Posted in Christian, Daily, Family and Society, Personal Musings, Quotes, Stories Around the World

Plans, Eternity and Time

Time and Eternity

A man was taking it easy, lying on the grass and looking up at the clouds. He was identifying shapes when he decided to talk to God. “God”, he said, “how long is a million years?”
God answered, “In my frame of reference, it’s about a minute.”
The man asked, “God, how much is a million dollars?”
God answered, “To Me, it’s a penny.”
The man then asked, “God, can I have a penny?”
God said, “In a minute.”

“We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” (Proverbs 16:9 NLT)

The other day, as the family had gathered post Saturday weekend luncheon, among the various topics being discussed were the renovation of the family homestead, plans for the college admissions and the like. What surfaced to my mind, was the fragility of human plans.

“Faith is putting all your eggs in God’s basket, then counting your blessings before they hatch.” Ramona C. Carroll

Many a time, man has planned numerous events, for the present, the immediate and the distant future. Little do we realize that most of our planning is based on chance. We base the future on a sequence of events believed to happen in a particular manner. When one block is pulled out of the regular, things may still go as per plan. But pull out a couple of them, then most plans come crashing down.

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (Romans 8:28 NLT)

On the other hand, plans are needed to sort out our purpose and drive in life. Yet the whole procedure can be done, putting our Faith and dreams in God’s hand and above all, plan and know one’s limits.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do and he will show you which path to take.” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT)

Man needs to plan to grow and progress with time, else idleness and monotony would set in. Yet the lines have to be drawn at when, how, what and which plans to dream of and which not to. We need to dream big; but also realistic, kind, honest and true.

“God and Nature first made us what we are, and then out of our own created genius we make ourselves what we want to be. Follow always that great law. Let the sky and God be our limit and Eternity our measurement.” Marcus Garvey

Advertisements
Posted in Christian, Life, Personal Musings, Reflections, Stories Around the World

Proportioning the Ingredients

Life offers its’ own share of ups and downs. At certain phases we feel swamped by the “n” number of “downs” we may be going through. Yet little do we realize that what happens to us may not be in our hands to a certain extent, how we react to it is. And this makes all the difference in the world, of whether we would be able to bring the “downs” to “ups” or reverse the trend of “falls” to our benefit.

The boy complains to his grandmother about his bad life: about problems at school, with his parents, with health. And the grandmother at this time is preparing to eat. She asks her grandson if he is hungry, if she wants something to eat. “Of course,” the grandson replies.
Then the grandmother says:” Here, take the margarine. “
“Foo,” the grandson protests.
– Maybe two raw eggs? – offers grandmother.
– Well, granny!
“What about flour and soda?” – trying to grandmother.
“Granny,” her grandson reasoned, “All this is inedible.”
To which the grandmother responds, ” That’s right, individually, these products are not very tasty, but if they are properly combined, they will make an amazingly tasty cake!”

Likewise for all the sufferings, trials and tribulations; something will come out of it as long as we believe, trust, hope and have faith that things will turn out to be fine eventually. For by His recipe, in the end, something extraordinary will come out.

Posted in Christian, Daily, Life, Quotes, Stories Around the World

As the Facade Crumbles

“I was like a chocolate in a box, looking well behaved and perfect in place, all the while harboring a secret center.” Deb Caletti

One of the defaults of living in the modern era is to encounter the “art of donning a facade”. As communication, travel and opportunities have evolved, so have interactions and relationships. Consequently at some point of time we all put on a front depending on the scenario, time and situation. The purpose behind this is individual to each one, ranging from self protection, self-preservation to self-glorification or of good intentions versus the bad.

“The unconscious mind is decidedly simple, unaffected, straightforward and honest. It hasn’t got all of this facade, this veneer of what we call adult culture. It’s rather simple, rather childish. It is direct and free.” Milton H. Erickson

As a rule, facades are dangerous; for the revelations once they are unmasked would blight the work done till that point. Yet at times we are forced to put on facades to survive especially at work and in the community. While we mayn’t be able to control these situations, what we could do is to modulate the facade that we put on. As we evolve and mature through time, we discover that facades that we put on once were unreal and tiring. The underlying principle of “Primum non cere” or “do no harm” would help us find our way out of the chaos.

“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)

As narrated by various incidents commonly read on the social sites, while one day we would all be unmasked for who we really; meanwhile living our life by the inner conscience of truth, kindness and tact would help us face these eventual disclosures with quiet grace.

“It is not the end of the physical body that should worry us. Rather, our concern must be to live while we’re alive – to release our inner selves from the spiritual death that comes with living behind a facade designed to conform to external definitions of who and what we are.” Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Posted in Christian, Life, Personal Musings, Quotes, Work

Echoes of Praise

“Not to be cheered by praise, not to be grieved by blame, but to know thoroughly one’s own virtues or powers are the characteristics of an excellent man.” Satchel Paige

“Praise” is one of the more dangerous attributes even when given free of choice has the potential to destroy a person, settling on one slowly and like rust begins to erode. Then a person who was once mentally and emotionally strong becomes dependent on praise, craving for it.

“You can’t let praise or criticism get to you. It’s a weakness to get caught up in either one.” John Wooden

When the “words of praise” are not heard; one begins to look for them everywhere, at times compromising on one’s standards, abilities and perfection just to hear those words. Then efforts are made to hear those words to boost the self vanity, to the extent that one fails to acknowledge the actions, consequences and reality behind the empty words of praise.

“The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.” Norman Vincent Peale

When there is no praise, the mood then deteriorates, things get worse; all because “no one appreciates me.” As a result, the person is not working from the heart with the fruits of the Spirit in mind. Work, interactions and character becomes a need to appease one’s self-esteem, accumulate more pleasant opinions about himself and not an honest reflection of one’s true being. The opinions of other people though momentary, changes our essence.

