The Tunnel Experience

Everyone will go through the tunnel of waiting at some point…

We fall into 3 camps:

  • Those that have gone through the waiting tunnel
  • Those going through the waiting tunnel
  • Those that are not yet at the tunnel

Note that I describe the waiting phase as a tunnel experience.

So, what is a tunnel?

A tunnel links two places. It starts at one point and leads to another point.

It is usually dark in the tunnel which gives rise to the need for lighting the tunnel. More often than not, it is an individual journey not really a 3 -4 lane express way. Also, it can be very hot and uncomfortable in the tunnel.

The tunnel experience is not always an exact replica of what is happening outside the tunnel. While it may be dark inside, it may be bright and sunny outside the tunnel.

Waiting is almost a foreign vocabulary to our generation. We want everything it NOW.

However, we will not always have what we want now. Sometimes, we need to go through a waiting period.

When we see any and every waiting period from the view of a tunnel, we can be certain that:

  • We are moving forward
  • There is a place called the other side
  • What is happening around is not necessarily the total picture
  • It may be an individual journey but there is always help

Whichever camp you fall into, these lessons will come in handy at some point.

We all will have to wait at some point in our lives; we can choose to wait grudgingly or in joyful anticipation.

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More Energy

For the very first time, I am publishing 2 posts not in a month, not even a week but the same day…

My wife and I are on a journey the next couple of days. From the South west to the North east, and then on to Glasgow for my brother-in-law’s graduation – small family reunion…

I just completed about 400 miles (640km) of driving – around 7 hours in total (in those days, it would only have taken about 5 – 6 hours…learnt to take it easy as a family man), and there is another 200 miles (3 hours) to go tomorrow – thankfully, I won’t be doing tomorrow’s driving!

I woke up early and could not go back to sleep, so I sorted out the items I would need for the next couple of days and prepared for the days work. I then completed the last post which was a few days due already.

Why did I wake up early and why could I not go back to sleep?

The answer is – I had so much to do today. I recognised that I was on a long drive. For some reason that I still I can not explain, I find this happening to me most times that I have a long day ahead.

Something kicks in in my system that infuses me with strength and energy. After the first 100 miles, I was not tired at all, as there were still 300 miles to go. Even after 200 miles, it was as if the journey was just starting!

This makes me remember, special days in my life e.g. my first day in the University, the first time I was travelling out of my country, and of course my wedding day.

The common theme to most of such days is that there was so much to do. I end up sleeping late on the previous day(s) and yet waking up early – full of energy and drive to go on on the d-day.

On the contrary, the days I do not have much to do, to even drive a mile is such a big do and a big problem. I am usually more tired on holidays than on days that there was much to do.

It just goes to show that the reason we are tired and weary is probably because we do not have much ahead of us – so there is no need for the body to supply any energy not to talk of extra energy. To have more energy, maybe we need to make big plans…

Paradigm Shift…Boy Driver!!!

I have read the famous paradigm shift story – a man on the tube on a Sunday morning with the children running around and disturbing everyone. The writer was angry and said “Sir, can you please caution your children?” To which the dad replied – totally oblivious to all that was happening around him – “I am sorry, we are just coming from the hospital, they just lost their mum”!

Instantly, the writer’s emotion and reaction changed from anger to empathy.

Recently, I had a very interesting experience. It was an unusually warm autumn evening, I pulled in into a filling station for fuel. I grabbed the nozzle and was almost through with my fueling when I heard the honking of the horn from a car a few pumps away.

Who will be using their horn around here, why now?

I was startled, surprised and miffed at the honking. I looked over my shoulders with a mixture of wonder and irritation – we are not in London where the horn goes off 2 seconds after the light turns green. And there were no black cabs around…

To my amazement, I saw a 4-5 year old boy behind the wheels of a people carrier. Obviously the parent (driver) had gone into the store to pay for the fuel, as such, there were 3 kids left alone in the vehicle.

The first honking was probably a mistake but once the boy realised what he could do behind the wheels, he honked again, looked at his siblings, laughed out loud, raised his hand in enjoyment of what wonders he was performing.

I do not know what exactly was going on in the car with the 3 kids but all of a sudden, the boy literarily sat on the horn and let it run for as long as he could.

Typically, it would have been a prolonged state of anger plus irritation if the person honking was an adult. But amazingly, I found myself smiling in wonder of what this boy was doing.

Obviously, it was not the noise pollution I was enjoying. Rather, it was more of sharing in the boy’s amazement. He was visibly enjoying the magic he just discovered how to perform.

To everybody else, it was annoying. However, I found myself change from the feeling of irritation to amusement in seconds.

As I left the filling station, it occurred to me that, I have control over how I feel, the situation not withstanding.

Was it because it was a boy and not an adult that I was not irritated? Next time an adult is messing up, can I see a boy behind the situation and will that give me a paradigm shift?

It is really not the situation but our interpretation of it…

Picture source: hittheroadrob.blogspot.com

What do you do when you do not know what to do 1?

Have you ever experienced those moments, where it looks like you are alone and all by yourself? When it looks like you are carrying the weight of the world? Or you seem to be singled out for troubles?

I have had situations and events happen, that really pushed me. I mean, push me to the wall. Times when you pray and say God “I know you know what you are doing but I do not see the total picture”.

