Feasts, sacrifices and puzzles….

Standard

Celebrating in style…

One of my favorite genres in movies is action themed medieval films, especially those trying to reenact history. I do remember that during my growing up years, I loved and dreamed of being born then because it seemed like a good sword fight and banquets with huge boars (or any animal deemed a good catch and unfortunate to be killed) roasting over huge flames went hand in hand. However what fierce battles raged then (some for reasons unknown or lost with time), times when men and women were usually valued based on the formidability of their strength in battle – skill and brains combined. Why go to war if you could win over territories by the sheer knowledge of your previous conquests preceding you?

Approximately between 1050 – 1030 b.c, it was a tumultuous time for the Israelites as they vacillated between the era of judges; some notable for leading in righteousness and those infamous for allowing unrighteousness prosper. You see, it was really quite simple back then as it still is today – 2 options; one based on doing right by God’s standards and the other based on the opposite, the crowd pleaser. God’s standard was not that difficult to discern, much easier these days with the ability to read almost an ability that is taken for granted. I just remember the opulence of their feasts, carving up an entire hog with casks of ale flowing….cholesterol wasn’t an issue, actually they outlived us by centuries and it was definitely not because they lacked medicine (I dare opine that they actually had better and so much more affordable healthcare than we do today).

In the last 2 weeks, I’ve unfortunately been discomfited by frequent (and very painful) back spasms that I’ve been forced to unearth my lumbar belt – a wide inflatable belt with magnet inserts. There are those unfortunate periods when fashion and other trivialities go out the windows as we try to get some degree of comfort in the midst of some medically influencing torrid times. I digress because I trust that the season is over now and thus apply myself to more noble pursuits. One event during the Israelites circuitous journey to acknowledging God’s sovereignty was when their colour party (The Ark of Covenant) was captured. For anybody versed in these matters, your colour party must never be captured in battle because that in essence is who you are. However they (The Israelites) lost it due to sheer disobedience and thinking righteousness could be obtained by lavish sacrifices, just like attempting to put on a slap-on band aid on a gashing cut . Disobedience can never be wiped away with lavish sacrifices because obedience in itself is a sacrifice worthy of God’s attention.

It’s best imagined what feasts the Philistines threw with the capture of God’s Ark (not forgetting the massacre of over 35,000 fighting Israelites too….). Now nothing can be further from the truth in these words, ‘abuse is inevitable when purpose is unknown’ and so heady with the victory, the Philistines placed God’s Ark in the temple of one of their many esteemed god’s temple. What humiliation Dagon suffered in his temple because the idol was first cast to the ground in the first night and the next night after being restored, not only was it cast down but both hands and feet were cut off. Now, that situation right there is not something you can immediately restore and no matter how much mead or ale has been consumed, whatever fogs still remain are sure to clear. The Philistines knew without a doubt that they were way in over their head…..

The events unfold in subsequent pages but it kind of reminds me of times when I’ve in folly tried to combine two insoluble events together. The results are usually catastrophic and filed under ‘past experiences’ many times, and ironically till date we still make the same mistakes (I often wonder happened to learning from history). We allow the headiness of triumphs (obtained by God and delivered to us) cloud our senses and inadvertently we find ourselves on the seat of our pants, a laughable sight as we try to shake out the clouds of dust from our hair and clothes. In reality, everything around us was created and therefore our response should be a deserved reverence for The Creator but even as life zips by digitally, it often takes a crash to make us aware that the solution to puzzling events staring us in the face cannot be gotten from neither our feeble minds nor our shallow and limited understanding.

Puzzling….in our faces

For some reason, puzzles will always be a part of life’s package and regardless of how much time we spend trying to decipher them, the solution is usually right there just that we fail to see it. I remember a dear friend, with tears unchecked and rolling down, telling me a couple of weeks back, “I just got a call that my father has only a week to live!” Now that I truly can understand because that single call is one of those moments that define you going foward. Is this a storm that you hunker down and wait out or do you take it on head on? For me, that is an alarm screaming for you to pause and be sure that you’re in His Hands because in situations like that, where else can you be? Events like these will always pop up and how they transform you is ultimately determined by how you respond.

