Let’s retire early, Shall we?

10 Jobs that will let you retire early – That was the first mail I saw in my inbox. Ironically, that mail was from one of the many job portals that I subscribe to.

Now if you think about it, the day you retire, the job portal loses one customer. Why on earth, are they advertising to something that could potentially lead to them losing customers, (since we are already in a highly hypothetical scenario, let’s stretch it some more)  which will lead to them losing revenue, which will lead to a million job cuts and eventually, shut down of their company.

Either they are really selfless and want what’s best for their customers or they are completely confident, that not many of us will actually read that article. Let alone, get into the jobs that could help us retire early. So which one is it? That they do not believe in what they just said or they do not believe in what we would do.

OK. I totally exaggerated the whole thought. Oh, wait. I have not yet read that article. Yes, all this even before I could read what the article says. Before my mind can think all this through, my hands quickly deleted the mail. Of course, I fished it out from the trash after my brain had finished processing this whole thought.

Why does this topic seem so appealing to me?. Why do I want to retire early? Am I not happy with my present life? Will I be more happier if I retire early? Is it the retire ‘early’ part or the ‘retire’ part that excites me? Is it that I am lazy and hence do not want to work? Do I wish I was born a millionaire? Is it all about the money ?

If I have all my basic requirements to live, met today, why do I still want more? Why do I want a bigger house? Why do I want a car bigger than what I have now? Why do I want a better job? Why are we always looking for something that we do not have?

If we knew and understood  all the reasons to the whys above, maybe this world would have been a far better place than what is it now. OR Maybe not.  I don’t know.

Maybe all that I can do now for myself, is to pray what Audrey Assad sings about.

 

 

Little Thomas

There’s this little boy that I meet almost every Sunday. For the sake of our story, let’s call him Thomas. I got to know Thomas a few months back. He was this cute little guy whose face and beautiful smile stayed in my head.I took a liking to him almost instantly. As I got to know him better, I learnt that little Thomas was quite an interesting little person. He loves attention but hates crowd. He is quite shy and yet, given a task would love to do it. Noise makes him cringe and he likes to run away from situations that he feels uncomfortable facing. I pray for little Thomas every time I think of him and I actually look forward to seeing him every Sunday. He is my friend.

And today, when I thought of little Thomas, I also thought of something he says pretty often – ‘Leave me alone’. Every time he would say that to me, I would tell him something along the lines of , ‘Ok. Thomas. I will leave you alone. But I am always your friend and when you are ready to be my friend again, come talk to me’. Most of the times, he would immediately start talking to me. The other few times, I would give him 5 minutes, talk to him myself and he would be more than happy to talk to me again. And this happens almost every Sunday.

So today, when I thought of all this, I found myself wishing that Thomas would know how much of a friend he is to me.I found myself thinking, ‘will this little boy every understand how much I love him? ‘. ‘Will he ever know how many favors I pull for him every Sunday like making sure my seat is quite often next to his? (No Surprise there!). ‘Will he ever know that I pray for him apart from Sundays? ‘.I know the answer to all my questions are ‘Mostly NOT.’. But I also know that little Thomas has a place in my heart and it does not matter if he does not know it. I will keep on working at being his friend.

And then it dawned on me, Unconditional Love. This is probably a teeny tiny version of Unconditional Love. If this is how I feel about a little person who came into my life few months ago for a few hours every Sunday, I think I am beginning to understand God’s love in a totally new way. I now understand why God doesn’t stop loving me every time I do something wrong according to his standards. I understand why I can always go back to God after I complain and sulk about events in my life. I understand why it does not matter what my past is like. I can always go to God for a fresh start on my future.And suddenly, it dawned on me. To God,I am the little Thomas.You are a little Thomas.

Would the next time little Thomas says to me, ‘Leave me alone’, make me stop being his friend? NO. Would the 10th time from now when he says those words to me be the time I stop being his friend? NO. I cannot imagine that I can stop being friends with Thomas.

And Neither can God imagine not loving you. After all, you are his little Thomas.

It’s not you. It’s me.

We have a wonderful couple as neighbours. Last night was movie night with the neighbours. We watched the movie ‘October Baby’. And I must say, I loved the movie.  It deals with a subject that I feel strongly about – Abortion.  And I did not even know it till I started watching the movie. Almost at the end of the movie, there is a conversation between the father and the daughter where the father says, ‘It’s not that I don’t trust you. It’s that, I’m trying honestly to learn to trust God again.’  Wow!

Isn’t this our problem today? – Trusting God.

october babyAs a parent, you teach your kids. You teach them not to steal. You teach them to say no to drugs. You teach them to do the right thing at all times. You teach them to not to lie. You teach them not to cheat. But what after that? You teach your kid to look both sides when you cross the road and hope that they learn how to cross roads. But what power do you have over the drunk driver who may run a red light? You teach your kid that guns are bad and pray that your kids never see a gun all their life. But what can you do about a crazy gun man who may charge into their school? You teach your kids a whole lot of things praying and hoping they are safe all through their lives but there are greater things that you have absolutely no control over. What do you do then?

