All posts by viewvin

About viewvin

Always looking ahead with hope! having learnt from the past, and living while learning in a faithfilled present.

Why slow down

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My favorite cup

Years ago I remember reading a comic strip with some humour to it…Slo Jo was a cowboy, who faced the Ketchup Kid…. It was not the usual gunfight however. Here the test was on who could down the burger faster…    The Kid finished his burger rapidly….and then  watched Slo Jo relishing his burger with Ketchup   , taking his own time… the lesson for the Kid… , enjoy the burger…what is the hurry?

I think , many of us are immersed in work, and have a problem of time… we  become busy, stressed and worry about work to be done…

I am sure we all had coffee/tea breaks..but was it like the Ketchup Kid or like Slo Jo

Often the best moments are when  one actually savours the moments either alone or with friends.

I have tried coffee from  roasted coffee beans ground and filtered…. with a dash Sheridan .

……slowly like Slo Jo…while I smell the coffee, savour the taste ..and appreciate the situation around me… my friends, colleagues, family or just connecting with nature …

Time passes by… I see some of my good friends who have worked hard and done well in their careers. One case stands out. Today he has been overwhelmed with multiple health problems. And worse still  he has fractured his hip, and now  compelled to  bed rest.

I wonder at such traumatic changes. Does it really matter, how much I have achieved?

Have I savoured the times I enjoyed with family and friends.

Importantly have I looked at my eventual goal in life?

This will not be easily accepted. We plan for holidays and so much more.

“Do you know where you are going?” These are famous words asked by the renowned basketball player Pete Mavarich, also called ‘Pistol Pete’, because of his brilliance in the game. He continued “ I know where I am going, and am preparing for it” A week later he died.

Our lives change when we are aware of our destination.

I too am aware where I am going, and I will certainly ensure that I prepare  for it every day.

Yet often when I even mention this, my family  does not like to hear any of it.

But is not death certain? Do you fear it?

There is no need to fear. Life does not end , but only changes.

‘If our hope in Christ has been for this life only, we are the most unfortunate of all people.

But Christ has in fact been raised from the dead , the first-fruits of all who have fallen asleep. (1Corinthians 15:19,20)

When this perishable nature has put on imperishability, and when this mortal nature has put on immortality, then the words of scripture will come true: Death is swallowed up in victory. Death where is your victory? Death where is your sting? Now the sting of death is sin, and sin gets its power from the Law. So let us thank God for giving us the victory through our Lord  Jesus Christ.

(1Corinthians 15:54-57)

Are you afraid?

Then remember these words of Jesus  ‘  I am the living bread which comes down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I shall give is my flesh  for the life of the whole world.’ (John 5:51)

Jesus also assures us ‘ And know that I am with you always: yes to the end of time.’ (Matthew 28:20b)

So it certainly does not matter, how high or how fast one paces one’s life. Reality strikes, when one is faced with the inevitable.  Reflective moments are necessary; so when  you next take a coffee break, take time to smell the coffee and let your thoughts flow.

Patience

I asked for patience,

And my patience was tested.

It showed me

my lack of it

So will I still ask for patience?
And yet again see how far am I from it.
But try I must,
For true victory is
To conquer oneself.

How about wisdom;
Why not pray for it.
Money cannot buy it,
Just like love cannot be bought.
For wisdom comes from above.

And love?
It’s the only thing that lasts
Till the end.
Love overcomes evil,
And when one loves

You and I begin to learn Patience!

DSC_0034 (2)                           ‘Patience’ of a different kind- when I  photographed the butterfly!’

An Artist – an encounter

 

You see a painting and then wonder at its meaning.

So I was privileged to meet Jamie Treadwell, and he shared how he works through process to reach a finish.

I asked him “ Do you have the end in mind while working through the process?”

“Not always”  was his reply.

He happens to be a Business/Life Coach.  He applies the Process to this aspect of his work too..

One example is using Music in his work as a coach, particularly a workshop with a live Orchestra as a metaphor for business.

He explains so well how creating harmony with instruments can be used as a process to study human behaviour in a team.

When the musicians play in harmony, what is our observation?

Naturally the entire reception of music is a wholesome one signifying Good organisation and team work.

As an example, anyone playing out of tune will display disharmony.

Also if all play aggressively then there is total disarray and is not conducive to

quiet and soothing environ and unity.

He was working on a cover for a music  album . Naturally the lyrics of the song needed to match , and he brought out this aspect with a boat moving towards its destination.

