CHEER THEM UP, BUT HOW?

Cheer them up,

But how is it possible to cheer up the family who lost their father in the COVID pandemic?

What can bring a smile to the face, who’s last flight got canceled at the last hour? He is all alone locked in a room, miles away from his family and it’s been a quarter month.

What can drain his stress after receiving a simple email saying, “our company has gone bankrupt, we cannot pay you anymore, you can leave us”?

How can you comfort her when she is abused by her society members only because she is treating COVID patients and it’s impossible for her to runaway from her commitment to being a medical doctor?

How hurting it is when the neighbors’ gossip, rumors, and snubbing behavior is enough to say, I am a risk for his family and others as well just because I was a COVID positive last week?

Is a bag of rice for a month can comfort a family when they have lost their job just because the city is under locked down and all the constructions sites are closed for an unprecedented time?

Well, these are the few people and stories I am coming across since the COVID-19 pandemic spread out. Listening to their painful stories all it seemed “CHEER UP” is a good word but failing to be relevant. I was in a situation where I can neither help my friends nor can talk to them freely. I have to guard each of the words before I speak. In the meanwhile, I got a reminder of the Bible verse,

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.”

Wise is the one who works accordingly in the due time. It is so defining to know that each of our human situations is time-bound which of course gives us the surety that the situation will come to its end at a precedented time. Now the biggest challenge before us is how do we react at each of the times. While in pain and heart-breaking moment, there is an unquenchable emotion and heart filled with sobbing words. All that they look for is a heeding ear and an understanding heart. Probably with this expectation, every human being in his worse condition looks for his dearest friend. As the Bible says,

“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.”

Oh, what tranquil experience it was:

As I picked his phone and heard his voice

I sob my heart out over poise  

The heeding silence of him

Quenched my words within.

After’ hours of interaction with him

My soul found a relish within.

This time he didn’t speak too much

Yet his few words of prayer, love and concern

Was evident enough to feel the retouch.

This might denote my strong personality yet, to be honest enough, “often I too experience the same”. But during that time, the biggest question obstructs the ways of my mind – Who is that strong pillar, on whom I can take rest?  

Years back, my Uncle gave me beautiful advice and I strongly follow it. Whenever I feel annoyed, hurt, angry, or stress, I feel too weak to guard my tongue. Honest enough, at times I have hurt many beloved ones. As a way-out to it, I try to remain silent and never avoid to go for a random ride. If that point, someone can scan my mind, he would surely say I am nothing other than a babbler. With locked lips and shouting mind, I just gush out whatever there in my mind calling out to God. As a matter of fact, soon I find both my mind and my stomach empty. I take some nice food and try to revamp to normalcy.

The way I cheer up others and I feel cheered up reminds me of my favorite song of the Irish poet Sir Joseph M. Scriven –

What a friend we have in Jesus,
all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
everything to God in prayer!

O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear,
all because we do not carry
everything to God in prayer.

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged;
take it to the Lord in prayer.

Can we find a friend so faithful
who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
take it to the Lord in prayer.

Are we weak and heavy laden,
cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge;
take it to the Lord in prayer.

Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In his arms he’ll take and shield thee;
thou wilt find a solace there.

MY DISCOVERY WITH CANDLES ONLINE

One of the blessed days of my life book is the 10th of January 2016. As we were driving back from church, it was my first ever personal time with Chiradeep Patra. Probably, it was his 2nd/3rd question where he enquired about my hobbies and I replied, one of them is writing quotes almost on a daily basis. Without giving a second thought, he proposed to me to write for CandlesOnline and being speechless for a while, I was like “How on earth is it possible for me?” But he didn’t give up on me! He insisted you give words to your thoughts, for the rest, I am there. Lo and behold, the first-ever article of my life “HOW GOOD IS OUR MASK OF PRETENCE?” got published on @CandlesOnline and last month I was able to post my 116th article for @CandlesOnline blog “RELIGIOUSNESS OR RIGHTEOUSNESS – WHAT DO WE NEED TO LOOK FOR?“ Summing up this blissful experience I would say,

“God, at His time, gears you to your way

He makes you something out of nothing

For His glory, in His way.”  

One of my favorite songs is Chris Rice’s famous song “There is a Candle in every soul”. Apparently, my journey with CandlesOnline aces the same. On a personal level, if someone knows us much better than us, undoubtedly, He is God! Since God loves us, he has gifted us with numerous talents, some we know – some are still in that unknown darkness. Possibly once at a time, God sends someone to lit up a candle in our unknown darkness to make His sacred gifts known to us.

His sacred gifts are for His glory

Whereas it all seems inadequate and misty

But like a sculptor out of a mere stone,

He chisels and shapes me, gives me the beauty and maketh known.

Well, that’s the picture I would drop as a referral for my journey with candles. God’s sacred gifts which are our talents that always come in a raw form, primarily it appears to us as inadequate. We feel our talents are incompetent, we struggle for relevance and finally, as we dearth of enthusiasm, we feel bored enough to give up. In spite of, this boredom as we stay put to our talents, learn from our experience, our talents proceed to excellence. Since the gluiness of comfort doesn’t allow a man to grow, God puts the man in discomfort to chisel and shape his learning experience and builds him for excellence.

Sow a seed, water enough the plant

But all it may become extraneous

If the thorny bushes chock, making it impotent     

While speaking to a crowd, Jesus used the parable of seeds to explain why some people do not grow in the Word of God while others do grow. And one of the reasons He mentioned, using the instance of the seed that fell among the thorns, went unfruitful because of its environment, it was choked by the thorny bushes. On contrary to the picture is, what I feel being in the CandlesOnline community. It won’t be wrong to say, CandlesOnline is of my extended virtual family. In which, there is always someone out there to care and support spreading out positive vibes. In the Candles Online group, I always experienced everyone is too good and gracious enough to make you feel friendly. Refreshing a couple of my experiences, whenever I felt low and it reflected on my social media posts or in personal connection whether it is Chiradeep, Preeta, Kalpana, Rajnandini someone in some way always enquired my negative state and had comforted my soul. Going further, friends like Sreepriya, Kuljeet, Sriram, Astha, Sakhi, Sony always makes you feel friendly and alongside respectful. How can I go unmentioned about the three tiny peepers Aparna the first Bengali girl who addresses me as Dada; Payal whom I never meet physically but time to time made her presence vital through reasoning on some facts virtually; and topping all Vipra, my Choti Doctor Sahiba, always trusted and lavished her affection through enquiring about my health condition and also scolding on having late dinner. She never gives a prolonged gap to our virtual chats that had always brought smiles to my face. Putting right my experiences I would say, the best place to grow in your talent is being in a positive environment and that’s each of the Candles Online community made me felt.

God out of His infinite riches

Gifts and Grows our talents.

He gifts out of many purposes

It’s all for His glory through impacting lives.

God gifts us talents, equips us through life experiences to excel in our talents, and provides us a community to grow with positivity, God’s way of work always denotes God has a Purpose in whatever He does! And God’s purpose is we may have a personal experience in our personal relationship with Him and encourage others to have a taste of the same experience and as we continue to do so God’s name is glorified. This perspective becomes more evident as we look at our life situation through the Word of God (Bible). It reminds me of the Bible verse,

“The Word of God (Bible) is the mirror for our souls”.

HOW YOU GIVE MATTERS!

The Greek term for the word “Giving” is “dosis,” which literal meaning is “Gift.” I believe this truly justifies the meaning and sense of the word. Giving should be in terms of gift, which never carries the policy of return (Payback) and is always maintained in contentment, only to sense someone worthy in relation to us. But let’s keep this definition aside for a while and look into the present terms of giving.

Before writing this article I found four attitude of giving. I believe everyone under the sun will fall somewhere among these four attitudes of giving.

  1. 1BusinessBusiness – Class Giving: In our life when we give something to someone, we often tune into the game of pure business. Our attitude of giving is mostly sketched on balance sheet of “Profit & Loss”. We give something to someone in order to take four fold profits out of that. Here we are not giving, we are investing, so that we can earn later on. Those who thinks it’s good to be Business class giver and giving is an investment, for them I have two questions – ‘What have you invested for your birth?’ and ‘What have you invested for your culture?’
  2. Advertisement – Class Giving: In this class of giving attitude, we give so that our name will be advertised. All will know that I have contributed for so and so cause. My name will be flashed and I will be praised by others as a generous personality.self-promotion

I remember few years back, we few youths from our church went to a man for donation for a social activity. Immediately that man gave us a positive reply. But before giving donation he wanted to check our Money Receipt book, so that he can become the highest donor in the donors list.

