MEN AT REST

When we travel by road and cross places where repair work is being done, we normally see the sign “CAUTION. MEN AT WORK”, but we never come across a sign that says “TAKE CARE. MEN AT REST”. Probably the only place we can expect to see something similar is at a cemetery, as an epitaph!

In the fast-paced activity-prone, post-modern world of today, rest is probably the most neglected and sidelined aspect of life. The word rest is often confused with vacation, which is time allotted by an employer for an employee to not be present at work.

Vacation is defined as taking a break from regular work or routine to relax. The concept of sabbatical leave, popular in the corporate world, is different from vacation and has come to mean a time period in which a person does not report to regular work. It is being given a chance to step back from regular routine to focus on personal enrichment and professional development.

Since the fall, rather than drawing security from a relationship with God, men’s self-esteem has become tied to their jobs and their achievements in the workplace. Retirement blues are real for men as they find it hard to live a life disassociated from work. They are prone to ill health and sudden heart attacks that often prove to be fatal.

Work is from God, but being addicted to work and receiving affirmation from the performing of it is detrimental in all respects. Work and rest were meant to be a rhythm of life rather than each of them being an obsession or as a means to self-worth!

Two pictures from the Bible come to mind when considering the aspect of rest for men – Christ asleep in the bottom of the boat and Jonah asleep in the bottom of the ship!

In both instances, a storm is blowing and the vessels in danger of sinking. Both men were resting in apparent oblivion, unaware of the mayhem surrounding them. Both were conscious and confident of God’s care and protection over their lives, yet not in the same way or manner.

One was resting in the calm confidence of doing God’s will and the perfect stillness of being in the core of His purposes. The other was resting in the stupor of knowing that he was out of His will and slept on in the uncaring indifference that continued disobedience brings.

When woken up, one rises up to take complete control of the situation, while the other finds the answer in passive acquiescence of guilt. One commands the winds and the waves into obedience, while the other quells the raging squall and seas through self-immolation! One would even die in obedience to the purposes of God, while the other would rather die than obey God!

Both brought deliverance and praise to God, but the manner in which they did it says much about how a man can find and be in true rest in contrast to pseudo-rest that disobedience brings!

Jonah’s stubbornness in not yielding to God and Christ’s willingness to submit to Him perfectly portrays the struggle in attaining rest by a man!

Christ shows the way to true rest and restfulness, both as God and man. While on earth He was never anxious, flustered or worried, so much so He could say ““Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Now, as God and seated on the right hand of the Father, He is waiting patiently for His enemies to become His footstool. Jesus is the perfect example and perfect episode of rest!

The Apostle Paul was also one who walked in this true rest even in the midst of a dangerous storm or when placed in a dungeon. He could encourage his fellow passengers to not despair and sing along with Silas when in a dark place. Daniel and Joseph demonstrate this same rest, even when accused wrongly and thrown into prison.

Scripture declares You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you (Isa 26:3 NIV).

May you our men, fathers, brothers, sons, grandsons as well as mentors and mentees, dwell in the shelter of the Most High so as to find rest in the shadow of the Almighty!

REST IN REAL ESTATE

In the Bible, there is a very telling verse that needs consideration and quotation in these times:

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens” (Eccl 3:1). King Solomon the Wise writes this at the fag end of his life, as part of his summation of the affairs of men and Heaven’s impact on it.

We live in very unstable times, seasons in which we haven’t a clue as to what will happen next or what disaster will strike. Life that used to be so predictable has changed to being uncertain and so the plans we make must be tentative only and contingent upon day by day events. 

When we look at and consider both these aspects, viz. the instruction in Ecclesiastes and the times we are living in, we need to one thing – cultivate and live in an attitude of rest. If we don’t, we will sink and be submerged, lost and floundering in this world of uncertainty and randomness.

This brings us to the question of how to cultivate such an attitude of rest and what does rest really mean.

Rest is not just sleeping or sitting back – important for physical well-being; or taking a vacation – necessary for family bonding; or holiday – pertinent to prevent burnout in work. True rest goes beyond all of these which are imperative to physical well-being, and is crucial to enjoying abundant life in Christ.

