Christians are smashing metal songwriters? Really?

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I have a thing for Gregorian chants, my kids tend to roll their eyes and then flop themselves on the sofa when they see my cds come out, and you can do the same as this post is centred on that topic. Now that blog etiquettes (warnings) have been dispensed with, this is what I would like to ruminate about.

“As a metalhead I must say, The Christians are smashing metal songwriters!”

I burst out laughing as I read this comment which was in response to the translation of a 13th century Latin Catholic hymn, “Dies Irae”- Day of wrath.

The translation of this glorious hymn goes something like this…

Day of wrath and doom impending,
David’s word with Sibyl’s blending,
Heaven and earth in ashes ending!

Oh, what fear man’s bosom rendeth,
When from heaven the Judge descendeth,
On whose sentence all dependeth.

Full translation can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dies_Irae

Metal songs, not that I listen to any or that I even vaguely claim to posses any knowledge of the genre, are known to be powerful, intense and even demonic, hence the raucous laughter when reading a comment stating that Christians are great metal songwriters! Humour aside it drove home a very startling fact that often tends to be missed, there is fine line between right and wrong. Religion, I speak for the catholic faith but I doubt that other religions differ greatly, is about peace and love. Turning the other cheek, loving your neighbour as your self and most importantly loving your God with everything you have, mind, body and soul.

Yet, how many righteous religious wars have we fought? How many inquisitions, hangings, and witch burnings have we condoned? How many dark secrets have marred many a religious institution? A quick history lesson makes you sing the song of the black eyed peas, “where is the love?”

A religion of love and peace, where the son of God himself and many of his apostles thereafter, chose to surrender themselves to torture and death rather than speak one evil word of anger or hatred, yet we the disciples of that order have perpetrated war and murder in his holy name. Aren’t we the ones who are truly lost? Is it any wonder that today bystanders declare us ‘similar’ to a genre that is often associated with darkness?

Many Christian friends have asked me why I don’t evangelise, spread the word, and generally talk of my intimate relationship with the God. How can I? How do I explain that I ‘see’ all that is wrong and yet choose what is right? That there is so much that I do not understand, so many questions that I have no answers to, numerous mysteries that plague me night and day, and yet in the knowledge of him that matters most, my lord and my God, I am calm. How do you explain that which is too enigmatic to even define as a question?

The simple truth is you can’t find God without bumping into the devil first. Trust me when I tell you that Adam and Eve had no true realisation of God until they listened to the devil. Due to the unfortunate way the human mind, soul and brain works, we can’t truly understand or even recognise the truth until we are first convinced of that which is false. The proverbial other side always looks greener, and until we cross over and see for ourselves, like the famous doubting Thomas, we will never truly be convinced.

The Israelites when crossing the dessert were not impressed by the supernatural column of cloud by day nor the column of fire by night, the manna from heaven was too bland and the parting of the Red sea, old news. Christians, priests, nuns, deacons, preachers, like their predecessors tend to get lost in the dessert and the world only hears of their doubts and failings but not of their journey home. So to all the sceptics and watchers, rejoice when you hear of the lost for that’s when the shepherd goes out looking for his sheep and who knows you might just catch a glimpse of him.

That’s the beauty of Christianity, even when you are truly lost you are actually closer to being found, that’s the Christian paradox, only those who are truly lost can be saved, everyone else is just pretending to be found. Fear not if you are one of those who has never crossed the line or have been true to the faith since birth, God has not forgotten you. Life with a lot of help from the devil will visit you, will shake your world, will bring you to your knees and then from the depths of your darkest despair when you call out, the light will shine.

Now you know why I don’t talk of my faith but only smile and say, “Your time will come, hang in there!”

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Perception, it’s all in the mind!

Every drop makes an ocean
Every drop makes an ocean

Richard Bach had written in his book Illusions that ‘You’re always free to change your mind and choose a different future, or a different past’. As an 18-year-old I never quite understood what he meant and I shelved it as one of those mystical sayings that are so deep that you float! Today 18 years later I have finally understood what he meant, or in Richard Bach’s words, I already knew it, I just happened to remember. It finally dawned on me that your past is just a memory, yes the events were real and many times painful which is why some events are etched in our memory like stone, which even the waters of time cannot erase. I always thought that forgiveness, like our Lord Jesus preached could change our past and present and definitely our future. Perhaps this is what Richard Bach was trying to imply in different verbiage?

