When the words dry up….

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https://redzhis.files.wordpress.com/2017/06/When words dry up

A Dry Fountain

In 1998, I was blessed to attend a global Christian conference targeted at reaching Christian students in colleges and other tertiary schools with the primary aim of showing us the need for evangelism (if memory serves me right). It was such a unique event with over 38,000 students representing schools from all parts of West Africa gathering in one location. One of the unique experiences was having to interact with other college students, learn the realities that were peculiar to each region and ascertain what the tastes and cultural values of the different ethnic groups were. Above all, it was such an overwhelming experience to realise that regardless of how fluent the spoken English was or not, there was a common denominator; we were all Christians in tertiary universities united by each person’s unwavering commitment and allegiance to a loving Sovereign God – striving to live a lifestyle as exemplified by Jesus while He walked the earth. Speakers from all over the world graced the pulpit, and when we broke up into smaller groups for further deliberations, it became more profound because then more of us identified our purpose and received the needed empowering beginning with knowledge. It was actually both a spiritual experience and another opportunity to acquire knowledge.

One of the lessons I took away with me was not just the opportunity to meet new people but the fact that there would come situations where you just had to stand all by yourself. And it was not just standing by yourself, it was standing with an unflinching belief in what you believed in. Knowing that come hell or high water, you had better be truly convinced in what your beliefs were or the inevitable result was to be smashed against the rocks of uncertainty, doubt and regret. As the years passed by, more than one of these situations arose and as the pressures (unique to such situations) piled on, whatever you had painstakingly stored within yourself was forced to the fore. I learned that when push comes to shove you had better have something inside of you or you would go sick with dry retching as you painfully threw up nothing because……….there was nothing inside of you. And so it was not just a new lesson, I had already been taught that by my father, it was the chance to apply those basic tenets and whether I was all by myself or not; reveal without a hint of pretention, the real me.

One of the signature cuffs that myoclonus keeps on forcing on me is the inability to really speak for extended periods of time because as I speak, the words are all there but the increasingly dryness of my mouth gradually deteriorates into the seemingly incoherent mumbling of one totally inebriated. And as days come and go, I have forged new methods of circumventing this experience. In addition to always lugging around a bottle of water at all times, I have started carrying around mints, candies, anything that combats the dryness (I have never been a sweet tooth) and so initially while it seemed childish, in comparison to the increasing puzzlement on the face across me when I am talking, there was really nothing to it. I had to choose between the ruffling of mints in my pouch/pocket or the deterioration of my speech which usually begins with my mouth drying up till I am barely able to string a complete sentence together.

In the last three weeks, I have become friends with so many remarkable people; ranging from those who are still grappling with the recently received diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease (PD) or Dystonia to those who have courageously stepped out from the walls that they have built several years ago in a bid to focus their all into the daily battle of living with PD or dystonia. I am, still again, reminded of the resilience of the human spirit that refuses to be broken when you acknowledge that your spirit’s resilience can only be activated by choice. Choosing is easy when you are faced with just two options; when you understand the significance of each option. When you realise that the strength and resilience of our spirits is not something that is passed from parent to child, it is something that comes with acknowledging that we’re truly nothing when we are unplugged from our source. For it is our Creator, the Sovereign God that strengthens us when we embrace the fragility of our weakness and our vulnerability as humans.

One of the beautiful things about science is that it does not explain everything and as long as you continue to butt your head with that, wrongly believing that science has all the answers then the beat down is just going to become more frequent. Greatness is both born and made, and I dare say that greatness made is of more value to you than when it is handed down to you on a jewelled platter. Struggling to your feet after a beat down requires all your energies and hurling all kinds of expletives at dystonia would just be an exercise in futility, it does not care about you feel. However, most times, it is not the yell that has more weight or achieves more but the barely heard words spoken on the inside (encouraging yourself to get up) because your mouth is so dried up that salivating suddenly seems like a mirage in the desert. We may all look alike in some way but what truly differentiates us is the response or reaction after a beat down. An experience is not the event, it is the way we respond or react to the event – good and bad experiences are just tags, what we take away from the event is what tags it as a good or bad experience.

