we are at a holiday farm few miles out of Bangalore. He is not at his best on trips: shoes are out of place for him, his fav sheet, his mug, and plate…uh uh. Change is necessary for Joh. It helps him adapt to the new. It gets him to make friends with difficulty; you can’t ask the nearby restaurant for mint chutney if they don’t have it. I mean, you can’t insist. At home, we kind of succumb. I melt 300% of the time.
“You, mom, can be ur son’s worst enemy!” A trainer once said to me. I was jumping off the edge of the earth with worry about our blind toddler back then. Our fabulous toddler. What did the man know about us? Great. Later when post seizure aggression hit us, and that too from the best highschooler on earth, we gagged.
This morning at breakfast Joh has this convo with friendly waiter, all the time addressing him a cordial, “Could I have some coffee please Sir?” (no they didnt have mint)
The man is middle aged with alcohol eyes. He can’t take his eyes off us: he wants to ask questions, he wants to stare but he’s too well mannered. We did a good tip, but even a double of that couldn’t have filled his need, whatever it was. The dear man’s red eyes follow us to the busy street outside. “Please don’t go drink,” I want to say, but Joh gives him, “Thank you. Bye Sir.”
J. has said at least 15 sirs by now.
Yeap. “From the mouth of babes…”
Back at the farm, everything feels good. Change will happen, this&that will happen. We shed skins and wings and pull out our talons, for new. Like the eagle, eh, yes. It’s that time.
Inspired by a real life 5 year old I met one monsoon at a school for slum kids,
you’d never forget ‘Raju’ the school called him. His folks called him ‘chokra’ for street boy. There was no hatred at his home, only the face of poverty, the numbing face of sleepless days and nights. His parents were construction workers.
When Raju first arrived in a pair of oversized torn shorts, shirtless and with eyes like tiny thunder, he wouldn’t speak. I was story telling art teacher; we did some fun things, enacting Jesu in the boat. Raju loved being the storm.
By the third day we knew he loved drawing – with one crayon, the black one. He drew thick circles in black, then some more. Pages of black circles.
I was recovering from 3 years of a fever no one could diagnose, it could’ve been anything, but I was there every morning as a part of my own ‘get well’ project;
It was, is an unforgettable thing – to experience that sinking feeling of instability, physical failing, & be in a ‘Gully’ that thick with hope.
Lil Raju and I became speechless friends as we learned the power of blue against black, or orange with grey, yellow with maroon. He called me “didi”, big sis.
Every morning he was there, waiting for Art class, and drama, in the street opposite the tea shop.
On the last day I ever saw him he clutched my hand and said, “Didi mujhe ghar leke jao” (didi, take me home)
I loved him with all my heart, and I couldn’t take him home with me. There were at least 50 others like him but ofcourse Raju was the one no one liked. He was full of lice, his fingers were quick, he knew how to steal, he understood the street, he was scary to most. To me he was that little baby boy I couldn’t take home. But forever and ever he lives in my heart.
“The boy with no name” is a fantasy offering that has little pieces of my own life woven in its prayers for joy, for all our streets, infested with poverties of more horrific proportions than we could’ve guessed. Do watch if you have the moment: return to childhood, listen again to that Still Small Voice that ceaselessly whispers to the heart of a child within us, or around. If there’s a kid (or kiddy- like human:) in your home, or neighbourhood, do share. This is the second episode. (Part I, U tube, also below).
At the Pet Sanctuary we met Hedgehog with soulful eyes (tattoos belong to Guide).
Evil itself reflects what it opposes. Violence turns our eye on Peace, Hate drives hard a case on Love, Disbelief singularily champions a running away from Belief 👉🏼in the very Thing all Creation points to.
When we go out into a universe full of Footprints of the Unknown,
It stares us in the face –this Oneness written into all Living Features:
patterns of Interaction, of Bonding or not, of Phonetic / other Exchanges between the bars of Cages and Pens
things we are not prepared for, things that happen when a rabbit and turkey, gosling or rescued pony meet your whisper, with a sound that can only be described as the Language of Creation~
in syllables that connect us all in one shared Room called Planet Earth;
each of us with unique fingerprints and more ‘unique’ we haven’t even begun to know,
every eye and tongue of us flora, fauna and homo sapien: inimitable, no matter the sophistication of stem cell theories and other.
