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Essays

Essay: Strange Love

One has my name (the other has my heart), Nat King Cole

This song was originally released by Eddie Dean, and co-written by Eddie Dean, Hal Blair and Lorene Donnelly. It was later recorded by Jimmy Wakely, Jerry Lee Lewis, Nat King Cole, Willie Nelson and a host of other artists.

It is a track on one of Dad’s Nat King Cole albums — entitled’s Rambling Rose. I can still remember the sky blue sleeve and a picture of the young artist with a jolly smile on his face! I never got to hear the original version until much later, as a result Nat King Cole’s version will always have a special place in my heart. As the title goes, so does the tale. A man in dilemma between two women; one he was married to (has my name), the other he was in love with (has my heart).

What correlation has this got with matters of the spirit you might be wondering — well some theologians have described the bible as an epic love story. The story of a creator in love with His most precious creation — humankind. A love that leads to incarnation, birth and ultimately death for our sins. It can be encapsulated in these words from John’s gospel;

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

In the Old Testament the Prophet Hosea was commanded to go and search for his long lost wife who had given herself to prostitution. Once she is found, re-new his vows towards her and forgive her of all the hurts, pain and shame she caused him. A symbolic gesture typifying God’s undying love towards us, even though we turn our backs on Him in pursuit of other gods — self, money, sex and power.

Perhaps the most inspiring account can be found in the book of Ruth… In the days of the Judges there was famine in Judah. A man named Elimelech, his wife (Naomi) and their two sons; Mahlon and Chillion decided to relocate to Moab in the hope of a better life. They settled into life in Moab, their sons got married; Mahlon to Ruth and Chillion to Orpah. Sadly Elimelech dies, to compound matters both sons also died, leaving Noami with her daughter-in-laws.

Amidst this all Naomi gets wind that the famine was over in Judah, so she decided to head back home in the hope that she might be able to cope better with her misery. To her surprise, Ruth and Orpah decided to go back with her. On getting to the major road leading to Judah, she said to them;

Go back, each of you, to your mother’s home. May the LORD show you kindness, as you have shown kindness to your dead husbands and to me. May the LORD grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband.

Both women wept aloud clinging unto Naomi. But after much persuasion, Orpah decided to return, she kissed her mother-in-law and said her goodbye with a very heavy heart. With Orpah gone, Naomi continued diplomatic talks with Ruth, but the lady was not for turning. Her eyes were fixed on Judah, her spirit would only be separated from Naomi’s in death — wow! In defiance, Ruth went on to make this profound statement;

Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.

On that note Naomi rested her case, Ruth had won, she was coming to Judah — and the rest is history. In Judah she got back far more than she bargained for – she was blessed beyond measure!

Every now and then human radicals emerge demonstrating strange manifestationsOrdinary people doing Extraordinary feats. You see friends, Orpah had the lord’s name, but Ruth — His heart. Ruth went far beyond the call of duty! She made a vow like Orpah, however she chose to esteem hers — even after her husband’s death. In the words of her great grand son;

As the deer pants for the water, so my soul longs after you oh Lord

Little wonder how this woman ended up in the chronicles of time and the lineage of Jesus Christ.

~ Sabali

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Essays

Essay: Snakes and Ladders

Flight, The Movie


Flight was released in 2012, starring Denzel Washington. The movie was nominated for two Academy Awards at the 85th Academy Awards, this includes Best Actor (Denzel Washington) and Best Original Screenplay (John Gatins).

 

Friends, lies are like snakes, they bite when we least expect and they bring us down. But like a ladder, the truth takes us to heights and domains beyond our wildest imagination!

 

Life’s lessons from the movie:

1. We can not substitute emotional or spiritual void(s) with drugs, sex, alcohol, money, power, fame, food etc. Denzel had perfected the art of lying about his drug and alcohol addiction for years. Externally he seemed okay, but spiritually he was bankrupt.

2. Be nice to people you meet along life’s journey as they might just be your saving Angel at some point in life. See below two examples from the movie;

  • One of the flight attendants always invited him to church. She also agreed not to testify that he drank the night before the crash.
  • The co-pilot did not testify about him being drunk on-board the flight either, but rather prayed for him to realise his purpose and destiny.

3. The truth will always set us free. Denzel could have lied about the Flight Attendant being the one who consumed the contents of two bottles of vodka found on-board the flight by the investigators. In fact this seemed the sensible option as she had a history of alcohol abuse and she was dead anyway. But no, he seized the opportunity to make amends with his spirit and soul. He set the record straight and embarked on a new life.

4. It takes fortitude and resolve to make positive lifestyle changes. These decisions can sometime cost us our “reputation”, “friends”, social and professional circle… The key is to keep our eyes on our goals with the understanding that we have to be in a well secured place in order to pull someone else from a pit. So after offering help to Denzel, Kelly decided to leave in spite of her feelings towards him. Although difficult initially, this was also a catalyst in Denzel’s change process.

The Rabbi once said:

For what does it profit a person if they succeeds in their pursuit/goal/ambition but loose or compromise their values, beliefs and conscience in the process?

~ Sabali

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Essays

Essay: Epiphany…

A sudden manifestation of the essence or meaning of something

One of many qualities that sets humankind apart from other living creatures is our ability to radically change the course of our lives.

A plant stays stationed within the sphere its planted all through its life span. As close as domestic pets are to humans, I have not seen any evidence of a radical change in their habits and instincts. All other animals have shown no significant sign of incremental development through knowledge transfer in comparison humankind’s.

From small changes to our daily routine or habits, to radical ones that lead to; healthier lifestyle, better relationships, or completely different vocational or career path.

And we have not stopped! From the Garden of Eden to; caves, huts, villages, cities and mega cities. We have defiled gravity with airplanes, conquered the seas with vessels, and space with rockets and satellites.

We are able to achieve all this because we posses the ability to ask questions, envision possibilities, process and pass on knowledge to our off-springs. Our quest for knowledge is the main catalyst for these epiphany moments.

Most change-makers encounter this experience at a crucial point in their hunger and thirst for answers to life’s questions, thereby leading to various degrees of change or re-orientation from their original path.

As a result, these people were able to challenge the status-quo and turn their world upside down. They challenged; stereotypes, cultural norms, traditions, ideologies, institutions, popular culture, life styles, political systems, theories, spirituality, science, authorities etc., compelling others to re-think their position and re-align their paradigms.

I firmly believe that this experience is not reserved for a handful of “special” people, but available to all seekers.

In The Rabbi’s own words;

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

Wow…! In our quest for more, the gateway to Epiphanies is opened.

So friends, as we yield our lives for the greater good, we open our hearts and minds to sudden manifestations of the very essence or meaning of life.

~ Sabali