BE YE COMPASSIONATE COMFORTERS

Ever had those nervous moments such as waiting for your turn to face the interview panel or being the next in line for a stage performance? Clammy palms, fidgety toes, twirling hair ends or biting nails?? Been there?

And did you feel better if someone came by and wrapped an encouraging arm around you or gave you an encouraging pat on the back? I bet you did feel a lot better!

Humans need comfort at varying times. Stress, anxiety, disease, worry, financial debt, death – all call for comfort and consolation. At times just a silent presence is the best comforter for an aching soul. While at other times, words or acts of comfort are necessary.

Well rehearsed words of comfort or a gesture of formality serve to console the speaker/doer more than the person(s) in need for comfort.

As I write this, I am reminded about a person called Job mentioned in the Bible:

He lived in a place beyond present-day Euphrates. Job has been described as a man who was ‘blameless and upright, and the one who feared God and shunned evil.’ He was a wealthy and respectable man with a happy family. However, in one day he lost his enormous wealth by natural and human hazards. As if that was not enough, all his ten children died at one go when the house in which they were feasting together, collapsed. To add to his misery, Job developed a horrible skin disease and his body was covered with stinking sores. Instead of standing by him during these tough times, his wife taunted him saying, “Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!” Job’s pain and suffering was intense.

At this juncture, three of his friends who got the news of Job’s misfortune came to visit him together to mourn with him, and to comfort him. But when they saw Job from far, they could not recognize him. At this they lifted their voice and wept. They could not believe their eyes! So they sat down with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his grief was very great.

After these seven days of silence, each of them spoke up – lengthy speeches. Each of them jumped to various conclusions. The common essence of their speeches was that – only the wicked suffer this way and that Job was suffering because he had done something wrong. They repeatedly encouraged Job to admit his wrong and repent so that God would put an end to his suffering and bless him again. After hearing them out, Job says, “What miserable comforters, all of you!”

Oftentimes, aren’t we quick to jump into conclusions on seeing people in distress? At times, yes the wrong-doing of the person may have led to disastrous consequences. But, that is not always the case. As in Job’s case, we see later, that it was a test of his faith and uprightness and not a punishment for any wrongdoing.

We do not have the answer to all the whys of life – in our own lives and in those of others. A newly married girl loses her husband – why? The much awaited baby is born with a fatal disease – why? Cancer robs a little girl of her loving father – why? A family travelling for a good cause die in accident – why? Parents shot dead in a case of burglary, leaving the children as orphans – why?

Well, we don’t have the answers to events that God in His Sovereignty permits to happen, though He never causes them. ‘Why do bad things happen to good people’ is an often asked question. There is a book by this very name written by a Jewish Rabbi named Harold S. Kushner in which he tries to reason out and come to terms with the death of his son at the age of 14 in 1977 of the incurable genetic disease, Progeria.

Reasons are not always necessary to comfort and console others – a heart of compassion is.

Bear in mind the following when attempting to comfort and console anyone in distress:

  • Do not attach meaning to any event just by looking at the surface of it
  • Pause and put yourself in the same situation
  • Do not be hasty to speak too much
  • Do not add spice to sad events and spread them all around
  • Even if the consequence is a clear action of wrong doing, do not jump to get the credit for pointing it out
  • Speak the language of comfort that the person would understand – silent presence, a warm comforting hug, actions of comfort, few non-judgemental words of consolation
  • Do not accuse.
  • Do not point to generational flaws (mistakes of parents or grandparents)
  • Do not be hasty to provide solutions
  • Make your presence a balm of comfort for the suffering person
  • Allow the person to give a vent to his/her feelings (may be shouts of anger, tears of sorrow, denial, stoic silence)
  • There isn’t an apply-to-all-situations formula for comfort. So, act according to the situation.
  • Most importantly, pray for the person. The God of comforts will provide the peace that passes all understanding.

Anti-depressants, comfort foods, alcohol, drugs and other various addictions never bring the comfort that the heart requires. They, at best, numb the pain for a while. If you are hurting today and there is none to comfort you, I want to assure you that your Creator cares for you and will make Himself known to you if you lean on Him.

Let us be alert towards hurting people around us – in our families, workplaces, neighborhoods and even our helpers. It doesn’t cost to comfort. Rather it is richly rewarding to restore a soul from the depths of distress to the heights of relief!

BE SILENT OR RAISE VOICE?

SILENCE or Being Silent is the most difficult task to accomplish. At least for me it is near to impossible. Rajnandini said, “Silence is the language of the soul.” But how can the soul speak when the mind and body speaks differently silencing the soul!!!

Yes, I mean it is really very difficult sometimes to held our tongue back.

But there are some states of being silent which are definitely needed attention and care. Let’s discuss about it.

Silence or being silent can mean so many things. Like when the Government doesn’t take any steps towards certain issue then we say, “Why the Govt. is silent about this matter!!!” So overlooking the matter or not responding to an issue can be one type of silence.