The older I get the more gawk-eyed I am, about how little we care about where we’re headed after we leave all this-
that world beyond what human iris can now see,
“I lay hold of that for which Christ laid hold of me...” Philippians 3:12.
I just saw this piece by Malala. If you haven’t heard about her, read on.
The chaos being experienced right now is not a distant event: it is the scream of humans that will follow us in ways we can’t know yet. What can we do? I’m praying. There’s people praying that those who can make a difference will do so.
My creative tribute to Dad, his Raleigh, & all the wonderful ‘challenged’ people in the world. You are my heart! May you find peace and love and joy in the truest sense of the word: and laughter! Thankyou Treadbikley!❤ (must add I’m still terrified of crossing streets. Doesnt help that I live in the world’s most tough lanes 😅)
I try not to stare at Jeeva and his BSA on the railway tracks at Maki Station, as the two freefall over the gravel slope in front of our gate.
Jeeva has eyes in his feet, I know, but I cannot watch this. He grins in my direction, the last rays of another sun settle across his eye bones, and for a moment, there he is, a lighthouse, the light spilling off him.
‘B,’ his BSA bicycle, lounges against the white wall, glistening bright red. I helped him paint it six weeks ago. My friendly neighbor ‘lighthouse’ scans the wheels, spoke, and chain with two sets of rags: one that’s wet and another for dust. He knows I’m here; I can tell he’s self-conscious because his left jaw muscle moves nervously.
We met exactly a year ago when he moved in. What a noise that was, with six metal trunks labeled in Braille and not enough parking space for his ‘B!’ It took a while for us all to recognize that instead of a guide dog guide or a long cane, our new neighbor walked along with his blood-red-cautionary bicycle mate. Genius.
A few weeks ago, he touched my face. When a blind person feels your face, it isn’t necessarily a romantic gesture. They want to know how you smile, and whether they can trust you the same way they trust their B’s bell at traffic lights and crossings.
I took it personally. I’m mid-thirtyish, a graduate from India’s best arts college in Bangalore city. Jeeva is 40, maybe 45? I’m unsure. He’s of my Pa’s generation, though.
Speaking of which, Pa owned a three-speed Phillip’s gearbox fitted into a Raleigh, which he rode like a teenager at 70. “Keeps me young,” he said, that rush of the wind in his ears. He was a cross between a true-blooded South Indian and a male Mary Poppins.
Pa brought home kittens in that carrier basket, kicking live lobsters, and even a drake and ducklings that had lost their partner and mother in a storm. Once, we rode with Pa down Jasmine hill to the steep turn where we fell into sheep. Another time, we fell in horse dung, sliding us neatly past Mr. McFarlane’s villa, Pa’s Raleigh cycle following in tandem.
Ach! The look in McFarlane’s face as he watched over his wall, mouth hung in the despair of delight. That Christmas, they invited us over, and Mrs. M.’s eyes twinkled with contained secrets. It was their last month before they went back to Perth, and the last thing he said to us was, “Oi, you girls, and Dad do a neat spin now and then, don’t ya? What were you doin’ all four of you in the seat of your pants down Jasmine hill, eh?!”
Mai, my mother, pretended like she never heard a word.
“How’s it going?” Jeeva asked.
“How’s what going?” I didn’t know what to say. Would he know I have shoulder-length hair, my 5’ 4″ frame was curled like a cane divan? Or, that my prosthetics still hurt? That I’ve been in ‘lockdown’ 24 hours a day since a car accident took my feet, and my parents? That my sisters are a teacher and a doctor, and I’m an artist with oils? That last detail, he knows, since we are colleagues at APH.
The evening Pa taught me to ride, I thought he was holding onto the rear of my bicycle, but he’d let go as I rode along the trail running parallel to the sea. I took a steep curve back down. I thought he was yelling behind me, but his voice was carried along with the sea winds, and my heart went like horses. “Keep going, Ray,” he yelled. His voice returns now, and again when I forget, I cannot fly.
