“Why d’you turn away from me, d’you even know I’m here? Not a whisper in my direction. Our intense relationship seems to be one way God- I can even hear You breathe as if I were being carried in Your shoulder, but d’You even look at me ?”
Our human structures are visual/calculated. We are Time-zoned, we make reports on productivity, we are skewed by flow charts and input/output ratios. Try telling someone you’re a Polished Arrow in Divine Quiver, waiting your moment. Actually, don’t. Don’t talk about it, but set aside 5 minutes to chew on it real slow.
Each of us has that one thing we will do, or not do before we quit this planet. Yep, we are that one hidden arrow for us, that is no one else. Whether we believe that or not, we were born for specificity.
What secrets are stashed in the arms of those, who in perfect alignment with the process, can arrest his/her own desires, in the challenge of visibility compromised, in the loneliness of an extreme polishing?
What happens in the secret of such a place can sear logical absolutes;places where we trust, be still, go alone- hold our tongue, be tempered steel, be Gold- refined, enduring Fire while greater purpose is being taken a fine shot at. Killing. Ach. Non comprehendi. God, what’s going on? Chances are, we’ll know soon enough.
…..as with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. Steve Jobs.
Easy said, right.
While you wait Polished Arrow, rest in the knowledge that you and I are pieces of a Whole; these moments of our Lives, however complex, are terrifically significant in ways that are perhaps beyond visual understanding,
He walked into a Banquet sans suit and necktie, but with ‘loin cloth‘ representing all his brother- farmers back home in India. Oh he talked, wrote, fasted, got thrown out of here and there, was jailed, unjailed, hailed by kings and the rest, fought gently, made salt against Govt orders(Dandi March, pre Indian Independance……), got beaten up, dared kingdoms, befriended and brought together people of all ‘castes’…. how?
Thankyou Kate Motaung for triggering a revisit to my 7 year old self, in a place I loved and was terrified of: the Sea. Here I got something I’ll never let go of: how to ride a giant wave!
Age 7 is a tricky sweet dangerous age to utterly trust a stranger, in a spot like that, deep sea. Those waves weren’t called Breakers for nothing. But Bro. Harrison (name unchanged*) was the kind of human any family would trust.
This was the Bay of Bengal, summer. He was an Australian lumbering red raw sunburnt priest on vacation from a Boys’ school in Darjeeling; he was dear and kind and sweet. Would take endless pictures of us, and himself, all black and white. He’d send us statutes and post cards from Italy and wherever he went. Summers were in our little coastal tourist village; he loved Indian fish fries, and Dad’s laughter in our veranda overlooking the sea. Then he’d hoist me over his shoulder to the beach. Ofcourse I trusted him, and he proved his worth in sand and mid sea, even with a six footer wave crest crackly overhead, spiffing white crystal fire in the gold sun.
I was afraid;
the Sea was a scary beautiful friend. She’d sweep out her large green blue skirts at my toes then swing them back in to herself, tempting me to go in deeper. I’d run in for shells, then fly back out again at another wave that chased me right to the edge of our hard flat beach, up the massive sand bund to where our compound wall overlooked a panoramic 180 degrees of this terrific watery Friend.
Brother H. as we called him, (he refused to be called uncle, flouting all nice Indian courtesy to senior relative), said it made him feel older than his 50, and that he was a child inside. He was. He was also a sort of Angel, no trace of guile or meanness, only the joy of living life to the full.
“Come on, old lady!” He’d yell over our mulling muttering crash- echoing Bay. He was a certified Life Saver, I didn’t understand that but it made me feel important, and saved somehow from the churling tide, its rush and fervor, its lunging, pulling, eddy and mega swill.
B. H. would ask me to hold on to the tube and trust him as we paddled deeper in to where waves began.
The idea was to go through that startling blue water wall before it crashed- then ride its crest all the way ashore.
It was the most somersaulty crazy thing I’ve experienced or ever will. If I’d known how to swim, it would’ve not been as dangerous. Here I had to trust Bro. H., I had to go where he said, hold tight no matter my nose and face were smashed in that coaster, no matter I was in a sand-&-water rollercoaster, ears and brain thounding (yeah, you’d get new words) with the crash of tide in maddened swell.
