Do you have a happy place? A place you return to now and again sometimes for no reason, or when you do have a reason. I have a few like maybe you do too. This one below is almost exactly like the one I went to, eons ago, on a hill next to a forsaken lighthouse. It had lilies though, and a brick path with fallen out gate, I’d wait to hop over it and onto wild bush of Touch-me -nots.
The sheer smallness of the chapel was magnified by the amount of light falling in it, through it, it lit up chinks in the woodwork, so when you looked at it from the outside it was like a small house on fire. Emotional, some would say. But I’ve grown past mere emoticons. There was a Stillness in there that got into me. It defied, and still defies human conditions for joy. It stilled my father’s bad temper at being pulled out of bed to be on time for service 7 am. My Ma was the prettiest warrior I ever saw; when she sang the sun shone specially on her, her curls lit up with fire and faith in the God who taught her how to bring up us three girls all on her own with dad away on postings all over India. She taught us how to be Indian traditionals, yet free of false humility, how she did that I do not know.
when I return to the memory of that first chapel ever, I’m reminded of how small I am in the vastness of an era I do not understand. I’m reminded of fearlessness, of the brilliance of Light as It un-hides the dark- exposing areas in my life that needn’t be subject to human frailty. And I love how freeing that is, to lean on Light and feel Its’ pressure on my skin, on my senses even, and on my human spirit so frighteningly prone to Self-reliance. Which in itself is a good thing. And some days, the human spirit wants to lean on a Thing bigger than us. No matter the fuss and kick at higher strength, humans like/want/need the Infinite whether in affairs of mathematics or promises. We need the falling in love then the expectation of that Significant Other who needs be that Leaner-On. Some of us need a Festival, a Shopping Mall, Online heroes, or Plates of This and That. We go low, then high on things that will transform us via vein, brain.
Today I’m leaning on the One that found me in Unexpected Places, else I’d not have noticed Him. Else I’d have been suspicious of too much goodness, or Structure based mementoes that Transform our inner spaces irrespective of life as is visual, aural, tactile….
I’m excited, like in moments before you unwrap a gift. It is easier now to remember the good things not the bad. Hope is poised like buds waiting, tiny perked blossom. Promise cards/calendars read,”From this day I will bless you...” it started with Thanksgiving month. Every day feels closer to dawn, I want to lean back a bit, and rest on blessed assurance.
I do think it’s good to be like that, like a child with no bitterness attached to the way we accept life all over again; accept our own capacity to be good, yeah that – forgive ourselves too, in the eyes of God alone who is perfect.
If you’re thinking I’m sitting in a cleopatra tub of milk floating with rose petals, no I’m not. I’ve at least 2 good reasons to give someone a tongue lashing…I have my own personal hate list that God keeps (yes God, dyou mind:) …keeps reminding me to shred.
But as these last days of 2019 narrow down over the weekend and we plan a candle lit midnight with a few friends, I’m truly looking forward to shredding to ash some emotions I’ve picked up along the way not on the 31st, but right now. Looking forward to stepping into new ness, not merely on the eve of 2020 but deep in the crevices of my ME where an Unshakable Kingdom exists. We choose life, we choose death, we choose in-between states of grey:
Today at our little church overlooking gulmohar trees and a blue December sky, the question was asked,“What does Jesus mean to you?”
I don’t like Q&As; we could be judged in these sessions, but this morning here there are people in their teens and twenties and the few of us other gen. humans. They are frank and brilliant,
some say Christ is Love and Light;
to make it even more hard to be real honest, the young preacher asks us to know Jesus sits in the room and that we do this on birthdays don’t we…don’t we say a few words about the birthday person, so… let’s make this a personal Christmas, she says.
I’m getting more uncomfortable. You don’t fake it with the son of God. It’s my turn to say my few words. I speak my heart,
“See Jesus used to be my best friend. The kind that puts up with all my nonsense. A Big brother. As I grew older He was the stronger. As I grew tired He was my strength. Now though, He makes me uncomfortable. “
I pause for breath before venting.“These days He is a mirror. Showing me how selfish I am. I see Him in the faces of neighbours, strangers… relatives… I see Him asking me to love them, help them if I had it in my power to.”
This info begins to worry me but it’s from a real place.
