Fear has many Faces

Should I be afraid? 

When I say I want to return home I get some incredulous looks and invariably there is an awkward silence. Am I being naive? I mean I know things are not getting better in terms of crime back home, but there is crime here too, albeit not as bad. 

Now this is not to say coward man don’t keep sound bones; it’s also not to say I am not a coward, or that I think I can solve our problems singlehandedly or easily, it’s just that I feel a need to go back, almost like this is training ground. Now, not everyone will feel the same way or receive the same call, I respect our differences……..

Who should I shame or blame? 

What is it about a face? What makes us look suspicious? Like the other evening when I entered the apartment’s main entrance door and was sternly berated by the caretaker (in front of others) for living there without his knowledge. Why do I have to produce my keys as evidence? Did he ask others to do the same? I held my head high and walked away, knowing that the only person whose behavior was in question, was his. I didn’t bellyache over this either as I would have automatically done previously.  I am developing a thick hide, either that or I am developing tolerance for fear and ignorance. I even started to think he must have been having a bad day or feeling some pain or had a previous bad experience. I was looking to cut him some slack without going to the obvious. Fate would have it that the very next morning he saw me leaving the building…….I guess he got his proof. 

There is no need to shame or blame, time will vindicate and God will exact vengeance. 

No retreat…..No surrender?

I know for sure that most people are the same…..in fact science has proven that our DNAs are mostly alike and that ethnicity, race and other variables account for less than 0.02% of our DNA.  I got to thinking………..if I fear something then more than likely Mary, Sarah, Peter and Paul fear it too and whatever I love- life, food, family, vacations, friends etc…… then the same follows for them too. Differences remember is just about 0.02%.  Thus if someone is not familiar with you, more than likely they will not talk to you; ceteris paribus, it has nothing to do with you.

Not many things are more uncomfortable for us than vulnerability…..we will not just start a conversation on a whim or socially, and thus we will not always just say hello without a ‘good reason’.  It is way easier to just walk by or stay silent or worse ignore you…..fear is a real monster.  But of course, nothing makes you feel worse than when you are on the receiving end …… 

 So next time you are in this position, just do it (to borrow from Nike) and if you don’t, then don’t receive it in a personal way. Most people, even social butterflies have this ‘problem’…….and if that’s what you do, then think that that’s exactly what someone else does too. Doing the right thing is never the easiest thing,………that’s why we need a Saviour. 

Truth Serum 

Truth is often sugar-coated. We don’t like truth at all, not from our pastors or bosses, certainly not from our parents…..maybe only from counselors or but not even from the doctor.  Feedback we consider a bad word. We ask pointed questions but seldom want to hear the truth, we search cell phones but seldom want to see what we suspect, and we ask for advice and help but seldom want our gut feeling reinforced. And on the other side of the coin, we prefer to tell people what they want to hear because we want to make them happy or protect them from pain and hurt.  The problem is that not many things hurt more than knowing a trusted one twisted or withheld truth and betrayed trust. And these cut on both sides……Is it any wonder Jesus’ gospel turns us inside out……..”only the truth can set you free”.

Uncomfortable conversations anyone

I attended a conference once and as one particular speaker spoke, the air became tense and the silence deafening. I stole a glance around the arena, and all eyes were glued on him, no one didn’t seem to dare shift or bat an eyelid…..to make it worse the room was darkened for proper effect. It was one of the most profound things I have ever experienced. He was speaking some uncomfortable things too, the things someone would not readily want to talk to you about individually, to say nothing of to a crowd, he was not mincing words. As he concluded, aside from the wet faces you could tell everyone breathed a sigh of relief………and then he got a standing ovation!!!!

Reaching out for help? 

I came across a startling statistic. Loneliness will kill you faster than obesity, excessive drinking and air pollution. I was surprised and not surprised…….for it is loneliness that often leads people to do drastic and desperate things and not only that, loneliness tugs at our heartstrings like no other.  Loneliness I assume, must feel like hopelessness then. The worse part is that most of us are ashamed to admit we are lonely. Emotional and mental issues are usually covered up or not considered to be illnesses especially where I am from; so no one seeks restorative treatments for them, we instead numb or hide from, or lie about them. Remember ask and you will receive, seek and you will find………If we are drowning we need to really ‘bawl’ out for help…….help will come. Many times no one is paying a close enough attention to offer it without your solicitation……but let me caution, that we have to know who to ask, not everyone will be empathetic and kind. 

