Early morning walks. You’ve just got to love this -- blue clear skies, sun peeking behind gray mountain tops, birds chirping flitting from tree to tree, gentle breeze blowing, and tall lush green trees bending to the wind. Include pockets of wild flowering bush scattered by the roadside. Almost like paradise. Well, almost. Because as the minutes add up to the hour, you will also begin to hear the rattle of pots and pans in kitchens, the aroma of breakfast food cooking, the sound of car engines warming up for the day, mothers in high-pitched voices coaxing young ones to hurry up for school, dogs joining in the melee yip-yapping for no logical reason, and school buses with horns blaring calling for their little wards. Yup, that’s my typical neighborhood waking up to a new day. But I love it – love walking round nature slopes and passing the concrete diversity of homes gearing up for the day’s grind. One other thing, morning walks free my mind to meander through the meadows of thought -- uninterrupted. So here goes.
Yes, you’ve got talent. I don’t buy it when a person tells me that he or she has no talent. Absurd! What an insult to our Creator. It’s like saying God makes junk. Talent, we are told, is a skill at which you do so well. Talent as defined by Mr. Webster is ability, capacity, aptitude, flair, and gift. The familiar ones we naturally see and admire-- drawing, painting, dancing, writing, singing, acting, etc. are what we ordinarily connote as talent. If still you think or believe you don’t have any of those—well, allow me to say that there is something else that you certainly have and must know-- something so much more and which we often fail to see. Give these a thought --- A person’s capacity to listen to others, to be patient in times of trouble with one’s own or over those of others; the flair for creating peace and harmony, of smoothing the rough edges of a relationship; the expression of kindness, sympathy, compassion, and understanding. These too are ‘talents’ and which God poured out over us. Now having understood this, the questions that should be asked then is –what are we doing about it? It’s certainly not given us simply for hoarding or for decorating our persona-- well, it does in a way. Rather, I think, it’s meant mainly for a distinct purpose. This gift is meant to be shared – to help others see hope, live hope in the midst of a difficult life, to help them catch a glimpse of heaven here on earth, to help ease their burdens. If you see yourself doing this --- then believe it, you’ve got it in you! – The capacity to love, to care, to serve, to show compassion, to empathize with one another-- That’s talent! -- God-given talent.
Be careful what we worship. Ralph Waldo Emerson has this to say – “A person will worship something, have no doubt about that. We may think our tribute is paid in secret in the dark recesses of our hearts, but it will out. That which dominates our imaginations and our thoughts will determine our lives, and our character. Therefore, it behooves us to be careful what we worship, for what we are worshipping we are becoming.” This isn’t about religion; it’s rather the adulation of a very common kind. Are you familiar with this line? --- That children who hero-worship their fathers or mothers become like them when they grow up? It’s not just genes; it’s the workings of the mind and the heart, too. My nephew now in his early teens idolizes his Uncle Jose who he considers smart, witty, and brilliant-- who acquired wealth and possessions from his measly job at the tax office. Such wit and talent but put to bad use apparently, yet my nephew doesn’t see it that way at all. He vows to be like his Uncle Jose someday when he grows up. Well, I’m pretty sure that he will turn out undoubtedly just like his Uncle Jose ---‘cause he unwittingly programmed it into his head through his hero-worshipping but sadly of the wrong ‘hero’. Therefore, “it behooves us to be careful what we worship, for what we are worshipping we are becoming”.
A weed is no more than a flower in disguise. The paths I walk round the mountain slopes are lined with weeds, ugly weeds, bare and useless. Let me ask you this --- What are the weeds in your life today? Is it a disappointment, a falling of hopes and dreams, a betrayal, a failed or false expectation, an obnoxious person who makes life thorny for you, or a dead-end? Does that all make you want to give up? Willing to gather those weeds and throw them into the furnace? Wait! I wouldn’t if I were you. No matter how much suffering or pain these things may have caused you, it can still be a source of joy and beauty, but only IF you agree and decide to look again hard enough. Yes, there’s something you are undoubtedly missing. Behind the bad times and worse struggles and difficult people around you are the built-in opportunities for growth in wisdom and maturity. I’ve said this many times before and I will say it again – only through the fire shall we become even better. So, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats or the hopeless dead-ends -- so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it. The weeds that you see in your life – are actually dazzling flowers in disguise. Gorgeous flowers of wisdom, hope, faith, courage, strength, and dreams renewed again and again. Truly a weed is no more than a flower in disguise. Don’t pluck out your weeds, just reveal the flower within.
