2019 – A JOURNEY FROM UNCERTAINTY TO REALITY!

There is time for everything under the sun
And there is a season to learn many lessons…
Yes, that’s what I would say 2018 was for me!

There were some treasured moments which I’ve shared and there was also the time of despair which I’ve carried alone. At times, the beauty of my dreams amazed me and later the shattering sound of some of them startled me. I made many promises, some to God and some to people, in some I fulfilled and in some, I failed.

As I approached the New Year afternoon, some of the big questions which were confusing me, quietly –

HOW AM I GOING TO FINISH THIS NEW RACE “2019”?
CAN I GUARANTEE, 2019 WILL BE A ROSY YEAR FOR ME?
CERTAINLY, ON WHOM CAN I TRUST?

New Year is a journey which starts with many UNCERTAINTIES and ends with many REALITIES. As I started this journey from Uncertainty to Reality, three things I learnt to focus on –

Excess Baggage Is Chargeable – Yes, we all are conscious about it when we travel. Analogically, it is quite relevant in our New Year journey. Carrying The Pain of Failure, The Old Weaknesses, The Grudge of Old Fights, The Guilt of the Past Wretch can greatly charge us this year.

The Bible Says, “Forget the old stinky things that you left behind and strain toward what is ahead of you to crown you with the glory of God.

Hurly-burly is Expected – Life is not always a rosy path filled with colours, softness and scent. Time of turbulence is inevitable to teach us and mature us from imperfection to perfection.

The Bible says, “Therefore, we do not lose heart. Outwardly it will seem like wasting away, yet inwardly we will be renewed day by day. Let us, fix our eyes on what is unseen – the eternal glory & the future light of life”.

Trust your Travel Partner – In the journey of life, we must love people as we love ourselves but when it comes to trust them for a definite purpose we need to be mindful. It is always risky to trust a human being. He is a mere human just like me, his days on earth are like the grass that soon withers so as mine. I am finite and mortal as he is. How can he be the perfect one to trust for my future hope! BUT IF NOT HE, THEN WHO?

WHO IS MY TRAVEL PARTNER, WHOM CAN I TRUST?

The Bible says, “God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. He does what he speaks and He promises and fulfils them”.

Warm Greetings and Prayers for your meaningful start of 2019!

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RECONCILIATION – THE NEED OF THE HOUR: CONFESS AND FORGIVE

We humans are majestically interwoven in relationships YET, we find some kind of brokenness everywhere. We have trust issues with people all the time. Our environment is not friendly to us. Often we fight with guilt and largely, we just go in the way opposite to godliness. God and our life seems like the pole of two extremes.

We are broken, we cannot trust one another,

We need protection from each other!

NOW, it is a solid state of affairs…

Once, someone shared with me her deepest secrets on WhatsApp chat. But after our chat, she asked me to do something which I had never thought anyone would ever ask me. She said, “Brother, I trust you but I cannot trust your phone and others who might check your phone sometime. Would you please delete our chat and send me the screenshot?”

Brokenness in relationships is the violation of purpose, the forcible act of separation and the need for reconciliation. Often, we blame others for our brokenness but we tend to forget a clap cannot sound with one hand! The repercussion of brokenness keeps us separated. According to the nature of law, punishment is a reward or repay YET, punishment never mends the brokenness, it never restores the broken relationships.

THEN WHAT CAN BE THE BETTER OPTION FOR US?

HOW TO MEND AND RESTORE?

One of my favourite poems is penned by an anonymous elementary school teacher, which goes like this:

He came to my desk with a quivering lip,
the lesson was undone.
“Do  you have a new sheet for me, dear teacher?
I’ve spoiled this one.”

I took his sheet, all soiled and blotted
and gave him a new one all unspotted.
And into his tired heart, I cried,
“Do better now, my child.”

I went came to the throne with a trembling heart;
the day was undone.
“Do  you have a new day for me, dear Master?
I’ve spoiled this one.”

He took my day, all soiled and blotted
and gave me a new one all unspotted.
And into my tired heart, he cried,
“Do better now, my child.”

I see two sides of this poem – ‘CONFESSION and FORGIVENESS’  – the ONLY answer to our questions on how to mend and how to restore.

