As our nation reels and staggers among seen and unseen factors, can all the kings horses and all the kings men put things back together again? Before we can get used to the day’s Papers, the next day dawns with worse stats. This is unreal, but like one person said, “..it was a disaster waiting to happen.” It is a war on everything we’ve known.
Today we prayed that we would really pray, set aside 21 days asking the Lord to hear our voice, for our people, our leaders, our healing as nations, as states, homes, families, individuals. 21 days of a fast from everything that holds me back: negative thoughts, distracted mind prone to worry..
all that. Remembering who God is, and what He means when He says, “If my people who are called by my Name will humble themselves and pray, I will forgive and heal their land…”
Took this pic- our tiny saplings grow into little plants, as a nation plummets…. where?
Moki, an acquaintance will laugh at this post: not everyone believes in God. And then not everyone believes God answers prayers. And then some believe in a God of disaster. When He speaks He is a mere Judge. He is, but He’s also the One that lets new skies each day lift my heart. Am spending the next 21 tugging at the hem of His garment, seeking Grace.
This morning my heart is curiously still: yeah I’m seeking His face. He’s brought us through worse. Covid and poor disaster management is not the worst ill there is. A worse one stares us in the face- the soul of man, woman and child that lives alone, without the Friendship of the One who made us all, one Who waits to meet us here before it is too late.
I cannot describe the stink of the room with not one normal smelling thing in it. We had just walked through slush to get here. Marin, the lady with ash blonde fringe and eyes like green stars, she ploughs on as if it were a normal day. In the room, the child* sits with amputated leg; my thoughts are a hung merry-go-round. The child will die soon, her grandmother tells us. The old lady sits spreadeagled in the floor with the abandon of hopelessness and dare. Like- dare you tell me any thing about hygiene– poverty did that to her. To us all. As we leave, the child’s eyes are wide saucers above her smile. She wants to say much but is afraid of Grandma. She loved drawing class with me, and times we did little stories from the Bible. I say ‘did’ because we’d act them out, act out those scenes where we were actors, we were boat and waves, we were the storm, we were scared in the storm till we saw Jesus walking on the water to us, and then we’d scream for sheer happy riotous fear/ joy.
All this I felt as we left the child and grandmother; the child died a few months later. I never forget how beautiful her face was in that little room strung with gunny sack and tarpaulin. The child knew she was loved by Christ, the pain did nothing to stop her joy: like a garden in bloom, in the breeze that took its fragrance into other places.
I got one of the dearest surprise Christmas presents I’ve ever received: Lil Marijs! – a baby sheep in soft fur, oh the child in me came out to play. Marijs, from a literal far away country, is a gift from a generous hearted person who did not let a deadly viral stop her – am surprised silly how her Lil Marijs makes me unselfconscious dizzy happy.
I’ve always fussed over our childrens’ toys- their soft long ears and tails. Yesterday our second daughter tells me lovingly that I didn’t need to talk to her via Elle her elephant, or insist she puts socks back in via Turta, or make Purple(bear) remind her about her bed covers…I ask her why I’m this way, she says, “Ma, because you’re still a child…”
I loved the way those words settled in my ears; the way they pulled at my opinionated bones to rise and shine. How was I to know that today at 5pm there’d be a delivery of Marijs: a Reminder to regroup my inners.
Marijs‘ cross border Arrival @ a time of teeth chattering International misery is a thing to ponder at. Don’t tell me its just a child’s toy: this things Delivery is of the kingdom of the God of Impossibilities. Here one is Shepherded into a Place reserved for those who dare to be baffled
yeah, stare at how we could stare at where Joy and Peace and Mercy and Purity kiss each other,
touch the impossibly melting softness of human kindness, this quality that did NOT birth off the devil who destroys, accuses, lies,steals,kills…hates.
This quality births off the gentle lowly Manger, where Love came down soft one tender night: a Surprise Visitor that still loves like none I know can….
Marij is a 2020 Reminder of Him and how He moves us to Gift each other this Giving, of everything opposed to evil, of everything born of God, in the humility of a manger,
The Hush of That grabs me by the jaw and asks me to lay off grown up protocol. This is a time to peer through the dark glass and see
That the Giver of Gifts isn’t dead; He has mysterious ways of reviving our real selves no matter the viral forecast.
We are born with the constant hunger for reality; shut your eyes, feel that pulse, it was there when we took our first breath and walk and words. But we gave ourselves permit to retire into Doubt; Faith Hope & Love were for the ladies in the prayer circle who knitted socks for babies of refugees. Not Us. We were grown ups with toothpicks in our brain just in case we bit back into old ways. Faith was for Medieval mystics. Not for the Renaiisanced. We walked the Moon, we fed graves, we became the Machine that fed the beast in us. An earth that cud chewed Itself, ouch. That bunch of words hurts to just write it. Or read it.
