Tag: flowers

Eternity is for Real

The bird was there waiting, asking to be noticed. I stood staring at him against that blue sky and early moon all stark naked Reminders that Life went beyond gravity!

Ramona was buried yesterday;

Pic from our terrace

her husband and two sons stood tall by her grave: on Zoom it was surreal. A Mumbai cemetery rich with songs we sang as kids, about the Risen Savior, & oh where was death’s sting?! Ramona’s warm brown eyes and soft skin seemed closer, her easy laughter, subtle jewellry and gentle lip gloss mouthing words of love for Christ. We hadn’t met in years: but her passing brings me closer to the Reality of what the Cross does for us, 24x7xn! I’m feeling many Seasons in one, but especially Summer: warm like the embrace of the Father in a Time of fear, His Gospel of Peace.

Death is demanding.

It is not silent. It is an open conversation with what opposes Peace. It breaks us, it seals us to the ‘Unknown’. And we can turn our faces to all our walls all we want, but nothing buries Life. Love. Joy. The invisible presence of That. Of turning away from sin. Of repenting, and letting us be re- created in Christ. That Peace with God in Christ, is Peace.

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One of the last times I met Ramona we were at a beach; it was dusk on a busy shore. I don’t remember that we spoke many words, but what she and I utterly had in common was Christ:

the Christ Who found us in different rooms, in different differences, bridging barriers, crashing statements, limits.

Dusk, Bangalore

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How does one describe a place where Gravity does not exist, where Peace is no longer just a temporary Live-in partnership;

how do I bare my heart, except say it like it is:

The Cross doesn’t crucify me, it BARES MY SIN, THEN bears IT. The Cross shuts up satan: his War against our absolute eternal fulfillmenT.

OUR PEACE! THIS IS THE GOSPEL OF PEACE.

The mark of Christ is nothing like the beasts’:

Christ freeing you & me from short term satisfactions: Quick Fixes, begging for more. Not just blank-eyed druggies’, but Humanity altered by self abuse, by others’.

I was once confronted by a Nun(school principal) on why I followed Christ. You did not mess with Mother Grace, and as she looked in my face for a reply I said what had happened. “No one else came here looking for me…. “

Pic Courtesy Justin George

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Eternity pursues me, there’s a Name on It. Christ’s. There’s a Heaven even among us when we reflect True Love. And there’s a Hell horrific and more as the ones we rehearse on earth: of the worship of cravings. Every Dance, is arms reaching for the Invisible Partnership we know deep within, exists.

Deep inside we hunger for the One Who speaks in us ceaselessly: the dialect of a waiting Father.

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When I was carrying our first child, this horrific incident with the vegetable cart man happened:

one morning he was in the ground under the row of eucalyptus trees, writhing like a snake, a death rattle sound in his throat, it filled the entire noon; the man’s white shirt and pants, always spotless but not on that day. My mother asked me not to look. An expectant mother best not see such things, she said. But this was Ramu our friendly veggie man. They were getting someone to exorcise him, and it took till past 4 pm; a week later I met Ramu, now he was half his size.

Evil itself reveals the very presence of God, not one appeased by sacrifices. He is Light (we are all yet to be able to even look at Its lesser form: the sun):

He Who is Love, of Peace, Joy: three things satan cannot stand, leave alone claiming our Place by the blood of Jesus Christ His Son. Try it.

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But Ugh:

the incredible Power of Doubt: it can derail us totally.

Why consume the deadly whispers of satan when we have Christ’s Words that can do ALL for us? If we only knew the extent of This here.

Eternity is Real, and I am encouraged today to make it a huge part of my daily schedule. Yea Ramona, death has no sting, the grave no victory.

Christ took that.

Every flower is an Unburdening to the Light: every shadow clings to It. Every Leaf drinks Its Dew. We breathe to His Breath. Where does our breath go when spirit leaves?

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With Him it is Eternal DaySpring.

FMF Writers: this went beyond 15! (‘Summer‘ and what the Word stoked). Thank you my fabulous creative friends.

The Stranger

He wore long curls under a hair band and old fashioned jeans with wide trousers folded in a hem that half sagged as if unsure of the Times. The sun fell in his uncombed locks needing a wash but it didn’t matter. It had an educated look about it, casual disgrace. It was the funeral of a dear brother, we stood around the sunny open air chapel Gate#1, wanting to weep but the sun shone hard. Tall trees above us burned lemon gentle yellow. “It is well with my soul,” we sang. The lyrics fell into us, there’s no other way to say it. Funerals of good people do this to me. The man with the locks stood like a statue two feet from where I leaned on a pillar. He hadn’t moved; his shoulders crouched with either fatigue or sorrow. He must be a close relative? The chapel steamed with hushed love. VJ looked like Peace in his casket strung with garlands, wreaths, roses, jasmine bouquet, posies, petals in the floor around – it wasn’t like a mourning, it was a Graduation. A cousin broke down as he paid tribute, a niece, a sister, a classmate, colleagues, more wreaths- they crowded now in the floor like an unruly garden. No one stirred, light shifted. Two hours had gone by, the man with long curls stood like a rock his arms curled in at the fist. I lost sight of him then saw him again at the burial – he got as close as he could then moved politely away hugging himself, why was I looking at him. Everyone grieved soft. Polite smiles, and gentle farewell. The sky, a stark baby blue covered everything in more Light;