I have long learned that emotional stress is a definite trigger for dystonic episodes and so even when everything about me is itching to gear up for battle, I look down and see scars that remind me to pause, step back and reevaluate my position. ‘Anything worth living for is worth dying for!’ is not just the utterance of a mind in drunken stupor but one that should be carefully understood. Preceding every feast is a triumph but the most notable of triumphs are those gotten without lifting a Honjõ Masamune or wielding a C15 M4 Type Carbine (configured like an M4-style carbine with a flat-top upper) from Bushmaster. The greatest weapons are usually largely invisible and most often less thought of.

In our journey through life’s seas, prioritizing is a skill best learned early. Storms are a certainty however our preparation prior to the storm cannot be taken for granted because very many people define success as opportunity meeting preparedness. I define success as being thankful for where I am today and the liberty of making the right choices. Chance befalls us all, choice differentiates us and so taking time to realize how significant our choices will be to a great extent defines how much merriment awaits us ahead. The success of our journeys is a combination of controllable and uncontrollable events and the choices we make.

Enjoy the journey and try to get better every day. And don’t lose the passion and the love for what you do.” – Nadia Comaneci, and remember that “he/she is no fool to give up cannot be kep to gain what cannot afford to be lost” – Jim Elliot.

עד ניפגש שוב, תן אהבה שלו למלא ולשמור אותך!

Adios!

A cuisine of herbs…..

Standard

Herbal Broth

“Men of genius are admired. Men of wealth envied. Men of power feared, but only men of character are trusted.” – Arthur Friedman

Character is not a gift, far from it. It is the end result of a process, and more often the process is back-ended with loads of trying and very frustrating times. However it is in the process that character is formed and from an engineering or building perspective, forming or forging is tasking on both the smithy or technician as well as the object being worked on.

Children are truly precious and even though I have heard many rueful comments concealing wishes that babies would stay babies, there is no negation of their pricelessness. But alas even at that, those wishes are an aberration in life because change is inevitable. Several years ago, I recall trying to explain to my 4yr old daughter why she needed to eat her veggies. It was both amusing and just a tad annoying seeing her with brows puckered in a frown, assiduously separating the veggies from her meal. A couple of months later, with a hard fought win tucked in my belt, I remember her complaining bitterly that she was outgrowing her fancy shoes because she was eating tomatoes. Today, that’s a memory that she vociferously claims never happened.

I have come across some very fascinating people (pretty sure I am listed under that category in someone else’s journals); a chap who believed water was solely to be used in CPAP machines, humidifiers et al, another who believed bread was created specifically for culling the human race. However one thing that acts as a common factor across all types is that regardless of our perspectives, in order for there to be growth, sometimes we have to make some concessions. Growth in itself is not always that process that we so eagerly await because with growth, there’s always some form of discomfort however yin yang is one of the many attempts at explaining the process. Life consists of many exercises encompassing the need to understand and appropriately apply balancing.

Most often, the largest obstacle to our growth is the image staring back at you when you stand alone in front of a mirror. Ignorance has never been the best of reasons for the mistakes we often make because we are humans however embracing knowledge is setting ourselves free. No matter how hard we battle with the process, we just have to delve deep into that herbal broth because therein lies the very nutrients we need to grow. The more of a struggle we put up, the more exhausted we become and the more of a delay we unknowingly throw in our own journey. Understanding all things is impossible but in order for us to move on, we must embrace hope, trust and faith in The One who we owe everything to.