As a wife, I pray for my husband’s safety every day. I tell him not to text and drive. I tell him to eat his meals. I tell him to sleep. I do everything in my power to pray and wish that he is safe at all times. But does that guarantee anything?

As a daughter, I pray for my parents that they would be blessed with good health. I call them often to see if all is well with them. I live half world across from them and I know at times when they need me, I can’t be there. What do I do then? Is anything in our hands?

I’m learning that whatever role I play in my life, I need to learn to trust God. Cause, in reality, nothing is really in my hands. The horse may be prepared for the day of battle but the victory has to come from God. I have a good job today. But I learn to trust God that He will bless the company that I work for. I take the transit to work every day. But I learn to trust God to help the driver drive safe. I eat my food every day. I learn to trust God to bless what I eat to nourish my body. I sleep every night. I learn to trust God that I will wake up the next day. When I will have my children, I will teach them all that I know and trust God to help them to decide to do the right thing at all time.

End of the day, we love our loved ones and a lot lies in our hands. But an even greater ‘lot’ lies in God’s hands. And I learn every day to trust Him that He will keep my loved ones safe physically and in the decisions that they make.

See you on the other side…..

Your actions speak so loudly that I cannot hear what you are saying.

I’ve known uncle for as long as I can remember. His wife and my mom are close friends. My bro and his son are close friends. And I guess that left us to become friends. Me, my bro and his son – we grew up together, eating in each other’s houses, taking trips with each other’s families. It was kind of like having two families that I could call my own. And Uncle was my own special friend.

He was in a way, my mentor too. Two days after uncle passed away, I was still hurting when I heard my pastor say the words ‘Your actions speak so loudly that I cannot hear what you are saying’. It set me thinking. I’ve spent numerous hours with Uncle, I’ve taken a lot of mission trips with Uncle, I’ve sang with Uncle, I’ve prayed with Uncle, I’ve danced with Uncle. And in all those hours, I am sure that he would have said a lot of things to me. But somehow now when I think back, I cannot seem to remember any of those words of advices I am sure he must have told me.

However, I remember plenty. I remember all the things that he did not say to me but rather just choose to live it. Those lessons have taken root inside me and probably are things that I will always remember for the rest of my life. I will remember that trusting God does not mean that sickness will be far away from you. Rather, it means God’s grace is so abundant in your life that you can smile through the pain. I will remember that growing old is no excuse for not praising God with your hands and feet. I will remember how important it is to honor missionaries. I will always remember that people need God. That I need Jesus.

I will remember how when you trust God with your money, He will never let you be ashamed. I will remember that no matter what, I can trust Jesus. I will remember that in God’s family, you will have difference but that does not mean grudges should be held. I will remember that it does not matter if I am right or wrong, people are more important than my ego. I’ll remember that it’s alright to apologize even if I am in the right. I’ll remember to smile at all times.

If there was a banquet in honor of every person entering into heaven, I have a feeling that uncle’s table will be filled with palakottais and kolukottais. (I might have smuggled to uncle more than what he is supposed to have eaten. 🙂 )

Thank you Uncle, for all these unspoken lessons that you lived. You are my role model. As I would always tell my husband, you and Aunty are one couple that really practised every word your preached.

I’m gonna miss him. Miss his presence. Miss our ‘so called’ fights about how I have forgotten him. Miss him making fun of my cooking. When I land back in India, it’s going to be a strange world. A world without my mentor, my friend.

Uncle and Aunty helping us cut our wedding cake! It’s now one of my most cherished moments.

 

 

Everything I do, I do it for You.

I do not like housework. I do not like cooking. I do not like doing dishes. I do not like being a housewife. Yes, I am not an ideal wife. In fact, I am far far far away from being that.

Ever since I’ve been married, I’ve not been working. And the ‘title’ housewife was bestowed upon me. Not that I did not have fun. I did. Free from pressures of work, free from early morning start, free from constant meetings, life was fun most of the times. But there were times when I wondered, what was I really doing with my life.

I tried not to complain most of the times. In fact, I had nothing to complain about. My life was perfect. But at times in the night, when I thought back of all that I did in the day, the only things that I had seemed to have done were cooking, cleaning, some more cooking and some more cleaning. And I would become grumpy. Grumpy because I was doing what I was not liking. It was not because I was not doing something that I like to do. (You may have to read the last sentence again to understand my point).

To make my point clear, I was grumpy because of my ‘like/dislike’ and not really because of the kind of work I was doing. What I needed was an attitude change. I heard someone say recently, ‘God will not take you to the next level, until you learn what He wants you to learn from this level’. I did not quite understand at that point what he meant but this statement lodged itself in my mind.