He moved closer to where we stood with VJ’s wife and daughter, then he hugged VJ’s wife with borrowing sobs. The daughter didn’t know who he was, he didn’t fit in with any of the groups here- work teams, relatives, church folk. The sobs mutated, no one else was crying that way. We had cultured tears, in the back of our eyes and throats. VJ was that kind of guy, he wouldn’t have wanted noise, or loud wishes. He was a tree planted by streams of living waters. A tree that bore fruit in quiet neat ways. Not spluttering in the earth, but growing gently.

He caught my eye for a quick moment as he stood back and wiped his tears; his hands were large, sunburnt, like his face with wide cheek bones and thick hair held back in fine wire band. Then he hung back a bit under tall trees swaying in occasional gust of breeze. February felt hot and cool at the same time in the cemetery with hundreds of memoirs of Life by our feet; not a place to discuss things in decibels. You wanted to rest, exhale.

The man wore a red and blackish windcheater over a once white Tee. Not 6 ft tall; wide shouldered, lowered gaze in the walk where others gathered to say things to VJ’s family, ‘visit us,‘ that kind of thing. The man lingered, not looking at anything in particular, then he slow-turned to leave.

Later we heard no one knew him at all. What was he, who? Perhaps…

a person blessed by VJ. Maybe a wanna be musician whom VJ heard out. Maybe he gave him some kind of help, he had that look about him: gratitude and pain.

Or maybe, maybe he was a chronic funeral crasher, identifying best among sadness. He seemed at peace in tears, not awkward in Grief’s ways. Maybe I’m reading too much into this, but I’ve seen them- some of us humans who fit in between lives of others, and we identify best in pain. Here we can weep out loud and not be misunderstood. Here there is solace, here there are grounds to linger in, in awe at loss. At farewells, at sermons that whisper at the Other Life, at the kind of Love that happens where we stare at that edge of the coffin. We are all one here, here there is no caste, creed, other separations of Humanity. Here we are one at this place where Life gazes at death, how futile even that is- when the spirit has gone ahead. It was apparent- VJ was not there. His absence a presence so loud you wanted to applaud his transition, his earth days done so well, and him now with God whom he worked for all his life.

The stranger’s face followed me home; we talked briefly about him. Then I had a headache and curled up in bed, but had to spill my thoughts here, blog. Perhaps:

between the Living and the Dead is a Race of Humanity belonging to neither (the living nor the dead); the corridors between the Two narrow down to one fine line and there they are- a People that identify best in places like Here, where pain is an acceptable emotion.

Perhaps. Though it is most likely this was a person VJ helped in some significant way, he was so like Christ, gentle steel and hard work, not choosing to be called Reverend; his songs hauntingly beautiful like his smile that said all. A man of few words, almost shy of being heard too much, except of the Christ he loved. Just the kind of man who reached out to strangers with no name…

(Few years ago VJ’s wife had been hit by a racing biker, hit bad enough, head injury, fractures. VJ did not breathe one word against him, no law suit, nothing. ‘The brother had something on his mind, surely. Else the accident wouldn’t have happened. I asked the Lord to bless him..” VJ said in our home months after the accident, not one trace of anger in him).

Now I’m thinking what if the stranger was that biker; but my thoughts they do run wild.

Photo Credit : Zach Taiji

Tribute to a fabulous Human we had the privilege to call our Brother.

We drive off Commercial street (Bangalore, Peninsula India), 3 pm, mid a month’s Lockdown- the streets are clutter free, we are armed with ID and saying ‘Nice!’ through the pain of losing our precious brother Sam.

Yes, he would’ve approved. “No big church service, just like he’d want it. No suit…” quiet words from his sister Dr.Prema Dhanraj, her eyes misty with love. No sad song & masses of tears. No hyper-parade of bouquets. Just a clutch of family members, though masked, distanced….

Beloved brother
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He was a Minimalist with blazing intellect & humor. He lived to love but his love was quiet, no frills. If you looked for a compliment he’d say, “Nice!” Or “Good” complete with dimpled chuckle that I cannot get out of my system and shouldn’t.

My eldest sis Thel (Sam’s wife) had a Bible that we all wrote in; she snuck this in his casket: its lid standing on Stone nearby had “I am with Jesus” on it, it stilled me. Still does.

