When Normal Changes

My notes on Good Friday!

A lot has changed since Good Friday 2019 and today.

The kind of change we have never experienced before.

No church services, and it’s been that way for a long time.

No Holy Communion,

no church community gatherings for coffee after the service on Sundays!

A big part of our weekend routine and custom has been changed by a virus.

A virus that has descended on us out of the blue and struck us with fear, anxiety, and dread.

But, it has also opened our eyes to many things and set us thinking.

Introspecting on our past, our deeds, and greed as a human race;

our failings and our disregard for better sense and judgment. 

We turned away from God, and now we return to His mercy seat and beg for His grace and mercy.

My prayer for all – May God’s blessings be upon us and save us.

TTSP (this too shall pass).

May we come out of this wiser, humbler, kinder, more generous, and more considerate of others, and the earth.

Life is a gift. We cannot take it for granted.

The only similarity that day was… snow!

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The only similarity, of sorts, between Good Friday last year and this year:

We were heavily snowed under last year.  And this year, it snowed too, but unlike the previous year, it was a light snowfall. 

Thursday night, I was surprised to see it snowing when I peeked out the window.

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It didn’t appear heavy and I expected it to end before morning.

But it didn’t.

It was snowing in the morning too!

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The feeling of Spring; the grass beginning to turn green again, the weather warming up, has taken a step back.

It looked more like winter than Spring. 

I felt the cold, dark gloom of a Good Friday, ages ago.

The lockdown and social distancing irked more than it does daily and exacerbated the pall of gloom that had descended on me.

But hope springs, ever renewed.

Holy Saturday brought out the sun.

And then…

Easter dawned! Bright and beautiful.

Hallelujah!

The churches are empty, but so is the tomb!

I rest my hopes and prayers on Him,

who defeated death.

The Passing Years

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“As the Wheel of Time turns, places wear many names. Men wear many names, many faces. Different faces but always the same man. Yet no one knows the Great Pattern the Wheel weaves or even the Pattern of an Age. We can only watch, and study, and hope.”~Robert Jordan

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Christmas and New Year are the only two major events that spell #festivity to me, besides birthdays, of course. I await these two with great anticipation and joy. As the old year gives way to the new, I record my feelings and experiences of the past year and my #hopes and #aspirations for the new. They were almost the same; the same vein with a bit of variation or degrees of reactions or responses to life’s vagaries. The incoming new ‘decade’, however, brought in an absolutely unexpected, strange feeling.

The build-up to Christmas was like to any weekend – a holiday, yea! And it remained so through the run-up to New year and the start of a new decade. In fact, I went to bed at 10.30 p.m on New Year’s eve. That’s something I’d never do earlier. I’d be waiting excitedly to ring out the old and ring in the new. Then I’d wish everyone a wonderful year before falling into bed an hour or two later!

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“The lives of all people flow through time, and, regardless of how brutal one moment might be, how filled with grief or pain or fear, time flows through all lives equally.”~Orson Scott Card

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Not this time. I was drowsy and had to fight to keep my eyes open. So I flopped into bed. 

I was surprised by my lack of enthusiasm for Christmas too. I had to manufacture my happiness as an actor would slip into character or a called for emotion on stage. #Christmas is my most loved time of the year, and I was sad that I was numb to it inside of me. I went through the motions as required on cue.

I was numb to the celebrations, not in my spirit and worship. My prayer life remained steadfast and strong. My hope and trust in the Lord were firm. I was numb to social festivities. The shopping lacked the usual festive fever, something very not me. I am super elated when I shop on any day; it could be for anything and any time of the year.

I wondered if the changes in my situation were the reason. But I’ve had a major tragedy strike, faced major issues and changes in life, and still not lost the spirit of Christmas celebration. Why now? I found an old post from New Year Eve 2012 when I was uprooted from where I had lived since my birth. And I found the true ‘me’ still kicking and strong.

“Have I died?” I asked myself. 

No. not yet! I’m just tired. Very tired. I’m down but not dead.

#immovingon

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“She knew that this day, this feeling couldn’t last forever. Everything passed; that was partly why it was so beautiful. Things would get difficult again. But that was okay too.