My life isn’t just about me. Sure. I know. And I wonder what kind of Person can love like that, to change me from the inside so I get to care about Mrs.Lanley Aru, and her husband who hurts people, and Ghanush, and Miya. And Bobo and Tre. All a bunch of people who should go to a school for behavioural disorders. I can feel His gaze go right thru me. Dont tell me that’s emotional stuff. You dont know me. I couldn’t love like that. I couldn’t care about these peoples eternal lives, why would I want to live with them eternally, please.
What kind of story is this: from cradle to a crude cross:
blue, the colour of our global roof, the essence of emotion, a Jar of heaven that turns tears to the Dew it returns, every morning. I’d call it ‘Tears of heaven…?’
The Alchemist :”From our tears spring the life giving dew that nourishes life!I hope you have a beautiful week ahead!“
Yesterday on our way to another part of Bangalore city, we got stuck in a crowd of 1 lakh protesters with banners, national flag, slogans being quietly yelled, all in simmering polite refusal to accept a recent political statement regarding Citizenship in our country. There were armed cops lining the entire route, khaki and guns at rest but ready. Section 144 is not a pretty section to be found in a march of that number, however accidentally. My husband would be calm in the Red Sea. Not me. An hour of that, and a detour home, I was thinking, dearest God, it is that time to pray for each other, I mean real prayers. For wisdom, peace, love, respect, safety, protection,harmony.
Dont ask me how we got detoured somewhere along this surge. It’s a miracle when you can safely get safe, though it’s also a beautiful thing to watch hundreds come together with love for each other, in a time of need.
Where are we headed this 2020, I’m scared to ask, think,imagine. What’s it going to be like for all our children? Will the world they inherit be kind to them; will they have space and time and support to pursue their dreams, will they be able to live, forgive, love? All our pretty poetry and wishes can sound like beautiful broken things. Yeah, it’s not an appropriate post for a season of cheer, but this is also a season of comfort. I choose to believe in that Comfort.
The Psalmist talks of tears collected in a bottle, poetic imagery/ real
all of which and more is graphically depicted in a must-see Movie THE SHACK.
Do not watch this one if you’re in the mood for sweet-nothings under mistletoe and fests in joyful carol. The Shack is 2 hours of one man’s acquired mistrust of God, having lost his little girl to a murder that leaves no closure; his own past a mesh of abuse/ disaster parenting. It is constructed in a way that can be controversial (depictions of God as ‘Comfort’ took me 2 viewings to understand. Wonder & awe at what divine reality is really like!)
Thankyou Alchemist Studio for your beautiful expressions of alchemy.
Every Vase Has A Story
Every one of us a Story:
Recently I did a few paintings for a book on humans in bondage to abuse. In the process of that, one of the editors asked if I could work the Cover painting on the famous Japanese art Kintsugi, (also known as Kintsukuroi- the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by mending the areas of breakage with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum, a method similar to the maki-e technique. Wikipedia)
What I finally did for that Book cover ofcourse was not a human face melded together with gold, though I would have loved to, (haven’t worked with gold leaf paintings yet).
Yet, fascinating that the very things we discard, as the breaking points in our day, could be our turning points.
Is this post flowing all over the place… perhaps yes. It’s a busy morning, we slept late last night(3 am?), theres a fair amount of action today, there are people who will be in tomorrow, cooking, serving, laughter and joy. Woven in the weave of all that theres the quiet of answers waiting, questions unasked, healing, scars, memories of loved one lost, a photograph on the wall, a melody that lingers from childhood, a recipe from Ma’s kitchen, a hug I wish I could receive all over again. This time around there’s the sense of new beginnings, a letting go, a new holding on. Even a new respect for the wounds that got us here. Healed by a wound. Sigh, but happily.
Hey, let the Alchemy of heaven seal us with new beginnings. For me it’s the story of that first Christmas that is an awakening. It’s a prayer in the stars. “Dearest Lord Jesus, let the blood that flowed from the Cross kiss my scars, let the breath of God breathe into me, I cant do this on my own, hold me with life anew, I’m hurting alone, I’m leaning on You. You. You. ”
I prayed that you would be given the gift of sight,
but God in His mercy allowed me to see His Light all around you.
Now I ask that you my child will pray too, this prayer for others: that thru’ your journey via the valley of shadows, you will leave footprints that lead another out of darkness.
Each day this prayer grows, and as it does, my eyes open to things I’ve been blind to. How we misunderstand the gifts we are given: they arrive in unusual wrap and bows, sparkling with the tears of heaven.
“For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but He has given us a spirit of power, love and discipline…” quote from The Bible.
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.