Real rest is to be the way Christ lived while on earth, so much so, even faced with the most dire and dreadful circumstance in his short life – the crucifixion and the events preceding it – he never lost his poise . Though he knew he would be undergoing the most terrible torture, worst ill-treatment, greatest misunderstanding, and horrible rejection by His own people, He could still say: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. Jn 14:27 NIV. Such equanimity and magnanimity in the face of adversity, what wouldn’t we give for such calm functionality!

How was Jesus, man though he was, able to exhibit such supermanhood? It was not because he was divine by origin and birth, but by his understanding, as a man, of his standing with God and his grasp of what he came to do as man, both His calling and his work.

Jesus lived in perfect comprehension of God as His Father  and in perfect awareness of God as His Master. 

  • As a son, he knew he lacked nothing and therefore, lived in perfect confidence of being provided for by his father God.
  • When in need of food, he looked to his father to multiply what he had and supply the need (feeding of the multitude in Matt 14).
  • When in danger, he slept in perfect peace, rising up to rebuke the winds and waves with perfect composure of being his Father’s son (Luke 8).
  • When he saw others struggling, he walked on water and enabled another to do the same (Mark 6), because he knew Whose child he was.
  • When threatened, he simply refused to give way to fear, knowing his time was determined by his Father God, not by men (Jn 8).
  • When his time did come, he knew no hesitation to do His will, for he knew his Father’s agenda (Jn 13). 
  • As the servant of a great Master, he knew he owned nothing, yet was His steward to do what He bid. 
  • He was accountable for all that He did and conscious of what was expected of him.
  • He willingly went about doing everything to please his Lord, with no personal agenda except to bring glory to His Name.
  • He looked to his Lord in everything and walked in total dependence on His leading, never moving out on his own or doing things on by himself.
  • He constantly demonstrated that he do the will of Him who sent him (Jn 6) and did not seek his own glory, only the glory of Him Who sent him.
  • He lived in submission, unwilling to do anything by himself, but only what he saw Him do (Jn 5).
  • He walked in total obedience to his Lord, humbling himself to the uttermost, even to death on the cross, though it was hard for him (Lk 22).
  • It was because of his perfect stewardship that His Master was able to entrust Him with great power, even to rebuke the elements of the air and endow him with enormous authority even over demons.

These two inward postures and related outward actions enabled him to walk and live in perfect rest and peace.

He had such quietness of spirit that he could offer his rest to others (Jn 14:27). He was never anxious or hasty or fearful or disturbed, and therefore, could give a call to be free from burdens and loads (Matt 11:23). He gave a simple solution to those who were struggling with stress –  take my yoke upon you, meaning, just accept my way of thought and adopt my way of life, to enjoy a relaxed and abundant existence

Jesus lived His life as man on earth demonstrating what it means to be true man and how to live as man in relationship with God. He exemplified how a person can and ought to live on earth with an understanding of their position as a child of God and as the servant of the Most High. The situation around was full of unrest and the times he lived were full of uncertainty. Yet, he lived and worked in the knowledge of Who was with him.

He was both son and servant at the same time, both positions kept in tandem composition not in opposition or competition of being!

Called to follow and imitate him, may we learn to walk over the waters of life and not be submerged by nor drowning in them!

Peace be upon us all!

Continue to read my article on another aspect of rest: https://mullingspicewordpresscom.wordpress.com/2021/07/05/women-at-rest/

*Pic courtesy unsplash.com

THE EFFICACY OF TALES & TALK IN COMMUNITY COMMUNICATION

Within a span of 6 months, I had the chance to attend a wedding and a funeral in a rural setting. Two occasions that seem the opposite of one another helped me understand the nuances and importance of such events in the life of a community.

There were certain similarities and differences between the two. Both instances saw a gathering of people (family, friends and family of families the church etc), sharing of food and fellowship, exchange of gifts and presents, besides a time of worship and word.

What was different between both was that, one looked to be a joyous and positive event, while the other a sorrowful and piteous one. One saw an addition to the family, while the other saw the loss of a beloved one. One brought a fullness, expanding the family circle, while the other left a void, shrinking the family. One extended the boundaries and bonds of relationship, while the other narrowed down the reach and extent of influence.

What is astonishing was a factor common to both – the amount of gossip, criticism, bias, judgement and analysis that was generated and articulated in each. Almost everyone, one or another, pointed out what was lacking or amiss in each event and circumstance. Not many were to say what had been done right!

Such exercise is a special feature and unique culture that is part of the social fabric of India, evident more in villages than elsewhere. People in rural areas are given to free speech, often commenting on others affairs, with no qualms whatsoever about articulating their opinions. It is almost as if they have a birthright to do so, a special nature of a citizen of India, more so its womenfolk. This is both a bane and a boon, often to be endured or tolerated, sometimes enjoyed!

Such action is really not a negative indulgence, but an action born of a sense of responsibility towards one another in the community. It is an inborn quality and inherent trait woven into the very fabric of small communities where everyone knows everyone. It is unavoidable and not something one can get rid off from people who move closely with one another. In the city, we hardly care beyond our own and even that is sometimes lacking. So, what is truly a societal process appears to be unwarranted and unnecessary interference!

Small communities, that too rural ones, exist and survive through a pattern of relationships and associations. These are upheld by habits of interchange and primary of these is speech or conversation. Often held while working together in the fields or drawing water from the common source, such talk could border on gossip or tattle. To refrain from talking or discussing about others is a mark of disinterest and detachment, something that will actually exclude and isolate you from the community.

It is true that often such talk could border on jealousy or malice or bitterness etc, but most often it is the thread that binds folks together. It even serves as a sort or mode of entertainment and enlivening activity in areas where there is nothing to do beyond work and sleep!

It is moreover an important form of communication in such towns and villages where people don’t live in clustered and cloistered as in the city. News of good and bad travel fast, covering distances and bridging gaps, a necessity where social media as well as internet does not exist or is patchy. It is the equivalent of the thandora or drum beat or the old time proclamation that existed in ancient times as the method of passing messages to all in the countryside. Also, such bonding is a need in village life where mutual dependence is a given and a must.

In the city, where things can get done without a community process, we do tend to live such isolated and individual lives, because we feel we don’t need each other. Each of us is bent on our own progress, most often at the cost of another. Many do not have any qualms or even a conscience that they are swindling another, often considering it their right to live off another. We live in the city, close to one another in space, but far from each other in reality. Even an death or disease doesn’t move us to reach out to others, but causes us only to draw the walls around us tighter. That is indeed the characteristic of urban areas and sometimes it is rightly so, since often survival and growth depend on such quiet consolidation and separate lives.

Communities thrive and flourish through communication, different though they are in city and diverse in villages.

I believe that churches and leaders should consider and not reject this aspect, but realise its redemptive potential. We need to tap into this skill and transform it into gospel proclamation instead of decrying it.

That’s what Jesus did with the woman at the well at Samaria.

Let’s flow suit and impact communities using ways and means relevant to them, speaking their own language in their own dialect of community talk!

Let’s lead them to gossip about the gospel!

*Read my blog https://mullingspicewordpresscom.wordpress.com/2021/11/01/interactive-existence/ to continue on

*Pics courtesy Google pics

PANDEMIC PROGNOSIS

Last Sunday we were challenged in church to look back at how we have used this period of pandemic – whether we had used it wisely or squandered it foolishly.

True wisdom lies in being able to recognize the times and seasons we live in, then adapt to it accordingly. An unprecedented worldwide phenomenon such as covid, be it man-made or natural, incidental or accidental, induced or spontaneous, can and should alter our lives. Nothing comes even close to this universal event, except maybe the world wars of last century, which most of us in this century have no idea about.

Such a massive happening will and should produce an realigning, but whether that change is for the good and better or bad and worse, is our choice.

A checklist to see what alteration and adaptation pandemic lockdown should have birthed in us/our lives:

1. In the light of so many deaths, have I/we become more considerate and compassionate of others? Pandemic should have taught us the value of human lives and how quickly people can pass out of our lives, without even a warning. If I haven’t learnt to treat others better, then I have wasted this season.

2. In the wake of so many losses the world as a whole incurred, have I/we learnt what is of value and what is not? Everything became meaningless and pointless when one was isolated and alone in a hospital bed or room. The greatest commodity, if we may term it so, the most valuable of all things, is human life. Living things, especially humans, are the most indispensable and fundamental part of this world. Once lost, their absence will produce irrevocable and irrecoverable impacts and effects.