Now it has almost come full circle because life has been more than just a quiet and calm sea, definitely not, instead I have been besieged on all sides by what I would never have chosen in my wildest dreams even if it was the only option left. Living with myoclonus has been one of the roughest phases I have beeen through but what makes it so different, apart from it being rare and ‘incurable’, is the unpredictability of its expression and its triggers. And yes, individuals may infer that they are there for you but when dystonia is giving me such a beat down, I can but appreciate the candour of this truth – few will be there to help me to my feet based on the compassion that makes us human beings combined with the fact that everyone has issues. However, it is almost sheer folly wanting more from them during the beat down, there is just one subject of the beat down and that subject is me. There will always be help, probably around the corner, but I have learned that harbouring resentment only makes the entire experience worse and elevates the hurt from just being physical to more of a searing hurt on my insides.

Learning to appreciate the little everyday victories in our yet unending fight with these nasty diseases/disorders is something that must be sought for, nurtured and applied each day. Whether we choose to wait for the drumroll or not, a victory is a victory and the magnitude of the victory is just another human parameter, just as flawed as everything else we make. Words will always count for something; fragrance or noxious, soothing or destructive, the nature is our choice to make but there will come times when those words can barely be uttered and our actions in the silence of those times will inadvertently determine whether we believe that we are created for a purpose or we are just existing for ourselves. Today, help will come, and most often from the least probable source but till the help comes, let us never for a moment entertain the doubts that we are worthless because we are unable to convey how we feel to the person standing next to you. And even when we are sorely reminded by their presence by their elbows digging into you, intentionally or not, let us not base all our hope on things that are fleeting in nature.

May our words be true not superfluous or ensconced in falsehood, and when we can barely utter words, let us remember that our actions tell a tale of a life living with purpose or not. I strive instead to show that I can be a beacon of hope, bearer of light and a vessel of right living and that despite what the circumstances say today, I refuse to be defined by them because I know better days await ahead.

עד שנפגשנו שוב, אולי התענוגות שלו להיות העונג שלך לעשות

Adios!

Behind the walls….

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https://redzhis.files.wordpress.com/2017/06/Behind the wall

Behind the wall

Photography is a hobby of mine, getting more difficult with this journey I am on, but I learned as a child that a picture is worth a thousand words. Words come easy to some, not on account of the possession of a mouth, lips, vocal cords or hands, I opine that they come easy based on who you are on the inside. Words have always been an essential part of humanity or better put, communication has always been an esssential part of humanity. In war or peace, communication always played a pivotal role. I look around and realise that without words and communication, not much would be the way they are today.  It is therefore not very difficult to surmise that we all use words allbeit in different forms. How we use them is an issue on its own, but the way we use them guarantees either a reaction or a response.

A couple of nights ago, I was telling my daughter about the biblical story of Joshua and the battle of Jericho, and when I told her that the walls were so enormous and fortified that chariots could race above those walls. Now we are talking about at least two war horses (noted for their temperament, constitution and loyalty), the chariot (usually constructed from wood with a decoration of some metal filigree) and one adult. Now that there in itself is some weight, by the time you factor in the effects of the force transmitted into the walls by the running hooves, the rotating wheels etc, it is best imagined that those walls were not a foray into construction by some individual who felt bored. They were built to withstand, provide refuge for the inhabitants of the city especially in times of war and also exude a sense of peace as you gained entrance to the city.

This was not what I intended to talk about however, in the light of recent happenings, this has been birthed. Walls signify fortification and with the evolution of dynasties, we still require walls even as individuals for our residences; be they grand or tiny. Breach the walls of someone else, without invitation, and you are bound to suffer the consequences of whatever you encounter behind those wall. I recall my first experience in erecting walls; the walls for the family home built by my parents, I remember the foreman spitting out expletives when the wrong mixture of cement, sand, gravel and water was used. For the ‘security’ walls, the concrete mix differed from what was used for other parts of the building and despite the grumblings of the artisans and workers, they just had to get it right. In order to gain access to the house, you had to first get past the wall and it was so much easier when you were invited in (we have always had guard dogs, as children and when we were still in the nest, set loose at night). Behind those towering walls, there were secrets that could only be guessed by those walking on the outside and therefore in times of conflict, reconnaissance was vital.

