Category Archives: Life

THE PRESENT

 

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The blur of the past

Sustains the present

So I presume,

A storehouse of

good memories

And junked failures

 

Pray

Are these stepping stones

To a bright future ?

Can we bask

only in success;

And dismiss failures ?

 

Who can fathom the future

Except the One who is Timeless

His Presence sustains

Past, Present and future

A Gift to be cherished

Forever

 

He is the Alpha and  the Omega

The beginning and the end

Who holds us in the palm

Of His Hands;

Do  I trust Him?

Now ?

 

Combat or surrender

 

‘For God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of  power and love and self control.’ ( 2 Timothy 1:7)

‘In Him we live and move and have our being.’ ( Acts 17:28)trekking

 

Times of change,

Challenges abound;

Do I fear?

 

At any age,

I hear of

Courage with a C

 

But there is a C

Cancer which oft

may counter Courage

 

 

How do I face it?

Fight or flight ;

Combat or surrender

 

The only way I see it,

Trust in His Spirit

Of power , love and self control!

 

He is ever near,

Holds us in his loving arms,

As a Father to a son

 

Am I willing to share this pain

With him on the cross

As  grace in abundance  flows

 

Accept with courage

And when unbearable

Surrender

‘into your hands, Lord’

 

And take each day as a gift

Not forgetting

‘To live is Christ and

To die is gain ‘

 

I am assured that its better to  surrender into His loving arms at all times, as

‘In him we live and move and have our being’ (Acts 17:28)

 

An Arrival.. New Life

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The date 19th September2018 is very significant.
I was thrilled to get the news of the arrival of my 3rd grandchild on 19th September morning .
I met with my sharing group of our community for our monthly meeting that evening. We shared on the 3rd chapter of Colossians .
The 2 themes were how we look at the old self ,which we were and how we become the new self, literally with new clothes.. how do we discard our old ways ,
Quote: ‘But now you must get rid of all such things- anger , wrath, malice, slander, abusive language from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have stripped off the old self and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in the image of its Creator. (Colossians 3:8-10)
and live with lives of compassion.
Quote: ‘As God’s chosen one’s, holy and beloved clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive . Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts , To which indeed you were called in the one body.’(Colossians 3:12-15)

After the round of sharing… we concluded that there were areas where change had taken place and some where we still needed to change. Anger, and patience were some common themes .
But we realised that we are all work in progress , requiring The Master’s help at all times.
One of us beautifully shared that in the end , it is love that helps us to see others in new ways ….
Quote : ‘Love is patient; love is kind; love is not an proud or boastful, arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable, or resentful,; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing but rejoices in the truth. It bears all thing , believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends.’ (1Corinthians 13:4-8)
The inability to love leads to poor relationships and further many more pitfalls to sin .
Jesus came that we may rise to new life ….
We start with a clean slate ,when we acknowledge our sinfulness and the need for forgiveness and to forgive others .
I was thrilled to get the news of the arrival of my 3rd grandchild on 19th September morning .
He is such a chubby and healthy baby boy.
As I was shown his pictures , and was told his name to be given:
This struck me:
1. He is being named Daniel Michael ….surname Jordan
Daniel is my favourite prophet of the biblical times…. why ? Because he was courageous and spoke for the truth .
Michael is the name on both sides of Daniel’s parents family tree….and of course Michael is also the angel to fight against evil .
2. When a child comes into the world, the little one comes with a clean slate….This is new life.
We can also start with a clean slate in life no matter our past failings .
John 3:16
‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son , so that everyone who believes in him ,may not perish but may have eternal life.’
Think about it , every day is an opportunity to start afresh……

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!’

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?

 

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.