Recognizing God’s Goodness

This morning I was led to read Daniel 4. Over the past few days, I have been reading of King Nebuchad-Nazer and the various instances where God worked in the kingdom through Daniel. In Chapter 4, King N.Nazer decided to praise himself for the glory that was Babylon. He had been blessed because he had recognized the “mightiness of God’s wonders” and that God’s kingdom endures from generation to generation. Somewhere along the way, he came to think everything was because of his own greatness. And as the old proverb says- pride comes before a fall.

I have had instances like this in my life. Everyday driving to work is an ordeal for me- it is a good 45 minutes drive on a working day to my university. Sometimes I become so complacent and proud and think I drive to work because I am skillful at driving- that I can handle the gears and the car well- I forget that the engine can overheat anywhere on the highway and I can be stranded by the road in the extreme heat. I forget that I often don’t have my mobile phone with me and might have to depend on the kindness of strangers to call for help to get me out of there. Recently I started thinking how my driving had improved and I had become quite proficient in handling the reckless desert traffic, where everyone is in a rush to get out of the heat and into the comfort of an office building. I thank God that I was led to this passage, to remember and thank God that he keeps me safe and that he shows me how to drive and keeps the car cooled when it could easily have stalled and when the road I usually take to my university was closed for huge repairs and with no access road to access my university, he took me to another road, which was even better than my set path which I had been driving on for at least three years now.

Not by my cleverness or intelligence Lord, but by your grace and mercy.

I just cleaned my Mac

Having time with nothing to do is a luxury I get quite often and enjoy too. Especially if I can share that time with just my animals and plants.

Today I cleaned my Mac and I feel relieved that a lot of junk has gone away. Perhaps my computer will work better for the clean.

I have been debating whether to pursue my dreams or not. All the naysayers tell me it is too late- I am 50( just a week more to go to reach my half century mark) and what is the point of doing this degree. On the resources side, everything seems to be in place but as the years go by, I am losing my confidence in my ability to do this. Not actually do it but the fact that I may invest all this money, only to have to abandon the course half or some way through. Is it worth it ? Should I even invest in this?

My supervisor doesn’t believe I will leave. She doesn’t think that a midlife woman would quit a very lucrative job for a journey that can only be termed a ” leap of faith”. Like last year, she thinks I will come back to the job and start over and not pursue my education. Well, I don’t know about that but I know the dream is still inside me and is burning ferociously inside of me. Sometimes I think I will do it when I am 70, if that is the last thing I will do in my life.

My family thinks I need to concentrate on my children and their lives rather than pursue my dreams.

I think I need to give my life a new Clean just like my computer and maybe my life will move ahead better.

Have you ever felt your life is at a standstill and there is still something God expects you to do in life but you can’t do it because of all the materialistic things that pull you down ? I can truly understand now what the Bible meant when it says” The truth will set you free. Faith will set you free.” I think it means that when you truly believe, you can clean your life up and be free of all the attachments that draw you down or make you put down roots where you don’t want them to grow.

Sicknesses and healing

We came back from our last trip home with a daughter who was nursing a severe cold. She was achy and was tired- this time around, I had decided to make sure she would get only home remedies to get her out of this bout of illness. I did Magnesium oil and Axe oil rubs for all the aches, hot broths, herbal concoctions made of ginger, spice mixes sweetened with sugar. Four days of constant nursing and she recovered without having to put her through dose of antibiotics, which we are guilty of having put her through multiple times in the past as quick fixes. She was healthy throughout her entire summer vacation until she left for her college, first days of June.

Few days after she developed her infection, both hubby and I started off with sore throats, aches and pains and the depression that comes along when there is a virus going around. I nursed myself to health with vitamin C and cod liver oil and a lot of hot fluids. My husband who has a lot of other diseases, took it bad. His infection went from his throat, down his larynx and to his bronchi and to even his smallest lung lobules, possibly even his alveoli. He has been wheezing and panting and coughing for three weeks now. I had to buy a nebulizer so he could get a whiff of bronchodilator drugs when he felt he couldn’t breathe anymore.

