Posted in Christian, Life, Quotes, Reflections

End in the Circle

When we look at the skies every night, one startling fact is that everything that stays in the universe is round, or spherical (perfect or oblate spheroid) to put in better terms. As per the laws of physics, it is a balance of gravitational and centrifugal forces as well as rotational speed that results in the asteroids, stars and planets being spheroid to galaxies being disc shaped.

Putting the scientific aspects into the world of philosophical views and thinking, when we look back through our various phases in life, we come to the understanding that everything boils down to being round especially “what goes around, comes around” like a circle or an oval.

While we see one person at one phase in our life, we realize what the latter had gone through only when we walk in the similar shoes which maybe soon or much later, at another point in our life. Although the Lord made all of us different, in essential unless we learn to appreciate the differences we never realize what a beautiful picture the various versions make.

Joy, feeling one’s own value, being appreciated and loved by others, feeling useful and capable of production are all factors of enormous value for the human soul. Maria Montessori

Each of us has our own life, our own way of life, our own life situations. A person who has not gone through troubles and temptations will not understand the grieving. A happy father will not understand a father who has lost his child. The newlywed will not understand the divorced. A person whose parents are alive will not understand the one who has just buried his mother.

What wisdom can you find that is greater than kindness? Jean-Jacques Rousseau

One can theorize, but there is a practice of life. We often don’t have life experiences and when we begin to gain it, we remember those who we had condemned, with whom we were strict and we begin to understand that at that moment we are like dummies. We did not understand how this person felt. We tried to edify them to the view we wanted to see them to make them but he was not up to remarks. Their hearts were filled with grief, their souls were weary and tired, they did not need lectures and lofty words. All they needed at that moment was sympathy, compassion and consolation, but we did not understand it. And when the Lord takes us through the same thing, we begin to feel what the other person felt. This would be one of the “circles of life” that everyone would go through at some point of time or other.

One’s life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation and compassion. Simone de Beauvoir

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Posted in Christian, Daily, Life, Photography Art

Flexible through the Winds

In the areas where the winds are mighty, the tall palm trees often grace the landscape. Though there are hardly any oaks or similar tall stately trees to be found around. The strength and beauty of the tall palm trees to survive through the huge storms or strong gusts of wind lies in their ability to be strong and flexible. They sway with the wind, bending almost down to the ground at times and that ability allows them to survive the forces of nature.

Stay committed to your decisions, but stay flexible in your approach. Tony Robbins

The Word of God teaches us to be resilient and pliant when we face the powerful winds that are part of life. When we put our complete faith and trust in His Word, we would be able to adapt to anything that comes our way. As the destructive forces and thoughts push us; lean to adapt keeping our principles and Faith strong so that we can be flexible to plan our sway according to the Lord’s Will. In fact, in doing so we learn to use the force of the winds to make us even stronger and sheltered under the Lord’s wings.

“The green reed which bends in the wind is stronger than the mighty oak which breaks in a storm.” Confucius

Have you ever observed children as they learn new things ? They don’t have any fixed notion or ideologies. They listen to what is told, the first words and sounds they say are what they hear when we as adults say them. When a child begins to learn to write and does not know what is expected of him, their hands are completely flexible and obediently controlled by the hand of their parents and teachers mother; as soon as they imagine what they understood and comprehend, tries to “help”, everything goes at random: that’s what I mean when saying that the power of God is accomplished in weakness.

Feelings of worth can flourish only in an atmosphere where individual differences are appreciated, mistakes are tolerated, communication is open, and rules are flexible – the kind of atmosphere that is found in a nurturing family. Virginia Satir

Like the sails of the ship, the wind can fill it so that it will carry the whole ship – just because the sail is flexible; if instead of a sail you put a solid board, then nothing will come out. One of the many things that God constantly tries to teach us instead of the imaginary, insignificant and anarchic “strength” that we hold to is fragility, flexibility, complete surrender to God.

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit” – yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.’ James 4:13-17

“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.” Albert Einstein

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

Drowned by Expectations

When adversity strikes, that’s when you have to be the most calm. Take a step back, stay strong, stay grounded and press on. LL Cool J

Life is known for its’ curve balls, treacherous routes and sudden rides. When we start our journey, we were given a blank slate. Over the years, with the lessons that we have learnt, instances that we have witnessed and experiences that we have gone through, we start filling in the spaces. Somewhere along the way, when we use the colour of expectations too much, we discover the fallacy too late. For every adversity has its’ own way in and way out, but the path clears when we remove our blinders, lower our expectations and use our common sense to put our faith, trust and intelligence to good use. Although the “drowning man” had blind faith, if we are unable to discern that “His Grace and His Faith” can also show us the path at the right time when we look for it, then we need to cement our Faith with insight and common sense. Else this will cost us our blessings from His Grace, His Love and His Mercy.

