…that He is aware of you.
He knows you by name. There is nothing that can shake away that moment. The Creator creates it, designer made for you. You look up to see Him gazing down at you.
There’s no need of the sun, there’s nothing under the earth. Everything you knew pales in the Presence of This Presence that overwhelms all else. You are aware that He is aware of you. You are loved, regarded with Eyes that know things we humans can only try imagine.
“What can separate us from love like that?”adapted. Bible.
As June comes to an end, we are officially past mid 2022. May we know how deeply the Father loves us that He gave His son to take our stripes. We believe in everything else but the most beautiful story of Love. Why. Why not.
We cannot see Him, nor satan, yet both are incredibly palpable in our lives. We get to choose whom we serve, the Tormentor or our Beloved. I guess all of this will best come to light that moment we pass through the veil between life and death
Till then, what am I most aware of ; what grabs my heart and soul. In the secret place of the night mist or early dawn, who am I, whose am I.
…on our blinds, our mind – shuttered.
on our veils, our vales of shadows –
sparkle our dust with the Life of Your Light,
Fall, Dew, fall.
when we do, we will be changed,
These days there are no words enough. We will heal when we heal;
we will die and birth either hate or more love:
the kind that is conceived in days like these when our children kill our children. What state is that?
Words fail. We sit in the grass that bears our babies – these are days of a state we never knew; days we blame God not hell; days we turn away from the Forgiver, to the Taunter of humans.
Father forgive us. Father, heal.
We have had tea together a thousand times in these cane chairs facing her curry leaf tree and windows hung with old silk curtains.
Sia is a good woman with friends and folks who love her; why wouldn’t they, she is not just strikingly entertaining, she is one of the loveliest persons I have ever met. Dark long classic almond eyes in a determined oval shaped face set in wheat gold skin you want to paint! ( I’ve tried painting Sia and will try again; she is a hundred stories and I must wait to capture all their colours, oh she’s generous with comment and has booked a canvas from my battered easel). I was saying though, beneath that nice surface is soft steel, easier to break than I suspected possible.
“I should not insist on being loved by my only sibling, but uhm, who said blood is thicker than anything else? It is a liquid and it can dry up like a forgotten river.”
Sia talks that way between better days, so I’m not all surprised, and yet today the moment simmers like her eyes: they brim with aloneness.
“One should know they are not needed or loved anymore, but I still hang on, I follow my sister, I wait for her to come home, I remember our childhood too much, now…it changes? Because...?”
I have not one nice warm thing to say. Her gold lemon tea with mint leaf waits in white ceramic; I cannot breathe, her hurt has to ebb. It doesn’t.
“..is alright,” she continues as if she heard me. “Let’s have that mint from my herbal pot, hehe!”
Just when I was settling into her sorrow she turns into the rising sun.
“You know, Ray. I do not feel bitter anymore?! They do not want me, that is fine. We fight for those we need to keep. Once that is not there anymore, what is the fight? How is the painting coming up?“
“What painting?!” I ask without thinking and her face blows up in laughter. Without warning, Sia Mayben is a skyful of crackers!
“This is what I love best about you, girl. You are not picking problems, you do not care, you walk in a Light that is not the sun.”
“…and there’s a God and He loves you, loves me. My entire life I hate Him, but He never leaves. Never. Nah….Yem! ” She says that for ‘yes’ occasionally, it’s her unusual upbringing; I will never know where she totally grew up in. She sounds like ghettos sometimes- raw, dismembered, and then she is a fountain of healing.
Today for some reason I’m the cause of her healing? I said / did nothing, but the woman isn’t listening. At 80+ she’s earned that right. She talks about her dead sis like she’s there in the next room, then she turns into the Psalmist.
I promise to finish her painting as soons I get more time between comforting Kitsy our second daughter whose Crayfish ate up her beloved Molly– I didn’t dare tell her ‘I told you so’,
Oh but I did tell her,
that, and our youngest fantastic blind 21 year old declaring hatred for his walking cane-
yes, must paint Sia. She is the color of an earth poised to smile: the blood in her runs deep as a river that never forgets. Did her sister really not love her? I’ll never know – Alzheimer’s is a deadly treasure trove.
Though, it makes Sia all the more a mystery to peer through – at a world aching for rest.
“Blood doesn’t matter …” Is a sentence laced heavy with truth. I know at least 2 adopted human beings whose love is not enarmoured by genetics.
