A BOAT OF HOPE

I didn’t have a bad day. In fact, it was a nice day, having fun with my cousins and friends. Why then, I see clouds all around? Is it a dream, I’m seeing?

I saw darkness hovering around me and I screamed in my thoughts, “Ah…where am I? Why can’t I see myself?” The dark clouds all around me made my vision obscure as the bright light that I was seeing a minute ago almost faded away.

Then an intense sorrow pierced through my spines, my flesh, and my bones. The dark despair within me made me walk through the hidden lanes of my life. I felt ashamed of myself. I hated myself. The rotten scent of my sinfulness broke me into pieces. I saw a defiant me, standing and asking questions about my own creation… as I found myself to be a weak, neglected and a rejected piece of morsel thrown on a pile of garbage.

A gripping fear and a distressing agony engulfed me when I saw the raging sea waves approaching me and I just tried to duck down my head to let it pass but I could not do. I tried again and again but all my efforts seem to be in vain.

I realized my inability to rescue my own self. I understood I needed someone else to bring salvation, and restore me from this chaos.

Lo and behold! I soon saw a boat glimmering in the middle of the sea.

I had lost all my hope but a ray of hope sparked within me when I saw the boat. That boat, to me, seemed like a piece of leaf for an ant floating away in the water. That boat reminded me of my God, the Saviour Himself and I remembered His assurances, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for YOU are with me; YOUR rod [to protect] and YOUR staff [to guide], they comfort and console me. For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth. From birth I have relied on you; you brought me forth from my mother’s womb.”

I could not feel whether I swam through the waves or not but somehow, I reached that boat and found myself on it, cruising through the waves, going beyond the clouds of darkness.

This may not be a dream that I saw in my sleep, but I have seen it many times in my life and still see it even today. I’ve walked in close proximity to death. My life has never been easy but the good thing is, I always found myself being consoled and reassured with the promise of that small boat of hope at every dark situation of my life.

I know, God has been and will be the boat of hope all through my life, even during this pandemic situation… till I enter eternity after my death.

HOW LOUD CAN I BE?

The environment is the surrounding within which we humankind live. Humans and the environment are interdependent. The environment around all the humans were created for their benefit and they were given the responsibility of taking care of the environment as well -“The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it“, this is what the Bible says. 

But the biggest question arises here – “How do humans take care of the environment?” Or if we specify it more of a personal level, then the question may be, “How do I take care of the environment?” Or “What is my bit for the environment?”

While trying to understand what is my environment first, I came across the term environmental psychology which is explained – Environmental psychology is an interdisciplinary field that focuses on the interplay between individuals and their surroundings. The field defines the term environment broadly, encompassing natural environments, social settings, built environments, learning environments, and informational environments.

Now, the term environmental psychology gave me a clear picture of my surrounding, that is my environment and how I can improve it for myself as well as for the future generation that will follow after me.  

Let me give some imageries before I talk about – ‘my bit for the environment’.

Mostly people from joint families talk louder than the people brought up in nuclear families. Why and how does that happen? When there are more people in a family, one tends to speak louder to another to communicate well overlapping other conversations between other family members in that same family.

Think about the people in the slums and the ones living on the streets… they play loud music and scream around speaking coarsely. But those of us living in a proper house tend to play music with a moderate volume and have manners to speak gently. The reason is the same – to let our messages conveyed overcoming the noises all around us.

At home when our soft voices are not heard by the person we are talking to, we shout or scream after two or three failed attempts to communicate gently. I get a reaction from the other members at home when I shout, “Why are you shouting?” My responses to them goes like this, “Because you are not able to hear my soft, gentle voice”. I shout a lot as I was brought up in a joint family.

But when I was contemplating about my paternal family, I see they all speak gently than my maternal family. They even shun shouting. I tried to find out the reason behind it. One reason could possibly be, in my paternal joint family we all gather during vacations once in a year but in our maternal joint family, all the members live together throughout the year.

Why am I talking about speaking loudly, shouts, high pitched sound, etc.? Because sound has terrible effects on human health ultimately causing damage to the environment as a whole, according to the definition of environmental psychology. The social settings are disturbed because of the effects of high-pitched sound or noise.

Noise pollution is an invisible danger. It cannot be seen, but it is present nonetheless, both on land and under the sea.

