From Venus…

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Admittedly, resentment and bitterness only hurt oneself, so I may be a little bit unsteady but I’m still holding on because I don’t think He’s done with me yet. I’m not capitulating as I watch but it seems like something is unraveling and I just might have the power to slow it down because inevitability cannot be stopped. It’s mother’s day and the least I can do is share the memories we made together that I’ll forever cherish till we meet again. There’s some irony in God’s playbook because He made man from dust and woman from man’s bone. Now metallurgy not required, we undeniably rely on fact that bone is stronger than dust but there again in full display is our inability to grasp divinity.

It’s been close to 2years since you got called home however your legacy still lives on. Everything I am today, I owe to you in some way. I recall rolling my eyes when you inexplicably went into the tale of my childbirth to my friends but that’s the beginning of just how amazing you were because you made a choice, you had me. I tell people that I wasn’t your favorite but despite that, you poured your entire being into raising all 7 of us, 3 of us felt your ire directly however, that’s why I could contribute in those after me and that’s how I am the father I’ve become, ill-health or not. So thank you, because raising 6 sons is not a feat for the faint hearted especially when you factor in the cities we lived and grew up in.

We have always been dog-lovers but as a young kid, you bought me a night shirt that I still remember and it had the picture of a cat with the words, ‘I’m just PURR-FECT!’. That in itself marked the choices I made and still make because nobody’s perfect but I strove to be as close to it as I could because you showed me how. You taught me to acknowledge that I was in charge of my life’s story; you taught me to believe in myself. Nothing couldn’t be surmounted as long as I believed in myself and today, I pass that message to the next generation. You had your own flaws but when it came to us, you laid it all out and even though you banned fighting at home, I still got into it outside because the streets crush the feeble and I will never describe or be described as feeble.

You bought me my first tie, even though it was to placate me and little did I know that wearing ties would be a signature. My childhood pictures are replete with images of me in bow ties and I look at them today and appreciate the big picture you saw of me even then. Dining was a formal affair especially dinner because you had already committed to teaching even before motherhood and so dinner was always a family affair. With you, there was no defined roles determined by gender and I’m thankful for that. Notwithstanding the fact that we grew up with house helps, you always said, “I will never raise up another’s child to the detriment of mine” and so there was no distinction between what I or the house help could do. It was confusing back then but now I understand.

You took me to purchase my first pair of grown-up shoes (driving was still years away), standing by the side while I made my selection knowing there was a budget to abide by. And when peer pressure came, you never buckled because you taught me that it was more important to be different and true rather than being part of the crowd. You taught me that contentment and self-esteem was a choice, because the road less traveled was usually the better route to take. You taught me to treat ladies with respect even before I had a sister, a trait that’s fast disappearing in today’s world. Chivalry is still as important and more needed today where the battle of self-identity has been flipped on its head; what’s right is right regardless of time.

You took the time (how?, just another pointer to who you were) to teach me driving at 15, intricately weaving in the need to be responsible at the same time. Reading your crime magazines ensured that I could deal with fear and also understand that the heart of man is desperately wicked. Striving for excellence, I knew you were in the auditorium when I got my first award/scholarship as a freshman in high school, because even though I didn’t see you, I could hear your car keys jingle each time you applauded – that was your thing; wearing your car keys on your pinkie. Your ability to effectively utilize the network (and undervalued profession) of teachers ensured that I sought the straight and narrow even when the exuberance of youthfulness came calling with whispered lies and well conceived folly. You were strict and harsh when the occasion called for it and just the memory of the last ‘whupping’ was enough to keep the foolishness away for a season.

You nudged me to understand that salvation was important and essential, making my personal walk with God a decision I made entirely on my own. Acknowledging that there’s more to life than meets the eyes was the foundation of my Christianity and yet I’m still learning and paying it forward till date. Discarding ego, I learned crafts (it was your standard) that positioned me well enough to understand that being your own boss was better than being the best employee. I learned culinary skills from your glossy magazines and catering books as well as being in the kitchen with you. You taught me that adventure was good because curiosity could be a villain. You taught me that freedom was not the absence of rules but rather the opportunity to be disciplined and control myself at all times. You taught me that vulnerability wasn’t a weakness however, building relationships that bettered me would always keep me growing.

Thank you for being the best mother that I needed and happy mother’s day! Till we meet again in Zion, continue in your rest and I hope I made you proud.

Adieu!

It’s just the broom…..

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Do it well!

                      Do it well!

“Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance” – Will Durant

I really don’t know how long ago I actually put myself to work (on my feet) armed with paper towels and a bottle of windex glass cleaner, but as the task went on, I realised that with every wipe of the glass, not only did I rightly anticipate the associated physical discomfort, but what was much more satisfying was how much grime was sacrificed to let in brighter light. Now it was not as though the glass pane was thoroughly dirt streaked or an eyesore however it sure could look better and it did look better at the end. The satisfaction I derived from something so mundane in nature was mine to savor because I succeeded in putting to rest the fleeting worry of ‘can I do this?’

I learn each day that we are solely responsible for the paths we choose to walk on, however my question to myself each time is ‘was the choice really mine or was it just me living out someone else’s goal like a puppet?’ Now if the answer is the former, then I have succeeded in pushing back the drapes of ignorance just a little bit more. However if the answer is the latter, then corrective actions need to be promptly taken to get back on track. Why? You can never give what you don’t have and I’m not taking about something loaned to you by a friend/associate or whoever, I’m talking about ownership and responsibility. These words represent values that are gradually becoming extinct and in all reality, it’s not raising as much furore as the extinction of the dinosaurs but in order to inch forwards towards the lofty goals set, we may have to experience some discomfort. Is this a case of the end justifying the means? Absolutely not! I dare say that it is you realising who you are and regardless of the mistakes we might make, nothing triumphs the satisfaction of being you.

