My daughter took this pic of me the day before her 25th bday Oct2019. Now its all changed so fast. Did you even know we’d miss our little easy trips in a time when there were no ‘untouchable surfaces’?
We grew from ponytails and little shirts to grown up wear & tear. We learned to rise when we stumbled; learned to be patient with new fatigue. We got new ways of doing old things. We matured, we regressed, we sat down and broke a little then mended. Hey. I’m not giving all that away.
God and life taught us how to take pressure, ride it like a bike to the beach somedays! Now I must sanitise my trips every which way one can and cannot imagine, fine. But I’m not adjusting my inner balance, I’m not going to make any ‘Covid’ feel it owns me, in any grip of fear. Not going to let my home believe for one moment we are victims, though we must be careful of a whole new array of things. We will not court dragons and dance with demons, but we will not forget we walk among angels.
I am not about to go from being a child of God into a frightened bear: a sore one with claws that gnaw my insides, hehe no. I will remember the ways in which I’ve grown and outgrown childish thought processes: oh no, there’s no monster under our bed. There may be a physical threat, but not anything that dare touch our spirit.
So we cannot go out as much but we can go in and remember everything else.
Everything else better not be forgotten for the sake of a sick virus. Nope. I like to think of the Human Self as a person totally under the control of One who brought you & me this far. That’s all I’m thinking on. It frees my mind. It reminds me of when I first learnt to bike.
We were in Gujarat, western India. Dad told me he was behind me….. he wasn’t. I was so sure he was there, I went on ahead. Was a few minutes before I realised he wasn’t holding on. He was there a few meters away, but I was on my own. It did not matter though, I still felt he was holding on. There was no new aloneness. He was right there.
I feel that now, the heavenly Father who brought us this far, mayn’t be visible but He is there. The ride ahead may have its bumps, but we got this life, this bike: we got our lessons, we can’t lose it now, we cannot forget….
“FOR YOU MY GOD, HAVE GIVEN US THE SPIRIT OF POWER LOVE AND DISCIPLINE, NOT FEAR AND TIMIDITY…!”(quote,Bible)
…and had the feeling we’d seen him over and over in places around. Take a look.
A million things go through the mind as Eye receives images of this tiny creature’s liquid bones in the confines of that tube…. playing solitaire, 😃 but more! He’s hoarding……! Think we’re the only ones who think so? Nah its there in comments already, and how I LOVE this Personality..
he’s playing Humans, in the winter of their spirit. He knows the weather forecast, he knows he will get hungry, and he knows the ways of his kindred creature, he is aware of exactly how to stash, scramble, and twirl around in a tight corner. He races time. He does not give up or stop. When he cant take anymore, he adapts! He’s built for duress, is creative and quick no matter the route/ the confines, he stays cute. Notice he is in the presence of a mightier force than himself (the Lab!), does he know? Maybe, but he’s intent on fulfilling basic instinct.
There is a major difference between him and us though, many.
He doesn’t have a human mind, for one.
I’m guessing we can fare better than a Hamster, you think…? 😅
If you’re looking for some music, this also happening @ my home, “Good good Father,” do listen …HERE
Streets, people, trees, blossoms, faces, places, time, family,
What you see, sees you-
quieting thought that I can effect change, mood, laughter, peace…I am the music of my words, the harbinger of joy, yeah I can re arrange the furniture, heal, reveal a Well Spring of things and streams you & I own deep within, do we know, do I know
how wide I am created, to…..
…to bring all these gifts to a day like this…. do I, do we know.
I can’t thank life enough for Fellow Angel Bloggers who’s incredible posts keep me believing that this is still the world we knew before ‘Rona virals!! Purple Ray’s ‘Isolation Angel’, + verse here simply had to be shared for its sweet sheer brilliant reminder that we are never alone. Thank you!
Dave’s photography travels around the UK in places I may never physically see, nor do they reflect my Indian life. Though right now, they mirror our times. We are in transit, we tiptoe past each others’ posts and find our shadows in each others’ stunning walls.
Some time this morning between fixing breakfast and wondering whether we must think of one meal/ day soon, if we can still find veggies, and if we still aren’t carriers/ consumers of this ugh viral, after which thought I took to blog surfing and came across Harris’ Quote (pl see below), all this after searching for ‘Corridor‘ quotes. Well, I’m all startled now, thinking on how humans ‘make up their minds‘;
the Globe stares with new eyes at empty toilet paper shelves in one nation; emptied street Fruit Vendor’s cart in another nation:
as we all try to sit down and not think too much on Corona whatever. Morbid! And yet it’s not far away. It’s easily next door. It mayn’t happen to us, it might die away tomorrow, and yet death is not new news on the block. It’s been there since we all began and it’s no Respecter of physical status.
Harris says, ‘...we are not a culture that’s reflective. We do not raise our eyes to the hills…’
ah’m. Any help in a crisis, is welcome. Any comfort, anything that can take our minds off Covid spike charts, is welcome. If it is Singing hills, and Archangels declaring Peace on earth, I’m telling you Hannibal himself would tear his nails out in a hurry to get to nearest angel, now.
We’ve possibly never longed for our old normal like we do now. We’ d look to hills, any which way….lift our eyes, our reflective/ non reflective brows, we might stare at linoleum, at blatting television, but we are Reflective like never before.
And we aren’t willing to live in Transit lounge forever.
We’ve grown impatience from fore fathers who grew wings in their ears from just trying not be impatient. We as the human race can philosophize over Sanitisers without any of the rest of us objecting.
We call Death the Reaper, and Life…no bed of rose. Everything has a name: we are the Giver of Name and Emotion, & We are that IceAge -prehistoric (Squirrel?) just within reach of Its nice nut.
Yes, we stare at blatting Televisions, and want to lift our minds, ears, eyes, nose, heart, hands to that one thing that can be Touched…. Love, eternal, deathless.
As I wrap this, my Jeff makes us a warm drink. Our younger two are in bed. Subtle birthday lights from 3 days ago are still on. Out there it’s a Life glowering at statistics, facts & facilities, but here’s the thing. Death existed before Corona. And death is too quick an exit for our spiritual existence as a race that can think holes through the linoleum of the basement of hell. We are too blest, too endowed; too much trouble has been taken in just growing us all up to where we are today. We climbed Jack’s bean sprout, we killed our Goliaths, we cannot return to kindergarten shoes and cages…
‘Isolation‘ makes me gaze at all our reflections like never before. We do not like everything we all see, but we are learning to learn that there’s more to Us than all this, there’s more than survival and social distance.
When my Ma left this earth I was by her side and felt her pulse slip away, felt her presence next to me. I couldn’t even grieve in proper outrage for her, it was like she were standing right there but in another sphere. What oh death is your sting? Where your victory, if you cannot take my soul? We are soul, else we are in fantastic corridors between places we just happened to be at? We are each other’s angels at a time like this, and need the Gift of Life to never ever stop, no matter the way our heart shelves at the enormity of loss the coming months may harvest, I’m pledging my faith in a God who reaches for us in His own way, when we lift our eyes to the hills. …
At a very young age I was introduced to patterns of prayer, but it was later that God startled me in the weirdest places: places of disbelief and difficulty, sickness and doubt. Maybe if I’d never had that opportunity to meet my Creator, this Post would never have happened.
I’ve attached here a link to our 25 year old’s 21 day Reflection on the Person of God, not as a Genie giver of gifts, but as one who can be talked to unconditionally, if we would take a moment to listen to the Divine, quoting Purple Rays:
This Post is for anyone celebrating their birthday today, (and everyone else) I have this urge to celebrate you, and offer a tiny prayer too from my son who’s incredible gift is prayer. If you’ve been following posts you’ll know he’s not just blind but recovering from a series of disturbing issues, but this isn’t about him;
whichever part of the world you’re in: what a ride this is, and yet we are still the same people we were born as…
Was my birthday couple of days ago: “..no fuss,” I warned them, but there they were @ midnight, cake and candles, hushed whispers: in the morning among mysteriously bought gifts, was a Heart full of blue crystal stars from Kitsy, and Perfume from our eldest, my first name ‘Diella‘ hand- crafted in with scores of words like “Light”. (I got that name in a dream, after a long crazy illness. While I healed, there was a dream: it had my name written on a white stone. Diella means Worshipper);
mid- birthday joy, now there was announcement of national 21 day curfew; our entire street & surrounding areas went quiet, no bustle of traffic or twitter from Myna in trees running between our home and army acres across.