Weaving my way back home between Bipolar auto rickshaws and pre- monsoon showers pelting the sidewalk, I can’t help feeling Sia’s feelings. Yem. There’s more that matters, than just blood.
Pre-dawns do that. It wakes you up to beauty and quiet, rest and hope.
Have a day of peace and joy, yea we are that privileged.
It can turn you and me into ‘threshing machines’ (Is 41.15); thresh away doubt in the amazing love of God. I’ve seen hate and I’ve seen indifference, but
nothing shakes my core like the Presence of Him who can touch my heart of stone.
..nothing moves me like the Fountain of His tender mercy new every morning. Oh nothing shakes me to the core like His still small voice insisting, pursuing my weakening breath, pleaing that I look away from stubborn doubt into His permanence.
Her eyes sparkle then dim as he walks out and leaves her to pay their bill. I didn’t dare take a pic while they were there.
Next to us a couple (late 30s?)….her eager smile full of pink lipstick; his laughter, …careless? The Cafe reeks of a few worlds the names of which I try find, they’re there in my sensitivities.
Another couple exchange photographs in their mobiles, then he stares long at his phone; she beams at him, waiting, then looks at me. Her paper thin cheeks crease in a smile that reveals one broken tooth, was I imagining that? What do I know except that we are pieces of a Life too complex to understand just yet and yet, aren’t we each fantastically full of pieces with or without God.
I ask our eldest daughrer Vi, why Cafes draw me so hard and she grins back, “Oh its stories…ma?” Hmm,
this is real, raw; they unmask certain some unseen things?
One solitary diner talks into laptop, two humans across the long low roofed cafe huddle in peppered ponytails and bright colors, a couple with resting faces burrow into gaudy salads:
people with words, or none, via a miracle of timing: we have coffee together celebrating a victory, a sadness, Hope…
Outside, before our flyover:
a flower seller insists we buy her 2Roses. Kitsy our second daughter returns one rose to the girl who flares with the indignity of that. The dignity of Humility, oh. She receives her Rs 50/-, not thinking she could’ve priced it a bit more; didn’t dare offer her another note, her jaw defies pity?! This is new in my country of a billion contrasts and every contrast falling in me like a psalm;
like pieces of God brewing our attention to detail: perhaps we have misunderstood a few events between here and heaven? Perhaps what we call pain and suffering are truly Bridges into God raw real, screaming for Peace with man….
I get a forward on “Feeling Joy no matter what” and I’m thinking “Nice!” but the weather is neat pools of red mud where they’re digging up new roads around our address. Yes, the rains give us poetry too, if you’re like me when we aren’t reading on bombings at Borders and what Price Gurus are saying in our Newspaper dropped off at shoe rack outside. Yes yes, an Indian- Must-have (shoe rack outside door) has come in handy after the Virus! All this, but Joy: not trending Reel – 30second replay of Insta-joy, but an “underground river” the forward implied.
So. I’m backing into every overload of goodness the Lord ceaselessly forwards our way:
am doing what I can to true and serious Follow Him so His Updates happen on my Homepage asap. Serious …
without those Notifications I’m stewing bad news bits or Reels of puppies falling asleep & local Funny people (even Jordindians, a few ‘Jalals’ – they’re not all courteous)😏
But Joy – that’s the real deal. Not pieces of this and that, but the Act of the Psalmist hisself, tripping via my Times, raking in spadesful* of Green Pastures with Him Who alone can Unblock the Light.
* spadesful, or spadefuls?
& this is a Draft I’m posting unedited. Is Joy optional? I think so. We never add it on as a Must-have, only because it is a commodity not available off the shelf, unless we Follow the One Who made us all,
He’d have it in loads. Anyone Who created our puppies and furry friends would. Oh I hear at least three of my friends hoot at that.
Whatever it is we follow, will follow us wherever we are headed.
I’m looking at the aspect of Joy.
Is it even a horse? Maybe not. Inspired by
C.S.Lewis’ ‘Winged Horse‘, re-wiring the way I look at Renewals:
worn out earth route replaced by sky map – wings; brain fatigue, taken on by new oxygen!
Who said anything against that, Bro, take a walk in the direction of newnesses. “Racham” Love beyond Love. I found that in a Hebrew Translation of the Love of God, beyond parallel. Love like that speaks to worn out sinews of humanity; to its war-birthed monsters of chaos. Ay, Racham, a Love that breathes into my empty spaces that would other wise fill with death.
