My Takes

Just my humble opinion…

Who Found Who?

I have always wondered about the saying,  “I was lost but Jesus found me”.  I never fully agree with it and have spent hours analyzing its true merit.   I have no argument with the ‘being lost’ part of it but the way to salvation or ‘Jesus finding you’ is what I am not in agreement with.

Before we are saved, we stumble through life blindly or lost but remember, we are lost to knowing Christ but HE knows where we are.  He does not need to find us. We need to find HIM. When a hunter or a hiker is lost in the woods for a few days then suddenly emerges to see his cabin in the distance, he cannot claim that his cabin found him. Yes, he was lost indeed but he was searching for a way back to his cabin. In the same way we search for God or some other reason for our existence and we find him.  He never finds us because he was and is, always around us!  Get what I’m saying here?  I know there’s a parable about the lost sheep being found by its shepherd but that’s different.  The sheep NEEDS to be found.  A sheep would not go looking for the shepherd.  Luckily, we are a bit smarter than sheep.

Saying we were lost but Jesus found us sounds as though we were sitting there waiting to be found and Jesus showed up and that was it. Found!  It’s not that simple.  We need to search for a way to HIM.  We were LOST TO HIM and need find our way back home, TO HIM.

Again, this is just, MY TAKE.

Bothering God?

Image result for prayingHave you ever felt that some things are not worth bothering God about? Like that headache that’s keeping you from going out with your friends or the pimple that suddenly showed up just when you finally had a date.  Dear God, please make this embarrassing thing go away so my date could go well.

I know we are supposed to take everything to the Lord in prayer but when tens of thousands are dead and thousands more affected by earthquake in Nepal and other disasters around the world, parents mourning the murder of their young child, my embarrassing cold sore pales in comparison.  So I don’t.  I know HE’s omnipotent and can see all and do all but still…I can’t help but feel selfish asking God to attend to my selfish and petty wants while others are in dire need.  Instead, I choose to pray for those whose needs exceed my own.  And there are many of those.

Don’t you agree? Or is it just My Take?

Finding Happiness

Happiness

Happiness (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Happiness is perhaps one of the most debated topics.  A quick visit on the web and you will be bombarded with ads that offer inspirations or blogs on how to find the elusive happiness.  How To Be Happy, What Is Happiness? The Happiest City to live.   Many hit songs and movies are centered around the subject. Happiness.

In this soup mix of life, happiness seems to be the base.  It is our raison d’etre or the bane of our existence.  No matter who you are and what you do, your main quest is happiness.  Even the cold-blooded murderer seeks happiness.  Unfortunately, bringing harm to others would not bring you real happiness. Happiness is also subjective, meaning it is relative to the individual.  What makes me happy does not necessarily make you feel the same. On the flipside though, making someone happy could also make you happy.  How easy is that?  That’s what I would call true happiness.

Even though it is unanimous that we are all in the same hunt for happiness, many of us are so caught up just fighting to merely exist that happiness becomes an afterthought.  A luxury only the lucky few could afford.  We seek things that either give us a false sense of happiness or a temporary happiness-fix.    I am going to make lots and lots of money, I might not be happy but I will be rich.  If I do find happiness, then bonus!  The majority of us are in jobs that give us no sense of happiness but they pay the bills.  We spend our entire lives in this situation.  Money does not equate to happiness, just ask anyone who has won the lottery.  Some even wished they had never won.

We sometimes envy celebrities and the lives they live.  They seem so happy and why shouldn’t they?  They have everything.  Well, except true happiness.  The happiness of going for a walk without having cameramen jumping out of bushes.  Walking into a local grocery store or shopping at the mall without wearing a mask…who should envy who?

Happiness is elusive but only because we make it so.  It’s actually simpler than we think.  It’s a smile, a song, a hug or making someone’s day.  Things that money can’t buy.  Then why can’t we find it?  One reason is that we really do not know what happiness is.   We seek to have the happiness of others.  We want what we think makes those people happy.  Sometimes when we stumble upon happiness, we dismiss it.  It’s too easy.  I don’t deserve this.  Why am I happy?  Another reason is that we seek to be selfishly happy. It’s been proven that making others happy brings us happiness but who really wants to make others happy? What if we make them happy but do not get any happiness out of it?