When Jeeva speaks, he has no accent; no rolling of R’s, flattening of the alphabet’s W. “We could be good together…”
“I don’t know that.”
“We do not know much. Y’know about everything? About an Earth spinning with zero support from any of us, just gravity, the same thing that holds us down too?”
“You must be pretty. I can tell by the way you are not easy to please.” He’s laughing. If you call a snub-nosed elf pretty, then yes.
Jeeva finds my cane stool and straddles it. “Do you not want to get out? We could do shorter trips first.”
It’s hard not to smile.
“We both need our groceries and vitamin D. Then, when we can, let’s work out. This is important.”
He’s good at balancing manners with caution. That, and maybe he just wants company.
“I’ll walk my bicycle. You could join us with your chair?”
He means my wheelchair.
What a great-looking couple, going to get our greens and potatoes.
“You just want company,” I said.
“Yes, but not just any.” His grin is relieved; it lightens the air.
I worked as an Art Teacher at the Association for the Physically Handicapped, which was only a minute away. Jeeva taught music, now entirely online. It must’ve been dizzyingly difficult, but he was good.
Me? I sweat the details. How did he live with those whacked irises, all chained to reality and hope, light and darkness?
Twilight steeped with the monsoon.
Jeeva stood up, looking taller than his 5’10-ish frame.
I wanted to say to him, “Maybe this isn’t all about groceries.” And, that I saw how light spilled off him like a lighthouse this evening.
The last time I was up in the lighthouse with Pa, the coastal arc simmered blue. A low, orange door opened onto the outer lip of the black and white-striped tower. Here, winds plucked at my ears, arms, and legs. I tasted salt as I held onto the railing; it was scary, dangerous, “a lesson life taught you,” Pa said. “You need to hold onto all you can. Never stop that, never.”
Jeeva stays a bit longer. He wants to talk.
“I was born blind,” he says. “I grew up in a home for homeless boys like me. They taught us to test winds, listen for the sounds of people breathing and smiling. The air has these signals in temperature, like emotions. Like a ground that dips, swells.”
“If you focus too much on what you cannot do, you will fall,” he continued. “It is the worst temptation to focus on how you can fall.”
He turns his face toward me for one long moment, like he can see. Then, he begins to leave, saying he’s tired and must wake up early. “Tomorrow, we are going to do this. One little stretch at a time. I will not take the Maki railway route. Instead, we will go down by the park,” he said.
I stalled. This wasn’t going to be easy.
“Hey, Hey! No negative spins, Ray. You take a break whenever. When—ever.”
Fine. That sounded fine. How my ‘feet’ would take it, I did not know, but I wanted this. It was also the first time he’d said my name.
I arrived back at my house, with its wide doors for a wheelchair, its shelves within arm’s reach. Safe, easy. There’s a rush in my ears, the noise of negation.
It will be nice with Jeeva. Maybe, one day we can take the kids from APH and go someplace, maybe a safe slope to start.
‘Keep going, Ray…’ a voice calls past the spin in my heart.
“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?
This post inspired by Writing/Believing Sight Unseen‘s post about streets, so I said I’d have a go at my own streets around. He said he would look out for it so here goes 😅
I’m still not a Google map person, when people come home here in Bangalore, I tell them we’re the lane opposite the huge Banian tree complete with tap roots and birds yelling in it…. uh
past Bamboo shop man’s enclosure for new buildings coming up.
If they’re on a lane further down I must guide them left of CMR law college but which left, depending on which side they’re facing. If they’re facing my tree, then I’m on their left.
Owwwwgh! Which tree they ask, theres more than one tree here. I realise I don’t know location address. Postal address says Reddy layout. Google says I’m at Chingalingakua…..
but this is a post about streets around me,
I’ll try again. If I go out (forget people coming home for now)
if I turn left of my Banian tree, towards the Flyover, there’s the little uphill lane past Chemist and Bake,
past the Aquarium blue roof place(can’t remember name)
alongside two storeyed apartment where recently a biker still in red helmet, well he ran up those stairs to first floor but forgot his keys still in bike. He looks down, sees me, and with friendly grin, asks if I can get keys off his bike and throw it up at him….. that lane.