There are moments when I say to God, “I know you are good and everything you do is good but everything around me is saying the opposite”. Times when I know the right scripture for the situation and somewhere inside me, I know it is going to be alright; however, what I see is a million miles away from what I know in my heart.

Sometimes, I am able to pray but at other times, I just speak to God without it sounding like prayer. Other time, I just like to stare at the TV so the moments could fly away.

I often go back to notes I had taken earlier and they are usually very helpful and reassuring but then that voice on my shoulder starts shouting all the negative stuff again.

My candid opinion based on previous experiences is that, God is too good to sit down in heaven and watch the devil mess up my life. I usually say to myself that all things work together for the good of those that love God.

While meditating recently, I had a very great revelation – there is nothing new under heaven! (That in itself is not a new revelation). And as the adage goes, “Saying that you have never heard of / seen such a thing before, is just a means of scaring the victim”.

At the end of the day, I won’t be the first and neither will I be the last. If other people have gone through it before and they do not have two heads, I will certainly go through. It shall come to pass.

It occurred to me that nothing lasts forever. Life is in seasons. After every winter comes spring. It looks like there is nothing we can do about the change in cycle… we can only align ourselves with it i.e. use it for our good. As the saying goes, it is not what happens to us but what we make out of it that counts.

Whatever, your list or issue, someone, somewhere has been through that same thing, and has come out on the other side. However, you will only come out on the other side if you keep on pressing on.

To be continued…

He Raised Me Up

He killeth and maketh alive
He bringeth down to the grave and bringeth up
He maketh poor and maketh rich
He bringeth low and lifteth up
He raiseth up the poor out of the dust
He lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill

He forgiveth all thine iniquities
He healeth all thy diseases
He redeemeth thy life from destruction
He crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies
He satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Have you not been paying attention?
Have you not been listening?
Haven’t you heard these stories all your life?
Don’t you understand the foundation of all things?
He sits high above the round ball of earth
The people look like mere ants
He stretches out the skies like a curtain

Who do you think made all these?
He marches this army of stars out each night
He counts them off, calls each by name

Why would you ever complain?
Don’t you know anything?
Haven’t you been listening?
He doesn’t come and go
He lasts
He’s Creator of all you can see or imagine
He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch his breath
He knows everything, inside and out
He energizes those who get tired
He gives fresh strength to dropouts

He opens and no man can shut
He shuts and no man can open
He is ALL

The Great Battle

The Sun and the Wind once had a dispute over which of the two was greater, while arguing, they suddenly saw a man walking across an open field. The man had with him: a newspaper, his briefcase and coat – which he was wearing. They felt the man was a good opportunity for them to test their strengths, so they agreed that whoever was able to make the man take off his coat within 30 minutes wins.

The wind felt this was no big deal and opted to go first, to which the sun gladly agreed and off the wind went. It started blowing, gently at first, and then blew stronger and stronger but it could not get the man to remove his coat. Instead, the man was holding tightly to his paper, briefcase and coat. After some time, the wind became very angry at what the man was doing, so it decided to blow real strong. The more furious the wind became, the more forcefully it blew; but the more it blew forcefully, the more the man wrapped his coat around himself.

After 30 minutes of trying all sorts of wind speeds and varying wind directions, it was unable to get the man to remove his coat; it was time for the sun to try.

The sun decided to shine with a loving and joyful smile at the man and almost immediately, the man took off his coat.

The sun won the challenge!

LESSON: What force, fury and anger will not achieve can be achieved with love, joy, smile, patience and care.

Imbibe these virtues and see the difference they make…

Great week.

Refuge

Job cuts, job losses, earthquakes, share price plunge, plane crashes, ship hijacked by pirates etc are the latest in town. It is almost impossible to listen to the radio, watch the TV or read the news without these captions jumping at us.

Where is the world going and what exactly is happening? These and other questions are top on people’s minds. It looks like the headlines have shifted from coups, hunger, wars in Africa to Global meltdown, credit crunch and recession. The attention seems to have shifted to the West.

But these were the Economies and Countries that had/have a working and trusted system, so what happened? If the trusted systems are failing and the stable economies are becoming unstable, what are we to expect in the coming months? Analysts are not even sure again, some say, the recession will continue, others are saying there is a turn around for the better.

As if all the above were not bad enough, developing Countries are now targets of terrorist attacks…amazing! I used to think that only developed Countries were targets – how times change. It is increasingly becoming difficult to predict which place is safe and which is not.

I grew up thinking earthquakes only happened in the East, but even Europe is no longer exempt. Now a whole plane is missing and the number of aviation mysteries seems to have just increase by one. May God comfort the families of the passengers.

I am not in anyway magnifying or reminding you (as if you did not know) about the current happenings. Rather, this is a wake up call for us all to know that things will not always be the way they have been. The order is changing and the world is changing so fast that we need a grip less we fall. Times like this call for sober reflection.

In who or what do you trust? Where does your confidence and safety lie? What is your hope? In the midst of all of these, remember: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” We often pray and hope that God will save us from trouble and keep problems from us, but God is sovereign. Sometimes, He keeps the trouble away, at other times, He saves us IN the trouble. In the days of the disciples, He could have prevented the storm but He saved them IN the storm.

Be still and know that He is God…