3. In the aftermath of the disease, have I/we learnt the efficacy and importance of building community consciousness? It was those who had built a network of associations who survived and sustained as the illness raged, felling all equally. Rich or poor, educated or illiterate, upper class or low class, single or married, young or old, whatever the estate, we all were susceptible to the onslaught of the infirmity. Relationships and friendships became key to maintaining sanity and humanity. To know someone cares was enough to stem the despair that flooded us when we were sick.

4. In the affect of such sweeping malady, have I/we learnt to value time? We have seen that money, possessions, lands and gold cannot compensate for time lost, especially occasions lost in spending with loved ones. Time is one thing that cannot be recovered or restored, and so, I hope we have all learnt to conserve time and to use it well, for the right and appropriate things.

5. In the wake of so many lost lives, have I/we priortised spending time with loved ones? Bible declares that the life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more, Psa 103:16 NIV. The truth of this statement was demonstrated and made evident in these 2 years. After seeing people pass away in an a moment, we need to seek and make time with loved ones. Just as lost time cannot be recovered, lost souls cannot be recovered nor lost opportunities to be with those we love, regained. Let’s not go back to our old trends but form new ones that focus on people.

6. In the recovery period of the malady, have I/We understood the importance of physical and in-person interactive exchange? Meeting in person and face to face cannot be replaced by virtual connect or face time or skype/zoom calls. Nothing can ever replace the exchange that takes place physically, for such an exchange uplifts us unconsciously in physical meeting. Let’s not become so used to isolation that we lose out on physical interaction.

7. In view of an infirmity of this magnitude, have I/We developed a new lifestyle, one that focuses on healthy living? The old adage that when health is lost something is lost has been sufficiently proved and I think we would be foolish not to take stock of our health. We need to reassess and set in place healthy habits and appropriate dietary practices so that we build bodily stamina as well as mental resistance. Emotional and mental stability depend so much physical well-being and hence, let us develop healthy bodies for fit minds.

8. Last but not least, have I/We learnt to put our trust in God and given time for prayer and meditation? If this pandemic has proved one thing, it is that man cannot control many things in life. When everything failed, it was only the faith in a Supreme Being, Whose power surpassed us, that kept us going. It gave us hope that things will turn around and helped us to hold on, inspite of massive despair. As the song goes, There can be miracles When you believe. Though hope is frail, it’s hard to kill. Who knows what miracles you can achieve? When you believe, somehow you will. You will when you believe. If we have failed in this, we will fail in all else!

It is imperative and important to do a pandemic prognosis so that we can correct what we need to when we can.

Covid was just a warning shot across our bows to take stock.

Have we heeded the warning and set in place the right life choices and ways?

Has pandemic shocked us to our senses?

*Pic courtesy Google images

INTERACTIVE COEXISTENCE

Since 2016, I have been a regular blogger and have progressed to be a writer, something I dreamed of for years. Even during much of pandemic season, I was able to produce a steady stream of articles and projects, even though there were constraints on time. I need quietness and peacefulness to be able to think and articulate on paper or an app page. Though there was a crunch on this type of environment as the whole family was at home, I was still able to do meaningful work.

Of late I noticed that my writing has been tapering off and anyone going through my website would notice that I had posted only 3 articles in 4 months, with none in August, when my average was 1 per week. On the other hand, within the first week of November I have been able to pen and post 2 artefacts! The reason for this change was brought home to me through this Sunday’s sermon on being specially relevant, not just spiritually resurrected!

I generally watch the ebb and flow of life around me, saturate and soak myself in the various events I encounter, weigh the pros and cons of what I read or see and analyze and evaluate all of these inputs. My writing stems from this process of thinking through and drawing wisdom from everything, both positive and negative episodes.

I am a watcher of people, happenings, disturbances and a researcher of life as I experience it. Everything has become a learning process, the good, the bad and the ugly, helping me self-actualize. I receive and assimilate all as data inputs, which in turn become points and pointers for my writing, even the negatives that I meet.

I perceived that the reason my writing had tapered off and even died down for a month was because of a lack of interaction with the real world, being limited by covid to communing and communicating mostly through virtual media and medium. Social interaction had become a minimum, confined to calls (mobile, zoom or social websites), with very little in-person or face-to-face meetings. With no real input, my wellspring of writing had dried up and it was no surprise I had almost stopped writing. No real or factual inspiration!

