Posted in Family and Society, Life, Personal Musings

Letters to Cherish

“PS, I Love You” the first novel written by Cecelia Ahern, published in 2004 was adapted as a film three years later. The book is based on a married couple Gerry and Holly, deeply in love with occasional fights, yet both are inseparable. When Gerry suddenly dies of a brain tumor, Holly is set adrift in despair and grief, unable to deal with his death and withdrawing from friends and family. One day her mother calls her informing her of a package addressed to her. It held a series of letters Gerry had left for her before he died, containing messages from him, all ending with “P.S. I Love You”. Each new message fills her with encouragement every month and with Gerry’s words as her guide, Holly slowly embarks on a journey of rediscovery.

Both the book and the movie are heart touching, though I preferred the former. Yet the underlying message beyond the fact that time is never predictable is that we should treasure the good moments to always fall back on. Waiting for a warning bell to strike and remind us of how everything can end in a matter of minutes, it is better to string the good memories for our family and friends as we go on our daily lives.

For our friends, once in a while write about what we love about them, the sorrows which they helped us to overcome, the celebrations that they were there for as well as the occasional clashes and better times. When we journal these events, we realize that we have lots to thank them for. Carry this trend into family, for our husband, kids and parents. There is nothing more precious than the written words of care, love and affection that the digital age can’t equalize. Till this day, I hold the letter that my mother and sister wrote to me when I was in college and they bring back fresh memories every time I feel like reading them.

Once a year, write a letter to your child, regaling the funny stories about what had happened to them that year; about the difficulties, mishaps, joys and fun times. Write down your thoughts concerning their future, your memories and emotions as they went about their days, the important events of that year for family and for each one of them. Add on to the letter with photos, postcards, little stick-ons, tiny notes and other memorabilia which would otherwise disappear later. In the end of the letter, don’t forget to tell them that you love them.

After closing the letter, put it in a binder and forget about it. Keep on writing a letter this every year till they reach the age of majority. On the day they reach the official age of adulthood, give them the folder. It will be an invaluable repository of parental love and memory of their childhood. These letters would be with them through joyful as well as difficult moments and trying times. Above all, it will be a reminder that your love will be with them always.

 

Advertisements
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

Posted in Daily, Life, Personal Musings, Quotes, Reflections

Beauty Around Us

Recently as we were browsing for a gift for new home owners in the neighbourhood, the choices were based on whether to get a gift for its’ usefulness or for decorative purpose. Going through the choices for both, one would be struck on how has changed to match the beauty, aesthetics, colours and background of the new era; to the extent that most of our homes can be labelled “ancient”. Today the sense of style and beauty evolves at a fast rate, so that new of today is “old of tomorrow”, not “next month”.

“Walking in the mountains helps me unwind, but it also reminds me in a painful way that the real beauty in life is nature and animals, and that the human race, in all its arrogance, is intent on destroying it.” Sylvie Guillem

No matter how old we grow or how modern we become, nature in her elements never fails to make us appreciate the true beauty of life. From time to time when we stop with surprise at her magnificent marvels; we never fail to appreciate her wonder. The churning waves, the coloured hue of maple leaves, the first snow, the shining of the sun on frost, the changing shapes and white of the clouds, the colors of the sky are just few of the many artistic marvels of nature.

“I appreciate simplicity, true beauty that lasts over time, and a little wit and eclecticism that make life more fun.” Elliott Erwitt

We all are immersed in beauty for the world is unbearably beautiful; just that we don’t pay enough attention to it. True beauty is the world created for us. People with their lively nature of laughing eyes, songs and honest laughter, small children running about with joy and fun, birds chirping in the morning; all these are few of the many things that we miss or take for granted daily. Everything that is beautiful and wonderful is realized when we pay attention. For the artist is not the one who can draw, the artist is the one who is able to notice the beauty of the surrounding world.

“I think that it’s when we step out of the road, step outside the box, become our own person, and we walk fearlessly down paths other people wouldn’t look at, that true progress comes. And sometimes true beauty as well.” JohnMcAfee

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 Daily, Family and Society, Life, Personal Musings, Quotes, Stories Around the World

Echoes In Us

“A boy and a girl were playing together. The boy had a collection of beautiful marbles. The girl had some candies with her. The boy offered to give the girl all his marbles in exchange for all her candies. The girl agreed. The boy gave all the marbles to the girl, but secretly kept the biggest and the most beautiful marble for himself. The girl gave him all her candies as she had promised. That night, the girl slept peacefully. But the boy couldn’t sleep as he kept wondering if the girl had hidden some more tasty candies from him the way he had hidden his best marble.”

