Shattered glass

Butter fingers. Soft, tender and dreamily melting in the mouth butter. It started with a cabbage that literally flew like a missile out of my hands into next stall, knocked over a bowl (katasa) of tomatoes, rolled into the peppers then somersaulted into the carrots. The drama of that cabbage.πŸ™„ The stall owner totally unamused, narrowed her eyes and gave me THE LOOK! (For shame). But Jesus took my shame. I quickly gathered my fingers and wits, apologised profusely and rescued the errant cabbage.

This morning I broke a glass. Well, I wouldn’t quite say that I broke it. That would imply malice and aforethought. It slipped out of my fingers. Well, not quite slipped either. Let’s say, it bounced on and off my fingers, danced onto my finger tips and as we were just getting the hang of this waltz, it slipped off. And slid to the floor, where it made the most earth shattering noise! What had been a very quiet morning, was rudely interrupted by the crash and subsequent splattering of glass everywhere. Ssshhhhh

Photo credit: Pinterest

Why can’t glass keep silent as it shatters? Why does it have to spread every where? Why are the pieces so tiny? How do the pieces get into all those hard to reach crevices and nooks? Why is glass transparent?

The Quiet returns. But my mind was undulated as all these thoughts and more started to race through it. I quickly run to sweep up the glass shards. I had to do it quickly and swiftly. Because my once happy go to glass, was now a danger to anyone who came near it. Like porcupine quills, it’s shards keep everyone far away.

I sweep the debris into the dustpan. Sweep again to get any remaining pieces . Sweep again, this time, further away, shards do fly! The last sweep brings no glass. We are done with the cleanup. I get back to putting away the other glasses.

In that moment, I realized I could vow to never touch a glass again. I could make it public. I could even get accountability partners. I could give away all the glasses I have and replace them with all this trendy almost but not glass things. I could even sit my children, nieces and nephews down and lecture them on the dangers of glass and implore them to stay away from glass. Why? Because glass is dangerous. It shatters.

But then who sits and wails over a broken glass. Who calls their friend for comfort over a broken glass? A broken glass is replaceable and life it goes on.

Well, my dear reader, so it is with every other failure. Yes, it may seem like the world is coming to an end. It may seem like without this opportunity, you have reached the end of your road. Shame. Tsk. Tsk. Tsk. Not so.

Life is not the way it’s supposed to be. It’s the way it is. The way you cope with it, is what makes the difference.

Virginia Satir

Because you carry around a mental image of a picture perfect life, failure will rattle you to your core. Take time to mourn your broken glass. Gather up the shards so you are not bleeding on people who didn’t hurt you. Pick the lesson and dispose of the debris. Soul debris takes a while to unravel, like pieces of glass hidden in the crevices, you keep finding bits you didn’t know we’re there. Trust the process.

When you are ready, put the rest of the glasses away. Or better yet, pour your favorite drink and savor the taste of goodness.

TGIF

I hated Mondays, dreaded Mondays. There was just something about Mondays that was dreary- the jam was too heavy, the tea was cold, and the alarm never ever sounded when it should have-I always arrived in office in a huff! Thursdays were always brilliant days, it was the day before Friday- such a lovely day, Friday. I got to do the things I loved after Friday- that is until I met a group of people who lived for Mondays.

Joining the work force, my script read ‘I hate Mondays,’ it even came with a t-shirt. My role was to carry a scowl on Monday that would slowly transform into a brilliant smile by Friday. I was born for this role. I loved it.

Some where in the vague memory of my kindergarten years, even in my foggiest part, this song will play. I sang it and performed it for my parents, gleefully with all the actions. Ad nauseum.

Slave, Slave in America

Working day-,day and night,

Planting sugar-,sugar and tea,

When I was in America.

Later, in life, I wonder why we sang this song at all and its sum total value, but I was way past my formative years and it was clear, there would be no America for me.

