STOP BELIEVING THE LIE

Since our childhood we all dream colourful dreams and strive to do the best to make our dreams a reality. But alas, in the mid-way sun sets, years of those colourful dreams seem like fairy tales and in bitterness we wish ‘Death’ as conclusion. Isn’t it?

There was a boy, who was an intense dreamer since his schooldays but since the final year of his graduation he stopped dreaming about his own life. Whenever he smiled looking at others he talked about others than himself. When he prayed he prayed, ‘God my desire is to see my wife like this. I wish my family would be like this’ and so on… But when he opens his eyes his smile fades away and he is reminded of his past – ‘If your dream will be busted again, what you shall do?’

Couple of year back I met a girl in a public gathering, she is highly qualified, beautiful and very friendly in behavior. We became good friends, we started chatting and sharing thoughts every day but all the time I found her quoting one sentence ‘Death is always a better option. No life…No pain’. Primarily, I thought she is little philosophical but the continuous recurrence, made me to question her ‘WHY do you think death is a better option?’ Then she unfolded me her staggering story of her past.

Why there is so much bitterness in life? Why our dreams are followed by past reminders? Why we are stabbed by our bitter pasts? Why we think death is a better option?

Sir William Blake says, ‘This life’s dim windows of the soul Distorts the heaven from pole to pole And leads you to believe a lie, when you see with, not through, the eye”.

Once I asked that boy, why you are always reminded of your bitter past? He answered, because deep inside I am fearful. Then I asked the girl, what is that stabbing pain which troubles you even now? She answered, it is my hopelessness.

Yes… though we know that we can’t go back and correct our past but still the past appears in our present, making our life bitter because we have started believing the lie – I have lost everything, there is no hope for me. I am a Corpse. We always see with the eye but not through the eye.

When people on death row are praying for life, we are alive (despite of all odds) but still we are seeking death.

WHY?

It is because deep inside our hollowness, our emptiness are eating us always. Though despite of the darkness of our past, God has shown us the bright light of hope by keeping us alive… but still we believe the lie of the existence of our past and we tend to beat that old drum – “I have lost everything, there is no hope for me. I am a corpse.”

God has promised me, “I will never leave you nor forsake you. I am holding you in my right hand. Behold, I have engraved you upon the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me.

Am I still fearful of my past because I still believe in the lie. Am I ignoring that God (the Omniscient – Omnipotent – Omnipresent ONE) who is holding my hands. Am I not much more valuable than just a sparrow to Him? Am I not created in His IMAGE?

Stop believing the lie… Start seeing through the eye!

Avinash

BETTER NOT TO BE BITTER

It was an arranged marriage for Sandhya. Like any newlywed bride, she was a little nervous on her first day at a new place. Though her husband seemed to be a nice guy, she was particularly worried about her mother-in-law.

Sandhya was a night owl before marriage and hated getting up early. However, now she had managed to get up at 7. Hurriedly she got out of her bed to prepare bed tea for her in- laws. To her surprise her mother-in-law was already in the kitchen preparing breakfast. “Never mind”, she said to herself, “ I will get up at 6 tomorrow”. She got up at 6 the next day, but again her mother in law was already awake. She asked her, “Mummy what time do you get up?” “We get up at 5″, her mother-in-law replied, “not like youngsters like you these days getting up so late”.

Sandhya felt offended to hear such a response from her new mom. Her father in law was a retired person, while her husband used to leave home for office at 10 and used to come back late. She had managed to get up early only to face the wrath of her mother-in-law​.

She decided to prepare lunch for her husband, but her mother-in-law intervened saying “My son likes only the food that I prepare ”.

“At least I can try”, she said. Her  mother-in-law​ agreed and she enthusiastically cooked “baigan Ka bharta”. At lunch, her father in law praised her preparation but her mother in law snapped at him saying, “Salt is less, I would have made it better”.

Sandhya was shattered and wept the whole day. She told her husband about the ordeal, who said that his mother is like that only and it’s Sandhya who needs to adjust.

