His mind returns to thoughts of his father more often now, and with less pain. Perhaps the years have healed the wound – at least partially. He has lived his whole life at a distance since that awful day when dad said, “You are no longer a son of mine. You are dead to me.”
His life has been dead. A life dead to his father. A life without contact, without conversation, without proximity. Never again have they seen each other or heard each other’s voice. Their relationship became non existent. He realizes the awful truth now with many regrets – his life has really been death. Separation from his father had many implications he only begins to realise now. Death to his father was also a death to relationships generally, a death to his self image, a death to his way of thinking and even acting.
Initially he did not want to make contact, but as the years rolled on he tried to no avail. He moved house, he moved phone numbers, he moved email address. Death was final for him. Imagine life reunited with the father. Much would change, much would heal. This would be a new life. In a sense it would be moving from death to life as far as relationship with the father is concerned.
Jesus used this language to explain his mission on earth; sent from the Father to the lost sons and daughters in order to establish a new relationship. Alive in the world we are dead to God – we don’t hear him or see him. This is not the life he wants for us. Jesus came to give us life – a new life in relationship with the father. Jesus said he wanted to move us from death to life, even using the graphic illustration of bodies rising from the grave. For some inexplicable, amazing, mind blowing reason God wants to be in relationship with us – he wants us close, he wants us to know his love, to hear his voice to see his form. We don’t need to be zombies – the walking dead to God. We can have life with God right now. That’s why Jesus came. That was his message.
To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
Nails are a great way to connect things; fast and easy to apply, nails have been used for centuries. All you need is a hammer and a nail and job done. Screws are better at holding things together but they are slower to use – you cant just bang in a screw with a few blows. You need to drill a hole, then use a screw driver to turn it in – two pieces of equipment instead of one, and the operator has to have more skill (to get the hole the right size). Bolts and nuts are an even better way to hold things together but they are much slower and require even more equipment – a drill, a driver and a spanner. Bolts require even more skill to use because the hole has to be exactly the right size and sometimes you need washers as well.
I live in a world where everything has to be done faster – we get impatient waiting for water to boil, as Matt Church said even instant coffee is too slow for some. A hammer is too slow these days, we have invented the hammer gun, a device which can drive a hundred nails a second. When a nail is not enough we have invented self tapping screws that can be driven by a machine, allowing many screws to be applied in minutes. And we have machines that can drive bolts as well. Even with much faster connection solutions, the temptation remains; if you have a hammer then everything still looks like a nail. When it comes to problem solving we often use the hammer approach – well tried, fast and easy, we bang out a solution and get on with it.
Consultants and personal coaches like me tend to come along after three or four solutions have been tried. Our client by now is often ready to listen to advice, sometimes ready to slow down and understand the root problem before suggesting another solution, occasionally ready even to accept that they may not have the personal skills to solve the problem.
Recently I have seen a separate issue preventing problems form being solved; an issue that keeps businesses, organisations and individuals locked in their cycle. I forgot that the hammersmith is proud of his hammer wielding abilities. He likes to use his skills and they give a tremendous sense of self satisfaction. He likes to display his skills for others to see, to admire, to praise. Ego may not be a dirty word but it is certainly a roadblock to growth and problem solving.
Whilst Jesus Christ offers an interesting and unique way of overcoming our ego most people aren’t interested in his advice. An alternative may be to reconsider how we feed our ego – the traditional way already mentioned is to feed our ego by doing what we do well. An alterative is to feed our ego by learning new skills. To recognise our hammer ability whilst also learning to drive screws. Of course we see this often, from academics to the medical profession and many others besides, we recognise the need to keep learning new skills.
Why is it that some people get stuck whilst others keep growing? Why do some repeat the same cycles whilst others break free and create new cycles? Why do some people defend their hammering skills when others are learning about nuts and bolts? We have mentioned the problem of speed already – sometimes we just wont invest the time needed to learn a new skill, or to uncover a root cause to a problem before trying to solve it. Perhaps another issue is our discomfort with uncertainty, our desire to know what is next, our will to be in control? Clients become very uneasy when we discover that we don’t actually know the root cause, and they become fearful when we realise we don’t have a solution. I think this is a lack of faith – faith that there is always a solution to every problem, faith that by following good process we’ll find a solution, faith that searching for new answers can be better that repeating old ones.
And I think that underneath faith there is trust. Trust in our self, trust in another, trust in the universe, trust in God. The failure cycle locks people into fear and a lack of trust in themselves – how can I trust myself when I keep making the same mistakes? When others let us down or don’t do what we want them or expected them to do we can lose trust in them. When our world seems to be in a downward spiral it’s easy to consider that the universe is purely negative and difficult and against us. And when we don’t know God we don’t trust God.
