The Village Tree

It can be noisy and annoying, for some, when children are playing.  Noisy sounds of children, chattering and playing, can be heard from far distances.  They did not seem to have enough time before darkness completely takes over daylight.  To them, it seems like the last day on earth.  Relieved from their daily routine, they are enjoying every bit of it.

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There was a huge tree in our village.  Village folks referred to it as ‘the village tree’.  The tree is located in the center of our neighborhood.  It appeared to be a full-grown tree and must be of ages.  With its perfect location and long branches spreading out for all, it is home to the villagers throughout the day, especially early in the morning till late evening.

For any events in the village – ‘At least one members from each family are requested to meet at the ‘village tree’ for discussions or before any community work had been initiated’, notices was served.  Before the advent of Community Centers, few motion pictures, which could instill harmony amongst the community, were also shown in the shades of the tree using projector.

It is where different generations of the villagers met together.  Young and old came out of their home in the evening to sit in the shades.  They would talk about the day’s work, politics, past glories of the village, and many more general topics.  Not all parts of the world are exposed to modern culture.  They would, comfortably, sit in the elevated area in the roots spending their leisure time.

The tree had united all the villagers in the shade.  By spending time together, they become more united and get to know each other well.  Any threat or person trying to demean harmony can be easily sorted out through discussions.  Migrants and new faces joined them, which takes them further intrude in the realm of the villagers till they get fully settled.

Few times, I had enquired about who could have planted this particular tree.  However, nobody seems to know much about its history.  Almost everyone came up with different theory, which seems to be backed by their friends.  May be they made it all up, I guessed.   The most valid and acceptable theory could be that the former generations had planted the tree for generations to come.

Every year, when spring dawns, the tree grows new buds to replace those leaves shed in the previous months.  The bud of the tree is edible, which sometimes caused few snarling sounds among the villagers.  It is natural – when there is something to benefit freely, it caused a rift in human hearts.

However, we felt blessed to have such a tree in our village.  We thank God for His creations, which had become one of the most ‘happening zones’ in our village.  The tree is not worshipped instead of that, whenever we sat under the tree, we are left in awe of God’s care for human race.

One morning, the very sad news of ethnic conflict breaking out nearby came around.  The villagers run amok like a flock of bird scattering away at the sound of gunshot.  That day marked the end of an era.  No villagers ever came in groups under this tree anymore.  Peace had eluded the village ever since.

The village tree slowly gets deteriorated, which might be caused due to its loneliness.  Eventually, the tree died a natural death, someone reported.  The tree, which had once provided shelter to the villagers, was no more talked about.  When violence and hatred enter the world even an innocent tree had suffered deeply.  It is gone!

There would be no other thing – human or any creature, like the village tree, which could accommodate all the villagers – any kind of them whether good or bad, rich or poor.  Be an agent of change – when interacting with others, spread love and unity among the ‘global villagers’.

I Spent All My Time Alone: Desolation

While scanning through my old journals, I’ve found this piece – a kind of short poem.  It was written in those times, when I really feel desolated.  And, I know, I am not a good writer.

Some ten years ago, I wrote this small piece.  My joy and happiness are short-lived.  My health was a major problem and my preplanned life did not seem to flow as I’d desired.  Few people have seen it.  And for them, it really looks annoying and depressing.

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For me, it’s a kind of prayer to God or my physical and spiritual barrenness being let out.  Here I cannot tell you all my problems but I’ve already told my God.  Some problems are solved or just withered away while some are still work in progress.

If you’ve been through such times, you might feel it.  But for some people, as I said earlier, was a waste of time and simply depressing.  I am blessed to have a look back and feel a bit relief by His grace.  By the way, even in the midst of storm, we  never walk alone.

There are times when I really longed for God’s presence in my life.  Many times, I let it slipped away from me.  One thing or another snatched away my happiness.  Yet His faithfulness endures forever.

Now this is what I wrote.  Feel free to go through it.  Should you feel with me, it’ll be a good thing to let me know or remember me in your prayer.  God bless you!

I Spent All My Time Alone

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In desolation I spent  all my time,

Where is Your presence in my wilderness?

Yet my faith will not perish on the way.

It’s hard to even call on Your name,

How will I ever feel Your presence again?

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Yet my mouth will sing Your praise.

Through the sorrow and the pain,

My hope in You gives fragrance of life.

I will keep praising you forever.

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I cannot see the plans you had for me.

Is there a good thing you’ve planned?

Yet I will not lose my faith in You.

It’s really hard for me to pray,

Would your presence not go with me?

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Would you not filled by barren soul?

Broken and deserted here I lay.

Yet where would I go besides You?

It’s really hard for me to pray,

From my sickness and sadness deliver me.

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Yet my mouth will sing Your praise

Through the sorrow and the pain

Yet my hope in You gives fragrance of life

I will keep praising you forever!

Give me Rest!

At a very young age, we started working in the family paddy field.   We grow rice to meet our essential need for food grains.  It was not meant for commercial purpose.

For starters, rice is grown in a water-retentive soil, with a reliable source of water for irrigation, and a way to drain the water when it is time for harvesting.  Growing rice is the main source of food grains in the region.

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From dawn to dusk, we spend our time preparing the field suited for planting rice.  I felt blessed to have learned, lived, and experienced the art of farming in the field.  It takes a lot of hard work to garner a good harvest at the end of the season.

First, it was making the cultivation bed or terrace ready, which needed hard work the most.  We used self-made Langkawn in ploughing the land.  Since we do not use machine, the work need to be done physically.  The process took huge toil on our physical as well as our mental strength.  Looking back at those time, it easily fits into our story time with my children.

In the muddy soil, we started our work very early in the morning.  Every stroke of our ‘wooden-handle spade’ made us nearer to the most awaited lunch time.  With no more energy left, I remember lying down in a pool of muddy water many times during the period.  However, I needed to get up again so that I can have a hearty meal and take rest in the shades.

We were filled with mud and dirty water.  However, when we washed in the clean water we become as fresh as new.  Let me tell you something here that it always reminded me of the cleaning of sin by the blood of Jesus Christ.  For it is written:

Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.1

There is something to do in my part; I have to get up from that mud-filled soil with the tired body.  So that I may get rest, very much-needed for my well-being.

The hope of getting rest for a while in the noontime keeps us going, although the hope of getting a good harvest seems like a distant dream, for now.  However, if there is no natural calamity for that particular year, a good harvest is assured at the end of the season.

Now, with the preparation of the cultivation and planting being done, it looks like a very promising return will be garnered at the end of the season.  Even the sight of it provided attractive scenery, with its clean and lustrous green look.

Let me conclude herewith what has been offered to us with open arms.

“Come to Me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”2

1 Isaiah 1:18b, 2 Matthew 11:28

The Small Cabin – a place of hope

I’d just graduated from High School.  It was time to move into universities.  My friends and my peers are busy juggling their choice of universities.   For me, it doesn’t seem to happen soon as I wanted.

There was no money in our family balance sheet for entering a prestigious university.  Since Daddy involved us in maintaining the balance sheet at a very young age, and I know, there is no money.  There is no point of putting up a demand, which cannot be met.  It will simply lead to unwanted misunderstandings for a moment.

At that time, we lived in the western corner of a small town.  Nearby our house, there was a place designated for prayer but not yet in used.  In the family, we called it as ‘our Bethel – our place of prayer,’ taken from the biblical Bethel.  Every evening, just before dark, Daddy led us there to kneel and pray.  So the practice of talking to God was inculcated in us.

One day the thought of spending time alone with God, acknowledging my needs and concerns, came in my mind.  I asked Daddy for his permission to go alone in a prayer mountain, which was located at the outskirts in the eastern side of our town.

Daddy agreed with the idea.  So, in the evening I set out carrying the Bible, hymn books, and some candles to be lighted in the night.

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There are number of small Prayer Cabins made available for anyone who wanted to spend time with God.  It was maintained by the Nehemiah Prayer Team based in the vicinity of our town.  I’d occupied one such cabin by myself – all alone.  I was there for three days and four nights, fasting – without eating a thing.

I’d sang and prayed through day and night.  I’d started pouring out my heart.  My secrets were made known to God, especially those I could not afford to tell anyone.  In that way, letting myself emptying.  There was no time for sleeping.  It was as if someone came down to spend time with me.  It was a great feeling.  It was a time I will never forget in a life time.  My request and thanksgiving were let known to Him.  It was a time to commune with my God.

In between, I remember singing several devotional songs like –  ‘God will make a way’, ‘There is none like you’ by Don Moen, ‘Pass me not…’ by Fanny J Crosby, and many more.

