Lessons from Paul

To me it was logical that the name he first called, from his prostrate position was the name of he who he spent hours desecrating. Clearly, if you made it your duty to prosecute someone or something, then you would have spent a lot of time studying the subject. According to Canon JJ John, the quickest way to become a christian is to seek to dispute Christianity by investigating it.

Some of us will have to be knocked to the ground and struck blind, before we accept God as God.

Anyone can be used by God for his purposes……in his time. He has a plan for all of us even the Sauls of this world.

He was a fearless critic, true to form even when it came to himself. I have found that the person who can speak the truth about themself, will not be afraid to speak the truth to you. That’s why he could berate Peter too. 1 Timothy 1 v 13 and Galations 2 v 11-14

He had courage- and in fact no ambassador for Christ can be a coward. He took no credit for his accomplishments, but acknowledged God as the source- that kept him humble.

He used every opportunity to teach and spread the Good News message, even from the bowels of prison.

He was a practical Christian, who spoke candidly about the everyday issues that affected people.

He had to come face to face with his demons.  Birth is usually a messy affair, but out of this process comes a brand-new life.

Even the Pauls of this world need love, support, encouragement and companionship. He had protégés but also needed mentors as well.

He like the apostles, gave up everything (including his life)…….for Christ.

 

Natural & Man-made

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As I try to create a canvass, I notice:

Trees- trees adapt and adjust to the changing scenes of life, and I don’t hear them complaining.

Flowers- beautifully arrayed, no two are alike-rich and vibrant hues, here today but gone tomorrow.

Birds- diverse species, colours and functions. They neither ‘toil or sow nor reap’ yet they are fed… why do we worry so much?

Water- changes in form (liquid, solid, gas) to suit the circumstances- turquoise blue, cold grey, icey white, green too and even black.

The Sky- shades of blue, dotted and decorated by clouds- cumulus, Sirrus, nimbo stratus……….

Contrasts- black & white, brown & black birds, green, yellow and burgundy leaves, red berries, green green deep green grass, pink blooms, pristine white……….

Parks & mountains; lakes, oceans & cliffs, rivers & ravines, fog, rain & snow, and sunshine- sunsets and sunrise, the wind……

And he man-made gifts are just as impressive, but no need for surprise….. he is a loving Master.

He gives and gives abundantly and will not hold back….we are made in his image and because of that we too are endowed with gifts to create the spectacular and awe-inspiring. Gravity-defying buildings, works of art, sloping stairways, delectable treats and snacks, you name it we have done it. But not in our own wisdom or strength, let’s never forget that.

So as we admire and ponder on nature and natural wonders- let us do the same on The Creator. For despite what we think or how we perceive it, “all good things and all perfect gifts” are from our Heavenly Father.

Some things know no bias………

1. God…… He is not partial- he sent his son as a ransom for all

2. Scrooges/ or in Jamaican vernacular – sponger

3. Bun 😂😂😂😂😂, not the one you eat with cheese.

4. Breaking the commandments- refer back to # one.

5. Bad Driving-  it’s not entirely due to bad road and traffic jams.

6. Jealousy, follow fashion and red eye – very dangerous!!!!!!

7. Green arm- 🙊🙊🙊🙊 you think a lie me a tell?

8. Pretty face and Coca Cola bottle shape

9. Mental illness and physical handicaps; oh yes, split down the middle- cut across boundaries.

10. Over- indulging….. Whether on food, shopping, selfies, entertainment, sex, gossip, ………

11. Dunce and Intelligence

12. Sexual Predators

12. Ginnals, liars, beggars and thieves

13.  Pride and show off- these ones Mek yuh feel pain though- trust me.

14. Children- at least until nurture takes effect.

15. Stingy- or to be politically correct, thrifty…..👌🏾👌🏾👌🏾👌🏾

16. Shame and Stress

17. Cruff, wotliss and lazy

18. Falling in 💕, fallout out of 💕💕💕💕……..

19. Insecurity

20. Selfishness and impatience

21. Pwile and ill-mannered children

22. Picking your nose

23. Natural disasters

24. Taxes and death

25. Love of food, and especially free food

26. Gigolo, pimps, and cougars too

And the list goes on……….. From dust we came and to dust we shall return……..

