Collisions, Colluding & you…

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A couple of months ago, on one of those ‘thank God, it’s finally raining’ days….(mind you, my body clock works uniquely) heading home and possibly signing off for the day, the usually uneventful drive was jarred by that bump that tells you things aren’t going to go as planned. Despite the rain, I got down to assess the damage and also ascertain what was going on with the driver behind me. Alas, it was a young man still in his teens and barely able to string a complete sentence in English. He asked for my phone to call his mom after I was able to decipher that not only was he not covered by the insurance company but he didn’t have a driver’s license and this was his second accident that week.

Time waits for nobody and going by the remorse he showed and the obvious problems he would have if the cops were called, I did the Christian thing of calming him down and telling him he needed to pay more attention especially with the roads being wet and all that. I needed to be somewhere so I let him go after obtaining the necessary documentation. You might have heard that when it rains, it just doesn’t rain, it pours and so my first lesson in road accidents began. Despite the language barrier, his parents opted to cover the repairs but insisted on coming to meet with me (which in my opinion was pointless). Oh how predictable the wiles of man can be, eventually I did have to call the cops upon their insistence because apparently there was no damage from their own perspective (especially since I was just coming from church).

Two months to the fender-bender evening, I receive a subpoena to appear in court as a witness for the state – three counts of criminal misconduct!!! After sifting through the legalese, it suddenly occurred to me that we are inadvertently responsible for how our lives play out. All it takes most times is listening to the crowds and ignoring that gentle voice in you telling you to get off the bandwagon and chart your own path. As the days fly past, I ask myself; “When is it appropriate to collide but not collude? Do the collisions we encounter be an avenue to work together positively?” And in my own little world, I think the answer lies in the fundamentals by which we live. What is the appropriate response to the blatant silence from those whom you felt were rooting for you at some time?

It is actually a parody when we think that in the face of the coming storm, we have all the windows and hatches battened down, only to realize in the midst of the storm that the likelihood of you surviving is simply a function of where you have placed your faith. It is almost characteristic of man to dance only when the piper’s tunes are an elaborate tale of ‘success’ stories. The question of what happens when events overshadow your mediocre triumphs is a daily event, seen every time- failure is an orphan! Dealing with the reality of today is a manifestation of what anchors you….if you still have an anchor anyway. Being bogged down in the mire of loneliness and exhaustion is not being anchored and the sooner you get yourself out to solid ground, the better it will be for you.

What do you do when your collisions threaten to rip you apart? When the insurance companies hide behind their fine print and tell you, ‘we cannot cover this!’. That dear friend is the tale of many even as we trudge on in this journey of life. To be or not to be isn’t the issue, rather it is defying the odds and staying true to yourself. When you look back at your corner and realize that not even the flattering and insincere words of those who have nowhere else to go can help you. When you cry out in frustration because people don’t get you. Truth be told, they never will and the longer you remain in the ruts of vessels long gone, the greater the harm you do yourself.

What is the difference between apathy and empathy? It’s not found in the sugar coated words of naysayers, neither will it be seen in the actions of the many that are seen around you but aren’t there for you. You have to make the call, shake yourself up and just keep moving on. There’s nothing as defiant as a resolute spirit in a broken body however as long as we nurture our spirits, the pain from our broken bodies can be tolerated. For what we seek is not in the annals of history but in the present and the future that we are unwittingly writing out today. There will always be room for you to pause, re-evaluate our circumstances and if need be, change our direction. I may be treated in the worst possible way but that’s not what keeps me going, what keeps me going is the fact that somebody somewhere is in dire need of a helping hand and if that’s all that can be said of m, then I dare to say I just might have fulfilled my purpose!

עד ניפגש שוב, תן אהבה שלו למלא ולשמו אותך!

Adios!

Staying True…..

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Staying True

In a few weeks, we will be saying farewell to 2017 and ushering in, with bated breaths and the hope of better things to come, a brand new year. And again as usual, many journals, note pads et al will be whipped out so that the annual yet publicly unrecognized event of New Year Resolution writing will begin. For me, it is a time of evaluation, assessment and preparation because what future will there be to look forward to if we are still perplexed as to our purpose here on earth. Has the dystonia been cured? Nope! Are there new proven medical approaches towards ending this relentless battle with dystonia? Not to my knowledge but the ultimate question I ask myself is “what was there to be thankful for?” And my answer is, much more than I anticipated because it is really not about if my eggs were scrambled right or my account balance is quite ‘attractive’, it is about realizing that I have been through 365 days and still standing.

I recently unearthed my quotes book from one of my many traveling bags, brown and well thumbed, ink slightly fading (thank God I used red and green ink) and the first question my daughter asks me is, “Daddy, can I keep it?”……..Uhmmm! Of course not, you have more writing and reading materials that I had at your age but in that brief exchange, I can truly be grateful for the prayers answered, those pending and those that I received when I didn’t ask for. It is weird when people are taken aback at how leisurely I handle some stuff but then there is always a back story, and it is within those stories that life lessons are passed down from generation to generation. I am not a witness to any man-made life transforming physical attribute, the emergence of an Adonis or the perfect being but I am and will be a witness to the countless things that we take for granted because we are in our carefully carved out comfort zones.

I am thankful for the many friends that have passed through my life, some still there for the long haul while others have moved on as their life purposes direct them. I want to without permission talk about the relationships that have left indelible marks on who I am becoming and as I write I cannot help but marvel at the laurel, awards, certificates that bear my child’s name because she represents the next generation and whilst there is breath in my lungs, together we will journey for as long as I can and even when the wagon wheels fall off and I am unable to put them back on, I know that there’s help just around the corner. One thing I do not mind telling her everyday is that she is not an option but a priority and I am thoroughly stoked that we journey together and when the time comes for her to leave the nest or for me to transition to grander lodgings, I will proclaim that I do not have any regrets.

