The same is true of both blessings and disasters. That’s why, when it comes to the latter, they say, “Nip it in the bud.”
Archive for the ‘Earth Feast’ Category
Posted in Earth Feast, The Wind in the Willows, tagged 24, action, allegiance, commitment, courage, dedication, determination, dissatisfaction, do whatever it takes, failure, fear, Jack Bauer, Kiefer Sutherland, loss, mission accomplishment, regret, Renee Walker, Season 7, Seth Godin, Television, Television Series, Tony Almeida, TV on September 27, 2010| Leave a Comment »
Once there was television… And then there was Jack Bauer. Simply described, badass – the biggest, baddest and best television has ever seen.
Stubbornly pursed lips bent on serving out justice, grim eyes that defiantly stare death in its face, brazen boldness both in stride and word coupled with unequalled brilliance of scheme, weapons in skilled hands that miss no mark no fraction of a second too late – the irrepressible federal agent controlled only by self-will and determination, know for his unmatched courage, resilience and resolve despite losing everything to gain nothing for self – so surreal, yet very real even if only on reel is Jack Bauer (played by Kiefer Sutherland).
For me, and I believe many more across the world, Bauer and “24” have redefined television forever. Never has a character or TV series been so compelling or convincing, thanks to the ingenious concept, script, direction, performances and cut that went into its making. We, the captive audience, couldn’t help but join Bauer in the longest days of his life by spending the longest days of our lives watching every episode of every series back-to-back if we could help it. What was it that mesmerized us so and still holds us in its grip? The heart-thumping action, no doubt… and like it or not, the dissatisfaction – of never getting enough of Jack Bauer. I, for one, can honestly say that 24 was my “twelve” and I struggle with withdrawal symptoms, now that the series has concluded. Seth Godin was right when he said that great brands (and I say, great TV series/characters) are built on dissatisfaction. You have a prime example of that in 24!
What drew me most to Bauer and what I will no doubt remember him most for, though, is his motto to “do whatever it takes to save them and I mean, whatever it takes.” (Dialogue between Jack Bauer and Renee Walker in my favourite season, Season 7) Sure, there has been a lot of controversy about the torture and violence implied and portrayed throughout the series as a means to the end. However, my fascination is with regards to Bauer’s commitment to protect his country and people no matter what the cost. As a federal agent forced to turn fugitive whose wife was killed, daughter estranged, and his own health seriously jeopardized on more than one occasion, he owed his country nothing, least of all after they abandoned him as prisoner to the Chinese and then decided to sacrifice him in order to meet terrorist demands – all of that despite the great service he had rendered his country. Wouldn’t some recognition be in order? A medal of honour, perhaps? Or a bravery award? At least, a chance at a decent life? But, no!
I find it hard to fathom such unquestioned allegiance and dedication to a cause, harder still to implement it in my own life. Season 7 forced me to think hard and question my own commitment to mission accomplishment. Was I willing to do whatever it took? Or would I turn chicken when the going got tough? Worse still, would I turn into a Tony Almeida, agent turned traitor, disillusioned, distraught? Would my losses, failures, fears and regrets rule me or I would I overrule them?
I learned that the name Jack Bauer is believed to allude to the highest card in the game of Euchre, the “bower” being the jack of the trump suit and the most powerful card in any particular round (via Wikipedia). I sincerely pray that in my mission and commission I will come out the “Jack Bauer” in every trial, know that I have been given a spirit of power, believe that I am more than a conqueror with greater strength in me than is in the world. So help me, God!
The other day, I got back from Chennai after a wonderful conference. I had done a little shopping, and was mighty pleased with the brand new Samsonite Skywheeler I had gotten at a good discount – that was until I tried opening the number lock and it wouldn’t budge. I had followed instructions and set the code correctly, but for whatever reason, it just would not open. Breaking the “unbreakable” exterior was not an option given how much it cost besides being a virtual impossibility, so my best bet was to try & get the zips out of the lock with minimal damage. It took me quite by surprise when after a few moments of pushing & tugging, one zip came loose without breaking anything, and it wasn’t long before I got the other zip out as well – all with absolutely no damage to the suitcase. Even so, for the record, let me say that I fully intend to use only my TSA baggage locks in future!
The incident made me wonder if Samsonite was really as safe and durable as we imagine it is. When I shared my concerns on Facebook, a friend commented that perhaps I had a special talent, and that took me back to a childhood memory I had of opening a magnetic lock (I solemnly swear that this is true and my sister can verify it if you don’t completely believe it). We used to have a lock that used a particular kind of magnet to open it. Back then it must have been the coolest thing that had taken my Dad’s fancy and it was quite by accident that I discovered I could actually open the lock using my thumb instead of the magnet. Others tried doing the same, but it didn’t quite work. Magic? Yeah, sure! It became a trick I put on for show for everyone and even remember my sister asking me to open the lock once when we wanted to get something out of a meat safe and didn’t have the key. I don’t, however, remember doing that ever again.
