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.
Her house was green: from a new painted roof to shutters in soft green. Every room was like a library, even their table was decorated with books, I’d never seen anything like it. My home was a museum of random memoralibia: drying rose bouquet in bamboo vase from Odisha, tatted table top made by Gran, a coir center mat and coir rimmed lamp shade that overlooked a sofa set in dying rust red velvet, yes we had books but nothing decorous like those at Shasi’s place: we had Reader’s Digest,Good Housekeeping old copies from the sales at the Library every year. And we had Caravan yellow backs, and Dad’s volumes of Carpentry&Tool care! Nothing in green except a stool he hand painted. And yes, 16 types of Bibles. Or more.(Not in green, those).
When Shasi came home, evenings after Math tution, she smiled all polite and wouldn’t look at my collection of feathers in last year’s old English Textbook. She was fussy I thought, but later saw how she wouldn’t look at her own books either, or at her own stamp collection. As a matter of fact she never looked much at much: but she listened hard, and I would later learn how big a gift that was.
Years later we met at college, and she recalled details I’d forgotten all about: like when we had had chicken pox and how Ma had brought us bouquets of neem leaf. She recalled songs,we’d done at contests, and which ones we lost at. In particular she remembered how I fell apart at an Essay Contest at school, and how we climbed a guava tree and ate every last guava to celebrate that sadness. Later we were sick with too much of that fruit and went to a gooseberry tree and ate some there till our teeth were raw. So yes, green will always remind me of Shasi, and how she listened to the sound of colors. And other things. She remembered us praying in the dark sleepover after cousin P.recounted bits of Psycho that weird horror movie; she never stopped praying after that she said. It gave her a better option than worrying or staying sleepless, on nights when there was illness or a thing to stress over. I never thought she’d be the type to receive comfort from prayer, or notice how it changed a room, but apparently she did. Did she read all the beautiful books in her house? Shasi nodded and said ,”Your Bibles were so loud at your place Ray, I had to go and
get my own collection. Come over some time to Kolkotta…”
(I could write more but am one minute past the five mins allowed to FMF prompts! Have a great day y’all)
I always look forward to this Prompt from Friday Five minuters, look forward to it with a relish I knew growing up with tonsillitis and was allowed ice cream only on sacred times of wellbeing! Ah well. Thankyou FMF writers, for keeping me in touch with words,mine & yours. Life gets hectic- beautiful yes, hazardous often in these days of virus and co., but creation never stopped. Sam my musician friend’s beard has gotten longer. Binda seems to heal from cancer, our friendly neighborhood pigeon gets bolder by the day, the children are taller, the sky feels more velvet, yesterday I caught a few drops of rain- it was cool and quenching in my skin, this morning I could not wake up the 5 am I usually do for my morning Quiet, but I kneeled within, in my heart, in bed, cushioning my spirit in Him, as He re- created me for a brand new day. Still in bed I open mail from FMF, and blog. Something I’ve done only twice. Blogging before brushing my teeth. Its a different odd feeling. Like breaking a rule, like smiling with your mouth closed? Maybe. Blogging is a whole cave of possibilities in a beach full of pirates, hehe. I see the world differently horizontally : the Word Observant hauls up sensitivities to look at life with new perspective: as a Server, a Waiter of creativity. A servant of It. Not obstruct its way. Not mess with its Maker, not shut eyes to the possibilities of the day. Here I want to haul self up and stare at the things waiting today:Wait. Ask. Pray. Serve as I watch, observe our Creator’s pathways in my day.
This one day after months of gazing thru a dark glass at Life? …this one day began a series of clear eyed adventure among new things not seen before. New things you make. Creative! You say. Half sigh, but I love what happens when we’re not looking. Love how when we least expect it we are surprised by fantastic twig going beserk in the sun, drugged by morning dew and trail of breeze in it. Am I feeling Easter already? Maybe! Sunrise colors at dusk, is a surprise I’m telling you. Away from the city, the sun is closer, liquid. And I’m reminded there’s a design to everything, nothing is random.