“The biggest challenge is to not be affected by praise because a lot of it is not from the heart. Being true to yourself about your strengths and weaknesses, when everyone out there has a strong opinion and wants to give advice, is another challenge.” Tena Desae

It is sad if we do good deeds only for the sake of this short flash – “I was praised.” For woe beckons to the man who spends his strength, effort and energy to earn the approval of others. One of the terrible sins is vanity, because after vanity and praise is lost a person is left with nothing.

Posted in Christian, Family and Society, Life, Quotes, Reflections

After We Go

“What remains after us when we are gone? Will it be of bills, cars, apartments, houses or debts, loans, mortgages as a part of the physical aspects.” 

“What will be left after you when you are gone? Will it be memories of shortcomings, the unsaid “love”, grudges,  resentment, bitterness and pride. What will remain? Our creativity, our poems, our songs or will it be our indifference, our arrogance, our licentiousness or rumors laced with good fame or a thin reputation?”

“You make your mark by being true to who you are and letting that be your staple.”  Kat Graham

This question has seared our hearts and minds knowingly or unknowingly. For leaving a legacy behind is no easy feat. Besides requiring purpose, direction and effort; it also requires us to develop a sense of humanness to touch hearts as we journey on in life.

“What will our children say about us and what will our grandchildren remember?” For to leave behind treasured memories of love, kindness, forgiveness, laughter, vitality, hope, acceptance, generosity, sacrifice, respect, wisdom, humility, patience, faith; every day you need to ask yourself the question: “What will be left after me when I will not be?”

“All good men and women must take responsibility to create legacies that will take the next generation to a level we could only imagine.” Jim Rohn

Building a legacy doesn’t mean it is confined to family alone, but also encompasses shared memories in the minds and hearts of society, colleagues and neighbours. After our time in this world, we may not be able to carry out anything but only leave behind. While ancient civilizations practiced burying the remains with materials for after life; in reality we haven’t been able to provide scientific evidence of after life. Yet what we have is the words, actions and memories of today and yesterday for the future to know, remember and share. Wouldn’t it be better to do something today that tomorrow would treasure ? Above all, leaving behind a legacy would make our time, be it short or long; more fruitful besides being mentally, spiritually and emotionally satisfying and being content, happy and peaceful within.

“Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.” Shannon L. Alder

 

Posted in Christian, Daily, Family and Society, Stories Around the World

The Omnipresence of God

Modernization, technology, education and learning have been evolving over the years to the extent that the shades of grey have been frequently increasing, marring the areas of black and white significantly. For the present generation of children, the distinction between right and wrong isn’t easy. Very often they fail to understand what truth, Faith and true values of humanity encompasses. The easiest way to ensure that a child walks on the right path is to make him aware of the ever-loving presence of His Faith and above all, to know that God will guide him to know the difference between the right and the wrong.

“Mom, how to live in order to constantly feel God’s omnipresence? ..” one boy asked his mother,”I did not quite understand this lesson.”

“I will explain it to you this way,” the mother replied, “as I heard myself as a child. Listen! Live, my child, always as if you always see God before you.
Do not do anything that you would not like to have a witness to the Lord.
Do not say anything that you would not say out loud to God.
Do not write anything that you would be ashamed to show God.
Never go wherever you hope to see the Lord.
Do not read such a book, about which you would not want the Lord to ask: “Show me her.”
Never spend your time so that you can be afraid of the question: “What are you doing?” – or the words: “Shame on you!”

( Source: From the book of Archpriest Arseny Tsarevsky “Lessons on the law of God”)

Posted in Christian, Daily, Life, Stories Around the World

Combining Our Thoughts

“….. but I shall toss my head and have nothing to say to them. Forgetting all about the pail, and suiting the action to the word, she tossed her head. Down went the pail, all the milk was spilled, and all her fine castles in the air vanished in a moment!” (Source: The Milkmaid and Her Pail, Æsop’s Fables, translated by V. S. Vernon Jones (London: W. Heinemann; New York: Doubleday, Page and Company, 1916), pp. 25-26.) 

While some of us may heard of the fable of “The Milkmaid and Her Pail”, others may have read of similar tales of other variants like Bidpai’s “The Poorman and the Flask of Oil”, “The Barber’s Tale of his Fifth Brother” from The 1001 Nights and the Jewish story of “The Dervish and the Honey Jar”. Essentially all these resonate the moral of ” Don’t count your chickens before they are hatched.” Yet these fables bring to my mind, the dangerous turn of our thoughts and dreams which turn from being simple to lofty leading to depression, anxiousness and the unending pursuit for “the pot of gold” harming our health, mental peace and happiness in the process.

For instance, we all have suffered from depression, nerves, anxiousness, worries, stress at some point of time. What do all these have in common besides harming our mental peace and happiness ? They all arise from a combination of thoughts. We ponder of something that is yet to happen, guess the course of events and combine one thought, then the other and then the third and so on and so forth. We are all puzzled on how everything will happen or what will happen in one way or another. In the end, the result surprises us as the Lord arranges things in a different way. In such a scenario, what was the point of experiencing the nerves and depressing or worried thoughts?

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Phillipians 4:8)

When the thoughts of darkness surround us and surface to mind, turning to His Word helps to dispel the darkness and ward off the despair. When we turn to our Faith we destroy speculations and loftiness. As said in the Psalms, “When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Your consolations delight my soul.” (Psalm 94:19)

On another note, we need to plan and foresee to achieve certain goals for the future but pure conjectures, speculations and lofty thinking don’t help our dreams but rather, crashes them putting them on hold. Learning to distinguish between thinking, planning and pure “counting of chickens before they hatch” is what life and experience teaches us.

“For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)