Have a blessed day, may Christ meet you totally.
Stoked by Prayer Requests from the Ukraine and our very own home fires. Dearest Lord is Your kindv Love impossible in these times?
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.
Life jackets on!
Sure I’m holding onto our technically ‘blind’ son with +++ challenges from seizure meds, but grhhjhj, we thinks Mr.Boy particularly enjoyed this manic driver. The man had kind eyes, we trusted him. We told him our Dad had worked that Lighthouse decades ago. We were kin and kith with beach folk, right- but trust is a redefinition all by itself. Kind eyes loved the squeals of us Mice at his mercy, it was his friendly joy to trip our moment left right and centre.
Looking back…It was good. We did decibels we didn’t know were in us. Then we met God in a whole new way there at sea. This is how Storms felt, well – almost. This is what it looked like to be afraid, what it sounded like, felt like….yeah often with the devil himself apparently at the helm, but all the fear was in our heads. What could happen if we tipped over wee too much y’know…
with that horizon tipping 180 degrees this way and that. Um Life jackets. That was re – assuring – firm and braced around the heart. And now safe back home I can’t resist the Q:
What’s my Life Jacket as we go another Trip around the sun together?
🌾(Something we put together yesterday for tomorrow 👇🏼)
We bought this crib at a Home where they made tiny clay models depicting the lowly birth of Jesus among other things, but this 12 piece set caught our eye.
Sis Sarai* introduced us to inmates with disabilities: they wheeled in, limped, muttered and some smiled hard. There was Lila, with a withered hand and she beamed like a Lighthouse in the dark proudly displaying each shining member of the crib. She too had worked on these miniatures, the woman said in slow Hindi and some English.
Lila recounted the Bethlehem story, “No be afraid,” her voice shaky from an illness as she mimicked the Angel! One or two inmates yawned. Another looked away. Amazing how a picture can retell an old story and you understand a little more today than ever before.
The details blur then re-assemble.
After all these years I revisit the fearlessness in this round eyed woman with the one little arm, as they sang “Away in a manger” & Silent night, in unsteady candle light. We were at their Carol service; after a Bible-reading Lila prayed simple words of trust in the Lord Jesus who taught her to be unafraid.
Our eldest, Vihan was almost 4 years old that December: I, recovering from a chronic fever knew about Fear from Hospital waiting rooms and labs as my husband and I awaited more of my test results over and over,
here at the Home now, we received the Good News of our Savior’s undying Love as if for the first time, via a ‘destitute’ woman with one good hand and 1000 watt smile;
no special powers to these tiny clay folk still in our celebrations each year;
as we bring out ‘Christmas- decor’ 2021, go cherish the Good News of this Unstoppable Cradle King that no hell could prevail against, for you and me and all for Humanity: lest we forget.
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: this Christ that grew to take on a Cross, a Resurrection Garden; He would walk through walls to get through to my heart of stone.
May the heart of you be warmed this season, with True Love from the Manger.
* All names changed.
God knew. That the sea would rinse things I didn’t know were there: an aloneness that comes with a trial, He brought it all out and rebuked it, His sea salt burned it away, hehe!
Mountain forest trail, thru Kudremukh mist & heavy close foliage. It was another world- heady, strong scents of wood moistened with dew; local springs in moss. Am still speechless. Utterly. Like God took my heart and laid fresh terms in there. The Light fell thick unsplintered and very very close, with His Presence. You couldn’t take it for granted. It had It’s own pulse, you needed to listen, to the song of that- to His Breath breathing deep. Something dead in me rose. Unsure what it was- something essential to human existence. His finger deep in my spirit, healing a bruise. Now I know why God called Moses to the mountain. He was afraid of it, like I was, shivering at its sheer cliff. It is a thing to overcome, a fear to face, even master. Here he met His true spirit Father. Here, a challenge was given, here a deal was made to live again against all odds.
Family wedding at Coorg.
I’ve never been a Collector of things, not even of my paintings which lounge wherever they find space; maybe the most passionate of my ‘collections’ were bus tickets for some reason; I was age 5 and remember hoarding them from the two families we lived around at Wilson Gardens. Then were feathers at pre-primary school, Christmas cards a little later, shells, pressed flowers and leaves. Now recently, I’m collecting something new…
…. thick note paper or hard edged sides of boxes, oh cake boxes, anything that can cut in neat squares and be written on in bold ink without being washed off by the sun on frig or table tops and walls where they will find places.
