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!

Between two cities…..

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In the course of my remarkable journey through life, I have been blessed beyond measure by the number of lives that I get to encounter. And when I use the word ‘encounter’, I mean it literally – at train stations where there are no escalators or elevators. The chap giving up his seat on the morning train while people are still trying to complete their quota of sleep in an insane bid to multi-task. The fruit grocer who tells me to have an extra pound of grapes even though I just have enough for only one pound. The Procuring officer who, without a hint of irritation in her voice, logs in an extra thirty minutes (off the books) just so I get there on time to finalise my business dealings with them. The charming lady with kids who insists on helping me with my shopping despite my clamour for chivalry. I could list complete strangers who just by their actions with no regards to any form of obligation or brevity of time have become contacts on my phone book. Most of whom, I am fully aware, will continue dealing with their own issues as soon as they get off at their predestined stop.

Those are the family of strangers that I belong to and within the time frame of our interactions, I know that they have inexplicably earned a paragraph, a page, a chapter in my life’s tale. Today, I look at my phone book and due to the insistent demand for independence by my neurological system, I have figured out new ways of getting hitherto simple tasks completed with the least amount of added stress to an already over burdened system. To every name, there is a face to match because just like I was explaining to my daughter yesterday about how the brain is a muscle, I had hitherto engaged in mental exercises that ensured that my memory was catalogued. I do not forget faces or names but with the unrelenting clamour  for autonomy by my nerves under the strong influence of dystonia, I have learned how much of an anguish it is when I try to engage in placing a face when I hear a name or matching a name to a face as we converse…….and so I just reinvent a new method of mental indexing to lighten the associated burden of doing things the old way.

Needless to say, I still remember, and when faces and memories ricochet in my head like a hastily fired off shot from the muzzle of a Springfield XD 3″ sub-compact semi auto pistol in a tiny confined space, I have learned the futility of trying to catch the bullet or limit its bouncing around. There’s no good result regardless of how much effort I make and so I just reinvent new methods. Still there are lives that so significantly interspersed with mine that I cannot help but just put them in a category much more easier to rifle through. Now I chuckle when I remember “there are many ways to kill a rat” because now, it’s so amazingly simple to just open the door and let the rat go find someone else with the energy to alternate between the many ways of ridding the world of just that one rodent.

Within the space of four weeks, I learned of the demise of two men (way past the prime of their youth) who touched my lives in so much different ways as their locations. Two continents apart, one life being the only common factor, mine. One preferred to get from me as much as he could even though he rationalised it by saying ‘it’s because of your condition I am even negotiating with you’ – when in reality, there was no respite applied. The other, was as open-hearted as I have ever seen anyone been and even when he struggled to remember the subject of our last conversation, he would still embrace me and plant a kiss on my cheek while propping himself up with his walker. He gave more of himself than I ever gave to him because when the twilight comes creeping in, we more often remember the givers than the takers.

In response to my enquiries, one passed away alone with no relatives or friends with him until he was discovered by one of his tenants. The other had nothing but a long list of lives he had touched with his humility, compassion and smile; who stayed with him till he transitioned with a hymn on his lips and a smile on his face. Am I in anyway trying to make light of the fact that to every season, there is a beginning and an end? Definitely not, but I still cannot picture how sad it is to exit the stage alone and unobserved by the rows of spectators who watch our lives because in all fairness, we are all called upon to play our roles on this stage of life. And so, I know that regardless of how poorly a role you might have played, the least you deserve is a slight smattering of applause just for showing up. However, my question is why would I settle for the polite applause when I can get a standing ovation, not in response to fame or my gaudy attire but in response to the collection of individual lives that were so impacted by our meeting.

When the final stage curtains are dropped and your role is done, what would be the response? Mere courtesy or deep hearted appreciation, I choose the latter every day and so my intent is not to run around like I’m in a game of tag (well I don’t run anymore) but to ensure that whether the duration of encounter is measured in minutes or by decades, I gave of myself both in cash (when it’s there) and in kind. It is so easy to gravitate towards the company of those who give than the company of takers but remember that you are the star character in your own role, and whilst you may delight yourself in being ‘smart’; there is something within you that is meant to be shared with others. “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without wall” – Proverbs 25:28 Of what use is a city without walls, how do you provide safety for those entrusted to you?

We are all cities; size, population etc might vary but a city is what you are, and so in this arena called life, what makes you stand-out? Handouts from your fully stocked cellars and granaries might suffice for a bit but when the curtain falls and your granaries and cellars are pillaged and looted by strangers, the insignificance of your handouts would suddenly become glaring and shameful. We are cities stocked for the long run, and giving is a sacrifice but sacrifices are not a hobby in any location I have been to during my sojourn. Though my walls may be in dire need of a fresh coat of paint, and my watch towers have slowly lost their glimmer, there is still something to share with that stranger who seeks solace in the shadows of my walls. Though the buffet table be removed and the fountains but trickle slowly, there is still enough to parch both our thirsts. Though my blankets have all but lost their fleece, and the chandeliers are but a spot on the ceiling, I know that the warmth of our conversation; true and sincere, will create memories never to be forgotten when the time to part ways draws near.

Remember that time never stands still, but even with its passage when the arms of sleep so tightly embrace, memories will always be created.

עד שנפגשנו שוב, אולי התענוגות שלו להיות העונג שלך לעשות

Adios!