Within our walls, my family had strung out little lights, there was music and the smells of great cooking,
(I have officially surrendered cooking baton to second daughter Kitsy, who is master chef! (On left is how she used to be), now 👇….sigh, they grow so fast.
D’you sometimes feel guilty to feel happy? You know it’s a mess out here with virus and anxiety attacks, but now and then there’s a celebration,
so here’s the thing: we were going thru’ all our pics, and my Jeff he rounded off everyone’s words with, “Ray, you are … you are… unique….” ….words that make me stare at everyone else now…..
that, there is no one like you either!
No matter the news, nothing changes who you are, your essence is unique, novel! Yes they say ‘novel‘ for all kinds of things, but here we are, citizens and strangers and basic people born to mothers and families and lives that can change in the twinkling of an eye. We been warned of all that, but when it arrives it’s a thief in the night, it’s a touch between life and death…
We got two bone chilling letters from people we love, one from our precious nephew in a hospital in Germany, he’s a doctor; and the other from a very dear friend in the U.S. They wrote loving notes, asking family to pay attention to how deadly this Covid thing is, the pace at which it mutates, its silent stealth. These precious ones lives are at risk because of their professions: I can’t tell you enough what it felt like, to be gazing at/ celebrating life in all its hues: to hug across the miles, and cry tears of love and pain;
to know that we 7 billion are strong and yet we are this vulnerable. We are beloved and fragile, our life is like grass, and yet we are one-of-a- kind- each, Designer made, no matter that our breath can be whisked away; we are phenomenal, a Force to reckon with. The day we were born, people paused or clapped, kissed? …. wept.
We can die, and even that occasion is phenomenal. It causes chaos / maddening grief, because humans as a race cannot be ignored. If one of us is attacked in any unusual ordeal it is News. The entire planet of us under siege is another thing altogether, nothing competes with the vastness of that: the fact that we are under this kind of common indefinable, insurmountable distress is totally New.
If we survive this, and many will, there will be the aftermath of it and it may be unlike anything recorded in the history of mankind: I don’t want to go much there: this one is about birthdays and how it feels to celebrate humans, mid- international crisis; it feels strange and provocative -beautiful and Quiet.
This morning I woke up feeling different, younger and older, like I had more in my 206 bones. It’s an awareness… of what? The immortality of life, or its brevity? I’m staring at books we used to read, it’s like from another life: movies, talks. Some Quotes feel more right than before. Oh, bouquets and birds, they don’t change, they are like paintings and classical music; they have Eternity in them. But our conversation…. it is halved in a new way.
Birthday hugs: they are tighter.
Gazes and strummed guitar, candle lights and the clink of glasses… they say new things. I can’t say what, just new. And old. And somethings we never knew before. We thought we knew it all. Our parents and grandparents taught us how to say Grace and say please, thankyou and sorry. As we grew we thought we understood things a little more than yesterday. It felt sweet, sometimes sour.
Now, I don’t know… and that is a New Thing. It reminds me of how little we all truly know about each other as humans. You are a person with feelings and heart and we must care deeply for each others’ well being, must pray for one another’s lives/ souls…
this is more than birthdays: you can see this Post hovers around that word and how I want to wish you a beautiful life without sounding patronizing, even if it’s not birthday zone. Even if life’s not short and we’ll survive this and other wars.
Our daughter Vi does these Videos and I’d love for you to listen to this one. She’s a lot like me and feels deeply about things;
then our son walks in on her recording (he cannot bear closed doors), but the moment turns around, he prays and brings you right into our room facing palm trees on it’s right, with my large painting in the back drop. It is called DaySpring, and I wish you that Inner Spring of Light and Life.
Vi does her own take on Michael W. Smith’s Agnus Dei; we looked up those words and it means “Emblem: a Lamb bearing the Cross of Christ.”
All sounds so serious. D’you get the feeling life is way more than mortal detail? That there’s more besides thinking on Cures and everyday bread/ rice/ health… that oneday we might all be someplace else besides this planet?
And that we matter incredibly more than we suspect…
This is another one I’ve no clue how to wrap. Do have a blessed day.
by what held us all these years: I’m touched, by the power within us that is greater than fear,
touched by how new leaf and bud appear, relentless of germs & sickness, they pout at my quick disbelief of personal endurance,
Touched, where I am rinsed by storms of cleansing…. I believe you and I and us are more than these days,
dumb founded by my own capacity to be afraid, I’m touched by the power of prayer, gratitude & praise:
This morning it went on and on in my head: the astounding fact, the act of prayer…. its healing ways, no matter how we used to think it didnt work, this morning It touched me, like a Glove, a Mask…. It held us in the secret place of Its hiding, not just me and mine, but you and yours: locked doors, sealed yards, borders, nations, hearts and minds….
May we wash our spirits, with the cleansing power of leaning on the most High. Man is wired to lean, on meds and safety measures: and that’s a sign a good one too…that by ourselves we are not enough. Together with the Leanable-On, we are stronger.
Choose Stronger, dear one, we aren’t alone. There is a Power beyond this,
I was touched by It this morning. Grace, Strength...call it a big word, let’s be touched by the One thing that can save us: The Hands of God that made us and flowers new every morning, I send you these, as Reminders,
Today is that Gift we asked for: tiny seconds tripping together, they warned last night of Dawn, and here we are, 24 hours closer to answers we task for;
Today is a Gift of colours we mayn’t notice in sill and (coffee?) swirls, in each others’ eyes, or our miles of sometimes hesitant smiles;
Today is a Gift which will never return: as we read this, Its arms tick tiny songs in ears tuned to fears, but now and then, we are turned anew by each others’ joy…if we would..
Today is a Gift, a Prophecy of Life in the bones of soul; how quick we can keep Its peace… like beautiful Feet, running to ourselves/ to each other yelling the good news, that we are beloved of the Father;
Today is a Gift, only you & I know to courier, to our depths or anothers’: gifts of mercy and forgiveness, the holding of a sister/brother/nation in prayer;
Today is a Gift, only you and I and we can unwrap- tremble with excitement, with relief, with hope and patience! I can die down in the horrific power of belief that healing is dead, but I believe-
I believe that you and I are Pulse and Breath in these streets and doors and walls we built: and today we must Lock-down the dark and wait for eyes anew: then see what Gifts we can give even ourselves, that cannot be bought or broken:
Gifts- stubborn confident that we are still here for a reason: we are Survivor-Mutants -of-health ay, wealth of True Love, e’en in the presence of the absence of evil:
and these Gifts of the Day, running tripping Happy Feet of the Good news of God’s Unshakeable Kingdom of Peace:
They are Life, more than we know, more than we know..
Last month I wanted to look closer at this legendary masterpiece of Auguste Rodin’s, and found that it was a Type of Dante’s Poem, gazing at the portals of hell…. am I wrong?
There wasn’t time to dive deeper into that, we’ve all been flung a little further in at a new kind of emo/physical torment with Virus related issues. We’ve never been closer, in this new kind of loneliness, all of us together in a new kind of isolation, we’re like a Shadow of yesterday going into tomorrow, staring at Us all as through a glass, gazing at each other as if we’ve never seen us before, sans all the action. It’s a new kind of day. We’re unafraid of words we used to be afraid of. A friend who never asks for prayer, asked. What are we all thinking as we face another 24 hrs, an extended Lock down, or more news coming in from frontlines, where people are facing way more than emptied food shelves….
I got this ( pl see below Thinking Man). It isnt all gloomy. In fact, in it’s own heart rending way, the following words change me….
Pray for Italy🙏🏻
“From Dr. Julian Urban, a 38 year-old serving in a hospital in Lombardy, Italy:
—LIGHT IN A DOCTOR’S DARKEST NIGHTMARE—
Never in my darkest nightmares did I imagine that I would see and experience what has been going on in Italy in our hospital the past three weeks. The nightmare flows, and the river gets bigger and bigger. At first, a few patients came, then dozens, and then hundreds. Now, we are no longer doctors, but sorters who decide who should live and who should be sent home to die, though all these patients paid Italian health taxes throughout their lives.
Until two weeks ago, my colleagues and I were atheists. It was normal because we are doctors. We learned that science excludes the presence of God. I laughed at my parents going to church.
Nine days ago, a 75-year-old pastor was admitted into the hospital. He was a kind man. He had serious breathing problems. He had a Bible with him and impressed us by how he read it to the dying as he held their hand. We doctors were all tired, discouraged, psychologically and physically finished. When we had time, we listened to him.