Many of the drugs my husband is on- they produce more side effects than the actual effect the drug is supposed to bring about. For example, his blood pressure medications often have no effect on his blood pressure but a lot of effect on other body functions- his sugar is often high and he needs to be on blood sugar controlling medications too. Compound all of these illnesses with his current illness which left him literally gasping for air. The nebulised salbutamol caused him palpitations and even worse symptoms than before. It didn’t help at all that the weather is so hot that the Air conditioners need to run full time- the cold air contracts his bronchi even more and he is symptomatically worse in a room cooled with air conditioned air. Having a very furry, hairy cat at home doesn’t seem to help too.

Till yesterday morning,after another night of harsh wheezes and coughs, I had had enough. I prayed fervently for respite and help. There was nothing our Lord couldn’t do, right? So I prayed. It was 5 in the morning and bright daylight outside. I had reached the end of my tether. It struck me that maybe I need to get a humidifier and switch off the ACs in our house. My supervisor had a mold allergy and had bought a humidifier a couple of years ago. I asked my husband and he said, ok, lets go to a 24 hour pharmacy and see if we can buy a humidifier.

We drove to the nearby pharmacy and in the car, my husband said he felt a lot better. I was thinking of taking him out for a drive and away from the air at home. On the way, we stopped at the pharmacy and got a air cleaner cum humidifier. It was rather costly- more than 300 $. My husband vetoed the idea of the drive and we decided to go back home and try the humidified cum air washer. A few minutes after we filled it up with water and put it on, my husband went off to sleep- he slept like a baby- he hadn’t had a full night’s sleep since he started off this infection. Four hours later, he woke up refreshed, and his lungs feeling a lot better. Another nap in the afternoon, post lunch and he says he feels even more well.

Sometimes, we try to do the time tested things- antibiotics, cough syrups everything, and nothing works. Then we pray and pray hard and a brain wave hits us. And that is the miracle we have been praying for. I believe we got the idea of the humidifier and the air quality being poor at home because we decided we could not do anything more – we should have handed things over to the Great Physician sooner- but we humans have a habit of bungling along, thinking we know it all and liking to be hands on- a knock on the head is what we require often to make things fall into perspective.

My husband is so much better he has taken off on a trip to Singapore to attend a conference. I can’t believe this is the same man, who was gasping for breath, yesterday morning.

Change attitude

These days it seems as if there is no day without its share of troubles or tribulation. When I was younger, I feel there were more days when I used to smile and be happy. Now it looks like the burden of troubles grows by the day.

A thought for today:

” to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour and the day of our God’s vengeance, to comfort all who mourn,

” to provide for those who grieve in Zion- to give them a crown of beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and a garment of praise in place of a spirit of despair.”

Isaiah 61-2-3

Gemini’s thought for today

” Whatever is chased with ferocity runs away with equal fervor. Its when you transform your wildest ambitions into doable aspirations that you realize how much is within your reach.

There are terrific blessings all around you when you stop to smell the roses. A breather allows your perspective to calm, and that can in turn inspire a meaningful redefinition of your goals. Bigger and more aren’t always synonymous with better.

Once your priorities are in order, everything else falls into place .”

I think this thought is so good for me. Getting priorities right. All my life especially after having a family its all been about getting priorities right. Even if one’s dreams don’t come true the way we think they should, there are still roses to smell, there is still sunshine and water and air and life around us.

Hospital stay explained

I was home with my mother- in- law for her surgery for a week.

On Easter day, she picked up a breast lump that turned out to be malignant. Being the very aware woman that she is, she diagnosed her condition herself and caught it right at the early stage when it is treatable. Unlike my mother, whose cancer was picked up after she started losing weight and having lymph nodes which were ridden with malignant cells.

