Thursday, February 7, 2008

The Simple Things

When the world is burning with fire, when we are tested everyday as humans and as individuals, I find it soothing to pause for a second, and feel grateful for all the things we take for granted, the absence of which would break us apart, if only we know it.

For having good health and sound bodies, for the ability to see and walk, think and express ourselves.
For the sense of safeness, for the roof above our heads, for the blanket that keeps us warm, for the comfortable bed.
For being able to eat when hungry without worrying about the next meal.
For being able to live in a safe place, not worrying about our lives or the lives of our dear ones.
For being able to walk without fear, for being respected as women/men and humans.
For the quiet neighbourhood, the cosy home, the good job.
For being able to love, and appreciate the beauty of the world.
For the family and the friends.
For the knowledge and the education.
For the morals, beliefs, and principles, for the ability to sleep with a clear conscience.
for the gift of life, for the religion and the path.
For all the others things that are less obvious yet as precious.

We should be grateful.

Think a little, of any of these simple blessings. Think what would it mean to lose just one of them; losing one's home or eyesight or sense of direction, etc., how horrible that would be. Even if you do not have all these things, the fact that you are able to read this means that you are blessed with the majority of them. If one thing or the other is missing from you life, and its absence is having an effect on you, if you feel unsatisfied with your place in life, or would have wanted to live in a bigger house or have more money or whatever, let us be humbled, even every once in a while, by remembering that there are people who cannot close a door and sleep safely, and others who live under siege knowing that they could lose their lives any moment. If your children are giving you a hard time, see how others are not able to have kids of their own, and others who have lost their children while they are still alive. If you see injustice in your life, thank you Lord for not being the one who will have to live with the guilt. If your job is not satisfying all your aspirations, remember those who are begging to live. If your meal today is not the best, there are people who do die out of hunger. There are many faces for pain in the world, yet so many faces for blessings. We are surrounded by God's abundant forms of kindness, let us remember and cherish the simple things in life.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

An egg shell or an iron shield?

Part i

How we mistakenly think we are strong while a simple illness can keep us in bed for days or an unexpected tragic event can break our backs. When our lives are at their prime, we believe that nothing can beat us. We forget about our frail bodies and fragile hearts when our blessings; either good health, young age, stable life, faithful company, etc., go uninterrupted for a continuous period of time. We get fooled by the aura that shines from within, get used to its warmth and grow accustomed to its light. We take the beautiful sides of our lives for granted. We race to beat time, our hearts seem to be able to encompass the world. There is no limit to what we think we can reach. Nothing can stop this overflowing wild river of strength.. We are then, unbeatable. How foolishly wrong we are!

And then, all of a sudden, when least expected, a test comes knocking. A blessing is taken away, or a calamity befalls to interrupt the smooth false stability. We drift to the other side of the river. We fall for the idea of being weak by seeing that we cannot take it any longer. The aura fades away, and we are left in a dark cold bleakness when nothing is attainable. The easiest of things are now very hard, everything seems to hurt, all things take too much time and effort. All the stories of glory, all the vivid dreams, all the races, are forgotten, with painful traces of how beautiful things used to be. All the strength that we thought was inherent in us fails us completely, and we think that life has decided to give us a frowning face for good. This pain cannot go, this wound will never heal, this test is too much for me to handle, it is over for me... But we are wrong again.

When we fall prey to these two forms of illusionary strength/weakness, our falls are usually very steep. In the recovering process, when still fragile, we start advancing in caution. The hole we were imprisoned in is not too far behind, and the scars of our wounds are still visible. Sometimes then, we can see for a while who we really are; a blend of weakness and strength. We come to realise that we cannot beat the world, yet we cannot allow it to defeat us and bring us to our knees. We are not of supernatural powers, nor feeble helpless creatures. We are God's marvellous creation; the mysterious secret of the universe lies in this miraculous being that is called humans. We live to brag with our strength, but when life breaks us we are humbled with the knowledge of who we really are deep inside.

Yet, though this is very hard; easier said than done: we should try hard not allow fake strength to blind us, or fake weakness to break us. When strong, let us remember our weaknesses and our falls; our reality, and when broken let the traces of the glory that used to be and the beauty that surely lies ahead break through and set us free. No one can protect you when your strength fails you, and no one can preserve it for you forever. No one can lift you up when you are broken, except your own hands. God is here, hope is here, and we are still here.