Marijs makes me want to stare at the possibility of being free of doubt that all will be well, and that there will be peace on earth,
stare at the act of prayer that began me as a child; I prayed for Dan the tall boy with a hole in his heart, and he went on like Deep, the paraplegic 30 yearold who took me for rides in his chair he drove like a maniac: Dan & Deep had the manners of people who knew who they were and where they were headed, it was to God. These were real people who impacted me much as a child. Dan left me a book of Bible verses he cut from Calenders. Deep gave me a box of Legos I loved and gave to a tiny boy called Deepak – he had a pony fringe and worried eyes but when he smiled he grinned 360 degrees.
All this I revisited after Marijs came home to me a few hours ago from a country across my Northern border and am staring at how the Gift of Giving can provoke, promote Life: the kind that makes us kind in the purest sense.
Maya Mai my baker friend has fewer cakes to bake this year- there’s not that many people around she says maybe we’re all feeling safer with home made breads, maybe she should price down her bakes she asks? Maybe smaller cakes ….maybe she should sell tomato pickles,
There’s not that many people outdoors this year, & how dyou sanitise icing – She asks, Maybe I should sell sanitizers, but that’s not my area of gifting, she laughs my friend Maya Mai has the face of a waiting child, for gifts she knows she will miraculously receive end of day, she fills with light like dawn after midnight,
I love how she is when thinking on miracles: its all she has she says, not her thoughts, but her miracles. Her first child was born that way, her second and her third. And her husband – he was healed of his cough, the jobs he lost and found; how they built this two- roomed house, with all its blessings she counts them on the knuckles of her small lined hands, and in the bones of her toes …. one time she counted them on beads she wears on her neck, all her miracles, one by one.
Last evening she said she ran out of beads, to count her miracles on. She pulled out old shells she had as a child running in the beach every dawn in the pockets of her shirt, her skirt held so she could hold her treasure without spilling it in the sand slope back home ..
my friend Maya still has those little and large shells, hump backed curled , spiraling cockels, baby conch, she hangs in rows between corridor and kitchen, for counting miracles she’s received even as tailor of her children’s clothes – hand me downs that need hems taken up or down, Her children are 14, 12 , 10; her husband went to heaven one Tuesday on the 11th , 8 months ago,
her lips move with tears in them; if I’m looking for shadows in the valley of fear, they are not there, cuz it seems like Maya Mai my friend the baker woman talks with angels around the curtain of shells between her corridor and the oven, counting every last blessing, the stack of clothes clips she found in a cardboard box , the new shoes her youngest child received as reward for walking a neighbors pet dog; for dew that falls in potted rose plant, and for hot water in her cold tap this morning that fell like kisses from heaven
in her face,
that shines like the sun. I’m trying hard not to stare – she counting miracles, and not knowing how to sell cakes baked last night, she giving them to me for my family and not taking a ruppee, insisting, I take home too, her tomato pickle no one may buy, that pickle red and warm like the sunlight in her eyes, as they dance with satisfaction.
I give her my well- wrapped little packet of blue silk blouse and sari, I’ve not worn it once! She opens it like I’ve given her acres of blue sky, unfolds it like stories to consume, drapes it on one thin boney shoulder, so fragile – its blades snap each time she raises her arm, she’s wound the sari ’round her waist, the size of the palm of my hand,
she winds it round her 5 feet frame, then stands 10 feet tall in corridor between her stove and miracles exploding in her eyes like stars o’er Bethlehem. I’m speechless I’m staring wide open. This is how beauty looks, this is how beauty prays, its face unafraid, like a sky with no night. I’m trembling shaken
wishing I’d got her somethings new, my blouse a size too large but Maya Mai clucks her tongue inside her chin, she’s a seamstress! She can take my blouse an inch in, nah what’s matching thread? Yes,she has a stack of threads of white from old hems,
she’s bunched the sari in the waist of her saggy pajamas. “Don’t laugh,” Maya Mai cries for joy, pleats of sari tripping her arthritic feet with spurs in left foot, she swings on her right, the shirt beneath her silk a gaudy white, gaudy with turmeric oil stains from the pickles she just made
I’m not afraid , she says, and I can tell, oh I can. She’s full of confidence, its a fire. It wraps her pickles, o’er brown paper from her child’s old text book from last year. A thousand questions crowd the space in my throat and behind my teeth but what can speak in the presence of defeat of fear? This thing is bigger than David’s Goliath, this state of Maya Mai’s safety is no lie, it is that sword of Goliath taking off his own head, it is the wall of Jericho crashing down itself, it is Daniels lions purring in that hungry den that could’ve ripped him before he fell in, it is the fact of the Red sea spilling sideways in obedience, it is the Rod of Moses demolishing Pharoahs serpents;
it is that secret place of the shadow of the most high, abiding in the presence of the Almighty,
it is one tiny baby against all of Herod’s men, it is the blaze of that Star over a Manger an’
It is the God of my friend Maya Mai, her leaning on Him, turmeric oil stains on her shirt beneath my blue silk blouse, one I never wore because it was for this woman with the acres of heaven in her eyes.