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope,” Jeremiah 29:11 reads.  This is a ‘very promising verse’ in a ‘very unpromising chapter’ of the Book of Jeremiah.

Now that the fourth night was over, the Caretaker of the place came and informed.  My brother came to pick me up and bring me home.  I was happy to spend such time at a very young age.  However, my request to God for a prestigious university did not happen for one year.  I felt lighter and happier than before.

I am blessed to work as a small time Teacher in an Elementary School at that time.  After a few months, I got settled in my job.  I loved spending time with the school children, imparting knowledge as much as I can.  I also enjoyed their company through the day.  I was thoroughly enjoying my role as a teacher.  Even more so, I earned money for the family and my enrolment in a local college.  It was a tight schedule from morning to evening, and I was really happy.

One year had already passed, when one day, I got a long distance call from one of my Uncle.  He was enquiring if I would like to pursue college degree from a prestigious university.  I was informed that they could spare some amount from his hard-earned money towards my study expenses.  And that I might pursue higher studies if I wanted to.  Now, I was overwhelmed by what God has done.

Even after one year, when my hope has already become thin, He answered my prayer. Not all prayers are answered, there are unanswered prayers too.  I praise God for His unfailing faithfulness!

We discussed the matter with my father, and agreed to take advantage of the ‘help’.  I was fit and healthy then.  So, with high hopes, I set out to enter one of the top universities of our country.   I started there and go on to complete my master’s degree in few years.

Unexpected twist and turns are experienced over the phases of life.  However, one thing that never deserted me – ‘His presence’ – the presence of God even in the worst crisis of life.  I do believe, He will lead me Home safe and sound, when all life’s works are completed.

Written based on my journals.

Birthday Thought

I’m in my thirties.  I have a good palate but I’m not very fond of creamy cakes for some reasons.  I’m not that ‘old’ to write my thoughts about life.  But there are certain things I’d been through, which make me write this piece.  By the way, today’s my birthday!

From my near death experience to having a glimpse of Heaven, life here on earth is as good as it gets.  My life, we usually called it, was not really in my hands.  In the hands of God, who created me, I will return in His time.  And for that, the way of life and the way back to Him were clearly stated.  Life’s like an infatuation.

In that few seconds, what I treasured and my cherished moments will vanished in thin air.  However, I should not be mistaken for this; life should be lived to its fullest but there would be judgment on our life after death.

Life is like sequences of forming a circle.  It is God who formed or created us.  Here, King David wrote our beginning:

For (God) You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,

In between, while living our life here on earth, there is one important thing we should not missed.   Sciences and their innovations or inventions are meant to help live our life easier.  Every effort was put to re-discover or research about the great work of God.  In the midst of all this, there is a certain way that will lead back us to God.  Have a look at this:

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

If we accept Him that means we go through the right way.  Victory over death we’ll proclaimed, as He did.  If there is no hope of life after death, for me, I don’t find it worth suffering each day.  Let’s read here again that:

…We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

That is the day eagerly awaited by the believers.  We can be one of them.

Now if you see, life is like a circle:  We were formed by God, we lived here on earth, and going back to Him is inevitable.

Many times, I know, God doesn’t make sense.  Probably, when my desires are not met by Him in the way I wanted it to be.  Human wants are unlimited, and we knew it.    I hope we’ve been through that hard times but it doesn’t lasts forever.  Hang in there and wait for Him.  One after another, we will be delivered.  Not necessarily in the way we wanted, but it will be in His ways.

Read:  Psalms 139:13, John 14:6, 1 Cor. 15:51-52.

She is my Mother!

A thousand miles away from home, I am blessed to start a small family.  It wasn’t easy.  When things did not fall as planned, there’s someone to whom I can always poured out my heart.  Being grown up isn’t easy either.  We all need someone to cry on.  She did not interrupt me while I am pouring out my mind.  She did not utter unnecessary words, she knew what I needed.  And that she is my mother!

There was no hospital nearby.  Every delivery was attended by experienced mothers in the village.  The labor pain must be intense.  The suffering, however, was taken to be just a normal thing by men.  We did not know what they go through, mentally, physically, and psychologically.    To give birth to me, she risked her life.  She is my mother!

The use of diapers was not introduced to us at that time.  My bedwetting spree was the talk of the house in my childhood times.  Mother never scolded nor treated me bad because of that problem.   I still remember what she told me.  ‘You can do one thing,’ she said, ‘to pray to God so that you wake up when there is pressure for urinating.’  In that way, dearest Mommy instilled the power of prayer in my life, which I could use throughout my life.  She is my mother!

