VISITOR

I stared at the apparition, not sure whether I was awake or dreaming.
The thing prodded me to show that I was indeed wide awake.
"Who are you?" I stammered in fear.
"I am the book spirit that will show you a sight you will fear", it said.
"Why are you visiting me? I am no Scrooge!", I responded indignantly.
"I am here to show you the grave yard of books ", its bookhead nodded emphatically.
"Why must I see it?"
"To warn you!"
"You have lost your first love. Return to your first love, us!"
*Friday Fictioneers is talented group of enthusiasts penning down a story, a poem, a prose, etc., expressing their heart about a photo prompt © Dale Rogerson
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Distractions Diffuse Destiny & Direction

The soldier who leaves the post he is guarding, or the goalie who leaves the goal he is protecting or the farmer who leaves his fields to engage in action elsewhere are all as distracted as the one who is led astray by attractions.

Distractions destroy focus by involvement in unnecessary activity. The legitimacy of any work is dependent on its focus on your destiny or goal.

Nehemiah realised this and did not allow himself to be sidetracked from the work he was doing (Neh 6:1-14). Jesus set his face as flint to go to Jerusalem and was not dissuaded from fulfilling His work. Paul did the same and in spite of knowing bonds awaited him in Jerusalem, made it a point to go there.

In sharp contrast, in I Kings 13:1-32, a prophet became distracted and ended up dead.

An athlete or a racer or any competitor will not allow themselves to succumb to distractions. They cannot afford to, for even a millisecond can make the difference between winning and not doing so.

So it is necessary to be careful to guard focus, wear blinkers, like a horse, to avoid being turned aside by distractions.

Being distracted while driving can be fatal. Being distracted while performing an operation can bring harm rather healing to the patient. Being distracted in the kitchen can cause burns and other malfunctions. Distractions have severe repercussions in whatever task you set out to do.

Jesus talked about thorns that choked the good seed – anxieties of this life, deceitfulness of riches and hankering after possessions. These are distractions to the growth of the right seed that will not allow it to mature. Distractions are destructive and deterrent to growth.

The Psalmist declared ‘one thing have I desired and that will I seek after’ (Ps 27) and the Apostle Paul said this one thing I do (Phil 3). These men were able to declare that they finished the race.

We live in world where attention deficiency is a major disorder with attention span being less than 10 mins. Reason: availability of multiple options, tendency for quick fixes, insecurity that promotes constant preoccupation, fear that fuels avaricious grasping, discontentment that leads to frenzied acquisitions and finally, languorous leisure that aspires for maximum gain with minimum effort. We have become like hothouse flowers that bloom quickly and fade even more faster.

Beware of distractions and legitimate actions that detract you from reaching your goal. Distractions can come in the form of relationships that are a snare to our walk on the narrow path. Your compassionate concern can entangle you with people who make you drag your feet or turn you aside from the real path. Barnabas missed the mark of high calling to partner together in the gospel with Paul by choosing John Mark. People can ride on you like the old man on Sindbad’s back.

Have single-minded focus to conserve your energy and reach your target. Throw off the unnecessary weight that would divert and delay you on the path to destination. Identify and weed out things that drain and dissipate your attention so that you can sustain strength to the end. Deal with and destroy distractions that turn you aside and make you an also-ran rather than one who won the prize.

*Photo courtesy https://unsplash.com/photos/gRsBNSKgfII

Panning for (white) gold

Mom, what are those silvery sand piles?

Those are salt mounds. Those squares of small fields are salt pans.

Where does the salt come from?

What do you see there?

The sea.

Well, it comes in through this canal and salt water gets trapped in those pans. Sun causes evaporation to produce salt, which is racked into those piles.

They look dirty!

It’s cleaned before being sold as rock salt.

Do we use it at home?

Of course. Rock salt is organic.

Just remembering.

What?

We are called to be the salt of the earth!

*Friday Fictioneers is talented group of enthusiasts penning down a story, a poem, a prose, etc., expressing their heart about a photo prompt © Russel Gayer

NO REGRETS

I sit here on the first day of the year, musing on the past, present and future. I come to one conclusion: Life is too short!

As the years go by, I see that one can work hard for money and possessions, but cannot earn the years to enjoy them. I conclude: Life is a gift!

I watch the parade of time, events, seasons, changes and people. I note the increase of depression, suicide, murder, abortion, death and I decide: Life is a choice!

Life is a gift, so don’t squander it. To each one is given an endowment of seconds, minutes, days and years. It may be large or small, nevertheless it is a trust. Be thankful for your inheritance. Rejoice in it. Enjoy it. Invest it and in it. Make it mean something, a thing of beauty and worth, for yourself and others. Don’t waste time, energy and resources given to you by hankering after those that are not given to you.