Happiness is there for the taking, barely elusive.  So how do we find it? By realizing it is not lost in the first place.  Don’t over-think it, just be happy.

My Take

 

On Fat Shaming

michael-buble-instagram-fat-shameThere has been a lot of discussion on the issue of fat shaming lately, with stars from Kelly Clarkson to Pink being targeted by ‘fat shamers’. What’s that you asked? Well Fat Shaming is basically the act of poking fun of someone who you think is overweight.  Noticed I wrote ‘think’ in italics? It’s because it is usually the opinion of the shamer.

Last week, Canadian nice guy Michael Buble got the social media world in a frenzy when he posted a selfie of himself.  Nothing wrong that except the photo had a woman in the background wearing short shorts.  Buble posted the photo on the Instagram with hashtags, #babygotback, #myhumps and #hungryshorts.  Adjectives you can hear any time and any day on your local radio station.  Maybe it’s me as I’m a bit slow on the uptake sometimes but I fail to see where that could be fat shaming.  The woman in the photo had nothing to be ashamed of.  Maybe mad as hell that someone she didn’t give permission to posted a photo of her on social media.  Did I mention that he also had the hashtag #beautifulbum?  Not #fatbum.

Fat shaming is a form of bullying and so can be very traumatic, especially when the victim is vulnerable.  Although some of us could do with a wake-up call or a gentle nudge that we need to smarten up and go easy on the coke and chips, no one has that right to try to shame us into it.  if we are the architect of our own fatness by the way we live, we might need our friends to step up and tell us exactly what they think in a constructive criticism kind of way.  The last thing we need is a fake friend to tell us how great we look while we put on the Macdonald’s pounds.  There are diplomatic ways of saying things.  I once thought I was at an ideal weight until my Wii Fit Fat Shamed me by announcing that I was overweight!  The nerve! I wasn’t mad though, I took the constructive criticism in a positive light and shaped up.

There are a couple lessons to be learned here.  Do not post people photos without their permission and do not take everything so personal.  Growing up in the Caribbean, it was considered healthy to have some meat on your bones.  I was skinny shamed, called names that made me feel I was starving Ethiopian kid.  So know yourself, love yourself. If someone try to fat shame you, look in the mirror and see if you like what you see. If you do, shame on them. If you don’t, fix it. Remember, people will talk about you no matter what you look like.  So it’s up to you to like how you look.  If you are unsure, see Pink’s response to fat shamers. Here.

My rant:  We created this stupid vicious cycle with our ill-placed obsession with physical appearance then get offended when the very weapon we create is used against us.  We feast on shows and songs that promote certain body types and looks, yet act shocked when it comes home to roost.  Tut tut! Until we can evolve into a better race of people with a grasp on how to co-exist, fat shaming, bullying, racism etc., will be forever with us.

Buble, although in my opinion you did nothing to suggest you were fat shaming the cheeky damsel, your irresponsible actions, especially given your position, left a lot to be desired.

But relax man, it’s just my take!

 

That’s What Friends Are For

Facebook logo Español: Logotipo de Facebook Fr...

credit: Wikipedia)

I have been toying with the idea of deleting some of my stagnant Facebook friends for the longest time now.  You know those on your Friends list who are just ‘there’? They never comment, they never like and they never have anything on their own page worth liking or commenting on.  You wonder why they are even your friends since you haven’t spoken to them in forever.  Well that’s where I was but never got around to it because I had more important things to do that unfriend people on Facebook.

Yesterday, I was made to feel guilty about my dastardly plan.  I posted that my father had passed and a tidal wave of comments in the way of condolences washed over my page.  Those who didn’t offer comments via my page, called or messaged me.  It was overwhelming as it was touching.  Many of the well-wishers were old friends who I hadn’t spoken to in over 15 years!  To think, I thought they didn’t even know I existed.  Some were on my ‘To Unfriend’ list!

So you see, not because your friends are stagnant and not contributing much in terms of communication, they are there for you in your time of need.  They are probably too busy with more important things than liking or commenting on Facebook.  Having a Facebook account does not mean one has to be a Facebook addict.  Right?

Marriage Ain’t What It Used To Be

Cambodian wedding

Cambodian wedding (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Remember when marriage was a sacred thing and involved extended courtship followed by an engagement?  Not anymore.  Marriage is a joke now, hardly worth the paper it’s written on.  Courtship? What’s that? Ain’t nobody got time for that!  In fact there is even a reality show called ‘Marriage At First Sight’.

