During the month of December, I celebrate life and as much as I want to go wild in bitterness and anger am still thankful for what this past year has taught me.
I believe someone somewhere; someone I don’t know and I am not related to in any way, someone I care for is fighting a different life battle than mine. Maybe covid has affected them or they have been infected by it. These are just my thought; I am a thinker.
During this time, I don’t usually get any gifts anyway. Just like during my graduation ……. I will get a lot of best wishes via my social media and very few calls here and there or no calls at all.
Yes! I don’t expect tangible gifts…. I wish I could, but a so ting set when yah nobody! But on the other hand nothing better than the gift of life.
If in any way you would love to offer anything to me fine, but at the same time I would wish you to do this for me, for my birthday, I ask two things, only these two and I will be good:
1. Pray for me
2. Give Thanks on my behalf
If you believe in prayer, I would kindly ask that you pray for anyone who is struggling in whatever way, emotionally, mentally, physically, or even spiritually. All these people need our prayers. Regardless of any of our feelings about why someone ended up where they are, regardless of arguments about the life they choose to live, regardless of anyone who might disagree they should face it, they all need our prayers right now.
If you do not believe in prayer, it is okay with me, but I am asking please send some positive Vybz, some positive thoughts to the universe for all of them. Or however you spread goodness to this world, if you could do it, that would be great.
And as for the thanks, please give thanks on my behalf to all goodness God has bestowed on me. Pray that I may have the grace of inner eyes to see how good God has been to me, to my family and to my friends and you, my follower and reader of my blogs. Thank you for journeying with me.
As I was reading my spiritual book ‘Let us Dream’ – by Pope Francis, I come across this paragraph that threw me into deep thoughts. It was talking how covid has unmask another pandemic that many of us have been giving a blind eye. The pandemic of indifference. A pandemic that I was consider as the spirit of looking away, the spirit of ‘So what’.
It is a spirit that was there before ‘Adam’ as Jamaican would say because it was noted in the scripture, Luke 16:19-31. These two were neighbors who knew each other so well to know each other’s names. Lazarus knew his neighbor was rich and so he come to get whatever he could to sustain him. On the other hand, the rich man knew the situation of Lazarus but maybe he said, ‘Poor thing!’ and walked to his busyness.
Popes tells a story of a portray that was drown a lady, well wrapped up against cold, it must be a season like this of Christmas when it gets cold, chilly and snow in some places. And also, on the same portray was a lady, poorly dressed, seated on a crate outside this beautiful restaurant. I can imagine her shivering from cold, her hand shaking while stretched to get little penny to buy something at list to warm her belly. Just imagine the scenario.
The two stories from different time and season continue replaying in our society today. The spirit of ‘So what’… what’s it to do with me? Especially when there is nothing seems to be happening at the moment, no immediate or magic solution as pope puts it, it is better not to do anything.
Does this sound familiar to you?
This spirit has taken roots in our lives as Christians and while I can be so comfortable to look away, it becomes normal, and gently like rain drops on futile soil it is seeped into our lifestyle. The thoughts we always cultivate in our big heads is “if I worry about it, how am I going to relax, is it going to help me?”.
We have a challenge during the advent reminding us to overcome this spirit of looking away when we see the suffering of others, giving a blind eye and walk away as if nothing is happening. Pope Francis states that, “The essence of God is mercy, which is seeing and being moved but moved with action.”
Contemplating on these beautiful words this song come into my mind, “Something down inside of me, telling me to go on….” And this is the spirit of God that responds immediately, with warmth and genuine concern, offering a response, ready to do what has to be done.
Passion, like the word love has been overused and less valued and on the other hand, zeal … a word used many times in the scripture, word that has been used to replace passion just as ‘Like’ has been used to replace love. When we are rooted in God’s love, then the flow of that love will flow into our relationships and they will bear fruits, and when grief come, we can still love. This love is fresh when we are healthy or unhealthy. It is a choice we make every day, every minute, to love because it is not all about love alone but the connection in friendship with God, who come and showed us how to love and who wishes that we create new and good relationships in love. If we really want to fight this spirit of indifference, the spirit of ‘so what’ then we are invited this season and after this season to cultivate love and friendship with God, these are the basement of eradicating indifference, the spirit of ‘so what’ what’s it to do with me?
We all have candles in our lives that are still yet to be lit and in life we need people who will take time to light those candles which sometimes we really do not know if we have them.
For the last few months, I was introduced to minister to a radio station that is owned by MSC (Mustard Seed Community), Roots 96.1 FM. Since I have been working there, those whom I work with are very supportive. I find a sense of being wanted and loved at the same time. This was never my dream, thought it once crossed my mind to work in a media platform. A lot of things I didn’t know but I had idea. It was very hard the first week and as time goes, I am like looking forward every morning to go to work. I make flyers, I run a program and help with other programs. I am able to give idea and I am looking forward to pouring myself fully to serve the people through this ministry. I am able to do all this because the people I found here held my hand, and walked with me.
Today we celebrate the Apostle Andrew who was one of the twelve main disciples of Jesus Christ and the brother of Simon Peter. Andrew was the first apostle Jesus called and the first apostle to claim Jesus was the Messiah.
Andrew is well known from the Gospel of John as “Promoter of Jesus Team”. Each time his name appears in the Gospel he is noted bringing people to Jesus.
In John 1 we see him telling his brother Simon about Chris. From the reading itself it is interesting how it is written, “The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” …. And brought him to Christ. Reflecting on this I could not stop imagining how he went to tell his brother, maybe hold his hand, or put his hand and lead him to Jesus.
In John 6 again we see Andrew bringing to Jesus the boy who had five loaves and two fish during the feeding of the five thousand…… Andrew, Simons Peter Brother, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small loaves and two fish, but how far will they go among so many?” Again, I can imagine how Andrew convinced the boy to give away his little food.
Andrew died many years ago and yet his good works affect us up to date. Reading my spiritual book, I was reminded that I should be grateful for these men of faith. This did what they had to do, and they did it well.
The moral of Andrews story is a reminder to all of us to know, understand and be convinced that we can also bring others to Jesus through our very lives. Will it be our prayer or our good works, they will bear fruits on the spot or in the future. Our lives, whether for good or ill, will affect this world in some ways until the end of time.
We have an obligation to hold each other’s hand and walk with them. It may be a challenge, but it is worthy. Your words and actions are the best “holding” of other hands in this rail of life.
Happy Feast Day to all named after Andrew the Apostle, Go Hold Someone Hand and lead them to Christ.
“I AM TIRED” ……… is a word we all use knowingly and unknowingly in many ways and for many reasons but last week when I used it while speaking to one of my Jamaican mother, she shouted out to me, “I do not want to hear that word in my house, never again should you tell me you are tired …. You and your sister love it. I am tired, I am tired, ……tired people dem deh inner morgue and now dem a take rest” She went on to say that when we use this word “I am tired” we are calling upon ourselves the spirit of ‘I cannot bother’ ….. ‘I am not bothered’. Very bad spirit. You must learn to keep going no matter what, you must learn to keep your head erect smile, kiss some a**es if you have to knowing time will come for you to kick the very same a**es away.
Examining all that has been happening for the past few weeks, the story of Elijah come across my mind. It’s a lovable story and a story you and me can relate. There comes a point when he was exhausted, physically, emotionally, and spiritually maybe mentally too. In fact, he was so tired that he thought to commit suicide.
“I’ve had enough, Lord. Take my life” (Can you relate those words?).
I can see now your mind is going wild, ‘How can such a holy man of God get tired and want to take his life?”
It is what it is, reality of things on the ground, when nothing seems to be happening from your end.
Elijah is a clear example of an image of a great hero of faith, but also honest picture of a man at the end of the rope of hope. (Kings, chapter 19)
This whining prophet is a reminder for you and me that we are never alone. There are many others like us who are also faithful to God and just like them, God has more work for us.
