January slipped by … and I have grown

A full month of the new year has gone by.  Did I catch even a part of it as it slipped away…?

If I were count  my ‘productive days’ by the measure I used before, I am sure I would barely add up a handful of days when I accomplished everything I set out to do.

But today,  I somehow don’t feel like counting successful’ days by what I have achieved externally but rather by what I have become.   Sure, completing tasks that have been on my to do list for ages, does give a feeling of satisfaction, completeness, even fleeting joy. The wall that I was thinking of raising  to hide an unpleasant view has been completed.  How can I not feel content?  Car registration papers which the department had messed up finally sorted after 9 months of to and fro.  Real relief!  Pursued my love of clay by joining two programmes – one with restricted studio time, the other unlimited mucking around time.  Therapeutic fun.   Many other things got done too  including moving back on my own after being with my sister for six years,  so yes … last year as a whole was fairly productive.

It also had some real jolts – like me falling 12 ft off  a safari truck onto rock hard surface due to  sheer carelessness (a,k,a, stupidity.)   I should not have stood on the side bars to start with and then I was so engrossed in clicking, I stopped holding on.  The cosmos came to meet me as I fell backwards and my head bounced off bone dry ground,  My neck and spine felt separated from my body as I  lay inert, frozen, unable to move. As I slowly regained awareness, and kept whispering ‘Jesus help me‘ I thought the angels were calling me to enter into His presence,  but it was only the guide frantically urging me to get up and move – FAST – as  water buffaloes, disturbed by the commotion, were stampeding towards us.  Technically, I should not have moved until I was checked out, but given the urgency,  allowed them to move me in the best way they could before the buffaloes stamped my body-print in the earth. 

So …. 

“As I sit beside the fire and think
Of all that I have seen 
In meadows flowers and butterflies
In summers that have just been”

I realise that incredibly, I came out of that incident and the last year unscathed.  I could so easily have been a “has been” –  dead or crippled – but that was spared me.   Did it change me?  Perhaps it did.

Other incidents too have worked on me.   I tried to wish my friend in Jamaica on her birthday only to find out I was a tad too late.  She had succumbed to her cancer the previous week. That was quite a punch in the solar plexus or what ever it is that knocks you out. And then,  just when I  decided to make contact with seven or eight other colleagues  from my stint in Jamaica, I found that ALL were  ‘no longer around’.

They had not been in my life – though oft times in my thoughts these past 23 years since I left,  so why did I feel despondent, futile?   I guess it brought home to me how fleeting is this life that we try to hold onto and make something of with external goods and possessions without being mindful of the things that really matter.

My brother bought the house next door to mine and we had such joyous expectations.  Now, he is not even certain he will be residing here but is thinking of returning to Australia.  Another sinking feeling.  It is not even a permanent farewell but reminds you of the pain of severance which will come one day.  Life is evanescent . How much attention do we pay to the things that really matter? 

I used to measure what I achieved externally. Now I feel the need for a different measure. The measure of our inner dispositions, the love and joy we spread, the relationships that we build and foster, the care of the environment around us (people and nature)  and the journey – the route – by which we are arriving at our final and eternal destination.

And so Yes  … January has gone by.  It has been most productive for I believe I have grown.

(Tolkien’s poem which reflects my thoughts and from which I quoted earlier is given below . minus last verse for I am looking ahead to the rest of the journey not for the past to return.

“I sit beside the fire and think
Of all that I have seen
Of meadow flowers and butterflies
In summers that have been

Of yellow leaves and gossamer
In autumns that there were
With morning mist and silver sun
And wind upon my hair

I sit beside the fire and think
Of how the world will be
When winter comes without a spring
That I shall ever see

For still there are so many things
That I have never seen
In every wood in every spring
There is a different green

I sit beside the fire and think
Of people long ago
And people that will see a world
That I shall never know

― J.R.R. Tolkien”

The Edwards and Ranils of this world

have much in common.  Both are bachelors.

Both visited us last week.  Edward – a Christian came on the 24th before going to his village for the holidays.  He is not married, has no immediate family and no fixed dwelling. He stays wherever he is offered a bed ‘free’ or at low cost.

Ranil – a Buddhist – visited after Christmas.  He lives nearby with his mother and brother. Continue reading

I am a child of the Universe ….

To imagine I am a child of this universe !!

The stunning Cosmic Glow of the Carina Nebula

 Words for Life

I first came across the wisdom of Max Erhman’s Desiderata on a post card at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, in 1982. The words inscribed themselves into my subconscious, with the stanzas rising to the surface at different times.

