Storms do exist. It’s not freedom from such storms but the peace within in spite of them that leaves man unruffled. In fact life moves on at peace; it’s man, who in his greed gives rise to storms.
Read a beautiful children’s story today. It was about a community of people who believed that if they gave long names to their children then the length of those names would fetch great fortune for the kids. To exemplify this belief, the writer introduces a family who has named their son, Yani Matadi Utama Karoli Olla Shaki Wondo Khare Lalikhuna.
There is another community which believes in humility and also that only the Omniscient, Omnipotent and Omnipresent Power can fetch fortunes and shower blessings for all the hard work that they are made fit enough to do for themselves. To exemplify this belief, we once again get introduced to a family who has named their son Charm because they believe that fortunes do not make life beautiful but a charming personality can do wonders to bring in favours.
Now the two kids often play together and are good friends. It so happens that one day while they are playing, Charm kicks the ball so hard that it rolls and falls into a well nearby. Charm runs to see if he can get it back and as he bends to look into the well, he slips and falls into it. Yani Matadi Utama Karoli Olla Shaki Wondo Khare Lalikhuna runs to Charm’s parents to inform them and seek help for his friend. ‘Uncle, aunty, Charm is in danger. He has fallen into the well. Please come to save him.’ A storm of bad news then suddenly blows out peace from their lives. They run for help to their neighbour and call out to him. ‘Sir, please come and help us to save our son Charm. He has fallen into the well.’ The neighbour rushes out and calls out to the gardener for help. ‘Mr. Gardener, please come to help. Our Charm has fallen into the well.’ The gardener runs along but calls the cleaner for assistance. ‘Oh Mr. Cleaner, please come along with us to save our Charm. He has fallen into the well.’ So we have many people running to save Charm. They reach the well and throw the rope Mr. Cleaner has taken along to pull out the lad and save Charm. They overcome the storm and go back home in peace with their child.
Soon the boys get back to their fun and games and after a few days a similar thing happens again. But this time it’s Yani Matadi Utama Karoli Olla Shaki Wondo Khare Lalikhuna who falls into the well. The same race of help follows and you can imagine the time it would take each character to call out such a long name. Of course, a lot time and energy gets wasted in calling out such a lengthy name and by the time they all can reach the well to save the lad, he is already drowned. The storm here has been successful in its vicious plan of destruction.
As I read this story, a whisper spoke to me. Medals and ambitious attachments of prefixes in honour of one’s deeds or degrees, most of the time, add a load of painful responsibility. They do not necessarily bring in great fortunes but rob one of being fortunate enough to enjoy a beautiful life with all its charming and wonderful gifts of serenity and peace. Instead of choosing the ways of their community, if Yani Maatadi Utam Karoli Olla Shaki Wondo Kahre Lalikhuna’s parents had chosen the way to freedom of choice, they would have not lost their son.
The world is a deep well of greed which robs all excitement of life. It uses the cat logic making us want to fit into the size it presents to us. It wants us to forget that we are made much larger and bigger than the boxes presented to us by the world. We have a choice to demand bigger boxes of existence to fit in a lot of blessings, ample amount of gratefulness, all our excitement of living, a heart full of thankfulness and millions of moments of happiness.
As I share this story with you my reader, I also share what it taught me. It taught me that the universe has no obligation to make any sense to me. That it’s my duty to make sense of my life for myself because it’s ultimately all about the choices I make that matters. Whether I fix my bedside lamp or decide to bring light to a dark and pained heart somewhere far away unaware of my help, it's my choice. Whether I make my own new path and walk on it taking in all its freshness, or choose to walk the path worn out by thousands of feet ahead of me and feel exhausted and fatigued in its stench of familiarity, it's my choice. As John Ruskin has put it, ‘The common practice of keeping up appearances with society is a mere selfish struggle of the vain with the vain.’
A moment of cogitation makes me wonder if the Holy Spirit residing deep in our hearts must be laughing at our stupidity of faith in the words of the world, in stead of submitting to the word of sense ingrained in us as a birthright. ‘For my people have done two evil things: they have forsaken me, the Fountain of Life-giving Water; and they have built for themselves broken cisterns that can’t hold water!’ Jeremiah 2:13