One of my strongest childhood memories is of loud, really loud laughter. My siblings and I grew up with that sound of ringing laughter echoing off the walls of our home- some days we woke up to it, some days we heard it in the middle of our otherwise quiet study time ( interrupted only by the thud of me falling asleep over my books), some days all of us joined in. Appa had and still has this amazing ability to make even the most tight jawed individual burst into splits of laughter- something anyone who has acquainted themselves with him even once would testify to. And it’s always amazed me. Irrespective of the language they spoke or the kind of office they held, they couldn’t resist his smart wit or quick observations, most of the time the object of the joke being himself.
If we were relatively less naughtier during the week, he’d take us for long walks on the weekend on the sandy beaches of the Arabian Sea, in the place we grew up in. And while my younger siblings ran off to play with the waves, he’d hold my hand and give me one of his ‘life lessons’. A distinct memory that has stayed with me over the years is of one day when he’d just cracked up somebody over the phone, and he looked at me after that conversation with a twinkle in his eye saying, “Kunje learn to laugh at yourself every once in a while. The lesser you think about yourself, the more room you’ll have for others.”
Now the paediatrician in me would tell you that the palmar grasp is a reflex that we see in babies as soon as they are born. You might’ve noticed them having a very tight grasp. The moment you stroke the palm, they curl their fist up quite tight. Forgive me for the science class, but an interesting fact we learn is that as they grow, this grasp has to loosen and disappear if they have to learn new skills such as holding an object or reaching out for something. In other words they’ve got to let go if they have to get going!
As the pandemic progresses and lives are being lost at a rate nobody is even sure of, one fact that has struck a chord with me is that there’s only so much we can hold on to tightly. We’ve had to reschedule and replan, we’ve had to wait endlessly, we all have more questions than answers. But what we also have is today- this day that the Lord has made. We don’t know about tomorrow or the next day. What we can do is not take ourselves so seriously that we miss out on what God has planned for us today- the blessing we can be, the impressions we can leave, the prayers we can offer for people around us, the lives we can touch.
I’m often asked, “Do you really need to do all this? Do you even have enough time for yourself? Aren’t you tired?” And as I look to the Lord with these questions, more often than not He reminds me of this lesson I learnt from my dad a long time ago and He points me to the fist of the newborn baby- just to remind me that it’s okay to loosen my tight grasp over my own dreams, desires, and life. In being willing to let go of what I think I deserve and have a right to, I let God into that space, letting Him build the broken pieces into something beautiful. ‘Cos at the end of the day that’s what makes all the difference. The frustrations, anger, bitterness and dissatisfaction will slowly melt away when we slowly turn our gaze from ourselves to the needs of the other.
I stand at the threshold of another decade of my life today, knowing that I can hold on to this life I live a lil loose, ‘cos my Father in heaven has got a tight grip of me.
In other words, being expendable to be expandable for the kingdom of my Saviour.
If there ever were dreams
That were lofty and noble
They were my dreams at the start
And hope for life’s best were the hopes
That I harbor down deep in my heart
But my dreams turned to ashes
And my castles all crumbled, my fortune turned to loss
So I wrapped it all in the rags of life
And laid it at the cross.
Something beautiful, something good
All my confusion He understood
All I had to offer Him was brokenness and strife
But he made something beautiful of my life
( Something Beautiful,Bill & Gloria Gaither)
‘Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ.’ ( Philippians 3:8, NKJV)