The sound it still startles me but not as much as the glory of re-surfacing in great gulp of air, Bro.H’s laughing grey blue eyes, his lung full of a whoop shout, as we settled in the shoulder of yet another giant wave as she rode us all the way back to shore….
where sometimes dad or ma waited, wondering that I needed this.
Years down, I’ve relived that time there, over and over. It’s one empowered way to ride a risky wave like that – in the sea, or in Life elsewhere: surprise that Thing that’s coming at us, go through It holding on to the Hand that holds you & me better than we could hold ourselves, then break free as the Breath of God kicks in Life in our frame,
ride that Wave for the sheer joy of knowing that’s why there are Waves and Oceans, Sands and Seas in the stories of our lives.
Thankyou Kate M. & Storytellers, and all of Blog world for reminding me; I’m feeling 7 years old, at sea with the Hand that holds all.
*years down, I searched Facebook for him, we’d shifted cities and we’d lost touch. He wasn’t the kind to stop writing or telling us where he was, but he did. I suspected the worst; and found his smiling black and white profiles in a FB page dedicated to him by people who knew him, as we did too. Bro H. was/ is one if the most magnificent human beings ever created: he taught this 7 year old to walk on high walls, chase sand crab, find sea horse, race waves, love sea boats, love life no matter where….
This photograph ‘Homeless woman‘, from Helen Cherry’s stunning Blog gazed at me all yesterday through Sunday dinner and warm sheets and bed; through our roof in pre-dawn mist and warm breakfast this morning. I can’t get her out of my hair. Her and the billions of Us, asking, asking, asking Questions in a Silence that’s growing. Growing in isolation.
In a country like mine, India, where 46 million people live under poverty line (2019, correct me if I’m wrong), begging is no unusual event but this Photograph from a London Street (thankyou Helen for your heart stilling Capture) stokes some more soul searching questions:
Global Questions steadily turning us to begging bowls, they’re steeping deeper with Time and lack of Space. Our questions morph into statements:
will there be rice enough for our farmers. Will there be rain. Will there be water. Will there be war, peace. Is there house enough for all. What makes poverty. Who can help the ‘poverty line’. Where does tax money go. Who is that person sitting on cardboard in the street. Is he/ she really a beggar. Why am I suspicious of everyone I don’t fully understand. Do I have a spare wardrobe I can share, a spare coin, a blanket, a meal. Can I be a friend to someone who’s homesick, needs a friend..
seriously, if one of us took note of one other person in genuine need, that’s half of 7 billion looking out for the other half.
How do we figure out genuine need: I’m pretty sure we are smart enough to decipher things like that.
In my corner of the earth, these things are highly shareable :
last year’s text books, story books, clothes/bags/shoes/a little pocket money, yes tricky/ a smile, trickier/ a phone call….😏 a prayer/ …. a shared meal, sheets I can part with, a blanket I don’t need...there’s a person that collects our newspapers and sells it, old books… how many rupees does he get from that? Oh so little, but it makes him happy. Last year this time, the good Lord (only He would/ could), put it on our hearts to cook Sunday lunch for anyone who’d fellowship with us…. I’m not a great cook and we don’t serve a lavish table, but we’ve watched a certain joy tiptoe in at our home. And it’s never left. We’ve received some great new friends, and its turning me into a whole strangely different person. I’ve received hugs and heart; received smiles like we didn’t know were there anymore; received healing and laughter. Received the courage to believe in humanity again. Watched some young lives stand tall, unbreak. Watched myself go from a recluse into a person who looked forward to meeting new faces. Watched new people pray for our sick son. Watched, heard, experienced the love of strangers turn my cold insides into a warmth I have no proper words for.
We live in an Age of Suspicion. It’s gotten so awry it’s real. A certain amount of suspicion is even good, but peer below the layer of fake and Con, and we may find some genuine people whom we can not only bless, but be blessed back by.