Right now, it’s quite a struggle for me, because having a sprained shoulder definitely gives me no edge over dystonia. However it has forced me to search out untried ways of reaching my milestones and attaining objectives. In this season, I have had to remind myself that although herbs might be bitter, I had rather look beyond the bitterness and dwell rather on the intrinsic positives that come with ingesting them. Trying to make head of everything at this moment would simply be an exercise in abject futility and so I am yet again reminding myself that waiting might seem pointless but there’s so much more going on that remains unseen. Someday, like the phenomenon of the Chinese bamboo, there would be a visible and significant change in who and what I am today.

Engaging in battles with myself when I so obviously do not have all the answers is not moving on. For there to be a move in the right direction, sometimes we just have to admit that although we have the vision, there’s also the undeniable truth that time and chance happens to everyone. Every life; a piece in the puzzle of God’s masterplan, we each must apply ourselves to the circumstances we find ourselves because in doing that, we do not only recognize divinity but we also positively affect the lives around us. Our positions today are a function of the lives before us and so selflessly we ought to also pay it forward. Ridding ourselves of every bit of resentment and bitterness that we allow build up in the face of opposition is usually a step in the right direction, because failing to do that irreparably hurts us and self-inflicted wounds attest to ignorance, naivety and sometimes just plain old stupidity on our part.

No battles have been won without making room for a retreat when the horns sound. And yes, most battles are won by the side that stays longest in their trenches because sometimes all that is needed is to hunker down when the barrage seems unrelenting and wait for the silence and peace that is the prelude to the joys of victory. In our frenetic lives, we get so enamored with the society’s definition of success that we fail to realize that we are trampling underfoot the very herbs we need for nourishment and growth. And so when we are falling headfirst into the chasm that signals burnout, then we realize the utter folly of our wrong choices. Failure to recognize the need for reassessment, rest and a possible detour is entirely nobody else’s fault but ourselves.

Trying new and unfamiliar ways do not in anyway portend emasculation, rather it is the highly undervalued second opportunity that we so urgently require. Today represents another opportunity to realign ourselves with our purpose, today represents another call to wait in trust because His Promises are true and infallible. Though they tarry, they are in no way having the similitude of or are they denials. With the patience of the lapidarist, a trait that comes with discipline, we must be thankful for what we have before us. And when we start to entertain doubts regarding the safety found in the multitude of counsel, there’s One Counsel that is completely devoid of the slightest of shadows.

Nourishment is not fast food engorgement, and whilst the latter is so easily available, the truth is that the herbal broth (though plain looking and bland tasting) is what is needed to initiate the growth needed to occupy the next season in our lives. For us to grow above and beyond today’s bleakness, there has to be an acceptance that every experience can either be a stepping stone or just another stone in the wall that further shuts out the glimmer of tomorrow’s riches. I choose to make mine a stepping stone and even in the silence of being different, I am thoroughly convinced that when the night seems to embody just weeping, surely joy and growth comes with the morning.

Remember, rather than complain about the thorns among the roses, be thankful for the roses among the thorns!

עד ניפגש שוב, תן אהבה שלו למלא ולשמור אותך!

Adios!

Crystal clear???…

Standard

 

“You can learn a line from a win and a book from a defeat.” – Paul Brown

It is such a bright nice day today, definitely better than yesterday just because I am alive to witness it and choose to share every moment with as many as are opportuned to realize what a unique privilege it is. I know what it is because every day is a new one for me as I refuse to succumb to the selfish dictates of living with myoclonus. It is not just a new day, it is a new month, a new half to the year and yet again another awesome reason to live as though today were my last. I am truly grateful for how far I have come and suffice me to say that I have learned many books and still intend to make some of those books a reference for the many that come after me and those that I have the honor of their company albeit for a brief space of time.

One of the most niggling issues that still keep me up in constant bewilderment and consternation is how can we live a life of meaning without a crystal clear purpose and I dare to use the term a little bit loosely because clarity is a function of how polished the crystal is. Now what makes for a well polished crystal? A not very savory experience, having to be unearthed from deep within the bowels of the earth, scratched and not an immediate head turner if you sure do not know what you are looking at. And then there comes the painful process of scouring off the dirt and the abrasions of the polishing before you can then use the word crystal. Now for the clarity, it still remains a thing of choice because we can get all caught up in the beauty of the facets and fail to realize that the longer we hold it up to the light, the more beautiful a spectrum we behold. I have two of such crystals – LBJ and JOIV and each waking moment I am amazed at the kaleidoscope of ‘words cannot define’ beauty that I see, and that alone is enough motivation to pick my weary body out of bed and get a go on life.