She was admitted two days before her surgery( May 11), a Saturday. It was also her 58th wedding anniversary . No one remembered to wish them on their anniversary because of the anxious moments we had. My husband, her eldest son is 57 this year. He was born a year after their wedding. Isn’t it funny how days don’t matter when we are worried?

The days before the surgery were spent in pre anesthetic check ups, cardiology checkups and other tests to ensure she was “fit” for surgery. Fortunately, for her the room allotted to her was spacious and almost suite-like, with a large bedroom( two beds), an almirah, lots of furniture, a wash room and a toilet. It was situated almost next door to the nursing station, so nurses were ever present.

During the anesthesia check-up they noticed her thyroid lumps, those that had been there for more than 30 years’. So she had to have additional X-rays to see if the lumps would obstruct the endotracheal tubes that would be used during anesthesia.She cleared all her pre- surgery checks and was taken up for surgery on the Monday. There was no requirement for blood, so that part was easy.

At her age, the surgeon preferred to do a lumpectomy and just an axillary sampling as she might not tolerate the extended surgical procedures. A part of her chest wall muscles was removed as the lump was rather deep in the muscle.

She stayed in the Intensive Care unit for a day, after which she was moved back to her room. One of us stayed with her every night, while she was in hospital.

My father in law missed having her at home, so he talked to the doctor to bring her home at the earliest. She was brought home on the Thursday, four days after her surgery.

She is in pain now as they have weaned her off her pain killers. But she is moving about normally and is able to do her things for herself.

Patterns

I love patterns.

At school, I learnt math by trying to identify( copy) patterns from one problem to another. In fact a mathematical formula is actually a pattern. The issue is how to fit a formula to a question and find the answer. We work in reverse in math actually. The math question reminds us of a certain math problem we have done before or seen our teacher solve and we start thinking of whether that method could be applied to our problem. Voila ! The pattern.

I love crochet and knitting because of the patterns. I like to test the patterns of experienced crocheters and see if they work for me.

In life too, I have come to identify patterns. If I behave or do things a certain way, I am sure to get success. If I do things a different way, I would most likely meet failure. Having burnt my hands many times in the past, I have learnt to avoid “fire”. Call it the survival instinct.

Most things in life, I have found- fit into patterns.

One thing that evaded any definition of a pattern was my mother’s dual cancer diagnosis two years back. We have had no history of cancers for as long as anyone can remember. She had been a very active woman, eating her greens every single day, doing all housework and even gardening herself. Yet, she had cancer. For two years, now I have been trying to think of why she might have had this dreaded disease. She is a known stress baby. If there was something to worry about, she would worry about it. If there was nothing to worry about, she would worry about whether something bad would strike the family because things were going just too well. Now it seems as though all that stress must have taken their toll.

Last year, my visa application was rejected by the US embassy. I needed a student visa to reach the States for my Master’s degree. I seemed to have done everything “right”. For the life of me, I could not think of why my application was rejected. People I met often tried to analyse why it might have happened. Notice the pattern here ? Some said, its because of the policies of the Trump administration, where they do not encourage older people to go to the US as they think they might stay on and not return to their native countries( I fit that description maybe). Some others said it was just not meant to be- after all, who has ever heard of a near-50 year old woman going back to college, just on a whim. The degree would not benefit me in any way, they said, as I had already reached the pinnacle of my career graph. The only way from there was down and so–. My university couldn’t figure out the pattern either. They encouraged me to apply again but by then the first day of the course had passed and there was no scope of joining the course late. And so I deferred my course, not wanting to re apply again for the next year. Somewhere in 2018, my husband told me to try once more and see if we could try to think of every reason for a rejected visa and see if it could be tackled before it was raised. I refused as the first time, I had had a very bad experience at the embassy and I had a fear psychosis of facing the same “visa woman” at the window. Again, I see a pattern here- fear of being rejected made me think there was a pattern there and my visa would be rejected again. My husband on the other hand saw another pattern- he thought if we think the rejection through, maybe- just maybe, we could get past the “visa woman” and get the visa approved.

I search for patterns every where- it seems a way of life for me now.