Home & Body – Cleaner The Better

My entire childhood and teenage (till 18) was spent in a small single room with just partition walls to separate kitchen and bathroom (if presence of a gas stove and a commode makes them respectively what they are called). And the space available in the middle of the house was a convertible one. When plates were arranged it was our dining room and when mats were laid it was our bedroom. If guests arrived third chair would find it difficult to fit in forget about having a couch. And when it rained we had a personal pool right in middle of the house. With regular power cuts we spent innumerable nights under the star lit sky and water supply as good as probability of finding an oasis amidst a dessert.

Memories!!!! Those days were tough. Financial and physical hardships have toughened our mettle indeed. Our navigation through those tough waters was guided by a compass with two blades –

  • You have a roof at least over your head and a full stomach when you go to sleep.
  • Work hard for your betterment, stop complaining.

14 years later, in 2017 I moved into MY (OUR) own house. What a joy it was! The peace of having and living in an abode where you are sure no one will surprise ( read shock) you with an evacuation notice out of nowhere is surreal (conditions apply – regular EMI thy name ). Every hardship, every austerity measure in the past finally paid off.

But since we moved into an old property considering our budget constraints then our house needed lot of renovation. We recently got the heating system changed in the pursuit of having hassle free winters and also to add to the resale value of the house if at all in future we decide to do so.

Allegory came to mind: We all know what renovation means – lot of dust and dump to clean up. While I was at it, one thing stuck my mind – isn’t our body same like our home? While a structure made of bricks and mortar gives us shelter, another structure made up of flesh, bones, water and blood shelters our heart and soul. We take a lot of pain and make lot of efforts to keep our premises clean lest it won’t be presentable and hygienic too. Then why we behave negligently towards our body that is nothing less than a temple created by the greatest architect – The God.

Yes I can hear those voices “what are you talking about? We take utmost care of our hygiene and with Covid around we are not taking any chances whatsoever”. I would say ” you are doing great. But what about those who are maligning this temple with various addictions like smoking, drinking, drugs? What about those who are knowingly or unknowingly giving shelter to dacoits named ego, greed, jealously, lust, anger, pessimism in the compartment called heart that are corroding and robbing them of their sanity & peace and consequently Joy. These termites are blindfolding us and deviating from the path which everyone of us is destined to trend. The path they make us walk are ecstatic to begin with filled with fun and frolic but as the end approaches we

  • Clueless,
  • Corrupted morally and ethically,
  • Consumed by poison once we were consuming,
  • Crippled by illness, close to a painful death.

Get your Insurance done: Just like a house has insurance against any possible loss and damage due to theft, fire, water etc. Insurance for our joyful lives is HIS WORD, EMI being EP – everyday prayer. If you sign for a premium plan of “Please Enlighten Me” you shall surely be delivered from temporary hardships of falling prey to the vices and get a bonanza of eternal joy!

Points to be noted :

  • Respect your abode, be it house or body.
  • Keep them clean for health – physical, mental & spiritual.
  • Rent/EMI/Prayer – being regular is the key.

Just like a structure that we live in needs regular cleaning so does what lives in us needs a regular check.

From rented house to own- I had my fair share of experiences, hardships, memories and delightful moments. Now I have embarked on a journey to cleanse my temple – renovating my approach, dumping out the negativity. It’s hard and I am prone to falter but assurance of Joy of Enlightenment is my driving force.

RECONCILIATION – THE NEED OF THE HOUR: MAKE AMENDS AND CONTINUE IN LOVE

Looking around me, all I can see brokenness everywhere. When I see my friends, my family members and how all of them are going through difficult times my heart sinks down. And in that background writing an article on reconcilliation seems very articfial. But being called to be peaceloving person and a peacemaker, I am always up for reconciliation even when I don’t see a glimpse of hope in a strained relationship.

Let’s get back to the topic.

When psychologist Ryan Howes was asked in a given situation whether a person can forgive and reconcile, his response was – “You can still forgive. Reconciliation is a separate issue“. And he was absolutely right.

He also quotes famous author Lewis Benedictus Smedes who said in his book ‘Forgive and Forget: Healing the Hurts We Don’t Deserve’ that – “It takes one person to forgive, it takes two people to be reunited.”

All the last SIX factors of reconciliation that we all read till now in this current week can be carried out one sidedly by a person who feels the need of reconciling with his/her loved one but the last factor needs TWO persons to join hands and move ahead to stay reconciled. And history says at this point, many go back to ground zero losing the battle of reconciliation or restoring a broken relationship.

