Thursday, February 28, 2013

Why I loved Inverness!

I have been entertaining this idea of visitng Inverness for sometime.It was the thought of the colds that made me postpone but something told me that the time was right so I packed my bags and made the reservations.I find the paper works somehow always work to the tee.The system here forever seems to have a back up and therefore everything moves as it should.
I reached Inverness late morning on a lovely sunny day.A taxi driver served as my tour guide as  he gave a running commentary even as he drove me to my hotel.My hotel room was a surprise,I had booked a single seater but they had given me a double seater in the same price.I had some sleep to catch up with since I had not slept well the previous night due to the timing of my train to London.Four thirty in the morning-bundled up to the boot I was the first one in the station.A pleasant gentleman wished me a good morning and asked me,'Going somewhere nice?'I wished him a good morning and just smiled.I often wonder if I am really in England .Aren't the people in England supposed to be stiff upper lip?They shadow when compared to me.They are a civilised lot I guess!
I caught up with my sleep in the hotel room and started walking out of my hotel room towards the right-I was headed in the right direction.The market lay before me on either side of river Ness looking beautiful.I kept walking absorbing the scene before me.
In the market square with cobblestone were people sitting on wooden benches just enjoying the sun.At the far end a young kid was playing the pipe.......it touched my heart ,a single soul playing a tune that took us back into time and forwards to a part of who they are ,it all looked so beautiful and pure.I peered into his case there were a few changes ,I fumbled in my bag for the biggest changes I had and threw it into the bag...In between his playing he stopped to say 'thank you!'-that's Scotland for you.I entered a shop selling the scottish knick-knacks ,bought a book on baking(Ilove the shortbread),some scarves and a pair of gloves all in tarten.Even as I walked up the hill to the tourist information centre and the Inverness castle my eyes fell on the backstreet,there to my joy was a christian bookstore.I literally hopped,skipped and jumped into the shop ,bought three books-'Inner life of our Lord Jesus',Women of Destiny and a book on dynamics of the trinity.I also bought a notepad,a pen and the lady put in a calender as a bonus.
With the treasures in my shoulder bag I walked along the Ness river ,came to a church facing Ness with a statue of Hope,Love and Charity outside.It seemed perfectly natural for me to take out my book,my diary and my pen ,sit on the bench and just enjoy the beauty of the place,the weather and reflect on the thoughts.Not an every day scene I suppose.I ignored the few startled glances and continued doing what I love best.Suddenly Inverness seemed to be the most beautiful place on earth.
The next day while at breakfast my host asked me what I was planning for the day.A keen observer he had noticed that I had changed into a walking shoes and so he suggested I walk in the opposite direction.I did just that.I walked along the Ness on the otherside in all it's wild glory..there were birches hanging into the waters,there were stones and birds,the jungle was wild,natural,unkempt and beautiful.I walked on enjoying the beauty of it all when I noticed a  young gentleman sizing me up even as he emerged from one of the buildings.I was a little wary but he sociably walked up to me greeted me and surprise of surprise what does he do?He takes out a wad of tracts from a packet and started talking to me about Jesus.I was so happy but I told him I am a believer.He gave me the sweetest smile even as his dark blue eyes lit up.
I watched even as he walked up to another lady behind me and started talking to her.It took sometime for me to catch my breath-I hastily took my camera out to take a picture..I captioned the picture,'Evangelism'....The picture has the back of the evangelist retreating into the shadows even as the woman is emerging into the light.
It suddenly struck me that's how it is supposed to be.That's what I am supposed to be doing.
The third day was the trip to the Loch.All my co-passengers were as lost or more so than I.
We had a royalty from Dover with us.
We had a good time just casually helping each other out.The idea of going to see the legend of a monster had not appealed to me but thank God I did.The legend runs around St Columbus' advent into the highlands to preach Christianity and how a monster from the Loch had emerged and tried to stop him, how he had tamed the monster by prayer.We went into the ruins of the urqhat castle,saw a clipping on the legend ...I was just walking around when I chanced upon three woman who were discussing what they were to eat for dinner even as they got into their car.I heard one of them say'I don't have my bible with me',the other one replied ,'I have it'.
I was eves-dropping .I was encouraged.
I loved Inverness for it's originality ....for it's faith...,...for that aura around it that makes any place on earth the most beautiful....the aura of Christ's presence in everyday living,not striving but resting.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Land of promise.....Lord that I might reach it.