We were meant to live in these, these tough insane wildly hurtful times. We have this growing awareness in us, that probably our forefathers could not have had: an awareness of depleting resources and human understanding. We balk at politicians and global warming. We are well-read and clever. We know Theories and Consequences of War. We are efficient, highly informed and intelligent. We are frightened easily, hence careful, paranoid, terse, polite, warned. We feel deeply, so we write and poetise, paint, read, gripe. We who are so well endowed, are the cream of a global society that’s screaming for basics of heart soul, body mind. Not all of this is something Governments can easily provide. We are Social watchmen. We are our own DoorKeepers, and Guide. Who are we, we are Humans like never before. We are Teachers and Givers, Recipients…
but this :
we do not know how to Receive. Go to an Orphanage and receive a child’s hug. An old person’s smile. A Druggie’s tears. Spend 5 minutes / day just watching the street you pass everyday. Be an anonymous Burger donor. Anything. Just do it, Angel. Yes, you. Me. Tough, ofcourse. Aren’t you and I bone tired of being boring people, noses burrowed in our news: prophets of gloom. Watch a new smile spread in a brand new face all because of you. What a kick that is. Receive what you get when you bless another’s need.
A peasant, she who shares the street with rats and pillows of concrete? The feral cats from alley beats lick the food stuckto her feet. Day and night she hunts for eats, old clothes disposed become her sheets…..
….stop to greet a human drenched from summer’s heat and frozen by the winter’s sleet- a fate no woman dreamed she’d meet.…
“THE MORE YOU REACH OUT TO OTHER PEOPLE WITH NEEDS, THE SMALLER YOUR FEARS BECOME.” Dr. David Jeremiah in his ‘The Christian Walk Journal’. It’s a daily devotional; got it as a gift this year. (Not much else I treasure like a good Diary).
From my Journal this morning; and it went in my spirit like a warm shaft of Light. The past week has seen so much more strength than we could’ve imagined. We watched as God broke through our own doubts and fears, our very suspicion of Him. Watched as He spoke through us, to us. Sometimes there is no one else the human head or heart will listen to, hehe. We are a stubborn lot. We are street smart, and oh so wise. Ofcourse we cannot trust the Unseen.
But this past week I’ve watched the Fingers of God shift my focus from ME to a world around that is waiting for someone to just be nice to them, as I’ve waited too. 1.20 billion in my country, a few thousands around my streets. What can individuals really do? I’m going to find out this week.
“Because sometimes you have to step outside of the person you’ve been, and remember the person you were meant to be, the person you wanted to be, the person you are.” ~H.G. Wells, quoting from Cathyde67 Thankyou!🌻
“Almost 20,000 women & children were victims of human trafficking in India 2016, a rise in 25% ….” pg145, ASHA-Journey of Hope* :
Quote from new Release by Biblica Inc. & people who really care beyond the details of getting out a ‘Book’:
these Pages have broken my heart and healed me in ways I didn’t think could happen, simply because you wonder whether anyone can actually help. I’ve personally seen too much to believe there are groups like ‘Project Esther’. Even this Paperback* is not for sale.
‘I AM THE GOOD SHEPHERD’. John 10:11,14,15. Really? What does Jesus of Nazareth 2000 years ago, even know about ‘Amy’ (true account) : below
‘Amy’ an unwed young mother.. weeping uncontrollably when she heard this NGO’s name was ESTHER. She had given her baby away 30 mins. before, and had named her Esther.
Today this young woman’s life is being pieced together by the love of God and people who teach her to forgive. She never got her child back.
I cannot read anymore for now, though I promised a ‘proper’ review. The enormity of this sits in my throat like a two edged sword. The Word of God can cut through all our silence. One wants to say something nice and wise. Some of us write, sing, paint…. is it enough? Maybe together we are stronger, we can see more with each others’ eyes and address. Right where you and I live, there are silenced voices, eyes that veil wounds.
ASHA explores each of Jesus’ “I AM” statements in the light of how they apply to women who’ve suffered abuse. It also features stories of women and girls who’ve bravely entrusted to us details of their own trauma. Excerpt from original Print. Purpose of this book, is to reach out to members of our community: you are not alone.
Published by Biblica Inc. All rights reserved. ASHA Journey of Hope. 2020
I admit of late, (with not much prior experience to saying such a thing), I now like the thing, I like cooking. Not a twinge in my bones warned me of this change, this betrayal of who I used to be.
Last month I found my Ma’s cookbook called Family Secrets; she’s written it all down there, I can smell her curry leaf seasoning, her tomato pickle in the window sill, her garden coriander leaf and onion gold fried in black bottomed pan;
my dad said that pan had nine lives, it never died.
I do not have Ma’s pan but I am changing, like my face in the mirror, like my hands that could not take cold water, or luke warm. Now I don’t need anything ‘just so’, just the aroma of veggie chopped cubes in slow stir; oh the experience, again of mint chutney we grew to love, all spluttery with mustard seed in coconut oil and tiny steel bowl served on dining table in veranda next to the kitchen. We lived by the sea, once on a mountain, an island, she always grew a garden, I have my own: sea shells in pots and Lime bonsai… those little green mint leaf? They spike lemon these days.
Flavors we once knew, they return in new ways. How d’you experience the same heart beat, in new rhythm… I cannot know, but its here.
I’m my Ma, a piece of her. I now love well- polished glasses, tinkly spoons. I never used to. Never admired wheat pure home-made breads in tiny warm basket, not just to eat but to serve. I’m changing, that’s for sure. It must be Time 😃!
Last night after the last dish went in and the moon was a full circle of cool warm shade in our window, a bird chirped full- throat, right in my pulse…I felt it, Life. In its simplicities. No fuss, nah no frill, just the old Order giving way to New. Like an old Prayer whispered all over again,
like tender mercies new every morning; I’m experiencing the everlasting Faithfulness of God.
Here there is no one else, here there are no words, none but Yours- falling in my ears, like a Prayer :
I have never heard You pray before, I have never heard You pray over me: Words that breathe life over my ash. This I could not have believed, that God would pray o’er a broken spirit, an outcaste, a one no one sees….
but You pray over me, and I do not know the Words, it is the syllable of a Heart whispering in mine, it is the rush of a Stillness,
Oh thrilled to have found a favourite happy place in my own world of shadows and valleys of doubt. Here I find not just beauty and reality but a peace that comes from knowing we are pilgrims in an earth that will fade away before we see that Perfect Light of Christ. Lorraine, thankyou for allowing me to post your work here. Stay blest beautiful one.
“And let perpetual light shine on them,” Those words I heard today, Not expecting them to come, Quite suddenly they pierced the air, I raised my head, Looking to the heavens As if to take in all my memories, The joy, the pain, the laughter
Suddenly all were one, Joined together seamlessly, Chickens, corn and sandpits Apples, nuts and tractors in the fields, Starry nights that made me ask “Where is God?” And in my child’s mind’s eye I saw Him beyond the stars Swathed in mystery And yet So simple Here, in the evening of my life I sat, re-connecting with my past And all of those who went before me, On them and on all my memories the words did fall, “And let perpetual light shine on them….”
Hello and welcome to my site.
My name is Lorraine Lewis, and I am blind. I became blind in 2016 as a result of a very serious and advanced cancer, and the treatment that I received.
In 2013 it was touch and go whether I lived or died, and there began the loneliest journey of my life. A true wilderness experience.
Now, I am in remission, but as well as being blind I am unable to walk, and am wheelchair bound. My husband too is wheelchair bound, and we face daily challenges just to survive. The wilderness experience, with all its difficulties and obstacles continues, but somehow or other we get through.
In the midst of all the pain and suffering, and the deepest loneliness I have ever known, I found a well deep inside me that I did not know I had until I started to drink from it. It was not a physical well, but a spiritual one, and I would like to share with you in various ways, my journey in the wilderness of cancer, blindness, and inability to walk. Along the way we may meet deep pains and sorrows, but also a depth of joy that defies everything that life has thrown at me.
Here, on this site you will find Poems and Reflections that will bring you into my world, and that may touch your world. And as we journey, we will find that even in the wilderness we can be enabled to drink from the Fountain of Life.
“Love knows no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps over obstacles penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.”
Lorraine’s poems, blogs and reflections are from her wilderness experience of having cancer and being blind. “The wilderness is a very isolating and lonely place, with many hardships and sometimes seemingly insurmountable difficulties to face. It is a place of suffering and this site reflects the many struggles that any of us can undergo in our differing wilderness experiences. Despite the pains and the darkness of the wilderness and desert places, the stars can still be seen, and even deserts can bloom, so along the way, there will be gems to be found. I have chosen to use the Cross as a symbol also, because I have discovered that for me, the way through suffering was and is to be found in the Cross Although that is a Christian symbol, the wilderness or desert experience can come to any of us, no matter what faith we hold, or even if we hold none. So I hope that as Maya Angelou says, there will be no barriers, and that all of us, through our sharing, can find our way through, appreciating the gems that we find on the way whilst not denying the suffering that we go through. May we all learn to look to the stars, and see how brightly they shine out in the darkness, and take heart and courage...”
This post inspired by Writing/Believing Sight Unseen‘s post about streets, so I said I’d have a go at my own streets around. He said he would look out for it so here goes 😅
I’m still not a Google map person, when people come home here in Bangalore, I tell them we’re the lane opposite the huge Banian tree complete with tap roots and birds yelling in it…. uh
past Bamboo shop man’s enclosure for new buildings coming up.
If they’re on a lane further down I must guide them left of CMR law college but which left, depending on which side they’re facing. If they’re facing my tree, then I’m on their left.
Owwwwgh! Which tree they ask, theres more than one tree here. I realise I don’t know location address. Postal address says Reddy layout. Google says I’m at Chingalingakua…..
but this is a post about streets around me,
I’ll try again. If I go out (forget people coming home for now)
if I turn left of my Banian tree, towards the Flyover, there’s the little uphill lane past Chemist and Bake,
past the Aquarium blue roof place(can’t remember name)
alongside two storeyed apartment where recently a biker still in red helmet, well he ran up those stairs to first floor but forgot his keys still in bike. He looks down, sees me, and with friendly grin, asks if I can get keys off his bike and throw it up at him….. that lane.
Go up that lane 2 minutes and seven or more trees to your left, (with cheeky monkey in them),
you get to the Ayyapa temple Cross, rich with people arriving and leaving off blue and white bus, red bus, auto rickshaw and car and bike. There’s a food stall, a toy shop and a garment store across, not to mention cheerful vegetable vendors in carts, they sell some of the best grapes I’ve ever had, wine coloured ones, they’ll stain your shirt if you’re not careful, that street junction
which breaks into a two way Flyover where I happened to get stranded, waiting for an auto rickshaw with my then 8 year old blind hyperactive son….that Flyover
leads to a larger location called JBnagar, aha we finally have a name!
Its been released! Asha– Journey of Hope, featuring my Cover and 8 paintings along with others’, in a slim back gorgeous Book that anyone anywhere might be intrigued by…
If you’ve ever been there, in the throes of trauma, you’ll feel this. The Paintings are perhaps personal windows, illustrating soul stirring Bible study Leads on the fact of Divine healing via the Gospel of John’s 7 “I Ams“. Written by some of our finest Contemporary Writers.
The above Paint theme* was inspired by the Song of Solomon, portrayed as the human spirit, now embedding in His Vineyard; Rejection is rejected.
Will post a Review shortly.
*Set me as a seal over Your heart:
I AM THE VINE, YOU THE BRANCHES. His Presence/His Acceptance and Divine Support.
Read on, for my personal footnote with above image of Vineyard painting, if you’re wondering what that handcuff is doing in a Vineyard, with Scarred hand….(not part of the book):
Reading the Gospel of John in the light of these themes is visiting a cellar deep within, for me. Familiar text and images merge as John’s chapters reach between lines and push boundaries between Seen and Unseen worlds. Blue-green vineyard violets seep like tears on canvas: Rejection is rejected;
the Word crowds my canvas with VINE as the palms of two people facing each other, rest – one being released of handcuff, the other with a scarlet Scar. I’m a whole new essence, a new Cask of outpour. For any of us with scarredidentities, Heaven signs that dotted line endorsing us as first citizens in the unshakeable kingdom of God. This is the permanent secure address of the Vineyard of Engedi (Song of Songs). Mathew Henry’s commentary on that book reads like a Song of Evangelism). Ezekiel’s’ River of God’ cleanses out Dead sea’s putrid En-Gedi Banks, turning it fertile! The whole Bible pieces together with the promise I AM THE VINE YOU ARE THE BRANCHES. ‘Set me as a seal over Your heart’ is today’s scream for God.
Will be posting more of Asha here, but truly excited about the impact of a Book like this one, Published purely for those of us hurting in silence.