Its time to settle down and hold on tight to your faith and rope of Hope hope. Keep the fire burning in these tough times.
Look around and see, and what you see should remind you that God has not given up on you. So do not give up on yourself.
St. Francis in his prayer he states,
“God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
Every day I have learned to keep my “To-Do List” to guide me on what to do during the day and make sure I accomplish most of what is to be done. On the other hand, while still alive, I have my “To Visit List” and “To Meet List” to guide me to places I dream one day to visit when I am still able and people I wish to meet while my eyes are wide open and can see clearly. It is just me because we are in a world where everyone wants …. To Do! To Visit and To Meet.
At some point in our lives, we all have this one person or even persons we dream to meet in life, or we wish we met before they transited to paradise heaven our home. While still fresh, green, and full of sap, there are things we want to do including jumping from a plane with a parachute for me. There are places I still dream to visit before my legs get too weak to carry me around. And there are persons I am dreaming to meet and spending some time with. Famous people like Obama, actors like Denzel Washington, great religious leaders like Pope Francis not forgetting comedians like Aki and Poh-Pho.
With time I have watered some of these dreams down. Coming to the west I have found that people aren’t excited with who you are and what you are, not like back home where to come closer to a celebrity or should I say public figure would be a dream come true. I will never forget when I met our president and he shook my hand and we exchanged words, I almost never bath.
Living in Jamaica now I find that we are never excited with people. Yah! We may take pictured and carry on, but nothing compared to back at home. Being a celebrity in the west isn’t that a big thing. I remember once I met Shaggy the dancehall singer in downtown Kingston and it was a very ordinary event. He was actually driving himself and had unkept beards just as I do sometimes. I even got a chance to chat with him.
Back a yard religious leaders like Bishops are like celebrities too. We don’t get closer to them unless it’s an official thing or we are lucky enough to receive communion from them. Here in Jamaica not just coming close to them but they know our name, follow us on social media, like our posts and sometimes comment on what we post.
I remember the first time I was able to drive AB Ken, I was so excited. I was tired after the whole day from one place to another and we were driving home. I was really tired and even though I was exhausted I couldn’t allow him to drive. Later in the day, I called my mum, family, and friends to tell them how I drove the Archbishop of Kingston.
When a celebrity appears in our dreams, these persons are usually symbolic of some aspect of our own personality or something about our opinion, feelings, thoughts, or memories of those celebrities in question.
Yesterday I got a chance to meet Miss Jamaica World (Miss Khalia Hall). It wasn’t my dream come true but it was a great privilege. She comes in driving herself. Dress very simple, one couldn’t tell she was a “big woman” (celebrity). As I wrote on my Instagram (#Jambo Jamaica), she stooped down to greet our resident and joined in a song the boy sang. She also gave donations and walked around the compound of Mustard Seed Community based in three miles. Despite the popularity and fame, she carries, I saw humility in her. I don’t know her background so much, but with the way she sang the song ‘Jesus loves me, yes I know…’ I definitely knew she went to Sunday school, and for her to give a donation, I trust it is from what she was taught from childhood. We all have to learn to give but to society and as a society we need to learn to put our ‘fingers’ in the wounds of the poor and marginalized just as Mustard Seed Community have done in a few countries around the world.
To me, if I’m going to be given a chance to meet someone alive, I will always want to meet Ben Carson the writer of the book Miracle hands. I would love to know how he did manage to move from last to fast in class, how with such a hunger issue was he able to overcome it and above all how did he manage to separate conjoined twins.
I also want to meet Immaculate Ilibagiza, one of the survivors of the Rwanda genocide and the writer of the book ‘Left To Tell’. I want to know what kind of heart she has to forgive the men who killed her dad, mum, and brother. How did she manage to stay intact with her faith in God inside that bathroom for 90 days?
I know we all will die at some point but when I die, if that is the only way, I would want to have a meeting with Jesus to ask and know why death had to be the way to transition.
