Quotes

Meaninglessness does not come from being weary of pain. Meaninglessness comes from being weary of pleasure.

G.K. Chesterton

If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.

C.S. Lewis

 

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In the end it doesn’t even matter

I remember waiting for this Linkin Park song to be aired on TV. The songs of Linkin Park, as many as I have heard, are songs for the empty and brokenhearted. On July 20, 2017 lead vocalist of Linkin Park Chester Bennington killed himself. Chester Bennington could give voice to these songs so powerfully probably because of his troubled childhood and substance abuse . The popularity of these songs suggests millions of people today are same; empty and brokenhearted.  “We’re trying to remind ourselves that the demons who took you away from us were always part of the deal. After all, it was the way you sang about those demons that made everyone fall in love with you in the first place”, says statement from official Linkin Park website says after his death.

Putting down few lines from the songs which Chester Bennington sang.

From ‘Somewhere I belong

I wanna heal, I wanna feel what I thought was never real
I wanna let go of the pain I’ve felt so long
(Erase all the pain ’til it’s gone)
I wanna heal, I wanna feel like I’m close to something real
I wanna find something I’ve wanted all along
Somewhere I belong

From ‘Crawling’

There’s something inside me
That pulls beneath the surface
Consuming, confusing
This lack of self control I fear
Is never ending, controlling

I can’t seem to find myself again
My walls are closing in
(Without a sense of confidence)
(I’m convinced that there’s)
(Just too much pressure to take)
I’ve felt this way before so insecure

Crawling in my skin
These wounds they will not heal
Fear is how I fall
Confusing what is real

From ‘Numb”

Can’t you see that you’re smothering me?
Holding too tightly, afraid to lose control
‘Cause everything that you thought I would be
Has fallen apart right in front of you
Caught in the undertow, just caught in the undertow
Every step that I take is another mistake to you
Caught in the undertow, just caught in the undertow
And every second I waste is more than I can take!

In the backdrop of this sad incident, few questions remain. Is it good enough for us to sing about our emptiness, sadness and painful memories ?

Is there a fix to the problems of our heart? Heart which hops from one thing to another to find fulfillment in life ? Our truly felt needs of being accepted, forgiven, of belonging somewhere, of being healed from our past wounds; are those needs fulfilled somewhere. Can someone answer the deepest questions about our life, our purpose, our past, our destiny and most importantly about ourselves?

Or are we to hopelessly sing:

I wanna heal, I wanna feel what I thought was never real
I wanna let go of the pain I’ve felt so long
I wanna heal, I wanna feel like I’m close to something real
I wanna find something I’ve wanted all along
Somewhere I belong

Where is the answer ? What is Truth ?