We have reached our limits. We can do no more. People are dying every day. We are exhausted. We have two colleagues who have died, and others that have been infected. We realized that we needed to start asking God for help. We do this when we have a few free minutes. When we talk to each other, we cannot believe that, though we were once fierce atheists, we are now daily in search of peace, asking the Lord to help us continue so that we can take care of the sick.
Yesterday, the 75-year-old pastor died. Despite having had over 120 deaths here in 3 weeks, we were destroyed. He had managed, despite his condition and our difficulties, to bring us a PEACE that we no longer had hoped to find. The pastor went to the Lord, and soon we will follow him if matters continue like this.
I haven’t been home for 6 days. I don’t know when I ate last. I realize my worthlessness on this earth. I want to use my last breath to help others. I am happy to have returned to God while I am surrounded by the suffering and death of my fellow men.
Pls pray for Italy”
And may I add, pray for our neighbours, each other, ourselves. For international wisdom and tact as we go forward.
What started two years ago with a few young people across Bangalore city, today was just Family, oweing to ‘Janata Curfew’: people’s voluntary curfew where every Indian stays indoors all day till 9pm this evening.
So we got together for today: our daughter Vihan who made our Haven call come true with her heart of steel and love for Jesus & every soul ever; our son Johann (I’ve written about him here, he’s recovering so well. Thankyou all for prayers). There’s the one and only NoelJeff without whom this family would be an awkward lot. Our second daughter KitsyRuth, the Bijli(electricity) of us (and Chef!). Then me: still catching my breath from some weird sort of illness- that’s-not-Covid🥴: glad for the grace of God that’s brought us through a strange 365×2 days, hallel! It was worth it all, to watch Family grow this way. Do join every Sunday, Subscribe for Updates, Share with people who might appreciate company, comment so we know you’re there…
Trusting these Vids are understood for the purpose of Sharing God’s Comfort. None of us are Pros., just extremely ordinary -everyday- veggie- chopping- hassled over nitty gritty- kind of people with an extraordinary Father who loves us all no matter what we think of Him, no matter how dark the road might seem. You are not alone.
This one is for the loved ones and those who have succumbed, or might, to Covid & other reasons humans and nations do not always thrive,
& too, for those of us who die a thousand deaths in lives that could be be lived out strong,
those for whom Love loses Its Light with eye dulled for fears they needn’t weep: we are freer than we imagine;
for all of us: Tomorrow is that gift we cannot see yet: we do not walk Its fields of harvest, we do not yet inhale Its aroma of rest, we do not hold It in our fingers, but we believe It too will arrive like yesterday,
we know in the hours before dawn that when we peer thru’ grey satin whispers of sunrise, we will walk into Its rays of hope,
Some said it well... ‘weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning‘; so walk, walk on. Brave Heart, walk on, till tomorrow comes…
I just received from the Netherlands, a poem ‘Written v.appropriately; like to share it with you…’,
forwarded by my dearest friend and cousin sis. We were The Twins when we were little, as in school- little girls. I wore pig tails, she wore a mop. She was fun and gorgeous, a Beauty with brains, she still is. We connect now and then, as she did just now. Thankyou darling person for the Intercontinental hug & verse.
“When we thought we were all powerful and did exactly as we pleased, when we treated the earth with contempt a virus brought us to our knees.
When we prided ourselves on social media with photos of places we roamed a microscopic virus decided to bind our feet and keep us home.
When the whole world seemed divided and no one could see eye to eye We needed a tiny virus to show where our connection lies
We need to wash not just our hands we need to cleanse our thoughts we need to elevate humanity before the virus is fought.”
Also sent in by our dear friend in London, one we haven’t physically met in 20 years but who makes an effort to catch up:
thankyou P.A, for being kind and eternal in this changing world, too for this BBC Video clip with refreshing skies.. clearing in the wake of Covid, even in Wuhan. The best is yet to come!
Yes, it is a good time to connect, even remember we are fragile creatures of a Life that can go faster than It arrives every morning: Its’ breath- the sheer will of God.
Do share anything you might like to, in pics, or a thought, a sketch, photograph, a clip: would love to hear from you in comments or Idialects@gmail.com.
So, no random wheeling around my city. No touching other Humans, Malls, or Theater, stay in!
I’m basically a hermit, but when asked NOT to go out, ah the urge – the urge to watch sunset from anyplace else but here. And where are we these days: an entire globe @home?
My own window fills ~ with papers, books, younger elbows, easel, plants;
I wonder what life is like for you. We learn new words like Social Distancing, we stall some die hard 9-5 habits, dawn walk, handshake, warm hug, oh do not even whisper words mask & sanitizer to me🤧😷🤒.
All across Italy people are turning to music in an effort to beat boredom, socialise and keep their spirits high as the country battles Europe’s worst outbreak of coronavirus. Video: David Dunne.
In the minutes before six o’clock, Jessica Phelan climbed the stairs to the roof of her building to look out over her Rome neighbourhood. All day on social media, a hashtag had been trending: “sonic flashmob”, spreading the word that something would happen when the clock struck six.
Phelan saw neighbours emerge at balconies and windows, from apartments where they have been living in isolation under government orders to curb Europe’s worst outbreak of coronavirus, which has been killing more than 200 citizens a day in Italy’s overwhelmed hospitals.
“People started waving to each other, calling ‘ciao, ciao’,” Phelan recalled. “A bunch of people started whacking tamborines, people had maracas. It was just noise at first. But then somebody started singing Bella Ciao.”
The “sonic flashmob” or “flashmob sonoro” began in Rome with the 18-member street music band Fanfaroma …
“We were saying on our chat group, what will we do? How can we play?” said the band’s saxophonist Luciano Belvilacqua. “Then someone said, ‘let’s go out and play on our balconies’.”
“It was madness, it was like New Year’s Eve,” he said.
Similar initiatives flowered spontaneously in other cities. Clips of apartment buildings producing impromptu choirs lit up social media over the weekend.
Songs of resilience that recall difficult times of the past are finding a special resonance. At noon on Saturday, one Bologna neighbourhood filled the with sound of applause after a resident broadcast from their window the Evening of Miracles, a song that recalls the town squares filling with people again after the second World War.
Comedian and musician Francesco Cicchella changed the lyrics of the traditional Neapolitian song Luna Rossa, or Red Moon, to tell the tale of the masks, disinfectant, and solitude of life under quarantine.
“Let’s make this go more viral than the virus!”he wrote on Facebook…
“We are trying to make this period of quarantine less sad, a bit more fun,” said Cicchella.
Children can call a telephone number to be told a story. Theatres stream drama. Opera house the Teatro Regio di Torino, founded in 1740, began broadcasting performances of Verdiover YouTube. The Museum of Modern Art in Bologna is publishing videos from artists showing their work….botanic gardens launched virtual tours…..
“The theme is ‘what you see from your window’. Perhaps we have more time to take notice of things, now that we are all shut in our homes,” Sanzo said.
“You need to respond in some way because otherwise people will feel too alone. Going onto the balcony to sing with other people gives you courage,”Belvilacqua, the saxophonist says.
Windows locking in on our lives, and perhaps more than windows..
I’ve read this somewhere: that we each have a Stairwell running from the roots of us to a zone above our present time, our present tense…… routing us to Things we cannot know exist even just moments ahead.
My Ma had a song about that. “There’s a stairway that winds up to heaven, and it takes but a moment to climb. It’s a stairway of prayer and you’ll find it, anywhere you may be, any time.Whenever I pray I climb a Stairway….“
Don’t you wonder what the past few weeks may be preparing us for: how a Season like this one could re-route you, me, all of us through to healthier or otherwise, co-existence in our respective communities?
Who knows how this will all pan out, but let’s please not let one Window stay shut, not miss one Step if we can. Tough call, but we are a Tougher Generation than we dare suspect. Did I just say that?
One day Solomon decided to humble Benaiah ben Yehoyada, his most trusted minister. He said to him, “Benaiah, there is a certain ring that I want you to bring to me. I wish to wear it for Sukkot which gives you six months to find it.”
“If it exists anywhere on earth, your majesty,” replied Benaiah, “I will find it and bring it to you, but what makes the ring so special?“
“It has powers,” answered the king. “If a happy man looks at it, he becomes sad, and if a sad man looks at it, he becomes happy.”