My Gran & Ma* had this habit of writing out Scripture verse in the back of Bibles, in new diaries and older ones;
I watched as I did my ABCs and grew into a bit of them*, writing down Scripture, as Prayers.
Words of the Psalmist, Moses… they all became my own as I moved in time and space. With every house -shift I’d find these boxes of Verse fading, curled, breaking and they were hard to throw away.
Now I realize what a part of my life they are, how they’ve bridged me over many waters: these borrowed prayers and promises from Genesis to Revelations: Epistles of Faith, Hope & Love from via the Throne Room where deserts turn to Eden with the knowing of the Giver Himself: a knowledge bigger than human request.
So here I am, in the 11th month of 2021, an avid collector of paper given on days I knelt to pray but no words arrived except a wilderness maybe. God never can resist a human heart that waits waits. So He gives me these little notes, on the stone tablets of my heart: writ with His voice, His peace.
Who can resist God when He speaks? What can separate us from Love that would send His son to a Cross to die for me that I might even look His way, at His Life –
Or even experience this extreme Friendship, no matter the insanity of the days we are in.
They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount on wings like an eagle. They shall run and not be weary, walk and not faint..."
👆🏼New verse emerges as November rain fills sky and earth with that extra nip in the air typical of an Indian year end. My taste buds are definitely returning, and sense of smell. Today I smelt a little mint, but none of the soaps yet. Body aches and low grade fevers recede. Have we had Covid? Who knows.
There’s a new variant arriving tomorrow, call it:
It is good to feel laughter rising in my soles again, it always happens when Christ sends His Notes to read, re- read: they grow Joy and some other Words human may ignore for sounding ‘out dated’.
And still, it is what it is: the undiluted power of PRAYER.
Do check this Beautiful read in Blogs: ”A Father’s Prayer”
Have a seriously blessed up November!🌾
And hey, I just got note from fellow bloggers that could not comment here, for not being on WP.
Do let me know if that’s you too @ idialects102#gmail.com
For FMF Writers
“Is there a fear staring you in the face right now? Are you finding your faith in God’s promise shaking? If so, you are likely praying desperately for God to be with you. God will answer you. But you might, like Jacob in Genesis 32, be surprised by his answer.” Jon Bloom in “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
Today we faced a particularly difficult day with a young one who’s coping with medical challenges, we were worn out with love. Never used those words before, but there it was. As we huddled together in a quick call on the God Who made us all, these words went thru me, “…help us wrestle as we wrestle with our angel,” . This was in a way, our Lil Angel of Tough, teaching us lessons we didn’t know, but we were learning.
Sometimes we wrestle with an angel: the angel of pain, aloneness…look close.
Watch what happens.
Ach..Jacob wrestled with the Angel of God, He hurt his sinew, then pointed to a longer, tedious hazardous route in his journey, via southern Gilead, a den of thieves. What did the Angel whisper that Jacob obeyed, what did the hurt sinew do, but strengthen him to become Israel?
And when it was getting to dawn, Jake holds on to the Angel, “I will not let you go until you bless me…”
What secrets hide in such places that regular comforts fail to offer? Here we may falter, fail, recline in fear, doubt.
Worse. Often in our tangle with doubt, our greatest “Ally” will encounter us, even disable us till we realise the disabling process was enabling certain instincts we could never have guessed were within, just waiting its moment to be birthed. Now we are yelling, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” It is a miracle all by itself to be here where we now see what was needed the most.
The encounter breaks us, before taking us higher …like dawn. Oh like dawn.
There was Daniel, fatigued by an angelic visit he laydown exhausted, fevered. What more shall I say, we are ‘surrounded by a host of Witness more than we know’. Moses blanched white to the roots of his hair after a Tent meet with the God of Sinai.
Today if we’ve wrestled with a personal ‘Angel’, look in the mirror of the soul and soon oneday you will stop fighting the Challenge that was here in the first place to teach us to lean not on our own Fears, but on the One Who is above all human bondage.
Here, cherish Him, the Risen Savior Who lives that we too might stand ten feet tall, like standing grain,
It is not for nothing we wrestle.
“You cannot withstand the storm,” It whispers. The Warrior whispers back, “I am the Storm.” Jake Remington.
- What are we to teach our children?