As I pondered those bygone years and events, I began to sense something in my spirit. I asked the question I often ask of God, “What are you trying to teach me through this? What do you want me to learn?” The answer was plain and clear to me. I needed to remember that I was a “lock breaker”. Yes. As much as I may have a “talent” for breaking open locks in the physical, the same is truer in the spiritual. I was both challenged and emboldened when I realized that. After all, isn’t that what many of us are commissioned to:
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Isaiah 61:1 NLT; Matt. 18:18 NIV, Emphasis added)
Even as I write this, I believe if you are reading this, it is not by accident. So be reminded and challenged to step out in boldness and faith, and go break some locks!
Posted in Earth Feast, The River of Life, tagged achievements, Ambitions, American Wedding, Aspirations, Bike Riding, Bucket List, Desires, Dreams, fantasy, Fulfilment, Glee, God, Hang Gliding, Horse Riding, Ice-Skating, John Deere, Lawn Mowing, Ranch, Swimming, Tooth Fairy on July 31, 2010| 5 Comments »
Over a month ago when I heard I was entering into a season of “glee”, I think I misinterpreted it to some extent. I had just gotten done watching the entire first season of the television series “Glee” online and my mind could only think of the word as far as joy & happiness – which were not wrong, but as I have discovered, a limited interpretation.
As the month progressed, it saw the resurrection of some of my childhood dreams & aspirations I thought had bitten the dust. You can say I ticked a few things off my personal “bucket list” if you will.
- Hang Gliding had to be on the top of my list, particularly since flying is what I have always claimed I have done right from my childhood, and becoming a pilot was one of my first ambitions in life. God knows the pleasure I felt having to put down my name as “pilot” in the personal release documents. I’d do it again for sure, but what takes its place in the list is Bungee Jumping. 🙂
- Horse Riding & Living on a Ranch have been my all-time dream, thanks to books & movies that have inspired me. I can tell you that my first horse ride was almost like being in heaven, the tall grasslands extending as far as the eye could see, the sun setting behind, and the bugs biting – ouch! That brought me back to reality, alright. I’m not quite done with the living on the ranch bit yet & need to go back to experience it completely. Whether it’s the Ecker Ranch or elsewhere, you can be sure I will!
- Ice-Skating was one of those childhood fantasies. Alright, I didn’t get to ice-skate like you see it on TV, but I got on the ice & at least learned to balance myself & move despite a couple of hard falls. Some day I’ll do better, given the chance.
- Lawn-mowing on a John Deere wasn’t in my original list, but I added it because I quite enjoyed it & think I did a pretty good job of it too.
- Swimming didn’t quite happen as planned, but at least I got my first swimsuit so that’s a start. Next I need to find a pool, and I believe I know just the right friends with a pool in their apartment complex and an open invitation. They can be sure I will be visiting soon (their parents might need to be out of town when I do, though, else they might be scandalized :D.)
- Attending an American Wedding was quite an experience for me, particularly as it was different even for regular Americans. I have to say it was organized extremely well, was simple yet beautiful, and there was just so much peace & joy. It was quite different from any Indian wedding I have ever experienced, and I have my friends who invited me and helped get me there to thank. I have reason to believe it won’t be the last American wedding I attend.
- Riding a Bike technically should not be on anyone’s bucket list because it’s something most children can do, but it was on mine. For some reason, I was stuck with a yellow tricycle all my life (still have it) and although I loved riding it, I regretted being unable to ride a bicycle many a time in my teen and college years, especially studying on a 365 acre campus that could best be gotten around by bicycle. It was only at 22 that I actually set my mind on learning to ride with my nephew’s bike on the narrow strip of ground outside our home. So for me to be able to ride around almost every evening, both working off the calories & just having fun, it had to be checked off my list as an achievement.
- Tooth Fairy Presents were the most unexpected, but threw light on what God was trying to tell me all along the season. It’s one of those things that I didn’t even remember myself, but apparently others did. It had moved them so much when I had mentioned over a casual conversation about falling teeth and tooth fairies that I had always put my fallen teeth under my pillow as a child but had never gotten a present. I know it’s probably the silliest thing in the world, but the fact that the people that remembered it took me out to lunch & surprised me with presents for every tooth of mine that had ever fallen (and more) were pastors and some of the most prophetically gifted ones I know made it important. They did mention when they handed me my gift bag that there might be prophetic significance, and my response although I was just playing along at the time was, “Thank you so much! I feel so fulfilled!”
And fulfilment is what this season of glee has been about – fulfilment of many desires that I had buried, given up on, never had the opportunity to fulfil, or simply forgotten about. That said, my bucket list definitely isn’t all done yet. There’s the driving, rock climbing, shooting, ball dancing, skate boarding, skiing/snow boarding, and many more… I can only imagine that as I grow older, that list will only grow while some are checked off and others replace them, and I have the calm assurance that they will all some day be fulfilled.