The Painting of Jesus on The cross, struck me with the passion of Jesus coming out so well. This was done during a live session with swift movements of his hand , in a matter of a few minutes

The suffering so real and intense.

Many paintings have a poem or lyric Jamie writes before it is painted. This comes with contemplation.

Abstract paintings with intense colours gives birth to more processes leading to the subsequent painting .

I saw mountains and rivers, and a raft going upstream.

Jamie shared that as an Artist one gets quite vulnerable.; just like an author, whose writing reveals his innermost thoughts.

Jamie is a Lifelong Brother with the Servants of the Word , which is a committed religious Christian order, who help in pastoring covenant communities around the world.

For this reason he also serves as business Coach… and all his paintings help in fundraising for various causes., especially for  youth outreaches.

With a tug of heart, (I loved the painting of JESUS), so the best I could get as a souvenir, was a photograph of the artist with his painting of Our Redeemer!

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Fare thee well Jamie!

The Waiting Game

 

(Rewards for patience)

Nothing comes easy ; specially when you have  to wait  for permissions, or sanctions . All around us , people speak of getting things done and facilitating the process by paying a fee ( I call it a bribe)

Do you agree ?. Does the  time factor decide whether it is right to bribe or not.

Who is guilty? The giver or the taker ? If there was no giver, would there be a taker?

My experience still upholds the age old ways of patience, persistence and prayer. Believe me it works .

Outstanding cases  for permissions are from the Municipal Corporation, Provident Fund department, and Collector’s Office. There are good people in these places. Please do not prejudge them, and conduct yourself on that aspect. Follow all the guidelines, and also followup; even if it means going 10,15 or 20 times..

When you respect others you  will be respected for your patience and honesty….why honesty. Because the giver of a bribe is dishonest and causes another to be dishonest.

Be happy when you taste success for your patience. The Lord above will bless you abundantly.

If anyone tells you that times have changed….please remember, honesty, respect, and love of neighbor will never lose value.

There is another angle to seeking expeditious help in such matters. Have you tried praying?

Not only for yourself, but even for those from whom you seek these permissions/sanctions.

After all authority is bestowed , and God answers prayers

When  the shoe is worn  on the other foot, you will see the difficulty that such authorities face in being just and honest. Most often , they have to deal with people who are ready to pay their way through , but they also face pressures from political sources in power.

Our ability to respect authority and accept the requirements for sanctions will be a big help for those who will eventually grant your requests.

I have been a beneficiary of following this precept, and have great peace of mind…

So remember, its always two way..

The waiting game is all about patience, trust and respect..

The correct use or abuse of the chair, will decide on two people : take a guess!

Do you believe? Are you ready?

Then be prepared for the ‘Waiting Game’.

Who are you?

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Who are you

Is the question today;

Which region, country, or culture?

Is there a difference?

I meet men and women,

Rich and poor,

Of different race, religion, nationalities.

 

Who are your parents ?

Where is your family?

What binds or separates you

From others?

Can you understand?

I don’t !

 

I struggle to know,

Why?

If we belong to the human race,

Is there a difference in

Being human or just  a human being!

What is more powerful?

Love or hatred!

 

Have you considered :

To be strong is to be resilient,

That love overcomes fear ,

Behind every face ,

There is a story to tell.

We belong to one big family.

 

So I ask again.

Who are you?

Do you understand?

 

The Trees Passer

 

The little fellow Tim the sparrow flitted about searching for tasty morsels from the plants ; alongside was  Tiny his partner also foraging.  Most of  the gang of crows led by Doug unofficially claim the area of the huge Mayflower tree as their own.

Then far above we have a visitor McMoran. He is of medium size and has a tinge of green on his wings and head. He has an awkward squark and darts from one branch to another. Do I know his breed? He looks good and is very rarely seen in the vicinity.

What can you expect then? Lets count Doug and his gang. ..about a dozen, and getting into a frenzy.

“ Is that how you guys welcome me , a tourist ? “ questions McMoran

“ Says who? Are  you are a  tourist? “ caws Doug. “ You look like a trespasser.”

An upset McMoran squawks back “ And who decides who am I”

“ The May flower tree  has existed since the past 60 years; my great-grandparents nested here.” Replied Doug.

A nonchalant McMoran continued moving among the topmost branches . Who can stop him?