As earlier mentioned, photography is a hobby and with time, I realised that I preferred staying behind the camera rather than being the subject of a photo shoot and till this day, my best pictures of people are those taken when they were unaware because it tells you a lot. And so I am of that quaint school of people that believe that man has yet again tinkered with the status quo because there are so many ways of editing pictures that they just come across as unreal and therefore the thousand words are inadvertently influenced to create a story that appeals to the subject. I can remember visiting a studio, just to get some passport photographs and when the passport pictures were given to me, I almost dropped them in shock because he had gone the extra mile of editing away my freckles! This was at least 7 years ago, so the leaps and bounds photo editing has come through is not something I want to even deliberate upon.

As an individual, I believe that words and instrumental music (classical, opera etc) are true expressions of the writer’s hearts and if you attempt to tinker with that then your objective had best be communicated as well. If the objectives are not properly or clearly expressed, not only is that an attempt to mislead but you taint the interpretation. Admittedly, it took quite a prodding before I joined Facebook and the like, however I try to stay true and for years, my Facebook account lacked any pictures of me. The other day, with my daughter going behind the camera, I made a short video of what an episode of dystonia looked like and I posted it on my facebook wall, I am still reeling from the flood of goodwill messages that are still coming through. The most popular comment from people has been been, “I’m so sorry, I never knew this what you were passing through”. I am still stuttering from the number of calls from people who called me after seeing the video. In all honesty, that will go down as one of my first attempts at emerging from behind my wall.

By virtue of the compelling and overwhelming need to conform, many of us have successfully, for years, hidden behind our walls; tucked away securely in our comfort zone reluctant to reveal the truth because the truth is not something that is a crowd pleaser. On the contrary, it actually reveals more that you had wanted to and the interpretation is best left to the recipient. Nobody wants to appear weak and vulnerable because we have become brain washed with notions that vulnerability is a sign of weakness and weakness is something that should be oft despised. What makes us human does not lie in what we have acquired over the years, it is in the everyday gestures and expressions of our hearts carried through on platters of kindness, compassion, hope , trust, faith and love. No matter how much concrete we pour into creating our impenetrable comfort zone, whatever you portray when you want to emerge, is a far cry from who you truly are and that in itself is a deception of gargantuan proportions. In order to deceive others, you first of all have to deceive yourself and rationalising it logically, the person bound to be hurt the most is YOU!

Discernment is a gift that many of us have been blessed with, but few have bothered building it up and developing it with the right nutrients just like we do with our bodies. We have chosen to ignore the needs around us as we journey through, confident in our own self told fact; “it is not my storm” and “if I were in your shoes, this is what I would done”. Can I kindly hush you before you make a bigger mess of yourselves, YOU CAN NEVER KNOW HOW YOU WOULD RESPOND OR REACT IN THAT SITUATION UNTIL YOU HAVE GONE THROUGH SOMETHING SIMILAR. As we saunter down life’s streets, we encounter walls of all kinds – some standing tall, some crumbling and in dire need of attention and some completely broken down. What do we do when we are opportuned to see beyond those walls? What do we do when we come across a broken down wall? Do we join in looting the spoils or we help in rebuilding? Self-control is a trait (scripturally likened to a wall) that we all must have as individuals but when our walls become less of a necessity for us and more of a ‘keeping with the flow’, then it is time to stop and re-evaluate.