Noise pollution impacts millions of people on a daily basis. The most common health problem it causes is Noise Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL). Exposure to loud noise can also cause high blood pressure, heart disease, sleep disturbances, and stress. These health problems can affect all age groups, especially children. Many children who live near noisy airports or streets have been found to suffer from stress and other problems, such as impairments in memory, attention level, and reading skills.

Noise pollution also impacts the health and well-being of wildlife. Studies have shown that loud noises cause caterpillars’ hearts to beat faster and bluebirds to have fewer chicks. Animals use sound for a variety of reasons, including to navigate, find food, attract mates, and avoid predators. Noise pollution makes it difficult for them to accomplish these tasks, which affects their ability to survive.

The above description is about the effects of high-pitched unwanted sound or noise on our environment at large but it has adverse effects on a very personal level as well. When in the family we shout, people in front of us get irritated and shout back at us. And the tension keeps building up with further shouting and loud responses.

The Bible instructs us like this –

A soft and gentle and thoughtful answer turns away wrath,
But harsh and painful and careless words stir up anger.

And we all know, harsh and careless words are always spoken with loud voices (though there is gentle venom as well).

So, my bit for the environment is to promote gentle voices in the family as well as in the community I live in while I force my own voice to go down as much as possible. Sadly, I always speak in a loud voice. And it is a constant struggle for me to speak gently and wisely. I am striving hard. I am sure for the sake of my social settings, my surrounding, my environment I would change my habit.

Are you ready to follow it too – “How gentle and soft can I be?”

Stay Blessed!!!

 

 

If you can’t keep your surroundings clean, you don’t love yourself.

YOU ARE SAFE!

PROMPT: She opened the library book and found a photo in it…

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(Image Credit – Google Inc.)

She opened the library book and found a photo in it. She felt dizzy seeing a photograph of her, smooching her boyfriend while they’re in the library, last Saturday.

She panicked thinking who could’ve captured that image. The photograph fell down from her shaking hands, and she noticed something is written on the back of the photograph…

 

MY DAUGHTER, IF I COULD CAPTURE THIS, THEN ANYONE ELSE COULD’VE DONE IT TO BLACKMAIL AND HARASS YOU. DO EVERYTHING WITH THE KNOWLEDGE OF YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS AND WITHIN THE SAFE ZONE OF LIFE. I’VE ADDRESSED YOU AS MY DAUGHTER, SO DON’T PANIC, TRUST ME… YOU ARE SAFE!

It wasn’t difficult for Anjali to understand that he’s the old smiling uncle, the manager of the library who always tells her lovingly, “you’re like my daughter“. Her heart filled with gratitude and respect for him, who protected her even when he’s just a stranger.

By wisdom the Lord laid the earth’s foundations, by understanding He set the heavens in place; by His knowledge the watery depths were divided, and the clouds let drop the dew.

 

MEANINGLESS! MEANINGLESS!

One day suddenly, I felt, life is meaningless and whatever I have achieved or doing have no meaning. Maybe, you feel the same as I am, at times. This can happen out of nowhere, for no apparent reason. But it is necessary to understand why and when it happens.

Meaninglessness in life or anything we do or in any situation we are in comes when we are unable to find value in our life or the things we do. It comes when we insignificant in this huge wide world. It comes when failure lives in our house as a permanent member.

I find, lack of THREE very important factors within us bring in the sense of meaninglessness. They are the short form of the word IMPORTANT – IMP.

Let’s get into IMP in details for clear understanding of the matter.

Lack of INTEREST: I find it funny when I hear everything a person says yet I fail to remember anything he said. The reading of the text or hearing the speech or the message directed towards me becomes meaningless when I don’t conceive it because of my lack of interest. When I don’t have the curiosity of knowing or understanding something, I lose to understand the very meaning of it as well.

Lack of MOTIVATION: I usually avoid leadership training or conferences these days. The reason why I avoid to attend those seminars is very simple… I find them meaningless when I don’t have the scope to implement what I learn theoretically in those seminars. The scope to apply what you learn gives you a motivation to do it. And I don’t have that motivation so I find it meaningless for me. I really love it, I have interest in those speeches and training modules. I understand the purpose behind, yet I don’t have the motivation behind it.

Sometimes, in life, when we lack motivation, we fail to understand how to lead it.

Lack of PURPOSE: Just imagine, if your children are going to schools or colleges with the sole purpose of  finding a good life partner then the whole concept of education becomes meaningless. When the purpose of what we are doing or for why we are living is not known or understood to us then we run errands meaninglessly and a time comes when we lose motivation and interest to do anything or find life meaningless to live out. The purpose of life is the foundation of living it meaningfully and without it, we perish. 