The chorus of caws increases, and strangely….subsides . The gang of crows realized that , numbers do not matter.    Courageous McMoran did not get blown away  by the aggressive crows.

What about Tim and Tiny. They finished their search for tasty  morsels and have enjoyed their time in the sun. Did they get overawed by the number of crows and their size?

Each is gifted differently. The ability to  use their gifts will decide their  future.  Every weakness is compensated by a strength.  What about the crow?  Does his appearance deceive you?

The crow is one of the most intelligent and sturdy birds. No wonder , beauty in this case does not matter. They care for their young and mourn for those who die.

Sparrows though small, send their young out early and they begin to fend for themselves.

Who was the visitor ? Dear reader, you need to help me as I can only describe this quiet tourist.

Lets hope he comes again with more of his kind. And may he be welcomed by all the natives of the good ole May Flower tree.

FREEDOM

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‘Ye shall know the truth and the truth will set you free.” ( John 8:32)

Man has fought for freedom. To be free from all that chains one’s liberty.

So what is freedom? I wonder at the world around me. But then I see the birds in the sky , some on the trees above me. They languish  among the foliage. Their only  concerns are for the next morsel of food or to build a nest for the young. They stretch and sing and fly to different places.

I hear the screech of the parrot. Does anyone tell it to stop its sound ? Who defines boundaries and territories? Each one to his own place in this land. Who governs their lives? Who provides for their food, shelter and protection?

Yes no government can meet with standards to govern nature. Its only our beloved Father God our Creator who knows best. He has given each a measure of ability to live.

So what is freedom?

I may share what is not freedom. When a man subjucates another to deprive him of living a full life- and forces his way of thinking on another; then it is the beginning of slavery. It is also when truth is covered by lies, so that the common man is deprived of knowing his rights .

Any wonder that Rabindranath Tagore in his poem shared  his view on  ‘true freedom’

Where the mind is without fear

…Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high

Where knowledge is free

Where the world has not been broken up into fragments

By narrow domestic walls

Where words come out from the depth of truth

Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection

Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way

Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit

Where the mind is led forward by thee

Into ever-widening thought and action

Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake’ ……..

Man begins to live a life of freedom where there is trust and no fear.

So when you know the truth , the truth shall set you free.

Pilate said to Jesus, ”What is truth?” (John 18:38)

Have you sought this answer?

Seek the Lord first and you will find all the answers.

‘’ Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you shall find; knock, the door will be opened to you.

For the one who asks always receives; the one who seeks always receives; the one who knocks will always have the door opened to him. ‘  (Luke 11:9-11)

And Jesus goes on to say ….’ If you then who are evil, know how to give your children what is good, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

So when you effectively pray and ask then and only then
will you discover the truth and you shall be free indeed.

Then you will understand why the birds and the fish and animals  live a life free of worries.

They trust their Creator implicitly for all their needs.

You will know then, that there is no need to stress and strain over what to eat and what to drink and what to wear. ( Luke 11:29) Your heavenly Father well  knows  you need them(Luke11:30b)

Know also that there are consequences, when man is deprived of his liberty or freedom.

History is replete with examples , that highlight good or bad govenance.

So once again, “ You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free” . ( John 8:32)

Smell the Coffee

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I sit out on my terrace with the overhanging Gul Mohur tree. As I sip my coffee  and enjoy the grilled cheese  sandwich , I realize that I am  actually beginning to   smell the coffee.

The past two months have been so hectic, that there was just no time to stand (or sit)and stare. November and December vanished like the wind.

Memories flood back, and I savor all the visitors from far and near and specially my family visiting from London. Our home was so full ,  that naturally we were all out of our comfort zones but still happy.   A hasty hunt would either help discover things I needed  or leave  me dazed at being unable to do so.

It was a mix of meetings, both serious and also of fun. Travel became a part of this time, when we visited our home town in Goa. There was a week end at Matheran a hill station. And I did get an opportunity to walk ( a really long walk) with a Brother from London and was so fatigued that I also lost my favorite Nike cap. The most beautiful moment I treasure was to see my dining table surrounded by all my children and also two grandchildren. An eventful birthday celebration was preparing a ‘go jetters’ cake for my 4 year old grandson; he celebrated it with a few friends and later with the orphan children at Mother Teresa’s Asha Dhaan. My second daughter’s, birthday was eventful as her special friend proposed to her and there was an engagement the next day, in the presence of our two immediate families.