We passed through Italy a couple of weekends ago and one of the striking things that endear me to the Italians is their seemingly insatiable love and zest for life – their cooking, their wines, their women, their language and their spirit. I remember how spell bound I was when I took that first spoon of risotto and I made a promise that for as long as I am blessed with life each day, there is so much beauty and love to share around and even when I am knocked down, I will look up and get the strength to pick myself up again. The question is not why am I not a champion but why have you chosen not to be? Because life’s stage is as expansive as it can get and regardless of who or where or what you are, there will be your moment on that stage. What you do with the allotted time is definitely up to you but for one who has been through some life changing events, I dare you not to look at the clock but make it a performance that will forever be remembered.

A few weeks ago, I lost one of my high school mates – Victor Igene and I can tell you that he was so full of life that till today many of us are still stunned not just by his demise or the irretrievable loss to his family but the manner with which he passed on and I know that given a brief peek into the future, he sure would have done the same thing again albeit with extra caution because he just wanted to bring some joy into someone else’s life. Now we are devastated at the manner of his demise but the truth is that to the best of my knowledge, he had the right intent and purpose. Whilst we contend with making his demise count in the battle to bring about a so much needed change in that part of the world, the onus lies on the rest of us to realize that we may never see it coming but come it surely will and yes there will be loads of sadness and grief but ultimately the question will be, what value did we have on those that we were privileged to encounter and leave behind. To all who read this, let it be known that Victor was an amazing person and will forever be missed.

“Generally speaking, I simply ASSUME that the best is always happening in my life; whether it is enough money,a comfortable and nurturing place to live, whatever. In this same line of thinking, I see myself protected and guided by a squadron of guardian angels…so I seem to KNOW when it’s time to let go of a situation because it;s not good for me, and when to embark on a path that is RIGHT.” -Chelle Thompson

One thing I know for a fact either asleep or awake is that we all know what is right and what is wrong but the challenge is how many of us are bold and courageous enough to embark on the path that is right and when we are able to initially summon that courage and then put it to work, I say that you are no longer a faceless, nameless entity globally but a champion in that little environment. Just like the crystal, get ready for the abrasions of life and the searing heat that will want to overwhelm just becaue you have identified your purpose and have chose to be different. However, I have seen the end a countless times and it never changes, there will only be one left standing on the battlefield, all bloodied up but victorious and it is gonna be YOU. Now we may choose to hide behind the innumerable facades (work, peers, fame, career, past failures etc) that are so available in life but are you going to make that choice to be different. Dig down into the earth that you are created of and pull out that purpose that is laying and waiting to be a thing of beauty. Do not be fazed by the band wagon that has become so monstrous and seemingly the only thing in today’s society and dare to be you.

You cannot make a niche for yourself on everybody’s bandwagon but remember that life is not a bandwagon, it a stage, it is an opportunity, it is your journey and path. Make those seconds count with every life taking breath that you use because one day it is not going to be there and you will have either prepared yourself for the next phase or be confined to an eternity of regrets. It is now we make our choice, not tomorrow, definitely not yesterday but now and with my father’s voice so clearly ringing in my ears, I hear him repeating these words – do not put off what you can today for tomorrow because today is the PRESENT; a gift. Let that crystal in you shine forth and allow people the experience of seeing the kaleidoscope of colors that will leave a positive impact on their lives forever.

“For me the greatest beauty always lies in the greatest clarity.” – Gotthold Ephraim Lessing

lמסתדר טוב עד שניפגש שוב בזמן שלו

Adios!

 
 

 

%d bloggers like this: