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 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 Family and Society, Life, Personal Musings, Quotes, Work

Hearts That Support

“In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.” Khalil Gibran

We all have our own crosses as well as ups and downs in life to bear. Despite the dark moments, we still manage to revive a bit of ourselves and get our footing back on track. In the process of getting up, unknowingly or known to us, we rely on select few who give us their support, strength and the courage to start again.

“I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death.” Leonardo da Vinci

They give excuses for us, when we don’t explain ourselves. They accept our shortcomings and acknowledge the apologies that we give or turn a blind eye when we neglect to ask for pardon. At our worst, they lift us up, even if that means putting our priorities first by setting theirs aside. They don’t try to flag down when they fall or ask for attention on our busy or light days. They accept us for who we are. Yet what we often fail to realize is that, these hearts are few in number and tend to fail when untended for long.

When we rise up to stand, it would do well to remember these noble hearts for they are helped us to regain ground. For in the due course of time, when these good hearts give up on us; our skies will fail to clear up and darkness will linger on. A heart doesn’t turn need much to stay warm, just a little bit of love and kindness once in a while.

“Life is made up, not of great sacrifices or duties, but of little things, in which smiles and kindness, and small obligations given habitually, are what preserve the heart and secure comfort.” Humphry Davy

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 Daily, Life, Personal Musings, poetry, Quotes, Work

Countering Murphy’s Law

“Life is simple. Everything happens for you, not to you. Everything happens at exactly the right moment, neither too soon nor too late. You don’t have to like it… it’s just easier if you do.” Byron Katie

If anyone has been subject to Murphy’s law that states that “whatever can go wrong, will go wrong” would know how it feels when things start going out of hand. And when all the wrongs start happening at once, it turns into a huge disaster. The reality is there are days like Murphy’s Law and then there are days worse than them.

Everybody has to deal with tough times. A gold medal doesn’t make you immune to that. A skater is used to falling down and getting up again. Dorothy Hamill

The hilarious part is when we turn back and look over the events after a long period of time, at times the realization strikes that things could have been even worse. These “bad days” are best faced with a heavy dose of humour laced with a tinge of irony. For losing time and crying over them for long, would simply dim the light of the better days to come. The best thing would be to keep going and handling the ball from our court.

You’re going to go through tough times – that’s life. But I say, ‘Nothing happens to you, it happens for you.’ See the positive in negative events. Joel Osteen

And maybe just stand on the other foot,
And instead of coffee, take and drink juice …
And turn your usual steps
In the direction where there will be more good …

And on this day, do everything wrong:
Put from end to beginning of the number,
And the most insignificant trifle
Fill with kind and high meaning.

And to do what no one is waiting,
And to laugh, where so much wept,
And a feeling of hopelessness will pass,
And the sun will rise where the rain has been falling.

From the circle of fate,
Take and jump out of the station unknown …
You will be surprised – the world is completely different,
And life is unexpected, and more interesting.

Rus Svyataya

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)