We meet Mangula* in a little town outside Bangalore….where exactly is she from? Half Kannada, Telugu, Tamil…she doesn’t know. How many people groups are we in this busy Peninsula India? At least 70, I hear .
I get permission to tell her story, take her picture. Mangula is thrilled, unashamed, why should she be? She’s done nothing wrong, only given good in return for the trouble she’s received. A feisty, 64ish (maybe), you never know, she could be much older or younger:
M. is General dishwasher at the home here where we’ve been these past 10 days;
…is also garden lizard/ squirrel Chaser, Chef, Masseur. (Ahm, snake killer too if the occasion so arises). Will sing along with any song you are singing, in monotonous hum. Origin? Hard to say. Telangana, Kannadiga... she speaks a marinated form of sub languages, but her story is beyond my head. (Retold with permission). Maybe I should just call her Mingu….?
Has two surviving children:
one of whom is her daughter Aasha who died young after a life of abuse from a man outside her community. The runaway marriage ended in him asking Aasha to go to the city looking for a ‘well paying job.’….which was a round of hotels and nightlife that left Aasha with a HIV+ baby girl. Husband now gets himself a new wife, while also occasionally thrashing some pocket money out of mum-in-law Mingu. And I mean thrashing. Ming’s daughter Aasha didn’t live beyond that monsoon when she fell seriously ill….
Mingu tells me this as she carefully pours eucalyptus oil in my shoulder blades last evening; the massage is welcome. She has the fingers of God for achy sinews. Her speech can get coloured with words for the bad men in her life, for her husband who brought home another wife, and Mingu had to leave with her then infant. Recently the old man died and she had to ‘pay her respects’ ... in a 3 day ceremony, with 2 other ex wives. The 3 widows dressed as brides were given a turmeric bath, (wore red glass bangles that were systematically broken), then a river bath in which she near got drowned, following which she caught a lung full of cold….
She pauses mid-eucalyptus massage, I’m feeling so much better for the treatment but cannot understand how she gets through the day…
her silence is heavy, is she crying? M’s skin is like hardened leather, the voice soft with cares. There’s a grand daughter, Simi…..
every month Mingu gets tablets for the girl Simi, from a Centre 30 kms away on a bus that costs her Rs 300/- to and fro. Simi is 16, tall, with dark knowing eyes and a mouth that can spin tales, fight like a cat- you know she’s had it rough. Step mom hates her….
…grand daughter here is a wild one, looks 25. Long story-
last month she got married to an 18 ish year old from nearby village, and he swears to love her to his dying day. His ‘awful Mawho demands a dowry‘ doesn’t know about the Simi’s HIV+ ness. He works in a factory, has a Cycle and ‘Quarters’ to live in.
Ming is pleased at her grand-son-in-laws’ ways. He now has a small house near a local church, with music all day coming in through their window.
It is a treat to listen to the woman, her tears and soft rage, her gratitude to a God she hasn’t seen, and her zest for life.
Last night as we watched Romedy Now.…it went to midnight, Mingu in a head scarf; we hugged/wished each other Happy Valentine’s as families do. Ming grinned with all her white teeth, she hadn’t a clue what/ who Val was/is…..
and I’m a little guilty at being so smug in even saying/ wondering what Ming thought of the word, Love. How could I translate the word ‘Beloved‘ to her; ‘Love’ was, is only what others gave her, give her.
This is another post I’m unsure how to finish, or why I titled it the way I did. Women like this one, they might live a life thick with details they can’t really say, but they have my respect.
That Impossible thing you do relying on your 'nth sense alone.
I’ve been fascinated long enough with Michelangelo’s 15 ft marble masterpiece David, to take a good read on material I could get, and look what I found: along with some Questions, some Answers & an impossibly naked prayer….“**
Michelangelo sculpts his David as before his battle with Goliath: quiet tense, with ‘pebble’ hidden in right palm, his slingshot seemingly at rest on his shoulder. He is left handed? He catches his giant by surprise.
At 26 years old in 1501, Michelangelo accepted the challenge to sculpt a large scale David, from an unfinished project flawed with ‘taroli‘ or imperfections: it was in the Vestry’s courtyard for 25 years. No one expected such a revolutionary translation of a biblical hero.
