I would gladly defer the option of having a body that sometimes just ‘goes rogue’ for even a popsicle on a winter morning. It is said that some things are better experienced than told, for this case I would definitely call for a timeout on the grounds that this should not even be on anyone’s to-do list!

As I pass through the lives of those that I have been and am still being blessed with, I still find it just a mite disconcerting that many of us have blissfully chosen to ignore the fact that for there to be a beginning, there has to be an end. And most times, endings are not always pleasant because we want to keep hold of what we should give up. Now this is one truth that stares us right in the face but we so often choose to ignore it; until the debris that has built up over the years from bad habits, wrong choices, stubbornness, recalcitrance (the list is endless)is cleared out, there can be no fresh start. I remember what it was, what is and I know what it will be because thankfully the storms of dystonia has compelled me to clear the debris. It is in the middle of the rainstorm when you are drenched and the chattering of your teeth is the the only familiar noise above the storm, that you give no thought to the cost of the poncho or umbrella that you suddenly see. No storm is similiar but being through one prepares you on the off chance that you find yourself in another.

Taking a cursory look at the things I hold dear now is somewhat of a pleasure because they are all intangible, I have seen the utter destruction and loss of material things, I have heard the despondent words that accompany the reality of a hopelesss situation, seen the sheer fragility of our puny strength, witnessed the camaraderie that comes from being in the presence of one who has walked in shoes just like mine, and in conclusion, I know that today’s present state is not a definition of my end. There is no degree of finality that we can conjure up even in the heat of emotions, it is neither our call to make nor are we a creation of our own hands and so if we can comprehend these salient points, then the transformation that births the mythical Phoenix happens. The transformation of the entirety of your being when you acknowledge that we are creations of an Awesome God whose love is never in doubt, is an exhilarating experience with each new day. Those are the things that will never be categorized as debris.

I am not one who spoils for a fight, feeble are the arms that rely on a cane, however I will not quit from a fight and if life with its curved balls and sucker punches deem me a feeble opponent then I am afraid that an error of gargantuan proportions will make its way into the annals of history. What makes me me is not the ferocity of the storm or the loss that inevitably follows in the aftermath of a storm, what defines me is that I have since realised that I have chosen to be on the winning team. Life’s scoreboard might be telling a story to the pleasure and delight of a few but guess what I am still on the winning team and the assurance of victory is what drives me each day. Now I see the glaring ignorance of those who think that they are as indestructible as their wealth safely squirrelled away in the vaults of Switzerland; a generation creates wealth while the subsequent generation spends it completely and so the question that still goes abegging is ‘will you allow the clutter and debris gathered over the years, now out on the side walk determine the state of your life?’

In life we meet to path, and more often than not, we also part to meet. During these sometimes brief exchanges, what will you be remembered for, what light (or darkness) announces your presence, what compassion drives you to be hospitable to strangers, what strength drives you to give your best and some to what ever you are tasked to do. Now I can boldly say that the pursuit of knowledge is a noble cause but when the storms of life hit, referring to your academic levels will be the last thing on your mind. We are so carried away by life and the cheering of the crowd that we often forget that life is a process and within those processes, there are seasons. When the cheering is over and the crowd is gone, do you find strength in your foundational beliefs or you suddenly realize that you never prepared for that aspect of life. Just as God causes the rain to fall both on the righteous and the wicked so also must we realize that our very best is displayed when we allow ourselves to be used by The One who created us. Regardless of the situation of today, that little role that you have been assigned to, remember to do it not for the praise of men but for the pleasure of Him who watches over us.

A couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine; Keith McDonut took the pains to compile the behind the scene experiences of people living with dystonia and I admit he did a fantastic job. I live with dystonia but I am not defined by it and oh sure, there was quite a deluge of comments and ‘prayers’ but after reading, what do you actually do besides making sure your name showed up on the comments section. It is not the perplexity that is outlined in the furrows of your brows as you wonder if that distant  noise is the noise of battle or just the rejoicing of a crowd, it is the responsibility and courage you display when you look around and help another who has fallen back up to his feet. It is not the applause you receive when you give a fraction of what is stored up in your barns that will count for a lifetime, it is the whispered words of encouragement, the sitting in silence with one going through a horrific time, it is that $2 Baconator fries shared in love…..those are the moments that create memories that last a lifetime.

Admittedly, storms always create an opportunity to take stock, re-evaluate and rebuild and so even as the tears roll down grime streaked faces as we embark on the sad part of taking out debris, be quick to remind yourself that you came into this world without a stitch of clothing and so if people helped you along the line to where you stand today, be sure to pay it forward. Elevators are designed to go up and down, but in order to go up sometimes you just have to be patient and wait for the elevator to descend to your floor. It also follows that sometimes the best way up begins from down and so when you get all caught up with the fineries of the 1st floor, do not let this thought escape you; it will only take a storm to make those fancy cars and cellars stocked with vintage wine to become the debris of today. I am confident in certain immutable facts; God designed each person with a unique set of skills so that you can be of use to someone other than yourself and if for reasons best known to you, you choose to hold very tightly what you have been given, the reminder is never a savoury experience.

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Tomorrow

Today is a new day, a brand new blank canvas that awaits the depiction of whatever we choose to and if you choose to adorn that canvas with the continued errors of past years then you just might be like the child who is petrified by the face of a painted masquerade. For me, it is not a default setting; I choose to be thankful for the air I breathe, the friends I have and for every opportunity where I can be of help in making the dreams of someone become reality. Remember this, “Our envy always lasts longer than the happiness of those we envy” –  Heraclitus.. Yet again, we are faced with the option to choose however I want to state categorically that the former bodes no good but the latter is the pursuit of every man.

עד ניפגש שוב, תן את היופי של ארשת פניו לזרוח עלינו!

Adios!