Even though America was deleted as an option for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,- working day and night became equal to slavery. The pursuit of happiness was what my 8-5 work week was, I went through the drudgery of work to enjoy by blissful weekends.

THANK GOD IT’S FRIDAY!

That is until I met a group of people who loved Mondays. These people were high on something, all excited and uppity on a Monday. They had big plans for the week and high hopes. They were go-getters. My bosses who always saw things in me that I didn’t, placed me in this team.

Oh my, it was harrowing at first. At first, and then it got a bit exciting. Just a bit.

The team leader had a right fit mentality, she placed people where they fit best for team and for their competencies. She was quick to catch on my love for data and systems, the last person had gone on leave. I was immediately placed in her role. Big shoes to fill because this was the year BC, Before Computers. Everything was calculated manually first and then you lined up for the few computers. Did I mention that this team loved their work? Getting to a computer was a hustle, however, I had a window of opportunity, each time they went to the field, I had the computer to myself. Life was good.

Not only did these guys love Mondays, they loved Fridays. The goal was to have all reports in by midday, Friday. Friday afternoons in office were ghostly, yes, with skeleton staff. These guys partied hard. My kinda people. So we worked hard and we partied hard, Monday morning, we all appeared fresh and pimped for the week. If you are looking for the leaves we were chewing, check out @living la vida loca.

As a testimony to Newton’s 3rd law of motion, the party extended across borders. I would board Akamba for Nairobi on Friday and be back, Sunday evening. For all the energy I was expending at work, I needed an equivalent amount or even more happiness to replenish it. Nairobi, it was.

TGIF reloaded.

True to Ricky Martin’s lyrics, she wore me out. You cannot keep those wheels on the bus running, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year. This was slave, slave, slave all over again. I gave Ricky Martin back his leaves, lyrics and t-shirt. I picked up Kenny Roger’s The Gambler, I knew when to walk away.

There is a series running at Worship Harvest called #somekamoney. Check it out here,no more slave, slave, slave.

The hand you are dealt

It all started with my brother’s status. He posted a picture of the val d’orcia ,Tuscany and suddenly , I was hearing theme songs from Gladiator.

My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.

What a short and very poignant summary of the movie. Maximus a Roman General , a victim of greedy and wanton Commodus. Victorious from battle one minute poised to be the next Emperor, next he is nothing but the scum of the Roman Empire. Despondent, despairing.

Lately, Christmas season has been a series of disappointments. Reflectively, I have not lost as much as Maximus, incomparable even. His was the true meaning of How the Mighty have fallen. Nevertheless, the Christmas season has always been poised as a happy one, glad tidings, great joy and all that. The first thing to go was Santa, there is no πŸŽ…. So naughty or nice, that doesn’t matter, he is not real. As a working adult, there were no holidays. So this ‘happy holidays!’, that was not real either. Lately though it has been a reminder of loved ones not present at the dinner table, their jokes no longer ring in their air. When their favorite carols are played, they are not present to sing along. Sigh, sigh. This year as I reread the Nativity story, it slowly dawned on my already fragile belief system that the Magi were not numbered, they did not visit Baby Jesus in the manger. They followed a star, the people who do that now are called astrologers. Hmm. Then there was neither stable nor inn. The Jews had an upper room like the One the disciples prepared for the Last Supper. That was the ‘inn’. So the upper room of their hosts was full, they slept downstairs with the animals. So many Christmas carols, nativity plays went with this one.

As I watched Maximus, grieve over his murdered wife and son, I wondered how does one go through the motions of life when all has been taken away? Or when you realize that the Empire whose values you upheld has destroyed it in one swift moment and you are completely undone? What happens when all your achievements are weighed and deemed irrelevant because you will not bow to the whims of wickedness? And all your dreams and aspirations are crushed because you will not believe in a lie?

The crucible.

Paul writes to the Galatians and tells me that if he were to please men, he would not be a bondservant of Christ.