I wonder how these months passed. Christmas was so eventful ; there were moments of quietness in the Advent Recollection , Joyful  Thanksgiving services, Children’s Christmas parties, and one of the first ever…when the Eucharist was celebrated in the neighbourhood Cross Oratory for those of our sick and aged members who are unable to attend the church services.

These were times I was called upon to help in different ways. It was challenging but rewarding.

Then the New Year started with a bang!

We had our own Community Council meetings and Team meetings followed by presenting the Thrust for year 2018 for my church community. Through this also, it was only the Lord that I could rely for guidance .

And now as I gaze up to the widespread branches with the leaves providing cover from the midmorning sun, I see the pigeons, crows, wood barbets, all at peace.

Do they ever have a fast paced life? I see them preening their feathers. The crow cawing lazily. The wood barbet carefully observing me , a little away from the little round hole he pecked away in the bark, some days ago.

Looks like its time for his family to begin.

Then I remember this quote from  St Bernadette to her Sisters

“ Do not just be a channel for grace, but a reservoir, an overflowing reservoir. No sooner has a channel received grace than it pours it out. A reservoir waits to be filled up and then offers grace to those who come to draw from its superabundance.

If you do not act wisely, you exhaust yourself in senseless work.” (The Private Notes from the book ‘ A Holy Life –  The Writings of Saint Bernadette of Lourdes’)

Yes it makes sense to “smell the coffee” , with a friend and at times even when you are alone.

But really, are you ‘alone’ ?

‘ And know that I am with you always; to the end of time.’  ( Matthew 28:20b)

So the next time you have your coffee ( or even tea) savour the moment, listen……. and

……. and let your thoughts flow…………..

let your thoughts flow…………..

In Him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28)

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Life is a series of  stages and we move from one stage to another. I was young and had a different perspective towards age. Oft times I wondered why do retired people still seek to work when they should think of the many youngsters waiting to get suitable jobs.

However now the tables have turned. I am on the older side. Yes I still think it a good thing to help the young people get jobs. But then there are opportunities even for a person at my age. So which is better : to rust or to wear out.

I am reminded of this quote “ In Him we live and move and have our being.” So I begin to understand that at the different stages of life , the calling starts changing.

Its only when we are aware of the indwelling Holy Spirit that true wisdom and understanding begins  to take place. The Holy One helps me to discover more and more of the numerous gifts and talents that He has blessed me with. There is of course one corollary: Will I use this for myself selfishly or for the common good.

My perspective will change once I understand this. What I receive I share and help others.

The more I do this . the more am I blessed. The Dead Sea is an example of ‘receiving;’ without ‘sharing’ or ‘giving’. There is no life in the Dead Sea; this may also happen to a person who is selfish.

At this moment I thought of writing on the ‘Empty Nest’ Syndrome. But that would be a bit too pessimistic. When the Lord has blest me so much, who am I to cling to my children?

‘They come through you but not from you,

and though they are with you yet they belong not to you,

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,

For they have their own thoughts,

You may house their bodies but not their souls,

For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams’ ….quoting Khalil Gibran.

So this Christmas when my whole family returns to India , to celebrate with Anjean and I, it is indeed time to rejoice. I will not think that it is only for  a short time and after that back to a quiet existence. As one preacher said “ Live every moment” as every moment is a gift from the Lord.

Advent is indeed a time of preparation. In a bigger way it is a renewed waiting for the Child Jesus in our hearts. I am so excited as I will indeed see my  grandchildren Samuel and Mary Ann and my children. Memories flood back to my childhood, when I too waited for Christmas . I may not have understood the full meaning of Christmas, but at that time it was Toys, Sweets and Family time…..Santa Claus a fantasy , which collapsed when we turned 11years old and  told the truth. The birth of Jesus , gradually took on a deeper meaning.

So what next? Families will come and go….. Come January normalcy may return. But will it?

There is One who is changeless. Let the mountains and hills disappear, and the seas roar away; the biggest miracle awaits , when you and I encounter the Holy One.  I don’t think I will ever regret this aging process. (By the way, a child begins to get old from day one)

There will be challenges, victories and defeats, sufferings, and failing health….but wait a moment……I will share something very special …I am one day closer to meeting my Lord face to face. This is a very reassuring reality. Do I want to go to heaven ? Yes for sure.

Then I too realise that I cannot experience the next stage without dying. Are you afraid? Am I afraid? Well when I forget the truth of who is with me then these are the few moments.

