Probabilities…….

What are the chances of you being on a train and bus that break down, on the same day in the same hour?? What are the chances of you being held ‘hostage’ on a bus because the bus driver chose to be the Good Samaritan? These two things happened to me in the same month… I think there is something for me to learn.

  1. About myself
  2. About life and
  3. About circumstances

Life and Circumstances:

I refuse to believe I have no luck, because things like these happen even if its a probability of 1 in a million.  And, I also refuse to complain……..or roll my eyes….who am I to not meet misfortune? I mean, if you take the bus and train often enough, things will happen.  The good thing is, as I scanned the other faces on the train and on the buses, no one was annoyed. That’s good. That reassures me that patience and tolerance are things we still possess. …..we were not stalled long enough for me to test this theory fully.

Another thing is, we cant be late to get home…assuming we were all going home…….and that’s the perspective of a single woman. Although to be honest, on the day of the first incident, I was going home to do a few chores and this ‘inconvenience’ really messed up my plan….but so be it.

I was so happy that the train incident didn’t happen underground. I do not want to imagine being on a crowded train underground in total darkness…….add that to my claustrophobia issues. So today as I sat on the train again and feel it speed by, it occurred to me that I should be grateful this system works more often than not, as we just take it for granted that it will. I felt too I should be grateful for light………I would never want it to break down underground and lose light……Darkness changes everything……..including personalities.

For the first bus incident it could have happened in the middle of nowhere given it is  winter…..that would not have been ‘cool’. But it didn’t….we were about 5 minutes from the bus station and a warm waiting room for the next 20 minutes. And for the second bus incident, It was late evening way past my usual home time. I was cold and tired, and hungry………..but as I sat there, I was glad this bus was not at home…..as windows would probably be smashed and even shots could have rang out….I was grateful.

And since I am on the subject of trains this is my next thought. Each day as I exit the bus to enter the train or vice versa, I cannot get over the rush, the hurry and haste. Why do we always rush the doors to exit the bus, why do we rush the escalators, why do we crowd around the train doors when they arrive, why do we seek to press the ‘open’ button before it even is highlighted, why do we get out of our seats to exit even before the trains stops at the stops…….I just don’t get it. Why do we do that? I ask the same question when the plane lands……..

I have done jobs which require me to interact with people constantly and those that lead to me being as introverted as I want to be. I know I prefer the latter, but not all the time. I know too that this is one of the perils of work from home…….and so even though I am not really a social butterfly…I don’t know if I would relish work from home options. But again I say this from a single woman’s perspective. But when I think of the train driver I wonder if they are all introverts……..and then when I contrast them with the bus drivers, I wonder for how long I could tolerate it. I mean, is this job for extroverts? Because I know I certainly have met some very grumpy drivers for whom my first impression is ‘why do they do this job?’. Of course that judgmental part of me does not even consider how taxing it must be to always be in a good mood…..and that we all have bad days.

Myself

As I think about these things, I also begin to realize that there are many people around with manifested traits of mental illness. I would love to empathize but I feel more afraid of them than anything else and I know this fear is deeply entrenched in my ignorance of the various cases…..for instance I cannot even name the different diseases that exist. I just lump them all under the category of ‘mental illness’. So wrong. I will certainly have to get close so I can understand and dispel my fears (we never understand from a distance). But I also know that my fear is due to things I have seen and heard done to innocent bystanders as well as those who choose to intervene.

There is a lot of talk these days about Mental Health sick days. I am all for it……because we really need to de-stigmatize this disease. Also, for those of us lucky enough to be undiagnosed, we need to understand it better so we can empathize. Furthermore, being undiagnosed doesn’t mean we are not mentally impaired. (sigh) Had it not been for God’s Grace I know I could easily have been so afflicted……. and who knows what is waiting for us around the corner? So yes, many things give me the creeps……..my next quest is to determine whether this is real or just imagined fear.

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Two years……

As I thought about the past two years I kept hearing a reverberation of this line from ‘Ten Years’ by Paul Simon, modified to suit………..’Two Years come and gone so fast I might as well be dreaming’. We have no idea what is in store for us or what we can handle…….As I look back, these are the thoughts that resonate with me……and what better time to look forward but on the cusp of a new year.

1. I am grateful I have developed a strong loving relationship with myself, deepened bonds with friends (old and new) as well as family-but most of all growing in one with God.

2. I wanted a new lease on life when I left home, and next time I will make sure I am careful to define exactly what I want; knowing now that God does give the desires of our hearts and it will come in unexpected ways. I am finally discovering the reason for which I was born, and it is empowering and peaceful and exhilarating and difficult all at once.

3. I have to admit that I had a misconception about adoption. I did not understand fully the ramifications of it and as such I had a ver insular view of it. But I must open my mind to fully understand it, if I am to fully comprehend that each Christian is adopted into God’s family.

4. If we are to be honest, we are much happier when our relationships are in good shape. We are not happy if our connections are out of whack!

5. I think I am also learning to hear God’s voice with more clarity, which along with #3 are the two questions I have never stopped asking…………10 years and counting. It’s funny how God works, but always in the fullness of time……and usually through some wilderness experience.

6. I have learned that trust is earned…..people don’t trust you until you have earned it and the same should go for me…….Only God with perfect knowledge has no need to employ this strategy. Respect tends to work the same way with some, but I do not subscribe to that. I respect people from the get go…….as time passes that will change for better or worse…..

7. Love is a nebular term. I still cannot define it. It means so many different things to each of us…..as for some you must perform and it must be seen tangibly. But love is not always shown in that way……I still think the best definition for Love I have found is at 1 Corinthians 13 v 4-7….

8. It’s okay, in fact it’s essential that we be vulnerable when necessary…..albeit with the right people. Admittedly, this is not the easiest thing to do. But I think of it this in this way, the more difficult thing to do cannot be the weaker option. Furthermore the easier option will not give you the results you desire…….but will only give you exactly what you wish to run away from in the first place…….breakdown in relationships, resentment, lack of trust etc. Choose wisely, what you fear the most usually does not materialize….

9. I love to quote ” God never leaves us or forsake us”. I have said it repeatedly and I believe it, but I always struggled to explain it. I think I can now. It’s true……….the reason we think he is absent, silent or distant at times is because we have an agenda for him, our individual and collective sights are blinded to what we want…….but according to GK Chesterton, “we must train our eyes until they learn to see”……

10. Christmas rituals are different in each place……..there are some things I have learnt here that I would love to replicate at home. Like reading the Christmas story with kids directly from the Bible…..having a really special candlelight service to commemorate the birth of that special baby……..and then there are the things I remember as I child that I want to share with other kids now. Receiving/giving Christmas cards and caroling……….we must hold fast to some traditions or customs, Especially those that make Christmas special. I loved Christmas at home…..there was the north breeze, guango peas and Seymour grass in full bloom, sorrel, poinsettias, and Grand Market………I don’t want to be away from home another Christmas.

11. On what foundation do we stand? How do we define ourselves? Who am I, what matters to me? I was never one to give myself permission to ask, never mind answer these questions, it felt too much like narcissism. But I must. Am I a black woman, a daughter, a Christian, an accountant, a friend, a niece, a god mother? Are these roles or are they my identity? I have been seeking to acutely define myself on a strong foundation, as most things crumble or dissipate over time, what then? I Am a child of God……

12. Oh and I cannot forget the stereotypes. I believed some things that were appalling, but I believed them just the same…………..like most stereotypes they were born out of ignorance and miseducation. Thankfully they have been shattered. That’s the danger of a single story and the beauty of diversity and inclusion.

13. Boundaries…..oh that was a word that had only face value in my vocabulary. I never felt it was right. Period. But then I learnt they are meant to keep us safe. And too, I saw how much I was abused without them. And then I recognized how I shortchanged myself when I ignored them. God has boundaries for us humans, so why shouldn’t we have them for people too? One thing I know, and it’s that a parent feel as much or even more pain when they have to tell their child No or enforce a rule……..but it’s for the child’s benefit….and they will be grateful for that later on……if not now. We have to look to the longer term benefits rather than at short term gratification……So shall it be too with us and our boundaries……..

14. Get comfortable in your own company and with yourself…….learn to go it alone.

15. For the first time I my life, I am learning self acceptance. I am learning to be kind to myself, to forgive and not be hard on self. To accept every single part of me…..including the flawed parts……self affirmation-getting there. Self acknowledgement-learning. Self-appreciation-learning.

16. I started a new job two years to the date I arrived here……and I have to wonder if that’s a coincidence. Patience is my Achilles heel and to be honest, it seems as if I have been in training to refine this attribute. From missing the bus and having to wait 30 mins, from waiting on people to call me, from waiting two years to find a new job etc…….and the biggest take away is just that I need to slow down……so many mistakes are avoided just by applying patience. So much time is saved by being patient, so much money is saved by waiting……and I am finding that I am becoming a better person by just by waiting. Give yourself some grace.

So as I move forward, I really am missing Home and missing my peeps and I really pray I get to spend time with them all again…..so much has changed at home. Friends and family members are having babies too…….a new year, fresh start, a second chance to do things better.

Mom and Father

I am fortunate to still have both parents alive, to know them and to be at peace with them…….I live in this place of gratitude and blessing recognizing that many are not so fortunate. I have been reflecting recently on so many ladies and gents of my generation who have died……died before anyone was willing to let them go, died with unfulfilled dreams perhaps, died leaving orphans and widows/widowers, gone too soon.

 

My mom is a gift from God to me, and my frequent prayer is for my life to reflect the values she taught me as well as honour her for the rest of her days. I pray selfishly for my mom to live for a long long long long time……..even though I have never asked her what her desire is in that regard. Some questions you just dont ask……..

Before the last couple of years I did not understand the power and beauty of a relationship with a mother. I am not sure I even thought it was possible and so I did nothing to nurture mine. I have since learnt that your mother can be your best friend, and in fact should be. Which other love on earth is as pure and loyal as a mother’s love? I however admit that it may not be so possible until a certain age or for some persons……and that is why I cry for those who ‘live’ without a mom.

She has taught me so much with her life, not so much via words. The virtue of kindness, contentment, sacrifice, commitment and the power of choice. These things protect me in so many ways, I could never repay her for these lessons.  I have watched her lose so many people who were dear to her, but God has always filled the void and empty spaces for her. He, I believe has also endowed her so well with mastery over letting go and adjusting to the changing scenes of life……These things I am learning to do, from her. Some days I wonder how she learnt these things so well; given there was no internet and social media, not many books, no television, no higher education…….but then I say there was always the Bible and people……and God uses these alot.

My Dad internalized a lot of pain……growing up without a mom who died when he was 8, not learning many many basic things, living without knowing he was loved. He repeated these things in all his relationships……with his wife, his kids, with siblings and with others. My dad is a good man, just ask those who know him. I believe them. Pain that is not transformed will always be transferred, and so I live in a place of awareness that I can easily transfer ‘my stuff’ to whoever I come in contact with. This I believe is the primary reason I have, to heal from the hurt of not knowing him, of not bonding with him. I must not transfer that pain.

I know he must have a few regrets, I see him trying hard to correct a few mistakes. I oft wonder what keeps him up at nights and what he thinks about on those days when he sits on his chair outside……..One day I must find the courage to tell him its okay……to let the past die. And even as I perceive all that, I have never heard him complain. He too seems contented in his space with his possessions, routine, friends and habits…….set in his ways!  I know he has a few people who he adores and who has his trust, outside of that he is a closed book, an impenetrable wall. The truth is, it doesn’t matter- whoever he is, he is my father.

There was a time when I didnt understand the decisions my parents made, especially those that impacted me as a child. I felt anger at my dad and I analyzed my mom from a place of never enough. I have since recognized that they both did the best they could………that we make decisions without hindsight a lot of times and with the information we have at the particular time. A lot of times too we make the choice that suits our self-interest, hoping that it will redound to the benefit of others. I am learning to forgive, accept and appreciate them more deeply as a result of these knowings.

I am not sure if I got to this place because I see so much of them in me; and thus if I am to start loving me then I have no choice but to love them. I know it could be too that I am learning just how much I am loved by my Creator and just how much he loves every single one he created too. It may also be getting older and gaining deeper perspectives……….as Ravi Zacharias said “youth is what the young have but only the old know how to use” but what I do know is this. The relationship I am having with them or not having with them is a direct reflection of the relationship I am having with myself.

 

A successful Life

I have never had specific dreams, never really set goals and objectives. Not good. Everyone needs to have some of these.

But I do know that I always wanted a good life, a successful life, a happy life. As I think about those who have crossed over before me, and especially young people like myself, (LOL)  I cant help but wonder. If they could evaluate their life, would they say they had a successful life? And what does that look like?

This is what I have learnt along the way…..

i. It doesn’t happen instantaneously……..it is a gradual, slow process.

ii. Success looks different for each of us

iii. It happens at various points in our lives, usually birthed via a crisis

iv. It’s the depths from which you have risen

v.  It has little to do with wealth, fame, status, possessions, applause or likes, this leads me to think about Proverbs 13 v 11 and Proverbs 23 v 4-5. Solomon should know.

vi.  No one has ever reached the pinnacle of success, there is always way more to conquer

vii. Nobody becomes successful alone, we are not lone rangers …….we must trust God to provide and take care of us.

Success for me therefore is as below:

1. Loving myself…….forgiving myself……spending time with myself.

2. Setting boundaries and holding others accountable

3. Not hustling for love or attention

4. Speaking the truth lovingly and gracefully to others……more often than not, not recklessly but carefully.

5. A beautiful relationship with mom

6. Traveling without motion sickness

7. Going it alone……..a conference, a new church, a new destination or getting friends to tag along

8. Asking for what I want, learning to negotiate, learning to say No

9. Going to an interview and not crying

10. Going to a new job without being completely apprehensive

11. Having difficult conversations

12. Keeping and cultivating friendships, and not being needy or clingy.

13. Listening to sound advice before making a decision…….

14. Slowing down, understanding tomorrow is another day and if it doesn’t come for me, then oh well.

Fear has many Faces

 

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 socially or on a whim, 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. No one seeks restorative treatments for them publicly, 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.

Riding the Bus

One of the ways in which I got immersed or should I say became familiar with the here was by randomly jumping on a bus to somewhere new, to anywhere.  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. Also 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 much 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, and when he could take it no more, I heard him say…….”I don’t bite”….. it was then that a guy went and 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 bus stop 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 the 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 that 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 famously 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 where I live, 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 blind trust, for I had to go to the bathroom. Now at that time there were no smart phones…….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.  Waiting is my perennial struggle. Waiting is part of God’s plan, waiting is a spiritual practice. We must be still and silent.