Go up that lane 2 minutes and seven or more trees to your left, (with cheeky monkey in them),
you get to the Ayyapa temple Cross, rich with people arriving and leaving off blue and white bus, red bus, auto rickshaw and car and bike. There’s a food stall, a toy shop and a garment store across, not to mention cheerful vegetable vendors in carts, they sell some of the best grapes I’ve ever had, wine coloured ones, they’ll stain your shirt if you’re not careful, that street junction
which breaks into a two way Flyover where I happened to get stranded, waiting for an auto rickshaw with my then 8 year old blind hyperactive son….that Flyover
leads to a larger location called JBnagar, aha we finally have a name!
His name was Dhru*; he loved the ‘roaring’ bit. Dhru must be at least ten years old today, when we did “Everybody is differently beautiful”, he must’ve been 7? To think he couldn’t see his costume, had no clue what a lion’s mane was like, or even heard it roar, what a sport Dhru was. All these unknown things and he had to act as well as mime singing! But they were all game, as game can get.
I learned how to appreciate life, how to dance even if we missed a step, how to laugh out loud against all odds- from these kids who were my son’s schoolmates. The School asked if I could help out with Spoken English: oh I hinted broadly at Drama and Poetry. They didn’t get the Poetry bit, but one little girl did. She loved every poem in her braille typed book, especially the one that went, “…and Saturday’s child has to work hard for her living…”
It still breaks my heart to recall how they were taught to cross the street by themselves. Some of the older ones were actually going on crowded buses and getting off alone, cheerfully unafraid.
“They must learn….how else will they face life?” Their Daily Living Skills teacher asked me.
Sometimes I wish our own Joh weren’t as independent as he is. I wish he were less self reliant, I wish our kids didn’t need to grow up in a world that knows how to take advantage of the ‘disadvantaged’. I wish our roads were safer. But then am proud of every young /older challenged person or otherwise who can “work hard” at whatever Life gives them.
Thankyou young Dhru for reminding me today of people like you who still teach me to be brave and beautiful, no matter what.
We took them out one by one. Joseph has lost his little clay head and there’s no time to fix him back so I cover his torso with a tiny cane head piece. Can you spot Joseph?
Our son Johann is blind and yes he put out each figure like last Christmas, but this time, post seizures/ meds, he cannot concentrate. His hands shake and I do not insist that Joseph goes next to Mary, so it’s all askew. Does it matter, I wonder.
Would the real Joseph have been quietly seated next to new mom Mary? Wouldn’t he have lost his head, even just a wee bit,with this surreal pregnancy of his betrothed, a ferocious Herod, … the details of that divine birth blow my mind each time. My spirit fills with gratitude that over the years, Christ has not stayed in clay, but has gazed into my life with very real presence.
The reality of Christmas is fantastic. A Divine Babe that grew to face a Cross, a resurrection garden, He would walk through walls to get through my heart of stone.
May the heart of you be warmed warmed warmed this season, with Love Divine from the Manger to the moon and back.💓
My Jeff (Noel – no one else would put up with my messy paint tubes and books in corners and centre stage of my life), when he listens to music it’s like he’s breathing it in via ear phones. I’ve not seen someone savour music the way he does; it’s his profession (Sound) yet him soaking it in with palms clasped over headphones makes me realize the gift of music is to be unwrapped, opened to senses and inhaled into spirit… the Balm of Gilead!
(they’re at a carol a day: drummer boy, 3 kings, God resting merry gentle…)
where they get their joy is something to watch; it’s been a month of us battling med induced aggression with our son, I’ve written my nails blue on this one but that’s not the story here. Gratitude spills out my ears that mid all this there can be music? Maybe because its December, maybe it’s that time God’s letting in a new season. This time around I wasn’t able to think on a carol, then the kids do what they do in season and out. Music’s been a norm, a hard habit to break. It’s now a best friend. A gift from God, unwrapped over and over. Jeff gets his headphones out, his brown eyes swim out at me for joy, what else can describe this… comfort,hope,healing….
ay weeping may endure a night but joy comes in the morning.