Solomon knew that no such ring existed in the world, but he wished to give his minister a little taste of humility.
Spring passed and then summer, and still Benaiah had no idea where he could find the ring. On the night before Sukkot, he decided to take a walk in one of he poorest quarters of Jerusalem. He passed by a merchant who had begun to set out the day’s wares on a shabby carpet. “Have you by any chance heard of a ring that makes the happy wearer forget his joy and the broken-hearted wearer forget his sorrows?” asked Benaiah. He watched the grandfather take a plain gold ring from his carpet and engrave something on it. When Benaiah read the words on the ring, his face broke out in a wide smile.
That night the entire city welcomed in the holiday of Sukkot with great festivity. “Well, my friend,” said Solomon, “have you found what I sent you after?”
All the ministers laughed and Solomon himself smiled. To everyone’s surprise, Benaiah held up a small gold ring and declared, “Here it is, your majesty!”
As soon as Solomon read the inscription, the smile vanished from his face. The jeweler had written three Hebrew letters on the gold band: “gimel, zayin, yud”, which began the words “Gam zeh ya’avor” — “This too shall pass.”
At that moment Solomon realized that all his wisdom and fabulous wealth and tremendous power were but fleeting things, for one day he would be nothing but dust.
I found this rather telling story as our city faces total shut down – yours must too? Our international community has never been this undivided in a war against an intrusive force as this Virus. May peace and healing overwhelm every last strain of this thing they call Covid. May life be restored again with new immunity to illness: body, soul, mind. ‘This too shall pass.’
Am I mistaken in saying that it is the same Solomon who wrote the book of Proverbs and this quote: “A merry heart is like a medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.”
Another blog post I’d love for you to read: found it truly heart warming,
I haven’t understood this – as much as I have during this past year: I’ve bitten into Its wood, Its Bleed. Its brutal honesty.
How do I identify with It’s utter ‘Insanity‘..
Why did the Christ do what He did, how does It help Humans?
When you break thresholds of pain, there is no pretence: Here you might forget what you knew & be provoked enough to see the Unseen:
~(Rejection is one of the Experiences one might process here,
~ Severance from human praise/ recognition.
~Acquired values re- group.
~When all is shredded, stripped naked, the human spirit is truly alone with his/ her source. Here there is no ‘I’ except in Its best possible way.
~Here, is ‘abandonment’. Buddha tried it, our wise men and sadhus go to the mountains, some sit years under a tree, in cave, for that ‘enlightenment’). ~When all human support is withdrawn, all expectation, one is free. Freed.
This takes you to another Place: some have names for it:
~A place of Quiet, where human standards/ learned behaviour/symptoms of dis-ease cease to control you: this is a new Place. We aren’t familiar with Its one Event: Friendship with the Invisible Friend.
♡ This is a zone where pain is Highest Common Factor; one thanks it for bringing them here.
This ‘here’ begins to re-arrange one’s own personal rules:
◇ You stand unafraid of ‘Alone’; free of human bondage, from Conditions required to be Happy. Happy is a 1% of This. (Wounds lose their power over you: you stop chewing on them).
◇You heal. Your scar makes you a new you: gravity isn’t existent in your dreams, your prayers. Nor human embrace/ respect. You transform.
◇You experience Beauty, Love. Acceptance. Courtesy to each other, unconditional of returns.
Christ of the Cross is more than printed religion. His Cross is an impossible to fully comprehend just yet un- negotiable symbol of the power of emotional (often physical) healing.
It changes the soul of your fibre, It bares to you your neighbours‘ soul, as your priority.
It smashes ego, but elevates respect for even you.
It raises the bar on compassion, It bends your nature to forgive; It shows you how negating pride is, how devastating to your purpose, & how lust wipes out life.
It exposes devices of Fear.
The Person of the Cross takes my itinerary: re- routes cowardly escape plans, away from selfabsorption/ destruction.
♡ It is unafraid of ‘loneliness’. It needs that space for progress.
I do not need my burden of being right all the time. I am a learner.
I appreciate the struggles of humanity/ blest by fellow-creations. Gratitude begins. It is a river of music and joy, of Forgiveness and lack of self adoration.
I look outward, I look within. It takes a certain recklessness to cut umbilical chords of acquired selfishness..
run barefoot through it, sing, worship, be all I was meant to be, whipped of discourtesy to the kingdom of God within us each, for free.
Here, I taste a new thing, a certain change of needs. The taste of dying selfishness, a resurrection of new eyes, looking away from dead habits.
And this: I see my heart, my core. There is a lot of condemnation. It is the worst kind of ‘nation’, the worst virus. I must shed that snakeskin, & forgive wasted time in order to forgive/ bless anything else.
All of this, courtesy of the Cross.
There’s more, a Designer more. Your prints differ from mine. We are nothing, and everything. Let’s not underestimate each others power in this life. You have my respect, I love you anew: you …flesh of my flesh, bone of my bone.
I don’t understand much, but my iris and iota are changing. Our blood, our DNA, are transient gifts, for specific use. I don’t want to miss a thing about this existence, nor misunderstand a single experience. This isn’t about my portfolio, my pitch, my bacteria, my journey is perhaps just an invisible weave in the tapestry of you.
We don’t have to understand flowers and bees and the generation of birds and black holes, or meteors flying around @ 20,000kms / minute? to let out the miracle of healing:
let it out of human-made cages, and let our songs sing,
Or let that song break our acres of deafness…
Or blindness. Have you watched a blind person listen to a song? Or a deaf person lip read? Or a lame one watch others’ running feet?
Sometimes we lose a little to access Treasures hidden in dark places. We are each others’ at the Cross. I went there to complain, and He points me to my brother, my sister: their shadow is my face.
I do not even want to understand it, it is complicated and not ‘nice’: if someone does understand it all then it’s not all they’ve seen. Here we must cling to no shame, or pretence : I understand how little I like the way Christ loves everyone equally.
Ugh, the Paradox of True Love:
♡ It provokes hate, because mankind lives to love self. If we worship anything, it is mostly a method to gain favour in the eyes of gods of wealth and superiority.
The Cross’s two beams intersect at the crux of the need for love. I went there for comfort, and He asks that we comfort one another. That’s why the Cross is hated. Misunderstood. Read as a symbol of weakness. Try forgiving/ love….when your thresholds of pain are at break neck maximum.
I know, tough. We lack that genre of maddening courtesy. We try, we stare.
like the fierce Santur Pills our soft voiced aunt had in thumb-sized steel box: bitter herb that scared whooping cough, sneezes, hiccups…
tiny round terrors that could cure malingering children of tummy ache before school. Ma just whispering, ‘Sant,’ could bring instant relief…
our Santur dear relative lived alone in Mangalore where I was born. Her laughing tiny frame & white cotton sari all in stark contrast to her pill box! I thought of her this morning after a local silence at 8 am; there’s a School next door but today its all shut up. Our apartment kids aren’t at any school either these past few days after a health care warning. Streets are not falling over with wheelie- bikers, dog- walkers, joggers. Where do you go when they ask you not to go out too much?
You watch more movies at home, read, work new recipes, search out cobweb/ stars @ night, monitor each others’ sniffles, text/ do letters, check news…for nice news … like sports, but they’re cancelling tours? We even had breakfast together this morning.
“Don’t touch elevator surfaces,” Rish next door says, “…not staircase railing..”
His wife Jaruna is not as worried, “This will leave like it arrived, suddenly. Summer will burn it up; be happy and it boosts immunity, releases endorphins, kills stress..”
I feel a sneeze begin and run to the safety of our front door. We’ve had a morning of putting away older paintings for few more in theme with the Season.
It is Lent. Some of our friends are on a veg. fast (which for some reason includes fish).
Our Chinese neighbour Pinna had 2 days of “velli ba’ cough y’know,“. Gingko cured the thing. Pinna was born and raised in Kolko’a, “but people are ‘ellified of me. I don’ like go ou’ more much!” she grins, her darling eyes dissolving into wrinkling skin.
While I enjoy local kids not playing cricket in available car parking lot and we drink up lemon- ringed water,
I scour the news for mice cured of Covid, and this photograph shows up in Google search along with an Edvard Munch bio. possibly after yesterday’s Post.
For anyone unfamiliar with long suffering Job and his infamous wife who said, “Curse God and die!”,
this was a good man, so good, it made Satan do a strange bargain with God:
“You put a hedge of protection around Job, won’t he sing happy the whole 24×7, why won’t he be your star disciple?!