Of course I will suggest that the solution to all problems is to get to know God, and as a consequence to learn to trust God, and as a consequence to forget about ego altogether. The universe can and does let us down. So do people. And we let ourselves down also. We can’t learn to trust God through our experiences; we need to experience God himself and first hand. When we do we realise that we don’t have to rely on our hammer, we wont have to limit our world to one filled with only nails.
For a good night’s sleep
Read this on Facebook –
“A psychologist walked around a room while teaching stress management to an audience. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they’d be asked the “half empty or half full” question. Instead, with a smile on her face, she inquired: “How heavy is this glass of water?”
Answers called out ranged from 50 gms to 150 gms.
She replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.” She continued, “The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralyzed – incapable of doing anything.”
It’s important to remember to let go of your stresses. As early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don’t carry them through the evening and into the night. Remember to put the glass down!”
As a practicing coach and trainer I was absolutely blown by the analogy. How true this is. I did not know whether this is the contra to the oft said statement “If a repeat it enough times you will believe in it”. It is often that we let ourselves get drawn into our own shells by thinking of what is not going right and in the process kill that peaceful sleep. For some reason I read three things today which almost said the same thing three different ways.
On FB a quote from Dalai Lama when he says he is surprised about man “He is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being he does not live in the present or in the future”.
And then I was having tea with JK in the afternoon and giving her one of my favourite sermons about “forgetting the past as it is limited in scope and how looking forward gives us a vast canvas to work on”. She was looking at FB in the evening and reads out “The rear view mirror is small and gives you a limited view while the windscreen is large to give you a much broader view”. What a way of putting across a very complex philosophy of life.
Amazed that in one day I would hear all about leaving the past and thinking of the future. Enjoy the present and love life today. And then this thing about not carrying the glass of water for the whole day. Phew! When I go to bed my prayer today is just going to be “Let me get a good night’s sleep and wake up in the morning like there was no yesterday”.
……first of all a BIG thanks to MM who was kind enough to pass on Peter’s details to me in Jan of this year. Peter is a gentle giant of a sort who helps people in need and lives about 45 minutes away from my house. My son and I visited with him last Monday, March 4, 2013.
Per Peter, whether I like it or not, ‘somebody’ is coming into my life in 27 days, 27 weeks, 27 months. I will also inherit one more child.
I share this because:
-> I am a firm believer in the ‘Laws of Attraction’ and that the universe will always give what one wants.
-> I also firmly believe that nothing will come easy and I need to get my act together and
-> I know you will all hold my feet to the fire once I commit to it on TDPP also, too…
-> I don’t want my son to grow up thinking that the only answer to ‘mess-ups’ are ‘miss-ups’. I want him to believe in second chances for himself and for others too.
Unrelated news 1: I got the details of some dogs waiting to be rescued. See some of them in: http://www.thedogrescuersinc.ca Once my son’s applications and further studies are dealt with, I might just commit to one of them.
Unrelated news 2: I am making good progress with spoken Arabic and spoken French. Few more weeks and then on to spoken Spanish and Mandarin….yeahhhhh
The “Me” I think I am
The “Me” I wish I were
The “Me” I really am
The “Me” I try to project
The “Me” others perceive
The “Me” I used to be
The “Me” others try to make me
……………………………another morning like the past Friday!
After a short bus-ride with my friends, sharing our anguish over the Tsunami, wishing each other well for the upcoming weekend, we three got off at the GO station where we parted ways. I take the GO train while both my friends take a different bus each to their workplace. While waiting for the train on the platform, I felt my blackberry jingle. I picked it up and found this email:
Hope all is well. My name is A, F’s husband. Could you kindly send me your contact number. F had a health issue exactly 2 weeks ago ( Feb 25th ) and I know she will like to hear from you.
F was transferred from St M’s hospital on Wednesday ( March 9th ) to P Healthcare.
You can reach me on xxx-xxx-xxxx or my cell phone xxx-xxx-xxxx for more information
T, T and T are all doing well.
Love to your son.
My mind went numb again for the second time that morning. I called him with a sick feeling in my gut and what he told me shook me up even more. My lovely, ambitious, go-getter, happy, giggly, joyful, bold and daredevil friend suffered a stroke and is now partially paralysed. He said that while she remembers somethings/ some people, she is not able to recognise and recall somethings. He is trying to contact all her friends to share the news and to help his wife feel and get better.