A fellow was stuck on his rooftop in a flood. He was praying to God for help. Soon a man in a rowboat came by and the fellow shouted to the man on the roof, “Jump in, I can save you.” The stranded fellow shouted back, “No, it’s OK, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me.” So the rowboat went on. Then a motorboat came by. “The fellow in the motorboat shouted, “Jump in, I can save you.” To this the stranded man said, “No thanks, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me. I have faith.” So the motorboat went on. Then a helicopter came by and the pilot shouted down, “Grab this rope and I will lift you to safety.” To this the stranded man again replied, “No thanks, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me. I have faith.”
So the helicopter reluctantly flew away. Soon the water rose above the rooftop and the man drowned. He went to Heaven. He finally got his chance to discuss this whole situation with God, at which point he exclaimed, “I had faith in you but you didn’t save me, you let me drown. I don’t understand why!” To this God replied, “I sent you a rowboat and a motorboat and a helicopter, what more did you expect?” (Various versions of this parable can be read online and has been quoted in different works like Beck, Joko; Smith, Steve (1989). Everyday Zen: Love and Work.)

“However desperate the situation and circumstances, don’t despair. When there is everything to fear, be unafraid. When surrounded by dangers, fear none of them. When without resources, depend on resourcefulness.” Sun Tzu

Posted in Christian, Daily, Random Thoughts

Words To Remember By

The value of life lies not in the length of days, but in the use we make of them… Whether you find satisfaction in life depends not on your tale of years, but on your will. Michel de Montaigne

As Ralph Marston had said, “If you so choose, even the unexpected setbacks can bring new and positive possibilities. If you so choose, you can find value and fulfillment in every circumstance.”

Are we important ? 

We often stumble across this thought at our various stop points or crossroads in our life. Sometimes the feeling that we are of no importance in this world engulfs us. Yet despite the pep talk we give ourselves, there will be days where the feeling that “we are not worth a story” haunts the inner recesses of our emotions. That is when we have to remember a few things.

When we may think that we are not at all important in this world. Remember that someone drinks coffee every morning from their favorite cup which you gave them.
Someone heard a song on the radio that reminded them of you.
Someone saw a picture or message from you and smiled.
Someone read the book you recommended to him and plunged into it.
Someone had chuckled to themselves while waiting at a traffic light thinking of their good times with you.
Someone remembered your joke and smiled, returning in the evening from work.
Someone keeps the notes you have written, the messages you had sent, the emails that you had forwarded or archived the conversations and emails for rainy days, to live the hope they recieved on reading them.
Someone now loves themselves a little more, because you had given them a compliment.
Someone thought of you while shopping in the grocer’s knowing how much you loved their cookies.
Someone misses the good old days where you were a part of their circle.
Someone suddenly remembers the parking space, the directions or guidance that you had given without a second thought.

There may be many more instances that we may not even be able to think of, where others have often thought of us even we may have merely met them just once in our lifetime. Never think that we don’t have an influence on anything.Our traces, which we leave behind, even with small acts of kindness can never be erased.

A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love. Saint Basil

Posted in Christian, Daily, Personal Musings, Stories Around the World

Jump With Faith

“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?” ( Luke 12:25-26 (NIV))

When we always enter unknown territory, from being simply new at the workplace gatherings to high school reunions or settling into a new town to relocating to a new profession or hearing bad news in the hospital; the feeling of wariness transcends in all of us. In those times, there is nothing more comforting than having someone familiar or something familiar to lean on to. The pillar of support can range from family, friends, our church or community to our memories of good times, our old comfort blanket or even our treasured memorabilia. Yet what we often fail to realize is that the strongest comfort comes from none other than Our Father in Heaven. The gentle calmness in the restless mind, the sudden peace that flows through us, the strength to brave the new day and the hope of the new dawn are what we get when we read and understand His Word. Through centuries, the Word of God has withstood the test of time. Yet of all the things fickle in this world, His Word will never change like the weather nor will His Hope ever leave us when we put our entire trust and faith in Him.

“..But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

One day late in the evening a fire broke out in one of the houses. The whole family – the father, mother and children, shocked by what was happening, ran out into the street and watched the fire flare up. And suddenly everyone understood that among them there is no youngest member of the family – a five-year-old son. Most likely, he, frightened by the flame and smoke, instead of going down, climbed the stairs to the very top. One could not even dream of finding him. Suddenly, a window opened and a child’s distorted face appeared in it. In desperation, the father shouted: “Jump!” The kid, seeing only smoke and flames in front of him, shouted, “Dad, I can’t see you!” His father replied, “But I see you, do not be afraid, jump now!”
The boy, having gathered his courage, jumped and found himself right in the arms of his father. It is this faith that God expects from us!

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)

Like the times when we cast our hope on our firefighters, emergency personnel and technicians, when the going gets tough and shoulders are overburdened; the sooner we cast our cares on to His Shoulders, the lesser will we be troubled and the lesser the hardships will seem For just as the song goes, “our God is an Awesome God, He reigns from heaven above, With wisdom, power, and love, Our God is an awesome God”, so will we be able to face what life throws at us.