Let’s analyse the phrase ‘making amends‘. The synonym for making amends is Restitution. The legal meaning of restitution isan order given by a judge to a convicted criminal to make amends for the crime where the judges often order people to pay restitution for the damage they cause. But to mend a broken relationship there’s no need of judiciary system but a system of heart and of love which inspire partners, family members, friends to make amends, restitute and cling to each other thereby, reconciling.

The system of love is as the Bible defines it, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

The above concept of love is completely different from what the world teaches us today. Restitution or making amends is not possible unless we have this kind of love. The new law of a reconciled relationship demands me to make amends with my loved one by being patient with him or her which I lacked a lot previously; by being compassionate to my loved one which I failed often in the past; I have to make amends by not being envious, not being boastful or proud or dishonour or be selfish. I have to make amends with my loved one by compensating something which I lacked previously.

Many couples gather strength to reconcile and complete all 6 factors but they step back when they are asked to compensate their wrong, make amends and continue in love. Many times, I myself have lost the battles of making amends with my loved ones, with my wife and continue in love further. I pretend that I am happy and in love yet, I feel empty and deceived. There are many I know that are suffering with pretension and live their lives… They somehow live together but their hearts stay far apart from each other. They try to make amends and reconcile truthfully but they fail.

Friends! Trust me, it is not at all easy. Fogiving and moving ahead seems much easier than making amends and staying in love after reconciling a broken relationship. But the source of love, the creator God always helps us to understand LOVE and its effectiveness in any of our earthly relationships.

At the end, I can just give a simple advice of making a list of the things that can help us to make amends and try one after the other daily, trusting the Almighty and prayerfully staying in love in a reconciled relationship.

Stay blessed!

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?

RECONCILIATION -THE NEED OF THE HOUR: BE HUMBLE AND PERSEVERE

I have a younger brother and like every other sibling, we too fought when we were kids. Actually, it would be no wrong to say we fought like cats and dogs. After fighting we used to decide we are not going to talk ever. But in a short span of time, we would come together to reconcile. Since I am elder to my brother, so he would walk to me and would ask, “Di (sister) can you please teach me this topic?” I would then ask him to apologize (sometimes I used to be bossy) and would teach him. At times, I would too initiate the talk after our silly fights in a very polite and calmer tone. Despite fighting a lot we never fail to reconcile. But why am I telling this? The reason is when we wish to reconcile then we ought to be humble. I remember whenever the two of us initiated; it was always in a polite way.

Once I had a heated discussion with one of my friends and it really felt bad to me. I decided I won’t talk, as his words made me upset. That day I was in anger but the next day I felt sad and I wanted to reconcile. However, I couldn’t do so as I got some important work. On the other day, he made the first move, as he too wasn’t feeling good. He was determined that even if I deny he wouldn’t give up. He knew the denial would feel more humiliating to him but still, he chose to reconcile. I too reciprocated with the same. We cleared our misunderstandings and I must say that reconciliation proved to be of great help.

When we talk about reconciling it doesn’t mean to patch up. It’s about restoring the strained relation with love once again. At times it happens when we have a strain in a relationship or in a friendship, we might experience humiliation or we might have been hurt a lot. But when it comes to reconciliation one should keep in mind, “it is my choice to reconcile and therefore I should be humble”. Unless you are not humble and determined your effort for reconciliation won’t sound real. We need to recall positive and happy moments with the person we want to reunite.

Is humility the only factor that contributes to reconciliation? While reaching for reconciliation there’s a fear what if the person denies? Or what if it turns out to be something more humiliating? At that point in time we need to think whatsoever comes we have to face it with humbleness. Perseverance and humility are equally important for bringing two people together. Think about the situation where I could have denied at the initiation of my friend for reuniting. Notwithstanding his humility, I could have yelled at him and would have dishonoured him. Now, had not he persevered, our friendship would have ended. So it’s not that we only need humility for restoring a relation. We need perseverance in addition to it. Owing to the fact that perseverance helps us to keep going when the situation is adverse. It’s just a determination to put your relationship or friendship back on track.

There are times when we don’t want to reconcile, because the reason, is far beyond the time we spent together. Finally, when we feel the need to reconcile, we should remember that a wound needs special care and it may hurt when we medicate it though eventually the wound gets healed. And for that special care, we need humility and perseverance to go hand in hand ahead of reconciliation.