I want to hold her hand say thank you but how do you shake hands with a miracle? How d’you hold a star, how dyou embrace a woman Daniel, how touch a Moses’ rod that swiped out Pharaohs serpents …. how d’you pick up the pieces of a broken Jericho wall , how d’you keep account,
except count them one by one,in the knuckles of your fist, in the bones of your toes …
I want to go home and be Maya Mai, she walks me to her low door put together with thermocol and cardboard and a red ribbon from Christmases few years ago, and I’ve not seen the joy in her face in any place else, its a wreath of peace from the God of Christmas and Golgotha and The Resurrection, I saw You today Lord, in the face of my friend the baker woman.
& 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.
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 …..
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.
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.
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.
Why the Bible is the Best Selling and most persecuted Book in the history of human existence.
I’ve never done a repost this way: as someone suggested, here’s my take on “Mercy:…is this? “
…he knew where it was. Day after day he watched her sit outside; he reached in that small ledge over the gutter- stood on the chair, then on his little toes … for that jar. The woman had no recall. Sickness had taken her mind away. She just knew this was somehow her home. Her family had gone in the plague. People passed by in the street, but no one stopped to ask. Except the little boy.
Ah there it was: a rusty old key, in that jar. He carefully brought it down; the woman smiled at nothing in particular. The boy looked familiar. Even the chair. She looked down at her hands but would not take the key.
He took the cement steps to her front door, then called the woman in. It was cool inside. He found water in an earthen jar;
the woman felt his smiling eyes and grubby fingers help her drink that water. It slaked a Thirst within; as she drank deep it was like a River quenching her parched days and nights searching for something she had lost but didnt know where to look to find it.
The Water went down her throat, first a trickle at a time, then more. She drank till the water jar was empty and till it swelled her death with Life.
She stared at the boy and felt Breath in her bones throb with newness. The boy grinned back and sat on his haunches, waiting, waiting.
Suddenly she knew this was her grandson. He had been there everytime she locked herself out; like Mercy pursued, like the Love of God : ’twas the Key to Life. Love like that was new. Twas like this child that had not rejected her. Like a God that had died for her. Words from sacred pages she had once read, returned. When the woman prayed a line, her own whisper startled her and the boy. He sighed a happy sigh then settled in the floor. He loved his Naana and the Words of life that spilled from her lips. “Lord You are my Shepherd ..I shall not want anything. You make me lie down in green pastures...”
Yes it came back in bit by bit, images, faces, indifference, pain. Even the face of her sons, her own children as they turned her away. But it was too late now to hate. Mercy did that: It hid its Key in secret places in the mind: Its Words of Life that cut away unforgiveness like a sword.
The woman laughed then cried: Re-awakenings were bitter, but oh so sweet if you found the Key!
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When I was a child I was skinny, and I was a child. Shy. I stammered. Had to wear glasses very young. It kept falling off my snub nose. Got teased for that and my skinny legs. All that and I couldnot speak as well as the grown ups around me. I was ‘Pin throat’, ‘drumstick’, ….
“You’re the worst in your family!” One of my school teachers told me. “Terrible at sports.” Yes, unfortunately. I was underweight, how could I lift and throw, or jump heights, my ankles felt too tiny for my height. I was best in my bare feet running in the sands at the beach along our little home by the sea. I was happiest in the guava tree; I talked to squirrels and myna. They talked back to me, I’m telling you. Their grey soft fluff and under wings, their little eyes and snacker of beak in tree branch it all spoke to me in a peace that other languages did nothing to comfort a tiny person growing up in a world too fast to understand its slower creatures.