Thankyou God that trusting You isn’t a myth, You’re not a long ago Shepherd with Psalmist sheep in tow, You’re not stuck in Time- wrapped in swaddling diapers, You’re not even embalmed on iron crosses for us to kiss when we can’t pray. You’re here.
I don’t know when healing will arrive for sure, but this is a greater miracle that Peace can trek thru’ storms with us. It’s a miracle that our son pushing through momentary random aggression can even smile and pause to sing.
Jeff is a warrior. I go climbing walls when am anxious; sure I pray but I turn into a praying spider woman. He’s the calm lake of Galilee thankyou Lord Precious Jesus.
Thank You for people in our lives who have ears to hear Your Music, Your Voice mid all others’. Thank You that Christmas is more than a Season of Decor & Shine. Thank You that though it’s a long trek through Valley of the Shadow of Doubt we need fear no evil, You’re there.
No alarm bell, no burst of glory. It tiptoed in ‘neath my gate. It wouldn’t hold my hand, It couldn’t. I was cold cold cold, every leaf in my garden shrivelled, ashed; Ivy & dust layered the ground and walls of my address.
When Healing came It bled into me. It Crossed boundaries I had built. It broke Itself like Bread over my hunger and poured Itself out like Water over my drought. New metaphors crowd my space. This had been desert with no oasis. Now, this Healing-
growing me into things I do not want to recognize:
a Garden of Shadows where a Lone One prays. Prays as if for me. What’s this. He breaks on two planks where He hangs, I hate this like a personal wound. I’m screaming words with no decibel: He’s saying it for me. Two words, three- I will never forget. “IT IS FINISHED.” He said, smiling stars in His eyes as if we were in Paradise being made over again.
wait. He takes my buried memoirs of habits of pain.
But I can’t have them back, He says. Healing takes it all away. I’m blinded by an emotion with no name, Its a Light falling careful in my blind eyes. It grabs my poison ivy with new strong Vine: It inhales me, slamming my dying dead inside, don’t ask how. I have no Theory, no Words wise or pretty. All I know, when Healing came to me I was dead blind, now I see:
I see Scars, Its Body broken. Healing has scars, you get this? I don’t and maybe never will, not till we go Face to Face past that proverbial Glass darkly in the way. Now I peer through Reason, Logic, Theories, Rule. Oneday when we have crossed our rules, we will see the host of things that see us now. Oneday we will break through gravity bound toes: on that day we will see what we question these days. Oh when Healing came It broke Its news gentle to me. It knew I’d be suspicious,afraid,disbelieving…
When Healing walked into me, It spoke things I believed I couldn’t know…..
that gain came in via loss, true I knew, but what else could a human fight for? We needed this. This War for Survival was our one socially acceptable behaviour; it united man and woman and child and nations and bazaars and gangsters and priests, it fed global talks and need. If I didn’t do Survival what tell aunty Maya I was doing ? Or Pastor Sahil. Or neighbour Bishhy. Or Karu Harben my brilliant corporate cousin. What tell Didi Grey my mentor..or art collaborators… that I didn’t care anymore how I’m being received;
who could I be, what of my ‘me‘?
When Healing came It talked into me – sacred syllables of the Father Son and Holy spirit, groans not uttered by the carnal 5 senses: we are heart and mind and spirit soul, beyond flesh and sensor. I had territory within that must heal first*, my Healer said, it began in the acres acres acres (deep in my core where we live or die, there we heal, there we host our virus, our sickle cells, our warrants of life, our predictions of peace. If we die there, how could we survive in the peripheries?) ..