So many times we keep ourselves aloof of the matter happening around us. Sometimes we see injustice happening in front of us and we still stay silent as just an observer. That silence is kind of very dangerous to the family, to the community and to the country at large.

When we ignore or delay certain things that is impending at home or in the family or for our loved ones… then that kind of silence is fatal and should be avoided.

When a person is hurt and withdraws herself or himself from life and drowns into the silence of depression then that silence needs to be addressed. That is fatal as well.

A student who is scared to answer his teacher and stays silent, then that silence needs attention and care. The girl or boy should be nurtured with love and compassion to learn and learn for his or her future.

The parents, a mother or a girl who stay silent for the sake of their loved ones… sacrificing their lives for them. Then that silence needs to be taken care of.

When there are fights between a husband and a wife. They stop talking eventually. Closing all the doors of communication and remain silent. But that silent is dangerous as well. As it builds the wall between them. That wall of silence needs to be broken right away or as early as possible.

“Silence is Golden.” No doubt about it. But the silence in the above mentioned scenarios are not golden but deadly pestilence.

Silence is not golden when there’s people who are being trafficked, sold and bought everyday in the country.

Silence is not golden when there are women who are being mistreated at home, in the society and everywhere in the country.

Silence is not golden when the female foeticides are in increasing numbers everyday.

Silence is not golden when the beggary and poverty are on the rise.

Silence is not golden when politicians use foul means to get to the power and exploit the public.

Silence is not golden when bribing is not considered as sin. 

Silence is not golden when the relationships are getting strained day after day.

We need to understand the right time for being silent and when to raise our voice. If we can not judge it at the right time then it will be fatal for us in our life. 

Silence is Golden when we stop preaching and start implementing.

Friends! Choose the right time to be silent or raise your voice…

Stay Blessed!!! 

QUIETENING BEAUTY OF GOD’S CREATION

The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
    night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
    no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice[b] goes out into all the earth,
    their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
    like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
It rises at one end of the heavens
    and makes its circuit to the other;
    nothing is deprived of its warmth.

The above passage of a poet describing God’s amazing creation “SKY” fascinates me whenever I read that. I have a natural fascination for the skylines and I keep looking at the sky of different colour with different shapes of clouds at different times. And yes, I don’t loose the opportunity of capturing them whenever my camera is available with me.

The rays from the clouds made it heavenly.
The rays from the clouds made it heavenly.

The burning summer sun was hidden behind the clouds which were trying to be the shadow of protection for the people.
The burning summer sun was hidden behind the clouds which were trying to be the shadow of protection for the people to rescue them from the scorching heat.

Can you see the baby cloud elephant floating in the sky???
Can you see the baby cloud elephant floating in the sky???

I found it very distorted and disturbed sky...
I found it very distorted and disturbed sky…

Ahh... The rainbow over the foam of clouds was amazingly beautiful.
Ahh… The rainbow over the foam of clouds was amazingly beautiful.

Look at the white cotton ball floating...
Look at the white cotton ball floating…

I felt as if there's the door way to heaven behind the clouds...
I felt as if there’s the door way to heaven behind the clouds…

What an effect of this blue color on minds... So serene and so peaceful that really quietens my heart and mind.
What an effect of this blue color on minds… So serene and so peaceful that really quietens my heart and mind.

Read the above poetic scripture portion as you watch the beautiful skylines… your heart will be quieten with God’s awesomeness in HIS amazing creation.

It is always has a great effect on our mind and body  when we take a time out from out busy schedules and watch His beautiful creations. That silence will give you amazing peace and tranquility to work further. 

Stay Blessed!

EXPLORING SILENCE

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When the motion ceases, vibrations in air retreat

Then trot into the silence, introspect deep.

Plunge into memory lane, dig flakes of lores,

Catch wisps of lessons, which experiences reap.

Continue reading “EXPLORING SILENCE”

WORKING YOUR WAY THROUGH SILENCE

From times immemorial Man has been working blood and sweat to accomplish goals and objectives. These goals and objectives are specific in nature for each individual and general in other cases. We all try to put in our efforts each day regardless of the overpowering changes in our surroundings to achieve the desired purpose of action. In a nutshell, I have observed none of us contribute any less to our society. You may agree with me when I say that the course to the finish line is a rugged one. Hurdles and obstacles stand in our way day by day to make our journey difficult. These inflict pain and cause stress which decelerates our undertakings. We get de-motivated.

One such notable hurdle is the constant clamour of pessimistic people who try to hinder our activities in every way possible. We find these beings everywhere. In our social life, our professional sphere, personal space and anywhere else where we step into. These people are characterised by an air of acute cynicism constantly disparaging or distrusting motives of others. But today I’m not going to discuss pessimistic people as we all are aware of their existence in our lives. What I want to offer as a piece of proposition is how to put to rest the words darting out of The Cynics.

