Month: Nov 2020

Thanksgiving at Thel’s

We hadn’t met since her shoulder hurt and she returned from Doc with a reminder to walk 45 mins a day, and no fries, okay. By now I’m missing my sis, but who could have prepared me for her smile as we walked in to her cool house an hours drive away? The whole place felt like her Sam had just been in the room and had gone out for a moment. And she looked like that way too, not half a person like she was the day he left, but fuller now in the way grief brings back a beloved.

Her eyes were warm with love and longing, we did not speak at once about him, it wasn’t easy with his chair and footstool, cushion and slippers – just so. Even the lights were low, how he liked it them. Dusk deepened but she wouldn’t turn them brighter, sitting in his chair with Australian TV on for news of when borders would open to International travel so she could be with her sons and new grand daughter.

We are talking and holding hands. She feels like Ma, warm cool skin. Ma had that. Long nails in slender fingers. Hands that had held Sam till he gave in to the thing that took him, held him those last ten minutes with the doctors standing quiet behind her, nor knowing what to say.

After her lunch of chicken curried in drumstick and gourd fried in tiny semicircles, sprouts and curd, oh soft hot rice and more dishes…. I can’t remember now, the heart turns to mush thinking of what she must have felt serving a spread like that and him not there, not having his meat roast, his chuckle in the centre of the room, and what hits me in the region of the cardia is that Thel will grieve till she heals and she will heal differently. I want to just snuggle with her and chat and not do anything in particular but we’ve all grown up so much these days, life had long routes and we took every turn. We learned to love from distances and lean close too and not stay; we learned to write short notes and socially distance, we learned manners and protocol, we learned to be afraid and trust the things we left unsaid,to stay that way. We visited and played little games like hide and seek, we died and rose again every now and then, in the way children play games pretending we are all grown up, when in fact deep within, little is exchanged. The world still tips on an axis, it still has its 2 hemispheres with Eskimos and tropical forests. Yes they are depleted, yes there are stalkers and pirates, there are viruses and rogue kings, and there are the children we are when we are sad or alone and the shadows of tomorrow lean in our doorways, we understand what they’ve been trying to teach us all along in Bibles and basic math: that no matter what, infinity will multiply. We are not thinking all that inside our heads as we leave my sisters long cool hall and gentle plants she grows in little pots among slender candle stand and memoirs of love glowing in the soft light as night deepens. It is winter already, an Indian winter chilly nippy in the tip of nose; a nice kind of chilly like crisp cool apples sliced to taste. Her face glows with words, she always did words well. I have them stuck in my throat, I’m not crying yet. Bravery hurts like hell: hers. Her books and paintings wait like forgotten friends, bowls, shirts, sheets, photographs and her way of keeping them all at bay; she gives me pieces of her self, a jar she painted, Tees for the kids, a shower curtain in snazzy black and white, an embroidered table runner, a plant, no two… they are no longer objects, they are Letters of yesterday and tomorrow bridged with today….. Whatever that means I will understand later. We forget to take pictures together. “Idiots,” Sam would’ve said with his characteristic grin, I miss him to pieces and she sees it, holds us close as if willing her mortal gut into me, knowing it cannot fill gaps, knowing that gaps are gaps. They are entities, angels of a kind that anesthetize human reactivity. Pain: she wears it like a bride wears jewels, they glow and settle in the skin in her… I don’t know how best to say it but its the way she looked standing there suddenly not alone, suddenly not just one person. He was there in her, his absence a Presence, beautiful in its overwhelming way….

Unsure if I’m saying it clear. If you’ve been there you’ll know.

Sam & Thel

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This Thanksgiving I’m reminded to thank God for Gifts with no name: mingling pain with gratitude for Love. This Thanksgiving may we experience that kind of Spirit that harvests off acres of walking with Grace. And Courage, and the Invisible. Where does Love go, It cannot disappear; It is too wide and deep, too strong, too high above human understanding to be annulled just because we think we die the way we do. Nah sir, nah. It goes on and on and on. Like Titanic’s Jack, you can’t fake this thing, you can’t negate it. Yell all we want against Divine existence, I felt Sam in the doorway asking us to give his love to the kids, it was there in her eyes, at Noe and me with words in our throats. Noe said a prayer as we left; we discuss the new baby and whom she looks like, the swwwweet thing, her Australian mommy and Indian dad, oh the stash within that babe! We share grins, and relief: the preciousness of the cycle of Life; we leave. The road home is quick and easy and thick, if there’s a moon I don’t know it. The air is velvet with night; gratitude clutches my jaws with a sensation I don’t know how to say: pain is under rated, love misunderstood. Life is more than things we make in wedding halls and maternity wards, it begins in new ways all over again in Altars in unlikely places. We take the strands we survive, we start again; we don’t feel all this much to just stop.

A beggar woman pushes her grown daughter in a falling apart wheelchair. A motorist skids, the older woman yells at him, her lips rich with unsaid words. I’m marvelling at the way Love looks: at how all this feels in me, unshed, wordless. There must be reasons we experience the gallons of things we feel. Love is underated, misunderstood. We are scared to love, we are afraid to hug and hold;

but those who Love in the midst of pain, they are the blessed who see God in the Eye of the Storm, these ones who truly know they are loved, by God- This, nothing can take from us, not height nor depth nor nothing.

