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.
“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
Quote : ….. from The Years Between, William Barclay, on the Gospel of Mathew and the life of Jesus before His public ministry.
Picture : My footprints taken at Panama, Arugam Bay
Dawn breaks gently on another Advent morn.
A barrage of thoughts crash their way into my mind – forcing me awake earlier than I wish; forcing me to get off the bed and start the day.
But I linger a while longer, reflecting. So many things to do today Lord, where do I start? The list is endless. I am not going to be able to handle all of these unless you send me some help – or take over the tasks – or me; one of the two – or nothing will get done and I am getting stressed at the thought of the never ending list that is looming large in front of me.
I can’t seem to handle these daily issues any more. Every thing is like a mountain to climb. I know they are little hillocks – not even that … but even a grassy mound seems a big obstacle when you want nothing more than to lie down in stillness, in quiet, and just BE … a human BE-ING instead of a human DO-ING!
But I can’t seem to be still because there are so many things that are both urgent and important. You know they are not frivolous things Lord and they have to get done. In fact I have neglected them too much. I have not been a good steward of what you have given me and I am trying to rectify that without further delay. Your Word last Sunday – no the previous Sunday – was sharper than the two edged sword which cuts to the marrow. I felt convicted. How can I be trusted with the Kingdom if I don’t take care of the things you have given me here on earth? if I am not faithful in little things and fail to multiply the talents given me? (Matthew 25.14-30)
So I am trying to correct this with a long list of TO DO’s. This list would not have piled up on me so LARGE if I had remembered a stitch in time saves nine. Procrastination is such a thief of time, and money, and relationships. So many things I want to do Lord … so many elderly people I want to visit before it is too late.
So many good intentions but with all these things on my plate … I can’t do them! And I cannot ‘still’ myself to focus on Advent which starts today.
Don’t you think that sometimes Lord, life gets in the way of LIFE ?!
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
The house doctor was listing my options once the angiogram is done. I had already heard it from the Cardiologist and had time to think about it in the quiet of the ICU.
“Is it too late to start walking?” I asked when she finished. She moved her lips in a half smile. I suddenly felt foolish for asking the question with all the machines surrounding me. She relented. “Maybe in a few months. You have to recover first.” .
Oh! I knew that by now but my deeper question was … is too late to start walking .. EVER?! Continue reading
“If only” must be among the saddest words spoken – pre-fixing the regrets in our life. For me “if only” is mostly about things left undone, acts of omission and not acts of commission. Continue reading
Six months since I set up a blog site … almost in self defiance – challenging myself to write despite the fact that I was just about to give up the idyllic life and re-enter the commercial world. It was perhaps a way of putting up a sign post, a land mark, making a promise to myself that I would return to write. Continue reading