Posted in Daily, Personal Musings, poetry, Quotes, Reflections, Work

Across the Choppy Waters

“Sometimes to change a situation you are in requires you to take a giant leap. But, you won’t be able to fly unless you are willing to transform.” Suzy Kassem

The captain of the ship hasn’t got their job cut out easy. While preparing their vessel for the short or long voyage, navigation charts are consulted, weather reports being analysed both the local and global trend, supplies stocked, medical emergencies anticipated as well as men and cargo to be looked after. When smooth sailing is predicted, there is a slight relief but the guard is still not lost. For the sea for all it’s friendliness can turn into a monster driven at times, by elements beyond it’s control. Unlike the land and air, where there may be a way out; for the ship in the sea, locating itself in the vast blue expanse is not always a possible task especially when a Mayday occurs. Despite all this, once the final destination is set, the captain steers his vessel across both the pleasant and the choppy troubled waters; always forging a way ahead.

“When written in Chinese the word “crisis” is composed of two characters – one represents danger and the other represents opportunity.” John F. Kennedy

Just like the captain, we all have our own vessels to steer. For a family who has lost their maternal light to the young lady diagnosed with terminal illness or the investor who has suffered a major loss, the farmer who had lost his heavily funded crop, jobs made redundant, loss of scholarship due to poor choices and many more; the immediate future lies ahead bleak, stark and troublesome. Yet it is while navigating these roads that one learns to find their own inner strength as well as work once again, keeping His Word and His Will in sight. Although before starting off across the roads of the future, one has to decide to do so and not be in haste to make quick decisions and bury their head in the sand, hoping it would be all over soon.

“Anyone can give up, it’s the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that’s true strength.” Unknown

Ask any captain and they will tell that the only way across a storm in middle of the journey is the way through, till one finds a rest stop. Any person who has battled difficult illness and survived, would tell prompt treatment instead of denial will help better. For the student who has lost scholarship, finding multiple jobs and pulling up their grades would help to stay on. Staying at rest for long never helps. Instead face the trouble squarely and find a way out through the tempest. For it is only through the bad situations in life, that one discovers the best and hidden talents of themselves.

“When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.” Harriet Beecher Stowe

See It Through

When you’re up against a trouble,
Meet it squarely, face to face;
Lift your chin and set your shoulders,
Plant your feet and take a brace.
When it’s vain to try to dodge it,
Do the best that you can do;
You may fail, but you may conquer,
See it through!

Black may be the clouds about you
And your future may seem grim,
But don’t let your nerve desert you;
Keep yourself in fighting trim.
If the worst is bound to happen,
Spite of all that you can do,
Running from it will not save you,
See it through!

Even hope may seem but futile,
When with troubles you’re beset,
But remember you are facing
Just what other men have met.
You may fail, but fall still fighting;
Don’t give up, whate’er you do;
Eyes front, head high to the finish.
See it through!

Edgar Guest

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Posted in Christian, Family and Society, Life, Personal Musings

“They still Smile”…

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” (John 14:1-4)

Meeting these little smiles on a Saturday afternoon ( as a part of the weekend voluntary community service) taught me a lot about life, His Grace and happiness. Attached to the hospital, along with the regular hospitalized patients, in association with the local NGO, there was a small home set up for the cancer patients ranging from the elderly and the few enrolled children, meant for their regular chemotherapy and minor hospitalizations. The purpose was to avoid them being cross infected by the general population. Spending an afternoon with them teaches one about the real essence and gifts of life.

“The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” (Romans 8:16-17)

Despite the pain of the disease and the load of chemotherapy, the smile on their faces especially the little ones, never wavers. For them, the disease is indeed a part of their life but it doesn’t rule them. From engaging in their activities of school lessons, music and learning new skills of art and the like; their days aren’t lost in cribbing about their state of affairs, finding fault with life and God. Instead the spirit of resilience is seen in their approach to life. In comparison, it shames one when thinking about the usual grumbling at own lives, at the workplace or even within.

Interacting with the caregivers too, one learns a lot from their quiet acceptance to the strength that radiates from within. On seeing the suffering and the pain of their wards, along with the lost years of life can result in any parent or guardian being depressed, loosing hope in His Faith and dwelling in the negativity. Yet they face all those, come out from the bouts of depressing thoughts and conquer the storm within; so that their children can have their happy moments in life. While certain things may never change, the way we live in the present matters the most. No one ever knows the entirety of His Plan, but what one does know is that His Hope, His Grace and His Love is sufficient to survive in the world of the present.

“Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.” (Isaiah 58:8-9)

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

Share to Succeed

“People achieve more as a result of working with others than against them.” Dr. Allan Fromme

With clearing of the heavy rains, the town had needed a complete revamp of the municipal bock lawns, with tree limbs broken and scattered and muddy pools run all over the lawn. On the first look, clearing of the lawn seemed to be an impossible task. As the council meeting took place, every one of the attendees had pitched in, bringing more volunteers along the way. Slowly order was restored of what had looked like a seemingly impossible task.

“The power of one, if fearless and focused, is formidable, but the power of many working together is better.” Gloria Macapagal Arroyo

Above instances and many more similar ones, have always shown that the power of a team or set of people working in a synchronous mode can make the most drab, mundane or difficult task feasible. Each one has their own strengths and weakness. On pooling the efforts, the strengths add on, cancelling out the respective weakness amongst each other. Eventually together the task at hand is settles. While man is an social animal; each one has their own plate to handle. Learning when to combine the plates together for a splendid meal and when to have them independently at the right time, helps to balance the individual mind with the social order. Life needs both, individual as well as group effort. Too much of wither can result in proper gain of none or loss of all.

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much” Helen Keller

The Stone Soup Story
Many years ago three soldiers, hungry and weary of battle, came upon a small village. The villagers, suffering a meagre harvest and the many years of war, quickly hid what little they had to eat and met the three at the village square, wringing their hands and bemoaning the lack of anything to eat. The soldiers spoke quietly among themselves and the first soldier then turned to the village elders. Your tired fields have left you nothing to share, so we will share what little we have – the secret of how to make soup from stones.’

Naturally the villagers were intrigued and soon a fire was put to the town’s greatest kettle as the soldiers dropped in three smooth stones. ‘Now this will be a fine soup’, said the second soldier; ‘but a pinch of salt and some parsley would make it wonderful!’
Up jumped a villager, crying ‘What luck! I’ve just remembered where some’s been left!’
Then off she ran, returning with an apron full of parsley and a turnip. As the kettle boiled on, the memory of the village improved: soon barley, carrots, beef and cream had found their way into the great pot, and a cask of wine was rolled into the square as all sat down to feast. They ate and danced and sang well into the night, refreshed by the feast and their new-found friends.

In the morning the three soldiers awoke to find the entire village standing before them. At their feet lay a satchel of the village’s best breads and cheese. ‘You have given us the greatest of gifts – the secret of how to make soup from stones’, said an elder, ‘and we shall never forget.’ The third soldier turned to the crowd, and said: ‘There is no secret, but this is certain, it is only by sharing that we may make a feast’, then off the soldiers wandered, down the road.
Author Unknown

“Happiness quite unshared can scarcely be called happiness; it has no taste.” Charlotte Bronte

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

Remove by their Root

“A flower falls, even though we love it; and a weed grows, even though we do not love it.” Dogen

Working on the patch of garden with my little toddler was fun time. Although those little hands were busy with the spade to loosen out the mud; the major fun lay in the activity of pulling out the unwanted weeds, popping up in amidst the patch of chrysanthemums. Initially their stalks used to only come off. Later on he had painstakingly ensured that the entire weed, along with its’ roots was collectively removed. As long as the thrill of getting his hands muddied wasn’t negated, he enjoyed the fun time in the little flower bed. The surprising part about weds is that, one doesn’t water or nurture them; yet they still come up.

“Pull them out by their roots.”

As the weeding process was going on, one can’t help look into the personal weeds in our lives. Whether those weeds be as false influences, challenges, setbacks, wrong beliefs, negative people, biased criticism and so on, the list is always endless. There is always something cropping up in our lives at the wrong time and unwanted places bringing about the negative energy and slowing down one’s own potential. At each stage of one’s life, they occur in different forms.

“ You cannot expect to live a positive life if you hang with negative people.” Joel Osteen

 

Letting the crop of weeds grow and multiply out of sheer laziness, lack of prioritizing or neglecting them without foreseeing the future damage, would result in an increased load of work and trouble in the not too distant future. On the other hand, when timely dealt with, these weeds would be nothing more than a difficult situation easily conquered.