Apparently not, imagine any event that shattered you emotionally (dramatic effect) or even a simple one but something that created a ripple effect in your life. For a bit of drama, imagine Spiderman (yes I love spidey, this is the second time I have mentioned him in my posts.) he chooses a path of the vigilante because a criminal he refused to stop ended up killing his uncle. The latest version spins a new tale in which the criminal was not the killer but an out of luck dad trying to save his critically ill daughter.  Has his past changed? YES.

For a less dramatic version imagine a little girl whose best friend steals her favourite doll then lies about it. She grows up with trust issues and turns into an introvert, years later when she moves to college her parents renovate her room. One of the builders hands over a dusty old doll that they found when moving a heavy wooden cupboard. This little girl is shocked at the discovery and yes her past has changed. Hopefully she makes up with her friend and overcomes her trust issues.

The point I am trying to make is that reality is how you and I define it. The exact events have nothing to do with it. What might seem like absolute, irrefutable truth can in fact be a lie and vice versa. The only permanent feature is our own interpretation of the events, which then translates into emotions, giving rise to either good or bad memories. These memories then shape our personalities, our beliefs, our ideologies and invariably our present, which soon becomes our past.

Lets look at natural childbirth, it is considered as the most physically demanding and painful experience in life. Yet, since the beginning of time women have happily volunteered for it and in many cases undergone more than one in their lifetime. Why? If only the ‘real’ facts were to be taken into consideration, which are intense physical trauma, excruciating pain, copious amounts of blood, loud screams that can curdle your blood, need I go on? For the record, I had three elective caesareans, and in no way lay any claim whatsoever to these multitude of brave women. The entire concept of childbirth is looked upon as a very natural and even beautiful process involving the birth of life through the selfless love of the mother.

Perception, is the difference between trauma and celebrated; routine and ghastly; torture and edification; not reality. So next time life, an event or a person breaks your spirit ask yourself how does nature trick mankind into forgetting the pain and glorifying the end and do the same. Go forth and change your past into whatever you want it to be!

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Lent- Peace and love to all on Earth.

 

Nederlands: Lent (Nijmegen) H.Hartbeeld bij RK...
Nederlands: Lent (Nijmegen) H.Hartbeeld bij RK kerk. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s the Christian holy period of Lent, 40 days of introspection, fasting and prayers. Not many Christians observe it and as there aren’t any fixed rules, many just don’t let it affect their lives. My mother is a very staunch Catholic and my father; a merry soul believes his special relationship with God exempts him from ritualistic traditions. It was very interesting growing up in my home, my mother a fervent prayer warrior who prayed unceasingly on her knees through most of the night and hurried about the housework all day, exhorting us to keep praying. As a kid I hated school but I remember preferring to study than join my mum in her never-ending novenas and rosaries. My Dad was way cooler, rarely went to church and was well versed with the DE Silva method, mediation, psychology, mind control, hypnosis, and the like. He had a well-stacked library with rare finds like Ben Sweetland’s I WILL, ESP, Works of Carl Jung, Psych symbology, along with regulars like Napoleon Hill, Dale Carnegie, Edward De Bono etc. While most kids read fairy tales, I would read Napoleon Hill and Dale Carnegie. My elder brother and I used to play mind games, like trying to materialise the family TV into our bedroom cupboard. When thoroughly bored we would try ESP, I would draw a symbol and mentally project it to him and he would clear his mind and try to receive it. I was 8 and he was 10, in hindsight we should have played more in the park! My mum though staunchly religious never brushed aside any of these new science practises and in fact encouraged us to explore the sciences. I remember she would keep telling us, Einstein says we use only 2 % of our brains, so use more! This dialogue was especially more prevalent during exam times. That was mum, madly in love with God but so fiercely intelligent and she found a perfect balance. Science and religion were never in conflict, God had created all, including science and mankind only discovered what the almighty had already set in motion. Dad on the other hand always struggled with religion, the traditions were nonsensical to him, the rules and regulation another form of thought control. He was always intrigued with conspiracy theories, the Bermuda triangle, secret societies and was always researching the latest theory. Mum, whom dad called a brainwashed sheep of the church was always at peace and never lost her faith. Dad, the wise one, was always deeply troubled and made many hurried decisions based on fear, doubt and insecurity. I learnt early that what is right varies form society to society but truth varies form an individual to an individual. Personal truths are what empowers a person, a solid one like the one my mother had, grounded her and gave her stability; a varying one like my father’s made him a boat tossed about in the stormy sea. It is for this very reason that Lord Jesus had declared, “know the truth and the truth will set you free.” So as we enter this holy period of fasting, prayer and self-reflection, I take time out to quite my mind and to find out my truth. I intend to reaffirm my beliefs and strengthen my resolve. I hope I can be half the role model my mother was and instruct my children in the way of our ancestors. Peace and love to all the inhabitants of the Earth.