A field of marigold, green against buttered yellow petals in rows and rows and the air a pungent smack of earth, nothings random here. We stop, park and stare. Photography cannot capture sun rays sweeping the sky with giant brooms of Light. Not like we’ve not seen Light this way before? What, we’ve changed? As a race, are we staring more at nature? Are we returning to how we used to feel about fields and skies racing us as we travel? Is knowledge more sharp edged, less cheap? Why does Beauty hurt the eye, with its dare? As if here there is no other design except to shine.
..the need to feel unafraid again. We’ve cast our vote against the thing that causes insecurity….
after all of that, if we have not got our own person in sync with peace, we will still be afraid, we will need hope and the energy that rises from freedom from temporary sunshine.
Some of us do pilgrimages, we do rituals, we dance our prophecies of pain away,
and some of us do the humble thing of kneeling to pray: not that we can be perfect for doing it, but oh the relief of seeing how tiny we are in a universe of divine intelligence. Here nothing shakes our Unshakeable Kingdom within; for what can separate us from infinite existence that does not depend on economy, on professional stamina, on legal majority, or socially acquired sweetness. Here, in the gaze of a Christ who defies all else, here I rest, arrested by a certain non – need of material anchors that can spiral me down!
These are my thoughts this nice November morning; what happens when you pray, you ask? For me it centers my core, it shakes away all that hinders freedom. So I did not get this and that, we lost some feet, but when you wait in prayer you and I , we rise on eagles wings, renewed strength to run and not be weary, walk and not faint.
There will always be human need for strength & security. And there will always be this human leaning towards God, much as we might deny its leaning.
Looking ahead to days of nestling in that Unshakeable Kingdom within!
Stop pretending it’s not still there: that selfish way we lived our lives, vying, clamoring for attention- suspicious of each other, or plain scrambling for power. Stop it, it hurts us. It hurts you. It’s not just old mode now, its the naked truth of how humans have lived between plagues and wars and holocausts. Then we huddle and forget our differences for a bit. Then we talk of God and love and peace. As if that weren’t our birthright. We forgot who we were. We went into humanism. We forgot how we never made us. We never even knew how we died or where we went but we knew so much of how to hurt each other as if we were gods. We lost manners, we thought we were tiers of castes with Touchabilities and Untouchabilities. Yea we forgot there was a darkness so dark it could try obliterate the light in us. We put out each others’ iris. We talked of how there was no Light. It was all just a trail of burnt stars. That’s all we knew to say. So we sinned and glorified that. We killed God in every form and erased His memos with quarts of water we couldnot even make. That’s how far we all got before this pandemonium took its scepter and ruled us into neat queues of waiting dead, & dying dead, so now get this. You and I can talk on about all this just being here every century, these plagues. And in between we can still host our power parties and roost our joke- clubs about a Man in the Sky. But look deep. .. we are scareder. … yes… that’s a word now… than we’ve ever been. We laugh harder than before, we try our old power games, we are desperate to get back to when we could size each other up with our judgements as if our own vices did not matter, as if there were no God who could see through our shivers. But this. These times…..
these days are Lighthouses in the dark. We can mutter all we want about each other, we can back chat and we can try sit prettier than each other, who are we fooling? It’s a shared planet, whats mine is yours. These routes and air. This earth and God’s Love. Shut your eyes wide to the visible mortal, open it to the Invisible heartbeat within our rib. We are more than mortal, we are children of a Cross too much to bear on our own. Remember Christ. Remember Christ.
2 Corinthians 4:18. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
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It was the first church I’d remember, breaking tiles and a rectangular room with mats. They sat in raggedy rows, some with tobacco stained teeth and rings in their ears. The men too. If they smoked, it was within their teeth: tiny rolled tobacco leaf that glowed and let out its acrid fumes. When the singing began, it was a shout, a wail, or spoken words via a hangover. This was a fishing colony; they had no notion of reading anything, they were here for peace. For shelter.
One monsoon after a storm had washed away half the village, they came in very quiet, sleepless. Even the babies. When the Padre spoke there was silence. The singing was quiet, ears alert. Was there a message from God? What did He say?
Ever since then, I’ve always felt that storms had their bitter and sweet edge. It took us to a hard place: here we listened, here we knew there was more than the mortal-visible. Ach. Not sweet enough. But when stashed among the bitter, we as a Human Race drop our smoke, we look for fire, for cause. For reasons.
