One World, One love, One heart …

In a reflective poem titled Passport Privilege (response to the Daily Post prompt – Passport,) Ginger has drawn our hearts to the terrible plight of refugees who do not have passports :

Yet some people will never have one
invaded by a super power
they are only issued a flimsy piece of paper
that cannot be used for travel

Exiled from their homelands
their invaders ensure that nobody recognises them
unless they acquiesce to their demands!
Can you even begin to imagine life without yours?

and to the plight also of citizens from troubled lands – and  developing countries like ours  – who are always viewed with suspicion.

Others may have a passport from a troubled country
Suspicion aroused wherever they go
checked too often and regarded with fear

and continues with a clarion call

“Only global citizenship will allow free travel!

So no more flag and no more borders!
Recognise that there is only one human race
with many different tribes  …”

echoing words spoken by my father so many many years ago to which alas I paid no heed, blind to his dream of no flags, no borders …. and there definitely can be no walls if  we ‘open to each other with warm embrace? ”

Is this not the Kingdom of God on earth that our Saviour spoke of?

Let us resolve to actively live, and work and pray for that day, when the dream of One World, One  Love, One Heart is realised.

Video of another enlightened human – Bob Marley singing One Love attached for listening pleasure and inspiration.

 

 

 

 

 

Memories … pressed between the pages of my passport

The first thing that struck me when I pulled out my passports last week to complete a visa application, was how careless I have been with this document which is -literally and figuratively – a passport to the world.

My passport history was shocking.  I have had my passports stolen from my home when in Jamaica, and returnd by the police; stolen from my car in Sri Lanka and dumped in a nearby playground. Another time, my sister had  taken my passport to her office and I had to apply for a new one to travel as we could not find it in time.  Yet another passport had to be cancelled because ink had spilt on it.  And  …  the most heinous of all – I had lost my current passport,with all attached passports, in a place unknown.  Workmen found it many months later when digging the road outside my home.   My parents diligently tried to salvage what they could of the rain soaked passports by placing tissue paper amongst the wet pages for Visas are  – or should I say ‘were’ – a very precious commodity during the height of the civil war.  And I had numerous visas stamped between those pages.

Flipping through them last week,  squinting at the faded print, tying to read a defaced page and figure out the country seal, brought back so many memories.  These were not just visas. This was in many ways the story of my life pressed between the pages of my passport.

The most number of “permitted to land” stamps were obviously from Sri-Lanka and Jamaica –  my first and second home.  Running close was the US for you cannot travel to and from Jamaica without going through either US or UK.  US was my preferred option.  It was the back yard  – or should I be politically correct and say front yard of Jamaica – and the closest holiday and shopping destination.

And then there were the ‘stamps’  that reminded me of the sometimes crazy trips I did – like the time I had the brilliant idea of landing in Patmos, driving through the country and departing from Lanarca the next  day.  Unfortunately I had failed to do my homework.  All hotels were closed at the time my flight landed.  The airport actually closed behind me!!  I managed to hail the last passing taxi and persuade him to drive me cross country to Larnaca.  Tensed during the whole drive in dense darkness, I lost all further interest in exploring, and spent the rest of the time at the airport.  So much for my desire to see Cyprus 🙂

That same trip was actually filled with adventure.  I had applied for my Israel visa whilst in Spain as the Embassy in Jamaica could not handle my documents. (Since most travel to Sri Lanka touches Arab countries, the Israel passport is issued on a separate sheet of paper.  Such is politics !!!!)

I was grilled right royally on arrival at Tel Aviv as to why a Sri Lankan citizen, living in Jamaica had gone to Spain to get a visa for Israel and was returning through Cyprus.  To make matters worse I had no hotel booking, no contact address, nothing. They made my plans of adventure and taking each day as it comes sound very strange indeed. Unknown to me, there was meeting planned between the Israeli and Palestine leaders so security was extra cautious and my visit was  considered not only strange but also highly suspect. A Sri Lankan girl, travelling alone, under these circumstances … we have to check this out.