‘Actions speak louder than words’. The best possible way is to work your way in Silence to Silence the clamour. We have been made aware of this proverb innumerable times in life. When you want to take up a new venture you get discouraging words from people to not try out a new thing. When you suggest a solution to your Boss regarding a problem you are encountered with shortcomings of your solutions by your colleagues. Sometimes your goodness and diligence is overlooked as people are busy trying to pinpoint your glitches in work. Sometimes people care for unnecessary details and you are derailed from your path because of it. There can be many such instances. But how are we treating these entrapments is the real deal.

When I had got my first opportunity of performing on-stage, there were people who thought I was incompetent at this particular form of dance. I was conceived of a conventional person and less flexible. I was laughed at in class and also overheard that I was not meant for this. But that did not stop me. I listened and used the words for my benefit. Gradually I learnt and lived the art form, gave performances and am still continuing with it. Similarly, in the B.Ed. course I was told I was not fit to be a teacher regarding some unnecessary glitches yet I worked my way in silence and bagged wonderful comments during classroom teaching practice. I was also complimented to be a diligent worker. However, some people will continue to find faults even if you give your 100% as that is in their being. The words may wear away but action never fades. Actions shout out loud establishing your worth as a person in this world that thrusts its slanderous attack on you at the drop of a hat.

So, work persistently, being oblivious to unnecessary blabbering, bitching, and hurly-burly and put a silence to the doubts that hinder your success.

 

SILENCE OF A LEADER

I recently took up a leadership role in my team and the first feedback I got from my boss was – “Understand when you have to stay silent and when you must speak”.

I was quite taken aback by this because I have always thought that I had been a good listener which others also acknowledge. So when was I not listening?

Well, when I probed more into it, I figured out that it was not that I wasn’t listening to people; I was given that feedback because I was always coming up with solutions myself. That was not giving enough opportunity to the team to think about the solutions. Maybe if I could give them a little more time and space and guidance – they would come up with the right solutions.

That made a complete sense to me.

Few days ago, I bought a new toy for my son which has blocks of different shapes and the player has to fit the shapes in the right groove – when that happens the toy makes a clapping sound. He does not know any shapes except for a circle (he is 1.5 years old). When I was playing with him, I realized that I had a strong urge to take his hand and put the shape in the right groove. It was so difficult for me to not to that. With continuous practice I learnt how to give away and not guide him every time but give him a chance to figure it out.

Silence is important when you are a teacher, leader or guide. It gives an opportunity for the other person to understand and find out solutions on his own. So, be silent. What makes you a powerful leader is to know the difference between the opportunities that need your input and the opportunities that need your silence!

MY FIRST DATE 

Would you please spend sometime with me?” asked silence one day. I accepted her invitation to experience her company… I am an introvert and I do talk very less, but going utterly silent is something I never tried.

Just before I went to bed, she wished me good night and whispered, “It’s gonna be a challenge honey, I wish you all luck…”

I immediately remembered what I had to do, I switched off my morning alarm 🙂 , I wanted my date with silence to be near perfect …

After I woke up in the morning, I started to wake or rather shake my sister out of sleep.. My first victim…  She was about to scream at me and I signaled her to be silent by putting my finger on my lips.

The entire day I continued to talk with people only in sign language and believe me it was so much fun. I tried to irritate people answering their questions by nodding my head in all possible directions and it was getting tougher for them to read my thoughts. I loved expressing my thoughts in innovative ways.

I went for shopping, spent some time in the garden and in no time it was evening… Evening times were devoted for badminton …  Sandeep, my badminton partner, took my bicycle keys and challenged me to ask for them in sign language. I was quite confident with the amount of practice I had since morning, but every time I started to express he shut his eyes.. After a few trials I was upset and sat down. I didn’t know what I can do, to get the keys back.

He walked back towards me and said, I missed hearing you say out the score on the court, the way you say the shot is yours. I did enjoy reading your expressions every time you tried to convey something today. It was fun, but I want you to know why I did the small game with the keys.

Your silence means a lot to the person who loves you, respects you and he/she will do their best to understand the unspoken words behind your  silence. As I have shut my eyes now, if someone shuts their heart for you, do what you just did. Give up on them“. 

That was a crazy idea of a twelve year old, a girl looking for fun, accidentally learned how good silence is and what impact it can make. I love that day even after I have moved ahead with life. 

Silence is an opportunity to hear the inner voice of not only one self but of other’s too. It is very powerful, it can make you heard. It forces people to think and understand the situation much better. The moment you notice someone reading the spaces between the notes in the song of your life is when you start to understand the bliss of life. Silence is one part and finding the right dynamics with the loud moments of life is what succeeds us in life.

Silence is pure, it is that language a new born baby uses to talk with mother, a romance that can profoundly express thousand feelings than uttering a few words, a calming morning sun wishing us a good day or an hour of meditation to discover yourself. What ever it is, silence sparsely used can work magic.

“I’ve begun to realize that you can listen to silence and learn from it. It has a quality and a dimension all its own.”

Chaim Potok, The Chosen