What was this young Italian Sculptor thinking those 4 years working a discarded humongous white rock of ‘flawed’ marble? Why the heart shaped pupils and ‘one eye looking at a closer object, the other at a more distant one…?’ What does this Teenage Shepherd boy symbolize, not just as the most famous naked statute in the world….?
Traditionally, David had been portrayed post- victory over the slain Goliath. But Michelangelo chooses a David poised, before all of the action – leaning his focus on the power of a God who had already delivered him from a lion and a bear, bare handed.
It would take 4 days x 40 men to move the statue the half mile from Michelangelo’s workshop by Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral to the Piazza della Signoria. Luca Landucci, diarist, recounts:
“…midnight, May 14th, and the ‘Giant’ was taken out of the workshop. They even had to tear down the archway… 40 men were pushing the large wooden cart where ‘David’ stood protected by ropes, sliding it through the town on trunks. The Giant eventually got to Signoria Square on June 8th 1504…”
Michelangelo worked at the statue in secrecy … he worked in the open courtyard, in the rain: this inspired him? It’s been said he submerged a wax model of his design in water. As the water level dropped he’d chisel what emerged. He slept in at work, ate when he could….
his craftsmanship is ‘flesh- soft’, frozen palpable restful caution, reflected in a classic pose (contrapposto); one leg bearing full weight, while the other leans forward allowing hip and shoulder to recline at opposing angles, lending the entire torso it’s now legendary S- curve : the stance of a confident, focused watchful warrior.
**Why the heart shaped pupil under furrowed brows? You’d furrow, burrow, …….owwww anything if you were faced with a bloodthirsty monster’s 7ft sword going at your jugular… I can’t say. I wasn’t there,
though I’ve seen a few monster cyclones, a semi tidal wave, a few insane river crossings, one deadly mountain route; sat in at a Mumbai eatery while a 10,000 strong mob rioted past looking for petrol and match; I even been in the 200 km No man’s Land between India and Karachi: with quiet (back then) Border Security and long sweet smelling grass:
you were not just staring at danger, you were gazing at Something else you couldn’t define. Your brain had registered earlier Goodness. You remembered how the ocean looked before the storm, you perhaps even thought this too- would pass. You chose not to think the cyclone would sweep your roof away. You looked on life with ‘heart-shaped pupils’ waiting for the morning sun, waiting in a way that knew storms and rough places were not eternal situations. In that moment you chose not to rely on mere senses; if you prayed, you didn’t have time to format words. There were no words. You forgot formality, you were stripped of human comfort, you didn’t care. But you remembered somethings no one could have told you to remember, none but another Power could whisper that secret, in ways beyond aural, they were metaphysical? Maybe, maybe there’s more adjectives than we know.
D’you remember a time you thought you were alone in a place no one else could reach, but Something held you? That Fever you thought could never leave, that Accident that took your leg but gave you wings, you now remember all that and it pushes you up the rungs of a Thing like a stair case made of gold, gold because it’s like nothing else you’ve known…. resilient after a fire rinse, beautiful in the refining….
You’re looking at all that now with eyes of a love you never thought existed …
A love for divine intervention, interpretation…
a love for the impossible.
You cannot find words to pray, but your mental Sling is working:
there’s a giant, a Goliath in your face. You’re looking at It, but also at the Possibility of an impossible solution. You’ve got to take the very thing you been good at, those proverbial ‘5 pebbles from little stream at home’, your well worn sling>these kiddie weapons, but it’s all you got, stripped of other armour too much for you to fit into!
But all you got is enough.
You surprise yourself, and your giant.
You become the giant….. 15 feet tall, pure gleaming material now, from something you thought was flawed:
if anything is a Prayer/ an Asking – it’s this one:
when the human spirit asks its Creator, what they can collaborate on together: “..what d’You want me to do next?”
What is that one stance that is most opposed to human nature?