Some of us have been so sucker punched by experiences that we lay in the dirt, completely spent, greedily grabbing air into our lungs and watch in dismay as our highly decorated walls fall to bits. We lack the strength to even pull ourselves up but there is a choice to be made here, “get back on your feet, soldier!” or curl up in the dirt and wait for the final curtain drop. I might still be reeling from the annoying attempts of dystonia as it tries in vain to re-define me, but I will rise and with tottering steps, get out from behind my self-built wall because just down the road, there is a city whose walls are fallen in battle and its citizens paralysed by the sheer enormousity of being prisoners of war. There is no joy in being a prisoner and while we are constrained by events that we didn’t choose, we can redefine our priorities and make our lives count for something. This might be that chance to reach in and pull out that gift that you have so selfishly used on yourself and for yourself alone, and instead choose to use it in assisting someone else. I can whole-heartedly assure you that your fears of it running out will not materialise.

True, money answers all things but does it provide all things? And if the answer is a quiet yes muttered beneath our breath then it would make so much sense to apply it to providing channels for those things that cannot be bought. There will never be a perfect life, no dwelling on the mountain top forever and whilst you are basking in the sun, and getting a tan or luxuriating in the freshness of the cool air from the ocean side, remember that the sun will set soon and when the darkness sets in, pray that you do not stumble. Storms will always come, we can do nothing about the size or strength of the storm but the factors that you can influence, please do not hold back. For today, you are able to shelter a wandering stranger as his night engulfs him, tomorrow is a mystery that we can prepare for today by just being human.

Remember “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience” – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. My thanks go out to those who in the last few days (and those to come) have with no hesitation accepted me as their friend and brother, especially those who like me have hidden behind the walls of dystonia and Parkinson’s syndrome, know this; Champions can be born great or they can learn greatness. Each of you are champions because as long as you arise each day not knowing whether it is going to be a good day or not, you are making the choice to make your life count for something. No matter how heavy or long a rainstorm lasts, it can never wash off the smile on your face.

עד שנפגשנו שוב, אולי התענוגות שלו להיות העונג שלך לעשות

Adios!

Staying the shackles….

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Staying off the shackles

Staying off the shackles

“I am not as bad as people would suggest, and yet not as good as I would like to be’ – Robbie Williams

In tribute to a man who gave more of himself to bringing such fun to a sorrowful world, I acknowledge that most of the roles he was cast in were so intense that he was one of my favourites. Whilst not wanting to cast myself into the melee of murkiness surrounding his passing, I remind myself that life in death and death in life is inevitable but we can choose how to make both ends counts. My condolences go to his family and for the stone casters, remember that you can not claim to be a victor until you’ve fought your own battle. We all suffer depression at some point or the other but what strength it requires to stay those shackles. I know what it is but today I inhale and decide that there is a purpose out there way larger than what and how people perceive me in my pain ridden world struggling with a disorder that most medical experts find difficult to grasp.

It sure has been an eventful few weeks and whilst I pull myself from the minor relapse I had with the tremors so intense, I felt like staying safe required separating my muscles from my skeleton……Alas, talk is easy, going that extra mile converting it to action is where most limits lie and so still again it’s reaching down wearily to my boot strings….yank!and trudge on.

One of the most incomprehensible things that perturbs me is why do we consciously choose to long for shackles when it’s not rocket science that they are meant to constrain us. I recently enjoyed the company of some friends and despite the years that has gone by between us, the clarity of self choice and self centredness still shone through despite efforts to mask it with a thinly applied veneer of self-justification. We do what we choose to do and regardless of whether we are too lazy and let others make the choice, as long as we walk with those choices…..we must serve the time when it is proven a crime. One truth I gathered from those times is; you harm yourself when you strive to please others at the detriment of yourself. Disobeying God certainly has no merits. “Love your neighbor as you’d love yourself” it’s that simple and so when next you find yourself doing more loving for the former, then it’s time to draw in the reins.

I recall the tale of how circus elephants are trained or tamed, just by shackling their feet at birth ensures that even at the prime of their adult life, with huge reserves of brute strength, their minds still remain shackled and so the thrill is not about how flamboyantly the tamer puts those elephants through their paces during a circus but about how incredibly exciting the positive choices from lessons learned can be used…..even apply in them to death-defying scenarios. I’ve since learned that spending my days letting the false guffaws of many dictate who I am are over. I am who God says I am, and He’s sure not interested in taking a seat in the auditorium where I can’t even see His face while I sweat through my acts hoping to make Him chuckle so hard that next time when He wants some entertainment, He remembers me. Now that’s real sad!