- What is a woman’s worth/ a nation’s?
- Is the equivalent of Peace~ War?
- Is there a Global community of peace keepers ?
- When will current conflicts end/how?
- Do we realize its all more than earth life?
- Do we think of our soul?
- Are we totally de- sensitized to bloodshed/ to another’s war?
What is the global community thinking after 20 years of a different take? I’m swallowing words. Its easy to spew things out in the ongoing aftermath of chaos, but this will impact generations to come like only hell can prescribe. Saigon and Hiroshima now live on within their maps. This here will bleed in every continent like ceaseless echoes in the mountains…
and that’s putting it sweet
and yet, the more we hurt, the more we keel, we look up at the sun, its stars and days of nights breaking into dawn, and don’t you too wonder how ceaseless the path of Light, like Love, true love
not a whim, a selfish need, but a Cross socially distanced from humans, who cannot believe there is One that died to speak Reconciliation, Oh God –
the more we die, the closer the sky falls in with Your Light. When will we all realize, we are fighting the thing we fear most- Your Presence oh God?
What you will see here are Photographs I just found @Unsplash by two Afghan Adventure Photographers, unsure if safe to publish names.
Wherever you are, we pray for your safety. Thank you for these stilling Captures
..that we be healed by the wounds of the Cross; & that the Blood of Jesus shed for all, will quench human cravings;
That raiders of body & soul, & you and I hear the Voice of God breathing Peace
Above Paragraph written by N.D.
Thankyou both, you amazing humans. We wish you safety, joy, & peace but above all, we wish you Jesus.
Holding hands together, palms warm with praying, the way children do- urgent, necessary quick, like they truly believe. Chocolates are needed now, or Pa needs his leg repaired, or a bicycle needs a new bell. Or it shouldn’t rain at noon today, or we need a puppy. Now. A child persists, he believes, he sees it happening and will not leave. He tugs sleeve, he makes a mess with tears and lip, he may even bruise his toe reaching for the answer. Holding hands with You the way….
… a child prays, asking Love, Joy, Peace, asking that Humanity finds You;
asking that wounds become a healing place and death lose its proverbial sting, in the fact of Your Face my God my God.
Asking like children do, I hold Your Hand, the One nailed at the Cross. I ask if I may- healing for Peta’s daughter and job for Diran, for hospitals and govts to work well and for me to never stop holding Your Hand even after my shopping list is done, esp after that.
I tried to pray out loud but there were no words, just clouds, walking loud into my eyes, like Tears of Heaven
Yes I love mountains, hills: but this trip was clouds. From where we were at Tipu Sultan’s Sunrise Point,
For one who is scared of heights, maybe I’m cured? 4600 ft felt good
She replied, “Ma, will it feel like rain inside a cloud?”
Stay warm, safe, blest! Pray.
After the rains it was there. Some call it Peace. There were frogs and crickets downstairs and the distant siren of an ambulance:
…oh drippy leaves, rain drops among raggedy city silhouettes; an earth washed, rinsed. Today am still inhaling that Quiet in gulps. It has been a while since Nature hit me this way.
We are ragged with Change and human conclusions. Yet thru the madness, if you and I would pause, our inner eyes could still find Beauty gazing back at us! Thank You Father God for Your impossible perfection; and for reminders of Your changeless Love arriving every dawn and dusk with determined Grace.
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;
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.
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.
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…. “
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.
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.
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.
With Him it is Eternal DaySpring.
“Vineyard of Prayer“, my new painting / fav place.
Will be writing 365 verses for each day of the coming 365 (wish me consistency); a book of conversations with God. Vineyards are places of productivity, of pruning and eventually the wine of soul comfort. Where am I going with this? Unsure, but it is a call and am taking it.
After another season of lockdown, and losing more people then we bargained for, am losing all shy and doing the thing my soul loves: putting down what I really feel in the presence of God. So, blogging might take a back seat till there’s a way to breathe between new paint knives and words. I’ve been thinking on the colors of prayer:
viridian green: for me those are deadly greens. Ocean blues, and lighter tones: /like dawn after a midnight, and the Light of God reaching into me. Empty pots, far left as at the Wedding of Cana, where Christ spoke new wine into those emptied pots: ay. He saves the best for last!
Vineyards are a Pact between Soil & Gardener &Vine. It is a crushing process, rich with learning, with leaning heavy on the Vine, drawing from the source of Life.