Healing took me to an impossibly narrow dizzy path. When I began to heal- one tiny step at a time, It unleashed me to run my feet like a deer’s in cliff edge sheer mountain. Fear rose bitter gall in my throat and I killed it like a beast is killed with bare hands: something I’d tried an entire lifetime, now it happened with one rapid wish;
here was this desire to thank every mean thing that had ever come my way, hey yes those nasties I’d crumpled over? Them. They were my helpmate, they now proved my brick and mortar needed to build foundation of this impossible route. “Forgive. Go on higher,” The Healer pled with eyes of deathless Love, and the Light of that gaze scorched my last defense, over and over like with birth pangs. How could I have known this detail if I hadn’t needed healing ?
Why haven’t You been here earlier- how much went in wasteland of my nothing. My Healer replied as if I had spoken, He said,”You are more than all this. In these deserts more Gardens could grow, if you go. “
Say what, why? There’s more folk like me, why would I care, but now I did.
When Healing came to me It rained and Its Tear whetted my thirst for Its fact. I used to think with Healing I would be strong again to return to old strengths, I’d be a pillar of fortune, a wheel of Change. Oh look- see how nice healing is, but that is not Its way. It told me things I couldn’t know.
When Healing began I leaned my core on Its Strength. No more great burden of goodness to bear! I was still a torn leaf garden but with new shoot- as if I had wing, the Healer said,”Never mind your Self. Rise..”
When Healing came It did not give me wings, that’d have scared us all.
It is much more than we show and tell, it’s in the way grass grows o’er and o’er and wise men die and babies born will oneday grow to know more than you or I confess. When Healing can, It will come to you and the Light you see will be outside of our incapacities, then perhaps you too will say to another, “…how else could I have known…?*”
Inspired by our son(& little brother Joh) as he heals.
So my sis sends me pics from her trip and this one travels in where my core is: Koala bear burrowing in shade, in foliage, feeding on what Koala knows best,
I’ve wondered why my Creator structured the universe among this many species, and what the dialogue between us all is besides the incredible facts of circles of life, food chains…
I’m fascinated at how Nature impacts my mood, my choices,
Ah times in childhood (and later), with blue crab and one particular jungle monkey, oh once a scruffy headed baby raven cawing his head off for breakfast. Yep! These have moved me more than earth revolutes can.
I have history with sand dunes, how they’ve moved me (nah, shoved at me), literally and otherwise(haven’t you slid down a dune, ever?)
Then there was Rover our fourlegged Priest of hearts: this canine knew how to talk. Once he said the word, ‘Mom’. I turned around slowly and he winked one amber eye at me.
When Rover left our planet for where Goodly Paws go, ( wasn’t at our home at that time), he visited in a dream where he slipped out of collar, his black black fur shining with silver edges.
Ach. I still ache for his friendship but that dream was an exotic thing. I don’t care what everyone’s saying; dogs do have soul. They growl at unseen spiders snuck in where we can’t see, they have these Frequency-Ears, they see stuff we don’t….onetime at a farmhouse he saw a deadly scorpion through wall… sniffed it out maybe,
I miss him with all my heart especially days like these when the Uncertain sits square in my eye and there are no quick answers for things that will take their course, like the illness of a young child, like setbacks that make friends and some closer ones sweet-talk away basic courtesies.
What Remedy ever exists for Humanity that forgets or ignores another because they are of no advantage; what cure for humans stooped low enough to desecrate the very purpose for which humankind were created? We become liars and connivers, we spread curdled words like butter on waiting bread and we lay it thick. All to draw fences between people: walls, barbed wire, little glass bit in walls. This isn’t news to any of us, but when it hits, it swings low. Especially if you don’t see it coming.
So Koala here snuggling, is my heart burrowing in the shade of Comfort few humans can tender. Maybe my Core is a Koala. I love the word Core: that invisible place deep there that tells me how I am at 3am,4pm,midnight.
One morning last year, I was alone a few hours at home, worrying my teeth out at how our youngest and blind, was to get through life. Eyes shut tight I told God if He cared He best give me a sign,
when I opened my eyes there it was staring me in the face, its black beady eyes twinkling through grey fur:
the squirrel took tiny steps into living room, then turned left into our bedroom. For the next 15 minutes nothing could’ve convinced me this wasn’t a supernatural event. Nothing. The room shone with my same old Indian sun, everything was gold tinted, even my dark thoughts.