That was truly an embarrassment for us. The Bible says, “When we are giving, our left hand should not know what our right hand is giving.” This standard of secrecy we need to maintain when we are giving something to someone. But are we up to this standard of giving? Are we giving or doing an advertisement?

  1. PAFF_093014_CalculativeMindsetMFB_newsfeatureEconomy – Class Giving: In this class of giving attitude, we become very economical. It’s like we are going on a trip in the month end. This we often see during festival or celebration time. During festivals the sweet packet from our family goes after a cross-check of the sweet packets from our relative’s family. During marriage days we often keep records of the gifts given by our dear ones, so that in future we will also gift them the same amount of gift what we receive from them. Are we giving or doing a comparative study of giving and proving ourselves better? “God loves a cheerful giver” – The Bible says. Let’s not forget that.
  2. 19231913-mmmainGratitude – Class Giving: Givers belong to this class always consider their ‘attitude of giving’ as ‘an attitude of gratitude’ towards God. They always consider their possessions on earth as a blessing from God, which they don’t deserve. I would like to stand with them. Because our birth, our culture, our language, our race, our earthly possession etc., all we have since our birth for which we had not invested at all. Do we deserve that or it’s a grace from God our our Parents?

Yesterday someone shared me the story of an old man from Chennai whom Rajnikant, The Thalaiva adopted as father. That old man spent his earnings for the cause of poor and destitute people. Even he spent his pension in giving to poor on street.

Many people like such old man are around us, who never comes to limelight but they always consider their life and possession as God’s grace and by giving it to needy is accomplishing the attitude of gratitude towards God.

Every human being is into the attitude of giving from some point of reference but the matter is what about our attitude to the person/sect whom we are giving.

“How you are giving matters more than what you are giving!”

SOLUTION TO OFFEND & FEEL OFFENDED

Throughout the week, I have gone through the write ups. All of them are very beautiful and explanatory as they are based on life experiences. I truly appreciate all the writers for giving their utmost effort and justifying the topic: Culture and Mannerism. But, in all the snippets, I found one thing they had in common…all had been through some shameful experience of “offending and being offended” due to cultural diversities.

In the past 6 years of being a holistic worker, I have crisscrossed through 3 major states of India: Odisha, West Bengal and A.P. There have been many incidents in my life of “offending another’s culture and being offended in my own culture by someone else.”

Our country, India, is known globally for two major things: Unity in Diversities and the 5000 years of rich heritage and culture. It is very obvious to see the cultural differences between the people. In my country of India, everyday you can see people of diverse Religion, Caste, Culture, and even Language. What is truly incredible is that all of these people can be found within a 200 meter radius of each other!

In each of these cultures, a man from a different part of the country is humiliated or ill treated because of the differences between him and the ones he may be visiting. This proves highly embarrassing. We showcase ourselves as a component of the GLOBALIZATION concept and a member of a Global Community. But, alas, we don’t try to come out of our comfort zone and make our guests feel that they are welcome.

The Scriptures have two great commandments: “Love the Lord your God, with all our heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. Love your Neighbor as yourself.” The second of these two greatest commandments shows us the gateway to the globalization concept.

We always concentrate on the idea of the “neighbor” being the man who lives adjacent to me but in actuality it is everyone I meet. In a global family, no one is a foreigner, we are all one family. We also know that the foundation of Family is LOVE. Our concept or ideology of a Global family needs to be upgraded and set firmly on a foundation of LOVE. For where there is LOVE, there is no hatred, no boastfulness, jealousy, anger, or evil.

When we renew our minds and start loving the people next to us, there will be no such thing as a “foreigner”. We will not see their physical color, language or culture. Rather we will see them as our siblings whose thought processes and lifestyles are different from ours but will be accepted and respected.

If we love on another as God commanded, I can bet there will be no one stamped as a “Foreigner” and our Culture will not be offended nor would we offend our brother’s. Rather we will say, “Brother, let us grow together. You are a little different but better than me!”

What do you think my global family? Shall we renew our mind to love and grow?

Catch you with some new idea. Stay connected.
NO FOREIGNERS! WE ARE OF ONE FAMILY!