With him, I was my unselfconscious self: was it only a few years ago, he and I mimicked a local street drunks’ brawl lasting not a few minutes? Recently his health got fragile, his shoulders had that tiny tremor, you wanted to hug him just a little longer but didn’t dare make him think you were worrying. He could read your head, know your ‘unnecessary‘ thoughts!

Sam wasn’t big on ceremonious religion but had this Respect for God, a thing you didn’t mess with. It was the way he lived, careful, caring, sensitive to detail. You didn’t hide things from God, if you needed an occasional peg you had it in His presence. I remember asking him for a taste of his cigarette, I was 21. He choked laughing then gave me one: “Try exhaling that, k?” That was fun. I’m rambling. Running from memories I want to chase away, but they’re larger than life now.

The last time we spoke (10 days ago?) was an accidental Group-Call my second sis Li made via our sisters’ WhatsApp ‘Mermaid’ Group, yes mermaids 😅, don’t forget we girls grew up on beaches, (once on a sand dune we’d daydreamed of being mermaids, hehe! The name stuck).

So Li called and Sam picks up phone instead of Thel. Li : “Now who’s this low voiced man on Mermaids saying, ‘Hellooooh!?’

He chatted generally and about how good he’d been eating the past week; Thel walks in,” Uh ohhhh? Sam’s on Group call with …who?”

T ‘s her bubbly self, “This is a first group call of this, Haha!”;

she & he had become one Entity with shared polarities; how good they were together with their 2 fabulous sons Anudh & Akash: a treat to watch the four of them – each maddeningly independent, ferociously loyal to the other…… oh brilliant even to detail of when to add chillie to sizzling roast, steak!

These five can do wonders in any kind of day. Ask me how I know. Pic, Goa holiday with their beautiful darling ‘Girl-Sam'(antha) daughter-in-law who deserves a whole other Post: she’s more Indian inside than Australian : the Stunner kind you think must have some secret flaw? You look for it but it isn’t there. Ay, marriages are made in heaven, the Samuels are living proof of that...
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The last thing he said in individual byes to Li and me….. “Bye Rayla!” His voice strong and cheerful. “Bye Merman, Sam.” I replied.

Age 22?

Offstage while we waited for the next Event at a local Fund raiser…how can I forget his guitar doing the Beatle’s Crybabycry:

with no Lyrics, I worked my own non-word- stylized-gibberish. He called it Russian. We did this very seriously, Thel streaming tears down her cheeks hurting from laughter…

Now.

Thel & Sam’s gorgeous sisters: I could write reams about his three illustrious sibling, each serving Humanity like only they can: Bravehearts – brave now, as the Pastor wraps our small service in a Silence that somehow feels right. I cannot find a word good enough for it. Silence can be reverent gold. The sky rumbles for a second, gentle winds settle in the family tree under which the few of us huddle, forgetting Covid.

Death is where your sting, oh grave where your victory? Here we are immortal for the Love that binds us together across continents via Videocalls coming in and familial Love thicker than blood or the sadness of Now.


Like a tree planted by streams of living water
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Next to him, in engraved marble- lies the Stone of his first son, the most beautiful baby boy I had ever seen. He lived 5 days. 36 years have gone by.

Now as they lower his daddy’s mortality into the same earth, there is this silence of a family held by things best described as Peace that surpasses human understanding.

Marriage turns strangers into family. Sisters in law become a beautiful kind of sister: we admire their eyelashe and feature not just exterior but deep within. It turns our lives around to learn from each other through the years. I write this realizing how much we’ve been blessed by Sam’s presence, nah entire families, cousins, nephews, nieces….wish this post could cover also friends that became family because of Sam.

What can one say but go back and forth.

I could never count well enough even at our Scrabble board fights. He a Chartered Accountant / Sultan of Sudoku non par would cheerfully shudder. “If you try to, y’know? Maths is basic. Idiots.” His grin included all non-mathy people with me + tolerant brotherly kindness lending a generous taste of what it was to ever have a brother.

He’s not here, no Thel?” I whisper. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

“No Ray.” Her voice is level.

Thankyou Thel for the photographs.
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I draw strength from her, admiring her straight firm back and calm doe eyes. Sitting down somewhere among family Stones, I am unable to tear my eyes from the candles and flower petals all around, the air softening with dusk and with the Presence of Comfort; with the presence of each other softening from sorrow. Tomorrow we’d be able to take this. Maybe not. Tomorrow would have its share of challenges. New ones? I don’t know.

As we walk back past more names and dates and symbols of Love and Departure, we walk close. Life was/ is short. I want to love without barriers and protocol.

We move past high ornate stone gates; the Caretaker and wife watch their children play with a plastic bat and ball, all safe- distanced from each other.

Somewhere a koyal calls.

It will rain tonight. You loved it cool Sam, but you’re not here.

You’re with Jesus.

I’m jealous.

Saw some of this yesterday, enroute…


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