All living beings have been created for interactive existence and thrive only with real time and space exchange. Nature is programmed to function in a give-and-take interplay regime, and would become atrophied or extinct without interactivity. Flora and fauna need daily, weekly, monthly, yearly as well as seasonal doses of sunlight, moonlight, rainfall, mist, heat and cold, as well as intermittent purges by fire or water to flourish. Pollination by insects and birds, grazing by herbivores, hunting by carnivores, trampling by omnivores, tidal cycles etc are necessary patterns of ecology and economy for the earth to thrive. Deny any of these and the earth would continue to spin on, albeit emptily, for such is the mutual complexity of lifestyle brought into play and upheld by the Creator!

Humans are no less an integral and important part of the life cycle on this earth, with added blessing of human relationships flavoring and enhancing human being. Without physical meeting together or talking face to face in person or community gatherings, the human race would become robotic and mechanical.

Nothing comforts a bereaved person better than a silent hug, for words do fail or become redundant at such times. No sick person ever lost the need for a loved one’s visit in lieu of some fruits or flowers. No celebration is complete without kith and kin as well as others being present. Physical presence and touch is of great important to all of life, not just children or pets.

The beauty of our world is this symbiotic dependence and corporeal exchange that stimulates and promotes growth as well as fruitfulness.

When pandemic began, we were hard put to stay indoors and be confined to the home.

When pandemic is fading away, we are facing a reluctance to step out to have society and social synergy.

We were made for company and companionship.

Nothing gladdens the heart or enlivens the scene than to see a group children shouting in gleeful play, or to hear the sounds of music and dance at a festival, or witness the chatter and catching up in a marriage, or watch a group of friends slap each other’s back with joyful camaraderie or egg on a group of athletes or a team of players.

Nothing stirs up faith as corporate worship and consentient prayer.

This world was made for community and combined influence.

Interaction soothes and smoothens our existence and our life.

Don’t isolate yourself and die for lack of connect.

Don’t opt for just connectivity and lose out on communion.

Want to know the impact of interaction on me? Two articles in a day!

So, resist the urge for seclusion and come out into the light to thrive. You will be blessed!

See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance. Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me. (Song of Songs 2:11‭-‬13, The Bible)

*Read my blog on http://sabinatagoreimmanuel.com/2020/10/03/statelessness-in-the-church/ to know more

*Pic courtesy: https://unsplash.com/photos/cD1ROcn6OP8?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditShareLink

LAUNCH CODE

Patiently I have borne you,
From my womb to your flight.
Patently I have raised you,
With my hands to your stance!

Parenting thoughtfully and thoroughly,
In the days you were given to my care,
Persistently with perception have I reared you,
Trusting fully in God’s mercy and grace!

Prepping constantly and consistently,
For the time you would leave our home,
Principledly I have grounded and equipped you,
In God’s holy laws and His good ways!

Prepared you are, my son, to face the world,
Armored and armed to run your lonely race.
Parenthetically you have gained what’s important for your age,
Together your father and I relegate ourselves to the e-space!

Pace yourself my son in the novel space,
Finding and marking your place in the new race.
Peace be to you as you test your mettle in the fresh base,
For the God Who led you this far is still the Lord of all!

Park yourself always within the circle of His care,
Ever seeking to please Him in thought and prayer.
Praise Him as you meet the cares and duties of each day,
For He will guide and keep you in all your ways!

@Sabina Tagore Immanuel

*Wrote this when I bid goodbye to my son as he left for higher studies in Germany

*Pic courtesy google images

SOUL SOB

Peer into my soul, O Spirit of God
Pry open to see its secret thoughts.
Peel back its hardened scab to uncover its heart,
Pierce sharply to let its purulence run out its flow.

Patiently wait for the tide to ebb and cease
Pour then your oil to heal the festering wound
Pacify and soothe to begin its new birth and coursea
Pack it full with goodness fit for a fresh commence.

Preserve that which remains, recovering the lost
Purify and restore the marred, pattern and practice
Press into your mould the now formless void, making
Peace its defence and rest its delightful repose.

