Monday, July 17, 2017

Mourning with a friend.

My friend Primula put up a message in our whatssapp group.It was a one liner.'My father just passed away.'
This was the ex-chief minister of Sikkim she was talking about.Felt very sad.
Primula was my friend from my school days.We all studied in Tashi Namgyal Academy ,the only public school in Sikkim which was originally meant for the royal children and later went on to become an autonomous body.
We were borders away from home in the capital ,Gangtok.
Primula was the chief minister's daughter but was the most humble of the lot.She was very caring and concerned about all her friends especially the hostellers.Every now and then huge packet of tucks would come our way and she never forgot our birthdays.I still have a small saving safe marked with orange pen ,a gift from her.Every year on her birthday we were invited to the chief minister's residence to celebrate it with her family.It was a happy affair with the CM himself making it a point to meet us and her mother ,the smart parliamentarian would entertain us.I don't ever remember buying a gift for her.
With time life took us through various routes ,I have been out most of my adult life but I sort of kept in touch one way or the other.We were connected through social media.I have not met Primula after we left school.I continue to carry warm memories of her.The social media has a way of exhibitting our lives sometimes unknowingly.I sort of knew what was happening with her life.
This winter while sauntering with my uncle to the dispensary for parliamentareans I ran into Mr Bhandari and his second daughter who was a junior from school.I greeted him ,he talked to my uncle,a colleague from the political milieu of India.
One thing that struck me about him was his sheer persona.He was shining all through.He in no way looked sick.
On returning back that day I sent a message to Primula saying that I had met her father and she was down south in tirupatti then and sounded surprised.
I suspect it is a great loss for my friend ,losing a father who towered over Sikkim politics for close to two decades,a man who had absolute sway over what happened in Sikkim then.To me ,he is a friend's father,a chief minister who was meticulous to the point when we were invited for dinner to his place after our class ten results were out,we found that he had pinned our board exams mark on the board behind his desk at Mintokgang and had marked out few of our performances and called us out for it.For a child then,it did not seem out of place for one did feel like one had achieved much with that result but as an adult when I look back I feel much humbled.I mourn with my friend for her father.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

A saturday in Arsenal.

Last sunday when I was at the Dominion theatre attending a hillsong London church they mentioned the Just one conference at Arsenal.There was an invite to join the one thousand choir as part of the hillsong team.I booked myself in for the conference because I was off work on saturday besides Matt Reddmann whose worship songs have been such a blessing was supposed to be leading the worship.It was organised and compered by John J and his family.I for one had never heard of John J but the week before the conference I sat and listened to a lot of his messages on the youtube.
It was a joy to see so many people heading towards the stadium.Arsenal stadium was a grand affair,immediately thought of my brother who is very keen on watching a live match in the stadium when he comes over.I believe there was a crowd of twenty three thousand people.It was a happy saturday with people of every kind everywhere around.
The worship was led by Matt Reddman,hillsong,London community gospel choir,Noel Robinson.I,for one prayed ,Lord where are you in the grandeur of the man-made gigantic structures.As Matt led in worship one could see an aeroplane fly above in the skies.A host of pigeons floated around all the time which was amazing.
There were interviews with a footballer,a member of parliament from the House of the Lords,the ex-bishop of Iraq who seems to have multiple sclerosis but was the person who brought John J to the Lord,and a lady who had broken some world record but now was working against human trafficking.
The message was given by John J,beautifully clear ,it was a message of salvation and call to hope.How I wished I had invited my non-beleiver friends along.At the end he gave out three kinds of call.A call to receive Jesus into one's life,a call to let Jesus have the driver's seat in our lives(We mess up because we don't surrender the steering wheel to Him),and the third call was to explore by joining alpha course or a seven course series on Life explored found at life.explo.red
What amazed me was people got up and out of their seats in droves...collected the packets of materials and prayed the prayer of salvation,intent and request with John J.As people started moving Matt Redmann sang 'Amazing grace-my chains are gone'.
I had been a little wary and was questioning the glitter of it all but was strangely humbled.
In my lifespan ,I had never seen so many people respond to an alter call .The message was simple,to the point and clear.
The conference ended with 'one thousand reasons'.John J said that when he died ,he had told Matt Redmann that he would like him to lead the choir and the song he would like sung at his funeral was 'one thousand reason'.
Another thing that really touched a chord somewhere was when he shared about the time when the thought of organising the conference came to him.He roped in a friend...to take the lead in doing this,his words were,'he is busy playing golf so I asked him why do you want to waste your time,why don't we do this and he took it on from there'.

A gift of tears.

I was surprised other day with brokenness in one of my patients which crossed the lines of my belief and faith.My first instinctive response was immediate slamming of the door silently in my mind,and then suddenly a flood of compassion came over me ,such compassion ..that broke my heart.I understood little the heart of God..and the heart of Jesus...thank God for the Lord's grace on judgemental smugs like me.
Every day the outpatient is a treasure box ..refugees come for a better life..sick in a foreign land,mothers with disabled children-carers,overworked, bankrupt emotionally ,wives of husbands working abroad,frightened to be alone to face the struggles,divorced women from conservative backgrounds making do somehow,homosexuals frightened of what tomorrow might bring..the list is endless.
The compassion that God gifts us is perhaps the most precious gift God can give us ,a heart that breaks and weeps with the broken world around.
If I don't have that I might as well be dead.