John15: “I am the Vine, you are the branches. Vitally connected to Me,… Ask and it shall be given…”
Yes I’m asking Peace, Love and Joy for all, but not without Him- the Vine that Lifts my soul.
I’ve always been fascinated by leaves : fat leaves, thin shrunk ones lopping off branches or in the ground, going in the wind. The older these things get, the more they call, they remind me of some thing….
With the pandemic and ensuing ‘plantdemic’ as a local journalist called it today, I too fell headlong into the flora of life. NJ my husband pampered our inner child: we got us succulents and palm. My sis brought home baby vine. Easter gave us Fern and Ivy, creepers, climbers, fabulous darlings with leaves and none of them dried. I hadn’t noticed but when we visited a local farm, I collected these jewels👇🏼pressing them in an old diary:
came handy at our Haven Fellowship fasting & prayer. (More on dried leaf below).
For me it was a fast from Negativity👈🏽 the thing is in my matrix like a mother.
Though, if you met me and we talked over lemon tea you’d leave with the sun coming out your ears, for all my miracles:
the time my heart got physically healed. And my spine. And how that one onion finds me when I need it, oh our beautiful blind son, and our daughters’ songs with the Psalmist in it, and yet before the sun can set I have a new worry surfacing harmlessly like an ant out of nowhere.Ask NJ.(We went for our second vaccine and it hurt nothing, it hurt nothing so much I really and totally wondered whether she gave me that Vaccine at all. Was it a trick. They were short on it too, weren’t they? NJ had to not only convince me he personally saw it, but that he had a pic to prove it).
It happened again these past 21 days as I aimed at kicking Negatives out. Not easy.
Being one who thinks in images, I used the dried leaves from farm: each to symbolize a need that needed a healing.
Biblically, ‘leaves’🍃 go for healing: Revelation 22:2, NIV: “down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.”
During our 21day fast, as I kept away from Negativity, I took out my farm pressed leaves, stuck one on each page, with a request for a specific need. Twas officially Repair Time.
As we went from one day to the next it was the toughest exercise, to steer away from sagging thoughts/ nail them at the Cross/ ask Christ to heal; to each query He gave me two choices: to succumb, or host His healing.
I realized how deep the Human psyche can doubt the power of invisible healing, all because we tend to gravitate towards memos from our monsters: 👥🗣
Tobiah who follows me via childhood, calling me this & that publicly. Sanballat snorting with self righteousness. Christ was asking me to pray healing on Tobiah & Sanballat. Yeah that was two nice dried leaves. I half heartedly prayed ; twas like praying for Covid to heal of itself! There was no external change except that a new emotion arrived, a wish that they’d really meet Jesus.
While the day’s prayer went up, so did my foreboding dark cloud that followed me from room to room. That cloud had hung in my hair, had drooped my lip and haggard’d my heart. Now it lifted.
I ran out of leaves but began finding one new leaf every morning in our balcony. Was God saying I had one more area to sort? Yes! Every morning a new dried leaf was there, and the same kind of leaf I’d collected at the farm!
Now we near 21 days this Sunday, I have more Drying Darlings than I’ll need, and He’s reminding me that there are needs out there, not just my own personal ‘negatives’ but a nation full.
As I write this my daughter gives me three she found in the floor.
These are rose leaves from our wedding anniversary flowers. 35 years, yes quite something. (Allow me to indulge: That’s a Trinity Reminder that we need to totally allow Them to work via our tiny existence…)
Teach me Lord. My heart trips with new emotions for my country & 550 tribes, for an Earth in a Time like never before.
This Post was Titled the way it was, because without Belief it is no use praying at all and expecting any answer;
I’m looking at every Persona of Faith in the Bible- Moses and Abraham and Paul and Peter ….none asked for cars and houses or jewelry … they stalked Red seas, slung Goliaths, slammed Pharaoh, brought down Manna, prayed rain …for others‘ welfare. They didn’t care whether they were healed or not, they didn’t bother to stop at personal imprisonment or stoning. They blest their jailer, and yelled joy till prison chains and floors hiccuped with an earthquake. Some of them died with a smile in their lips, no dying man or woman can fake that. That’s an inner fire that can warm the coldest day. The fire of belief.
We have these two choices, we believe in nothing, or something. Either way we believe. Whichever we choose, will exert its power over us. There’s Death, and there’s Life.
Beloved, choose Life?
