Thursday, September 21, 2017

To truly see.

Sisters are such a precious gift from God.I am tripple blessed,I have three.Today is aie Mimi's birthday.Aie Mimie is two years older than me and we have been buddies since the time I remember.I was the younger and so have always had my way with her.She would let me win every race,take precedence in all the games we played as a kid,This day I celebrate her innocence,her prayerful dependance on God as she stewards two little children from difficult backgrounds in a christian upbringing,as she wrestles with the sheer schedule of everyday living teaching her college kids and yet holds all the certificates to her name.She is faithful and comitted in the way she looks after mom and dad,ever mindful of their desires as she takes all the effort to fulfill it in what way she can.I am grateful to God for her.
She was the tomboy of the family.Always included in all the adventures my brothers planned out,whether it was hiking,going to the cardomom fields for the yearly survey,running after wild horses,or wrestling with the boys.She was an athelete in school winning shotput,javelin and the disc throwing events,she was also good in marathon.An average kid in school she excelled from her 11th standard and went on to pick up the maximum number of certificates in the family.She always remains a child at heart it seems grappling more with life than the rest of us.
Last week Nabeel Quereshi died.I have never set my eyes on him as a person but he was mere 34 years when he passed away to glory.I was deeply touched by his life and his testimony and his passing away had a deep impact on me.A pakistani immigrant in America,had such an impact in his short life on so many people around the world.God's infinate grace helped him see.He was a chosen vessel of God,meant for His glory.
I realise how finite our lives are and how we spend the major portion of it chasing after things which have no eternal value.We live trying to live to other people's expectations and it is when we face death that we have to come face to face with our fears and most importantly the God we know.
How well do we know our God?Is it a borrowed faith that we have built our lives on ,do we truly know our God?It is only by God's grace that we come to junctures like his when we truly have to face ourselves through unsmoked mirrors.
As Elizabeth Browning famously said,

"The earth is crammed with heaven
and every common bush afire with God,
But only he who sees takes off his shoes,
the rest sit around and pick blueberries."

Father,help me to truly see.
In Jesus' name.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

A heartbeat away..

Two things happened this week that made me feel vulnerable.I am known to be a tough cookie otherwise.
I have been following the Harvey and the Irma story quite closely and have beem praying with the beleivers since the 1st of September when the Lord put it in my heart.
On thursday mprning I found a small paronochia forming in one of my fingers.It was painful but I pushed it to the back of my mind while I continued to work.The second day ,there was pain but it was busy and so I ignored it again.In the morning one of my colleagues insisted I run down to the minors and see someone there ,but I was caught up with the work so ignored it.Towards mid-morning I noticed a reddish track forming along one side of my finger all the way to the back of my hand(Tracking),so I ran down to the minors and registered myself.The nurse practitioner who looked into it was very kind.She put a nick,squeezed out the pus ,put a water proof bandage and gave me enough Flucloxacillin for the next five days and kept asking me if I was okay for work.I was finishing my duty in another hour or so.I felt comfortably vulnerable and very grateful to the NP in the busy A and E.
It was a friday,two whole days of weekend to rest and enjoy.
It had been a busy week and I start with my hot from next week where I work longer hours and also have a lot of zero days for the next one month.
In the evening I decided to cook some rice and dal and store it for a week.I put them to cook and forgot about it for a cool half and hour.By the time I realised it the rice and the dal had charred to bits and the kitchen was full of smoke,the fire alarm started and went on till the fire officer came and put it off.
It made me realise how vulnerable our human lives were.having heard about a young doctor in Liberia who got charred to death in the accomodation he was living in,it could have been me.
This morning speaking to my near ninety years old father,I felt vulnerable again.I realised while I jaunt around the world doing what I do ,how dependant on his just being there I am.This is a father who can never see a tear in the eyes of any of his children,soft,kind,always there for us.
I spoke to my mother ,she has always been the strong one,the disciplinarian.
I realised anew how dependant on the grace of the almighty God we are everyday.
'What is man that you are mindful of him,son of man that you care for him?'Psalm 8,vs 4.
Whether it is a Harvey,Irma,fire,earthquake,sickness or is just a heart beat away-we live and breathe in Him by His grace alone.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Sunday in London thus far.

I booked myself into the summer accomodation ,Prince's garden of the imperial college,comfortable room in the heart of south Kensington ,along the exhibition raod leading to Prince's consort road ,across the road from the science mueseum and the history museum.Hyde park and the Kensington park are five minutes walk along the same path.Amazing location!Breakfast went with the accomodation.A generous english breakfast.Good way to start the day.Met Dreier,a french data analyst who was on a break in the area as well.
I spent the morning walking through Hyde park,something I have wanted to do since I landed in the UK.I remembered some bits from my visit earlier.I spent the morning with flowers,ducks,a squirrel,the water and the expanse of green, memorials gallore,psalm 25 in company of a statue of a woman aiming an arrow ,held up by four people with water flowing out all around her and below the chalice that held her is a torch made of cement.It made me think a bit.
I walked to my heart's content and then took an underground to tottenham court to attend the hillsong church in the Dominion theatre.
Brian Housten was visiting from Sydney.I reached when the worship had started and the dominion theatre was packed to the hilt.I somehow found a seat in the stall.
Brian's message was short,impactful and the prayer powerful.
He spoke about taking stewardship of the changes in our lives because whether we liked it or not,changes would definately come.
He talked about Peter who after he had betrayed Jesus thrice,comes out and weeps bitterly ,in other words his betrayel of Jesus overwhelms him,but Peter's life is a life of ongoing transformation.
Same with David,when he decides to fight Goliath he talks like his life as a shepherd was already a thing of the past and there are three things that helped him to move towards his God-given destiny.
1.He knew the source of change.He knew God.
2.He had a motivation for the change-Firstly he had a cause-He pertinantly asks ,'Is there not a cause?'secondly he had a reward in mind.The reward the king had placed for anyone who defeated Goliath.
3.He embraced the change.He spoke about his past like as though it was already behind him.
The one liner that stuck out for me was,'Our lives are as powerful as the cause attatched to it.' I was blessed.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Extended weekend with a bank holiday.