RECONCILIATION – THE NEED OF THE HOUR: TAKE TIME AND BE PATIENT

Today itself I was very happily surprised because I saw a relationship reconcile. A relationship that was strong, but got turbulent due to various reasons a few months back – but when the relationship is strong and based on values, it is there to stay. I am talking about my husband’s relationship with one of the close relative. I was happy for them just to know that they realized that the value of a relationship is much more than the value of grudges that we might have against each other.

Our ancestors have always said – “Just give it some time!” and it is true that time is all that is needed to heal from inside.

Time and patience are two great warriors that protect a relationship. It makes the anger subside, it gives you a chance to look at things from a different perspective and it gives you enough distraction so that you can appreciate your relationship. It also gives you an opportunity to take responsibility for your actions. There are so many times when a relationship gets stuck in a blame-game. A little bit of space can make one see his/her own actions and realize that blames won’t take them anywhere.

Important things to keep in mind are –

  1. Never take an important decision when feeling low
  2. Never make promises to yourself or others when feeling angry
  3. Try to take a time out from the situation when anger becomes uncontrollable
  4. Figure out your own thing that gives you pleasure always – it could be a hobby
  5. Rethink about the situation or a relationship only when you know you are in a positive frame of mind

I know it is easy to mention such points but it takes a lot of courage to really implement those. I have made certain ground rules for myself when taking a time off because patience is not just sitting and waiting for things to work, patience is an art to have the right attitude while working in your own transformation.

My time in doing my stuff

Currently, I have also taken time off an important relationship in my life. It becomes very difficult at times to not get back to blames. It becomes very difficult to ignore the hurt and guilt. What works in this situation is to focus on myself and my hobbies. And that is not a very inviting thought when I am really low but it works wonders. I write, I dance, I read, I talk to strangers, I work for the society and feel motivated yet again.

My expectations should be my responsibility

What must be done in a time off is to take responsibility for your own expectations. Almost all grudges happen because of unsatisfied expectation. It is important to understand that my expectations are my responsibility alone and the other person will only fulfil what he/she can (it might not be as per my expectations) but my expectations are not his/her responsibility. I own them and hence I have the power to change them too.

My emotions should be in my control

Another thing to keep in mind while taking a time off from a broken relationship is to take responsibility for your own emotions. My emotions are residing in my brain and hence I should have the power to control them. The statement that we very often make – “He made me so upset or she made me so angry” only shows that we give the responsibility for our anger and upset to the other person. Something that belongs to us and resides in our head should be in our control. Yes, external factors do impact one’s emotional state but we must always make an effort to keep our emotions under our control.

I shall observe myself

During time off it is also needed that you look inside yourself. See how you behave in certain conditions. Literally, imagine being outside of your body and see yourself from a distance in a particular situation. You would see a very different perspective of yourself and that would help you be more self-aware. Take up meditation or other activities to be more mindful of each situation.

I shall not deny myself the hurt that I feel

All said and done, we can follow the above guidelines but sometimes one slightest thing can cause our high spirits to crash down. In such situations don’t deny yourself the right to feel hurt. Positive thinking has one flaw that it becomes a burden when you force yourself to be positive but in reality, you just want to cry your heart out. So, don’t do any of the above when you really feel low. Take time to feel better again and slowly gradually do all of the above. With time you will notice that such moments will keep reducing and eventually will disappear.

Doing all of this will make you a much better person and then when you return to the relationship being this different person – relationship goes to a different level altogether.

“Waiting is a true sign of love and patience. Anyone can say ‘I love you’, but not everyone can wait and prove its true!”

RECONCILIATION – THE NEED OF THE HOUR: EXPECTING DENIAL

Person 1 – “Hey, I’m sorry for it all. This shouldn’t have happened. Would you forgive me for behaving the way I did?”

Person 2 – “Well, it’s good that you realize it. After some tussle within, I had forgiven you in my heart. And, now I tell you the same. Don’t repeat it again with anyone else.”

Person 1 – “Hoooofff! I’m relieved. Now that we are friends again, let’s go hiking this Saturday.”

Person 2 – “I hold nothing against you in my heart. But, the whole episode has left a bitter taste in my mouth. I don’t think it’s possible to go back to old times. We can’t be friends anymore.”

Person 1 – “How can you say that? I mean . . . we’ve been friends for decades and then this happens and you decide to walk away after saying that you’ve forgiven me. We’ve got to be friends again to prove that actually, all is well between us and that you have indeed forgiven me.”

Person 2  – “Sorry, forgiving doesn’t mean you and I need to be friends again. It simply means that I hold no grudge against you now. If ever we crossroads in life in the future, it’ll be in a clean-slate mode. No past record will hold either you or me hostage. However, I am not comfortable going back to being friends with you.”