“Dwelling on the negative simply contributes to its power.” Shirley MacLaine

On dealing with the negative aspects that one encounters in life, is to the to the root of the problem and deal with them one by one. Eventually the unwanted weeds may be regrouped into something more beautiful or removed to make way for the better surroundings to shine. The only caution is to pull out the negativeness in it’s entirety. Else just as one believes them to be removed, they would crop up with double the strength later on, being a nuisance more then than now. As each crop of problems arise, solving and settling them from their root level help us come out of the situation soon; giving fresh courage, experience and hope to face the next crop of trouble or negativeness as they come fresh again.

“As time goes by, you seem to weed out the things that were making your life hard.” Tom Petty

Posted in Christian, Daily, Personal Musings, Reflections

Follow the Rays

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:5)

Towards the wee hours of the morning, the lights were lit and bags were kept in the trunk. Pairs of sleepy eyes being huddled and buckled into their car seats. With a strong cup of Joe and steaming thermos of tea, we were off for the three hour drive to the main family homestead. With the centenary celebrations of the hometown cathedral where my spouse was christened, this trip was a must on the calendar. As the hours progressed, the drive felt like we were following the light cast by the rays of the rising sun.

“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” ( Palm 119:105)

Mornings are a beautiful way of God saying that He Loves Us. The golden light that dispels the fear of the night and the darkness. On the regular days, it feels special to be woken up by the light rays of dawn. Stepping out in the fresh morning air, with the quiet chirping of the feathered friends and the fresh smell of the dew, they offer strength to face the day. The bright light of the morning sun often reminds me of the Word of God, offering hope and guidance during the dark days, promises of His Love and forgiveness through the wrongs of our lives. His Word lights up the dark skies and brings the rainbow after the heavy showers. No matter where one is stuck, His Word brings us out. Such is His Love for His Children.

“You are like light for the whole world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one lights a lamp and puts it under a bowl; instead it is put on the lampstand, where it gives light for everyone in the house. In the same way your light must shine before people, so that they will see the good things you do and praise your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16)

Morning
Clinton Lee Scott

From the East comes the sun,
Bringing a new and unspoiled day.
It has already circled the Earth and
Looked upon distant lands and
Far-away peoples.

It has passed over mountain ranges and
The waters of the seven seas.
It has shown upon laborers in the fields,
Into the windows of homes,
And shops, and factories.

It has beheld cities with gleaming towers,
And also the hovels of the poor.
It has been witness to both good and evil,
The works of honest men and women and
The conspiracy of knaves.

It has seen marching armies, bomb-blasted villages
And “the destruction that wasteth at noonday.”
Now, unsullied from its tireless journey,
It comes to us,
Messenger of the morning.
Harbinger of a new day.

“The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.” (Psalm 119:130)

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

Stay on the Course

“Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement. One fails forward toward success.” C. S. Lewis

The seventh rejection is often hard. Especially for a young couple who want to start their own bakery and chocolatier. Though ideas are plenty, talent is present; getting a bank loan as well as rental premises in the right place for a start-up is as important as skill and talent. In addition to it, getting funds for the best raw ingredients is what matters the most. When approaching for a loan, the few initial rejections may sting a bit; yet when it happens too frequently it takes courage to stick on to the plan and find alternatives. At times, in those moments, it is the family, neighbourhood and community that help initially till better options become available. Yet, even in their absence, finding alternate jobs as well as using available resources for starting small scale is what later makes the big dreams feasible.

“The successful man will profit from his mistakes and try again in a different way.” Dale Carnegie

Many of us, have similar plans or ventures, whether they be setting a shop with known or innate talents, building a new skill (like tapestry, crocheting) or exploring new ventures; obstacles are bound to be there. Staying on, despite the constant brick walls popping up, the hidden taunts, open criticism and judgmental nods, makes the final achievement more sweet. Keeping the latter alone in the forefront won’t make a difference. Being dedicated and focused on the dream itself and not the glory, reward or fame of succeeding is what makes most dreams come true. Success is secondary to mental and emotional satisfaction.