Here we die, and stand again. We try. We falter but go on. And when we walk out that door back into the factual world, there’s Knowledge of a deep inner space where Humans face the reality that we are Spirit too. We need more than food and water and survival. No drug can doctor us there.
When I think of the word ‘Church’ I think of broken places where the Light shines thru. Or darkness shows thru our broken edge: and how we are temples of either. Not both. Of how the Light and the Dark, are constantly neighbours but One dispels the other.
I remember the Fisher colony we used to know; its faces like children’s eyes, wide with honesty. When their questions were satiated, they’d dance, as if drunk now but with the Light. And how that Light of God would spill out their ringed ears and sunburnt lips, yelling the Joy of knowing God in the Now. Storm or no, He was here.
I learnt about ‘Churches’ from these darlings of the sea, their skins burning with ozone, their eyes on fire with true love for the One who could calm any storm within, no matter the ones outside, and that’s the greatest miracle I’ve ever witnessed: the One who could calm any storm within, no matter the ones outside,
when you get that, you get Church in all Its trillion dimensions. And here we begin to heal via the Wounds of the Cross.
Would, should, but could? That’s the option that hangs between abilities. Can you walk? Could you cross that river? Can you trapeeze? Could you bungee jump? Can you breathe? Could you live? Can we agree? Could you accept one another? Can we not kill? Could we not hate? Can we care that we dont care….
here’s where it should be ‘would’ve, but could becomes the more used word, because we may say, “Nah I cannot!” “I could not.”
Between all our rights and crime, we carve an existence. Someone made rules but deep within even a baby knows what is theft, what is hurt, what is cheating. You cant just say you and I can do what we wish, somewhere it hurts someone else. Our choices are dominoes. And like it or not we are responsible for each other. Like it or not, theres a sky and theres gravity. Theres hearts and theres love. Theres peace and theres war. Theres way too much going on in an earth keeling with need for understanding. We are bridges. We are bricks. We are more than just humans. We are givers and takers; we are borrowers and lenders. We hate, we are indifferent, we love. Emotion is unseen, and it’s there. There is right and wrong. Much as we yell about it, deep within we know, we knew it from when we were kindergarten and we took someone’s pencil and hid it; and we know it now too. We know when we hurt a sensibility, we know when we judge amiss, and we know theres evil and good. And if there is, then theres more to what we refuse to … and the chasm between those two is the answer to every question we ever!
He took it and took it, then he didn’t. The last time we met he showed us his telescope with Saturn rings and Jupiter all in his panelled rooms with fresh flowers sometimes, and a dog named Bin. He ate sunflower seeds and loved the colour yellow. S.J was your regular above average looking superman that fixed bicycle tyres and switches. He baby sat your kids and took out your trash. He was handsome and brilliant, he talked to you as if you were gorgeous; he wasn’t a flirt, he was nice, dependable. When SJ walked out his terrace and died of depression they said, he was not compromising anything anymore, he just couldn’t take it nor fake it. We’ll never know, but as more and more people get nooses and poison concoctions, more people fall to depression and even heart attacks, I’m wondering that we cover our sadness with the laughter we ache for. I wish we could talk out loud, ask for help. I wish. I wish.
Never mind. Mayan calendar, Julian’s calender. Dec2012, and another earthlike planet rearing to have crashed here: though after all we’ve gone through recently, anything feels plausible! I did fervently look at sky now and then.
And maybe ‘they’ were right. The world as I knew it has ended. If there’s a day left, perhaps we should consider giving voice to people who wait to be heard; our arms and feet for the thing God birthed us for.
I wonder what your day is like.
Monday seems chilly, overcast here in a city multiplying its Covid count. Deep within is a hearth that whispers ‘All is well’; the trees outside look the same with more birds in them than I ever saw: green winged red heads, who are they? Brown feathered white spotted falcon family bird flying down at squirrel.
I haven’t been able to blog last week, and mayn’t be able to till I finish interviews then manuscript for a book on burns’ survivors- their past tragic, now, stunning amazing, post-reconstructive surgery and counsel by some fantastic humans here in Bangalore, India.