The bravery was in moving forward, no matter what.”~Lauren Oliver

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Here’s a part of the post which gives a glimpse of a New Year past before life as I knew it was about to change.

“Unlike previous years, this year did not see me with regrets or longings for what could have been but wasn’t; where I could have gone but didn’t; what I should have done or could have done but gave up a step too soon. I surprised myself a bit, honestly, by the new perspective and the calmness I had as the year softly and silently slipped into my grateful, content, and not-so-perfect life. I was in a place of imperfection with peace, acceptance, happiness, and faith; and this made things good.

No one but God is perfect and in our journey towards that perfect love and light, we learn to appreciate more, to find peace in tumultuous times, to develop better attitudes toward ourselves, and the people we come in contact with. We begin to accept whatever comes our way… the good and the bad… with forbearance and hope.

It all sounds like a dreamer’s utopian musings, doesn’t it? I assure you, it isn’t. This is a seeker’s account of her experience. There is pain, there are disappointments; tears; loneliness; anger; frustration; regrets and all the lows that are a part of life. But once you begin to look through the eyes of steadfast faith, hope, and trust that “this too shall pass,” the cross is lighter. I believe that God is watching out for me and mine. And as we make progress toward our goals, slipping, sliding, falling, He walks along – lifting, carrying, prodding us. I cast my cares on Him and He takes the burden off. So, though my cross is heavy sometimes, the burden is light. My heart is lighter. My mind is less prone to worry, and I can be grateful and enjoy my life even when the chips are down. That’s how I walk into 2013!

The New year is a harbinger of new beginnings. Beginnings in new places; new faces; changed climate and weather patterns; with Christmas in Summer and a Winter birthday in the month of May! New language, different food, and flavors, with new inclusions in my diet. Making new friends. Building a new social circle at this stage, learning conversion of a new currency against a rupee (though I know it is not advisable to compare rates of another currency against the rupee, it’s depressing!), but old habits die hard, and that’s the truth in this respect at least!!

But I raise a toast to new beginnings, to life and its vagaries. Cheers!”

With this, I send out good wishes to all my blog members and hope you have a good year! #2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Between Christmas and New Year

The shopping frenzy to get the best gifts, the hottest deals at Christmas is over and done with. All the gift wrapping you were so careful with lies torn and scattered as eager little hands {and big ones too!} try to get to their presents as fast as they can. Christmas parties are over. And there’s a vacuum. I find myself in limbo… neither here nor there!

The build-up of excitement, anxiety, happiness, worry, the joy and the mad race to meet deadlines before Christmas is a heady cocktail of mixed emotions. Past Boxing Day, I feel empty. There’s been too much in the past couple of weeks and now I’m deflated… like a burst balloon.  But the inner joy remains because that’s what Christmas season does and sad that it’s over and I have too much of time on my hands and nothing much to do.

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The cooking, parties, shopping, church events are over for the year. And as I await the New Year, I’m lost in memories of past Christmases. It’s a strange feeling in the time between Christmas and New Year.

Lost! That’s how I am.

I don’t notice what day it is and I don’t care.

I don’t know what to do and I don’t care to ‘DO’ much. In the hustle and bustle that preceded D-day, I hadn’t much time to dwell on reminisces. But in this time between, the memories come flowing in – as waves upon waves – and I’m submerged.

As I walk down memory lane I’m not aware of who I am…

… a girl at home with mummy and Daddy. A teenager in love. Young mom with a baby. Alone with my world turned upside down; a single mom trying to make ends meet. A grandmom… here, there, and everywhere, I zip through decades, gathering the joy of Christmases past like bright, shiny tinsel balls to hang on my Christmas tree.

I love Christmas and I keep it in my heart through the year but I’m always lost in the time between Christmas and New Year! That’s how it is…and I love this too. My memories are so beautiful. Old photographs revive happy moments. The nostalgia might make me lose myself in the present moment but I get back refreshed as if I’ve just holidayed in some exotic Caribbean island.

But I’m between this and that until then!