This time around as the year draws to another Advent and new beginning, I’m grateful for these Gifts with no name, so close to the heart of God.

Thel’s hand painted jar

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After every ritual of war or peace, there is,still that hunger…

This Post prompted by FMF Writers:

..the need to feel unafraid again. We’ve cast our vote against the thing that causes insecurity….

after all of that, if we have not got our own person in sync with peace, we will still be afraid, we will need hope and the energy that rises from freedom from temporary sunshine.

PiCredit Joe Ciciarelli

Some of us do pilgrimages, we do rituals, we dance our prophecies of pain away,

and some of us do the humble thing of kneeling to pray: not that we can be perfect for doing it, but oh the relief of seeing how tiny we are in a universe of divine intelligence. Here nothing shakes our Unshakeable Kingdom within; for what can separate us from infinite existence that does not depend on economy, on professional stamina, on legal majority, or socially acquired sweetness. Here, in the gaze of a Christ who defies all else, here I rest, arrested by a certain non – need of material anchors that can spiral me down!

These are my thoughts this nice November morning; what happens when you pray, you ask? For me it centers my core, it shakes away all that hinders freedom. So I did not get this and that, we lost some feet, but when you wait in prayer you and I , we rise on eagles wings, renewed strength to run and not be weary, walk and not faint.

There will always be human need for strength & security. And there will always be this human leaning towards God, much as we might deny its leaning.

Looking ahead to days of nestling in that Unshakeable Kingdom within!

That summer I spent 40 days in the Red sea …

& other Places flowing thick off a beige covered Best seller that wouldn’t let me go. From Eden to hell, from Cain’s mess to Parables snuck like jewels in the dark, this Book held me by my irises.

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PicCredit Unsplash

I was 13, I’d read every book there was to read in our school library. I’d re-read some old Readers Digest in the musty bookshelves where Dad worked by the sea; now he grinned as I sat hunched over these Beauties. This Bible was all mine, but:

no one had warned me of its power to grab.

Read it,” they advised like It were necessary medication for a virus. Yes, they warned, you read it, you sleep well at night. No ghosts and spooks would bother with a Bible Reader. They never really told me of its teeny mustard armies that smashed mountains, Its valleys flooded neck high with Psalms; It’s Blood flowing crimson in my insides, not just for healing and goodies but for Its absolute value as irreplaceable Present Resurrective serial Power …..

PicCredit Unsplash

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The Bible dared me to rise above asking It for quick answers to maths problems at school; It looked away when I had to have a toenail removed, as if Pain were a Date I’d understand, oh need to understand for future reference.

I’m just a child,” I said to my Bible’s somber covers, and now and then I caught It sigh a sigh of relief, like It were asking me to stay that way. That it would hurt if I grew too much into borrowed intelligence. I did my best, but shoe sizes changed. Life was like that, everyone said.

I agreed, but reality was a trick. Is.

PicCredit Unsplash

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Reality is wearing some else’s shoes because we often follow others’ short cuts. Reality is a lil pumpkin that cuts out its insides making believe it is not what it is.

The Bible went through many translations in my many shelves but It stalked my desert with me; It ran me into an Oasis here and there, till I went like a Deer panting away from dead seas to Living Waters;

It hurt that I hurt. It was there …. A Still small voice refusing to give in to my worry that It was just another nice Bestseller….aye sold out to every language in earth.

PicCredit Unsplash

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The Bible was News. Every morning It was my Dove with tender new Olive leaf, every noon and night and dawn It became my Warrior, fighting for me, against my own mind.

It is more than Page and Info. More than medicine and prophecy of good. It is Breathing Messages from my raw naked God plunging past my external rib into an interior I saw…

because the time had come to look and see and know that I was more than flesh and blood, I had a thing in me that beat to the rhythm of a Life beyond our everyday pursuit of peace and joy.

It rinsed my insides out and tripped me on a Rollercoaster with demons and archangels till I knew that I knew what we know deep within our absolute unlying awareness: the fact that Lies are often the best pointers to the Truth!

Life had better be more than just survival and healings & successes of all our job interviews and processes, and aches. These very aches were my servants, they served well. If I were healed of every ill and lived in a lotus pond with zero needs… would I have bothered about anything besides instantly being made comfortable again? Here my little knots are a mosaic of an Intelligence too much for me to even pretend to know.

The Bible is my irreplaceable Guide, the Fingerprint that writes me into Its tale of love and hate and peace and war but how the greatest of these is Love …. not so I can get better shoes but that I could feel it in my bones to love even a little like Christ would when He sees another with a wounded spirit.

Often healing is not even an option, love an extravagance. Often the best we can do is forgive the unforgivable/ bless when cursed or choose to react with compassion/ acceptance…

nothing in the world teaches me that like the Cross in the Bible. Nothing else teaches me to reach down and wash another’s feet, oh receive a slap with compassion.

To this day, this Mega Page Turner, leaves me asking for more…

here I defeat bears and lions and goliath, here Daniels den is a landmark of praise; oh here a tomb is empty, its mine….here I too rise and walk thru walls of disbelief.

There are days I do not visit It: and those are the times I am deaf and dumb and blind.

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Why the Bible is the Best Selling and most persecuted Book in the history of human existence.