Month: Feb 2020

Meet Lorraine

Meet Lorraine

Before the sun sets today I need to repost from Lorraine’s Blog: Blindzanygirl

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…
.”

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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. 

I hope that you enjoy visiting this site, and that you find it helpful.

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Love knows no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps over obstacles penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.” 

Maya Angelou

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...”

Lorraine

cross
http://blindwilderness.wordpress.com/
Seeing
Comes from within
Deeper than eyes can see
Pain makes you see much more clearly
For pain
Makes gold
That has been tested in the fires
That gives insight to hearts
On paths untrod
Before
 

Thank you Lorraine, oneday we will meet, if not in this life in the next, when you and precious people like our son will see not just all our faces but His…

where the rest of humanity too will see what we never could not before, blinded by the nether lights of human comprehension. Oneday we will see through that dark glass, face to Face.

Here’s another one I love of Blindzanygirls’ work, oh every one of them leaves footprints of a thing I’m learning to hold….GRACE.

RAINBEAMS!

Streets around me

Streets around me

This post inspired by EDC 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, inspired by blogger EDC,

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!

Set me as a seal over Your heart.*

Its been released! AshaJourney of Hope, featuring my Cover and 8 paintings along with others’, in a slim back gorgeous Book that anyone anywhere might be intrigued by…

*pg 98. SET ME AS A SEAL OVER YOUR HEART is one of my 8 + (4 stunning paintings by Artist Anika Bogi) featured in this limited Edition addressing people in emotional/ physical trauma care, Asha: Journey of hope
Published by Biblica,Inc. All rights reserved worldwide. Print,India.
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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.

Cover painting ‘Journey of Hope’. RN. Thankyou Biblica Inc., for a brilliant Publication.
(The reds are exaggerated a few tones in my camera though).

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*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 scarred identities, 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.

Raylarn.

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.

No Place like Love

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 Ma who 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.

….

*Names have been changed.

The Naked Prayer

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….“**

The slingshot over his shoulder is near invisible… signifying as one account stokes me to say: this battle was not fought by fabulous human armoury …
the head and arm are proportionately larger than the rest of the body‘, perhaps because it was meant to be displayed at a higher level than it finally was. Or to emphasize that David was held by the Invisible Strong Arm to Whom he looked for help.
David is a Biblical story, (1 Samuel), where this young shepherd defeats giant Goliath with a slingshot, and Faith in a God who was proven reality in his life. He would also be known as the Psalmist.


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 Landuccidiarist, 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 Vinci in 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….

No?

Not possible to gaze beyond our Goliath and look askance at ……..an Invisible God?

No?

Non possibile???

But this got me here, @ the kind of prayer Stance that defies visible support….*

more on Michelangelo’s David

…. nor has there ever been seen a pose so easy, or any grace to equal that in this work, or feet, hands and head so well in accord, one member with another, in harmony, design, and excellence of artistry.” Giorgio Vasari on the most famous statue in Florence or perhaps in all the world.

“…ONLY GOD CREATES, THE REST OF US JUST COPY…” Michelangelo.

Read the FACTS about the David »

Coronavirus…?

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.

(Info on the Virus link here).

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!

Coorg

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.

This above quote on Menu at a great Thai restaurant nearby.

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Still unable to delete Embed below! Help, WordPress!🤔



The Dangerous Love of God

His embrace will not just hold you, It holds all men and friend and foe, whoa,

PiCourtesy Samuels, weekend getaway.
…..

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.

Like that.