So I will be away a bit; cannot say more here. It is going to be risky traveling in and out of lanes now being triple watched for ‘community – transmuting virus..’ : venturing out is something! I saw people with no smiles because of masks, saw a young man completely drunk on a Hero Honda and he revving that bike like a maniac, eyes and mouth working deliriously.
The worse life gets the more we value its worth. I’m grateful for every bit of sun and work still left to do among a mass of humanity still beautiful.
(Will be @ comments section, so do write in. Apologies for times I’ve taken off there)
Just park. Lay your handles in the wall, stay in. It’s not impossible to do. It’s the way it is now. How do we do this:
The park and Lizac stores, they’re half open. Garim Mall and Ooga’s kitchen, Lily House plants and Maya’s Stop for groceries, they’re all there. No one’s left. They’re quiet. Raghu the frig repair man called to say his Ma disappeared yesterday. Then he called now to say she still hadn’t returned.
My throat feels sore, hmm. Quarantine my heart Lord God, let me get off my highways a bit and lean in on You.
This is first hand from my mother who was there: I had just been born ‘normally’ but here was the thing. I was a third daughter, and one of our older relatives wasn’t happy. That aside…
…. the nurses weren’t happy for my Ma, and they were about to fix it.
My mother heard them discuss a baby switch with the lady next bed: she had just had a third son. So. The nurses were ready to start this process of switch ( before anyone’s husband got in the picture?) This is an absolutely true account; my ma was horrified and would not allow the discussion to proceed. What were they trying to do, strike a goodwill conscious baby switch between the two mothers? Was this the other women’s idea?
I cannot imagine any other mother than the one I have, have loved and been loved by. Gratitude Lord for the protection there.
Too many infant girls face untold horrors in nations that are subject to certain practices that involve dowry, etc.. why are people afraid to raise daughters?
I am brimming proud of mine; of every daughter everywhere. God forgive our sins of murder, hatred, and discrimination.
The past few days I’ve been impatient for a real nice surprise. D’you feel like that recently? And I mean yelling impatient. Crying impatient. Life began to feel boring, staccato boringgggh.
But! not! today!
My husband and second daughter Kitsy were out on another highly budgeted shopping round for Essentials; food stores are at their emptiest, blockades have come up right across our main, I think we’re cordoned off as some Covid hotspots are being sectioned off here in Bangalore. Hmm scary.
Never mind. So Kitsy and Jeff go out the door with mask and warnings about ‘The Budgie’ (budget): our Kitsy has sweet tooth, sweet fingers, sweet everything. She lives for shopping, adores food racks, or any activity that includes sale of edibles, wearables, bakeables.
Anyway, they were driving up to local Store, when a very young girl looks in at window and says a word, “Rice.” She was requesting. This meant now, for our 20 year old to not just part with something from her list, but also to help this kid get her bag of rice, I mean buy it for her. The girl didn’t know how to handle those counters and two meter sections of long queue outside in a chalked bubble enroute to the inside of Reliance Fresh. Which Kitsy did too, her face beaming with curious pleasure as they got back home….
but they… we all had a bigger surprise. We get a surprise gift from a long distance friend. The gift he sent was a hundred times more than what our Rice-Girl got from us. What d’you say to that?
I don’t know about your country, but here it’s tough enough without looking into needs of Migrant workers/ daily wage workers left high and dry without the everyday wage they depend on for existence. I just do not know what to say enough about everything. It is all too much too think on. Personal needs/ citizen needs. You can grow multi-coloured hair just thinking on everything that can go wrong, and there is terrifyingly little one can do except do the next thing you can.
Sigh. Sometimes it is hard to even reach them with a helping hand, at a time like this. Restrictions are now at the gate. We daren’t all go out together, leave alone visit another section of community. I’m so glad that Rice Girl arrived when she did. Glad she got that basic need met: and look at what God did, at probably the exact time Kit was at that sales counter.
It is past midnight… so ‘Easter ‘ already here. We need more than essentials in this time of existence. We need Life and Life abundant. May the Risen Lord Jesus Christ fill your heart with His Touch, His Presence.