No, I am fully persuaded that even as I act out my role on the stage called life, His guidance, strength, wisdom and presence enthuse me with so much that I can give without entirely emptying myself. I choose to defy the laws of physics that talks about motion continuance based on the transference of energy from one body to the other at the detriment of one. I stay off those shackles so eloquently illustrated by man with his limited knowledge because I know that life is based in relationships and so if I choose to ignorantly follow the bandwagon and allow people determine who and what I should do then I have failed myself and shirked my purpose.

“When you complain, you explain pain for no gain. Endure and balance yourself through the pain, be hopeful and persist to the end.” ― Israelmore Ayivor

My message still rings unchanged – no pain, no gain. Recognizing the moment of transition is something that we more oft than not, fail to learn. Life’s best lessons are learned in the house of sorrow however the question is are we so focused on the shackles that bind us that we fail to listen to that sweet voice within us because till we do, there will be no good lessons learned, no keenness of sight but with glazed eyes continue staring at the wrong people, the time of transition will like an open gate beckoning upon us that freedom lies beyond their boughs, slowly shut us in that world where we accept and comfort ourselves that as victims, life is never fair. What happened to being a victor for a change, it begins with a choice to keep those shackles away mentally and do something with the ones that welcomed us in at birth.

I wake up each day, today inclusive, thankful that irrespective of the limitations that are so familiar – health, finance, solitude, (the list is endless if you switch on the TV or look at what you can no longer do) I am more than a conqueror by choice of my new birth and that spurs me on. Life is all about seasons and to every season, there’s a beginning and an end. This world is big enough for everyone if we each can only dare to make a different choice today. Say a kind word to someone else, give a prop to another and whether it goes appreciated or not…do not stop because if we grow weary in well-doing, we’ve lost our claim to such a beautiful harvest.

…..” Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time ;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o’er life’s solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us, then, be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate ;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.” – H.W Longfellow

Today, I choose to make my own life count, remember “Don’t entrust your future on others’ hands. Rather make decisions by yourself with the help of God’s guidance. Hold your beliefs so tight and never let go of them!” ― Hark Herald Sarmiento

עד שנפגש שוב בזמן שלו, לא דגל לבן הוא אי פעם הולך לתלות מהמשקוף שלי

Adios!

Just Wait…..

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Roxie…..

Right now, I feel like I was run over by a 30-ton Mack Truck. Struggling severely with insomnia and it does not look like I am getting the edge, was up till about 3am. The weather forecast was as usual spot-on; Rained all through the wee hours of the morning but it is a welcome development even though some say London rains are pesky and annoying. For me, really wish I could dance in the rain especially after the blistering summer and the almost unbearable heat. The consistent tremors ensure that I would be a perfect cast for the role of a super hero “Mr Exothermic” – that is one of the pros of Myoclonus. I am really considering having a yard sale for my thermal wear because I have gotten so used to my favourite birthday suit.

Anyway I had to go see my chiropractor again and twas yet another mixed session, he did comment on my fatigue level and emphasised the need for sleep (as though I enjoy not being able to sleep) however we both share the same opinion regarding most doctors and their appalling lack of honesty and professionalism. But this is not the real reason for getting onto my trusty companion – I had a mind-blowing encounter and that is what I want to share, and the lessons I learnt in the space of about 15 minutes on my way back home.

I love dogs, have always done regardless of the size and breed (although my predilection is for the huge ones). I would say that as a kid growing up, my best friend was Snoopy and even though he was not the real deal for whatever reasons (I guess pets were not really allowed in our rented house back then) but he taught me what loyalty meant. With each tug on his leash, he would roll behind me – tail wagging and droopy ears moving up and down. He was supposed to be a retriever anyway. He is still alive somewhere, missing a wheel or two but still unflinching in his loyalty. I am so proud that my little princess is also fond of dogs too. H.W Shaw captures it perfectly thus “A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.”