So. Hedge & favour withdrawn now, Satan gets God’s consent to try Job by fire, in Epic test of faith.
One by one, Job loses everything: children, wealth, health. His few friends taunt him, as he sits in the market square in proverbial “ashes & sackcloth”, but nothing shakes his trust in a God he calls his Redeemer.
“Oneday I know I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living,” Job tells his friends who insist there must be hidden sin for him to be sitting in the dust, running sores like that. Is when his wife asks him to curse God and die,…
is when Job does the ultimate antidote to dis- Ease:
He asks God to not let his ‘friends’ perish. This shocks any further Satanic mutation. Sigh. What can succeed like that kind of Immunity against evil: absolute Love. It is death to destructive forces.
A Contagion deadlier than the vilest Pandemic, is my mind mutating with Things opposed to your wellbeing.
Fearless Job believes he will see Goodness in the land of the living, and he does. There follows a time of Restoration in which he takes back all his friends. Check here, for more on the ‘Patience of Job’ if you like.
What’s it got to do with Corona- care: maybe it does have a lot more to do with us than we know.
Maybe Fear invites things we do not know yet, to know:
maybe when faced with mortality, humans get Perspectives right.
Maybe I’m bargaining a bargain with my Maker: that we will ask good lives for each other. That you and I will not walk away from this experience, indifferent.
Maybe it is that time to ask in the open, ask redemption of lost time, lost life, lost peace. Maybe I believe we the human race aren’t as gone as we think we are, maybe we can still be shocked into restoration:
Let me say it out loud, not just because I’m artistically inclined:
Art is the Journal of our Times, the Colour of our Decibel:in an environment that might seem to be growing steadily deaf to human existential need, or isn’t it?
TOI smashed it with above version of the world’s 2nd most famous painting next to Mona Lisa, THE SCREAM:
originally painted by Norwegian Expressionist artist Edvard Munch, 1893, (Norwegian title- Der Schrei Der Nature, the Scream of Nature: Shriek), the face of this Painting symbolizes: Quote Arthur Lubow: “….the universal anxiety of modern man.”
It is a masterpiece that has perhaps inspired one of our noisiest Emojis, little need of professional skills & cartoonery, just text an Emoji yell, 😱 courtesy Mr. Munch. (Don’t you wonder what was going on while he painted this one?) It reads to me like a Seismograph of his mind.
I found 2 paragraphs (below) from a personal journal of his: worth the read if you’re curious:
“…from the moment of my birth, the angels of anxiety, worry, and death stood at my side, followed me out when I played, followed me in the sun of springtime and in the glories of summer. They stood at my side in the evening when I closed my eyes, and intimidated me with death, hell, and eternal damnation…” Edvard Munch.
the Artist on that walk with two others separated by gaps and back drop blue swirl. In this pastel version, its center figure’s skeletal eyes gawk at a deaf Universe. The Scream is certainly no photograph, with random pedestrians; this is E. Munch’s mind, another heirloom hanging in there in the noise of us.
“We do not want pretty pictures to be hung on drawing-room walls. We want… an art that arrests and engages. An art of one’s innermost heart.” – Edvard Munch
1893 to 2020:
what would Edvard M. have painted if he were here today; what was the expression of inner man, a good century ago…do gut reactions not change? It is the saddest, most explosive painting ever viewed globally.
I had written about E.M’s Scream elsewhere, and needed to include a few Readers’ Comments in this Reblog here, without which this Post would be incomplete. Thankyou, and I hope you approve.
“…perhaps love, peace, joy, compassion, grace, beauty among others were never meant to be understood. Those moments when our understanding is suspended are to live for – where does it start or end? What actually exists in between? Is it good or bad or less significant than we make it out to be. More questions than answers ..and I don’t particularly like suspended understanding…”
Nor I, but I guess some of that makes for Masterpieces? One tries to own joy peace, love, strength, all that. Perhaps in the ‘suspended moment’ we cross fjords, chasms. Fenced in, we keel over at our dusk. Is possible we hear each other’s Screams in our own; perhaps that’s why this Painting grabs the imagination of so many. One relates to it. In our daily pursuit of happiness I’d like to think our best moments are perhaps in those suspended places, even if they are too loud to understand. or forget.
You’re right, this is a profoundly sad image. Here’s what I see in it: the stylized foreground figure is warped by his warped environment, a dynamic suggested by the swirling forces on the offing and the subject’s distorted body. He’s the same color as the two figures in the background, suggesting some kind of kinship, but they are distant and unaware, and perhaps unconcerned. And yes, this is a masterpiece.
Thank you for your comment, I was intrigued by Jill Llyod’s “..a changing point in history – man cut loose from all the certainties that had comforted him up until that point in the 19th Century: there is no God now, no tradition, no habits or customs – just poor man in a moment of existential crisis, facing a universe he doesn’t understand and can only relate to in a feeling of panic. That may sound very negative, but that is the modern state…this feeling that we have lost all the anchors that bind us to the world.” Unsure that Munch believed in any God or Eternity –d’you think there’s that vacuum today? “…facing a universe he can only relate to in a feeling of panic ? “
This was such a beautifully written piece! I have to admit, I’ve never been that good with paintings and seeing ‘deeper meanings’ but when I read your take on it, it made so much more sense to me. Amazing how you can look at the same painting and see two completely different things, isn’t it? And I simply love the concept of ‘suspended understanding’ as a whole. I’ve never really been able to put that feeling into words, and the way they’ve described it was spot on. Looking forward to reading more….
Powerful post… I see the one question I hope everyone gets to ask themselves… ‘ what am I doing here?’ Then to let go and be in the void of seemingly nothing yet which actually holds everything just waiting for you to turn up and enjoy…
A long read this!
Thankyou E. Munch for making me stare at the Environment all over again today:
I’m intrigued, and curiously satisfied that somethings are growing universally common in human language: Food for one. Angst. The Relief of Fulfillment. The Joy of Discovery…especially that.
Is It (Environment) listening, are we listening to It? Was that Munch’s Scream, or was he deafened by a yelling Universe?
*Art historian Jill Lloyd, “The Scream ..sums up a changing point in history – man cut loose from all the certainties that had comforted him up until that point in the 19th Century: there is no God now, no tradition, no habits or customs – just poor man in a moment of existential crisis, facing a universe he doesn’t understand and can only relate to in a feeling of panic. That may sound very negative, but that is the modern state…this feeling that we have lost all the anchors that bind us to the world.”
Just got this beauty (Pl check details below) from my very talented friend Shilpa W., also performing;
if you’re in Bangalore or planning to, do not miss it. (Description*).
My guess is, it’s going to be intense, tight scripted with merciless precision to details that must exclude kiddie viewership, though- it just might involve kiddie victim?
Ofcourse, that is the sickening brute act of abuse: it has zero respect for age, innocence or ‘shame’.
I love the Title, and what this can do to create awareness in a Decade that’s seen #MeToo, and some amount of shame like never before.
Ach. But Shameless makes for gut-wrenching reality that facilitates Change. Change in perspective, awareness, offensive defense….ugh, why does that last one smack of Dark Age suppression?
As I post this, I hear the nag of a chainsaw at another tree outside our home. Hmm.
What does an everyday Citizen do:
kick up fuss & dance, yes, must. Tiring though, and you might either run up against or crash a bull dozer besides! That perhaps is what a 2020 everyday Citizen is counting on.
I’m thinking on parallel lines here, of long-stacked child abuse, and other routes of suppression in homo-sapien existence that might take a whole few bodies of humans to redress.
You got to drag (generational?) skeletons out of closet, ignore stench, rid that closet of access to you forever, reduce it to wood ash: reap from it, having sown seeds of shame-stunning radical change effective from a back date you do not want to remember if you’re a ‘victim’ but,
one could choose to.
(Victim: Sheesh. Another ugh word. Say Survivor, say Winner: a more Advantaged human now, all for the experience that tried to take your teeth).
Shame is probably the most misrepresented word in the history of humanity. Shame is what makes us cover up, hide, fake it, smooth over, wear lipstick over bruise.
Shameless – that is a whole other kind of what we were made to be, in the face of de- humanizing factors, especially that, those.