What got my attention through all of this is that God cares so much about these little details of my life, enough to take me to a different country and use people (some of whom I barely even know) to fulfil them. I felt ashamed that I have failed in the past to trust this same God with some of the most important things in my life, things that I thought I knew were best and could fulfil all on my own without His help. I had often been afraid that God would end up giving me something I did not like, and had resisted His direction, choosing instead to go my own way. How foolish of me! Would the God who cares about me getting silly tooth fairy presents not care enough to give me the very best in every area of my life and fulfil the deepest desires of my heart?
I rechecked the definition of “glee”, and it said, “great delight”. It struck me then that God’s Word promises, “*Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” That, right there, is the key to my glee!
*Psalm 37: 4; Proverbs 3: 5, 6
Posted in Earth Feast, Here Comes the Sun, The River of Life, The Wind in the Willows, tagged Christ, Christianity, fruit, God, Jeremy Camp, Jesus, Lincoln Brewster, love, marriage, relationships, single on November 19, 2009| 16 Comments »
Funny how the topic of marriage has become an increasingly popular and often discussed one among many of my friends, more so in the recent past. I suppose the older we get with our statuses unchanged, the more pressure to be married by hook or by crook, to find that clichéd Mr. Right (or Miss. Right) and live happily ever after. I can understand this well in our Indian culture, with me being in this category myself – well, not exactly, but somewhere there… Anyway, all this talk about wanting to find the love of one’s life got me thinking and I decided to blog some of my thoughts.
To most of you reading this blog post, it is no news that I have been down that road many a time only to be hurt & disappointed (and vice versa to the concerned parties, I’m sure). I am presently at a point in life where I am just content to be single & let Jesus take that place rather than face more hurt & disappointment, although that is easier said than done. However, that does not mean I have been written off the “charts” or am no longer a fish swimming in the deep, wide ocean. The difference is, I’m no longer desperate to “get hooked” or to go find “the one” because I’m pretty confident anyone worth marrying is going to come find me! Moreover, like I quoted an unknown person some time ago, I do believe “A girl’s heart must so be hidden in Christ that a man has to seek Him to find her.” That’s the only kind of man I want to marry after all of my bitter experiences, and nothing short of that will do – a man who first seeks God & the kingdom of Heaven and finds that all the rest falls in line.
One of my friends recently asked me, “What do you girls expect? Jesus?!?” I thought about it, and the truth is, yes! :o) Well, at least for me… I sometimes wonder what a hot dude Jesus must have been while He lived on earth – son of a carpenter and carpenter Himself… I don’t think He ever needed a workout because the natural must have been gazillion times better. 😛 What??? Call it blasphemy, burn me at the stake if you like, but I’m pretty sure Jesus was HOT, in fact way HOTTER than any currently existing piece of male flesh for sure! He totally burned it up, and He still does for me, for real. No, I’m not kidding. I really mean that. I am completely in love with Jesus, and if anyone wants to win my heart, they’re gonna have to beat Him. So there! Ha! 🙂
That said, let’s be practical… marrying Jesus ain’t gonna happen as long as I’m on this earth, so here’s the next best option: a dash of Jeremy Camp, a pinch of Lincoln Brewster, a whole lot of Jesus on the inside, and I’m good to go. Wishful thinking? Maybe… but what am I going to lose by thinking?
So… to tie the knot or not? That is the question… As I pondered this, God showed me a fruit tree with a ripe red fruit hanging on it. I felt like that fruit myself, ready to be plucked. Now, let’s not allow our imaginations wander away & border on disgusting here… but a ripe fruit is good for several things: to be eaten as is, or to be made into a jam or juice or jelly or some other edible product. And with that, a ripe fruit would have served its purpose. But what if… what if… nobody actually plucked that ripe fruit? Would it have failed and not served a purpose? Over time it would fall to the ground, begin to shrivel, rot, and gradually become nothing but dirt. Sad.
I think the analogy is pretty clear, the plucked fruit resonating with the much-desired, fanciful married life while the rotted one represents the unmarried life of misery. But wait… what’s that I see? Several months, maybe even years, down the line I see a shoot springing up from the dirt. Tiny, green, easily mistaken for a weed, but a shoot nevertheless… In a few more months or years, I see that shoot grow into a large tree itself, bearing flowers, fruit & being a home to many a bird… much more than it could ever have achieved, had it been plucked and eaten or made into some other fancy foodstuff. Did the uneaten fruit not serve a purpose? Indeed not! I believe both the eaten & the rotten served their purposes just as had been destined even before the world began.
So here’s my conclusion: to be married some day remains a great desire. However, let not anyone who might not ever get married assume that his or her life is meaningless and has failed its purpose. In fact, God may be able to achieve greater, mightier things in and through your singleness than He could have ever achieved through your marriage. And for the married or marrying, I’m not done yet… eaten fruits must also have their seeds or cores discarded, which at some point reach the dirt too… and we all know what happens after. Therefore, eaten or rotten, you serve a purpose; serve it well! To tie the knot or not, it matters not.