Our Kitsy used to get ‘spooked’ at prayers like that, till she began praying her own brand of little impatient prayings. Prayers to please let her older sis stop being annoying, or to please help Joh her brother just behave. Words from her young heart that were true and real; as I watch her life unfold I’m more and more convinced of a God who walks with us, and stalks our needs in His own inimitable way.
I pray everyone will get back jobs and health, but too, that we will never forget the times we prayed and were answered. I asked for a nice surprise, thankful Heavenly Father for a beautiful one at that!
Did this 👇painting last year, after seeing Souza’s Christ( see below 2nd painting for also, his grand son’s Street graffiti of Goan woman praying?)
Art is a language all it’s own. When I’m silenced from society and ask myself what I’m at, is when Painting kicks in. It’s like dancing for me, or cooking a designer meal. It’s my dialect. There’s grace, disgrace, pain, hopeless hope.
Today, Palm Sunday and India and everywhere potentially exploding with Covid, or not…. it’s that kind of day again I’m looking within. Some call it prayer,
you can label it, morph it, strip it down, it’s still the fact of reaching out to the One that made me: the Act of Love that consummates my presence here, the Fact of His Life…. when I think of that, there is little else that overcomes. And I need some overcoming, Now.
Am grateful for the Gifts we are given at this time. Gifts that say it better than we might. These are the Journals of our Times. These are the trails we leave behind, our blood prints that might be a new kind of beautiful for generations to follow. What we are at.. in the Now, matters. These emotions, questions, they capture human responses, and sometimes responses are all we’ve got to secure our eternities.
Souza captures Christ with that Palm Leaf; you might call it grotesque almost, but this is how pain looks in any given century.
His grandson’s Graffiti details the folded palms of a Goan woman. What’s she asking? What are we asking. globally, individually: are there immediate answers, is there Beauty in the Ashes of hopes, prayers and dreams,
what’s Christ got to do with contemporary existence, does God care I may ask. What do we do now:
what is this that causes peace when I pause, lean, go still…. my emotional palms folding in,
is Humanity beautiful when we are most vulnerable,
do we ask questions of immortality, here, like this, now,
Life wasn’t ever permanent. Now maybe is all we’ve got.
My daughter took this pic of me the day before her 25th bday Oct2019. Now its all changed so fast. Did you even know we’d miss our little easy trips in a time when there were no ‘untouchable surfaces’?
We grew from ponytails and little shirts to grown up wear & tear. We learned to rise when we stumbled; learned to be patient with new fatigue. We got new ways of doing old things. We matured, we regressed, we sat down and broke a little then mended. Hey. I’m not giving all that away.
God and life taught us how to take pressure, ride it like a bike to the beach somedays! Now I must sanitise my trips every which way one can and cannot imagine, fine. But I’m not adjusting my inner balance, I’m not going to make any ‘Covid’ feel it owns me, in any grip of fear. Not going to let my home believe for one moment we are victims, though we must be careful of a whole new array of things. We will not court dragons and dance with demons, but we will not forget we walk among angels.
I am not about to go from being a child of God into a frightened bear: a sore one with claws that gnaw my insides, hehe no. I will remember the ways in which I’ve grown and outgrown childish thought processes: oh no, there’s no monster under our bed. There may be a physical threat, but not anything that dare touch our spirit.
So we cannot go out as much but we can go in and remember everything else.
Everything else better not be forgotten for the sake of a sick virus. Nope. I like to think of the Human Self as a person totally under the control of One who brought you & me this far. That’s all I’m thinking on. It frees my mind. It reminds me of when I first learnt to bike.
We were in Gujarat, western India. Dad told me he was behind me….. he wasn’t. I was so sure he was there, I went on ahead. Was a few minutes before I realised he wasn’t holding on. He was there a few meters away, but I was on my own. It did not matter though, I still felt he was holding on. There was no new aloneness. He was right there.
I feel that now, the heavenly Father who brought us this far, mayn’t be visible but He is there. The ride ahead may have its bumps, but we got this life, this bike: we got our lessons, we can’t lose it now, we cannot forget….
“FOR YOU MY GOD, HAVE GIVEN US THE SPIRIT OF POWER LOVE AND DISCIPLINE, NOT FEAR AND TIMIDITY…!”(quote,Bible)