The question remains what impact do we get from these dreams come true events in our lives? How much do they affect and have effects on our lives?
This is the year of gratitude for me. Despite all that I am facing I still have a million things to be grateful for. This is truly a year to be grateful. I am graduating from the University of the West Indies and just the thought of how I maneuvered through …….. I may not be able to hold back tear drops from falling on my little belly that is growing due to enough time of relaxation and stress free from writing essays.
Today’s blog is not about my graduation though. I want to tell you about some tables that I have been seating around for the last three weeks. It is not the first time I am coming here and seating round these tables among the brothers of Mustard Seed. But since last year when I started coming here to release tension fumes from my head, I have always found a sense of peace and attitude of gratitude around these tables.
In Jacob’s ladder we have two tables now. We had one but due to covid we had to bring one more to allow the spacing that we must observe. We have meals twice a day and I can tell you there is no hurry on these tables. We talk, we chat, we laugh, we joke, we share, we teach each other and if you read my other blog before this we sing around these tables (full choir practice). I find a lot of fulfillments on these tables. By the time I take my steps upstairs to my room, I am either singing, laughing, or thinking what I am going to write like now or what I should do better tomorrow. These tables are amazing. It is there that not just food is shared and enjoyed but spiritual meals are shared in honesty, and that is what just makes me feel at peace and grateful.
Breakfast & Dinner prayers
These tables have taught me to be grateful. In the morning we say a prayer to bless the meal. Breakfast prepared by the brothers lovingly (occasionally I help, but I am not a morning person in the kitchen). Then after meals we give thanks this way……
We give you thanks almighty God for all your benefits who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen……May the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen
Wow! There is God to praise and give thanks for the meal and we pray for the souls that may be looking up for our prayers. A grateful heart is not just for its own benefit but even for those in one way or another never were grateful in their lifetime.
Then what makes me even wow more is the song we sing as a form of prayer after dinner……
There is a room high above me, and a good place to sleep, food on my table and shoes on my feet. You gave me your love Lord, and a fine family. Thank you, Lord, for your blessings for me.
To be honest this is my night prayer, I will not lie and every time I close my eyes to sing it, I do it with one heart (unless the brother gives us wrong key/note that throughs us singers off key) I feel kind of warmth-ness wrapping whole of me, for I am sure I have a lot to be grateful for.
I always come to this house burdened. And after every visit I go back to a new me. Bright face and wider smile. Whatever these tables do to me, only I can tell you…but above all, the hospitality I receive from my brothers is even more fire, for them it is not a ‘big deal’ but I wish they knew how much they fuel my empty tank…and heal my wounded heart. For me, cooking for them is not a big deal either.
Today as I prepare myself to decent to my daily duties and struggles, I pray for the many times I have been ungrateful, worried and hopeless due to what with my eyes cannot see any goodness in them and ask for the grace to be even more grateful as I go to face the Goliath of my vocation. In everything be grateful
My beloved spiritual father Saint Padre Pio once said ……“You ought to ask our Lord for just one thing, to love Him. All the rest should be thanksgiving.” – Padre Pio
BE GRATEFUL TODAY
Just like me, no matter what you are going through in life…you have so much to be grateful for. Just to wake up every morning with a reason to say, ‘thank you’. I know and I understand the reality of 2021 is not real…. constant life demand is tearing each one of us down, struggles, and worries make you like me to wonder, “is it possible to be grateful during struggles…. Most of us end up allowing defeat than a grateful heart to reign. Or we sometimes forget to maintain the attitude of gratitude during our lives, business and pressure. Just to have a stop sign on your desk or a reminder on your phone, today “THANK YOU GOD” for all that you have done in my life.
For me sometimes it is a strain to give a compliment and gratitude. I don’t feel it and I am not good at pretending to. I struggle and I feel tired and weary. Other times I feel that God failed me. I feel that He has kept not just social distance, but I can’t see Him at all …… He doesn’t really care what is going on in my life, I’m hurt. Painful life blows and betrayal may have recently sent you to despair but hold on your breath I tell you.
