Precious, Precious

Today, my wife Lydia and daughter Hannah went to stay overnight at my brother-in-law’s to meet and spend time with one of my wife’s cousins, who had a few hours left before he left Delhi to go back home. Lydia talked a lot about how kind he had been to her when she was a child and how he would always make sure to bring something for her when he was passing through.

Although I don’t know him in the same way as Lydia does, I’ve experienced his kindness when he took and repaired my 22 year old guitar in a way that I’ve never known even a high-end shop to do. And he refused to take money for it either! He’s always been friendly and gracious whenever I’ve met him, and that stands out more than his extraordinary talent with his hands that I’ve both heard about and seen.

He’s a precious man with a long history, but much, much grace of God in his life. My wife recognizes preciousness much better than I do, and I’ve learnt and am learning so much from her. I don’t know what I would do without her. Now, with both my wife and daughter out, my house is like a tomb, and I miss them. Come on get real, it’s only a few hours. Well, I still miss them. They’re precious, very precious to me, and their absence shows me what life could be without them, and what great value they add to my life.

Family Hug

Lydia and Hannah, my precious, precious two!

In my last post Storing up TreasureI was reflecting on what was precious to me, and it seems right to continue dwelling on this theme for a while. I want to share a song that has spoken to me many times, and is one of my favourites. It’s by Crosby, Stills and Nash, and in a simple way, brings out what is precious in relationships. It’s called You are Alive. I hope you enjoy and are blessed by it as much as I’ve always been.

You Are Alive – Crosby, Stills and Nash

When you know there’s someone you can talk to
And she’s waiting by the door when you get home
With her hand she’ll caress away your worries
You are alive
I hope you know
That you’re alive
When you’re waiting for her standing by the doorway
And your heart is laughing as she turns the key
Here it comes again always the same feeling
You are alive
And so is she
Do you know what life would be without her?
Do you know what loneliness can be?
You’ll die by yourself only with someone else, why?

When it’s all a game and there is no pleasure
And you’re just like all the rest cannot see
And you’re feeling like there’s no more point in searching
Are you alive?
How could it be
Are you alive?
I’d like to see
If you’re alive

Storing Up Treasure

Some weeks ago, I was going back home with my family in an Uber and saw this amazing sight that I just had to take a photo of. So I did. And in the next few days, looking at the photo, a thought started to grow in my mind that I thought would be good to share along with the photo.

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Cauliflower stack of mathematical beauty!

Well, as you’re looking (gawking?) at it, you’ve got to remember that this is Delhi, a city in which things teeter on the edge of chaos all the time. A city of extremes; violent death, amazing beauty, abrasive hostility and unexpected kindness. A city that throws you off every now and then, a bit like, as it says in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, forgetfully changing from 4th gear to 1st while you’re cruising along at a hundred and twenty.

How could such order appear in the midst of the well-known chaos embodied in the popular Delhi concept of jugaad (roughly paraphrasing to mean get it done anyhow)???

My mind boggled for a bit, following the example of my eyes. Then the questions started, and with the ensuing dialogue, light began to dawn.

What’s the reason for the way they’ve stacked it?

Well, I guess it’s because they want to get as many as possible to the market.

So, why stack it in that particular way?

Umm…someone obviously knew the properties of interlocking shapes and their benefits. Also, they knew the roads were bad, so they ensured that the stack wouldn’t fall by interlocking the cauliflowers.

So, what was their bottomline?

Profit. They made sure they were getting the maximum value for money in the entire enterprise.

Put your treasure where there is no moth, rust or thieves. What are you doing to make sure that the most important things for you are protected from decay, destruction and theft?

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That stopped me like a wall! I was taken aback. I’ve been well-known for moaning and groaning. Of being burdened under the stresses of life. But what WAS I doing to protect the most important things for me? What WERE the most important things for me?

One of the things I just love about God is His gentleness when we are willing to listen. He doesn’t seem to load us with a 15 point list of what needs to change. He draws our attention to one or two root things and then works over time with them. Some months before I had felt the need to spend time regaining the habit of reflection and moving away from a lot of doing, and the blog really helped kickstart that. However, in the last couple of months I’ve been feeling the need to pull back and listen to what God is saying about things, instead of being always in practical mode and trying to do something.

Looking at the stack of cauliflowers, I realised that with the regain of a family time of reading and praying together, I needed to prioritize keeping certain days ’empty’ for reflection and just spending time alone with God undisturbed. It was time to invest in those things, whatever they may be, that would cause the kingdom of God to grow in and through me, and to create ‘interlocking’ habits that were feeding this.

Strangely enough, one thing that I’m in the process of working out is the act of going to sleep early. Investing in actually doing that seems to make an enormous, almost disproportionate difference to my day and myself as a person. Protecting our family sleep time successfully over three weeks, gave us the taste of significant difference before we allowed ourselves to slip back. Continuing to invest in and work this out has been coming back to mind, and I’m in the process of biting the bullet and getting back into the discipline. Investing in this seems to have a ramifying effect in my life that creates clarity, the ability to achieve my goals, and prevents loss of time and energy.

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Not quite what I was thinking about!

Over the last few days, I was reading several articles by Sid Savara whom I had quoted in my previous post Either You Run the Day…Or the Day Runs You, and something he wrote in his excellent article The 7 Reasons Good People Still Fail really caught my attention. Here it is down below –  

But this last one, this “bonus” reason is truly a devastating reason people fail
And if you can’t overcome it, you will never get what you want out of life.
Ready?
Here it is….

Reason #8: They Never Change
Nobody is perfect.
I get that.
We all make mistakes in life.
The question is this –
When you have the opportunity to change your life, will you:
Take that chance to change it?
Or ….
Will you simply carry on making the same mistakes?

The truth is, not changing is the only reason people actually fail.

This really struck me because it was so very simple…and so TRUE! My inability is usually due to my reluctance to change or lack of desire to change, or lack of persistence in changing. It’s not because God is too small, but the fact that I’m too big…for my boots. It’s the creepy, self-justifying, self-seeking, contentiously arguing self-pride.

So, am I feeding what is important for me? What am I doing that will continue to feed the process of change? Will I have stories of change to share, or at the end of this year, will my stories be the same predictable ones? Where and how am I storing up treasure for myself?

My answer is less important than what time and circumstance will show.