Grow Into Yourself

Grow Into Yourself.

It burns!
Like hell sulfur.
Limbs torn assunder.
With each blunder guilt knifes me.
Blood corrupted springs free
to flow into a sea of redemption.
Can I grow into me?
Can I be free?
Guilt a strict taskmaster.
Too stern to cuddle
a wayward child like me.
Fire now tears into my flesh.

Is this how it feels to grow?

Keep Living.

Since the start of 2020 many people view what’s happening at home and around the world and just want to take a permanent break from life.

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Let’s hope no one stays at this point for the rest of the year.

So, at first I did not take the corona virus seriously. When you don’t know, you don’t know.

However, the rate of infection across the world is alarming and so requires everyone’s full attention. But, let’s be optimistic and pray for a speedy recovery from it. Though over 85000 global cases and a death toll of even one person, much less over 2,900 is a little, tiny bit alarming. This virus is a reminder, we may all feel we did not need, of how quickly the world as we know it can change.

With the real possibility of the outbreak becoming pandemic in 3, 2, 1… We are all grappling to make sense of our own lives much less the threat of a “novel” virus, breathing down our collective necks, relentlessly. I know here in Jamaica many jokingly agree that if it gets here we are all doomed, but if we don’t laugh what will we do? Why cry of course.

“Take a break but we should not retire”

However, we do not cry but crack jokes about climbing the Blue Mountains to escape it, but invariably someone has to point out that many would freeze so “it don’t make sense”. Ah boy, some people just won’t let others win! So while we try to outwit each other with witticisms about how to escape this thing; c’est la vie .

So we try every day to be as normal as possible – which by the way, normal can be very subjective. However, things happen daily that give us a proverbial lesson that planning is good, but not always foolproof. Does that mean we should just wait out the storms when they come?

While we may have the opportunity to take cover and wait out a difficult period, we should never stop going, especially when we have a deep conviction about what we are doing. We may take a break but we should not retire from taking the actions that will help us, to advance closer to where we want to be. While we may miss the target many times, we must still aim for the bull’s eye. While we may move forward with uncontrollable fear weakening our steps, we should never stop moving. We should never stop taking action. We should never stop laughing, even with the tears that seem unrelenting. We should never stop making things a little more bearable for everyone with our words and action We should never stop trying to give of our best, even if our best has to be redefined. Even when we stop, let us stop for a while, but keep going when the while has passed.

Life is a beautiful puzzle we all need to embrace, to pick a part and put back together, because we have no other choice, because we have been blessed with it. So while we face the challenges great and small, local and global, maybe we should not make it more complicated by causing traffic jams but just keep moving.

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Stick With It.

When something seems hard to achieve, stick with it because it always brings something good.

We are really good nowadays at giving up too quickly. We sit and think about everything that could go wrong, that has gone wrong and we decide what we want will never happen. We turn our backs, abandoning what might have been for what will never be. Today I felt so tired I thought I would have a panic attack. In the past the thought of having one, would lead to one. However, today I stayed calm and smiled through the anxious moments to survive the day. So, I ended the day feeling happy, energized and contented, even though I had eaten very little and done a lot. I was even surprised how quickly the day seem to have gone by. If I had given in to that feeling and let it win, I would have never known the sense of accomplishment I felt at finishing out the day.

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Let us walk with God so that our walk will be filled with only good days. This morning I left out for work in the dark, but I never felt afraid walking through Spanish Town before 6 a.m. in the morning. It never entered my mind to feel fear. To question what was just around the corner. At every turn I did not question what I would find because I had already invited God to walk with me. So, when I was just about to cross the road to continue my walk, I was blown by a car! It was Mr Martin, he picked me up and I reached work the earliest I had ever reached! But I know that with every experience, what we consider good or bad, if we don’t want to, and invite God to walk with us, we will never walk alone.

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We are stronger than we think we are. I don’t think we give ourselves enough credit concerning what we can endure. It could be that there are things we think we could never do. It has nothing to do with the fact that we can’t do it, but more so because we don’t want to try, out of fear or indifference.

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When we crash, it may seem easier to give up than try to find our way back to the land of the living. However, since we don’t know what we are capable of until we find we have no other choice, let us stick with it till whenever.

Slow and Steady.

We are slowly approaching the end of the year! While many may disagree and say instead that it has flown by, it depends on what you were doing during that time.

But it has always been the case, that when we reach the end of something it feels like time slows way down, and that is when we begin to make silly mistakes.