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Dear Father Christmas

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A heartwarming letter to Santa written by Benedict Cumberbatch. I came across this on the internet. I hope I’m not infringing on any copy write. Here are excerpts from the letter that touched a chord in my heart.
(Benedict Cumberbatch, is a British actor best known for his role in the BBC television show Sherlock Holmes. He has also appeared in Hollywood films such as Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, War Horse, Star Trek: Into the darkness, and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, and The Imitation Game.) 
Dear Father Christmas,
So my friend has asked me to write to you…I must confess it’s been hard to know what to say. Mainly because like most adults I feel preposterous asking anything of you because our time with you is done.
 
Now, we get our presents, control our own fates, take responsibilities for our own actions, and live in the world we have created….so it’s not for us to turn around and plead for your help with the environment, the migrant crisis, the NHS, education food banks, human rights, fundamentalism and wars. Though God knows we need all the help we can get with all these man-made problems and more.
 
And it’s not that you aren’t compassionate and full of joy. You’re great. Inspite of you being changed into different colours for corporations and being bastardised to represent materialism gone mad – despite probably originating in some season based pagan druid ritual a million thought miles from requests for spontaneously combusting hoverboards…kidadults cynically pointing this out after having their moment of belief in you are wasting everyone’s precious time. Because you are not for them. You are for the children. Children who need some magic in a world where the borders between innocence and responsibility, playful imagination and cold adult obstacles are continually shrinking.
 
This is what I’d like to ask you to help with. A little more time for children to be children. Stretch the moment of magic and playfulness. Distract them from the realities of a world gone mad so that they can laugh with their breath rather than sob with their tears. Especially those caring for family members, or suffering illness, hunger or poverty. Especially those hiding in buildings as bombs rain down or be handed shaking with fear or cold into a boat to escape environmental disaster or war. Please help to light up their worlds with a moment of joy and hope
 
Spare a thought too for those millions who want to write to you but for illiteracy can’t. Hear their words and help to give them the time and chance to learn to read and write so they can better their lives and escape their impoverished beginnings…..
 
I feel a little sorry for you. And I guess I’ve done exactly what I said I wouldn’t….asked you to help with adult problems and solve some of the greatest worries we have for our children. I promise to leave some extra Port and mince pies for you.
 
Lots of love,
 
Benedict x

 

I think it’s a beautiful ‘prayer’ and one I would say to God. I feel this request for our children is so urgent and more than toys and eats if one were to ask for anything, it must be for a safer and better world for them. Compared to when we were kids, and then when my kids were young, it’s scarier, more unsafe, and an unhealthy place for our present generation – in terms of the environment, safety & security, and war.

 Wishing all of you Happy Holidays! To those who celebrate Christmas – have a Merry and Blessed Christmas.
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He Is Risen!

“A man who was completely innocent offered himself as a sacrifice for the good of others, including his enemies, and became the ransom of the world. It was a perfect act.” -Mahatma Gandhi

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“Here is the amazing thing about Easter; the Resurrection Sunday for Christians is this: that Christ in the dying moments on the cross gives us the greatest illustration of forgiveness possible.” – T.D. Jakes

To those who believe and revere the day: Have a blessed and joyous Resurrection/Easter Day!

 

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Crown or Crucify

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There is something about the cross that compels us to make a choice, either for him or against him. You can’t find a middle ground when it comes to Christ, even though at times we try to. (Fr. Sunny John O. Carm. )

 

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On The Threshold Of A New year

I’m not one to make resolutions at the beginning of a new year. There was a time when, against my nature, I would copy my peers and make a list of resolutions…and never look at that list ever again. And even if I thought of my resolutions, it was just a fleeting thought which I’d push away with amusement.

My resolutions come up, in ones or twos, throughout the year. Some of them through learning from my experiences, of what I should resolve to do or never do. This works for me. It also gives me the time to work on them, if I tend to slack off a bit. A list at the beginning of the year never works this way for me! I guess I am a tiny part of a vast majority in this.

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Clicked by me in beautiful Vina del Mar.

Most New Year resolutions remain scribbles in a journal. I’ve met a few who feel awful that they haven’t been able to do anything on their list. That defeats the purpose of why one makes New Year resolutions which, I believe, is to make you feel good at the end of the year. That you’ve accomplished something…satisfaction at achieving an aim; a goal, by ticking off things on your to-do/to-be list.