CONFESSION and FORGIVENESS are means of communication. Where one admits his wrongs and the other person forgives him embracing the priority of reunion in the relationship. In this sacred communication, the required sacrifice is our EGO, ARROGANCE, PRIDE, SELF-RIGHTEOUS and all sort of things that separate us from one another and keeps us under subjection.

It is the grace of Confession and Forgiveness that work as the final portal of reconciliation. This grace is available and the Bible says,

“Come now, Let’s Settle This,” says the LORD.”
Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow.
Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.

God Almighty reconciles with sinners like us. So, how much more willing you and I must be to confess and seek forgiveness as steps to reconciliation when we are the offenders in any relationship? Also, how much willing we must be to accept the confession and forgive those who offend us?

What do you think?

THE MESSAGE FROM BRAIN CRAMP!

Have you ever gone to the kitchen but forgotten why have you gone there?
Have you ever broken the egg, spilt it in the wash basin and the eggshell in the frying pan?
You caught the bus for office but got down elsewhere!
In your conversation with your friend, you said some words without understanding the proper meaning of it!

Yes! Such an incident happens in our lives every day and that’s what BRAIN CRAMP is all about.

BRAIN CRAMP is a momentary mental lapse, such as an inability to remember something, to focus one’s attention or to understand something. It is such a condition when our mind is elsewhere and something is forgotten or done incorrectly because of it. A moment in which we fail to think clearly or act sensibly.

Don’t worry, it doesn’t mean you and me are mentally sick people!

In fact, it is just a momentary mental lapse due to our unfocused state of mind, inattentiveness or overconfident thinking. By and large, it is working and talking with a preoccupied mindset.

This Tuesday morning I got a direct bus to my office and as usual, I turned on YouTube to watch my favourite lecture. I was so engrossed in the lecture that I forgot I am on the right bus and need not change it. By the time, I realized it I had left that direct bus, wasted 10 minutes waiting for another bus and had paid extra 10 rupees.

Another day, we were in a serious chat and my friend was deeply hurt by my question. As a matter of fact, I never intended to hurt my friend yet my way of posing the question diluted the tone of my message.

The good news for the people suffering from Brain Cramp (the momentary mental lapse) is, it happens only with the people of healthy mind and the bad news is there is no capsules or tonics for its cure.

Now, the question is – WHERE TO FIND THE HEALING?

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

The human being is created with the absoluteness of freedom of thinking and expression though at times it might charge you an arm or a leg. However, the blessing in this disguise is, initially the remote of our thoughts are UNDER OUR CONTROL. All that it asks is tuning properly with the proper channels of our thoughts.

While driving on speed it is obvious to slip off track but eventually, the question is – ARE YOU STEERING BACK TO THE TRACK?

Flopping once off the track is quite obvious and worthwhile to learn but FLOPPING REGULARLY SIGNIFIES OUR DIVERSION FROM OUR FOCUS.

Brain Cramp is obvious in our life and its message is -“Darling, you need an introspection”.

The Bible says, “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life”.

Keep thinking!

HOW DO I START MY DAY?

(Captured by Avinash Das)

I captured this picture on 16th May 2018 morning and this is how my day begins every day.

As I wake up every morning, the first one hour I spend with a Cup of Tea, two pieces of Britannia Marie biscuits, my e-Bible and my daily devotional “Our Daily Journey”.

Like every other normal human being, my day begins with the need for wisdom and knowledge to blot-out my confusions, the answers to my inner questions, the strengths (ability) to overcome my weaknesses and the need of a perfect roadmap for my life’s journey. Without it, going to bed happily will be ‘Twelfth of Never’. But WHERE CAN I GET IT ALL?

The Bible says,

“Lord, let the morning bring me WORD OF YOUR UNFAILING LOVE,

for I have PUT MY TRUST IN YOU.

SHOW ME THE WAY I should go, for TO YOU I ENTRUST MY LIFE

Spending time in meditating words written in the Scripture gives us the confidence to trust God and shape our character to be trust-worthy to all.

 

“HOW ARE YOU” – DO I MEAN IT?