Every christian has an Exodus,a journey from Egypt to the land of promise.Many of us never make it to the land of promise because we hold on to Egypt with it's comfort and predictability inspite of the shackles of slavery that bind us unawares.Have we ever sat back to reflect on our christian journey ever?
I often do and I get those occassional,very clear perspectives of the pillars of fire and cloud the lord has been providing for me in my journey.I also have a fairly clear perspective of the milestones directing me onwards ,these are people,events...situation.....until Lord Jesus took over to become my sole guide.It has been a tumultious, but I would have no other journey given the choice.
The other day,I was walking to church...and I asked myself 'Am I dead or what?I don't miss people,I don't miss places...nothing upsets me for too long...,I realised I am not.
I went to the church..it was the Lord's supper.Stewart Elmes was preaching...the Lord has used this man in the pulpit to disciple me.Our church has received this vision of a revival-'Operation flood' is what they call it.There is this reference to the welsh revival often..it took me back to my time in HCH when we were praying for a revival and the reference was to the same revival.He preached from Ezekial 47,vs 1-12.... presenting before us a picture of revival...he very clearly gave a call ....'God wants you dead so that He can live in you in power.
'.He talked about David and his circumstances,he talked about Joseph and his circumstances....he used the line,'You want to escape the alter because you are afraid you will be consumed'...He urged us,'It is a dreadful prayer to pray but ask the Lord,"Kill me Lord ,so that You might live through me".
I played it safe.I asked the Lord,'Show me Lord where I need to die'.There is a huge difference.I still want the choice to decide whether I want to die in the areas the Lord is asking me to.
This,I guess is the christian exodus.....a journey from being born again(leaving Egypt ) to dying....truly dying so that Christ might actually live in us...Paul's.'Not I but Christ may live in me...'.It is an amazing journey...but it is a  prize to strive for....It is the land of promise .....Lord, that I might reach it in faith.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land.

When sons of Jacob sold their brother Joseph to the Egyptian traders,they unknowingly sold a generation of Israelites including themselves to slavery.God with the father's heart ,reached out to them and raised up an unknown man named Moses to lead them out.Men did it time and again ,are doing it time and again making choices that will lead them to Babylon.......when they have realised where they are they have cried out to God and God in his mercy has found a way out for us.
This morning suddenly a song from BoneyM..by the rivers of Babylon....came to my mind.
I have sung it so many times in my life but today it took on a new meaning .....
'By the rivers of Babylon..there we sat down...hey how we wept when we remembered Zion,
Let the wicked carry us away captivity,requiring from us a song,how shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land..'
We make choices...and we make choices...we choose Babylon with it's glitter and might...till one fine day we find ourselves slaves in a strange land.
We are weeping by the banks of the rivers of Babylon....remembering Zion....
Be careful of what you strive for,what you aspire for...some things may look glossy and nice but it will lead to death.
Choose life...choose Zion and live and flourish in the land of promise.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Overcomer!

Jacob  who could have been seriously damaged and could have in the process damaged others...

a struggler right from his mother's womb,puts his brother in the corner and usurps his birthright,cheats his

father of his blessings taking advantage of his blindness,gets cheated by Laban for Rebecca..has to run away

from his brother... fearing his life,has to run away from Laban fearing for his life,wrestles with God and

refuses to give in ,God touches his hip bone and renders him limp.......he could have taken a different turn

there...lived with his limp.....and made a living out of it making people's lives miserable but this is a thinking

man...he refuses to let go till God blesses him.

God does -more so, praises him for being an overcomer.

Oh to be surrounded by overcomers most of the time!

May I be an overcomer by your grace oh God so that I might inherit your kingdom.


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Few precious things we never out-grow!