Fear kills dreams and I daresay connections too…..I just pray for our souls in this battle against fear.

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Riding the Bus

One of the ways in which I got immersed or should I say became familiar with the place was by randomly jumping on a bus to somewhere new.  By doing this I concluded about the places I wouldn’t live or visit, and also found some spots I would love to revisit.  I stopped doing it however as I felt more comfortable with my surroundings, and too, I didn’t have the energy to do that after a while…….and outside of that there is always the taxi.

Yesterday, I decided to go watch a movie on the north side, but it was not to be. I spent all day riding the bus around areas that I thought I wouldn’t go back. However, it wasn’t the bus ride that got to me, it was the characters I encountered as I traipsed about.

Firstly, I approached the train chatting on my phone…….on entering I noticed a gent on the other side of the aisle. Somehow he didn’t seem okay and I was right. The moment I got off the phone, I only heard…………”St. Lucia” “St. Kitts”, “Antigua”?…… I looked around, he was looking straight at me. He was trying to guess the origin of my accent…….I shook my head in the negative and he didn’t stop until he said “Jamaica”…… I nodded affirmatively, but without giving him my attention. Somehow I am afraid of people like this . Obviously, he gets bored easily as he started the process all over again with the lady behind me……..”Guyana”….. ” India” No one gave him the time of day. As more people came on the train, everyone avoided the seats beside him (maybe people know who to avoid), and when he could take it no more, I heard him say…….”I don’t bite”….. it was then that a guy sat across from him, to his delight. He started a conversation promptly and the lad was most engaging, that made him smile. I exited the train so I have no idea how that progressed. I didn’t realize at that time it was the beginning of a very strange day.

I took another train, and as I was running off the platform I saw the bus I wanted exiting the bus station……darn I thought, I would have a 30 min wait. I found a seat in open air as I was not going to go inside the station. This area was renown for all kinds of characters. The first one to come and sit beside me was a white guy who looked as spaced out as can be……and of course he was antsy. Not a good sign……I held my breath and decided not to get up. Luckily he didn’t stay long, but no sooner had he left than another gent/lady (I cannot be sure which), took his place.  I tried my best not to stare. The bus came……I breathed, but only for a second as the bus was filled with more peoole than I was accustomed to seeing on any bus on the south side.

 It suddenly occurred to me that the city keeps the bus system viable because of bus routes like these, and certainly not those on my side of town. I became grateful for these bus routes filled to capacity with people; people who had no choice but to take the bus or people who took the bus as a form of solace and or to break the monotony. It was the first time too I saw so many strollers, wheelchairs and older people on the bus……I knew which side of town I was on, without a doubt. I then thought about the bus drivers on these routes…….were they scared? Did they choose these routes? Did they have security at nights? Did they enjoy their job? And there were female drivers too on these routes? ………was I over reacting? Did I become acclimatized to a culture where I let my guard down, already? Was I scared back home? Why am I scared now? But then I remember that back home I lived deep rural and I drove to most places……..I didn’t take the bus in the most volatile areas…….

Suffice to say, I was now in two minds about the movie……And then when I saw the busstop that I should exit the bus, to get to this movie…..I stayed on the bus. I would have to see this movie another time. I was surprised that I wasn’t berating myself or felt like it was a wasted trip…..I instead chose to focus on what I was experiencing……nothing is wasted. I arrived at the next bus station…….I would wait on another bus to take me back from whence I came. It came on time and again it was crowded……..this time though as I waited and watched be people who were waiting as well, I could see the despair on more than a few faces. At that moment I wish I was Bruce Almighty…….

The worst part of all this is that I saw kids in the midst of this hopelessness and it suddenly occurred to me, like it was occurring to me more regularly these days…….that hope is a very powerful element of our lives. Hope must never die………how can I build and encourage hope in others? The houses I saw were dilapidated, dirty and surrounded by the same non-descript  and decrepit buildings. The mothers I saw were inhaling large and frequent doses of something through those mechanical pipes, shouting at the kids for no apparent reason, had piercings at some weird visible places…… children live what they learn. I was filled with sadness when I saw what they were learning. “Did these kids even go to church?”  I asked myself. I was happy to leave the scene and I am not proud to say that, because all I saw around me was a plea for help, even if there would be no acknowledgement of that.  Many times along the way, I wondered where I was. “The disparity between the rich and the poor is apparent and is widening”, that is something we hear so often. Well, I saw it too yesterday and I am not in a developing country. 

By now I realized I need to go grocery shopping……I needed to get back to my side of town quickly. Needless to say I stayed on the bus rather than take the train……..it took another 30 mins to cross the river and get to my next bus station and there was no shortage of characters on this bus either. The very ebrieated lady who spoke so loudly and with a healthy mix of expletives, so much so that the little boy sitting with his grandmother (I assume), directly behind her looked at his grandma for permission to hear.  She had told the driver she wanted a ride, and then had asked where the bus was going………… But also in the mix of yesterday were the moments of light too, those times when we see the beauty of humanity. 

Such as was seen on this same bus when the lady in the motorized wheelchair could not manoveur her way on (even though two gents tried valiantly to lift her and her chair). This was made difficult because of the debris on the pavement, caused from the road construction. The bus driver being very patient drove to a more accessible location to accommodate her. The other passengers walked with her to that location and waited until she came on and maneuvered herself into the space in the bus reserved for her. Then the other lady who was travelling with her paraplegic daughter, made space for her too. The funny thing is she kept saying ” I am sorry”…… she said it to the bus driver, to those waiting to get on the bus with her and to the lady who made space for her, and the look on her face as she came in the bus, told me she was saying the same thing to us too. I hoped my face was asking her what she was sorry for…….as there is nothing to be sorry about…..asssuming she was even looking at me. The thing is tha her situation can easily become our fate at any time……..we should be ashamed of ourselves if we needed an apology. A kindly lady who was waiting for the bus with her, was sweet enough to tell her how brave and efficient she was at handling herself……..those are the reasons I still have faith in humanity. 

As we trudged across the bridge and I was consumed in thought about the reasons why the high barriers were erected on either side, my thoughts were interrupted by a white Rastafarian…….I had never seen one before. He came on and went to the back and I would have forgotten about him had it not being for monologue I heard just a little too loudly, coming from the back of the bus. ” Why are my kids not talking to me, don’t they think I have feelings? Don’t they think I want to see my grandkids?”…….. I was moved with sadness once more, as I thought about all the pain and hurt in our world. The rest of that journey was uneventful.  As the bus parked back on familiar turf, I breathed a sigh of relief……….It was then that I realized how much I was holding my breath. 

I had one more bus to take to the grocery store……I could walk there but everything just made me tired. I found my bus………I had a five minute wait. I noticed her eyes piercing mine and for some insane reason I kept her gaze. She came and sat directly behind me……..I felt very uncomfortable. Why was this no more than 21 year old girl who smelled of too much marijuana sitting directly behind me? Normally, I would have not even noticed, but sixth sense or the Holy Spirit told me to pay Attention. I moved over, she moved too. I got up and went to a different seat, she came and sat beside me, I was scared stiff and I didn’t know what to do. Imagine, of all the rides thus far today, why was this happening now and on seemingly safe territory. I decided I would not give her the time of day………I sat still and turned away…..either that worked or she was too high to stay in one place she soon found a different target. That lady moved too and she followed. It wasn’t long before others came on the bus, she started doing the same thing with them…..five minutes can be a long time in these instances. Then just as the bus was ready to leave she exited and found her way on the other bus that had just arrived and parked in front of ours. As we drive away I saw her entering the bus as innocently as she had entered ours……no doubt holding another person’s gaze and starting her shenanigans. I began wondering about her………where were her parents? How did she get involved in drugs? Would she roam the streets all day? Where would she end up tonight? What is her motive? Is she seeking to steal from someone or maybe she isn’t even aware of what she was doing? 

Drugs, alcohol, mental illness, poverty, abandonment, despair, anger suffering and pain………..they are all around us. Can we close our eyes to it? What if it comes home, what then? How much do we take on, how close do we get before it consumes us too? But do we have a choice? Are we not supposed to be our brother’s keeper? Marcus Garvey famoulsy said ……..injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere…..and Edmund Burke puts it rather bluntly…..” the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to sit and do nothing”.  We live in a broken world, so it follows that we are all broken in one way or another, maybe not equally but broken just the same. Had it not been for the Grace of God where would I be? I can look back at all the various options I could have taken, and all the other choices that were made for me, that led me to where I am today.  As I write this I think of this hymn 

     I cannot tell why He, whom angels worship,   Should set His love upon the sons of men,

Or why, as Shepherd, He should seek the wand’rers, To bring them back, they know not how or when.

But this I know, that He was born of Mary,  When Bethl’hem’s manger was His only home,

And that He lived at Nazareth and labored, And so the Savior, Savior of the world, is come

I am praying about my proximity struggle, because getting close is sometimes terrifying for me. However no major battle is won from a distance, we have to get close. Jesus himself got close……

As I write this Hurricane Irma is ravaging Florida, Hurricane Harvey has destroyed Texas, there was a 8.2 earthquake in Mexico, fires are raging the west and a whole other host of disasters are being experienced around the world. Let’s pray!!!!!

Waiting …….

I got to thinking about patience……….and wish to reflect on some experiences.

1. Watching my uncle struggle hours before his death……………..not that you wanted him to, but sometimes death must be a relief to those dying. Too bad it’s not the same for those left behind. Knowing he was going and then waiting for it to happen, that time in between is not something pleasant. Waiting for the funeral day is just as nerve wracking…….

2. Waiting for results from a blood test…….I would like to think that this is more brutal depending on the test you did. For example waiting on the results from a STD test vs a cancer screening or a kidney or thyroid test… the latter ones should be a little better……..come to think of it, maybe not.

3. Waiting for the child to born…….I wonder if this is worse for the first time mom? Or worse if you are having triplets? What about waiting/wanting to get pregant?

4. Waiting…..no anticipating with bated breaths that day……your wedding day, your graduation day, your promotion day, your birthday, the day you go on a long overdue vacation, day you visit a place on your bucket list………a day at the beach, the day you climb Mount Everest, a cruise……….. you get the drift, do we feel the same way as other types of waiting?

5. What about hosting? Have you ever felt your guests have overstayed their welcome? Have you ever wanted to leave your host’s house to just get back to your bed and your routine?

6. Waiting to do an interview……..of any kind. Especially when you are the interviewee…..being on Profile or the Today Show, or with Oprah are interviews too. I don’t think that’s any different except you may know the questions before hand. At the end of it all, the one thing I imagine we all want to know is, ” How did I do?”. Waiting for the results from a job interview is also not a welcomed experience.

7. Waiting to say goodbye or waiting to leave home……that was so so scary. How do you leave all you have known behind…….places, family, friends, familiarity? There are countless opportunities to change one’s mind in the in between……

8. Waiting for a work day or school semester to end…….I remember vividly, while at university waiting for the first semester to end…….every single time. I remember counting down…..10 days, 9 days…..8 days to go……..maybe it’s because for Christmas no where is nicer than home….maybe it’s because everyone was leaving you behind…..maybe, just maybe. But you know what, I experience this same sensation if there is a day at work without anything to do…..God forbid if you have a whole week. We complain when we have too little time, but I think having too much time is just as bad.

9. Waiting for the bride to arrive……have you ever gone to a wedding and had to wait on the bride? Well if you are Jamaican I am sure you have, as in my home land that’s almost a given. And I find it one of the most annoying things ever. I know I am not alone….for the groom I am sure, must feel the same way.

10. What’s the longest you have ever waited? I remember visiting the USA and upon arrival in Montego Bay, my ride was just leaving home. Now everyone who knows me, knows that’s a 3 hour drive on a good day. Never mind if a tree fell across the road, if there is an accident or traffic and don’t forget the potholes. I stood on the outside of the arrival lounge with three suitcases for all that time…..couldn’t move as I couldn’t leave my luggage unattended……that’s where I learnt about blind trust, for I had to go to the bathroom. Now at that time there was no smart phone…….so you know what I mean. I spent the whole time playing and replaying all the words I would spew forth when they arrive………it turns out I was more grateful than anything when they did.

11. Waiting on the opportune time to speak…….this is my perennial struggle. I just love to chat.

12. What about bad news? How do you deliver that? Do you just thrust it upon the unsuspecting or do you wait for the ‘right’ time? That’s a skill many of us need to acquire. A lot of patience too…… I know of people who have slipped into temporary insanity, have died from heart attacks (seriously, literal deaths) because bad news was delivered the wrong way……

13. Waiting for the proposal……..I do not have to expound on that.🤐🤐🤐🤐

14. Waiting on the bus or taxi…….I developed the habit of complaining, where is that bus or taxi😤😤😤😤😤? But then it occurred to me, that I should be grateful there is a bus and or taxi……what about the days when we got dressed, nice and fresh and had to walk the entire way to our destinations…..what about those who would wish they had a bus?

15. Waiting anywhere……..in traffic, in a queue, in the emergency room, on a phone call…..waiting to be rescued……..waiting for day break

16. And what about waiting for Jesus’ return……..how do you feel about that?

Are we less patient now in this fast and furious world?

We all hate to wait, maybe because we all have this innate desire to be certain and to control……….but risk and uncertainty goes hand in hand with living…….unless we prefer to crossover.

Perfect Combinations 

Some things are much better when experienced together …..no two ways about that……..

When we think of coffee, we remember coffee mate

When we think of a peanut butter sandwich, then it’s automatic that jelly comes to mind

One hardly speaks of a ham sandwich, but ham and cheese…..rice just goes better with red peas, ackee with salt fish makes a national dish. Now if one or more of these cannot go alone, then what says us……….as fragile and vulnerable as we are.

I had some experiences in my little life that I wouldnt even want to imagine, doing alone.

Like the submarine tour In Barbados……it was so much better with the girls. That was where I discovered that below the surface of the sea is not so level and flat…….🤐🤐🤐🤐🤐no comments on this, okay.

I got stuck underground the other day……and I didn’t even flinch. It was only after about 20 mins of being there, that I started thinking how I would feel if I were alone on that train.

The fire alarm went off the other day…..and in the panic and the shrill of that noise I just grabbed my handbag and went to the parking lot in my night gown, with all the other occupants of the building. I am so happy it’s not a high rise. That you see, is my biggest fear about living in an apartment building……but I felt way better knowing I would not be the only one losing all my possessions had it not been a false alarm🙈. Suffice to say, I was very relieved for my self and my neighbors too…….

Turbulence on an airplane….well I think everyone agrees that we take our cues from the flight attendants. Since they are cool, then so are we.

Losing a loved one….and pets are included too, is never easy. But feeling that pain alone, well that is something that can kill you too.

In the caves at Green Grotto……….being tall and  suffering from claustrophobia, makes doing this alone even more traumatic.

A shared community…….like church, walking groups, AA meetings, rehabilitation centers. How could we survive without them?

And the things we do alone…………well my view is, that’s because we have no alternative. 

Interviewing and Starting a new job, I am sure we can all identify with this one. And the truth is, there is no way around this……unless you want to be stuck in your career and live with regrets.

Suffering…………any form of suffering, no one can feel pain for us……we have to go it alone. Jesus had to go it alone…….and so do we. The nail prints are there to prove.

Confronting, getting feedback, giving feedback…..it’s all about you, on the receiving or giving end. If we are honest, these are very  uncomfortable but necessary realities.

Dentist visits and any type of  surgery…….these are my worst nightmares.

Giving birth……..I think I know enough to know, that no one can do that for you.

Death 😬😬😬😬

1.5 and counting ?????

I don’t think I have learnt more about myself in the past ’30 odd’ years of my life, than I did, in the last year and a half. I know this has a lot to do with my deep and growing connection with God as without that lens I would not have seen things in a different light or be able to manage the darts and pangs that have come my way. I am learning that nothing really happens to us, but that most things happen for us to gain perspective. We have to decide what we do with that which comes our way. So whenever I am tempted to think someone is doing something to me, I just change the narrative. I tell myself nothing is wasted, it is just an experience that God wants me to have so that I can know……..

  1. What I ought not to do in a similar future situation
  2. What to do to help someone else, as they traverse that valley or similar lane.

Our thoughts influence our feelings ………..Jon Ortberg describes this so superbly in his book, ‘The Me I want to Be’. Our feelings inform our actions…….pay attention. 

I am God’s tool……Ephesians 2 v 10. Now this of course doesn’t mean we become passive actors in the whole process, we still have to be intentional about how we respond to our environment – not in our own wisdom and strength but with the full backing of the Holy Spirit. This has to be so because as we all know, when we act in our own strength, we invariably do more harm than good. I find it very weird thus, while quite appropriate, that it is in the land of abundance, waste and excess; that I am actually learning to become more grateful and compassionate. Yes, I believe now, that those two traits have to be cultivated………like so many others.

..so I suppose there is no better time than now, and nowhere better than where everything is in your face all the time, and where it is constantly reinforced that more is better and enough is never enough. How else can you wrestle with scarcity but to have its tentacles touch you? I have always said that until I attended university I didn’t know I was poor. Poverty was only a concept for me. Well, comparison was really only a concept for me until I got here. I now have to be very conscious of how this very real monster can seep into our bones and leave us feeling diminished and depraved even though we may well have over 30 pairs of shoes and too many clothes for the more than one closets.

The car is never new enough, the house never modern enough, never enough vacations, bank account never big enough, never enough brand name purses, …..oh my gosh, if you are not strong the tide pulls you in. And one more thing, it’s about knowing who you are and never about where you live…….of course I am not advocating for people to live in Raqqa or Aleppo. I have desires, who doesn’t?   But I am learning to temper them and I find I  ❤️ myself more when I do. In fact, when I spend impulsively or indiscriminately, I actually do not feel good. So many times I delay gratification- to feel better, or if I must, I buy something for someone. I must confess though that the latter is not always with with the right and purest of motives. The only thing I have no buyer’s remorse about buying, is ice-cream…………….nothing has changed in that regard.

Then I am learning a lot about how church works this side of the world…………….I provide a list below.

1. Church is, for the most part well attended each Sunday ……. but then I am hearing that weather conditions impact church attendance much the same way it does eating out at restaurants.

2. People at church volunteer and serve…..you are never short on that. This is something I really find inspiring. Wish I could do a photocopy of this spirit for church at home.

3. People can be hesitant to reach out and be welcoming and friendly, much the same way people are everywhere else. If you are not careful, or should I say depending on your mindset you may mistake this for aloofness or prejudice. It may be, but it may not be…..

4. Church attire is very casual…….almost like a nice day at the beach or the mall. Now in my mind church, beach and mall do not fit in the same sentence. But I have learnt to accept that it’s not your mode of dress that is acceptable to God, but the person of the heart. Personally, I resolve to dress up for church…….much more than I dress for work………..Why???? Because I believe the way I dress for church is directly correlated to where I place my emphasis. But that’s me and that’s the reason I dress for church…..I cast no stones here.

5. Church giving is very impressive…….that blesses my heart and motivates me on my giving. But I keep close to my heart the story of the Widow’s Mite……..and remember that my giving is not solely financial.

6. There is a lot of missions work….never a shortage of missionaries or missions trips. I hope to go on one in years to come………..although I was told that some people upon their return suffer from PTSD.

7. Most Christian kids go to church summer camp. I remember as a child we would have church summer camps too……it was so much fun………..although I hardly remember anything Scriptural that I was taught. I don’t know if these camps still happen, but they are very essential- that I know. Christian camping is very active here, the kids get so much spiritual depth from them…..and I have no doubt it’s a lot of fun too.

8. There are many active ministries………I am jealous for my church at home.

So whilst I am on church, as you might be able to tell, I am thinking about the church at home alot. It needs a spiritual awakening and a complete overhaul……as like any other organization without proper leadership it will fail, and it is failing. I think that is what has beset so many churches……. and not just those at home. For I know of Protestant churches here that are suffering the same fate……and those who pontificate on the reasons, tell you it started with a weak leader. Just look at the ones that are thriving and see the difference. The problem is, usually those who are the problem fail to see the problem, and most of the congregants are either too timid to speak or feel God will punish them for speaking up.

My church at home was given a revolutionary, courageous, competent leader for the past seven years but he was taken away recently to another district that needs him more- so the ‘powers that be’ have decided………..goes to show the magnitude of the problem. There just aren’t enough of these kinds.  I firmly believe that church needs these leaders, because we see the results when this type of leadership is non-existent. In fact the Christian virtues …….patience, love, humility, self-control, kindness etc are not practiced by the fainthearted……these things require wisdom, strength of character and courage.

There is a leadership drought all around- and church is not immune. So how do we fix this? In my mind its as simple and as difficult as those who can, must volunteer, and be willing……so that those who can’t, will find their true north. We see this leadership deficit in so many other areas too……… partisan politics comes to mind. And it goes both ways………….. Those who can, believe its too corrupt and demanding so they stay back and watch, and those who cant take the opportunity to advance their self-interest. Then those who can complain and abstain and then those who can’t, continue to reign. The end result therefore is low ‘voter/congregation’ turnout, apathy and finger pointing. Well, we all know how finger pointing goes.

So it’s for this reason that I have decided I must become a less passive participant….and not in the realm of partisan politics. We have many other agencies and institutions in which we can serve…….there is the family, church, school, NGOs and not-for-profits, companies etc……..we must each find our place and do our part. The thing is, I feel that I need to do this at home………I wait for more clarity on this one.

 

Millenials 

Ever since the Baby Boomers, each generation seems to be defined according to some prevailing ethos……..

Aside from categorizing according to time of birth, sometimes I wonder why we think we are the captains of our souls and masters of our fate. If when you were born is such a powerful influence, what says who your parents are and where you were born?

There are a number of things that are further used to profile. Aside from the fact that Millennials are perceived to be have a strong sense of entitlement and are known to be extremely liberal. They are powerful enough to be engendering change in the workplace, at churches, at their homes and in schools. Now we can all agree that these places are the major institutions of socialization. Makes me wonder who or what is controlling who or what.

A lot of churches have many empty pews……. maybe they are not aligned with the times to attract this very powerful cohort. Then you ask the question, is Christianity supposed to be pandering to the wishes of people? It was CS Lewis who said something to this effect……” I thought, when I became a Christian I would find a place, but I found a person….” The truth is it’s hard to find this person when we are always plugged in and looking down………

Many employers have started paying attention, the cost of turnover has grown astronomically and commitment is no longer a given……..Companies are now giving ear to employees’ ideas, linking their work to a purpose, expressing gratitude and becoming deliberate in how they reward and recognize effort. All mistakes are not been punished, giving feedback and soliciting feedback have been normalized, social concerns are been embedded into company policy, learning and development opportunities are commonplace, and work life balance is a staple on job ads. Company benefits are not only tangible and financial these days……..and there are frequent ‘lists’ of best places to work.

And then there is home……..Many still live at their parent’s homes for different reasons. Some are single, many are irresponsible, and others are straddled with large debt or all of the above. I guess it’s sobering to realize we don’t always get what we want, and that we can’t have it all.  Maybe that’s why this generation is so heavily medicated……

And then of course they are the darlings of technology……there is an app for everything and then there is Google. Grammar is forgotten, dont mention spelling and sentences are long outdated. Letters and numbers replace real words and social media is actually a place…….makes me wonder what will come next..

 

Mind-boggling

IMG_7712[1]I went on top of a mountain in summer and found a lot of snow like winter……I got the worst sun burn I have ever gotten but was very cold in the shade.

I have seen in the dead of winter the brightest sunshine of summer, yet when I put my clothes out to dry it never does.

I have been outside in hurricanes in Jamaica and was never moved by the wind, yet I was here in a freak storm and was afraid of the wind.

I know no one who relishes winter yet everyone stares in awe at snowflakes, the crystal white and pristine nature of its splendour, and who doesn’t love when the frost decorates? 

I want to believe global warming is a myth, but no one can dispute sea levels are rising, ice caps are melting and breaking off, summers are hotter and winters warmer? If we put it to the recesses of our mind, it doesn’t mean it is less real…..

I really want to know if it’s more difficult to raise kids now……….I don’t believe it but I have never raised a child, neither then nor now. 

And who put it in man’s head to make gondolas, rocket trains, parachutes, airplanes, space shuttles, submarines, the Great Pyramids? I have my views on this………..