Amma

3rd February 2012
Tonight my room is lit with a dim light; a hospital room in Indore, MP. This reminds me of the summer times spent in my mom’s home which was at a hilltop in a small village called Nelladu, Kerala. Back in those days electricity and water supply weren’t there and small gas lanterns which needed to be pumped (I don’t know what they call it) were used in the night. The yellowish dim light in my room right now is similar.
In that house in Kerala, near a blue colored door I can still remember clearly Appachan (grandfather) and Amma (grandmother) waiting eagerly to see us after a gap of a year on our school vacations. For us (me, my brother and cousins) who were living in Jhabua (another small town in MP) it was a time for thrill and fun to have open fields, hills and sparkling streams and fish in those streams to play with.
The earliest memory I had of Amma was she carrying me when I was some 5-6 years old. For me and my brothers and my cousins her room was the most comfortable place to crash in the night. Her room had a huge window facing towards the open field with fresh, gentle breeze flowing all through the night. I would still pay anything to have a nap like that. There was more. She would often tell us about many stories when we boys would crowd up her bed. She would tell about how our aunt visited Manipur years back, and how a herd of elephants attacked aunt’s home and similar stories. She would stroke our heads and we’ll be comfortably sleeping all night, right there. As kids we didn’t know what it would mean to us. Now after so many years, it mean a lot to me.
Later on she moved along with us to MP some 18 years back and since she had left her home (Kerala) she had even more stories to tell us.
Amma is special for me for one more reason. In childhood days it was in my nature that I would do something that would impress my dad. And I would often receive the appropriate reward. My dad would use ‘chooral’ (thin bamboostick) to mark my achievement on my body. And for a 10 year old, caught up in such a situation, nothing in the world seems to be more secure place than Amma’s room. I would run to her and she’ll save me from getting my reward. Amma was very kind hearted. So much that I convinced her, that if I don’t get a motorcycle I may not be able to concentrate on my studies and pass the high school. I got my first motorcycle at 16. Have so many such fond memories ..
Coming back to tonight, 3 February 2012, 92 years old she is lying somewhere in the floor down to mine in an ICU, almost lost her sanity, lost her hunger, refusing to drink water, thigh bone broken into two with an oxygen mask put on her face. Often she would break out in screams and at times she would be scared as if she has seen a ghost. She fears that people around her are going to hurt her.  Doctors are refraining from fixing her bone with steel as they fear that she may not survive the surgery.
Right now, I don’t know what is going to happen to her next. But I thank God that we could have her in our lives. Yes it is painful to see her in so much of pain, with her voice failing now. But for me it is a great thing to see that today even though she can’t recognise any of us (family members), our names, for that matter hardly anything sane… she remembers her God and she is calling out to Christ in whom she put her trust years back.
Wish I could go down to the ICU and crawl into her bed and ask her to tell me another story. Or maybe I should not. The greatest story she ever told me is unfolding right now in front of my eyes. The story of her life.
6th February 2012
I lost Amma today. I saw them bringing her out of OT and she had considerable movements in her body. I had a glimpse of hope. Even doctors told me the same. Hope is a strange word. Hope is as good as the object on which your hope is based on. You can hope for anything and everything. But all things we hope don’t come true. I had a hope on the medical procedure. It failed. The change in her body was too much for her to handle. Seeing Amma go to her heavenly home wasn’t painful. Hope is the word again. She had a hope that after death she’ll be with her Creator. Death is a stepping stone to eternity with God. Everyone who is born again in Christ has that hope. Me too. And thank God it is far more reliable than a medical procedure. A Hope based on the person of Jesus Christ. Who told that, “I will be with you till the end of time”.
A person taking birth, growing up, toiling for living and dying is all strange without this Hope. Every enjoyment is temporary but we still strive for them repetitively. Nope, don’t tell me about making a difference in this world. Giants in their respective areas of work and life have come and gone. Today nobody cares about them on a Monday morning. As they say nothing we do will last forever.
I will miss Amma next time when I am home. But more than that, I am thankful and happy for Amma. For her love, our time together, our heated arguments, for our PJs. Above all, I was encouraged to see her complete dependence on Christ to see through her physically painful final days, reassuring everyone who knew her, that saving faith in Christ is a real deal. Because of that faith, death is not the end or an entry into unknown, but it is a new beginning. I am grateful to God that I could be with Amma in her final hours of earthly life.
Amma’s new story has started. And soon I will get to hear and see that too. Don’t know when.
I could not wish all this in any other way. It is late. I should sleep.

Railway Station

It is night 10:30 and it is drizzling. I am at the entrance gate of Kacheguda (Hyderabad) railway station. I see a hotel Krishna Inn, quite old, colors faded, windows broken. It must have been a sought out resting place for weary travellers, maybe a decade back. It might have hosted 100s of travellers from all over India. I see a man sitting on the railing, intoxicated and sad. I hear a teenager asking me to have food at the restaurant, where he is working for probably for few pennies.
So many lives, so many experiences.Generations have come and have gone…millions of people..millions of joys they experienced..in..big and small things…running into strong wind… cool touch of the raindrops on the body… getting school report cards… playing in open fields without tiring ..starting on a journey …watching the animals … the joy of friendships.. looking into the eyes of that one special human being…of growing up from a child to an adult..happiness of the purchase from first salary…joy of the day of wedding… joy of holding your child for first time…
What is the meaning of all this? Why do we have all these things. People came, people experience all this and they die, nobody remembers them, their memories of the little joys matters to no one. Irrespective of anything big or small, life seems to go on.  Great men talk about making a better world, to only have a more isolated , lonely world where men spend most of their time staring at or swiping on some kind of LCD.
All the things which we thought will make us happy have let us down, at the best we wish that those experiences were ours again, we could perhaps, live them again. Often, the search to experience those things lead us to books, movies. Sadly the happinesses ends at the last page of the book or at the exit door of movie theatre.
If we carefully look at our capacity to experience joy, we often find that none of the joys of the world can satisfy it.
If this sounds like philosophy ask the mighty Romans who had glory, wealth and  pleasure. Nobody remembers them, most of them died carrying emptiness within them.
An old English man said it right – “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”
Our hearts are custom designed to experience larger than life things. Yea, 3D movies may work for few minutes, like a patchwork.
Who or what can be large enough to fill our hearts with joy, lasting joy? Joy which never ends. Joy which will last eternally. Where will you find it? Who can give you the joy for which your heart is made for? Who?