So it is important to know “ In Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28) , then joy will take over from sorrow, and then we can look at every day with hope for eternity.

Is there no room in the Inn?

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‘and remember always to welcome strangers for by doing this, some people have entertained angels.’ ( Hebrews 13:2a)

What is it to host a visitor?  It means..  a willingness to give up some of your space.

Hosting with  great  desire and enthusiasm can have a tremendous impact on guests.

Our experience at our home in Mumbai, of caring for visitors from various countries, has given us  great joy. Some of these have helped us in our Community way of way of life  to be lived in the Christian context…in todays world..

Our love for hospitality has given Anjean and I the desire to  try our dishes from various  cuisines .  Dishing out these …to our guests is an added bonus , when positive comments flow in.

Our home is special….but our hearts are large enough to accommodate as often and as many as we can. Of course when it comes to surrendering our bedroom, it is a small sacrifice compared to the joy of hosting.

We are ably helped by Sushila,, but it is most often all hands on deck.

Our children have seen us hosting, and now do the same in their new homes..

Some of the remarks we heard from our guests are very amusing

“ Now tell me if I have got the ingredients right for this dish…while passing I got the aroma and think this is it.”

“ I eat what is placed before me” …no fuss at all.

“Wow, I am tasting  such hearty breakfast with eggs and bacon after a long time.” Being away from home.

“ Your pastas and swiss roll are exquisite”..

But the goan sausages and pullao always bring out the best comments.

This hosting experience has led us to  try our hand at hosting in Goa , through Airbnb , which is an international hosting site. For the past 20 years our apartment in Miramar was our holiday home. So it was only during the summer holidays that as a family , we visited Goa and spent at least a month ( for me only 15 days due to work )

The journey from Mumbai to Goa by car  was always an adventure.  We would load the car with practically everything needed, from the guitar, keyboard, violin , and cricket bats, badminton rackets etc. and all other requirements needed for a long stay.

Loading the car was a ceremony , the previous night. We then left early next morning with only one driver(myself) and a navigator( Anjean) …to tell me what was ahead, or keep talking to prevent me from sleeping on the wheel. At the rear , our 4 children would be seated. Stops for breakfast , midmorning tea, lunch and evening tea, ended with our arrival in Goa.

On the way if the children had any arguments , my reprimand followed with“ I will stop and offload any one fighting “  which would stall heated discussions for a better seat or to avoid the sun beating on the person affected.

Entry into Goa was the most thrilling moment. In the early days, we sailed in the steam ships which took 24 hours to reach Goa from Bombay ( now Mumbai),….the next morning , we awoke to  a view of the sunrise, white beaches and the beautiful entry into the Panjim bay of Betim…who can forget the green of the palm  trees and pine trees on the fringe.

Times have changed and now it is either the flight or rail or road ( bus/car)

The latest is the ‘Tejas’ – a luxury super fast train fully airconditioned , which reaches Goa in 9 hours.

As I write this I see the best of this Konkan region fully forested and rivers and lakes and even water falls, as the monsoon is just ending. The Tejas is particularly good for tourists , as one can see the scenery out of the huge glass windows. The interior is like an aircraft and toilets with hands free appliances…most importantly very clean. The waiters have colourful resort type uniforms and meals provided with alacrity.

We have started hosting at Miramar since only few months , and have had a wide variety of guests. It feels so good to know that they appreciate home comforts without the formality of the hotel experience.

Earlier we never installed any of the latest amenities, as it served only as a holiday home for us. However to meet the expectations, we upgraded this home to include all the requirements.

The most interesting part, is that we still get to stay as a family ,at our apartment when we decide. So my grown up children , specially Karen who is  the eldest with her own family, are overjoyed at this development. She was the one who encouraged us to start giving this apartment on the Airbnb .

Lino, our man , a brother to me, takes good care of our guests. He sets up the place and is there to welcome and assist in any way. Suzanne our neighbor also helps in any emergency, Aparna a simple man does a good job of cleaning and scrubbing the place .

Anjean and I are thankful to the Lord, that we can continue to serve in this way.  All the more, as we are now retired, and our apartment helps to earn some income.

I did not mention,that my entire career at work was in the hospitality line…The last being at the YMCA International House. I still remember our motto was to provide every guest a “Home away from home” .

Our greatest asset was our workforce and their focus was ‘ always to care for every need of our guests, with a smile.’

You are weicome to check out our home at Miramar on

http://abnb.me/EVmg/TRDWPO2k8A

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