WOMEN AT REST

Covid conditions have been quite stressful and strenuous for women, especially in the family, more than anyone else. The reason is, I believe, traditionally and by nature, women consider home their domain and their resting place. Men would prefer to unwind outside the home with their friends and cronies, but a woman’s nook of refuge is her home. Like a bird that seeks its nest to rest, a woman would make a beeline for her home, every time. That’s why, when buying or investing in a house, women seem to be finicky and demanding, insisting on a certain way since it is her corner in this wide world. Nothing rejuvenates or restores a woman more than an empty house and a time to de-stress!

Unfortunately, with covid confining the family to the home, women have found it difficult to find a place to decompress and loosen up. More than ever, women, and primarily homemakers have found their realm invaded and inundated by people as well as an unending list of chores and duties. They are lost as they find no place or space for them to recover and be restored. There is no time or occasion for peace and quietness, something which is the strength of a woman. Added to this is the way the family seems to be insensitive to her need for rest and a concern for or an understanding of what truly refreshes her.

Here are some tips for finding rest in covid:

1. Be regular in your day. It is my observation that many women, specifically homemakers, do not plan their day. They don’t take hold of their day, but meet it as it comes. Rather than laying hold of their day, they allow themselves to go with the flow. This is more so in this season of pandemic, causing them to feel like a stick tossed by the day. Chalk out your day and lay hold of it, so that you are not at its mercy!

2. Find your daily rhythm. Women are most flexible and fluid, enabling them to be easily adaptable to any situation. However, during this season, with all the people at home and in constant demand, this works against them. Unless and until they set a routine they cannot combat fatigue. Make your day both flexible and rigid,which will bring order to your life.

3. Start your day with rest. Prayer and meditation is a key to rest, for the quietness you seek will be found in God’s presence. Nothing makes a woman feel refreshed as singing praises to God and doing homage to Him. By nature, women tend to be devoted and often take time to worship. Most men in the family do recognize this stellar nature of a woman and encourage their prayer time, for they recognize its role and importance. So, make time to rest in God as well as to pray for strength and grace for the day!

4. Plan your day. Women at home do not really schedule their home chores as much as women who hold a job. This is because they do not view their home duties the same way a woman does a job. Another reason is that homemakers don’t get paid and the chores they do is taken for granted. Though this attitude is good in itself, it does not give clarity to the work and so no planning gets done. Women, order your chores and plan even your meals for the week. This will help you prepare in advance and give you an edge over the day, even if disturbances arise. Moreover, your husband and kids would be more rolling and happy to help you if you don’t pester them often to run to the store because you forgot a necessary item or ingredient. Planning avoids clashes too!

5. Regulate your work and rest. A prime need for women is to mark out rest hours amidst the work. For instance, you can catch your breath and carve out a moment of peace after breakfast and before lunch work begins. Do the same in afternoon between lunch and teatime, as well as between tea and dinner. Go to bed on time so that you can rise early to have your quiet time before day begins. Don’t wait till the end of day to rest, but find pockets of time to rest!

6. Cordon off your time and space. A major default in women is that we don’t communicate with others. Once you have planned your day and ordered your time, make it known to your family. Teach them to respect it by making them understand how you need it to serve them better. Request help from your spouse to care for your kids during this time. The man who sees his wife is better for having such space will surely give it. Our problem is that we don’t admit our weakness and our need, but try to be superwomen!

7. Do something you really love. An important need for women is to develop a hobby or pastime and to do something beyond housework. Most women are lack and slack in this. They don’t evolve by learning a skill or even participating in a study process, but may spend time and effort in watching soaps and serials. Learn to do gardening or tailoring or crochet or knitting or beadwork etc. Learn driving, baking, even electrical work or earn a degree. Upgrade and encourage yourself in this season by doing something new!

8. Define yourself. Most women are clueless as to who they are and hence, allow others to delineate who they are. At the end of their life or during menopause or after children have moved on, they feel adrift, having lost themselves in the milieu and myriad of roles taken up in the course of life. Women, you are more than your roles (daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, cook, caregiver, daughter-in-law, etc). You are a human being with distinct gifts, abilities, strengths, weaknesses, personality and character. You have the ability to define yourself and not get caught up with who you are in each season of life. Understand this and keep your uniqueness secure, guarding it as treasure. Then, even when everyone in your life has passed on or moved on, you have your being intact to evolve to a new height!