 

Beauty, is it really in the eyes of the beholder?

As I step onto my bathroom scale, exhale and tense up for, I dunno, the 1000th time, it hits me. I’m obsessed with my weight; yeah it’s a no brainer, more so for the acknowledgment of it than the actual fact.

You see, I am this aged wild child who believes in the individual, an ardent admirer of the human spirit and this obsession is a crack in the wall. As a connoisseur of life and all things idiosyncratic, it’s my fall from grace.

Idiosyncratic, I find it such ain harsh sounding word but I couldn’t think of another that conveyed what I wanted, peculiar to an individual; no, quirk and peculiar is what I would use to describe Frankenstein not something to revel about, coming back to topic.

So why am I, a person who so passionately defends the right to be different, falling into a classic society mind trap? So I sat down for my morning cuppa (that’s a term for coffee down under) and I pondered. I wrote down two lists one for all the reasons why I wanted to loose weight and one for all the feelings I associated with being over weight.

Background story, I am a mother of three and my youngest is 15 months old and I am exactly 10 kilos above my ideal weight. My husband hates skinny women and loves me the way I am. My family is known to be “healthy with big bones” so no pressure from them to loose weight.

I have always been athletic, used to do yoga, and walk for hours. I was never really skinny except when I first started flying (I used to fly with Emirates) and then slowly bounced back to my normal weight. I did have a slight weight issue when I finished college and took up a sedentary job that bound me to my desk for 10 hours with an endless supply of junk food. However, my weight has remained fairly constant after I quit.

Now for my lists, the one where I jotted down why I wanted to loose weight was ‘classically vain’ but it was the list where I wrote down how I felt being over weight that shocked me.

  1. I feel like I have lost all control or say over my life, like I’m a football being kicked around by life and situations.
  2. I am my body and I have no control over it.
  3. I feel like a spectator not a doer.
  4. I look into the mirror and I can’t recognise the person looking back. Where am I?
  5. Earlier I had a sense of style, a personality, now it’s Mrs Frumpy mother of three.

 

There were a couple more but these are worth talking about. It made me realise my inner struggles and who I was as a person. Obviously the ‘mum’ thing has got me all rattled up, personally responsible for 3 innocent lives, no wonder I wanted my old life back. As a conscientious person I am obviously quite blown over by the responsibility.

 

That is a topic for another day; today it’s about how I relate my body shape and size with control over life. I am quite insane to think that anyone can claim to have control over life; it is the one thing that mystifies even the wisest.

The thought, a drowning man clutches to a straw comes to mind. A sheer act of desperation, it’s my mind’s way of relating and making sense of my life. Loosing weight given that I work from home and have 3 kids all under 5 to take care of and have to schedule time to even shower is impossible in the time frame I want.

I know I will get there, eventually, but by fretting over it today, I am distracting myself from a more pertinent issue, my identity crisis.

I know myself, even if I were my ideal weight today, I’d find something to vex over tomorrow. Where does this need to ‘control’ come from? I mentioned it twice, as a celebrator of life, when did I develop the need to control it? What happened to live life and let God show you his great plan?

Am I a hypocrite? Do I publicly support all that is different in others but demand a very stereotyped image from myself? Looking back, yes I did hang out with the wild ones but I never did the things they did, I never smoked (cigarettes or pot), never drank (not even beer) and no, I never took risks. Every ‘impulse’ was carefully planed out and all the worst scenarios had fallbacks.

I don’t know what is worse being a control freak masquerading as a free spirit or craving to be that person? Becoming a mother has forced me to shed a lot of the facades that I had accumulated and it has unnerved me. I had been looking at life through a guarded window and now without my masks I feel vulnerable.

Naked, since I have been stripped of all the layers of lies and deception, I am now forced to live the life I have always professed to living. How ironic is that? Here I thought I had life all figured but turns out life had me figured from day one.

I salute you God, you are wiser, kinder, stronger and most importantly patient. What can I say? You got me, but do me a favour and don’t ever let go!