Last week Pogo (my Pug) peed on our doormat and my Mom slipped on it. She got a swelling and a slight crack on her right leg. The doctor advised her to wear a rigid splint the whole day and remove it before going to bed. Yesterday night when she was removing the splint, Pogo was watching her. He immediately started licking my Mom’s right leg, that too particularly the swollen part. After the incident, we noticed a stark difference in his behaviour and especially with my Mom, he behaves very soberly.

It might seem unrealistic and funny as he is a mere animal! Let me share you a couple of happenings of my life with humans recently to see the difference and the message I derived out of it.

In the recent past, I went through some unpleasant days of my life. I was feeling very low and discouraged. During such moments a couple of my friends asked me – HOW ARE YOU?

To one, I hesitated and in a very subtle way I portrayed ‘I am fine’. But immediately, my friend caught me and started checking with one of my contacts and also on my social media pages just to know what is exactly happening in my life.

To another one who is very close to me with bit hesitation, I shared about my bad condition. But the response was very casual or taken for granted kind of.

Did you notice the difference?

I would like to quote Payal’s (Candles Online writer) comment on it – “Humans are losing the sense of sensitizing the pain in others life. We have gone busy in grappling the materialistic and temporary gains.

Indeed it is like the condition of a leprous leg, unable to sense the pain and need for medication. The more I ignore the condition, the more the germ spreads and the more the ability of sensitivity is lost.

WHOM SHALL I BLAME FOR SUCH  AA CONDITIO OF MY LIFE?

WHY CAN’T I SENSE THE PAIN IN OTHERS?

Human is the epitome of God’s creation and is given the ability to understand the pain of others. Through understanding the pain of others and comforting them we project God’s image as that’s how we are created.

One of the life-changing experiences of Indian cricketer Mr Sidhu was a meetin with Mother Teresa. When he went to meet Mother Teresa and donate Rs. 10,000/- for charity, he saw Mother Teresa cleaning the wounds of a couple  of people with leprosy on their death bed. The room was stinking so much of their rotten flesh that Mr Sidhu had to run out and puke. After that when Mr Sidhu handed over the money, Mother Teresa said to him, Son, I do not need your money, I need your time.

Do we have time for others? The answer is, NO.

But why do we actually become opposite to how we were created? Where is the root of that leprosy? I think it is inside of us, inside of me?

The Bible says, The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick…”

What is that sickness?

Sin is the sickness of our heart. It is the bitterness, anger, arrogance, pride, clamour, evil speaking, malice and lust. These are little foxes who take birth in our heart and causes us to sin in a greater manner – Murder, Rape, Loot, Corruption, False Witnessing and many more.

Let us deal with these little foxes today!

Sickness cannot be called as sickness without Healing. When there is Sin, there is also Holiness. It is the LORD who is Holy, and as long as He exists we have the hope of becoming holy and  being healed again from the sickness of  the heart.

God has given us just two principles;

“Love the Lord God with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind

Love people as you love yourself.”

I AM IN THE SPOTLIGHT – Avinash

Saakshi’s Questionnaire:

  1. If you could completely eliminate one vice and one virtue from the world, what would you choose?

Ans: I thank you for being gracious and keeping “IF” at the beginning of your question. The current population of our world is 7.2 billion and I am just the one!

Jokes apart, I don’t think I would ever like to eliminate any Virtue as such. If I will eliminate a virtue then what will be the replacement for it? A VICE again?

But yes, “If I could” eliminate a vice, then that would be “the Ignorance in human heart regarding the sovereignty of God”. Initially, a man does wrong in the ignorance of his heart and when he is aware of his wrong deed he never repeats it as we all want to be right in every sphere of our life. To be in the right place we need the help of the one who is always right but we are always ignorant of this truth and I want to remove that ignorance from the hearts of people.   

  1. What is the easiest way to win your heart?

Ans: Oh… I have to reveal the secret! Hmm… I love honest and caring people. Because people are always available either to appreciate you or to criticize you but rarely we find those honest and caring hearts who shows you your mistakes and offers a caring hand to lead you to the right path.  

  1. How important is the concept of Marriage to you?

Ans: My dear friend, why are you so hurry to dig the grave of your bachelor friend as some of my family members are also in the reader’s group!