I wonder…

I wonder why the grass is green, and why the wind is never seen? Who tell the birds to build a nest? And tells the trees to take a rest? And when the moon is not quite round, where can the missing piece be found?……..Excerpts from Jeanne Kirby’s, ‘I Wonder’

The Pet Industry

Home and abroad…….. pets are ubiquitous, although I suspect for different reasons at home. Petland, pet adoption agencies, professional pet stylists and groomers, veterinarians all are some ‘big money’ businesses abroad. Pet hospitals, pet food, pet clothes and accessories…..What is the monthly budget for maintaining a pet?

There has to be some very important reasons for this sacrifice- financial and non-financial. They have their seats in the car and they need their exercise, yes even in the less than bearable weather. Then there is the added criterion of ensuring there is pet accessibility- in the apartment building, at your club….. church & school??? Dunno, maybe……and you must pick up after him/her…..

Pet insurance- of course, why not? How else will you pay for the blood tests, medicines, chemotherapy or provide for them in the event of your death or disability?

Cruelty to Pets!!!!! I know of a quite a few people at home who would be caught in this drag net. Speaking of this, I met a beautiful lady who dedicates her life to animal rights. She doesn’t eat meat, she doesn’t wear hide or leather, doesn’t use products that rely on animal testing….now that’s commitment to a cause. I admire her. Pet Shelters, Pet rescuers too….. profession or hobby?

So my question is, what is the real reason why we have or need pets? Love & affection, acceptance, control, loyalty, companionship, competition, social status, or is it just a cool thing to have?

Generation X- The teenagers on the bus

A diverse mix of black, whites and asian…… Was this tokenism or are they naturally liberal and inclusive? The conversation flowed freely and openly on a crowded bus- that’s (one tick) for liberalism.

First topic of conversation was the latest gadgets at our disposal. One person had the latest iPhone (newest version came out a few days before) which was a reason for much excitement. I must say though there seemed to be no malice or envy or malcontent about this among them (tick #2)…… After all they know so much about these things they realize they are all the same or is it that each will eventually get one anyway?

Everyone was dressed alike, do you think they compared notes before? (tick for this one too?)

Shopping ……. the GUESS bag on sale for $40 on Guess.com; originally for $200, was a topic of conversation as well. Do they have credit and debit cards? Maybe- they work and or get allowances and are taught about money management, right? And they live at home and don’t pay bills or send kids to school….. , or are just overspending, or maybe they are just rich.        P.S. the collections already have MK bags…… (Does this earn another tick?)

Eye tattoos, eye brow threading and waxing, manicures & nail art…….one or the other seems mandatory. At what age did I get my first eye brow job- have no idea!!! And of course, the one that is time immemorial- some cute boy on a TV show, well at least that’s familiar territory …..

Hair

Long hair- straight or curly, it is more often than not loose over shoulders…irrespective of weather, why? I mean, the weather dictates with everything else; from restaurant menus to the mode of dress to events planning, building codes……Isn’t long hair a hassle sometimes? I mean when its all out, it constantly fall in your face, it gets tangled easily, it doesn’t maintain its lustre etc. Am I the only one who hates my hair unkempt? But then if it’s not out, there will be no excuse to toss the heads back and run the fingers through it anyway….. and black people do it too, although we hardly have straight or curly, long hair…. or do we?(wink, wink).  And me hear say, so me hear- seh straight long hair people support the business heavily too. And why isn’t the pixie cut more popular?  Hey, am not a hater just an observer as I have heard and seen too that it’s difficult to get that hair type into plaits…..and you have no real struggle with washing and drying and styling your hair, so there- am not judging.  Needlessly, I am loving the celebration of Nubian knots and black natural hair now though…..yes its been worn loose and out as well.

 

JAPAN

Someone visited and when she came back…. she said she has to ask if the Japanese even remember how to wipe their asses……..No need to elaborate.

By now you must consider me one of those wooey gooeies, who lives in their head!!! But lets press on.

Ignorance

I constantly think about how it feels to be illiterate….. so when I hear persons conversing fluently in another language, I ask myself if that’s what it is like. Sometimes too I consider that it may be more than just not understanding, but like not having the ability to. If that is so or not so, these are murky waters.

The World

Yours or mine may be falling apart and yet for others its honky dory and going according to plan, falling into place. And the earth- well in all of that it continues to spin on its axis, at its normal speed and in the natural way. I consider this as I heard the news of the 17 year old who collapsed in his football training session- just like that. An only child- my heart bleeds for his parents, family- biological and at school, as well as friends. Who will answer all their whys????