For me, regrets are an admission of not being able to retrieve a learning point from every experience and like I tell my few friends, I have seen more than my fair share of curved balls. And so it is not about how hard the balls hit but what they made me acknowledge even as I move on. Photography will always be a hobby of mine and even though it is becoming increasingly difficult to engage in it as much as I would want to but the stories that my pictures tell are worth lifetimes. It is in the brief or prolonged encounter that I have had with the lives that I have been greatly privileged to meet that make me truly say I have no regrets and to a great extent, I have stayed true to who I am, which is just another way of saying that I have tried to walk the paths laid out and defined for me by God. He truly is the bane of truth and no compelling discourse will change the foundations upon which I have built my life.

A couple of weeks ago, I drove through the night with tears cascading down my cheeks because no matter how many tough storms you have been through, the reality is that each storm actually reveals layers that you might never have known existed. And I have learned that even when you are down, you will always find strength to reach out to a friend who is desperately in need. In my opinion, there are those people who for some unfathomable reason are unable to grasp how important they have been to me and so it is not uncommon to tell people that I love them just for who they are. And so the tears were for a friend who is counting down the days to a miracle or to a transition to loftier dwellings. I have since learned the futility of asking why does it seem that bad things happen to good people because I have also realized that it is because those events are suited for a particular cadre of people, who do not even know their own strengths and so inadvertently it is not so much about bad things happening but the evolution and growth of truly unique individuals.

Keep hope alive

I know first hand, what a torrent of feelings you experience when you are told that the medical issue that you have persistently battled with is not going away. It almost seems like a black hole has just opened up in front of you and is desperately tugging at you but what if you refuse to give in and just fight. Sometimes every other person will tell you that it is pointless to do however remember that people did not give up on you, and so even if it’s seeming like your twilight has come, remember that the choice is ours to create memories that will not be so easily forgotten. Even when you are being pummeled and the obvious option is to just give in, remember that there are lives around you and regardless of the time of day, hope is like a little flame that shines through the darkness that seemingly grows in magnitude every day. I may not be as mobile as I used to be however when I realize with stunning clarity the countless privileges I have received, the least I can do is to pay it forward. And so even when it hurts to smile, and you can can barely get up from your bed because the slightest pain causes you to break out in sweat, when it seems like curling up in the fetal position looks quite appropriate, let this fact not escape you – there’s something you can still do.

More often than not the battle of life rages in the mind and so its not about how many iron man competitions you have participated or how many marathons you have run or your ranking in obstacle races, when life hits you – the battlefield rages in your mind and yours only, and as long as you do not give in to the wilting of the mind by focusing on the horrifying monster in front of you, you can still be a beacon of hope. Hope that you live is hope that heals and you may have been written off by people but in the fullness of time, God always comes through on your behalf. That is a message that you must share because in all reality the world is increasingly becoming like the Dead Sea but the sliver of hope that you hold, the little spark of kinder can light someone else’s candle and so that in itself is a purpose and one thing I know is that one of the greatest gifts you can ever have is the opportunity to finish strong. Refuse to let the circumstances around you – the hair loss, the painful torquing of your spine, the inability to keep food down, the weight loss etc do not let them define you because I know you and I have loved every moment I spent with you.

Those moments where your laugh rang out, when your eyes twinkled in mischief, when your company was the only thing that kept me going – there is more than enough for me to treasure you forever. And when you hear that the chemotherapy is not working and your life is reduced to the slowly running out sand in the hourglass, stay true because you may not have gotten all the gifts others take for granted but you still have time to share the tale of a walk with God or the life transforming event that has over the years given you the grace to press on. When the finish line looms ahead, be thankful for being able to run this race, be thankful that you chose to be you because that is who God made. We will never in all entirety have all the answers but there is a certainty that cannot be questioned and that is you were made for a purpose. Cancer may be wreaking havoc in this fragile body but I am glad that I ran alongside with you, I am glad for the sacrifices you made but above all I am glad for the love that we shared, the conflicts we had, the disagreements etc because I can say that I lived amongst angels. This for me is not an eulogy and yes every loss requires grieving however I choose not to dwell on the inevitability of saying farewell because we part today to meet again in a place where sickness, stress, loss, sorrow cannot dwell.

As the night star shines brightly, that is what you will always be to me – an angel, a bright star. Like the balance scale, good will always triumph over evil and even if we do not experience the victory physically, we know without an iota of doubt that there is a future that awaits us where treasure that cannot be defiled by man lies in store for us. A place where man’s opinion does not count, where there are no pity parties – that is the ultimate hope that we have, that’s something that no sickness or nightmarish conditions can take from us and as long as we breathe, every breath is an offering of thanksgiving to a Creator whose best cannot be grasped by our feeble minds. And when the breath ceases, we know for sure that the finish line has been breasted because it is not about how far but how well. Today is a day that I am thankful for and despite the inexplicable relapses that have plagued me in recent weeks, I am still standing and obviously not on my own strength (heck I can barely walk 500 feet without stifling the cry of agony) but on The Source that is inexhaustible, for that I am thankful.

“The great miraculous bell of translucent ice is suspended in mid-air. It rings to announce endings and beginnings. And it rings because there is fresh promise and wonder in the skies. Its clear tones resound in the placid silence of the winter day, and echo long into the silver-blue serenity of night. The bell can only be seen at the turning of the year, when the days wind down into nothing, and get ready to march out again. When you hear the bell, you feel a tug at your heart. It is your immortal inspiration.” – Vera Naz

פרידה עד שנפגש שוב בתזמון שלו עצמו

Adios!