Like I said in my last post, the recent weeks have not just been hectic but they have actually tested my resolve as a human being (especially one facing the challenges of myoclonus head on), whilst being cast alongside the hordes of humans that surround us everyday. The question is are you just part of a surging population or you are willing to break the mould, open up that closet and do some spring cleaning. Now would very well be the best time. In times like this, where we are surrounded by technological advancements and giant leaps, the fundamentals can not be forgotten – that in itself would be as grave an injustice as can be. I remember my first lesson as a kid, just recently assigned my daily chores comprising making my parents’ bed and sweeping their bedroom – armed with a broom (sic), brush and dustpan, I recall how difficult it used to be initially, ensuring that the broom stayed right in front whilst steering it in broad arcs (as far as my tiny arms could) gathering the dust, dirt and whatever else right to the point where you could sweep it all into the dustpan and call it a day. Sometimes in a bid to do something more pleasurable to me, I’d sometimes let the broom get behind me and usually, I was compelled to redo it all over again.

My issue is how many times have we allowed our resources master us as against it being the other way round? Are we certain that the satisfaction that accompanies fulfilling a task is worth the effort put into it? Wednesday was yet another learning point for me, as I watched an intern drop out of training because he didn’t ‘think’ his training was a process that would culminate in achieving a goal and that the risk was not commensurate with the income. Now, in retrospect, I believe that many of us have not really set in motion the process of educating ourselves because we have become so complacent that even our choices are not really ours anymore. It’s a tirade of ‘my friend convinced me to’ or ‘I’m expecting a baby so my mum suggested I need to make more money’…. I could go on and on but in all reality you are the one in the race and when the cards don’t line up and you get so frustrated that you get inducted as a member of the Quitters’ Society, it’s you making that choice. Ever heard of ‘winners don’t quit and quitters don’t win’? I am yet to see this time proven statement revised so that it encompasses things like disabilities or restrictions, for me; it’s just two classes of individuals – winners and quitters.

Assuredly, the process can so beat you up that you just want to throw in the towel but if you do, what new lesson have you learned about yourself. We all have the ability to dream be it; opening a haberdashery or establishing your own firm or refusing to be perpetually beat up by a disability, whatever it is; You choose to continue or give up. It is no new fact that the cemetery is an expansive collection of unused potentials and great ideas just because many have shirked away from facing the hard work ahead but instead want to jump the broom and land in the kingdom of Oz. Remember you also have to click your heels and put on the dress too, however if you are so ensconced in running away from work then you’ll never get anything done. I see people on a daily basis throwing away chances of self fulfilment just because they lack the resolve to put their backs into it. Yes, people may yell and scream when you make mistakes but remember that life in itself is a learning curve and I am yet to see and/or hear of anyone who has never made a mistakes. Mistakes just teach us ways of not doing things inimical to our progress.

Each new day like today, is yet another opportunity to decide and take action. Do away with the incessant whining and being mummy’s boy and do something for you because each time you opt to jump the broom, guess what you’ve just left behind…..the opportunity of having a clean room and the joy of accomplishment. Ther are no set down timelines for us and so we must make hay while the sun shines because whether we like it or not, we don’t control time and there will certainly come a time when the sun goes down and you can collect no more hay. Work smart is the fad now but you must first work hard so you can learn also how to become smart and then apply it. It’s more than just living your life out there on social media (do you really believe people are that focussed on your everyday action?), do the honourable thing by showing people values like inspiration, commitment, dedication and more importantly the capacity to care about others. When that room is swept and all tidied up, it sure ain’t going to be you alone who will some day and at some point, make use of that room.

Our actions today, impact on others and on our tomorrow and so whilst you are at it, make it a goal to be the best you can ever be, because there is really just one of you. Do away with the ‘Somebody, Nobody, Anybody, Everybody’ poem and just do you; that is really all you can do anyway. You can influence the actions of others but you can’t make choices for them and if perchance you’re one of those who are so ‘protective’, that bird will never experience the thrill and satisfaction of flying with its own wings. So instead of contributing positively, you’ve chosen to put out an uninformed and irresponsible person in addition to the countless others that are already wandering about, desperately searching for something they won’t even recognise when they see it. We must all have something to believe in, why don’t you start with yourself – that’s all you’ve really got anyway. And if you make a hash of it at some point (we are all learning anyway), chuck the experience behind you but move on with the lesson learned. Life has been likened to many things; it is like a classroom but you had better know why you are there and want to be there or you’ll just be a rabble rouser (if you’re even that good).

Remember, it’s better late than never. It’s never too late to begin again whilst there’s still breath within you. The world is already sad enough without your own addition, be the difference – be the game changer, be an inspiration, be the considerate one, be the one who exudes joy, be the encourager, be the difference between someone giving up and someone choosing to strive for change. It is a large world we are in but you can only do your bit and pray God makes it significant to another. There’s a huge difference between leaping in faith and jumping the broom, your convictions and choices will determine which route you take.

It’s dystonia month, and to the many champions out there, we can’t afford to put our oars down now. Let’s put our backs into it, make them aware and challenge them because if we can, what excuse would they have?

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

Adios!