Everyday me and you have a choice. To give thanks or to keep it. But I assure you, with a grateful heart you will realize that you will pass in fire and not even a single spark will touch you… through the fire you will walk for God does not intend to help us out of it, but through it. His mightiness is shown through a grateful heart and a mind that is focused on Him. His power makes it possible for whatever is holding us to release us for it is by His peace that our joy is refueled.
The Good book is full OF stories of how great men and women of grateful hearts found favors in His sight. Grateful heat stirs up power from His graceful heart.
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thess. 5:18
My Tuesday wasn’t the best after I learned that I am not going back on campus at the time I expected. My host was open enough to tell me what was going on behind the tent and to be honest my heart was broken, and my already wounded heart started to bleed. Going on, my host went ahead to ask me, “what keeps you moving, the life you have chosen isn’t easy. You are young and a lot of opportunities are out there for a young person?” I gave him the answer, but my thoughts went on and on in my head and I couldn’t tell everything in detail.
I am a thinker…I think too much, I think a lot sometimes. I question…. I question myself; I question my friends; I question authority sometimes and mostly I question God…… WHY ME…. Why do I have to go through such treatment when I have already surrendered my life to Him and Him alone. WHY am I?
There are times I felt unloved and I begged for it silently in prayer “One more time, love me just one more time.” I couldn’t hold my emotions remembering how much I long for an honest love. Love that will love me and just love me and let me love this life as if there is no other life to love.
We were all created to love and be loved. I chose this life because I saw the best love in it. I was built for love around my little family and in the Trinity.
I experienced love from my tender age: my brother and sisters, my cousins, and relatives (you know African families are big) , my friends both male and female. They loved me and I loved them. They weren’t the best. There were lots of struggles but there was also a lot of love up to date. One thing that has maintained these relationships is good communication, respect, sacrifice, understanding and commitment. I am learning even much better to embrace words like, I love you, I am sorry, and I forgive you to make this ❤ Love more strong.
I long for love one more time. The love Saint Thomas once defined as a desire for the greatest good for another. There is nothing more convincing than to know that you are not just wanted but you are honestly loved … to know that the other person desires the greatest good for you. Longing for this love I deeply desire to center my attention on the things that truly matter, cultivating those relationships in my life that build me up.
I lost my brother a day after I had spoken to him on the phone while he was on hospital bed (this year). I had hoped he would be out soon, but Morris died and left us alone. I didn’t tell him how much I loved him and how much I was proud of him for making me the best uncle in the world.
Like me, sometimes you may be holding on to saying the words ‘I love you’. Its out of fear, worry, shame and how the other person will react. While these walls hold us from seeing the other side and voicing those lovely words, it’s good to pin them and never allow them to hinder you from telling your loved ones, ‘I love you’ …. not just in words but also in actions. 1 John 3:18 tells us that let us not love with words or speech but with actions and TRUTH.
I long for love one more time … the moment when we say to each other ‘I am sorry I messed up’…. Did you know sorry is the first step towards the healing process? It takes great courage to be genuinely sorry, for just saying sorry for the sake of verbalizing it has no meaning. It is not sincere to say sorry if I cannot admit I made an error in my action or in afflicting a wound in another person. It is in saying sorry that I manifest my humility. My apology breaks down the wall of hunger and bitterness and creates a ‘garden’ of peace and compassion.
Telling the other that you are sorry goes more than just admitting who is right and who is wrong. It is placing healing oil by pinning down and pointing out when a wrong is noticed and empathizing with the hurt afflicted to the other person. Sorry don’t fix the wrong done but at list it gives hope to build back and fill in the cracks in the relationship. Sorry means you value the relationship and the love you share.
Love me one more time. Sorry is one step but “I forgive you” is another step higher. I believe you remember when curious disciple Peter went to ask Jesus, “Lord, if my brother keeps on sinning against me, how many times do I forgive him? Seven times? No, not seven times, ‘answered Jesus, “but seven time seven (Matt 18:21-22).