They sent me to a waiting room where I soon realised (from the clothes on the ground in the half-screen changing room type chambers) that they were intent on doing a full body search!  I went cold.  Using all my female intuition and expediency  … I burst into tears. They sent for an immigration officer who I remember knelt by my side to inquire what was the problem. At least he was kind. Very kind and concerned.  I told him I was not prepared to go through a body search and would just book an onward flight and leave directly, forgetting about my pilgrimage as I had no desire to enter the Holy Land with such restrictions.

He “cleared”‘ me. It was almost dawn when I got into a taxi and went to the hotel referred to me at the airport.  For the first time in all my travels, I stayed in my room the entire day, nervous to venture out.  Finally in the evening I went to the reception and they informed me it was safe to go out … the  tight security is relaxed once you enter the country.  So I went out.  The ‘normalcy’ of everything around me – except the helicopters and soldiers patrolling the beach – was like a splash of ice cold sea water.  I relaxed and prepared to explore Israel and the Holy City.

Memories rush to mind as I write.  How I found myself in a bus full of soldiers in the high security zone in the Gaza strip.  Seated in the last row, blocked by the high seats and absorbed in the scenery,  I had not noticed hat the bus had emptied itself of civilians and had filled with soldiers. I was ‘discovered’ when someone ventured to the back, and I was brought to the present moment by my awareness of a sudden ‘deafening’ silence:  a stillness and the feeling that people were staring at me.  They were!  A bus full of soldiers were staring at me.

A buzz of conversation followed when I looked up. The soldiers soon unravelled the fact that the driver had forgotten to put me off at the stop I had indicated to him. The bus had to turn around and drop me at the nearest civilian point.  Again, at least they were kind and concerned  – or maybe the driver was more conscious of his slip up.  Either way, I got off the firing line.

So many memories, pressed between the pages of my passport.  I am glad I saw the Daily Post prompt in the post Passport to Eternity today.  So many ‘takes’ on the prompt  … and now I am going back to my memories.

P.S.  I went back to Israel again on a planned pilgrimage. No drama like before.   But my first trip did stamped ME … not just my passport.

Awareness

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The most difficult thing is the world is to look, to see. We don’t want to look because if we do, we may change. If you look, you lose control of the life you are precariously holding onto. In order to wake up the one thing that you need the most….. is the readiness to learn something new.

The chances that you will wake up are in direct proportion to the amount of truth you can take without running away.

How much are you ready to take?  How much of everything you have held dear are you ready to have shattered without running away?  How ready are you to think of something unfamiliar?

The first reaction is one of fear.  It’s not that we fear the unknown.  You cannot fear something that you do not know.  Nobody is afraid of the unknown.  What you really fear is the loss of the known.  That’s what you fear.

Extract :  Awareness – The Perils and Opportunities of Reality.  by Anthony De Mello

Choosing happiness …

If you had to choose between happiness and something or someone that you desperately want,  what would you choose?

It seems such an inane question  … but think about it a moment.  Aren’t there things in life, decisions we make every day that we know will not bring us happiness  – and yet we make them?

As Anthony Mello de Mello puts it in his reflections on Awareness:

“…. we don’t  want to be happy.  We want other things. Or let’s put it more accurately:  We don’t want to be unconditionally happy. I’m ready to be happy provided I have this, that and the other thing. But this is really to say to our friend, or to our God or to anyone, ‘You are my happiness.  If I don’t get you, I refuse to be happy.’

It’s so important to understand that.  We cannot imagine being happy without those conditions.  That’s pretty accurate.  We cannot conceive of being happy without them. We’ve been taught to place our happiness in them.”   

So when you have to choose between happiness and something or someone that you want, what will you choose ?   Honestly …..

Should ‘auld’ acquaintance be forgot …

Already nine days into the New Year !!

I have been on ‘sabbatical'(how else to describe the inactivity on my site??) for some time,  but cannot let the dawn of a New Year pass without greeting ye ‘auld acquaintances’ and fellow bloggers.   I hope the year ahead will bring you your hearts desires if they be good for your soul.  May Peace, Love, Joy and Contentment be yours in abundance.

… lets have a cup of kindness yet for ‘auld lang syne’.     (and spare a few minutes to join in this awesome rendition.  You won’t be disappointed.)