Person 1 – “You can give it a chance. You could try trusting me once more.”

Person 2 – “That’s not something which I want to do. And, you need to respect that.”

Person 1 – “Initially, I was doubtful as to whether you would forgive me in the first place. But, I was relieved to know that I stand forgiven. But, I guess, I became a bit too ambitious by expecting more. Somebody said rightly, ‘Actions have consequences’.”

Person 2 – “Rightly said, ‘Actions have consequences.’ I can’t trust you with myself anymore.”

Person 1 – “Well then, here we part. I lost a friend. Good tidings to you!”

Person 2 – “Good tidings to you, too!”

This is a conversation between two friends involved in a conflict. Though there is forgiveness, there is no reconciliation. The reason being a denial of one party to the conflict, to restore old ties.

Once bitten twice shy – is an old saying. A requirement of reconciliation is two agreeing parties. This does not always happen. No matter for whatever reasons there is denial, it ought to be respected after an initial attempt to reason out.

Relationships cannot and should not be forcibly restored. The denying party has a right to personal space unless convinced otherwise.

This is true especially in case of a divorce between a married couple or a break-up after a romantic stint since deep-rooted emotions are involved in the relationship-building-up phase.

Hence the bottom line is that on the path to Reconciliation, one may face a roadblock called Denial. It has to be confronted with Reason. If Reason succeeds in displacing Denial with Convincing, Reconciliation is a short distance away. However, if Reason fails, the process needs to come to an end with due respect for the personal right to space being provided.

If the process of Reconciliation comes to an end without the desirous result, one way to resort to is prayer. Persistent prayer of faith changes situations and transforms hearts. It doesn’t breach the space of the other, yet continues its relentless persuasion.

RECONCILIATION – THE NEED OF THE HOUR: INITIATE AND CONFRONT

I never forget one incident that happened in my life. I was in college at that time. After the class in the afternoon, I used to play Cricket with the neighbourhood boys. And that day also we were playing when a neighbour came between and asked all to go away and stop the play. He shouted at all other boys which were meant for me indirectly. The game stopped in the middle and I walked back to my home. But I was restless and furious on that man. The man and the families surrounding the neighbourhood were all our tenants and we were the owners. I had that pride. And shouting from a tenant that too without any reasons was not acceptable to me.

Minutes passed by… But I was unable to calm myself down. My mom offered snacks but I could not eat. She asked me what happened to you but I just kept quiet without saying anything.

That man was older to me. It will look odd if I would have shouted back at him. It was a prestige issue for me. Again, I didn’t want to make a fuss out of this incident yet, I was annoyed on him because of his unreasonable behaviour towards me and to all the boys who were playing with me.

I am a person who has been always valued all my relationships and above all, I am not at peace in my mind. Yet, it was difficult for me to INITIATE reconciliation.

The Bible says, “…in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others”.

Truthfully, I didn’t remember this verse at that time but I simply went ahead to talk to that person – CONFRONT with the man and try to INITIATE reconciliation and be in peace.

When I reached their house, I saw him inside his house talking to his wife. I asked him to come out as I have something to talk to. He came out and I asked politely, “Did I do anything wrong to you that you shouted at all and eventually stopped the game we were engrossed with?” He surely was quite uncomfortable when I asked this question to him. He quickly held my hands and said, “No way… you haven’t done anything at all… I am bit stressed and was not in a great mood so got irritated by the noise of the boys playing here in front of my house. I am really sorry… please don’t mind.

The process of Confrontation – Initiation – Reestablishing a Strained Relationship was executed with ease.

I came back home victoriously and had my food peacefully.

Usually, we feel the urge for reconciliation in our hearts and minds but when it comes to taking the first step, we step back. We always tend to expect the first initiation from the opposite party. The incident that I described above was no way open-ended from both sides. I mean, the man was unaware of my feelings towards him or the relationship we have. For him, everything was fine and closed from his side whereas, I was holding the burning coal in my chest. It was an open sore for me and I needed to rectify it as soon as possible. The process of reconciliation and rebuilding started when I took the first initiation in response to my own need to be at peace. And I know what was the feeling when everything was restored between us and most importantly within myself.

I remember one more verse from the Bible which supports my point: “Leave your gift there in front of the altar. First, go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.”

Friends! if you want to reconcile with your loved one then take the first step yourself and attempt the process of reconciliation.

Stay Blessed!