I recently found myself humming ‘You are a child of the universe’ whilst watching the awesome night sky*, amazed and humbled to be part of this incredible universe. The tune refused to go away, reminding me again of wealth of philosophy and wisdom in these words which I’d like to share with those who have not read it:

I strongly recommend you listen first to the ‘reading’ and rendition of the chorus which truly transcends daily living.  ENJOY  …”STRIVE TO BE HAPPY’‘ as you start your week  🙂

       Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
       As far as possible without surrender     be on good terms with all persons.
       Speak your truth quietly and clearly;   and listen to others,
       even the dull and the ignorant;   they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons,   they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,   you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;   for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;   and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.   Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;   for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,   gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,   be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,   whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,   it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.    Strive to be happy.

Credit:  Carina Nebula ESO/T. Preibisch   http://www.eso.org/public/images/eso1329b/

Asylum Roads

Andy Mersdon has penned some inspiring words – Asylum Roads – to be sung to the tune of what he calls the annoyingly catchy tune ‘Country Roads’ by John Denver .

It really highlights the plight of refugees risking their lives to a place they long to be …

Almost made it, across this ocean,
One more hardship, here comes the monsoon season.
Children die here, in their mothers arms
Will we find a nation, to stop this awful harm?

If we can’t help in any other way, let’s at least whisper a prayer daily for those on the high seas today leaving everything behind in search of asylum  …  refuge, … freedom.

Ocean breeze, take me there 
To the place, I long to be 
Safe asylum, distant refuge

Take me there
On pure blue seas.

Poetry is my aeroplane

Written in response to a Stanford University prompt to write new words (politically motivated) to an easily recognisable tune.  I have chosen John Denver’s annoyingly catchy tune “Country Roads” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vrEljMfXYo).

Asylum

Almost made it, across this ocean,
One more hardship, here comes the monsoon season.
Children die here, in their mothers arms
Will we find a nation, to stop this awful harm?
 
Ocean breeze, take me there,
To the place, I long to be.
Safe asylum
Distant refuge, take me there
On pure blue seas.
 
One more shoreline, shines before our eyes
The Christian people will surely grant our lives.
But dark ships stop us and point us back to sea,
Reject our arrival and more horrors we will see.
 
Ocean breeze, take me there,
To the place, I long to be.
Safe asylum
Distant refuge, take me there
On pure blue seas.
 
You surely hear our…

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A MURDER MOST FOUL

Journalist and Editor of the Sunday Leader Lasantha Wickrematunge was shot in the head by cold blooded killers whilst on his way to work on 8th January 2009

In an uncanny editorial published posthumously a few days later like a voice from the grave, Lasantha predicted his murder and laid the blame for it squarely on the government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa – our incumbent president.     http://www.thesundayleader.lk/20090111/editorial-.htm

It seems a strange twist of fate, that the same government will be holding a Presidential election on the anniversary of  the murder most foul: 8th January which the sooth sayers have apparently fixed as the most auspicious date.   Dejavue ?

An article I wrote which was published in the Sunday Times in January 2009  is being posted here as a reminder to us to follow the call of conscience for the truth will set us free.

LEST WE  FORGET …. 

lw

WHERE WAS I WHEN THEY CAME FOR MY BROTHER?

My soul is searching … pouring over innumerable articles that have been penned in papers and on the net … hoping to find a word that might still the restlessness I feel following the vicious and vengeful slaying of a fearless journalist.

Why do I feel this way?  I did not know Lasantha personally though I occasionally read his articles and knew about his courageous investigations.

Of the many thousands of words spoken and written since his murder, some strike home – sear home – seeking an acknowledgement.  Echoes taken up by D Mark and others – where was IWhere was I when Lasantha needed another voice to support him?   Where was I “when they came for him”?   Where have I been all this time …like Nero carrying on blithely whilst my country descended into darkness?   Continue reading

My Aunt Lorraine

Aunty Lorraine

Glamorous, beautifully dressed and always full of life, zest. A gorgeous purple-hued tint in her hair. Pint sized beauty. Always chuckling, laughing. Teasing. Or giving advice. Sometimes unsought which got her into trouble.

Grandmother’s favourite.  Her youngest child who went to England and whose enlarged photo hung in a prominent place in the Dining Room.  There were pictures of everyone there but somehow Aunty Lorraine’s picture was a little larger. Continue reading

Should I pray, petition and plead ?

Should I pray, petition, plead ?

The question has been on my mind these past few days.  A  loved one in pain has been asked to do a full bone scan to check for recurrence of the dreaded C cell.  Yes, Cancer.

It was discovered early and she was operated 18 months ago.  Everything  seemed fine but this pain and the doctor’s request has me worried.  Should I just trust that God the Healer and Loving Father will surely take care of his child?  Or should I pray, petition, plead for healing?

The answer depends on who I conceive God to be.   “Who do you say I AM?”  A benefactor who answers our petitions? Continue reading