MARRIAGE MATTERS

Marriages are made in heaven is an English proverb probably derived from a French proverb from the early sixteenth century. This proverb states ‘les mariages se font au ciel’: ‘marriages are made in heaven‘. A more appropriate one would be ‘Marriages are made in heaven but lived on earth’. An even more realistic one would be ‘marriages are made in heaven but lived in hell‘!

The first implies a spiritual element to marriages in that, God is part of this institution and so is love. This aspect elevates the status of marriage as important and the stature of it as preeminent over all other relationships.

The second accepts that, though marriage has a ‘divine element to it’ and that ‘marriage goes beyond human love to include spiritual love as well“, it still needs human involvement, commitment, responsibility, nurture and forbearance to succeed. Marriage is hard work that needs consistency and a continuum more than anything else to make it work. It is prosaic, down-to-earth, practical day-to-day life, of night and day, light and dark, dawn and twilight, and therefore, it surely cannot be the indulgence of the fainthearted but the venture of the truly brave!

The third is relevant to these times and often the truth, for though marriage has divine and earthly elements in it, yet it indeed has a hellish part to it. 

Why hellish? Simply because the enemy of souls is out to destroy it. All the forces of evil muster themselves against it, for God instituted it, God honors it as above all else and God upholds it as the essence of His relationship with His people.

Why hellish? Simply because it seems to arouse all of our selfish nature within us. A pastor once said, ‘You want to serve God, be single. You want to be like Jesus, get married’! Marriage, more than any other relationship, seems to arouse and expose the worst in us since it is the closest, most intimate and most vulnerable relationship of all. It needs the help and nature of God to survive!

Why hellish? Simply because marriages are the backbone of society and  are its basic social unit. Hence, marriages are fraught with duties and burdens that tax it to the core. It is homeground of training and rearing of next generation, the succour and shelter of the previous generation and the epitome and embodiment of the current generation!

Compounded with all this is the cultural confusion that exists in its definition today, compounded as it were by the tenets of feminism, male chauvinism, patristic domination, individualism, same-sex relationship and selfish ambition. All these have muddied the marriage milieu, muddled already by family, regional practices and traditions. In addition, the current social and work environments seem so unconducive to marriage per se. All in all, marriage scenario seems to be on the rock, needing special protection, provision and preservation.

Marriage is indeed a work of art, a thing of beauty and a joy forever. It has the challenge of mountain tops and the beauty of quiet valleys, the glories of sunrise and the depths of sunset, the exquisite joy of companionship and the tragic sadness of loss. It has its origin not in the heart, mind and plans of man, but of God Himself. He it is Who conceived it, contracted it & consecrated it. As such, inspite of its pitfalls, it still is worth its wait in time! 

FERRY TO FREEDOM

The ferry loomed before them, just across the huge gantry-type barricade, their transport to all they hoped to have. They just needed to cross the border customs check and they would be safe.

They waited in queue, watching the officials check the car ahead. With every passing minute, their trepidation mounted. They had waited a long time for this and saved every penny for life ahead.

The officials waved the car on and paused to confer, a brief respite in their busy work stream.

They beckoned to them, eyeing them making their way down the wet road.

“Your passports, please.”

REBUILDING BABEL

​Babel is the site of multiplication of languages, the ensuing confusion and the dispersion that followed.  Babel is synonymous with “a confused mixture of sounds, voices, or languages; a confused assembly, and the origin of the word ‘babbling’.

Babel is also the site of man’s declaration and effort to ‘make a name for ourselves’. Dictionary defines this as being famous, well known, celebrated, prominent, popular, acclaimed, honored, exalted, much publicized etc.

Today, more than any time before, there exists a frenzy, an insane urgency to be well-known, advertised, promoted, celebrated, influential, accepted, acknowledged, advanced, etc. This is driving us to heights of selfishness, self-centredness and self-aggrandizement.

This narcissism is stripping us of all that makes us humans, the crown of creation and the image of God, compelling us to degenerate to the lowest level of satisfying animal instincts. One has to only note the increase of crimes against and abuse of the weak and lowly (children, women, elderly, infirm, downtrodden, etc) to bear witness to this.

It is making us strip our children of their appropriate seasons of growth, play and freedom to push them ahead into the rat race. We don’t understand that they could bloom too early and fade away too soon, like hothouse roses. One has only to watch the plethora of reality shows targeting kids to perceive this.

It is causing us to be impatient of the meek, inconsiderate of the weak, insistent with those who seek, imperative with the least and intolerant of most. In our race for the crown, we run roughshod over and uproot, not the weeds but the wheat. One has to only read of the increase of depression, suicides, emotional wrecks, drug abuse, promiscuity etc., to attest to this.

Its time to pause and take stock of it all, weigh the pros and cons, think through the issues, decide wisely, rest awhile, relax a moment, walk a mile, be content. Its time to choose not to be wildfires, wasting all before us but respect life as humans!

*Pic courtesy: https://kidsbiblestoriess.blogspot.in/2012/07/kids-bible-story-of-building-of-tower.html

IT’S A MATTER OF CHOICE

Two incidents that happened simultaneously – certain people missing an event they were invited to and certain other people taking a course of action not conducive to their own betterment – paused me to ponder. The common excuse we satisfy ourselves with is: Maybe they were not meant to be there or do that! 

There is, of course, an element of truth in it, but most often such thoughts or words are an outlet, a way of consoling ourselves, a patting of our backs and a dealing with our keen sense of loss. We tend to forget that everything is a matter of choice rather than a force of circumstance!

Our choices determine who we are and what we do. Our choices determine who we want to be or what we want to do. Our choices make us or mar us, for life!

Sure there are times when our circumstances are not under our control, but even then there is an element of choice – how we react or act to or in such circumstances. We readily forget that every action & reaction sets in motion ripples of effect that are quietly impact, not just our life but all relationships we are part of!

Freewill is the most invaluable creation gift uniquely bestowed on mankind and on no other. How we use this free gift determines who we become, what we do, where we will be, when we will achieve etc.

Life sure does have its ups and downs. Life often does seem partial. Yet, even when it strews our way with sticks and stones, we still can use them to build or destroy.Choice is ours!

True wisdom is to acknowledge and take responsibility for our lives, not lose hope but work with all that comes our way, uniquely weaving the black & white into the tapestry of our life, making a masterpiece of creation!

choice3.

MONEY PLANT

JUNE9TH

She cut through the swathes of money plant surrounding and hiding the house. Her mother had loved to nurture it because of the belief that it brought wealth.

Folklore was that the home where it flourished would overflow with wealth. However, unless you were fortunate to procure it from an empty place, you had to ‘steal’ it from someone’s home and plant it in yours. Otherwise, it would have no effect on prosperity!

It didn’t need much care, tending to proliferate and grow profusely. Her mother would religiously rejoice in its progress.

Her mother was no longer there, but it was!

*Epipremnum aureum is a species of flowering plant in the family of Araceae, native in Mo’orea, French Polynesia. The species is a popular houseplant in temperate regions, but has also become naturalised in tropical and sub-tropical forests worldwide, including northern Australia, Southeast Asia, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Hawaii and the West Indies, where it has caused severe ecological damage in some cases. The plant has a multitude of common names including golden pothos, hunter’s robe, ivy arum, money plant, silver vine, Solomon Islands ivy and taro vine. It is also called devil’s vine or devil’s ivy because it is almost impossible to kill. It is sometimes mistakenly labeled as a Philodendron in plant stores.

It is known as money plant in India and Bangladesh.

Epipremnum_aureum_31082012.jpgMoney_Plant_(Epipremnum_aureum)_4Epipremnum_aureum_in_Udawattakele.jpg

E. aureum can become a highly invasive species when introduced into tropical countries where it is not native.

In Sri Lanka it overgrows several hectares of the Udawatta Kele Sanctuary in Kandy. Having no natural enemies, it completely overgrows the forest floor as well as the trunks of trees, causing severe ecological disruption.It has also invaded the Kurulukele Forest Reserve in Kegalla, Sri Lanka and other places where it has been planted as a decorative plant, or to hold steep banks along roads. It was included in the Florida Exotic Pest Control Council’s 1999 list of invasive species.

*Friday Fictioneers is talented group of enthusiasts penning down a story, a poem, a prose, etc.,  expressing their heart about a photo prompt, every week. Thanks for this week’s beautiful photo prompt © Sarah Potter

A DIFFERENCE

MAY26TH.jpg

How was your first day, Sally?

Great Bess. Rural school, beautiful countryside. 
Children eager. From hardworking background. Great classroom. 
Wonderful principal!
How was yours?

(Sighs) The less said the better! School in a homeless shelter.
Not even a proper classroom. No material, furniture, principal. 
Unruly kids, uninterested parents. Ruin, chaos, confusion...

That's enough to put off any teacher, leave alone a first-timer!
Going back tomorrow?

I must. I need to. Nobody wants to hire someone fresh out of school!
Besides, I keep seeing their faces. 
Its as though they know I won't come back.
Guess I'll go back. Maybe make a difference!
Just before sitting to write this, I watched a Hallmark movie called BEYOND THE BLACKBOARD. This week’s pic resonated with what I saw in the movie. So I wrote about it!
Beyond the Blackboard is a Hallmark Hall of Fame original movie starring Emily VanCamp and Treat Williams. It is based on the memoir by Stacey Bess titled Nobody Don’t Love Nobody. The story takes place in 1987 and follows a young teacher and mother of two who, fresh from college, ends up teaching homeless children at a school without a name. With the support of her husband, she overcomes fears and prejudice to give these children the education they deserve.  Stacey-Bess-242x300Beyond-the-Blackboard-27-1024x683.jpg
Stacey Bess is an award-winning educator with great insight into the hearts of children in need. She believes that the way to most effectively teach children any subject is to treat them with love and kindness. Audiences around the nation have discovered the treasure of Stacey Bess and the magic she works with children.
*Friday Fictioneers is talented group of enthusiasts penning down a story, a poem, a prose, etc.,  expressing their heart about a photo prompt, every week. Thanks for this week’s beautiful photo prompt © J Hardy Carroll

LES MOUSQUETAIRES

MAY19TH.jpg

We were inseparable, as neighbors, Sunday school friends, schoolmates, college roomies together everywhere.

Our regular haunt, this diner. The owners knew us and our preferences. Didn’t need to order.

We spent holidays together – cycling, swimming, sleepovers, book reading, sightseeing.

Our parents always knew where to find us. You found one, you found the others.

We shared it all – exam scares, teen woes, career struggles, love pains etc.

People marveled, seeing we were red and yellow, black and white.

Oh, we did have our fights & squabbles. Nothing lasted.

Until marriage, kids & families. We flew apart. Too busy to connect. Until today.

*Friday Fictioneers is talented group of enthusiasts penning down a story, a poem, a prose, etc.,  expressing their heart about a photo prompt, every week. Thanks for this week’s beautiful photo prompt © Roger Bultot