It has been a 365 of the Unusual. When Lockdown and Covid began its agenda on us all, I prepared for a season of quiet, introspection.
But that changed. It was a year of meeting new people in all kinds of places. There were women with burns’ accounts that broke me before I could put that in stories for them, there was the young man who called at 12 midnight about his dad with the virus, and we watched that dad get better! Yeah Faith walked in with wide arms and I had to be held, had to be taken where I’ve never been before. The Govt said ‘Stay home’, we shivered, sanitized, then followed the call outdoors, whenever. A funeral, a wedding, a prayer meet, a birthday. Veggie stalls and Mall, nothing looked the same again. Not even WhatsApp. Not Gmail. Instagram. Our words were changing like our worlds. Overnight we feared the same thing, the same way.
Blindness didn’t seem as daunting. Education and fashion trends took a Lil walk someplace else. Protocols changed. We wore pajamas to zoom meets, lipstick ‘neath mask? Ugh. We stared at leaf and sunrise. Sunsets and rain. Everything seemed changed, re- arranged. We met loneliness on new terms. We became beggars for blessings, for Grace. Praying happened with acceptance from people who shirked its very stance. We thought about existence, pain,humanity. We wouldn’t forget George Floyd, we couldn’t look past emotional and other poverties. And Isolation. We became old and young at the same time: we were sifted like wheat in sieves that did not stop.
“What is,life?” The Poet asked. A Sparrow replied,”Transient, like I.” “Us!We!” Said the Atheist. “Aha.” Cried the Preacher. “Ouch.” Wept the sinner. “Amen.” Said the Prayerer, before we all sat down to sanitize our psyche, nodding heads and elbows for the high 5s we could not high 5.
Somewhere in that, I found Josh Garrels whom I absolutely fan!
Have not been much of a ‘fan’ ever, must confess. Except for ice cream, and the plant kingdom. Heard his ‘Freedom,’ & Born again if you haven’t please do. This one that screamed for Cover👇🏼in a day, happened so fast, hadn’t time to even know i could be videoed (pardon spatial mess, uncombed-ness, and son Joh sit/rocking like a lotus in yellow Tee:) he continues to inspire with his brand of innocent fire. I thank You Lord for every reminder that Your arms work via my feeble ones, if am willing.
These Lyrics have me forever. Origin: Teresa of Avila who survived epilepsy till she succumbed at 67- notorious for her wit and joie de vivre….
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.
Two minutes to sundown, my roses have bloomed, two tiny strawberry blossoms under honeysuckle all in our garden balcony in the sun going down, I’m staring
staring at Time thats raced, stalled, touched everything, and left this moment untouched by its arms. Am staring at news here and there about Farmers in the streets furious at somethings, staring at a sky gaudy with pink gold as if nothing matters;
as if its all still too beautiful to get ugly. Somewhere in the trees a new bird calls; I cannot distinguish its cry. It has a blue black tail and hat, all the size of my palm. Tomorrow I must paint again after we’ve boxed giveaway clothes to a Place called Liz’s Trust where a single woman with a tiny face and long arms Care takes 50 children in a house with green painted windows and lemon yellow terrace. Its my new beautiful thing: Liz’s Trust. The woman’s voice reminds me of this bird’s, not in its tone but freedom. As if there were no new 70% stronger Covid wave or Avian Flu: or questions searing colonies of humans waiting to dance again like they used to in buses and offices and bazaars.
The sun dips behind a family of palm trees as the sky sulks then dims. The new blue bird twips one last time then back flips into a gorgeous frizzed thorn tree. I’m hungry for some fruit but still can’t stop staring at colors turning slate gray, shining in the aftermath of dusk, in the memory of Light…
it is chilly. January in my city is like that, a foot in summer, but not yet. Leaves are gold, red, brown, confused and happily. I lean in a small breeze; it stammers in the curtain then settles in my shoulder. Before the day ends officially, freeze the moment- hold it close, treasure its gift. It is kind and true like its always been. Its motives are pure- it just needed to meet you, was made for you. Every leaf and piece of color, every sound and scape, made for you and me, but we are distracted by the lives of distractions. We are attracted to these; don’t ask me why. Maybe we’re just staring at some things more than others. Maybe if we chose what to stare at…maybe if we re-grouped priorities, maybe if we got away a bit, to get back to where we began, to Creations’ core, and where we first saw Beauty….maybe then we’d remember how beautiful life is…