The falling apart of what was once a great secular nation. The demise of a beloved Sultan. A world lingering on the brink of another world war. The breakdown of many economies. Raging forest fires. Darkness. Violence. Insecurity. And the dawn of another decade.
These events have heralded in the new year and the beginning of another decade. And the excitement and anticipation regarding days to come isn’t a positive one. It’s more like a feeling of impending doom. What times have we come to?
I’m sure each one of you reading this at the moment have wondered atleast once in the last couple of weeks as to whether its only going to go downhill from here. What happened to those days gone by? How did we get here ? ( If you haven’t been thinking along those lines, please put down this blog and pick up the newspaper).
Strangely so , this has also been the situation at a personal level- questions, uncertainty and a feeling of impending doom. Not knowing what decision to make, not knowing how this will all turn out. No, we do not have all the answers. And yes, it may go downhill from here- we do not know. Maybe the cloud of darkness is here to stay for a while. It’s not ours to say. So what do we do? We, who are tossed to and fro by the waves of change around us? What do our days hold in store for us?
As I sat down the week gone by, wondering as to what next, my phone rings, a weak but excited voice on the other end, ” Akka I’m better now, I’m out of the ICU and I’ll come and see you soon”. I smiled for long time after that conversation. Nisha, was a fifteen year old girl I’d seen in OPD who had a heart condition and we’d sent her to the experts for further care. She had crashed on Christmas day morning and underwent a miraculous recovery to say the least (‘cos I want to spare you the technical jargon) over the next one week. For the next couple of days I spent my entire thought- life obsessing over why she’d suddenly become so sick. I could still hear her voice in my head early morning on Christmas day saying she’s not able to breathe properly. And the next thing I knew was that she was intubated and being rushed for emergency surgery. One of the notions we acquire very early on as young doctors, and one that wears off ( the sooner the better for one’s own good) with advancing age and experience is that we can solve anything , any problem- a God complex. So as I taxed my brains and all sorts of literature available to figure out what I could’ve done better for her, that still Voice of the Master called out from deep within my heart as the emotional fatigue weighed in- Hey, look up! This battle is not yours. But there is one thing to do for her- fight it out for her on your knees. And that’s when I surrendered that battle to the Lord and just lifted my hands up to heaven for her in prayer. It wasn’t my fight.
As we stand on the threshold of another year, amidst a world that is crumbling around us, Oh yes! There’s so much that needs to change ! But like I was reminded the other day, some battles aren’t ours to fight. We cannot change the whole world. We cannot react to every single thing gone wrong around the world. But yes, we can start with the world within us and around. Let’s stand strong for someone else closeby, let’s make a difference to that one life. Let’s bring some sunshine into the world for that one person, being slow to anger, abounding in love. And let’s start fighting our battles on our knees. Let’s take that cup of kindness and extend it to the neighbour, transforming from selfishness to selflessness.
Let’s carry each other’s hearts and have their backs.
I end with this originally Scottish melody that’s sung widely world over at the dawn of the New Year as a toast to the coming days and the ones gone by:
“And there’s a hand my trusty friend!
And give me a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll take a right good-will draught,
for days of auld lang syne.
For days of auld lang syne, my dear,
for days of auld lang syne,
we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
for days of auld lang syne. ”
Philippians 4:6-7 The Message (MSG)
Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.