Building that wall …

I am astounded at the unravelling of the forthcoming US presidential elections … and I am alarmed.  Like it or not, the US is a cultural lodestar for numerous other countries, particularly in the west, A.K.A  the ‘developed’ world.

Quite frankly, I am confused  as to how the likes of Donald Trump can even be considered seriously by US voters as a potential candidate.  I am not referring here to his policies – (and should clarify at the outset that I am an objective bystander with no interest in either candidate).

What I am astounded at is the character of the man.  Or should I say the lack of character. He was OK, even a celebrity, admired for his business acumen from afar. But once he entered the race and got up close and personal,  I have lost any respect I had for him.  I doubt even the staunchest Trump fan would deny his records of discrimination, injustice, bigotry and racial prejudice which makes people of the 21st century squirm in disbelief.   And the fact that he blatantly boasts about his ability to avoid taxes!!   I cannot understand how America can seriously consider such a man for the highest office in the land.  What do you think … that he will make a difference when he is the President?  That if he had no patriotic fervour for his country, sent some of his businesses offshore, and felt no compunction or conscience to pay his dues as a billionaire,  that he will now provide windfall benefits to all?   His audacity and the acceptance of it by a sizeable populace boggles my imagination.

Please forgive me if I am treading on the toes of any one who sees Donald Trump as a saviour of the nation.

I accept there are circumstances that could make him appear as an  economic saviour to persons who have lost their jobs, whose companies have been threatened by advancing technology of the East, by those who want to live in a promised ‘safe America’ without fear of attack  by terrorists, (although it is questionable whether the hatred he incites will actually prevent or invite attacks from the ‘enemy’,  or even police/locals gone amok with hate)   … and to realise the American dream.

The American dream  – to which you have every right.

But what I am questioning here … is what gives Mr. Trump … or indeed any other leader or any race or group of people – the right to take over a piece of land, call it their land and then prevent anyone else from entering.

We are so used to having ‘nations’ and ‘borders’ that it is almost impossible to imagine a world with freedom for everyone to move to a nation of choice, live by the rules and call it ‘home’.

This is a radical view but one that has been on my mind since I heard Trump talk about ‘building a wall to keep them out’. 

Two decades ago, my father suggested that national flags, school flags, church and temple flags only promote segregation and differentiation of people.  It was a radical view and I did not then see the wisdom of his statement.

My father also suggested that if we can get every soldier in every country to sign that he would not go to war under any circumstances, then we would have peace.

We laughed at him.  It seemed an impossible dream.

But when I hear about people like Donald Trump  – a candidate for the highest post in the world talking of building walls to keep people out,  then I realise my father was truly a visionary.   And a Christian of the highest order  (albeit one who hardly went to church) !

And it saddens me to think that it is the Christians mostly – conservative, evangelical, bible belt and bible-loving Christians – who are thinking of casting their vote for this very un-Christian view point viz . to keep out the marginalised, the desperate, the poor and those seeking refuge,  and to deport others based on nationality and religion.

This is the policy loudly proclaimed from the platform of Trump  – inciting people to religious and racial intolerance and financial selfishness,  and dangling the God of mammon and prosperity before you.

The other candidate inter-alia promotes free choice, and whilst as a Christian there are some choices that I wish people would not make,  I also do not think that you can bring about moral values in a nation by regulations and legal restrictions. The choice of right and wrong should come from deep within you, not from legislation.  It is still hard to accept that we should give each one the freedom to make choices we disagree with, and to accept that we are not called to act as arbitrators and judges.  And so

America .. you are truly between the devil and the deep blue sea.  And I feel for your plight. Your choice is tough.

But if I were you, I would run from the fear mongering devil, jump into the “deep blue and cast my cares on the Lord.

Blessings and prayers … and peace to all men of goodwill.

Soul searching

I came across this statement recently in a post by Adrianplass that has me wondering :

“The world is filled with desperate people.  They need Christ, not Christianity.”

Some soul searching going on here.   Am sure I have been one of those who has contributed to separate Christ from Christianity !!

Thank God for the reminder  which I hope will stick with me.   And  thank God for people like Pope Francis who helps us to refocus/re-align with the merciful Christ.