“Married at First Sight” is an extreme social experiment that follows six brave singles yearning for a life-long partnership as they agree to a provocative proposal: getting legally married to a complete stranger the moment they first meet. Four specialists – sexologist, Dr. Logan Levkoff; psychologist, Dr. Joseph Cilona; sociologist, Dr. Pepper Schwartz; and spiritual advisor, Greg Epstein – create what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle and see each other face-to-face, for the first time, at the altar. Over the course of several weeks, episodes capture each couple’s journey as they go from wedding, to honeymoon, to early nesting, to the daily struggle of working on their marriage. After several weeks together, each couple must make a decision: do they remain together or decide to divorce?

Do you believe this?  Are you still wondering why this place is so messed up? Beam me up, Scotty. Quick!

Hanging With The Old Folks

I have always enjoyed being around the elderly. Maybe because I love stories and the older they were the more ancient and mesmerizing the stories they told.  I loved sitting there listening to them as they tell me about their experiences in a time that I can’t relate to.  I let my mind wander and try to imagine how it was.  My grandmother is 103 years old and I could spin an almost complete tale of her life from the personal bedtime stories she told us.  Her mother, my great-grandmother, was 104 when she died.  She also regaled us with her personal tales.  So yes, I loved the elderly.

Being a people-person, I felt that I had a talent that I wasn’t using by sitting for 8 hours at a desk.  The only way I could do this was to volunteer.  I signed up with a homeless shelter and did a few stints prepping food.  It was rewarding but just didn’t quench my thirst.  I am not sure why and how but I ended up filling out a volunteer application form for a nursing home in my neighborhood.

The nursing home is ran by the Seventh Day Adventist Church and many of the residents are Adventists.  This mean that they observe the sabbath, starting from Friday evening to Saturday evening.  As a ex-Adventist myself, I volunteer to lead them in hymns and praises singing on Friday evenings.

I have to admit, I wasn’t very enthusiastic on my first shift.  Yes, I love the old folks but I was used to them interacting with me, not sitting in wheelchairs unable to respond to anything. I was filled with compassion and sadness.

I soon adjusted and before long, used my charm on the unsuspecting elderlies, especially the ladies. I threatened punishment if they did not join in and sing and complimented them when they wore something, had a new hairdo or fancy jewelry.  Or if they sang loudly.  It wasn’t just about me going there to sing, it was now about something more rewarding.  Not just for the residents but for me also.

Friday evenings are usually the best time for winding down after a hard long week.  Going to sing at a Nursing Home doesn’t seem like a typical fun thing to do on such an evening.  Sometimes I think about calling in sick so I could hang with the family and enjoy a Pizza Friday.  Like last Friday for example.  I must confess that when my coordinator calls at the end of the year to see if I was interested in committing to another year, the little voice in me says, take a year off, you deserve it. Plus the residents barely know you are there anyways, so they won’t miss you.   I am stubborn so I never listen. I drag my butt the couple of blocks and sing for residents who for the most part look like they would rather be in their comfy beds than listen to me sing ‘How Great Thou Art’.  But I keep on singing.

I have formed some friendships at that place and have listened to some pretty interesting stories.  Usually a relative or two would join our hymn singing, one such fellow sat with his wife and added his rich bass voice to the singing.  His wife passed last year but he still comes in the sometimes just to sing with us!  There are times when I would miss one of my regulars for a few sessions. It would pain me to find out that they were gone but we move on.  Mary is probably the oldest of the residents. She is 100 years old but you would never know by looking.  She loves to share her stories with me and at the end of our singing, goes around collecting the hymnals, placing them on her walker which she calls her limo.  She loves it when I bring the boys to sing with me, as everyone else does.  Mary always have treats for them.

Old folks love kids! Well most of them do.  That’s where my boys come in.  At first it was hard convincing them to accompany me and when they went the first time, I had some explaining to do  Being kids, they were at first repulsed and a little scared.  They still managed to steal my show on their first visit and have been doing so ever since.  When the boys are there, no one pays much attention to me, instead stare at the boys, especially when they sing their favorite number, “Jesus Loves Me This I Know”.