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There are many who are anxious for 2019 to end, but we should not be too anxious for that end. Instead, let us be focused on appreciating the few days left and doing all we can to see 2019 on it’s way. Let us still be committed to staying on the right track so next year we can finally get out of the valley we have been in for most of this year. Or, getting further in this new season we are in.

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As they say it’s not over until the fat lady sings, and while she certainly is warming up her vocal cords, she is not ready yet!

Remember the tortoise and the hare?

There once was a speedy hare who bragged about how fast he could run. Tired of hearing him boast, Slow and Steady, the tortoise, challenged him to a race. All the animals in the forest gathered to watch.

Hare ran down the road for a while and then paused to rest. He looked back at Slow and Steady and cried out, “How do you expect to win this race when you are walking along at your slow, slow pace?”

Hare stretched himself out alongside the road and fell asleep, thinking, “There is plenty of time to relax.”

Slow and Steady walked and walked. He never, ever stopped until he came to the finish line.

The animals who were watching cheered so loudly for Tortoise, they woke up Hare.

Hare stretched and yawned and began to run again, but it was too late. Tortoise was over the line.

After that, Hare always reminded himself, “Don’t brag about your lightning pace, for Slow and Steady won the race!”

We don’t need to get ahead of ourselves and miss out on something now that will make our 2020 even better. So, while the year is almost over, remember what you do in these last 6 days of 2019, will impact what your 2020 starts off looking like.

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It Will Be Okay.

Imagine if you lost everything you thought you could never live without.

That is a terrifying thought for many of us, but what if we did? What would we do?

It’s easy to look at someone who is not okay and give them advice on what they need to do. Then we think or talk out of their hearing: “man that is rough, but, thank God it’s not me!”

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Now, my issue with such a sentiment is this, does God allow good things happen to some and bad things to others? Sometimes when we say the above, it seems as if we are somehow exempt from going through certain trials, but we are not.

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I spoke recently to a colleague and former teacher, who is undergoing cancer treatment. I had not seen her at work for some time and then I saw her back out at work and though she had lost some weight, she seemed so calm and was laughing and smiling and it made me pause and think about how I overreact to some simple things at time. After all she has been through lately where did she find the courage to get up and live each day as it comes?

As she pointed out to me, it is not easy but, she does it because the alternative is death.

I am realizing that the problems I see as insurmountable or really not impossible to overcome. I am in the process of reconstructing my mindset about the outlook I have concerning every situation I am faced with. If I can be devastated at the thought of someone else’s diagnosis and surprised by her ability to get up every day and smile and be pleasant then maybe I need to change how I view my own problems. Are they really that serious or require the reaction I sometimes have?

Would I be okay if I lost all the things I fear losing, that have nothing to do with the life I have been given by God.

I remember a point, as I got older, that I feared losing my grandmother, and so I use to pray every year that she would life one more year and that God would make it ten or twenty years – or forever if he could. It has been 15 years since my grandmother died and I still have not forgotten how important she was in my life. Since then, I have made some terrible decisions and some good one, but the most important thing is that I have been able to continue to live.

An article I recently read entitled, In Haiti, the Art of Resilience, comes to mind. The article was written in 2010 by Bill Brubaker, after the earthquake which devastated the country and killed 230,000 and displaced approximately 1.5 million others. The writer highlighted a series of stories concerning the impact of the earthquake on the Art community. One that stood out to me was about 87-year-old Haitian artist, Préfète Duffaut who lost family members, friends, his home, and most of his art work. What was so inspiring about his interview was the hope that Brubaker noted was, “shining from his eyes”. The hope to build from the rubble something new and vital. There were other stories of gallery owners – whose galleries had not escaped the devastation – who provided money and art supplies to artists who had lost everything. Duffaut at 87, having experienced crisis after crisis in Haiti, along with his country men and women, was able to affirm of this particular event: “my future paintings will be inspired by this tragedy”. How many of us would be able to create something meaningful and inspiring from the rubble of our own tragedies?

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We all have the potential to take ourselves out of the dark abyss that life places us in. All we need is to cultivate is a vision of possibilities in the face of adversities.

Though it may be hard for us to keep the faith when things go south, real quick; it will be okay. Just keep telling yourself this, until you believe it.

Like many Haitians, let us adopt their attitude when faced with difficulties:  ‘Let’s get on with it! Tomorrow is another day.’

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