Anyway, on a serious note, I would say, Marriage is the most essential and the most sacred institution of every human life. Both the words Woman/Female is incomplete without the word Man/Male and again looking at the chronological side, the creation of Man/Male is incomplete without a Woman/Female. Marriage not only meets the physical need of a Man or Woman rather it also meets the emotional, mental and spiritual needs of each other. In the marital life of our parents, we have seen the fulfilment of this truth. Though my Dad is a very strong hearted person yet whenever he feels low it is my Mom who has understood his emotional ramification and has given the most honest, trustworthy and diligent support. A human’s emotional brokenness always results in his physical and mental outlook and at that point, it is only a spouse who offers a caring hand sacrificing everything. My Mother has always given a backseat to everything/everyone when it is caring for my Father. Last but the foremost is about meeting the Spiritual need, God is never pleased with the utterance of sacred words or the works in our worship, it is only the deepest cry of our heart with total submission and undivided attention in seeking His help that pleases Him. Only a SPOUSE who can pray such a prayer for his/her life partner.

Bible says, “The biggest need God saw in Man after creating him is WOMAN. So God created Woman taking a rib of man and the man said to God, this is now the bone of my bones and the flesh of my flesh. She shall be called ‘woman’ for she was taken out of man’”.

Marriage as a whole is our Total Commitment – Utmost Holiness in Relationship – Honesty in Behaviour – Humility of Heart – Trustworthiness in Dependence on our Spouses. And the LOVE holds it all.

  1. If you were allowed to go back and change one thing from your past, what would you pick and why?

Ans: I know the time machine only exists on our stupid box screen such as the biggest fantasy series of 20’s on Indian Television screen ‘Shaktiman’! So I would like to answer you this way that, the regret of my life is wasted years of my late teens and early twenties when I just took my life casually and lived it on my own terms. I wish my life won’t have ever become the piles of a stumbling block to anyone. Because everyone’s life is too precious and we should never be the reason of the mess of their life rather we should live our life on Godly standards and impact people to live their life on Godly standards as well.

  1. What are your prime strength and your main weakness?

Ans: Ma’am, do you know someone once said “Girls are too wise in questioning” and you hold a bonus – the mind like Einstein, “Question Everything”!

My Prime Strength Undoubtedly is God because without Him I have no strength to carry out anything. Apart from that, I am creative, very honest and caring. I can adjust in any situation.  

And my weaknessTo be honest, my gadgets (Laptop and especially my phone). Now, I am trying to work on it because being too much attached to them is not good.  

  1. Is there any one person in the world with whom you would like to change your life with?

Ans: If you are asking about exchanging my life with some great noble characters like Mother Teresa, Abdul Kalam, Abraham Lincon or Adoniram Judson, then I would say, it would be unfair to change our lives with them. Rather we need to understand the “Purpose of our life” and live for it with total commitment because that’s what they have also done in their life. Which means, instead of exchanging my life I would love to learn from them. What do you say!

  1. We all have one perfect memory in our life, what was your perfect moment in life?

Ans: I have already shared it in a couple of my articles. Now in nutshell, it is “14th March 2011, 7 PM”. I would say that was the perfect moment of my life and I can never forget each second of that day ever. If I would be able to draw a picture of my own life then that would be the day of “U-turn” in my life.    

  1. What are three materialistic things you can’t live without?

Ans: Yes, I can say, it will be quite uncomfortable for me to live for more than a couple of days without my morning Tea, my Smartphone and my Hair Cream and Body spray.  

  1. Have you ever stolen something? If yes, then what?

Ans: Trust me Saakshi, I’m not a Chor (Thief)! There is no F.I.R in my name. Till date, I am a good Indian citizen. Why do you want to seize my citizenship?

Yes, throughout my childhood I was noted for stealing sweets in my family. My mom used to wonder why all our guests used to bring half empty packets of sweets to our home. 

  1. If you could replace one body part with a super bionic replacement what body part and what features would the new bionic replacement have?

Ans: I am satisfied with what I am. But I am really interested in your brain surgery just to see what causes you to ask such horrible questions.