The other day,I was deep into the computers doing a clerical work that makes quite a bulk of my job here in the UK when someone startled me.I have a low threshold for surprises so I was out of my chair ,literally jumped out when a pleasant ward clerk who was helping me with the papers exclaimed-'atleast you did not swear!'.I found myself pertly replying ,'I never swear.'
That made me ask myself ,'Why don't I swear?'.
That took me back zillions of years ago when we were in a boarding school.....
My mom had a set of do's and don't's she lovingly packed along with our trunks,the bible and our tucks.....and she had an unofficial ,self volunteered spy in my older sister M who invariably would be staring at us whenever any of us were anywhere near crossing the line.Her one lined dreaded declaration would be,' just wait..I'll tell mom'.It sobered us back to our senses, no doubt.
'Do not swear' was definately one of the don'ts.
One of my older sister's favourite memory is of her first days in her boarding school.
That was St.Joseph's Convent in Kalimpong.My dad and my uncle had travelled to kalimpong with her.
My brother had already joined the school a year earlier.
My sister could not be convinced to stay back so they had to take her back ,after much cajoling she finally came to a consensus on a walky talky and another toy for her brother.
Once in school she became quite engrossed in her toy so my father and my uncle left the school premises.
As soon as she realised she had been left behind she was quite heart-broken.
A month later my uncle visited them to see how they were doing and this smart missy with a french haircut walked into the room .She accepted whatever tucks uncle had got for her ,took out a half chewed dried cheese from her pocket,handed it to my uncle with the instructions,-'please give this to my mother'  and coolly walked off.
My uncle ,the softie who has always doted on his only sister ,with a lump in his throat ,carried that piece of saliva soaked cheese almost two hundred kilometres away and faithfully handed it over to my mother.
What is it about mothers? We never really outgrow them do we?



Sunday, February 3, 2013

Siblings ,glycerine and Tess of D'urbevilles.

Saw the BBC adaptation of Thomas Hardy's novel 'Tess of Durbevilles'.Left me with a  very 

heavy heart. I had to talk myself into reminding me that it is just a figment of Thomas Hardy's 

invention.Tess never existed or did she?I googled the name to see if I could do find something and 

the wikipedia writes ' Tess as a personification of nature — lovely, fecund, and exploitable',' "Hardy's feelings 

for Tess were strong, perhaps stronger than for any of his other invented personages"....

It took me back into those times in my life when I got introduced to Tess and many such charecters in a 

different world altogether.In my night pajamas,with my pink toes sticking out in the cold winter,licking 

the sweet glycerine which was applied by my mom all over my face and lips I would stand before my 

older siblings waiting for a book to read.Invariably it would be my older sister who would pick out a 

book for me ...those were the days when we had just outgrown our Enid Blytons and Nancy 

Drews...always thought Hardy Boys were for the boys and never touched them.I read all the 

classics...abridged version...fuller versions...wurthering heights,little women,great expectations,david 

copperfield,pride and prejudice,till we have faces,the lion ,the witch and the wardrobe,to kill a 

mocking bird,the spanish gardener,Jane Eyre,The fall,The keys of the kingdom,.,Lorna Doone...Anna 

Karriena,..Mother...War and Peace....and it went on....when my sister was away my brother introduced 

me to Louis Lamour ......PG Woodehouse...

I devoured all of them with a sense of detatchment.....I cried ,I laughed,I participated in their ups and 

down but I never related it with the actual world .In my innocent world it never quite hit me that it was 

actually life.Now with the years ,I see everything and read everything with a different eye.

I even pray before I choose a book....that it will be' the book' in the midst of all the trash that actually is 

life.

I thank God for my siblings...they brought so much of richness into my life.....I thank God that I can pray 

before I pick out a book...it invariably is always just the book I need.




Friday, February 1, 2013

Connecting!

G is all of ninety five.He has slept his way through most of his admission in the hospital.He is a border in a care home.He was sleeping peacefully through another patient with dementia evacuating his bladder near his bed.We watched helplessly while A who also has dementia but always walks around with a perpetual grin on his face relieved himself near G's bed.The ward attendants immediately came to the rescue.
G was declared ready to go home today after a physio assesment.
I was getting ready to write his discharge when I noticed that his abbreviated mental test had not been done.
So I started quizing him with the usual questions which always seem to trigger a host of memories with the elderly.Both of us were swinging through  the counting backwards-he eager to be correct and me relieved everytime he uttered the right number.He was born in 1917.When I asked him about the world wars he told me,'You know,I don't like to remember that part because I was in it.'
At the end of the interview this pleasant gentleman whose AMT score was 7/10 said ,'You know that was good.'
That brought a deep joy in my heart because it is not every day that one has the privellage to connect with a ninety five year old with dementia.
Thankyou.