I remember during my Oddanchattram days,everyday I used to start my day with this song.'One day at a time.'we led a very sheltered life there,everyone extremely caring and looking after each other.The department where I am posted at,has a wonderful set of colleagues.We all have become good friends in a short time but one hardly gets much time because the rotas are made in such a way that we get as much exposure as possible and we keep moving around .How fascinating is it when we actually realise that all of us come from extremely different backgrounds.We are from India,Egypt,Iraq,Zimbabwe and England.In one of the early weeks ,one of the senior consultants gave us a good advice-'take time off to sit and eat lunch together so that you can get to know one another.'was what he said and that advise served us in good stead. Come September I have a hot month whereby I will be doing 12 hours of calls at a stretch and will have a lot of zero days as well.As disorienting as it may be, I am looking forward to it.
This weekend is an extended weekend with a bank holiday on Monday.
I struggled trying to make up my mind as to what I should do and finally zeroed down on spending the weekend in London just wandering around which I love actually.I booked myself into a place in Central London.However ,just yesterday,outside the buckingham palace there was a terrorist scare I think.
Will it change my plans?No,life has to go on.
I hope to catch 'Evita' in the theatres.Fascinating charecters etched in the history of a continent.
I have also started doing some courses that will help me be more mobile in the future.
One year of my life-precious handful of moments-may I be able to squeeze every ounce of it,equipped to give better,live better and love better.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Psalm 115,vs 5

The river Ganges is the most worshipped river in India and yet the havoc and the devastation the river causes every monsoon is unparalleled .Bhupen Hazarika , the assamese singer-writer  in this haunting song has this quetion for the river 'Why are you silent?'Who would understand this better than a person from a state which has faced the fury of the water un-paralleled and has lost lives,stock and livelihood unaccounted for year after year.
Another thing that struck me was a picture of a missionary of charity's sister amongst the suffering in the picture.

Oh the love of God.

In beautiful moments of worship with fellow beleivers in my church ,God suddenly brings to mind people and families I have known in my short journey of life and I plead before the almighty for them.This sunday while we were worshipping ,the family that the Lord brought to my mind was Dr Sam and Sarah David.In that moment of communion with God I cried out a prayer from deep within.How the Lord loves them.
The portion we studied was from Philipians chapter 3 vs 1-14.
Philippians 3:1-14New King James Version (NKJV)

All for Christ
Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe.
Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation! 3 For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit,[a] rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh, 4 though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: 5 circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; 6 concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.

7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

Pressing Toward the Goal
12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

It was a simple illustration of the passage the pastor gave us.A child was called out to help with the sermon.Each point where Paul enumerates the reason he could boast ,the child had to put four wooden blocks one on top of the other till a tower of pride was formed and then Paul considers it all a loss , for the surpassing worth of knowing Jesus,His Lord.The pastor tumbled the tower with one stroke and it was all 'a garbage',as Paul puts it.
I had not stopped to think that Saul of Tarsus was from the tribe of Benjamin,the tribe of his namesake,the first King of Israel.He had actually been named after him.Look at God's humour,the lineage of Saul becomes the diehard servant of the lineage of David and gives his life for the former's glory.
The other verse that was stressed was 'lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has laid hold of me.'The pastor asked us if we knew what Christ had laid hold of us for?

Monday, August 14, 2017

Remembering the bizzare-this independance day!

Working in the UK especially in the gastro department in the past two weeks I order human albumin to be transfused to patients every brings back sad memories of my time in Lakhnadon in Madhya Pradesh.Every now and then there would be a need for HAS in the hospital with variety of patients trickling in.The administrator in all earnestness would search frantically for it.I never got hold of any during my time there.Once one of the suppliers even offered to get me some in 'black'.
The other thing which appalled me to no end was getting blood for transfusion.We had patients coming in with a haemoglobin of 2mg% and each time arranging for transfusion was a mountain of a struggle.Blood transfusion was available in Jabalpur for anything from 1800Rs to Rs 4500 and there were middle men involved.There was a time when one of the patients needed blood so badly and did not have the money required so since Saneesh's (my colleague)blood group matched with the patient concerned he offered to visit the blood bank to donate the blood in Jabalpur .He just made it in time for his train home to Raipur after the donation.
Human lives in India is a big business.Investigations and lab kits would dissappear from the market overnight so as to promote equipments.I remember so many times ,when suppliers would point blank tell us such and such kits were not manufactured anymore so for one to do a particular test one would have to buy a new equipment.
The government had strict legislations for ultrasound on one hand and a doctor was sued for some pleural tap one had done blindly.This is also a country where quacks are rampant and most patients who land up at your hospital has been through multiple hands trying everything from potions to black magic before they land up ,sometimes stone cold in rigor mortis from conditions like snakebites which are completely treatable.Nobody pays for it.
My colleagues in Emmanuel Hospital Association and other mission organisations work under considerable challenges ,in these difficult areas against a tide which does not make things easier.Everyday is a new day with new challenges with an inner drive to reiterate the value of the human lives we come across,each one made in the image of almighty God,precious and beautiful..often marred but a step towards retoration to the image,God meant it to be.
Happy independance day to my country men!.