In the crucible, you answer the question, whose bondservant am I ? Maximus remained the loyal servant of Marcus Aurelius. He would not bow to Commodus. He chose slavery. The drudgery, the angst over the whims of an unstable lunatic Commodus.

Christmas reminded me of the One, in whom all things consist, the One who is before all things. He chose me, He chose to love me in close proximity. We have beheld His glory, full of grace and truth. He chose pain and death so I wouldn’t die. I found myself singing Easter hymns at Christmas:

when I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of Glory died My richest gain, I count but loss and pour contempt on all my pride.

With the angels, I worship and sing Gloria in Excelis Deo. With the shepherds, I sing what child is this?

Hope floats

Proximo, the most unlikely person sees him for who he is. He picks him out and Maximus remembers who he is. I am Maximus Decimus Meridus, General of the Felix legions. He may not be advancing Rome but by winning the games for Proximo, he will be free. Free to dream again in Rome. He becomes the best gladiator. he leads the best team. He meets Commodus.

My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius. Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife. And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.

Now we are free (you need to listen to the sound trackπŸ‘Œ as played by the 2 Cellos)

Paul also writes to the Galatians to stand fast in the liberty by which Christ has made them free and not to be entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

Proximo dangles freedom to men born free. Commodus takes away freedom, chains it and throws away the key. Maximus has one thing left, vengeance. He sets himself to avenge the deaths of his beloved Marcus Aurelius, his wife and his son. Everyone rallies behind him, Cicero, Lucilla, the gladiators, his army, Proximo, the crowd. He gets vengeance. He is free.

When are we truly free? When we have all we ever wanted? When we die?

I agree with Paul. When you meet Jesus, you are free indeed. He is the resurrection and the life, though you die yet you live. All earthly freedoms are valuable, they can be traded against each other and for other trinkets. Not so the freedom in Christ, it is sealed and guaranteed by the Holy Spirit. God Himself is the guarantor of my freedom.Christmas has become a symbol of a never ending freedom.

Like Maximus, Now I am free.

I stand fast in the liberty by which the babe in the manger, the lamb of God has set me free.

Blindsided?

Well laid out plans crumble within seconds. Our carefully crafted facade melts in minutes. Everything we have spent our lives building is taken away in our hours. Our friends stab us in the back, intimate discussions splashed all over media, dirty linen washed on Oxford street.

God, where were you? You had this all wrapped up to a t! How did this happen on your watch? Everything is spinning out of control. Emotions, negative and ugly emotions, overwhelm you, suck you into deep dark days as you realize, you were an object of a power play. You were left open at the flanks. You were blindsided.

And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:7 NKJV.

The prophets had foretold the birth, Isaiah actually foretold it in amazing detail. Hundreds of years before He was born. And so far, everything had gone according to plan. Even Micah’s prophecy about Bethlehem, by Augustus’ decree, they were no longer home in Nazareth but home in Bethlehem. How did they find themselves with only a manger as a crib? Yet it had been planned with meticulous detail? The three Kings were on their way, following a star. For two years. Is it possible that God could miss out such an important detail? Mary needed a room at the inn to give birth to her baby or a room at grandmas? Surely, someone should be kind to the expecting mother.

Or was it the beginning of rejection? Of insignificance? Isaiah prophesies that there is nothing attractive about Him. He is so ordinary, we shall miss Him. Micah calls out Bethlehem as the least of the cities. Isn’t He the son of David, the shepherd forgotten in the fields when the Prophet Samuel came to visit? Simeon tells Mary a sword will pierce her heart, is this the sword being positioned? Isaiah describes Him as A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, has the journey to being that man already started?

Paul encourages the Corinthians as he himself was encouraged, when you are weak, God’s strength and power is perfected and complete in you. He reminds the Romans, it is while you were ungodly, without strength that Christ died for you. John describes Jesus as the light that darkness cannot comprehend. When we are blindsided, we are God shielded; God wrapped; In the manger is where we find that light cannot be hidden.

Glory to God in the Highest and peace to all on earth.