At the end just to add something of value which comes to my mind right now that, human life is filled with questions and confusions which is good! It reveals our finite knowledge and the need for dependency on the infinite and eternal first cause – GOD!

The Bible says,

“For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.”

God bless you my dear friend Saakshi!

I AM LOOKING THE WAY I AM!

Yes, I’m dark and skinny! What’s wrong? Am I in the place of God that I will change the colour of my skin and the structure of my body!

Recently, my cab driver shares with me his problem. Though he is a married young man having a kid yet his struggle is “Body Shamming”! Throughout the ride, he shared how he is always discriminated against and become the joke in his peer group, just because he is a little skinny. He said, “Though I earn hefty and having a beautiful wife and kid yet I’m not happy! I feel like I’m not complete. But what can I do? How can I change my physical structure?”

One of the lowest cost and heavily profitable businesses in Urban India is “Salons, Spas & Gym”. Almost 80% urbanite visit to a Spa or to a Beauty Salon on every weekend and 92% young people between 16-35yr, at least spend 2 hrs at Gym daily. It is good to stay healthy and fit but today our talk has gone little ahead – You need to look glamorous and acceptable or else get ready to be squared!

People are mostly replaced and mocked because of their physical structure and look. It always reminds me of a particular man from my hometown. Recently, I met him on the street and greeted him and in response, he said, “Your tummy is coming out!” It is okay to ignore such a comment or take it positively at once or twice but how to tolerate when every other time someone will bump on you to talk about your look. I remember last year we were in a conference and the same man commented on my look, while we were having coffee in a group with a few other friends.

How to deal with such people???

Do you know every human being has the birthright of freedom to think and speak? There is no power under the heaven and on earth to put barriers to someone’s thought. So, let’s make a wise deal, as I cannot change someone’s thinking let me not spoil my own peace by putting my nose into filthy talks.Giving a nice plastic smile and keeping safety measure can be a nice option!

But how to deal with body shaming when you face it with the family and friends???

Imagine! You are in a family gathering and your cousins will taunt you “hum khate pitte ghar ke hain” (we are from a well-nourished family). Yes, it is good to be a foodie but why to jeer someone and tag yourself foodie just because your cousin is too skinny!

Among your friends, you were singled out because you are not handsome and fashionable! Even at times knowingly people will ignore you in the public gathering because you won’t look the way they want you to look like.

Though some people are educated and of noble character yet they face rejection during matchmaking just because their skin colour and body structure are different!   

Everything that comes from the outside never spoils us rather it is what springs from inside of us defiles us. When we face body shame it never defiles our joy and peace rather when we start pondering on those catcalls then we start feeling ashamed on our looks.

I remember one night while returning home at night 10 o’ clock my bus banged on another bus and we all passengers were stranded in the middle of a jungle. After a long wait for a lift to the next bus stop, a cab came and immediately four fat people pulled me aside and jumped into the car. At split of a second the back seat was full and in the front, there was already a man along with the cab driver. Again another fat man pulled me aside asking the driver for a lift but the driver denied him and offered me that seat because I was the only thin person to adjust in there. So, the people skinny like me should not feel discouraged; be optimistic, it is only we skinny people who can easily travel in half-seats.

It was January 2017 on a winter night I was on the bus and was very angry with God. Grumbling at Him, “Why He has created me like this skinny and dark? How beautiful it would be if I would be a little fair and of good health?” As we were waiting for the green light to show up, I saw a very beautiful girl, looks like a professional climbed the steps of the bus struggling to balance herself with the support of a crutch. I was dumbfounded as tears rolled from my eyes and I asked God for forgiveness!

The Bible says,

So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.

God is the creator of mankind and He had uniquely created us!

Uniqueness doesn’t mean we need to fashion and look like a celebrity rather we need to realize – “we are created as the celebrity of our life’s destiny and there is no one second to it!” Secondly, we need to understand when God has created each of us uniquely that means we all hold a stark difference between each other and this difference is not to grumble with self, murmur about God and keep shaming others rather it is to enjoy the beauty & unity with our diverse look!

Don’t shame! Don’t feel ashamed!

YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL, JUST THE WAY YOU ARE!

Avinash Das