SETTING YOUR G.P.R.S

Few days back I was counseling someone & I found a very strange & dubious statement from her. Her story goes like this. She was in love since her college days, even though both of their families were against of their relationship. Still they continued in their relationship with complete faithfulness & hope. After 8yrs of love relationship they got married legally in the presence of their family members. Now they are living as a beautiful couple having all needs and wants fulfilled in their life. They belong to a higher middle class family, holding high-qualification and high-profile work & all other credentials that a couple wishes ever. As I look into their life, I always say, “What more have you left behind my dear couple? You both are holding everything in your hands!”

But during my counseling she uttered a line with a quite different smile, which still rings in my mind – “MY LIFE HAS BECOME A HELL”. This statement of hers was a great shock for me. I had never thought of it before. As I was counseling her I found that, behind their successful love marriage life there were a lot of sacrifices which both of them had made, even both of their families had. But still her life is hell! “WHY???”

The Bible gave me a beautiful answer, The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure”. That so true, even though this beloved couple have everything they wished, still their life has become a hell and the fact of the matter is, “their hearts have deceived them not they!” God provided them all their hearts wanted but at the end their hearts only deceived them which is beyond cure by any human being. “But GOD CAN PROVIDE THE CURE!!!

When I looked for the answer to the why & how heart deceives us. I found these answers:

  1. BROKEN RELATIONSHIP:

It does not refer to the broken relationship with human beings but it’s our broken relationship with God – Our Creator. As children, we ask God whatever we wish and being a loving generous Father (Our Creator God) He provides us everything. But after getting all these blessings we forget God. We start enjoying our blessings forgetting the God who blessed us – “Our blessing blurs our eyes”. We enjoy our lives in our ways instead of seeking His will and His plan. Life is a journey which never goes on a single straight way. Surely there will be challenges and difficulties and heart breaks. So when these sort of challenges pop up in our lives as a self-centered children with less knowledge about future we try to put our own strengths and own ideas to overcome the challenge instead of seeking God’s purpose behind the challenge. We use our Emotions, Worldly knowledge, Moral values & Physical strength which ultimately make our lives more miserable. We become like “Travellers in a strange land struggling without GPRS”.

We must always remember that, our heart is such which is never satisfied and always deceives with our own ideas which are of course dealt with emotions. So we need to remember that, if we believe God and consider ourselves as the workmanship of God and whatever comes to our life is for our own good, then we cannot be deceived by our heart. And to remember this thing we need to stay connected with our Creator God (Who acts as GPRS in our life instructing us where and how to go & not).

  1. “I” PLAN:

Every religion says, we are the workmanship of God created with a well-tuned plan for a particular PURPOSE with a certain time-limit. Along with that, challenges are obvious and definite in human life. And when these challenges come into our lives in different forms we can overcome instead of being deceived, provided we need to have healthy relationships with God because only then we can deal with the challenges of our life wisely with knowledge and wisdom – which only comes from God not from the world. But with our own ideas if we say, “I should think like this”, “I should work like this” & “I should live like this” then being deceived by our heart and making life a hell is sure.

We must remember that, we humans work from Past to Present but God works from Future to Present. So He is always right. If we believe in Him and have complete dependence on him instead of our “I” Plans then we cannot be deceived by our heart and will not deviate from living a noble & fulfilled life.

  1. I’M FINE OF NOT FINE:

When we are deceived by our heart and make our lives hell even having all that we wished, then we start living a hesitant life. We often answer “I’m fine” to the question how are you. But still we hesitate to answer it. We utter, “I’m Fine” but actually our heart says, “Dear, actually I’m fine of not fine. Because I have walked in the way my heart guided me but see today my heart has only deceived me. I can neither show you the wounds nor can live with them”. In most of the cases this dubious standard of life addicts us to such an extent that we try to live with such ideology even in our relationship/relationships. This is just like poisoning our own selves every day. Our loneliness makes our life miserable. Every night our pillow gets wet. And at the end we find ‘Heart break’, ‘Divorce’, ‘Broken family’, & ‘Suicidal death’.

Week long we discussed on “Heart is deceitful”, which is true indeed and we are also living with that. The remedy or the precaution from “heart deceiving heart” is staying within the GPRS not the one provided by google but by GOD. And that GPRS is, “Go – Pray – Request – Seek”.

We have to GO into a time of PRAYER and make our entire REQUEST known to GOD – Our Creator and SEEK His will to work on our request instead of walking towards the direction of our deceitful heart.

Avinash Das