Although this is a childhood tale; at some time in our lives, we would have behaved a little like the boy or the girl. For those of us who remember those moments, the niggling sense of unease fills us all, disturbing our inner peace and quiet. On occasions like these when one looks back, what comes forefront to mind is that, “Was the holding back worth it or would the peace brought by honesty made our day more beautiful instead ?”

“Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.” Thomas Jefferson

As we grow older and mature with age, we realize that there are many things in life that are more worth when shared than kept hidden. There would be occasions that would call for an honest response on one hand, but would cause unrest and distress on the other hand. Dealing with an honest attitude is like stepping into murky waters sometimes. Brute honesty while well appreciated can cause more hurt when delivered in a thoughtless and tactless manner. Being honest isn’t confined to being brute. Instead one can be honest with a heavy dose of kindness laced with gentleness. The endpoint is the clarity of the conscience. There is nothing more disturbing that having a niggling thought intruding the mind, like a pesky buzz near the ear. As we strive to make sure that the conscience is always at ease, life becomes simple, better and sweet.

“A clear conscience is more valuable than wealth.” Tagalog (Filipino) saying

Posted in Life, Personal Musings, Quotes, Stories Around the World, Work

Finding the Peace

“As we all know, there is inner beauty and outer beauty. If we examine inner beauty, to me there is nothing more beautiful than inner peace, in a man or a woman.” Alice Greczyn

Nature has always withstood the test of time, surviving amidst the chaos and regaining the inner calm from the storms. Likewise, we humans are always in a constant silent battle between the external influences and the inner being in order to preserve one’s harmony, peace and quiet. As the outer forces try to knock us off our track; staying true to oneself echoes to the world that each one rules oneself. Even in the midst of the chaos, true inner peace still rules us as long as we remember to acknowledge, nourish and cherish its’ existence.

The parable of peace

Once a rich man wanted to hang a picture in his room, at one glance at which he would feel at ease in his soul. And for the most “quiet” picture, he promised to pay one million. Learning of this, artists from different parts of the country began to send him their work. After reviewing thousands of paintings, the rich man chose only two, which seemed to him the most successful.
The first was bright, rainbow and peaceful. On it, the artist depicted an absolutely idyllic landscape: the crystal clear blue lake glistened brightly under the rays of the summer sun, the trees standing around stretched towards the water with their branches; majestic white swans cut through the watery surface, and on the horizon could be seen a village and graceful horses grazing in the meadow.
The second picture is radically different from the first. On it, the artist depicted high cliffs, at the foot of which the sea raged. The storm waves were so high that they reached almost the middle of the cliff. Low dark gray clouds obscured the sky, and at the top of the cliff were frightening silhouettes of trees, illuminated by flashes of lightning.
To call this picture calm even the language did not turn. But, if you look closely, you could see a small bush that grew out of a gap in the rock. On it was a small nest with a tiny bird inside. She hatched out her chicks with a proud and imperturbable air, without worrying at all about the insanity surrounding her.

What picture do you think the rich man chose? Of course, the second. Because it radiates peace of mind much stronger than the first. After all, real peace is manifested not when everything is quiet and serene around, but when, in spite of everything that happens around you, you continue to keep calm inside yourself!

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

Cleaning the House

With the season of spring soon approaching, it would be time to give the house a thorough clean up from top to bottom sorting out the old and the new, the torn and the goo as well as removing the dirty and useless articles. The entire act of “spring cleaning” takes time to bring in the final finish of being fresh, new and neat.

“The face is the mirror of the mind, and eyes without speaking confess the secrets of the heart.” St. Jerome

While many of us may engage in “cleaning the house” , few of us actually invovlve ourselves in the spiritual, mental and emotional cleaning. While these latter aspects are difficult to do and hence avoided, doing them would give us a fresher outlook on life.

“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.” Buddha

It is in these moments that I recall to mind, a story forwarded in my social network pages. It has been translated, yet the essence is “cleaning should be the best where it is the least visible”.

I remember how quite as a child I had first washed the floor in my grandmother’s village house. I had tried very hard and washed out till the boards shone in the sun. After I had completed, I had called my grandmother. Grandma came, looked and then silently went to the bed, raised the bedspread, which almost hung to the floor, knelt down and quietly called me. I walked over, sank down beside her and wondering, peering under the bed. There, among the fluffy clumps of dust and dried blades of grass, from a newly dried clover, lay my sock lost a couple of days ago.
“If you clean, always clean so that where it was not visible cleaner than anything! Good?” she asked softly.
– OK, Grandma.
Many years have passed since then and today there is no grandmother next to me. The village house is abandoned. But still, remembering my grandmother’s words, I often think of the “dark corners” of our souls and the “brilliant surfaces” of our lives, exposed. In those moments a quiet, gentle and strict voice as an audible, unearthly echo comes like my grandmother’s voice, “Well?”