9. Live in peace and tranquility. Rest and quietness must first be felt inward before it can be realized outward. Harboring resentment, bitterness, malice and so on, will harm you more than others, since it won’t allow you to rest even though you are doing it physically! Inward equanimity will go a long way in finding rest during the day. More than men, women need to let it go. Forgiveness and forbearance works much to ensure rest for we are emotional beings and when our feelings are in turmoil, we can wave goodbye to rest!

10. Reach out to make friends. Women need companions and thats why women are more invested in marriage than men. Communion and companionship is at the heart of a woman’s being, which makes her a team worker or team mate. So, reach out to cultivate friendship with others and do not isolate yourself. Communicating with a community of cronies does much for mental health. There is a sense of oneness in knowing others also have the same problems as well as strength in encouraging another. Sisterhood should be a way of life if we are to be able to maintain our sanity in this season!

Ladies, let us face this time of unprecedented happenings with zest and vivre, as we always do, by developing a new pattern and way of life. It is no use cribbing about what has been. Let us make do with what we have, thankful in the midst of it all, coming out with flying colors!

Remember, even this too shall pass!

*Read more about rest: http://sabinatagoreimmanuel.com/2020/03/11/men-at-rest/

*Pics courtesy unsplash.com

JOURNEY MERCIES!

All through my school days I was a champion athlete, participating in various events and winning many laurels. I loved to run and instinctly developed the skills to be a good runner, more than being taught the technique to do so.

One of the important traits on the track to be a champion, especially in 100m, is to fix your eye on the end and never get distracted from it. Runners are taught to pick a point/spot on the rope once lane position has been assigned and take off for it at full speed, exerting to the best, once the gun goes off. Eyes should only be on your track lane to avoid cutting tracks and then on the spot. You have to be blind and deaf to all else, including the reaction of spectators. If your attention wavered even for a second, your speed would reduce and cost you the trophy. The goal and reaching it is the only focus you could allow yourself to have, nothing more and nothing less.

I think this training has naturally spilled over into my life, shaping my personality and work culture! I have always been focused and intent on achieving the target, reaching the point, completing the task and was either ignorant or blind to all else. I didn’t mind the price I paid, the pain I endured, the straining of physical health and the emotional upheavals. It was to be done, it had to be done, irrespective of the cost. I would never go beyond the lines and boundaries, but within the framework would often run roughshod over many things and often, people.

Though such concentration and dedication to reach the goal is to be applauded in a runner, it cannot be fully applied to all of life. Such an outlook can make you insensitive and impervious to all other aspects of people and nuances of living. Even in a job, this will make you a tyrant, autocrat or dictator, one to be feared rather than followed. In the long run, you will develop such an one-dimensional and single color perspective, becoming unaware and unappreciative of the tapestry of life, that makes it monotonous and hence, boring to you as well as to those around you!

Life is not all about winning or reaching or touching the endpoint. Nor is it about forging ahead and forgetting everything else in your bid to achieve or gain a goal. Life is not a sprint that begins and ends in seconds or minutes or even hours, but a passage of time. Life is usually a long distance run, a marathon, or better still, an odyssey.

Life is a trek to be enjoyed, rather than a series of achievement hops. Life is not a string of frog jumps from one goal to another, but a travel that meanders through a myriad of land forms often hoarding and hiding different life forms. Life is an expedition of discovery and exploration, an adventure to be tasted and savored.

Life is all about growing, evolving and transforming into greater and higher dimensions of humanity. Every experience, every sight, every situation, every encounter, every instance plays a role in this shaping and forming of us. Whether we use them positively or negatively, they do impact us daily, consciously, unconsciously and subconsciously.

To all those who are like me, I say, slow down, take stock, look around and enjoy the journey on your way to reaching your goal.

The journey is as much a part of life as is reaching or achieving the target. Being sensitive to and savoring the travel will create joy in the small things and even tiny packets of time. Such joy in the ride will compensate and make it all worth while even when you don’t reach the goal and not allow you be stuck in the doldrums. Not every operation a doctor performs, nor every work a person complete, not every race run ends in a success or a win, inspite of your best efforts. There is no guarantee in life that we would complete or achieve all the time even though we did put in all we had every time.

It is then that we realize the effort and passage itself are reward enough, especially when you done all you can. It is not just about the beginning and the end, but the in-between too!

Let’s understand that peregrination is as important as the end point and take pleasure in everything and everyone we experience and encounter, using them all to learn and mature as we progress through time.

I did not win every race I ran, but I was happy to run, to compete and to complete the race.

That, my friend, is the secret of all of life!

That, my friend is the essence of living!

The journey is as essential and as gratifying as the goal!

*Pics courtesy: Unsplash.com, shutterstock and google images

AGEISM – THE NUANCES OF IT!

In the television series The Crown there is a heartbreaking moment when the recently widowed Queen Mother of the newly crowned Queen Elizabeth remarks at being sidelined when she actually needs to be active in order to help her cope up with her loss. Her lament is a telling reflection of the many who go through the throes and woes of retirement.

Psychology Today has reported in 2009 that an aging brain is a creative brain, so much so it was suggested that instead of retiring people at age 65, we should be transitioning them into more creative jobs. Research also shows that the most valuable patent applications are more likely to come from inventors typically over age 55 and the age of Nobel winners are getting higher every year. Another study shows that inventors don’t actually peak until their late 40s and become more productive over the last half of their careers.

WHO defines Ageism as referring to the stereotypes (how we think), prejudice (how we feel) and discrimination (how we act) towards others or oneself based on age. Ageism is everywhere: from institutions and relationships to ourselves. Ageism affects everyone, intersecting and exacerbating other forms of disadvantage such as those related to sex, race and disability.

Ageism can change how we view ourselves, erode solidarity between generations, devalue or limit our ability to benefit from what people can contribute, impact our health, longevity and well-being and have far-reaching economic effects and consequences. Ageism is real and a degrading social malady that affects retirees and those above 60 years, more than any other section of society.

Overlooking the plight of retirees is real and minimizing or neglecting their role in society past their superannuation not addressed at all. The Bible illustrates the role played by elders, insisting upon the value of older people in imparting guidance and counsel. God’s word designating them as sages and elders, insists upon their ability to create stability and provide clear solutions to issues. Nations, peoples, cultures, societies, families all flounder and fail when they ignore the experience and wisdom of those who are in the later stages of life.

A case in point is the story of King Rehoboam, who inherited a thriving and prosperous kingdom, the legacy of his father, the great King, Solomon the Wise. When an emergency petition was placed before him by a national delegation immediately after his coronation, he chose to listen to the unwise input of his cronies rather than giving ear to the diplomatic advice of the experienced elders of the land. Due to this, 80% of his people elected to follow a new ruler, another kingdom was formed and his territory was reduced to the remaining 20%. All the glory and wealth he inherited was handed over to another because of his unwillingness to honor age and promote their working.

Every culture and nation has stories and legends that describe and point out the importance of those who are old in the fabric of society. It is sad that the world of today ignores and sets aside those above 60 years. In the time of life when they are best equipped to impact, they are classified as seniors and therefore, redundant. At an age when they have the emotional and mental resources as well as the time to serve the best, they are pushed to the curb, to wistfully stand watch. Most of them, like unused grain that rots away, endure their exile and fade away into oblivion, leaving behind a society that has no idea of its loss.

A wonderful remedy to this problem is showcased in the movie The Intern. It follows the impact created by a retiree who is part of a group of seniors recruited to work as interns by a growing online fashion firm as part of their corporate social responsibility. The employees of the company, all young and under the retirement age, look with amusement at these interns, wondering what these oldies would be able to contribute, especially since most them aren’t tech savvy.

The Founder and CEO of the company, a woman in her twenties, at first considers the one assigned to her as a liability, but slowly begins to see his worth as he uses his wisdom, experience and equanimity of temper to constantly help her in different ways. He becomes a trusted friend and confidant, able to share in her work and aid her in her deepest concerns, guiding her with his sagacity when she is at a crucial crossroads in her life.

In countries such as in India where employment opportunities for the young must take precedence over the need of seniors, alternate tasks such as financial training, personal one-on-one counselling, marital dispute resolution, simple home care etc can be envisioned by firms as roles for retirees.

How wonderful it would be to see such partnerships develop in real and not just in reel life!

*https://www.who.int/westernpacific/news/q-a-detail/ageing-ageism

*pics courtesy unspash.com, shutterstock and google images.