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” ( 1 Peter 5:7-10)

Posted in Christian, Quotes, Stories Around the World

True Spirit of Christmas

“But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:10-12)

These and similar verses have been narrated, taught, delivered and read in plays, sermons, fellowship prayers and the like in the past couple of days. The essence of Christmas lies in the birth of Christ for the new beginning of man and for his redemption from the trap of sins he had weaved or caught himself in. In the process of celebrating the grace of God, sometimes we forget how to truly celebrate His Kindness and His Grace.

“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.” Dr. Seuss

Strengthening relationships, making amends and spending quality time is what spreads the Christmas spirit. Like the neighbourly friendship between Watson and his neighbour Cadi, the spirit of Christmas brings us together despite our differences and makes the bonds strong with love, hope and kindness. As written in the famous tale of “A Christmas Carol”, Christmas is not restricted to gaeity, joyous celebrations or gatherings for a few days every year. Christmas means a lot more. It has to be celebrated all year round in our hearts and minds.

“Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.” Calvin Coolidge

Keeping the spirit of Christmas alive year round is never easy as it requires tremendous effort on our part. Like the path that Christ had taken, it requires us to put immense faith, love and bear the fruits of His Spirit to enjoy the feeling of Christmas year round. To quote Oren Arnold, “To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To you, respect.”

On this Christmas as we wish everyone the season’s tidings, keeping in mind the true essence of Christmas will help us live the next year with happiness and self satisfaction; even in the face of all odds, difficulties and trials. As Charles Dickens said, “I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”

 

Posted in Christian, poetry, Stories Around the World

On Christmas Eve

“… and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” “(Mathew 2:2)

As written in the Gospel of Matthew, a mysterious star had appeared over the place where Christ was born in Bethlehem on the first Christmas, there by leading the wise men (the Magi) to find the baby Jesus and visit him. While many have debated about what the Star of Bethlehem really was; some believing it to be a fable or a North Star, planets, comets and the like. Also some astronomers believe that evidence proves it to be a “nova star” originating at that time and at that point. Either way, the star proves as a guiding light not only to find the baby Christ but also as a reminder that His Birth will bring us light in the gloomy depths of the World. As said in the scriptures, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12).

On Christmas Eve as we remember, narrate and read about the birth of the Lord, knowing that God’s gift has to be lived and shared will help us live the gift of Life as well as the blessings He has bestowed on us.

“God’s Gift” by Fyodor Dostoevsky

An angel-child on Christmas Eve
Did God send to the world.
“As you walk among the pines,”
He said and then he smiled,
“Do cut a tree and, in my name,
Do give it to the kindest
And the sweetest child on earth.”
The angel-child was puzzled deep:
“Whom shall I give it to?
How shall I know which of the babes
Has earned the prize of our Lord’s grace?”
“You’ll know,” was all God said,
And the Heavenly Host did part.
The moon stood high and lit the road
That led into the city.
The air was full of happy song,
Joy awaited every child…
So with the tree upon his back
The cheerful angel boldly strode.
Now, take a look in every window:
What cheer in every room!
Christmas trees all burning bright
As they do on Yuletide night.
The angel now began to rush
And made his way from home to home,
So as to find that special one
Who would receive God’s gift.
And everywhere he looked, he saw
Such fine and mindful girls and boys.
But each, on seeing the Christmas tree,
Forgot their manners and their poise.
Some said, “That tree’s for me!”
Some answered, shameless as could be:
“You aren’t worth half a tree,
I’m better than you, you see!”
“Oh, no, I say, that is my tree
You are not half as good as me!”
The angel listened quietly
And looked upon them sadly.
Every one was full of boasts
And each did praise himself the most.
Their eyes did squint with envy,
Their gazes — black with fear.
The angel ran onto the street,
And heaved a sigh, “Oh, Lord, my dear!
Do tell me which of them deserves
Your kind and precious gift!”
Then on the street our angel met
A tiny boy, at best knee-high.
He stared right at that green pine tree
His face did glow and shine.
“A tree, a tree!” he clapped his hands,
“Oh, what a shame I don’t deserve
This gift — it’s not for me…
But won’t you take it to my sis,
Who lies at home in bed so sick?
It would make her happy! Yes!
No one deserves it more than she!
She earned it with the tears she shed!”
The boy then poked the angel-child
And the angel-child did smile
And gave the boy that Christmas tree.
And then, as if by miracle,
The stars fell from the sky,
And sparkling like green emeralds
They encircled that Christmas pine.
It shimmered, twinkled, winked and gleamed,
For it wore the mark of grace Divine
That little boy stood struck amazed
And trembled in his rapture…
The angel witnessed that boy’s love
And tears streamed down his face.
And the angel brought to God that news
That was the greatest grace.

(Translated/adapted by John Freedman)