It’s what made a Michelangelo, and the original David. (Michelangelo surprised even Leonardo Da Vinciin that broad room meeting they had, deciding where to stall David). It is Job sitting in the market place in ashes and sackcloth saying,”Never mind the nasty things my besties say about me, bless them God, I know my Redeemer lives…for me.” It is Daniel flung in the lion’s den, unafraid, “..even if He slays me, I trust Him.” It is Esther and Ruth, Hannah and Sara. Or Gideon and Moses. It is you and me, every so often, walking through everyday miracles of existence and healing and we mightn’t even notice some times but we prayed these impossible prayers, naked of all garb/pretence/fear/doubt/lack of gut;
we might be there today, and we look around and find these little or large, old and new mammoth Illustrations of how humans can pray, or perhaps it’s possible we have done it, and haven’t realised it….
Not possible to gaze beyond our Goliath and look askance at ……..an Invisible God?
But this got me here, @ the kind of prayer Stance that defies visible support….*
The past five days we have been a cantata of sneezes: are we/ aren’t we with …corona- what ?! Headlines continue to scare with one kind of baddie or the other. The choice we have is to erase some new news for the memo of something good.
So, we decided it was the usual raw throat common cold with some amt. of fire in nasal chambers, Haha. Some of us recovered, two of us are out of bed, one of us had dizzy spells, another was pukey, two of us had a determined fever for three days, we all ate well. Mid purrs & sniffles, I remembered Thitha’s kashayam:
Kashayam is South Indian vernacular for a hot brew for when you have a cold! 😄
My recipe: 5 Ginger flakes in hot water+ 1 cinnamon flag, 1/2 lemon, pinch of pepper, teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and ofcourse honey. This thing has powers.
I add green tea to my own cup, also a sprig of mint leaf for that extra something. Its working wonders in the region of throat and around. My Doc sis has a steady supply of vitamins for us, but this Thitha’s brew is something!
Thitha is my husband’s mother. She lived 6 months after Pa passed on, Thitha looked like she could’ve been my own Ma. Pa said that when he first saw me.
They were pure South Indians, and so gracious, never interfering with anyone’s personal choices. After an early dinner they’d go up to their terrace garden. I loved them like my own, and they treated me as if they’d been waiting for me their entire lives. Have you met people like that? It’s not that I was fantastic but that they were generous and accommodating, saying nothing about anyone’s acid washed jeans, hairstyles or choice of music.
There was the time I caught a cold in our 4 am bus to the hills of Coorg, this restful hill station by the Konkan range. It can’t be just me colouring up details: this is a region, green rich with coffee estates, cinnamon, pepper, among mountain ferns and orchids. You don’t want to go there and waste time being ill.
When Ma gave me this Kashayam, horrific dark though it looked, I welcomed it. And still do.
Will it cure CoronaV? Nah, but it makes you feel better. It unclogs ears, shocks temples, smacks brain, and does things to yelling sinuses.
Back to human misbehaviour as compared to my perfect mother in law’s existence…
Recently in our newspapers one politician called the other Coronavirus!
I can think of a few people in my life who’d suit that title, but that’s not something I’m proud to confess… feeling that way about people. I’d rather behave like Thitha and Pa. Esp Thitha, her life was like a healing Spring, a Balm of Gilead. One vacation at their beautiful villa in the hills, there was a small fight between relatives, something too tiny to talk about, but it was hotting up. I went rushing in to find Ma Thitha, she was usually around the kitchen garden, plucking green mangoes to pickle, or scolding myna bird in her guava tree. But today Ma was calmly opening two cake boxes. “Serve cake,” she said as if she knew it could shut everyone’s mouths for something nice.
She was right!
Hey. Stay warm safe well and happy. This life was given to us, to cherish.
“Practice Love” my Bible reads. Even the Holy Comforter knows what a tough call that is, especially with those outside our comfort zone. His words will always be my ultimate Balm, but am eternally grateful for the Gift of Thitha and people like her.
His embrace will not just hold you, It holds all men and friend and foe, whoa,
what’d I think His Comfort was… sweet cuddly Bear arm, warm with Paternity? His Comfort Zone is more than I dare dream… ach!
It’s in the Slap of the storm, in the Sap of the thorn,
Haha, I wasn’t chatting with God then, cuz He is in the crooky path of stray mountain goat; and I thought Love meant Light, but He takes the Night, longing like Darkness does for Dawn, for those that are unloved, forgotten…
…. all are clung together here: the healed, dead, dying, worthy, worthless, wasted idiot, reckless loser, offender, disbeliever, saint, deathless sinner : in that embrace that defies human limitations to Love like that.