That sounds very easy like one plus one! For sure it is not hard but to live it in our society daily is challenging. It takes conscious decision, willingness from within to let go of the bitterness, resentment, hurts and grudges.
But in a real sense when we contemplate how much God knows us and He chooses to let go and love us…it should be easy for us to forgive others (just saying).
Yes, it is a process to forgive. It is also not hooking off the offender and letting them get out free while we forget about the hurt. It frees and allows us to move forward. It’s a divine action that sets us in motion towards God’s grace and love so that in return we can offer it to those we encounter.
Love me one more time……. I know it’s messy, and tough to love but I am worthy of the love. Love me one more time and allow me to grow…. Just let love be! Let me love again one more time.
The world is hungering for love … I am convinced that the world is experiencing what I will call the ‘pandemic of love’. Be its healer….just love one more time.
“Father God, I am in a messy relationship. I feel unloved and unwanted. I feel unappreciated. I feel I am going to lose you, but you said your grace is sufficient for me. Please hold my hand and let me behold the beauty of your temple.”
Today we celebrate the feast of saint Augustine. He is well known for his adventurous life both spiritually and physically. One of his known quotes is that “Since love grows within you, so beauty grows. For love is the beauty of the soul.”
Having little knowledge of saint Augustine, I still admire his way of life.i think he is one of those persons who knew how to tell God, “I am not ok”. And I am learning to say too, “I AM NOT OKAY!”
Living a missionary life for 13 years there is one great lie that has carried through my life. You too….!
Lemme ask you… have you ever been chatting with a friend and felt a big relief while doing it, because whatever it is that you are talking about would have been weighing you down? That moment when you get something off your chest and you let out a big sigh after that? ……….
This summer I cannot lie I had a lot in my life, physically, mentally, and spiritually…these moments when stress, anxiety, anger, or even fear as to my situation hold on to us like a tick…. Having a chat with a friend, speaking about it becomes a moment of letting go and allowing God to be/in.
I am a human as you are and no profession or vocation in life that immunes me from stress, anxiety, pressure, fear and anger. And while loaded with these problems, burden and tiredness, we can end up lying to ourselves ….. I am fine, or other time we state, I am very very fine…. while on the other hand we think “no one wants to listen, no one wants to hear about my problems (maybe because of broken trust). These are normal feelings and sharing them doesn’t turn us into a burden. Sharing our load of problems lightens the load. Just do it with a trustworthy person. Even Jesus had Simon of Cyrene help him carry the cross.
There is a big roll of a lie that when we are asked “how are you” we quickly answer… “I am fine” but truth be told, we are inwardly freaking out…we are insecure…we are not okay…we are exhausted or we are emotional …… true or false?
As much as we want to be fine, we will never be 100% fine. This is the reality of our broken world. Being religious and loving God doesn’t immune us from life’s struggles. Living that faith is facing the struggles and persevering to the end. While carrying them to the heart of Jesus, and on the way asking for help ….. This is not easy.
It is surprising how despite the challenges and struggles of life, God has provided us with people, occasion, and locations in our lives to help us on the journey. Knowing who to talk to, where to go or even what to do can help us when life throws us curveballs. These will play as backup, your support, your people to just be real with. It is always helpful to have such people, places and occasions that help you to release.
Today I made dinner for the brothers. It was wonderful sharing and before we dismissed the dining table turned into a music room …. Who does that ….? hahahahaha it was fun.
It is in this house I come to “let go” …. When the formation house is unbearable and the environment is toxic, I come here to rejuvenate. Actually, this is one year since I started the practice of coming here. I call it ‘my mountain place, place of transfiguration’. Whenever I come here, I have a brother almost my age who just allows me to chat…even sometimes I notice I am giving too much information I do not care. There is another younger than me that shares a lot of characteristics. And for him he allows me to lean on his shoulder physically and spiritually. When I don’t want trouble, I stay in his room, sleep on his bed and just be there. And after my every visit, I go back ‘transfigured’. I go back honestly “FINE”.