She spent sleepless nights because of me.  My tears and my cry pierced her heart.  She spent all her thoughts and strength tending to me.  I became the apple of her eyes.  At the same time, she need to prepare meal for the whole family as they were busy working to make ends meet.  We were big family then.   With the little energy she gets from the meal, she fed me.  She is my mother!

In the field, she grew vegetables.  When we were young, mother was toiling during the day.  Mother worked through every kind of weather, be it sunny and rainy days.  The vegetables products were sold in the market by her.  The money earned was used to buy clothing and meeting educational expenses for us all.  However, I never heard my mother saying a thing about being tired nor did she complain.  It was an act of love, she never runway from obligations.  She is my mother!

In my younger days, I used to spent time with my friends till late at night for some years.  I know there will be someone who would not sleep till I get home.  In the middle of the night, when I got home, she was there to welcome me.  She reminded me to get home early but never did she scold me.  To which many times, I replied in a light mood, ‘Mom keep praying for that’.  But I never fully understand how much I meant to her.  She is my mother!

She was soft-spoken but was tough when needed.  I did not remember my mother shouting on me.  She did not use harsh words.  With her love she molded me in taking the right steps.  She was true to her words.  Her soft words easily heal my heart.  There are times when I really longed to hear her voice.  She is my mother!

The first time I hear Mommy’s voice trembling was when Daddy left us for eternity.  She was a strong woman who can hold her emotions.  She did not simply show her emotions.  I respect her for deeply loving my father.  They were together everywhere they go and whatever they did.  Many times I thought Daddy must be real happy to have her in his life.  And that she is my mother!

A mother’s love was unique and binding.  She never gave up on her children.  Many times, I saw her on her knees praying for her us.  A praying mother was truly a blessing to have.  When mother told, “I am praying and/or will pray for you”, it always gave me comfort.  She is my mother!

She was encouraging.  She told us to be strong and face the world.  Mother always reminded us that the world and its beauty will fade someday.  Whatever is happening on this earth will not last forever.   The good the bad included.  And I believe I can face the world because of her payer.  She is my mother!

There are more reasons to write about my dearest mother whom I adore and love so much.  Stay blessed Mommy.

Being rejected or accepted

We were alone at home.  Daddy knew her well, he assumed.  It was time for her noontime nap.  Daddy cleared his throat to sing a soft lullaby.  When Daddy cleared his throat, it was as if he is to going perform in a rock concert.

So she cried and push a little.  Daddy feel rejected, and he crawled out like a lazy cat.

“Papa….please”, she pleaded me to come back.  She knew there was no one beside daddy in this time of the day.  Daddy wanted to act proud but he couldn’t.  He goes back and sings a very soft lullaby.  Her hands running over my face becomes velvety soft.  And she fall asleep in few minutes.

It is selfish to love someone because of selfish attitude.  Every human should be appreciated for their existence, not because of what they can do for us.  We preach love but we did not follow.

Acceptance, had you ever ask someone what they most wanted, was what we craved for.   The feeling of being accepted is a game changer for many.  However, what is bad for the family and society or for the person, should not be accepted.

Love someone not just because you need them.  Not just because you have the obligation to do so.  Not just because you wanted to please your desire.  It is tiresome.

Here, I am not saying my girl is selfish.  It is with them young children.  They will soon outgrow it.  However, she taught me this beautiful thing by the way she acted.

Someone’s love is better not to be taken for granted.  We won’t find the true meaning of it.  And we might end up hurting someone.  When we found out, it might be too late.   I had come across few people who have experienced it in their life.

Above all, there is only one true love, which should not be rejected; Agape* – the unconditional love of God.   I don’t think you are alive today by mistake or just because you take enough care of yourself.  It is because of the love of God.  Even when you do not need and despise His love, you were never rejected.  You are given time….may be you might end up without accepting it.   If so, it our life would be a complete blunder.

“In the time of my favor I heard you, And in the day of salvation I helped you.”*

I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation. 2 Cor. 6:2

Rest assured in him.  However, don’t get me wrong when is say this.  There are so many things to fight in life.  But one thing, God will give you the strength to carry on, lived on.

* Agape is selfless, sacrificial, unconditional love, the highest of the types of love in the Bible.

2 Cor. 6:2, Isaiah 49:8