When I was four, a dream began. A nightmare. It happened around the time our landowners son tried to molest me, an afternoon my Ma was out working. I waited, and as I did, the landowners son grabbed me by the arm. It was odd, we knew him. A tall darkish boy who didnt talk. Now he pulled me to a stool in the corner of their shadowy shop. The shutters were half downed. Then he pulled me to the floor, it was cold hard stone, too fast to scream. I called to my God. Ma had taught me to pray, would God be here in this cold terrible place? He was. The shutter shuttered back up, someone entered I cannot remember who; the sound of that was freedom.
Daylight filtered through.
The landowners son flung me from him and disappeared. I do not remember how I got to stand on a heap of red ants. The househelp found me there, she yelled me to safety back up the stairs to our home above the landowners’ place. Was it that night the night mares began? It was a thin, very brown skinned woman in white flowing clothes, she had no face. She chased me around the terrace outside our home. Peering down at me, I saw it over and over . That face with no features. Like a painting smudged brown. It was the first time something hurt me, it took my peace. It chased, stalked, ate at me. It was the first time I felt alone. Afraid. Slowly the dream faded and left a shadow in me. A shadow that grew grew grew till it blocked out the light. Strange how you can believe the grey shadow coming in through a bad dream, is the light. Strange how we can believe lies that we are imperfect because we are not physically strong, strange how we can believe we are disabled because someone did a bad thing to us. Strange how we disbelieve the gifts we are given by God, just because someone somewhere made us numb.
Now later I met Christ at the Cross and He told me about murderers who didn’t know what they were doing, but what does a child know about bullies? I never told my Ma about the landowners son; never told her about an uncle who later tried that same vicious thing again. Ok they didn’t succeed, but why the silence?
I do not know.
But this I do know. It is the shut up – ness of a terrible event, that fosters nightmares. It fosters a lack of trust in oneself. It rears self hate. How I do not know.
I was once a child and spoke as a child. Now I am grown I do not speak as a child in the dark shuttered place by a red anthill, numbed by life. I speak as a grown woman, as a mother with girls of her own. I never spoke about that shuttered time, now as I do,
The nightmare recedes. The thin brown woman in white linen, her featureless brown face? She recedes. What was she?
I do not know. But yesterday I heard a girl talk about a Promise from the sacred lips of Yahweh. ” ...the years the locusts’ve eaten I will restore to you…”
A locust is an evil grasshopper I replied to the girl. Yes it takes our harvest. Everything that was ours rightfully. A metaphor of a thief , the locust & it came in a swarm! A whole thousand upon thousand of them, an army. years of badness. Of bad bad sad words said over and over. “You there, shush! Sit! You are reject. You are odd. No dont come here. Go to your corner. Shush. Dont talk. Dont sing. Go in the back row. You lil ugly thing.”
The locusts tried eat me up,
Bad dreams stole my nights now and then. Shadows grew their harvest tall. They spread their soft wings around my news. The news that crept in 24x 7. Bad news . Bad news. We believe it all.
Then I heard the good news of a Christ who taught me to forgive the landowners boy who didn’t know what he was doing. The good news that showed me how to love and not mind the bad all the time. I was a collector of sad events world wide, the good news of Christ was that, He knew. He knew about all my shadow. Nothing was hidden from Him. He was there too.
I had that good news now in me…. a Light that burned the dark away. Bit by bit or burned the dark away. Flame by flame it burned the dark away
Flame by flame it burned the chatter of my locusts stealing my joy. Christ was in every dark valley I’d ever tread. He, in every page every line every chapter every episode of my life. Times I messed, times I offended His name, times I ran from Him and His in the dark. Times the locusts killed me. Then I buried me. All my skinny self and snub nose and stammer. And times I felt not good enough. Times in the red ant hill, times numb with the loneliness only thieves of time give. Thieves of time, of smiles, of joy, of the fountain of life. Like locusts they arrive, not just ones and toes but thousands on thousands of lies with big jaws they chew chew cud chew on our weakness.
But Christ told me that….His power was made perfect in my weakness. My littleness. The littler, the weaker I was the more his power showed up in me. Like cracks in a wall, with light showing through. He didnt take advantage of my vulnerability. He laid Himself down for it.
Opposite of that locust, He, Christ.
The Good news. My defender. Healer. Physician. Rock. Strong Tower. Saviour. Master. Protector. My Light. Yours. Your defender. Your protector. Your shut-er up of the locusts eating up your mind. Eating up your time. Your life.
Their chatter chatter chatter it goes on and on in Mindfields we’ve buried with the ashes of time. You burnt out just trying to rise. Burnt out just trying to wake up refreshed from nights you did not sleep trying to sleep. But hey no.more..you hear me. No more.
Locusts… no more. In the name of Jesus, go get out of my life. I …am with the Christ.
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