Inspiring stories are always there to be seen from the lives of the people around us, of the present and the past. As William S. Banowsky stated, the story behind one of the greatest leaders of the 19th century is one of dogged persistence in the face of repeated setbacks.
In 1831 he failed in business.
In 1832 he was defeated for the state legislature.
In 1833 he failed again in business.
In 1834 he was elected to the state legislature.
In 1835 his sweetheart died.
In 1836 he had a nervous breakdown.
In 1838 he was defeated for Speaker.
In 1840 he was defeated for Elector.
In 1843 he was defeated for Congress.
In 1846 he was elected for one term to Congress.
In 1848 he was defeated again for Congress.
In 1855 he was defeated for the Senate.
In 1856 he was defeated for Vice President.
In 1858 he was defeated again for the Senate.
In 1860 he, finally, was elected President of the United States. And these are just a few of the rough spots in the life of Abraham Lincoln.

“If God closes a door AND a window, consider the fact that it might be time to build a whole new house.” Mandy Hale

Sitting back and just brooding over the setbacks with pessimism, dejected and down-heartened mood will not make things better. Instead try to improvise, find alternative means, work hard, keep the faith and try again from a different angle. Learning from mistakes isn’t easy for self-correction clashes with the ego. However with constructive criticism, corrective measures may be made for a better outcome. It is never the occasional rain than makes the stones smooth but the running water which flows making a path for itself, keeping the odds, feasibility and practicality in mind.

“The harder you fall, the heavier your heart; the heavier your heart, the stronger you climb; the stronger you climb, the higher your pedestal.” Criss Jami

 

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

To Strengthen Oneself

“To every disadvantage there is a corresponding advantage.” W. Clement Stone

As the founding day of the establishment where I work at was drawing near, a wide range of activities were planned to mark the jubilee year. Among them was the reuse, reduce and recycle plastic waste project, with door to door campaigning and collection of recyclable plastic. One can then imagine the huge gap in the team when one of its members fell from the parapet and ended up with a cast of one leg. Although the team had changed members, time wasn’t wasted, but by taking to social media, speech and other funding measures to gather support for the project. What may be an unfortunate event, didn’t feel so when time, effort and means are taken to get the goals accomplished.

“Your hardest times often lead to the greatest moments of your life. Keep going. Tough situations build strong people in the end.” Roy T. Bennett

As history has time and again proved, as seen by the lives of Stephen Hawking, Christopher Reeves and many more; every perceived disadvantage, misfortune or flaw can be made to one’s advantage, when used with the right support, training, effort and will to make something of their time in life. If one’s biggest weakness is the perceived fear or inability to do a skill; then gaining courage to do it will not put the fear to rest but also open the doors of opportunity. Learning to use the perceived defects us in, to master and strength them would make the difficult trials feasible.

“In life, try your best to do the right thing. Have fun while you’re alive. Take advantage of every asset you have. Don’t take anything for granted.” Justin Chon

This story is of one 10-year-old boy who decided to study judo despite the fact that he had lost his left arm in a devastating car accident. The boy began lessons with an old Japanese judo master. The boy was doing well, so he couldn’t understand why, after three months of training, the master had taught him only one move. ‘Sensei,’ the boy finally said, ‘Shouldn’t I be learning more moves?’ ‘This is the only move you know, but this is the only move you’ll ever need to know,’ the sensei replied. Not quite understanding, but believing in his teacher, the boy kept training. Several months later, the sensei took the boy to his first tournament. Surprising himself, the boy easily won his first two matches. The third match proved to be more difficult, but after some time, his opponent became impatient and charged; the boy deftly used his one move to win the match. Still amazed by his success, the boy was now in the finals.
This time, his opponent was bigger, stronger, and more experienced. For a while, the boy appeared to be overmatched. Concerned that the boy might get hurt, the referee called a
time-out. He was about to stop the match when the sensei intervened. ‘No,’ the sensei insisted, ‘Let him continue.’ Soon after the match resumed, his opponent made a critical mistake; He dropped his guard and instantly, the boy used his move to pin him. The boy had won the match and the tournament. He was the champion. On the way home, the boy and the sensei reviewed every move in each and every match. Then the boy summoned the courage to ask what was really on his mind.
‘Sensei, how did I win the tournament with only one move?’ ‘You won for two reasons,’ the sensei answered. ‘First, you’ve almost mastered one of the most difficult throws in all of judo. And second, the only known defense for that move is for your opponent to grab your left arm.’ The boy’s biggest weakness had become his biggest strength.
By Joel Garfinkle