..the darling sweetheart angel warrior-dare devil- soul saver- doctor teachers of my life,
to my fabulous sisters at war and love and peace, my sisters – in- love & law, my irreplaceable gorgeous daughters/ precious nieces & friends of my kids who are my babies too;
my awesome aunts, neighbours, friends, fantastic fellow Artists, Writers, Inspirers, WhatsAppers/ Groupers/ Cousins, ohhhh my unforgettable classmates, & beautiful Blog mates ….
God gifted you to this life, I’ll never take that for granted. When I grow up, I want to be like you!
Happy Womens’ Day, may you never be bored or stop loving the life we are given, may you forever stay blest, because
And a very special one to my Ma, my first teacher of the Word and song and dance. Where you are now is Fields of Joy and I miss you, but you beat with every rhythm of my heart. Thankyou for being born for me. Do you read this ? LOVE YOU, Thankyou Ma.
Masi Kuma rang our door bell, 20 minutes before the 2001 earthquake in the neighbouring State of Gujarat rocked our 5 storeyed apartment building in Mumbai, India.
I lugged both our little ones down three flights of stair case, to the one wide-open window over first floor landing.
It was like the deadly thing Uncle Masi had been prophesying all December; was he surprised?
I was. I’d rubbished his forecasts about the Malad Fault running right below our Building he said, and how at any time It could decide to do what Earth faults do.
“We survive by sheer chance, y’know!” He’d muttered 20 minutes before we quaked! Epicentre was miles away in Gujarat, what we had was just .. aftershocks?
I was tired of his imagery… and it was pretty vividly decorated, his whole body swaying from side to side, showing me how we (Mumbai) escaped each quake, and that there were many to come, he muttered, his eyes gleaming with the tragedy already.
When Gujarat was hit, Uncle M. asked me why we were in Mumbai at all. He was leaving with his wife and son, they were going to Australia and he was at least happy about that. “As it is, this city Mumbai is just made-up reclaimed land, oh we are not a proper island made of rock, you know that, nah?”
Mrs. M. his wife sighed.
She loved Mumbai city, she’d lived here all her life: what place was safe on earth, she said in the flat tone of one who now forgot how to hope.
Their kind-faced son Raji, a curious meld of his parents + 24×7 half smile- Raji looked forward to the prospect of a ‘nice Indian girl’ in Australia, I wondered about that…
“Oh and there are other things,” he said.
I didn’t ask, but after all our quakes died down, Aunty Masi told me their son Raji worried about allergens, apparently caused by holes in the Australian sky, that’d affect migrants more than others. Uh?.”What…? ” I asked.
Aunty M. screamed, “Don’t ask! They’ll not stop talking about it.”
I didn’t understand.
They were buying up Anti- histamine, Ayurvedic powders…swallowing vitamins…
why were they migrating then?
It was puzzling. I had my own busyness with two little ones gearing for PreSchool.
On the day they were leaving Uncle Masi came in and sat a few minutes. “Thing is, I know this city will not stand anymore pressures,” he said with hooded eyes.
Oh my. He loved it too. Yes, here in this sprawling maddening reclaimed city called the Gateway of India, he’d met Aunt in college, here they’d got married, had their life …
He nodded. “Beta (child), run while it’s safe. You got your kids and nice husband to think of. Just imagine a city this vast, in any quake, or war. Or epidemic. Specially an epidemic.“
Years have gone by, our Faults all over India show up now and then.
I hope Uncle M. and family survive and thrive where they ran to.
We moved from Mumbai back home to Bangalore City, South of India when there was a job change;
today, we face a new threat, Coronavirus.
For few years here now, I’ve been running from my cousin-in-law, Letti- she’s like Uncle Masi, a Prophet of Doom:
to never be visited if there’s an epidemic, or news of anything that triggers alarm, even rise in price of the onion.
The last time she & I had a terrible meet it was about Chikun-guniya fevers. Letti was at her worst- best. She had the symptoms she said, it was worse than labour pain. I went home and actually got the virus. It ate my thoughts, ran fire down my spine, then turned my cells to batter.
When Dengue hit our city, I refused to answer Letti’s calls. She left messages about Papaya leaf extracts for cure and said to please not hang around in any garden, even our tiny balcony not till 5 pm, these mosquitoes wore black and white pin stripes in their evil legs and to wash every vegetable with soap. Not eat outside, not go anywhere unless you had to.
Then H1N1 (or something else?) arrived; cousin Letti ganged up with a WhatsApp group and I hadn’t the presence of mind to block myself from grouping.
By now Letti & Co. were a force to deal with: they were making powders to drink first thing in the morning, cleansers, even types of prayers that went in a chain link and God forgive you if you ignored that link to seven others. Letti and her group knew if you’d read them, WhatsApp blue ticks gave you away, “why didn’t you respond? Get the powder! Tell your neighbours.“
This was worse than neighbour Tupperware women who made you buy oversized Salwar Kameez you “couldn’t get anyplace else for their rates.”
After that, Letti ached about drought, non-existent rains, farmers, and the rises of prices. I thought life would have worn her out by now, but Coronovirus begins.
This time, I’m worrying,
but Letti isn’t calling like before.
Is she sick? Scared to ask, I worry that her forwards are too spiritual these days, about the end of our times, and how we must not be afraid. Why waste breath worrying….?
We met two days ago, she not wearing any mask like some other friends are, and no familiar odor of sanitizer: her eyes large with peace, no panic.
What’s with you Letti? but I don’t ask.
She spills it.
There was a dream in which she gave away masks.”These masks are my prayers,” Letti whispers, like a Corona- Whisperer.
“It is all in our attitude.Fear, anxiety, these things break down immunity.”
I search her face for negativity but there’s only the aura of well-being. “Eat well, sleep well, wash your hands, forgive all enemies.There’s more death on streets from people not wearing helmets, than people dying from Corona! So. I’m pouring out prayers to rinse the air around. Do it.“
Her spark has more fire than before.
Back home and just in the door, a new neighbor asks if we know a good doctor; I’m scared to ask why, while he chats on about persistent cold and weakness….
I admire this new – free of worry cousin Letti. And sigh, I miss her fanged zeal for disaster management. This new fearless woman makes me feel alone in my quest for remedies: I was hoping she’d have a solution to newspaper headlines everyday. I miss her WA group prayer ammunition and powders. She has too much peace, it is stilling: we’re supposed to be at least a little apprehensive?
(Um. Want to give to give him Letti’s advice but the words aren’t forming yet):
must meet Letti more often, her spirit is catching…
Our table seems to expand with every new person. I don’t know how they did it back then, we now are more conservative a Society. (Conservative as in : conserving on personal space/ sharing). We buffet, we carry bag/ take home. We have little side-table, collapsible ones too, with flaps down sides. Yes, but not my husband.
When we went shopping for the last table we bought and still have- by nothing but the sheer grace of God and all His angels specially trained to take care of homes like ours, … well he wanted a six seater glass table. It has a lower layer, frosted glass- but still glass.
I remember the day we bought it, at Powai, Mumbai; our third child was just in, a tiny gorgeous visually challenged cherub, but he would grow, and he would want to climb this thing. But Jeff wouldn’t listen. They’d learn, he said. Train them well, they’ll learn, learn how to take care of good things. How to be careful, not be rowdy around it.
I turned to the Salesman for mercy, but he was helplessly taken by my truly beloved’s passion for glass. “Ma’am, you can let your children sit on this table, even lie down, this is no mere glass, this is Italian …”
It stood on four seemingly- tender steel legs that looked feather light, I wasn’t convinced. But Jeff has these large brown amber eyes that seem to melt when he wants something badly and he wanted that table. Two years down we had to shift cities/states, my heart sank. India is no small country, our furniture went on Inter State highways and heaven & hell know how many bumps. Shashi our neighbor had wanted that table, Jeff wouldn’t hear of it.
When we unpacked and re-assembled it, it looked as good as new.
The tales this one can tell:
birthday cake cuttings with the kids’ friends falling at it till it swayed 70 degrees one birthday when there was a weak table-leg;
the times we prayed here, chatted, tried a new recipe, made cards, painted nails, made calls, talked into the night, lit candles, salvaged bouquets over a day old, got new lilies, fixed an old vase, lost spoons and found them later elsewhere, made new friends, got new plates and mats, re furnished our white backed chairs (Jeff wanted those white dining chairs too, fabulous as they look ~ fine steel rod backs in red brown wood frame, they are white, and this is not a small family, we love our paints and colors and crayons and tubes of acrylic….
Jeff re-furnished each chair recently, it all looks elegantly loved.