My friend is just in her early forties with three kids one aged about 2+ years: for the love of GOD, I didn’t expect her of all persons to have a ‘stroke’. You are all probably thinking: ‘What naivete!”. I agree, I was naive in this regard. I dragged myself in to work, somehow got through my tasks and spent my break and lunch time researching on this. Look what I found on the Mayo clinic website:
WHAT IS A STROKE? A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of your brain is interrupted or severely reduced, depriving brain tissue of oxygen and food. Within minutes, brain cells begin to die.
A stroke is a medical emergency. Prompt treatment is crucial. Early action can minimize brain damage and potential complications.
The good news is that strokes can be treated and prevented, and many fewer Americans now die of stroke than was the case even 15 years ago. Better control of major stroke risk factors — high blood pressure, smoking and high cholesterol — is likely responsible for the decline.
SYMPTOMS: Watch for these signs and symptoms if you think you or someone else may be having a stroke. Note when signs and symptoms begin, because the length of time they have been present may guide treatment decisions.
- Trouble with walking. You may stumble or experience sudden dizziness, loss of balance or loss of coordination.
- Trouble with speaking and understanding. You may experience confusion. You may slur your words or be unable to find the right words to explain what is happening to you (aphasia). Try to repeat a simple sentence. If you can’t, you may be having a stroke.
- Paralysis or numbness on one side of your body or face. You may develop sudden numbness, weakness or paralysis on one side of your body. Try to raise both your arms over your head at the same time. If one arm begins to fall, you may be having a stroke. Similarly, one side of your mouth may droop when you try to smile.
- Trouble with seeing in one or both eyes. You may suddenly have blurred or blackened vision, or you may see double.
- Headache. A sudden, severe “bolt out of the blue” headache, which may be accompanied by vomiting, dizziness or altered consciousness, may indicate you’re having a stroke.
RISK FACTORS: Many factors can increase your risk of a stroke. A number of these factors can also increase your chances of having a heart attack. Stroke risk factors include:
- Personal or family history of stroke, heart attack or TIA.
- Being age 55 or older.
- High blood pressure — risk of stroke begins to increase at blood pressure readings higher than 115/75 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). Your doctor will help you decide on a target blood pressure based on your age, whether you have diabetes and other factors.
- High cholesterol — a total cholesterol level above 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), or 5.2 millimoles per liter (mmol/L).
- Cigarette smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke.
- Being overweight (body mass index of 25 to 29) or obese (body mass index of 30 or higher).
- Physical inactivity.
- Cardiovascular disease, including heart failure, a heart defect, heart infection, or abnormal heart rhythm.
- Use of birth control pills or hormone therapies that include estrogen.
- Heavy or binge drinking.
- Use of illicit drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamines.
Because the risk of stroke increases with age, and women tend to live longer than men, more women than men have strokes and die of them each year. Blacks are more likely to have strokes than are people of other races.
While I don’t really know about my friend’s recent blood pressure or cholesterol level, I know for sure that other than birth control pills and her race, she would check negative for all the other risk factors. But the reality is (when I visited the rehab-centre on Friday evening, after my work), I found a thin, teary and restless friend with a nasty 2-3 inches long incisional-scar on her head on the left side that was swollen, still raw and appeared very painful. She kept rubbing her left palm over it murmuring to herself in pain.
She was alone in her room as her husband had just left her bedside two hours ago, to go home and take care of their three school-going children. While I could easily make out ‘Thanks’ and “Amen’ in response to my words of encouragement, the rest of her words were very garbled. I had to think fast on my feet, point out to the ‘clock’, ‘food’, my ‘winer-jacket’ and re-phrase what I thought she meant. She would in turn widen her eyes, shake or nod her head and smile big to convey her dissent or consent.
Amidst all these ‘dumb-charades’ she managed to ask me about my interview, my son’s studies and also chided me for not buttoning up my winter-jacket. She giggled with me when I told her about the party we would have if not for anything other than escaping from the bland hospital-food. She kept giggling while she slowly fed herself with her left hand. She either could not or did not want to move her right arm and leg the entire time I was there. I kept massaging/rubbing her right hand and leg over the bed-spread, while all the time asking if she could feel my hands. She nodded but did not or could not move her limbs.
After she had her dinner and settled for the night, she pointed to the clock on the wall and told me to go home. I promised to return to spend a whole day with her. I told her I would bring books with audacious pictures, I would read jokes and stories to her so s..l..o..w…l..y….that she would want to jump out of the bed and grab the book to read them herself. She teared up again and mumbled ‘thanks’ with a big-smile. She is the kind who would say this…………..
………….yes, get well soon my dear friend! We have miles to go and things to do don’t you dare short-charge me!