When it comes to sharing what is going on with us, we don’t have to have perfect words. To me it doesn’t have to have systematic flow….and it doesn’t need me to talk. Occasions like laughter during meals and jokes in the corridor allows me to be and let whatever may be burdening me. To me it is another way of being reminded that I am loved…wanted…needed. And appreciated.
Some things are unshareable. But by praying and being guided by the holy spirit we find other ways of resting our burden by Jesus’ feet.
I pray for patience with myself because sharing is easy for me, and it sometimes lands me into trouble. But learning to find other healthier ways to let go of those burdens, including writing my blog, have helped me jump hips of problems I can’t imagine I am jumping into now.
Sharing our loads and picking up our crosses is not something easy, especially in our world full of broken trust…. But deep within it is healthy for it lightens the burden. Christ works through those around us to bring peace and healing that was made for me and you.
As much as fear may be scaring you back from sharing, find persons, places and occasions that bring back the energy. Maybe you can turn your dining table to music as we did tonight. Find your support system, stick with it and nature it. On the other hand, Jesus will provide the graces necessary for you to take courage, step up and let others help you. Just know that your thoughts , feelings, words are valid and have meaning. Letting others know that you are not fine or okay is the beginning of letting God in, allowing Him to love you and work in our lives.
Turn your dining table to a music room and find other ways to lay off your troubled heart.
By -@kaka Lucas, 8/25/2021……… My host asked me “how was the night” … I went ahead to answer him, “the night was dark!”
It is one thing to feel well-rested, but it is another to actually sleep well. For the past 8 weeks I couldn’t sleep well, I could not turn my brain off, especially at night.
Song writer Christopher Martin wrote a song stating that we should not let anyone steal our joy. “Life is too beautiful, my friend, hold up your head and come again. No, let nobody drain your energy, life can get lonely, but sometimes we need nobody.”
Knowing what steals your peace and intentionally saying no to it …. Those things, those people and those moments that forcefully want to take up better space in our hearts and minds is a great move in life. People, media, an item of technology or just a negative thought that keeps playing ‘soca’ in your mind, that’s a red flag to your peaceful sleep.
Yes! Even though we are mind, body, and soul. Sometimes the peace of our hearts can be thrown off the road by our very self. It is good to be mindful of every move around and within us.
In life it is hard to be in the hands of a narcist. Even though life situations may create comfortability while they hold your hands around….it will not be a sweet ride…. your mind will never be 100% in peace.
On the other hand, we live in a world where 90% of our time we are looking for happiness. We miss peaceful sleep, little moments full of wonders, waking up, walking alive on Earth full of miracles. It is so funny how many of us are more than Olympians, we run all over as if there were some better places to get…and we miss precious moments to be peaceful. There is a calling each of us are called to respond to. Every day, every hour, every minute of the hour, but we are rarely in a position to accommodate that calling. We are occupied with many things…and some other time we occupy ourselves with those things to ignore what really is happening. Listening is art that is missing in our world today, where our hearts and mind are full of noise then we cannot hear the calling. It is these things that steal our peaceful sleep.
The summer of 2021 wasn’t an easy one, but I am grateful it has come to an end in a very peaceful sleep.
It was decided I will travel to the countryside for some time off the city for two weeks. The morning before the trip was a toxic one, full of threats and anxieties that I could not control personally. But arriving where I was to go, sharing dinner around a table that was not just full of food but also full of laughter and honest sense of humor, that night getting into my room I just fell asleep and not until morning 7am I felt myself. During the meal the following day my host went ahead to ask, “how was your night?” and jokingly I answered, ‘my night was very dark’. Yes! It was dark, I had closed my eyes and slept like a dead man, but to be honest, it was the best sleep of my summer for I had no worry someone was watching me from a camera stack somewhere in the dark corner …or worried what the next email, text or call would be about.