We are not gravity, neither are we the wind, rain or sunshine….Things grow and stay in place and exist without us and outside of us- whether we like it or not, whether we know or not (thanks for reminding me of this Twinny). People are hurting and in need of help, all around us-just look a little longer and closer. So let us resolve to do what we can, for whoever we can, whenever we can. In fact, in my mind, that’s the only way we can have any impact on this world.

Perception

Ever notice that sometimes you are freezing or suffocating from heat, while others are not experiencing the same sensations…menopause and fever aside. Ever hear some persons describe a location for you….how beautiful or uninteresting it is and when you see it its either way worse or way better…..How about a person’s physical features or the food at a particular restaurant, and colours. Huh, the latter is a biggie especially with the new shades….teal, aqua, turquoise, plum, lime, fuchsia, peach, burnt orange, eggnog, amber, magenta……men are not the only ones who are colour blind.

Time freedom

Prisoners and former prisoners will tell you that the deprivation of your freedom is one of the worst human experiences. But the flip side to this is that this gives you a lot of time on your hands. Time in the ‘free’ world is a scarce commodity, we don’t seem to have enough of it. Too much freedom- no time. A lot of time- no freedom. Either extreme is undesirable, why can’t we have it all?

Courtesy
Some people don’t practice’ Good Morning/Day/Evening/Night’,  ‘Please’, ‘Thank you’, ‘Excuse me’ or smile. Does this have some merit?

You

This one is a biggie……. I have always wanted to know what I look like, and I don’t mean when I look in the mirror or look at a picture. I mean when someone looks at me, who or what do they see? I had a friend bring this to light for me one day. He said he remembers clearly the first time he was been video-graphed and he couldn’t for the life of him get this nagging question from his head “How will I know which boy I am??”

I will stop wondering…………for now at least. 

Ms Good Deeds?????

It is J. K. Rowling who said, ” it’s our choices not our abilities, that show who we really are”

If this is true, then anyone is capable of doing something spectacular, something extraordinary, something special. We can all be magnanimous and virtuous, if we want to be. That is important because learning this means we have no reason to boast, for discriminating, for separating or elevating ourselves, for denigrating others – as we are all able to accomplish and to undertake the same tasks.

Young and old, slave or free, black, white or in-between, male or female, rich or poor, wise or foolish- it makes sense, because the force behind all these acts is Grace- and this is given freely and evenly to us all….. We just have to reach out and take it… What a gift🎀🎀🎀🎀🎀

Well knowing this led me to made a resolve some time ago, to do something good for someone each day, and if I fail to do that, then I must at least do one thing right. How am I doing in this regard? Some days I am consciously doing good and right- other days I don’t even remember and then some other days I am raw and human and in need of forgiveness.

Paul, of all persons, did say….. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil that I do not want to do, that I practice….. Read Romans 7 v 19-21

#1

So the other day I went to Safeway, to buy dinner. My food was packaged and priced and as I went to pay, it occurred to me that dinner was indeed reasonable, right then and there I realized that one of the items was not cashed. I said nothing to the cashier, I paid and left. Upon reaching the exit however I was stopped dead in my tracks by this thought, “how much better or worse off can $5 make me?”

I turned around, found my cashier and paid for my food. I have no way of knowing what would have happened to him, or how I would have felt if I didn’t return to pay, but what I can say is I loved myself a little more for returning. That’s the thing with a choice, you can’t undo it to find out what the alternative would have been like.

#2

So I was on the train- heading home from an evening stroll………….and in the rush to switch trains a young lad traipse out of my carriage without his phone. Now you know how our phones are to us these days, to lose it is to maim oneself- like losing a limb…….and it’s not because they are not cheap. Suffice to say, they are gold in the eyes of the wrong person- ever wonder when they will be smart enough- to not get lost.  Now all that aside, I wasn’t the only one who noticed his mishap. The phone however was directly in front of my seat and I was alone on that space.

“What to do”, I thought. “If I take it up will they think I am stealing the phone?” I am acutely aware of some facts.

“But how could I just pretend I don’t see it and allow someone else to pick it up?”  Poor lad, he must be bellyaching for his phone, as I know it’s not long before you miss a limb.

” I certainly would want someone to rescue my phone” , I thought.

So bravely, I took the phone up, and immediately the ‘black’ faces focused on me- I looked straight ahead.

” Is there a lost and found?” I asked of the same penetrating eyes after a few minutes- or maybe “I will give the train driver” I thought…….”Can I even get into this fortress so I can get a contact for the owner” … I wondered.

My thoughts were then interrupted by the vibrating phone- I didn’t answer…. A second ring – this time is answered. ” do you have my phone? ” he sounded anxious, relieved, scared and ungrateful all at once. ” yes” I said-” but you will have to meet me at my bus stop”  I replied. “No problem” he said- “I am on my way”

Long story short- when he was almost at my stop he called back…

“Where are you”, I asked. “Am going to miss my bus”

” I give you $40 to miss your bus ” he responded. “Okay” I said.

$40, I started thinking of all the things I could do with that…. Treat myself to dinner, shoes perhaps… Give my roomie $20 – “that would make taking it a little more palatable” I thought. My good deed is indeed paying off, but then I said “no sah, what if that were me.” Would I want to pay? Could I afford to pay? Is it right to profit from doing something good/kind? No I decided – I won’t take his money- or at least all of it- maybe just $20.

“$20″ I said- surely he will be happy for that-” that’s reasonable”, this trajectory continued and then the next thing I knew- he was standing right there in front of me . “Okay- thank you so so much- in true deferential style -I will have to go to  the banking machine” he says- “you’ll have to follow me?”

” It’s okay”, I replied- “no need to pay” and I walked away with him standing in awe……. Now, I don’t know why I changed my mind- if it’s the long walk to the ATM, the look on his face, the shoes on his feet, or if it’s just good sense prevailing…… But am happy I didn’t take his $40, or $20.

#3

Should I tell her? I was sitting and she was pacing, it was the first day of school and of course everyone was new. I looked around- no one else seemed to notice or at least if they did, they acted as if it were nothing or as if they didn’t care. I looked again- just to make sure I was seeing correctly. Yes I was – outline, colour, pattern it was there for all to see. ” A whole day at school” I thought….. Wonder how far away she lives? Did no one see before she left home? Or is this normal, some new fad I am unaware of? Now where I come from, or at least what I was taught is that underwear are just that- clothes worn underneath and thus it should be hidden from plain sight. I was in a quandary…… Then I looked at the clock on the wall, 10 mins for my bus- I had no idea which bus she was waiting on. “Does she understand English?” I pondered. I will leave her alone – I said, but I couldn’t….

So I mustered some courage and touched her. She spun around.. ” your underwear is showing” I said-” what?”she retorted but not in a hostile way. I repeated myself. ” I don’t understand you” she replied…….

Okay- I backed off. I am still wondering if that was a genuine comment, or a diplomatic way of telling me to mind my own business……Either way- I learnt some valuable lessons.

#4

I was very generous with giving a ride back home when I had my car…….. And it always turned out well, except on those occasions when I wanted to chat on my phone or just have some solitude, which was more often than not. To be honest, I couldn’t pass someone I knew on the street, can’t have my cake and eat it -So I chose to delay gratification- happily and sadly too.

I am sure there are many other examples that so many of us can relay, of the times when we choose to do right- with good or bad intentions. The thing is, it is the action that humans judge, and to be fair to man- that’s all he really sees. Good thing God is not like man.

#5

I love to people watch, no am not a voyeur neither do I live vicariously- there is a difference (lol). Anyhow, I was sitting and waiting in the bus station the other day-minding my business (wink, wink) when I saw an Asian mother daughter (I am assuming) spectacle unfold. Both stormed in and took a seat directly opposite to me, right in my line of sight. See I told you I was minding my business. The mother was peeved…I know this from the facial expression, body language and the intense and fierce speech leaving her mouth- mind you I did not understand a word she spoke. The girl(a teenager I surmised) was on her phone (of course) and not paying her much attention (mind you) with her ‘ten cut’. Mother had her outburst of anger ever couple seconds. Now if they were not in my line of sight (wink wink) I would have thought she was rattling on to herself, as the girl was almost oblivious to her obvious rage.

Things took a turn, when girl (daughter) finally decided to say something, before pushing an open palm before the mom’s face. Mom’s voice took on a few extra decibels and she grabbed her purse, securely under her arm. Girl, finally got mad said something picked herself up and went flying through the door, mom went on and on without missing a beat or taking a step. Girl, did not look back or return she kept walking farther and farther away. Mom was secretly watching her every move, until…..she was out of sight. Mom took her phone and placed two calls….. no answer. That was enough- Mom went flying through the door… guess who followed?

Anyhow, by now she was running and walking, still trying to get some response from her via phone. Nothing……. Mom started running and calling….. daughter by now had totally disappeared…. Mom was in a frenzy….Such a pity I had to get to church or I could tell you how that story ended. But it left me wondering about raising a child; balancing discipline with love and entitlement with responsibility. We have a way of ‘ righting’ wrong and ‘wronging’ right. I am no parent- so I reserve judgement. But exactly, how should this mom have responded? What had happened before? Was the mom right/ wrong? Was the daughter wrong/right? Is it harder to raise kids in a world of abundance? Who won?

I need a parent to explain this one to me.

 

Life’s Anomalies 

There are some simple yet profound & powerful things in life- from suffering, family, friendships, our intuition, peace, saying  Yes and No…………….

I recently stopped to think about some of these:

1.      Cleanliness …… It is exhilarating to feel clean, look clean, wear clean, of course smell       clean and smell the scent of clean. Clean sheets, clean hair, clean clothes, clean water, clean air, clean house (do you watch hoarding- buried alive?)….. You get the drift! And did you know that just the act of de-cluttering makes you happier ?

2.      Receiving a gift- a gift freely given… A no-strings attached gift- the kind of unadulterated, pure giving- like the ransom. A gift received with an understanding of the spirit of the giver. Am thinking the giver feels the same intense joy.

3.        Saying yes in the true meaning of ‘yes’ and saying “no” are not easy things to do. Unless of course you are fickle and giggly, or make it a point of not keeping your word. Some  ‘Nos’ are harder than some, but difficulty is never an excuse. In fact, It makes better sense to say ‘No’ now…. And YES ……well we all know how that goes…….I have had some life-changing Nos, looking back I wonder where the courage came from. I have likewise had some blunderous Yes’s- but regret is a wasted emotion.

4.         Peace- peace that is totally misplaced given the circumstances. Sometimes I wonder whether peace, intuition, mind, spirit are all entwined. The only thing I can conclude is that God is real…and wise…..and powerful…..and is love itself.

5.          Let’s talk about Pain…. Suffering….. Loss……. Loneliness……Hurt…..Betrayal….. Torture even. That cruel, cutting, excruciating pain which hits right at the ❤️. Of course you do- no one is alive for long without experiencing one or some of these.  Are they similar and do they feel the same? Can we measure them? What is their objective?

6.          Apologizing is necessary- so too asking for help and for heaven’s sake let’s stop judging and swearing. Dont get me started on Anger. Am guilty as charged!!!!!

7.           There was a time when I didn’t think it was possible for some relationships to break…. You know what I mean like- parent & child, siblings, blood connections. I have lived long enough to learn that no earthly relationship is invincible- they are delicate and are all WIPs. In fact- there seems to be an intensity, a specific venom when these ones fall apart, very different from other forms of severing ties. The greater the love, the bigger the hurt maybe😢😢😢😢.

8.           Have you ever gone from point A to point B, spent a month’s salary, or survived a catastrophe, passed an exam, and then wonder how you did it, how you got to ‘now’, to here, to the present? The process is worth exploring- reflecting on.

9.           Needs vs Wants – what separates them? Do the lines ever blur? If we get all we need-are we happy? And what if we get all we want- are we happy? Do we all need the same things? Think about this- no matter how little some earn- they make it work. But then no matter how much you earn- you find something to spend it on. And worse than that, if we ever go back to earning little after earning much, we can’t seem to manage.

10.         Shame = Fear, fear of feeling unworthy. It’s natural to want to but it is not courageous to lash out and blame- when you feel ashamed. Try to fight shame- it thrives on silence, secrecy and judgement.

11.          Now I am thinking a lot about this one…. We are gregarious and social beings but there are some things we must do alone. No one knows for sure our thoughts and motives, no one can cry, laugh, eat, urinate, defecate, love, feel our pain or joy for us….. No matter how much they love or care for us.

12.           For every one thing we complain about, how many things can we find to be grateful for, for a change.

13.            I have some real friendships- quite a few in fact. And the amazing part is each is different- special in an ineffable way.  Friendships are essential- what would the world be without them?

14.           Maybe I am not qualified to speak about parenting; for parents have told me that this is a special love, and I believe them- I have seen it fully at work. The challenges & sacrifices, discipline, the pain and anxieties, adulation and pride. But I have also seen some unfathomable acts, some questionable gestures, some real travesties all in the name of this love too. I have seen selfish and immature souls immediately become selfless and responsible- and I have also seen some who were not meant to go near to a child. I guess you can’t know until you know…… I say no more.

15. A big part of our human existence is imperfection and with that comes limited knowledge…… Another large part of our being is free will and choice. I believe life is about juggling all of these.

16. Ohhhhh and pictures………..they tell a lot of lies…..trust me I know.