“They’ll learn,” he said, also persistently insisting on using our best glassware too. “Why not use it all now, we celebrate every time…”
“I’m keeping them for special occasions,” I sulk every Sunday. And every Sunday he takes every plate out, our best ware for the day that’s supposed to be treated sacred.
“What if they chip?”
He turns those eyes on me with, “They haven’t yet, if they do…we’ll have to get new ones.”
After all these years, I’m changing. I’m glad for the way this ‘Italian’ glass and white steel thing makes me feel, its glass lower layer with frosted rain drops, and white chairs. From a barely-anointed Clean-Bee, I’m turning into something unspeakable everyday, slowly, inch by inch, am getting addicted to cleaning accessories and mat decor. Nor worrying about it breaking anymore: unsure why.
Oh ok, it’s a She, and She’s still a beauty, a friend,
a family member that reminds us of the fragility of moments, and how quick and sheer life is, transient, yet resilient.
She reminds me to constantly dress up for one another, always treat each day as a cause for celebration. Funny, I never thought of her that way, till writing this. Never gave her a name, but then she’s each of us: breakable, and yet if treated with care, can still stand.
“Howmany sides does a coin have?” I ask eight blind kids in their Creativity room. 7 of them are quiet. There is shyness, diffidence, anxiety in the room.
One little girl twists her ribbon to knots. Then there’s Varun (name changed), always in trouble for speaking his mind, for being local ‘Complaint box‘ and ‘Motor mouth’. Young Varun has faced both destitution and comfort: he’s been ‘corrected’ for being unruly and is a tamed little lion today. All of which maybe has made him unselfconscious. His mind is an undefensive scramble of questions. Varu may not be the highest scorer in academics but he’s the curious one.
Now he replies with excitement, “Three sides, no?” Heads, Tails, and the Edge. He rolls the coin across the table to me, of course he knows exactly where I’m sitting, his young face filling with light as if he’d just found the key to the universe.
If I were to blindfold myself, or shut my ears for an hour, would I be able to solve a few problems that have baffled me before? Chances are…. who knows? Yes!
I don’t know how, but our son Joh who was born blind, always finds missing things at home. He says he knows when we last used it, and where we kept it. Keys, wallet, glasses, a book, papers… it is uncanny. He remembers details we cannot easily remember. Is his memory sharper? Perhaps he’s just using all he’s got, and the sense of sight he lacks, propels him to search deeper at muddles and mysteries. He knows the time of day, knows if it’s going to rain…his olfactory senses are high toned, auditory nerves on edge, every hammer and anvil fine tuned.
What does it take for us to respond to a new question from an opposite state of mind? If I’m a logical person, I respond from one side of me. But what if, when I’m startled, shaken, pushed out of comfort zone, I now respond from the Creative side, or vice versa;
My own childhood began with being left handed. In the chaos at early school where one of my teachers did not understand me, I began writing in reverse, & speaking in reverse, (spoonerismwould soon turn out to be a fun diversion in classroom and some moments of boredom).
I’m unsure how and when the transition to ‘fun with being an odd one out’ began but my parents were not conventional people. Some of the places we lived at were dangerous stations, there was travel by tiny boat, deep sea/ river crossings…and yet things seemed to turn into a joyful classroom for me. A kind of Jungle Book lens through which to enter what was given.
I met Fagoo Behera the boatman from Khujang, (names unchanged), he sang to ‘baba crocodiles’ in the Mahanadi River, Ma said. (Baba, for baby). Not to underplay how tense some days were, but when you have a Life you must live, and choose to respond not from underlying Fear/ Anxiety, who knows what you will find?
Ma taught craft & music at Stations where Dad worked (Ministry of Lights&Shipping, Govt.of India). We lived in ports from Kanyakumari to Mandvi in Gujarat 200 kms from the India border. There was always a Lighthouse, and the Net was only what a local fishermen used. My first freelance job was with Drama production at Akash Vani, Bangalore, (if you discount our Amateur Theatre, age 5, 6, 7, ..with neighbour kids. We did Shakuntala, desi Cinderella…. on septic tanks and under guava trees, little knowing oneday we’d be drawing from these Treasures).
I’ve volunteered at Schools where our blind son was at, and being with these beautiful people reminds me e-v-e-r-y-d-a-y of how we misunderstand some acts/ facts of everyday living: how I interpret the word “Challenged”, what ‘handicap’ implies. Or the word, ‘Special’. Our second daughter once remarked with loud sigh, ” …maybe if I’d had some sort of disability I’d be called Special!” It was a rude awakening for us; and I’m thinking now, perhaps the worst disability is a bored person/ with lack of confidence, or someone who has no foundational strength.
We are really only using 2% or less of our faculties.
We as a Race are now probably farthest from our creative selves than we’ve ever been. Illness both physical and otherwise, could be changing us into a species of indifferent mammals, or ones controlled by Fear.
A few years ago, Dr.Joseph, a good friend of ours here in Bangalore, invited me to a Conference for Personality Developers. ‘Be yourself’ he said.
Was I nervous? Sure, but not just nervous. I’d grown to be a full time mom by now, and hermit artist with little worry about boardroom protocol. (At home we were getting used to the world of the ‘Disadvantaged‘, with firm jaws and steel too!…)
by 3 pm that day, it was clear my notes weren’t going to work: it had been a morning full of discussion on reasons for Communication breakdown. I would need to change the dialogue here to get through to Tea break without everyone yawning at me.
I look back with a happy shudder:
me in sedate blue sari, waving my kitchen wooden potato masher in version of how early man oh, and woman !- may have communicated before they made polite words.
The room burst with noise and laughter as some immediately traded ‘fight‘ stories;
Soon it was time to ask, “How many sides does a coin have?”
One replied,”Heads, tails, and shadow..”
“Impression on palm, if count is held tightly.”
“Education and growing up show negatives and positives: the 3rd side is what I have learned from both.”
We asked a blindfolded volunteer to feel & describe a coin as if he’d never touched one before, and he said, “Flip side, flop side oh… and edge!” Just like Varun the Blind kid had put it.
One lady who had been very quiet, now smiled and said she’d not wanted to participate, (what difference would it have made to her regular life?), & how the potato masher here had seemed silly, but that it was funny and reminded her of somethings she’d forgotten…also, how we best change from regular to a little more ‘unusual‘, please?
A theater person in the room said he’d been thinking on similar lines…but did not know how to break ice in a room he wasn’t used to; and how writing Plays made him appreciate the Unexpected.
Today we live in a modest apartment overlooking army acres of forest: there’s no sparrow, but yesterday we had two peahen, and one visiting Bulbul…..
all from the balcony where Joh and I took baby steps at Homeschooling via NIOS, after his 7th std at Jyothi Seva for the Blind.
I remember hating Braille, crying my heart out, knowing there’s 4.8 million more blind people in India alone, and how little we are geared for Challenges. There would be new ones to face in the next few years, but each only serves to stretchhhhhhh my rigid bones. Life, and you and I, are changing as we speak,
it all shifts faster than we have time to buy another outfit in newer coutre! One thing remains – the Human need for fulfillment, via connectivity with other humans or self.
I grew up with tribals for friends, sometimes a deer, or a lizard that left its tail in my book! There were no Malls, or Google; Life had surprises everyday in its lulls and rogue waves,
Look at this :
Our mind can perform 10 Quadrillion operations/ sec without our even knowing it.
Imagine the power of a human alone or with another. What a big bazaar of Spheres we must all be: impacting each other in ways we might never know yet, with or without words.
Our son Joh, had a semi- paralyzed friend who could not speak, but when we entered his room, his whole body language changed. Joh could not see him, but they had their own unique exchange that was fascinating to watch: a world of touch, the vibrations of laughter… sighs, the rhythm of one’s pulse displaying emotion…
Definition of Edge:
Line or area farthest away from the middle.
Intersection of two surfaces.
Point at which something is likely to begin.
Margin of superiority, advantage.
Our single most important skill that makes for ‘Unique‘.
So, WHAT’S MY EDGE?
In my teens, someone told me I smiled too much. By age 23, a BBC retired Staffer who mentored me at Broadcast (Feba Radio), John Fear, he also produced “What they believe” –
he said, “Rayla, “he said, “Can you smile now and then? ”
JF’s shock of white hair and piercing blue eyes were daunting, but he was kind. “….though, a little anxiety in the right places, might keep you from harm y’know…..”