Life is a choice, to be lived or not, to exist or not, to enjoy or just pass time. Live fully everyday for the next may not be yours. Life is not a bed of roses, for sure as there is a waxing and a waning, day and night, gain and loss. Remember flowers bloom at night as well as in the day. Tides do ebb and flow. There is a beauty in darkness as well as in light. Learn to enjoy every season by adapting yourself its demands. Life is a dynamic flow and never a static stillness. You either resist and wear yourself out or move with it and be transformed. Choose to live.

Life is too short to be wasted with regretting your actions and reactions. Keep short accounts and don’t build up long lists by letting the sun go down on anger. It’s healthier to love and forgive than to bear grudge and become bitter. King Solomon the Wise said that a merry heart is like a medicine but a broken spirit dries the bones. So strengthen yourself with love, laughter and life. Don’t become old too quickly by being rigid and stiff, but maintain youthfulness by being flexible and pliant.

Above all, let’s not waste life by neglecting or misusing people, for their life too is short. Before you know, people are gone from this world, passed on to a place of no return. The most precious yet the most ignored entity and resource on planet earth is humankind. Each single person is an unique individual whose loss leaves a vacuum that nothing can ever fill or compensate. Don’t be hasty to cast off or throw aside people for they are not disposables. We grieve and lament when someone has moved on, but won’t it be better if we learnt to appreciate and value when they are still with us!

Let’s choose to live life to the fullest, this new year, with health and strength, as much as possible with no regrets whatsoever!

*Thanks to @theycallmetanj for making this photo available freely on @unsplash 🎁 https://unsplash.com/photos/QBknAHMdbz8

PASSING AWAY PARADE

He sat there at the site, silently.
The countdown to the final moments had begun.
Just a few more steps, then it would be gone, hidden from sight.
It never gets old, though repeated every time.
A host of memories walked in succession through his mind.
Each event a scene that built up to the whole drama of a life and a lifetime.
He added the smiley moments, subtracted the regrets and totaled the actuals.
I will do better next time.
He walked from the burial, resolute with hope.
An old thing put to rest.
A new beginning just ahead.

*I think you can guess what I am writing about!
*Friday Fictioneers is talented group of enthusiasts penning down a story, a poem, a prose, etc., expressing their heart about a photo prompt© Randy Mazie

GRATITUDE AN ATTITUDE

Gratitude is an attitude
That must be pursued.
Thanksgiving is a mood
That must be ingrained in childhood.

Gratitude is so very supernatural,
That it needs to be deliberately cultivated.
Grumbling is so very natural,
That it needs to be determinedly uprooted.

Give thanks in everything
The scripture is strong in teaching,
Murmuring is the one thing,
The scripture is vehement in opposing.

Focus on His grace so very abundant
That came seeking while you were repugnant.
Concentrate on His goodness so extravagant
That did not consider you redundant.

Remember to be thankful,
Then nothing will ever rankle.
Remind yourself to be grateful,
Then nothing will ever baffle.

Gratitude is not a boring platitude
For it will keep your mouth from gossip.
Gratitude is the right attitude
If you want to really in truth worship.

By Sabina Tagore Immanuel

*Pic courtesy https://unsplash.com/photos/zpK28VGxkJw

LINKED ACROSS

The Boat Mail stood silent and ready. Our ticket to the land of our forefathers was just a train journey away and freedom was just a bridge away.

We thundered over the sea, our eyes misting with memories. The crossing had been harrowing, the fear of navy patrol raging over the high winds playing mayhem of the packed open boat. We didn’t want to return to the land of our birth.

Interned in the camp at for a year, we were now leaving the island for the mainland. Across the majestic bridge was a new life, a resurrection from the dead.

* Pamban Bridge: This 100-year old Indian Railways sea bridge is breathtaking; here’s why:
Imagine a railway bridge over the sea which ‘opens up’ to allow ferry and boat movement! And, what makes this bridge even more wonderful is the fact that it was built 100 years ago! Till 1988, the Pamban bridge was the only surface transport that connected Tamil Nadu’s island of Rameswaram to the mainland. Said to be an engineering marvel, the Pamban bridge was once India’s longest sea bridge, till the Bandra-Worli sea link came up in 2009.
https://www.financialexpress.com/photos/business-gallery/787875/pamban-bridge-indian-railways-train-rameswaram-news-facts-images/
To know more click the link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pamban_Bridge
*Friday Fictioneers is talented group of enthusiasts penning down a story, a poem, a prose, etc., expressing their heart about a photo prompt© Dawn M. Miller

THE BOAT MAIL RUMBLES ACROSS THE PAMBAN BRIDGE
THAT CONNECTS THE ISLAND OF RAMESHWARAM WITH THE MAINLAND
RECENT ROAD BRIDGE ABUTS IT