Today I didn’t see how we were going to all recover from Joh’s anti-seizure meds* that have caused such a riot in all our lives – side effects of meds.
Is there any Light end of this tunnel? Yes, a few infact! All because dear Sis sent pic of Koala? Does Koala even know they’re in a blog post in another continent, leave alone that they’re cause for lights at end of tunnel?
Maybe that’s why God made all His species. Maybe every single creature was made to bless a certain of the other species, a type of Food chain, a Comfort Chain. What comfort is a mosquito? Maybe it is, to a particular shrub. We will never know somethings in this life, but some mysteries are there for all of us to see.
as I was crouching here over this post, our 18 year old (born blind and recovering from meds* now) Joh gave me a surprise gentle hug.
The past two months there’s been unreal aggression, a certain violence, uncertain days, nights of wondering when and how all this would/ could ever sort. Sure it can, it will, but the human core has a way of sitting down sometimes and not wanting to try getting up.
Today is different.
Something in me wants to unfurl and look up at the sun. There’s a quietened centre within that’s willing to give my own peace a chance. I have the power to make or break that peace,
oh yes it sure passes human understanding, it’s not from within. The only thing I could’ve cooked up today was a temper of tears. There’s kazillion words in my throat but must stop for now,
if you’ve read this far thankyou so much. If not, you’re still part of that Comfort Chain, maybe a bigger part than you know.
these two hands stayed home to stare out at trees and skies and leaves; I wrote poetry with my floor mop, or doodled with raw mango skin, and left over crayons. Never sold much, I hoarded; love pavements and the songs in strangers’ eyes. Love God. But who said that works in the ways of everyday living? Nah, nobody. Today’s my quiet day, my consult with the King. Here we are Hannah and Esther, Sarah Martha and Sweet Mary. Life and the Times have also made me some David and some Peter. And some Noah. I ache to pet some living (wild)species I’ll never probably personally meet…. polar bear and sea horse.
So, 3.30 pm Monday with my Maker. The home outside this door smells fresh bread. It’s our second daughter baking. The youngest sits with the sun in his face, he can look right in the Light, unflinching. He has that gift, some call it visual disability. His eldest sis makes music with a guitar and keys, it’s a harp to listen to… muted sounds of life reaching through to me under my door,
I have lived to see this, and see true love in Jeff’s eyes at the altar of Your faithfulness-
this November, I’m stripping barbed wire. The barbed wire of disbelief, grouch & fatigue(ugh terrible trio).
Yeah I’ve never earned fortunes and proverbial silver spoon and wheels but I’ve spun unedited prayers at family toes at 5 to 5 am some dawns –
You watch me watch You light the sky bringing heaven to my hearth;
I bless Your Brow if I might – with a daughter’s kiss that heals things I don’t know to say or ask. Thank you for healing our lil one’s seizures.
This Monday I’m sitting here in the deliciousness of a healing. I didn’t find You in fests and grand recitals, but here in the hiding place among heartbreak where our blind son healing from seizures, must also wear out meds’ side effects …
You here in these rooms of cuts and bruises, his confused tender blind face not even tender in random chaotic moment. The girls brave it all, they huddle later, wipe our fears away. ‘This too shall pass,’
I find You here nestling us:
It’s an aloneness crushed with the aroma of You,
the aroma of Grace.
Compassion, suffering long;
Grace & Humor kiss each other, smiling, locking arms and tears with anticipation of a better hour to follow.
Dyou believe mid-traffic, He heard the noise in my head, my questions and riot; I know a thing left me. Shadows,doubt.
How can I say enough the way this is?
He heard me. Didn’t change the situation,but He heard my voice. It tore past all His universe, and it resonates deep within.
What greater thing there is I do not know. Not healing, not change, not even peace, but that He heard me. On just this I can go to sleep and not sweat the whys and wheres and whens. I love that there’s communication with Someone like Him. And that He cares.
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