The world needs Jesus, not systems. A real person among real people doing real things. Informal, sometimes bewildering, often captivating and exciting, not very religious, frequently alienating.

Beating the heat !

Your door-step you said ?  Forget it.  We are not moving ....”

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Water buffaloes enjoying the shade

“Ok .. no protests from me. You really are a beautiful specimen.  And the heat is almost unbearable so you stay … I’ll just park next door 🙂     Let me first get a picture of you though for the Mundane Monday community.   Done.   Now I’ll just wait here till you are ready to move .”   Image result for emoticons

Colombo has been experiencing a heat wave.  The animals are the hardest hit … as are those in drought stricken lands of Asia where humans too are succumbing to the heat.

One of the big questions in the climate change debate: Are humans any smarter than frogs in a pot? If you put a frog in a pot and slowly turn up the heat, it won’t jump out. Instead, it will enjoy the nice warm bath until it is cooked to death. We humans seem to be doing pretty much the same thing  – Jeff Goodell

Grumbling at the heat … but doing nothing to minimise our carbon footprint?  Guilty as charged.

Are you man enough …

I came across this poem that gives you ‘knots’ in your stomach.  I am sharing the full  post on http://soulofachristiantriathlete.blogspot.com/2009/03/adrian-plass-poem.html whom I thank profusely for sharing this.

Adrian Plass Poem

 If you are interested on learning more about Adrian Plass, please visit his site at www.adrianplass.com.

When I became a Christian I said, Lord, now fill me in,
Tell me what I’ll suffer in this world of shame and sin.
He said, your body may be killed, and left to rot and stink,
Do you still want to follow me? I said Amen – I think.
I think Amen, Amen I think, I think I say Amen,
I’m not completely sure, can you just run through that again?
You say my body may be killed and left to rot and stink,
Well, yes, that sounds terrific, Lord, I say Amen – I think.

But, Lord, there must be other ways to follow you, I said,
I really would prefer to end up dying in my bed.
Well, yes, he said, you could put up with the sneers and scorn and spit,
Do you still want to follow me? I said Amen – a bit.
A bit Amen, Amen a bit, a bit I say Amen,
I’m not entirely sure, can we just run through that again?
You say I could put up with sneers and also scorn and spit,
Well, yes, I’ve made my mind up, and I say, Amen – a bit.

Well I sat back and thought a while, then tried a different ploy,
Now, Lord, I said, the Good book says that Christians live in joy.
That’s true he said, you need the joy to bear the pain and sorrow,
So do you want to follow me, I said, Amen – tomorrow.
Tomorrow, Lord, I’ll say it then, that’s when I’ll say Amen,
I need to get it clear, can I just run through that again?
You say that I will need no joy, to bear the pain and sorrow,
Well, yes, I think I’ve got it straight, I’ll say Amen – tomorrow.

He said, Look, I’m not asking you to spend an hour with me
A quick salvation sandwich and a cup of sanctity,
The cost is you, not half of you, but every single bit,
Now tell me, will you follow me? I said Amen – I quit.
I’m very sorry Lord I said, I’d like to follow you,
But I don’t think religion is a manly thing to do.
He said forget religion then, and think about my Son,
And tell me if you’re man enough to do what he has done.

Are you man enough to see the need, and man enough to go,
Man enough to care for those whom no one wants to know,
Man enough to say the thing that people hate to hear,
To battle through Gethsemane in loneliness and fear.
And listen! Are you man enough to stand it at the end,
The moment of betrayal by the kisses of a friend,
Are you man enough to hold your tongue, and man enough to cry?
When nails break your body-are you man enough to die?
Man enough to take the pain, and wear it like a crown,
Man enough to love the world and turn it upside down,
Are you man enough to follow me, I ask you once again?
I said, Oh Lord, I’m frightened, but I also said Amen.

Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen; Amen, Amen, Amen,
I said, Oh Lord, I’m frightened, but I also said, Amen.

 

And from me Amen ten times and more … tough Lord but I’ll try.

(PS. In following protocol of sharing the post I mention that the highlights of last verses are mine )