Last Friday, my centenarian buddy walked in a few minutes late.  Of course she asked where the boys were and added that she was out with her daughter but asked to be brought home early.  When her daughter asked her why, she told her that I was singing and she loved when I brought the boys.  That made my day and I was glad I didn’t call in sick. I am sure she wasn’t the only one who would have noticed my absence.

The residents, those who are able, thank me profusely at the end of our hymn singings. They enjoy what I bring them but what they bring me is much more.  My life has a little more meaning because of them. I know that those who look at me with blank stares, unable to show emotions, are actually hearing us and enjoying the songs and that’s a reason to keep doing what I do.  Maybe unknowingly I am singing for one of my friends’ Mom, Dad, Grandma or Grandpa.

Nursing Home Ministry

 

It’s The Nature Of Their Jobs

English: Gatso mobile speed camera mounted on ...

English: Gatso mobile speed camera mounted on a 2004–2006 Toyota Corolla (ZZE122R 5Y) Ascent station wagon, photographed in Geelong, Victoria, Australia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sometimes we are so hard on those who are tasked with the unpleasant job of making our lives hard.  The guy sitting in the parked car taking photos of us as we speed past, disobeying the posted speed limit, the repossession agent or repo man taking our 60″ flat screen television that we ‘forgot’ to make the monthly payments on, that a**hole boss who picks on us when just because we take too long on our breaks or even the math teacher who dares to tell us that our Ivy league kid is failing math.  We hate them and sometimes take out our frustrations on them, but they are only doing their jobs.  Yes, even that poor lonely sap sitting in the speed trap car.

If we stopped and think about it, none of these people started their day thinking, “I am going to be an a**hole today.” No, they are like you and me. Just earning a dollar doing what they are paid to do. If we get mad, then they are doing a darn good job and deserve a raise. How about the the defense lawyer fighting for the rapist who cruelly and viciously violated our young daughter? Well he too is just doing what he’s paid to do.  We really don’t hate on them much though, do we? Maybe we should.

But then again, that’s just MY TAKE

 

And That’s Why I Don’t Watch The News

I read recently with utter disgust and anger, a news article about an Afghanistan woman who was murdered for some concocted reason.  “Although details are unclear, some witnesses suggested that the attack was sparked by a dispute Farkhunda had with the mosque’s imam. Whatever the case, the mob was bent on killing her in the most horrific manner. They dragged her body with a car, then burned it and threw it into the Kabul River.”  Even though I hear stories of women being murdered and treated like crap in that part of our world but this still astounds me.  IT IS 2015!!

To further perplex me and raise my blood pressure, the story went on to say, “It took two hours to murder her, the brutality unfolding as hundreds of people and armed policemen watched, doing nothing to save Farkhunda from her assailants. The neighborhood police headquarters was about a five-minute walk from the mosque. Many witnesses shot photos and videos with their smartphones.”  How sick does that sound?

Hundreds of people and armed policemen! These people were no less criminals than the actual perpetrators! They watched a woman, a sister, a daughter, being murdered in the most inhuman and savage way and did nothing.  Well not exactly nothing, some took photos and videos. I want to vomit. I am ashamed to be a part of this human race that has the capabilities to inflict such harm on a fellow human.   I am sure an intervention would have been swift and unanimous if a dog was being kicked by its owner.  Or a cow yelled at in India.

Almost two weeks ago, a 74-year-old nun was raped! A nun for goodness sakes. I know we have come to expect this sort of violence against women from ‘that part’ of the world but we shouldn’t. It doesn’t matter if the victim was from India or Afghanistan or the USA, it’s still the same and we should not expect or tolerate it. Don’t say, ‘Oh it’s their culture, it’s their religion’.  It’s a human life plain and simple.  Maybe she did burn the Koran, but isn’t it written somewhere in that same Koran that murder is not tolerated? If not, it should.

I am angry, I am disgusted, I am sickened and saddened…And that’s why I don’t watch the news!

It’s Not You, It’s Me

I find that I generally have low expectations of people.  This way when they over-excel and prove me wrong, I am pleasantly surprised and thankful that there are good people out there.  And I like surprises!  Personal experiences have taught me not to expect too much of anyone.  In fact, they taught me to be downright distrusting until trustworthiness is proven.  But don’t worry, it’s not you, it’s me and my trust issues.  And also, MY TAKE

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