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Snoopy and I

As I made my way across the road to catch the 364, I met Roxie and it was like love at first sight, as she waited with her beautiful brown eyes and sleek black hair just outside the pharmacy. Seated on her haunches on the wet ground attached by her leash to the gate stand. She sure had one of the gentlest eyes and with just a brief glance at me, she continued her vigil and I did not need to watch Dynamo Impossible to realise  that her owner was in the pharmacy. Eyes fixed unwavering at the door of the pharmacy, head cocked as she looked through the glass plate window and just a brief glance at anyone who passed near – she waited and waited and waited.

Just as any real dog lover would, my heart went out to her because with each opening of the door, I also waited with expectation (it was so infectious) and still she sat on her haunches. No straining, no whining, just that blind unwavering watching and waiting that only dogs can express so sincerely. And so, I was not in a rush anyway, I waited with her – my heart going out to her as the slight rain persisted and yet Roxie waited. After a couple of minutes, I became apprehensive that there was a possibility she had been forgotten and so I made my way carefully (body aching as usual) into the pharmacy just to help her confirm that her waiting was not in vain.

With bated breath I approached the door, just as the ‘last’ customer (from my point of view) exited and as I made my way in, heading for the visibly empty counter, I saw two ladies at the far end of the shop. It was such a moment of relief which further blossomed as I heard the words “could you please hurry up, I’ve got my dog waiting outside”  What a thrill those words represented to me and as I exited the pharmacy, I whispered to Roxie “She’ll soon be out.” Taking a vantage point at the bus stop, knowing that the next bus would require me spending another 12 minutes, I watched with a wide grin as Roxie’s owner (Tracy) emerged and she leaped up with joy – finally the wait was over. I boarded the bus and together we each made our way home .

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Tracy & Roxie – the wait is over

Funny how those few minutes gave me an entirely new perspective regarding my struggle with Myoclonus. Roxie couldn’t read but she trusted that she was left outside for reasons unknown to her but known to Tracy. She continued waiting even in the slight rain because that was what Tracy asked her to do. She waited, confident in the fact that no matter how long it took, Tracy would re-emerge and they would both go home. She didn’t make a fuss about the conditions outside, she just waited – eyes fixed on the door through which Tracy had disappeared. She couldn’t have heard Tracy urging the pharmacist to hurry up and yet she waited.

Most of us would have given up the wait, hey! the ground was wet. We do not know why we are in this situation but we dare not give up because it is but for a season. Yes, the sleepless nights, the incessant tremors, the annoying independence of our neurological system, the indiscreet whispers and stares thrown our way, the look of indifference and nonchalance we encounter from those around us, the unwillingness to help…..the list is endless, sometimes we just wanna scream ‘I have had enough of this’ but guess what? Let us still wait because He’s in there (though we may not see Him or even acknowledge Him) working out things for our good. As I rode home on the bus, I muttered some words of thanks to Roxie for teaching me to wait.

We did not choose to have a rare neurological disorder (who would) but let us remember that we were born for a reason and purpose and presently, the ground beneath us is so wet and uncomfortable, we are cold and seemingly alone and abandoned but let us learn from Roxie to just wait because it is merely for a season and regardless of how long the season seems to last, someday, it is gonna end – one way or another and then we will make our way home joyfully. Every memory of the long wait and the bad seasons encountered in our sojourn, eclipsed by the joy of the reassurance that we are truly loved by the only One that really matters the most. And that as long as we just wait, eyes fixed where it matters the most, casting but brief glances to the distractions that  want to take our attention away then we can rest assured that we will inevitably finish as victors.

Remember that ours is not a life of mere existence but one of purpose,, so let us choose wisely and just wait.

lמסתדר טוב עד שניפגש שוב בזמן שלו

Adios!