This is one of the reasons why I do not make a list of New Year Resolutions. It puts a strain on me to tick off things on the list and takes away much pleasure and enjoyment of doing things. Makes it too regimental or mechanical.

So, here I am, looking forward to 2017 with expectations; some great, some small. A lot of hope, and some dreams! God willing, I shall realize the best of all my hopes and dreams and expectations.

On that note: Here’s to another year and another chance to set wrongs right, to do what has been left undone, and love more, care more.

Make new friends, travel to new places, try something new; learn something different.

Change what has to be changed, in ourselves too, and become a bit better as we improve things.

Revel in the blessings of family, long-time friends, God-given provisions for our needs – food on the table, clothes on our backs and a roof over our heads, with a bit of change left over, jingling in our pockets…enough to fulfill some wants too!

For children and grandchildren, for health, and available help.

From a place of gratitude for a year full of blessings – for help in difficulties, restoration of good health, reassurance when situations bogged me down and for material comforts too – to a place of hopefulness, faith, and the firm belief that God will be with me just as He was in the year that the world is ringing out…

I stand at the threshold of a New year and look ahead with joy.

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU! May you be blessed!

 

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A Bit of Christmas Every Day

Yes, another ‘Christmas’ post! Why? You might ask. The day has come and gone.

Not for me. The so-called “Holiday Season” carries on for me through to New year, as calendar days go. I love this time of the year and loathe letting it go. So…

I wish I could bottle the spirit of Christmas in jars. Yes, and open each jar every month for a dose of ‘spirit’!

Actually, I do. I do store a bit of Christmas in my heart. Little pockets of the cheer, the joy, the hope and the love; the promise. Life for me is a celebration of all these things that culminate every year, in Christmas…a date; a day on the calendar, when everyone who believes joins in a common celebration and in gratitude for God’s love towards mankind.

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Unless you have carried Christmas in your heart, throughout the year, you’re not going to find it under a tree! Sure, there’ll be gifts, the kind you can buy off, of shelves in a store.

The gifts of true value, however, cannot be bought but they can be received because they were paid for a long time ago. All you have to do is open your heart to get them. And the best part is…they’re available throughout the year!

You don’t have to stand in long queues, wait for sales, scout for them in a hundred shops…you just have to ask and receive.

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The babe whose birth we welcome and worship, on Christmas, came to give us those gifts of love and salvation. He paid a high price. Now… It’s yours for the asking.

Just believe.

 

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The Rugged Cross

This writing was a result of my thoughts that went to the carpenter/s who were employed to make crosses. And I ventured to imagine how it would have been if a skilled carpenter, who was also a secret believer in Jesus, was commissioned to make the crosses.

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He chopped and sawed the logs of wood,

It didn’t need to be so good.

Just crosses would be made of these,

For Jesus and a couple of thieves.

It didn’t have to be so good,

He drove the nails into the wood.

Two crosses lay on the ground,

And then his heart in sorrow drowned.

He touched the last one’s roughened wood,

A criminal’s tree… his Lord so good!

Yet on this cross, Jesus would die,

He set to work with a deep sigh.

No will to go on, he would stop if he could,

The tears rolled down and soaked the wood.

He wished his hands could better serve,

Did He this awful pain deserve?

On Golgotha, these crosses stood,

The center with the Saviour so good.

” It is my cross,” in anguish he cried,

His Lord gave up the Ghost and died.

The third day dawned.

The third day dawned, and he understood.

Gone was his grief, as indeed it should,

“My Lord is risen, jubilation!

His sacrifice was for our salvation.”

The awful cross, the pain, and the gloom;

Death was vanquished said an empty tomb!

No more he moped as he daily would,

No more it hurt, that cross of wood.

He knelt and praised the Risen Lord

The Perfect Man, The Son of God!

by Joy Clarkson (2006)

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This poem was written in 2006, and published as a part of a writing exercise on a given topic on Faithwriters.com There’s no historical or Biblical backing to the carpenter’s part and it is purely imaginary! I have edited the original poem a teensy weensy bit.