November 2016

“When you get to the heart of evil, there is nothing there”(adopted). I oft repeat that line, but each time I use it, it takes on added significance and truth.

I am still missing home, how long does homesickness take to heal? And there have been some unexpected occurences- not even if I were clairvoyant could I have seen them coming. But they came…….

The shine has rubbed off at work too, some days I get overwhelmed other days are just ordinary, other days I could be contented. It’s all in a day’s work, I learn not to bellyache about that, but most days me miss the food at home. Although I am not a ‘foodie’, I have found a few things I like to indulge in. Persimmons, Blueberries, dried mango, samosas and of course the usual- ice cream, stew peas and tuna sandwiches.

The weather is back to normal, for it seems summer is an anomaly here. Even so, I have found reason to enjoy. I do a lot of walking, mostly because I have no choice, and not only because I enjoy the clean and crisp air, but also because I get inspiration from just walking. While I walk, I also search for interesting things to photograph. Somehow these things relax me.

I am trying to engender a spiritual as well as a physical lifestyle- to develop the whole person, mind and body equilibrium………and truth be told, had it not been for the spiritual routine, I wouldn’t have made it thus far. I need to make a final decision though about my spiritual home, and really put shoulder to the wheel on my mission.

I have not been to one funeral since I am here and it’s not because people aren’t dying. It’s more like it’s a private affair (I have heard of the death of strangers but haven’t seen an actual procession, unless there isn’t any). No am not morbid and missing funerals, but then I don’t believe anyone mourns the way we do at home.

My hair has been doing fairly well too, knock pon wood.

I guess me need fi get a drivers license sorted out, will tell you when I do. I can find a million reasons not to, and a million more to get it done.

The mall….I am seeing that in a whole new light. And it’s not through the normal lens. Retail therapy is a real and necessary concept, aside from the whole heap of land space that justifies building massive shopping malls. Even when a man has an abundance, his life does not result from his possessions, Luke 12 v 15. This is a profound lesson especially in a land of plenty. I can think of many more apt adages and bible verses too . ‘ Waste not want not’ for example, and ‘sheep a sweat long hair a hide it’ and also, ‘ we want what everyone else wants, and don’t want what nobody else wants’. But what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul….Mark 8 v 36. Eventually, there will be some big garage sales anyhow.

Its harder for me to be my brothers keeper here, I don’t know how you do that when you don’t know your neighbour. I guess it means you leave your comfort zone (dunno). After all, the Good Samaritan was a stranger. The other thing is the race issue, which is never far from my mind. It seems to put a colour on everything I say or do. I was a skeptic before, this has taken it to another level. I have to be fighting with this one, telling myself not to impugn motive or cast aspersions. I have a post on my desk ….. that I must never conclude for others!!! After all, I am the one who said some things know no bias….. and furthermore so far, It has been way better than anticipated. In fact, it has come from unexpected places.

It is easy for us to believe too that everything is about us. In fact, most of the times the way a person behaves has nothing to do with you, although sometimes it is indeed a reflection of you. It’s not easy to know the difference but it’s necessary to learn. The old adage rings true again, ‘you don’t like me- it’s because you don’t know me’.

I have ventured outside of the city walls a bit- to Onoway, and Calgary . I have never before seen such a wide expanse of open land space, without concrete and steel. It is both refreshing and scary. Cattle grazing, horses, barns & bales and bales of hay (the type I usually see in story books), farms (apparently for hay), lakes and oil drills. Yes those are just littered here and there. Lakes not beaches…….makes me wonder if they are fake. The concept of a remote location is quite different here too, back home I lived in quite a remote location and I loved it. But I wouldn’t want to live remotely here, no sir.

And I must speak about St. Albert separately. Tree-lined roads, parks, bus system, stores and shops, houses and communities just the same, but there is a palpable difference- felt not seen. It’s as if the air is crisper and cleaner, there is an aura of security and safety, a breath of genteelness and friendliness, maybe this is a hint of what a paradise is like, without the waterfalls and beaches of course. Places like these make me understand what the sociologists mean when they say your environment impacts your behavior. Places like these  also make me understand why some people abhor big cities, but more than that it reminds me too that big cities come with certain costs- the bigger the city the higher those costs. Another fine example, of how we can’t have our cake and eat it too. I felt different I tell you when I crossed the border back  into Edmonton, and it wasn’t better.
Now this one shocked and annoyed me at the same time, man. Let me clear the air,  I really and truly have a soft spot for animals and I still do because I can’t lay any blame at their feet for this. One day me decide not to walk on the concrete pavement going across a park but to walk across the green lush manicured grass. BIG MISTAKE!!!!! Me haffi start play hop scotch in the grass as me a tell you, me couldn’t find a spot fi walk that don’t have dog s@$%#t. I was appalled, for I don’t see anyone walking their dogs without a bag to clean up after them….. can anyone explain to me what happens here? I saw the same thing another evening while at the bus stop, while walking to the house too.  There is not a spot in the grass that wasn’t decorated……. Please tell me its a form of fertilization, please…………

And of course, I cracked my phone screen twice, and left my lunch bag on a bus twice……… but it’s all good. All in the name of the game.

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Perfect Example 

Jesus is the personification of love,……….the ultimate act of self- sacrifice, a love we hardly deserve. Romans 5 v 6-8 and John 15 v 13.

Jesus is our Saviour………..the way, the truth and life. John 14 v 6

Jesus mentored and placed emphasis on teaching and preaching……………from Jerusalem, to Galilee, Judea, Jericho……..in homes Luke 10 v 38-42 on boats Luke 5 v 3 by the sea, Matthew 13 v 1-3 on roadways Matthew 23 v 1-12, on mountains, Matthew 5 & 6-

Jesus prayed to his Father…….. at the Lord’s Supper ( Luke 22 v 14-21) before choosing the twelve, Luke 6 v 12-16 before he preached Mark 1 v 35-39, before feeding the five thousand, Luke 9 v 10- 17 and at the Transfiguration Luke 9 v 28-36  and at his death Luke 23 v 34 and many other times.

Jesus obeyed his Father……. even when he asked that the cup be passed. Luke 22 v 39-43

Jesus was baptized………. he set the perfect example for us. Matthew 3 v 13-17.

Jesus could look into hearts …….so he knew how to answer each one. The Pharisees, Nathanael John 1 v 43-51, he knew what was on Judas’ mind, John 21-30 and he told Peter he would deny him thrice, Luke 22 v 31-34.

Jesus was humble……he did not berate but corrected his disciples when they haggled about favoritism and for headship. Luke 9 v 46-48, And 22 v 24-30

Jesus was impartial…….he ate with Matthew (Matthew 9 v 9-13) & Zaccheous ( Luke 19 v 1-10) he met the woman at the well (John 4 v 7- 29), he forgave the thief on the cross (Luke 23 v 39-43), and the woman caught in adultery. John 8 v 1-11

Jesus was compassionate and full of mercy…… he cast out demons, Luke 8 v 26-33 healed the sick and raised the dead. The paralytic Matthew 9 v 1-8, Jairus’s daughter and the woman who touched his garment Mark 5 v 21-43, blind Bartimaeus Mark 10 v 46- 52, Lazarus John 11 v 28- 44, the leper Mark 1 v 40-45, the ten Lepers Luke 17 v 11-19. Mathew 4 v 23-24, sums it together.

Jesus always spoke the truth and was full of courage……. he always set things straight. Look at his encounter with Nicodemus ( John 3 v 1-21) . Remember what he did to the to money changers ( Matthew 21 v 12-13) what he said to James & John (Mark 10 v 32-45),  how he responded to Pontius Pilate (John 18 v 33-38) and  his encounters with the Pharisees. Luke 20 v 19-26, Matthew 22 v 23-40, Luke 14 v 1-6, Matthew 19 v 1-9 among others.

Jesus did not yield to temptation……….he responded to temptation by quoting the scriptures. Matthew 4 v 3-4 (Deuteronomy 8 v 3), Matthew 4 v 6-7 ( Deuteronomy 6 v 16) and Matthew 4 v 9-10 ( Deuteronomy 6v 13).

Jesus knew the scriptures …… Matthew 13 v 14

His words were like two edged swords …..”easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye…..”.  “The healthy does not need a physican, but the sick does “. ” straining out a gnat, and swallowing a camel”………” get thee behind me Satan” ” you clean the outside of the cup, but inside is dirty…….you are like whitewashed tombs” ” do not feed pearls to pigs”, ” he who has ears to hear, let him hear”…..

His whole life was a life lived for others……. and he interceded with his Father on all accounts………..he implores us to imitate him! Those who meet him are never the same!!!

 Culture Shock 

When there is incessant rainfall a yard:

Roads are empty

Church no full

Bar full a man

Children nuh go a school

Adults skull work

But in another land, it’s just another day, bad weather is of a different dimension. And understandably so, because then it would mean you lock up in a house for 6-8 months of the year, how practical or economically feasible is that?

And if your culture dictates how you mourn, who you marry, what you wear, what you commemorate and celebrate- how easy or difficult is it to maintain those norms? Although, if you are not exposed to, or if you don’t see or know anything else- then you should be okay. The problem is, how do you not see or know when you live in the 21st century?

And if you used to disobey speed limit, drive without license, never pay one red cent of taxes, never put foot on bus or taxi, or didnt work and pay bills….. will you do likewise if and when you go live elsewhere?

And when you are accustomed to eating food well seasoned and well done, can you get into loving sushi and rare meats? or if you never used to sweep yard, would you relish snow shoveling?

What if our dogs from home moved to the North Pole; could they swim, would they walk in snow or live inside?

When accident or crime scene deh a yard, everyone stops to look, investigate, loot (if there are spoils), tamper with the evidence and form an opinion. First responders are not necessarily emergency workers.

Culture different deh a yard, everyone knows their neighbor and their neighbour’s business. We look at the pitfalls of this when yuh deh home, but when you are not at home you can only remember the benefits of that way of life.

Deh a yard, funerals are big affairs, and it’s not just because they are becoming fashion shows. For one, you can draw the ire of the grieving family or a family member if you don’t visit, or contribute or help in one way or another. ‘Big’ funeral also has other meanings. You either very rich, or you died tragically or unexpectedly, or you were someone who lived your life for others. And not even this somber affair, escapes our colorful and competitive spirit. My theory is though, that the larger the crowd at the service, the easier it is for the bereaved to heal. So yes, me love the way we commemorate our dead. But please don’t spend what you don’t have, and try to remember the burial ground after the funeral.

Deh a yard, we don’t have commuter trains but if we did, we would need conductors and police on them.

Marketers

They live amongst us, some benign and some very much in our face. And, they aren’t always the big executives who work in the advertising industry. They are also the people we encounter each day. Take a closer look…..

Bildad.. Job 8, he was a powerful orator, just like his companions Eliphaz Job 4-5 and Zophar Job 11. Their speech, even if uttered today would knock us off our rockers, because it makes sense to many. But worse than that, when we are down with affliction, weak in suffering, and in need of compassion, do we have the energy to even think about our own demise or respond positively to such cutting accusations? Think too on Job’s wife Job 2 v 9.

Job was special, he reached out to God rather than turn away Job 1 v 20-22, Job 13 v 23-24.

Then came Elihu. The thing with him is that he was also bold, he countered with a truth, that truth that cuts to the core, that reaches the heart, Job 33 v 1- 13. Job 33 v 14-21- Elihu, contradicts the previous reason given for his suffering and then shows how this suffering will be perceived by those who love God and those who don’t. Job 36 v 1-15.  Psalms 119 v 71. The righteous does indeed suffer but it’s purpose is to throw light on our imperfections and our need for God, for our refinement and enlarged holiness. Double jeopardy is of man, Jesus already bore the punishment.

Decide which marketer you will be today…….