 

My Journey (3)

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A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam that flashes across his mind from within, more than the luster of the firmament of bards and sages. Yet he dismisses without notice his own thought, because it is his. In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts as they come back to us with a sort of alienated majesty. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

A couple of days back, I had reason to share my thoughts and blog with a friend and his response was in the same words as quoted above. I realise with a degree of nostalgia that I had always believed that writing has and will always be the best form of expression for the heart and whilst many may yet dream of their own moment of fame, deep within, the beauty of who you were made to be lies dormant and unused. Till that very cataclysmic event, causing you to reassess your values and priorities, occurs. That sadly remains the scenario of many of us, scurrying around doing all sorts of activities and yet neglecting the very one purpose that defines us.

I have decided to take some form of hiatus from all doctors, after my last appointment (if it could be termed that) and generally take a brief interlude from all the arrogance that usually emanates from the utterances and attitudes of many a doctors. Notwithstanding the frequent bouts of unceasing pain, relentless in its companionship or the despondency that looms above like the sword of Damocles, I tell myself even with gritted teeth that life devoid of trials would be a life un-lived and that for every season, there is a beginning and an end. But most importantly, even in the midst of all this, my anchor holds within the storm.

A smile creases the corners of my mouth as I recall the essential tremors back in my childhood that became the butt of many jokes after Parkinson’s Syndrome became a celebrity riding on the fame of men like Mohammed Ali et al. Almost imperceptible at first but as the years progressed, silently it stuck, increasing in intensity as I plied through life seeking that elusive Golden Fleece. Undeterred by lack of adequate health care, suffering the many incidences and accidents that characterise the life of a growing male, still I ploughed through, making the best of every task assigned to me, striving for the idealism that I held in my heart. Acknowledging that this life was but a journey, and with unflinching faith as my companion, I persisted through the emotional upheavals and traumas that assailed me. Made my share of wrong decisions, stood by my beliefs and waded through the filth of betrayal, allbeit on my own.

Today I stand, still undeterred but convinced that no man can go it on his own – I know that I have a purpose and with each new day that dawns, help will never be lacking. I have been blessed by countless everyday heroes, ordinary individuals like me who despite their constraints and medical challenges can still tell their story of inspiration. I applaud the lives of those who have and are still standing with me through this tumultuous period, sacrificing their very own resources – unfazed by the seemingly helplessness of their own efforts. I also applaud the lives of those who choose to watch with disdain from the sidelines, hoping that this ship will go down but I appreciate you for giving me the will to go on. I do acknowledge that for every success, there must be a multitude of witnesses and so to you, I say, watch and grasp the opportunity to make the right choices whilst you still can because time waits for no man. There will never be a white flag hoisted from the bows of this ship, that I can assure you.

I have withstood the isolation of separation from LBJ and the solitude of pain, learning to utilise the gifts within me and to humbly receive immeasurable amounts of grace sufficient for each day. Learnt not to be too proud to ask for a hand and not to be too tenacious to cling unto that which has lost its essence. No man is indispensable but there is but One in whom my anchor holds and regardless of how stormy the gales be, my anchor holds within the storm. Regaling myself with this hiatus, I know that it is not the utterances of man that will define me but the truth spoken once and heard daily in the tweeting of the birds every morning, in the stillness of the afternoon and in the coolness of the evening breeze accompanied by the twinkling of a million stars held in their place by Him. Now I know that for every step of this journey, I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly trust the Cornerstone.

It may take a million words or just a few words, but my voice will be heard as I proclaim this truth, there can be no hopelessness as long you are not afraid to hope. I do have appointments next week but I keep them not because therein lies the solution but because I know that they are means to an inevitable end and you can fly if only you believe. It is never too late to unshackle yourself from that which has kept you bound all this years, and simply believe that you were made for such a noble purpose, so noble that you alone were made for it and even as we number each day, the lives that have come and gone, let our decision be “I choose to live a life of purpose irrespective of what life tosses along my path”.

Remember, ours is not merely a life of existence but one to be lived.

פרידה עד שנפגש שוב בתזמון שלו עצמו

Adios!