He urged me to observe human struggles, victories, tragedies; people in footpaths, and high places…. or in the isolation of misunderstood behaviour.
Decades later I realised I’d developed an almost dangerous fascination for Humans: it made me look at footpaths and invisible people in ways that never left, it began to change our home, it made us gaze at the beauty of all God’s Creation, at Life however mundane or high octane.
After we moved back from Mumbai to Bangalore, our visually challenged son, then 6 years old, would hardly speak, now he was further disoriented with temporary rental house and boxes. One morning right in the middle of a water crisis, as we were filling from one existing tap with borewell supply, the connecting pipe fell away from tap as water filled every place it could get. Our son was stunned, then delighted with all the happy chaos. It was just him and I at that moment, but he took charge, his deft little hands working the pipe back to tap faster than I could. His laughter filled my ears for a long time with the feeling this moment would be remembered forever.
As I write this, there’s an urge to return to subjects I used to hate, retrace some ways of thinking, unlock secrets best known to kids. Or better still, go out to play with them like we did in the age of the unselfconscious, curious innocence.
Who knows what one might find in a guava tree, or how the world looks from a wall, a roof top, a swing? Yes, yes we’d probably need help climbing trees and walls, roof: let’s just say who knows what we will find if we would just stretchhhhhh a little?
If you zoom in, you’ll see those Lotus low left in tiny pond at Cubbon Park here in Bangalore city. India. Warm warm day, 28 degrees already!– lunch and ice cream in the shade. Too much fun to take pictures, but we got a few.
March always feels like sunshine warming herself up from cold waves and February mist/rain.
March’s flower- Daffodils, (in India its called Nargis), oh what beauties these are too, ‘Heralds of Spring’! As we get a new sunset, my heart fills with new colors. It’s like we must determine our flavour. What tones would you choose, what Flower/ (flavour) would you be?
Not a question I’ve thought of before,
but today…..a young person at our Haven fellowship; all he could talk about was the Love of God, and how on earth did God love like that? He asked.
The more I listened to him, the more it struck me how different he was from the rest of us with issues at finance, or health! This guy, (I’ll call him Len) got eyes like liquid stars when he talked of the Love of God that drew him in. He spoke a few soft sentences and it went round and round that one thing: the Love of God.
After we went each into our lives, post service, there’s that gentle fragrance, of the touch of God. Like Light and Rain that falls on the good, the bad, the ugly. Nothing changes the way It falls in at us.
As this new month arrives, I’m feeling all blessed- up grateful for the flavors life brings in. Unsure of my own flavour, but I’d love to sample more of the Aroma of Christ:
how He is Manna and Dew in our days, how His Love has no limits, limitations. How It overwhelms all other love, need, want, showing me a pathway of peace and one that does not misunderstand my place in it all.
As I wrap this, a lone bright star twinkles through branches of trees outside. Another month approaches, I love the way a new month feels, especially this one. Fragrances of Lent, of a Father Heart with room for us all.
It is almost too good to believe, the whole story of ‘Easter‘, the Cross, Gethesemane, the Passion of Christ for us each. We tend to lean on our own needs and their fulfillment, more than what is,
or perhaps tend to misunderstand why this or that happened in our lives. Why there is war, or crime, illness, loneliness, why something is the way it shouldn’t be.
And then there are people like Len, all still in wonder at the Love of God.
I’m basking in those four words, THE LOVE OF GOD. Maybe it’s fragrance is best expressed in Joy? And I’m lending myself this, for the next 30 days. Maybe that’s the truth of Lent. That we take for free, not just as a Lending, the absolute Joy that comes from knowing how deeply we are loved by the One that made us, each, so intricately complex, every cell and thought process. How magnificent the aspect of each human, far more than lilies of the field, or all the blossoms in every tree, ever. I find myself staring at humans. Irises. Brows. Fingers. Smiles.
Laughter. The fantasticity of Births. Deliveries. Pain. Relief. Grace. Healing.
The way my friend Maya looks when she’s happy. Uncle J’s stillness. Light in the Gulmohar tree, and Dina’s voice when she prays. The hush of waiting…..
it’s all too much beauty stacked in one life, and I’m bursting grateful for the opportunity to see it all. Not just the shiny bits but the grey of dawn as I wrap this.
Gratitude: it’s the flavour I want to be, for it delivers one to Joy.
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His eyes were closed- ofcourse, what’d I expect, Joh was born blind, though Doc Parin (name changed) was looking at him, as if with a search light right to the brain. Then he scrutinised us carefully in that quiet room with nice vase and air conditioning. Warm August, palm tree in his window, fine scent of pine floor wash.
Our son Johann was at his worst: post seizure drug side-effects weren’t pretty. I’ve written about this, but not in detail. Details that will forever remind me of that Other Presence in the room besides the girls, my husband, son Joh, doc and me.
“So, Johann. You’re a …musician I see. Play the violin?” His voice was flat smooth butter on crisp toast.
Neuro had referred us here to Psychiatry, really?!
What a rollercoaster of a year it’d been: series of Docs at Neuro centre, trial medications;
over this past year our gentle sweet tempered 18 year old had turned into a harsh, aggressive stranger. There were scratches and bites, rage and chaos.
“What’s your favourite musical piece then?” Doc was friendly, but I cringed. What was expected here...Bach?
We’d been out since 6 am to beat rush hour traffic to St.J’s. Joh hated hospitals, we told him we were going to a new Restaurant. (The Cafe there did have some nice rolls though😃). Now knowing we were here had infuriated him further, not to mention all that medication he was on.
Joh sank his forehead on the table.
I felt a dark thick wave hover over my temples, as weariness began to overwhelm me-
weary sick of medications that hurt our kid, of people who tried to assess our personalities as a family, of being judged and stared at. Joh was our golden boy, the girls couldn’t function without him. He had a way with words and humor; knew how to keep guests entertained, sang like an angel, played at least 3 instruments. After the seizures suddenly began last year, his voice had begun to give, along with tremors and sweats. Repetitive words, noises, sudden fury, dearest Lord… help?
Doc P. was gazing at some spot over our heads, his face a melting pot of pity and professional sorrow;
that big black wave of depression over head now began to crackle crash, I felt the earth below me shift and heave. Joh had been featured in gigs- with a band, solo, he was a force to reckon with. Was pitch perfect, could call out names of chords, tuned instruments, jammed with some of the city’s best… now a mass of nerves, he yawned hard and flung at a stack of files. Doc sighed….
my husband Jeff put an arm around Joh, the girls made the soft sounds they make when they are cheerleading him. I tried to think of something but all I could do was cry tearless inside, diving into a depth away from the black negativity, I couldn’t breathe ….
Joh straightens and says in clear tones, “Reckless Love. That’s my favourite one.”
“What violin piece is that? Never heard of it.”
“It’s my favourite…”
“You play it on the violin…?!”
Before I could exhale, the Lyrics lifted me over and above the thing trying to destroy peace…
“Before I spoke a word, You were singing over me You have been so, so good to me Before I took a breath, You breathed Your life in me You have been so, so kind to me, Oh, the 1, never-ending, reckless love of God Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine I couldn’t earn it, and I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God, yeah…” (Kory Asbury)
I could write on and on.
Joh is 90% better. Doc’s been steadily knocking off 3… no 4 drugs that weren’t supposed to be given to him, while now introducing a new one. Theres deadly withdrawal too we deal with. It’s a tough 24 hrs/ day, often every minute we take a new risk. Triggers must be watched. Tempers, language flies, we all host series of bruises in various tones of healing.
Tonight at prayers, Joh sang Reckless Love again, and before I say another word, I must say how this has changed me, to know He breathes over us, over and over, realtime recklessly, in love pursuing us, till we overwhelm the thing that tries overwhelm us.
Life’s getting steadily more beautiful. We thoroughly relish silent pauses, hands are held, faces hugged. Sweet Jesu what a wonder You are, how precious this life is, in its healing stages too. What heights and depths here we’d never have sampled if not for these days. Before we forget, I need to put it all down: the fabulous reckless love of God that holds us all close, no matter how unchartered the course. More than physical, it’s the spirit of man that yearns the presence of God.
I’ve exceeded my 5 mins Kate Motaung of FMF writers, but am grateful to you all for Prompts that wring out these precious details, for the widening circle of friends who make life a blessed experience to share. God bless you all, and precious ones who take the time here to read/ comment. Stay blest.