Years passed and the behaviour of Sandhya’s mother in law did not change, even after she became a mother of a girl and a boy. She felt traumatized all the time and used to cry a lot. Her kids would ask about her tears, but she always used to move away from them. She felt that she has nothing left in her life. She also tried committing suicide, but   stopped everytime thinking about her children. She suffered from frequent migraines, hypothyroidism, spondylitis and continuous back ache. Her daughter, Jiya, who was now 12, saw her mom’s agony.

“Dadi is like that mom, why do you bother? Why do you let her  bitterness come  to you? Ever since I  have seen you, you have always been crying. I want you to be happy mom, please for our sake, stop thinking so much. Just live happily for yourself, live happily for us”.

Sandhya couldn’t believe that her little girl had grown so big. Jiya was true. All these years, she had filled her life with negativity and bitterness. She had forgotten how to be happy because of nagging mother-in-law and non-supportive husband​.

“I have had enough now”, she told her daughter. “Now, I’m going to live for myself and for you both”.

WHY DID GOD LET THIS HAPPEN?

While talking about such a controversial topic I ought to put up a disclaimer right in the beginning. It’s not that I am an atheist. I do believe in God. But my relationship with God is different. I have my own doubts and questions. I do not wish to hurt anyone’s religious sentiments and I apologise if have.

Tanu’s life turned upside down when her husband lost his brief but painful battle with cancer..

Anirudh was left wondering what he did wrong when after putting in a lot of hard work and toil was still given the pink slip at the end of the month. All because of devious office politics..

Both responded in the same way… Where is God? Why did he let this happen? Why is life not fair? Why are good people punished.

Just picking up the newspaper and reading about the killings and rape fills me with bitterness. I mean all people good or bad are God’s creation. Then why does he create such extreme emotions in people? And again the biggest irony is that most of the killings happen in the name of God.

When something really tragic happens to really devout people. People who don’t miss out on any Pooja or ritual or fasting and otherwise are also good people at heart I really have this question. Why? Why O why did God punish them?

I know what you will say. That it’s beyond us to understand the ways of God. But we should accept that whatever happens, happens for good. We can’t understand God’s plans. I know maybe you are right. I have had long discussions with my father in law about this. He has tried to make me understand. I understand too but when circumstances change the doubt creeps back again into my mind. Maybe whatever happens, happens for good in the long run. But what good can come out of suffering of small children at the hands of adults, or brutal rapes or untimely death in the family.

Like all of us even I have got desensitized to news.  When we read about some bad news it does rankle but we tend to forget about it very soon. But when someone close to us suffers then it really pinches, we want to set things right but it’s not in our hands. That’s when the angst creeps in and questions like why God is really doing this come into my mind.

(Pic Collected from Internet)

My good friend Chiradeep has tried many a times to clear my doubts, remove some of the bitterness from my mind. Maybe in some time his efforts would yield results… God willing…

COST OF BITTERNESS

Sana was extremely angry at her husband “How dare he say something like this about my body in front of his friends? He doesn’t love me anymore. He only likes to make fun to me.” She even fought with him which only landed in a few more blames games and finger pointing.

This did not end just a few days. He continued to mock her and she continued to feel disappointed, rejected and angry. Gradually, that anger turned into resentment. She started disliking her husband. Everything that he did – she would resent.

On Valentine’s day when he came home with a bunch of red roses – instead of feeling special, Sana said “After 5 years of marriage, you don’t even know that I hate red roses. You should have got me carnations. You don’t know me at all. You never even make an effort to know what I like and dislike.” One can imagine how there Valentine’s night would have ended.

As a little girl Sana was physically abused by her Uncle. This is deep dark secret inside her heart that nobody knows not even her husband. From that age, she started to dislike her body and feels horrible about it. She doesn’t like the touch of her husband nor does she enjoy being intimate with him. She has a very poor relationship with her own body so even a slight remark about her body makes her angry. This is something that her husband doesn’t know and resentment also grows inside of him because of Sana’s bitterness.

Bitterness in life usually comes in because of some injustice that has happened to a person. It is a state of persistent resentment which has resulted from a combination of anger, rejection, frustration and injustice. Bitterness is a state of mind when no stimulus is a positive stimulus. All that happens around that person is bad/wrong.

Such people very well know that if they let go off this bitterness, life can be merrier but they still hold on to this resentment as if this is a life-saving boat for them. Why is it so?

Being bitter or resented has its own gains but these are very selfish and short term gains. For example –

  • Being right or proving the other person wrong
  • Gaining sympathy/importance of others
  • Need to hurt somebody else and hence feeling superior or powerful
  • Seeing yourself as a victim “always” and hence feeling helpless and powerless

These are some examples of what a person gains by being bitter.

However, there is also a huge cost compared to the gain. For example, Cost of bitterness can be:

  • Lose loving relationships
  • Prolong mental and emotional pain
  • Leads to long lasting anxiety and depression
  • Lose out on joyful moments of life
  • Resentment is a huge stress. Ageing quickly because of this mental stress
  • Affinity to diseases because of this bitterness. Impact on physical health is immense.

Remember negativity only breeds itself.

Do you really want to choose a short term gain which comes at such a huge cost?

Just take a step back from your situation and you will be able see what is the short term gain you are running after whereas you losing out so much on life by paying the cost for it.

Often when I get bitter in my life – I just ask a question “Is being right more important than having a loving relationship?” And almost instinctively I know the answer.

PRESERVE YOUR NECTAR

Horatio G. Spafford was a successful lawyer and businessman in Chicago. Blessed with a lovely family consisting of his wife and five children (four daughters and a son), Spafford had all that one would desire. It was then that tragedy struck. His two-year old son died of pnemonia. As he was grieving over this loss, the same year (1871), the great Chicago fire swallowed up much of his business. Gathering much courage, Spafford started rebuilding his business. But the economic downturn of 1873 further hit his business. He changed his plans to travel to Europe with his family – sending them first, promising to join them soon. As the ship carrying his wife and children was crossing the Atlantic, it collided with another sea vessel. All four of his daughters died in the mishap. Only his wife was rescued and she sent Spafford the telegram – “Saved alone.” Spafford hurried to meet his grieving wife saying, “The Lord gave and he has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” As his ship came to the place where his daughters had died, he penned a wonderful hymn which has been a source of encouragement for many, over the years. The first few lines read as follows –

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to know
It is well, it is well, with my soul.


It is well, (it is well),
With my soul, (with my soul)
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

(The hymn can be heard in the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nKPvBV4xqVw )

Joseph Scriven was a man born in Ireland in an affluent family and received good education. In course of time, he fell in love with a lady. However, the day before their wedding she fell from her horse, while crossing a bridge in the River Bann and was drowned in the water below. All this, as Scriven stood watching from the other side of the river! In an effort to overcome his deep sorrow, Joseph left Ireland and shifted to Canada as a 25-year old, where he was much loved by the people for his helpful ways. In course of time, he again fell in love. However, tragedy struck again and his lady-love died of pneumonia shortly before they could wed. Scriven devoted the rest of his life to helping the poor and the needy. In order to comfort his ailing mother who lived in Ireland and was broken at her son’s ordeals, he wrote a poem which was later converted into a hymn and has been a source of comfort and strength to many. A few lines of the hymn read thus –

Are we weak and heavy-laden,
Cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Saviour, 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.

(The hymn can be heard in the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8SCorW9r_Is )

Friends, may be you have been where Spafford and Scriven have been and that has made you bitter – at yourself, at family, friends, society. Maybe your life events have not been of this type – but harsh, nevertheless. How has your response been?

It is easy to be bitter and remain bitter. If we turn around and observe people around us, we will notice that each one has a heavy burden to make him/her bitter – only the nature may be different (some born without fully grown limbs, some widowed within a day of marriage, some stricken with terminal illness, some battling marital separation, failures, poverty, etc.)

Let’s remember –

  • Each of us has ample scope to be bitter.
  • To remain bitter or overcome is a choice that has to be made.
  • A bitter spirit depletes the body and numbs the soul.
  • Forgiveness is a powerful weapon that defeats bitterness.
  • Accepting the Sovereignty of God plays a crucial role in coming to terms with bitterness.
  • Counting the numerous other blessings enables to shift focus from the bitterness-causing losses.

If you have been struck with life events that threaten to make you bitter, don’t allow these events/circumstances to suck the nectar out of you. Look unto God – the radiant source of Strength, Grace, Mercy, Love, Peace and Joy and with His power be an overcomer!

 

 

 

 

 

LOOK AT ‘BITTERNESS’ OUT OF THE BOX

In a general sense the word ‘Bitterness’ makes us understand about the taste of something, as the web dictionary defines ‘Bitter’ as, “having a harsh, disagreeably acrid taste”. But when we use that same meaning for life then it seems very grievous. The other definitions of bitter are: Hard to bear; grievous; distressful….etc. – as I said the matter becomes very serious when we lose the taste of our life.

“My life has no joy… It’s so bitter.”

“The bitterness towards my life is increasing day by day.”

“I am so bitter about my life. I don’t wanna live anymore.”

“I want to quit.”

“No any more.”

The above statements indicate how someone can feel when s/he is bitter about his/her life.

What can make us bitter?

Let me explain a case study…

A girl of 4-5 years lost her mother. The mother didn’t die but left her. The girl grew up with her siblings but the trauma was heavy on the whole family though she suffered the most. She suffered combating jealousy, wicked schemes of outsiders, injustice from the single parent she had with her. All these things happened not only for a year or two but year after year. The girl kept feeling rejected by all. She cried, she yelled but there was no one to come to her rescue. Her father fixed her marriage to a boy who was a terminally ill person. She loved him despite of his sickness seeing his caring nature. She got married to him but the problems never ended. The bitterness to life increased in her heart and mind.

This case study gives us a picture of a lady with extreme bitterness towards her life. If we look around us there are many such people who have lost hope in their lives.

If I take my example, I have felt bitter towards my life lots of times. I was bitter because I wasn’t given good health so that I could play with my friends in school. I was bitter because I was restricted to ride a bicycle and used to go to school with my aunt in the cycle rickshaw. I was bitter because I was unable to be used in any physical activities which any young kid or college going boy loves to do. I was bitter, in fact felt disgusted of me when I used to see the girls coming to the college by motor bike yet I used to come sitting at the back of my friends’ bicycle or motor bike or come alone in a cycle rickshaw. I used to depend a lot on my friends to do many things for me. Sometimes they used to deny me of doing it for me. I felt disgusted when my family members were looking for any physically handicapped quota for my college admission. I was bitter when I was unable to do any professional course for my future.

So what we observe in both of these true life experiences that the life situations, the people around us, sometimes family, sicknesses etc., are the causes of our bitterness towards life.

But what about the lady? She never gave up, despite the devilish thoughts of death coming to her mind again and again. She never gave in to that thought of quitting her life.  She lives with a hope that her Creator God will definitely bring changes in her life one day.

She says, “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

Bitterness never came to an end in my life. What do you think it’s finished just because I smile and stay jovial? I have overcome it?

NO WAY!!!

But it could not overpower me after I understood the perspective of my life. I changed the way I  used to look at bitterness in my life. My focus shifted from what I don’t have, what I can’t do to what I have, what I can do. My motto in life became to “Smile and make others Smile” instead of counting how much I suffered. The scripture portion – “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might” became My Motivation.

Friends! Look at your life differently, change your perspective to make bitterness negligible.

Stay blessed!!!

OH, NO, BITTERNESS. I DON’T WANT TO FALL PREY …

“Are you going to teach me how to handle relationships ?”

“You don’t understand feelings”

“You are just jealous”

“You are so selfish, you can only think about yourself”

“You are single. If you open social networking sites, see pictures of couples, their children, happy families etc. you won’t like them, somewhere deep within you would pray for the opposite. Jealousy can’t be helped. So, stay away from all of these” – this was the suggestion I got from one of my friends.  

It was my situation that was not right, but that was a good enough chance.  It takes all of my energy, I can’t help myself on pondering over. I cared about them and this is what they understood about me. Well, they would come back and apologize in a day or two, but by then usually the damage is done.  

I was absolutely pissed over what I heard and was really confused, concerned, deeply hurt. I have spent a couple of days to help myself out of it – it was extremely hard. I couldn’t sleep, over and over those words were ringing in my ears. “Am I such a bad person? Do I need to relook at myself to see if I have changed over time?” I was very much stressed. All of this has affected me and I realized that I have started to react to others for no reason. 

When the hurt is not addressed, it develops into anger and resentment. We tend to hold grudges which eventually lead to bitterness in life. Bitterness not only is harmful to us, but it hurts everyone connected to us. Hence, if not addressed in time can lead to losing people and relationships. Often it also leads to deep depression making one weak from inside. 

How do we know if we are falling victim to bitterness ?

  • Are your words getting bitter ?

Observe your speech for one day and make a note of the most prevalent expressions. Complaints, self pride, gossip (or) uplifting or motivational to others ?

  • Are you displaying gratitude ?

If anyone has helped you do some work, are you thinking over the intention of help ? Are you being thankful for acts of kindness ?

  • Are you constantly being in a compare mode ?

Their children are getting better grades than ours … Why is that she got such a handsome guy to date when I am single ? Why isn’t my marriage as happier as his ? 

I realized that my words were getting bitter, it was time for self help. The negative words of others have started filling bitterness in me, and if not addressed, I will end up in a bad situation. It is in fact not their words, but the importance I am giving to those words that is impacting me. I was overly imagining myself as negative whereas I am a positive person. Enough ! I need to break out of this loop and start to enjoy my life, otherwise there is a high chance that the future would look hopeless.

Often in our lives, we have a feeling that life is unfair. In fact life is so. It lets us taste hurt so that we can appreciate love, face distrust to appreciate trust, few sad moments so that we can enjoy happiness… That’s the walk of life and all of us have to understand this principle to be able to enjoy life.

I never feel jealous of others. Many of my friends are married and few have kids, drooling over their pictures make me happy. I am not as what those statements describe me at all… I wanted to stop taking in the feedback personal and reacting… Action time!! After one of my friend’s suggestion, I listed down my interests, picked the top two out of those.

1. To travel to various places.

2. Growing a balcony garden

I had to balance my two interests because both of them demand time. Every weekend it is unrealistic to travel out of the city, at the same time there has to be something I love that would keep me occupied everyday.

I found plant nurseries around, started learning to grow plants in pots – various plants, their flowering seasons. They are my children. If I am at office and it starts to rain, I immediately come home from office to take care of them so that the strong winds don’t hurt them. My timings are timed according to them and I like the onus they put on me. 

I searched for a good travel group. After a few trials, I found one that really works for me. The organizers are also quite good and have become friends over time. I heartfully enjoy travelling with them, I really feel that brings the best out of me. Being close to nature rejuvenates me from all the tiredness and brings new hope.

The best was yet to come. Since the organizer is now my friend and he likes the way I behave in the group, my ideologies, he requested me to join the volunteer group. He needed organizers there, and I happily agreed to organize for a couple of social causes.

Most of my time is now distributed between work, travel, writing, gardening etc. I think it is important for us to learn if we are giving up for anger. Life is to be lived as it comes, everyday is new and comes with it’s own challenges.

Let go of the grudge, negative feelings, forgive yourself and others, move on in life. 

Love,

~Aastha