All the above THREE words or factors seem very similar to each other but they have different connotations if we study them carefully. Interest gives us the feeling to attempt something, Motivation helps us to move forward with the same that interests us and Purpose directs us to move forward in the right path to accomplish what we were motivated about. There is no ranking or order of these three factors, called IMP. They are all part of the same system which makes our life beautiful and meaningful whether it is something that we do in our day to day lives or we do something to cater to the needs of our mental faculties or it is about our spiritual matters.

There is one Bible verse which I always love to quote when to explain the topics concerning life. It reads,

The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.”

At times, when we struggle to find the meaning of our life, we need to sit down and meditate on God’s goodness and His ways of dealing with people. He works amazingly and mysteriously. The more we go deeper diving down into the matters of our soul and eternity, the more we will draw out, that are beautiful, mysterious and meaningful for us. That happens when we are wise enough to do.

But the question is who’s then wise or man of understanding? The Bible again says,

“The reverent fear of the Lord that is, worshiping Him and regarding Him as truly awesome is the beginning and the preeminent part of knowledge [its starting point and its essence];”  

When we acknowledge God in our life, we gain knowledge and become wise. And when we become wise and man of understanding we get to go deep down to comprehend the purpose of life, ultimately we find the meaning of life and living it to the fullest.

Stay Blessed!

STOP THAT ‘ME TIME’ AND BRING ABOUT ‘OUR TIME’

It is not a very easy question to ask or answer, that what mistakes the parents are doing and what are the reasons behind a child’s unruly, uncivilized, unprecedented behaviours. But there are definitely reasons and the ways to rectify them.

I am not a parent as I don’t have any children of my own, yet from the time this topic was raised, I have been thinking over it from a psychological, sociological and Biblical point of view. And I came up with THREE very valid thoughts (not reasons) concerning a child’s such unacceptable behaviours.

Those THREE Thoughts Or 3 P’s are – Psyche, Parents and Peers. Let’s get into the details of each one after the other.

Psyche of Human: The world is getting worse and worse in regards to morality as the days pass by. The psyche of human being is so corrupt, occupied and entangled with the sinfulness that it suppresses every good things under it and never allows them to surface above. I will give you a picture of how sin entangles us.

I was watching a series on Netflix. I usually and am supposed to sleep at the earliest by 12 AM. That’s good for my health and also for the day to be followed. But the episodes became so interesting that I kept on watching till 3 AM and believe it or not, I finished 73 episodes of all 6 series within 13 days.

Sin exactly allures and entangles our minds like this. It keeps on capturing our attention and we fail to come out of it. When grown ups and wise people can fall, then the children are extremely vulnerable to the entanglements of sinful allurements that the media or mobile provide them.

Media, Mobile and Netflix are not wrong but our choices are. It is important for the parents to carefully think about the psyche of their children, the base on which their psyche is to be built upon, how do they can save their children from the sinful entanglements?

Parent’s Influence: Children are great imitators. They become arrogant if they see their parents arrogant. They become rebellious if they see one of their parents are rebellious to the other. As human we have a tendency to do what is prohibited. For example, a Whatsapp group is created for a purpose by the initiator. But people keep on posting whatever they wish to despite of multiple warnings from the admin of the group. Some people know that they are prohibited to do something, yet they push their wishes or work to the limelight.

Parents force their children to follow what the good they are doing but they should know that the negative attributes are always easy and attractive for their children (the human) to imitate, adopt and follow.

Peers’ Influence: My niece, Mihika always stays very quiet and shy when we all gather together sometimes. But when she sees a couple of children in the gathering she jumps, dances and runs along with them happily. We all have that tendency of being happy with our peers and so are the children at large.

The lockdown has opened up the floodgates of free flow interactions on internet for everyone including the most vulnerable, the children. They follow to match up with their peer. One peer from the other, to reach the level. There’s influence, pressure and competition between them that the parents can find if they study and be observant very closely.

Are you alarmed? Are you worried for your little ones?

Stop that Me Time. And bring about Our Time in the family.  The very concept of “Me Time” is the greatest deception of the present generations offered by the devil to destroy human togetherness, unity and connection from a person to person and from person to God. They were part of God’s original plan.

So my dear parents, sit down with your better-halves, with your children and plan out to work on the thoughts I discussed with you today. In case, you find them useful.

Stay Blessed!