Sweeping up the dirt I was nearing this middle-aged woman, in t-shirt and black shorts, sweeping the front of her house. I saw that she was doing quite a thorough job of sweeping going through the grounds like a fine-toothed comb. Omigosh, as much as I admire her sense of thoroughness at the task, I abhor the possibility that she, too, was sweeping the tiny minute unseen-to-the-eye creatures of the ground. Ugh! Anyway, I slowed down my pace as curiosity got the best of me. Just as I thought-- she left no stone unturned, no graffiti safe, even the ground seemed reduced in size with the passing of her broom lolz. J Now… can you imagine if we could sweep away the debris of our lives just like that? That would take a magic broom, of course. Have you identified the ‘debris’ cluttering your life? I’ll bet you would put in a lot of bad events, situations, experiences, people, bad habits, and other things besides in that category. How about prejudice, bias, attitudes, addictions, perversions, greed, and corruption? Oh yes, the ills of the world. Wish that we could sweep them away too, right? Well, let’s start with ourselves. Sometimes ‘junk’ of all sorts seep into our life and chip at our values. Small things which may seem trivial at a glance so we pay no heed to it. But these slowly gnaw at our values like termites do on wood. Pretty soon bits and pieces are being altered in our minds and hearts. What used to be whole and wholesome has become shredded, tattered, and cluttered like garbage. Debris stored up within and taking its hold or grip on us. It would take a bigger space or separate post to talk about this I know. So let it suffice to say here that we need to be aware of our internal garbage and sweep it up out of our life and throw it into the bin. Tough job, I know; but at least let it be said that we try bit by bit and seriously. Now I wonder if the sweeping lady is just as good in sweeping up the debris in her life, too. :-)
Into each life some rain must fall. Oh, but it’s drizzling now – soft rain! So pretty! Come to think of it, trouble comes like rain. JBut there is no trouble-free life. Not even for Bill Gates or the Queen of England. There’s no guarantee that things won’t go wrong, malfunction, break down, go off tangent or totally miss the mark because it does and will. Rain pours down equally on the good and the bad, the sick and the healthy, on tattered threads, and on your best Sunday suit. Troubles, like rain, don’t choose their target; no distinctions made, everybody is fair game. That’s just what I hate about it. I wish that it would pick the likes of the Princess of Monaco or the Maharajah of a kingdom, or a brilliant scientist who could eventually discover some sure-fire solution to the ills of the world. I heard of a few who can buy ‘solutions’ or hire people to worry for them. Lol But, please, spare little ole me-- an ordinary small unknown teeny-weeny person that could very well go through life unnoticed and rocking nobody’s world! But alas it does pick on me, too, and so with every blob of head inhabiting the face of the earth. Why? Because! Exactly, there’s no plausible explanation why. Troubles come, like it or not, and no amount of pleading or sweet talk can make it skip you. It’s not like ‘Hey, if I promise to clean up my room, eat my vegetables, and love my enemies, will you not come to my door?’ You know what it’ll say to that? “Sure, buddy, clean up your room and the garage, too; devour your vegetables till you puke; and love your enemies till they drop dead incredulous over you --- BUT I’m coming just the same!”. In which case, therefore and henceforth, I resolve by the power of the King of Timbuktu vested in me (does that lend a legal tone to it?) ---that I, ordinary human being, in the same manner that I bring my dependable umbrella when it rains, shall bring my trusty prayer with me when troubles chip away at my days like rain!! And just like how my little niece at bedtime would end her tiny evening prayer, I say “Amen!”, too. :-)
Well, I have now come to the end of my morning walk--have worked up a good sweat though. Now for a whooping good breakfast! Yup, morning walks sure work up a healthy appetite. How does pancakes, egg omelet, and iced tea sound to you? Good? Then come on in and be my guest. :-)
posted on Friday, April 07, 2006 8:58 AM