Thinking of it now 3rd day of my stay…. I am grateful for the mindfulness…I was aware of my surroundings that evening and I was grateful for that, and for that reason, I slept well. Without mindfulness, we can be dragged away by many things. Sometimes we are pulled away by regrets, sorrow concerning the past, the present and what the future may bring.
During those sleepless nights I recall, I revisited old memories of mistreatment, only to suffer all over again and again the pain I had already experienced and was healing. The bleeding was fresh. For sure it is easy to be caught up in the prison of the past for I did hang around there for quite a long time.
Many times, I felt like throwing the towel during the summer, I wanted to go home to see my mum and change my profession, but I remember, the cross hurt. He (Jesus) went through it all, the pain from the nails and the thorns. The whips that shredded his back and flesh that was skinned off his shoulder by the cross. He gasps for oxygen not like Froid but the position he was put to hang on the cross, He gasped and cried out to His Father God as he breathed His last. We all cannot deny He went through rough pain; the experience is incomparable.
But what makes this occasion more meaningful, is that He did not run. He did not roll his eyes and call thunder to strike his persecutors. He went through it all, He lived in the pain. He offered every bit of pain for me and you.
It’s time for me to do the same…… There were moments during this summer I thought about giving up…but I trusted in Jesus so much that I didn’t want to fail him after all he has done for me. Many times I did question my faith. Other times I did question my love for him…even sometimes I did wonder if I am where I was to be. Yes! I doubted my worth and my ability but still Faith connected me to the two worlds between me. I did stand my ground, “Jesus I trust in you” and in return I know he was like “yes my son, I believe in you”, …… he must have been shaking his big head, bright face full of love.
And for that, I had peace that the world could not give, I slept peacefully until the morning and for two weeks He spoke to me, and I listened to Him.
21He said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there; the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord’.
Today I woke up with what my family back home will call ‘mafeeling’. Speaking for myself, being in foreign land isn’t one of the best when things happen back home. Will it be a wedding, a newborn or other success, or on the other hand, sickness, accidents and god forbid, when death occurs it drills and paddle my heart like constrictors cracking a stone in a mining place.
Last week I lost a cousin of mine, Kavoli Mbuvu. I wasn’t close to her that much, but I am close to the family in general. It is so funny how I took my late uncle Luke’s character of being a family man so a death like this one can affect me just as my sister’s death could have.
Waking up to a WhatsApp group full of messages and one message updating the proceedings for her burial, my heart just sank with a cloud of sadness ‘I should have been there to send her off’.
In moments like these, when life seems full of trouble and death cheering my mood swing, I play local music and just chill. While in these moments today, it was hard for me to maintain an attitude of gratitude .My head kept pounding like a blacksmith, and home sickness went through my mind. All I could see is death, in my family, problems like a blackened storm cloud casting a dark shadow on my family.
From ash-Wednesday when I lost a brother and all started going on well despite covid19, I thought death will not knock my door soon. But alas here it is. Like me when things are all fine, and all is smooth, we relax ourselves and sometimes take things for granted, we bliss, sit comfortably and be familiar with the goodies …. simply forgetting to be grateful.
My friend, do you know what gratitude is?
Let me help you with my definition. Gratitude is a habit. It is a way of looking at the world and all the good things in it with a feeling of appreciation regardless of whether or not your current situation is to your liking. This is a bitter truth. Just as success is willingness to run even when the distance is unknown, so is gratitude.
To my family and I, in these trial moments of death and sickness…. Gratitude is a heart-centered approach to being at peace with oneself and with all one has. Practicing the attitude of gratitude is like lighting a bulb in a dark forest, it attracts all kinds of insects, so is an attitude of gratitude, it attracts even more blessings in once life when it is practiced sincerely.
So as we lay our cousin to sleep, let’s go out there and be people of gratitude, whatever you have to do, and to whoever you have to be thankful for, say it out loud ‘THANK YOU’, and for the time we spend with Kavoli, we are grateful.
May her soul and the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace.