Saturday, March 25, 2006

I believe...

"Somewhere over the rainbow, Skies are blue, And the dreams that you dare to dream, Really do come true."

I would love to believe it but it is not always true. Dreams die. They burn in a bright blinding fire and then sometimes they turn to dust and ashes as we watch. Skies turn grey, black.
Sometimes a rainbow heralds a hurricane or floods.

I often wonder what we are supposed to do with broken dreams.
I have watched people die, children die, love die. I wonder what one does then.

I remember my aunt. She was a kindred spirit. She had the gift of laughter. She taught me to laugh and gave me one of the greatest gifts in life - the ability to see humour lurking everywhere and the courage to aways choose life. It was she who introduced me, as a child, to Winnie the Pooh, the poems of Ogden Nash and the limericks of Stephen Leacock.

She laughed in the face of all the odds and pain. She lost a husband, after 10 suicide attempts and she survived. She made her life count even after that. She joined a Help Group in order to help those in trouble. And she laughed. I remember her peels of laughter ringing through time after time. And yet she suffered deep pain, so much so that she died after several years of dementia brought on by depression.Yet even through her depression she laughed and smiled.

She fought for life and for laughter. She loved greatly. She sought the beautiful - the colours of flowers, the feathers of a bird, the eyes of a cat. She had a sense of wonder about things around her. She had words of kindness to offer everyone she met - a beggar on the street, children. She had words of appreciation always for everyone - even those who fought with her. She gave - she gave away all she had to those around her.

And I remember a card she sent me - long ago. It was home made and a small piece of paper folded in two with a quotation on it. She said she hoped I would remember it all my life. I have!

"Sweeping across Germany at the end of World War II, Allied forces searched farms and houses looking for snipers. At one abandoned house, almost a heap of rubble, searchers with flashlights found their way to the basement. There, on the crumbling wall, a victim of the Holocaust had scratched a Star of David. And beneath it, in rough lettering, the message:
I believe in the sun--even when it does not shine;
I believe in love--even when it is not shown;
I believe in God--even when He does not speak."

I realise now that these words were so powerfully true for her, and I know now how she found hope in the midst of all her pain. It has taught me to hold on through the darkest times, to laugh, to hope and to love against life's amazing odds.

Friday, March 24, 2006

sleepless in seattle

We spent the evening in front of the fire, indulging in that timeless, deep and profound activity. A charming way to spend an evening. Rapture. Complete and utter absorbtion "watching the screen". Now ask me what Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Sleepless and Seattle have in common? Definitely not Meg Ryan, Tom Hanks, blood sipping vampires or stake brandishing cuties. .

I asked myself will I ever walk into a zillion floored building and find a teddy bear AND the love of my life? Or for that matter be slaying demons and monsters AND having the love of my life rescue me with passionate kisses inbetween the slayings? I mean - what am I doing with my life? Where are the demons? Where are the teddy bears? Not to mention *anything* else!

I see the men sticking their fingers in the wind pipe, rolling their eyes and saying "uuurggh S in S? blerk...chick flicks" as if a "chick flick" is the most abnormal shameful activity they can indulge in or as if they never went absolutely stupidly in love and did the most idiotic things (Ok for "love" there read "stupidly in sex"! But still...)

Anwyay to return to topic, "Is there destiny" - in real life I mean? Is there that "magic"? From where did Hollywood and writers and poets through the ages get this picture of love? Is it just "fiction"? Is it fantasy? Has it *ever* been a real thing this "falling in love" and "magic" and "growing in love"? You see, for me one of the moving things in the film, is what love can mean, the fact that it can be magical, that it can be meaningful for many years. Annie is not a stupid bimbo just chasing any man! (ok she *was* chasing cute looking Tom Hanks and not all of us have the privilege!). She was chasing a man who had known how to love deeply!

I don't know - so many people limp through life and relationships like grim fighters, It makes one wonder what love is all about. I have watched friends who fell so madly in love. We rejoiced and sang "oh perfect love" at their weddings all misty eyed. Then a few years later - "bang", it was gone. Just gone! Scary. Love just died. Over. Tears, pain, anguish. They stayed together but actually in reality they moved on. Love, was a silly passing madness, and Sex, they tell me is over rated; a chore; boring; even a nuiscance. Passion? It dies, they tell me, and so does love. I sit there watching them sadly, sometimes thankful I have not had this terrible thing happen to me.

But something inside refuses to be fatalistic about the magic and the power of love.

Love is instinctive, primary and one of the most compelling of human desires. If l
ove is created by God, and we are created to love and be loved, surely it is meant to be the most eternal and profound of experiences. There "abide faith, hope, love, these three, but the greatest of these is love". God couldn't have got it wrong. Right?

Maybe we have got it wrong. Love is not overated, neither is sex. It is underated by us, Maybe that is why people take it for granted. Maybe that is why they let it die. Maybe that is why they are fickle and indifferent. Maybe that is why they look for constant sexual excitement. Perhaps love IS this wonderful, mysterious thing - that thing which makes us most like God. And we have forgotten that.

We live in a money driven, success hunting, soul destroying, images loving, excitement seeking, power hungry, fulfilment demanding, busy generation and society.
Christians, yeah you heard me, often Christians take the most profound vows of love that someone can make and turn it into grim duty and bondage. As Christians we are duty driven, grimly faithful, super spiritual, ultra-Godly, praying, bible study going, preaching, ministry fixated, worshipping people. We church talk, smooth talk, smile talk, platitude talk, cheerfulness talk, solemn talk, hallelujah brother talk and spiritual talk. Meanwhile we forget the wonder of love and get through life like zombies.

And in all of it we have forgotten how to love. We have forgotten the power of love. We have forgotten that it is in loving that we are most like God.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

The definitive "apala velava"

Sometimes life feels like Murphy's law: If anything can go wrong it will.

Not surprising that some philosophies and belief systems incorporate that in. In a certain Buddhist culture, there is a belief in what is called the "apala velava". It means "the time when everything will go wrong". Basically, it is a time when Murphy's law comes into operation. One is resigned during those times, because one knows that it is "bad times"; so if the sky falls on ones head one is not surprised or indignant. Ofcourse the sky is expected to fall!

In the Bible we have the classic example of Job! To think of Job is to have ones mind boggle in a very alarming way.

What do you do, when life feels a Murphy's Law excursion to the edge of the world from where you can fall off? What do you do when you feel blown into a million little pieces?
Sometimes charms are done to keep the person safe from too much of the bad times, but I am not sure of how effetive it is. It probably offers a bit of security and feeling of safety!

The first comforting thing to realise is that it is normal - perfectly normal for Murphy's Law to operate. Nothing to shock one there - it has all happened before, or as Ecclesiastes puts it "there is nothing new under the sun". The second thing to realise is that once Murphy's Law is operational, you are not going to be surprised - all the askew things are to be *expected*.

Ultimately all one can do is hold ones head high, hide the tears,
laugh when possible and believe that the "apala velava", the Murphy moments will pass.