Coming back to my attitude towards house work, I been praying about it. Praying that God would help me change my attitude towards the things that are my duties, whether I like them or not. As part of this process, I even have a note scribbled in my kitchen that says ‘TO everything you make, add a dash of love’. And it sure does help. 2 nights back, when hubby and I were praying, perhaps for the first time ever so truthfully, I prayed aloud saying, ‘Lord, if cooking and cleaning is all I am supposed to be doing, help me to do it happily, for what ever I do, I do it unto You’. And I meant every word that I prayed.

The next day, I received word that I got one of the jobs that I have applied for. Now, you may call it a coincidence. But I like to believe that God wanted me to learn my lesson first. And that is, ‘Cooking and cleaning are always gonna be a part of my life. I might as well enjoy doing it.’  All that I pray now is, ‘Lord, help me remember it all through my life’.

I’m starting work this Monday and God knows what lessons he has for me to learn then.

CMB series: Men and Women DO NOT think alike.

Anybody married, will outright agree with me on this statement. Men and Women do not think alike. I can go a little further and say, After marriage, men will totally stop thinking about certain things. If you are a wife and you do not agree with me, your man must be the ‘one black sheep’. But I bet ya, you will be on my side sooner or later.

Gone are the days, men think of ways and means to impress you. Gone are the days, men think of doing things for you. I’ve got a bunch of young wives for my friends and every time we talk, we all agree on the things we say. It’s pretty much like, men are the same universally. They think food magically appears on the table, dishes wash themselves, the house cleans itself and that they are lions. Of course, the last one is pretty much applicable to all of my hubby’s friends.(NO guys, this does not mean I accept you are all lions. It is far from that.)

After dinner, if there are a lot of dishes to be washed, hubby always feels bad for me and comes close to my side and sweetly says ,’You can do it tomorrow’. Oh yea, you heard it right. It’s not  ‘I’ll help you’, or ‘Let me do some dishes’ but ‘You can do it tomorrow morning.’ . I always found this little hilarious. But what I found out was that my hubby was not the only one who says this. The other ‘lions’ say the same to their wives.

At times, I have spent sleepless hours obsessing over words I have said to hubby, thinking that perhaps he had misunderstood what I meant. But hubby would happily sleep through the night. And the next morning, hubby will have no recollection of what I had said. See what I mean by men don’t think?. I found quite a number of wives who agreed with me on this. The truth is, I guess, we women think a lot. And we think a lot between the lines.So wives, take note. The next time you are worried over something you said to your hubby,fear not. Chances that your hubby did hear it, are really slim. Chances that he got offended, is like one in a  million.

While women like to mean what they say, men like to nod to what women say. I read somewhere that men nod because they agree, but because it is much easier to nod than listen to what women say and give an intelligent reply. An example conversation that we had recently went like this.

Me : Sh, blah blah…

hubby : hmmm…

Me : seems  blah blah blah

hubby : hmmm….

me : blah blah

hubby : hmmm….

……

….

hubby : What shall we do?

I was telling hubby about things that were totally not related to us and all of a sudden hubby let in this intelligent question.  And he was busted. This happens more than often at our house. I am sure that lot of women can vouch for the validity of this scenario. But what I doubt is that,any man can say the same of the wife. When women listen, they listen. They might forget later on, but at least women sincerely listen.

I’ve been accused in the past of being biased in my series towards women and rightly so too. I only talk for my kind. I have been threatened in the past that ‘lions’ will counter attack this series in their own blog, but that day remains to be seen. Like I said, only women mean what they say 🙂 🙂

Disclaimer :

  • All stories/characters featured in my CMB series are not fictional and always resemble a real person mostly alive and is entirely intentional.
  • I write based on the inputs received from friends around me.So…. RESULTS MAY VARY from your perception/ idea.
And a big hug to my hubby for being so sportive about these series. 🙂
For more of the CMB series, click here.

You could be dead the next moment.

I witnessed a crash scene today from my house balcony.Thankfully, no one was hurt.

A car crashed into the sidewalk right opposite to my house. It was God’s grace that no one was there at the time of the incident.Cause, judging by the tire marks on the road, the car must have been in a good speed. I heard the sound of the crash and went immediately to my balcony.Saw few people on the road on their cell phones. I assumed they were calling 911.

It was amazing how the police, ambulance ,etc were at the scene in less than 2 minutes. The sound of siren is something that we constantly hear for we live in the downtown area. I remember, in the beginning of summer, the first few days after we started sleeping with the windows open, I would hardly sleep at nights as the sound of the siren blasting every now and then, used to keep waking me up. But now, it’s part of our lives. After witnessing this crash, I won’t complain anymore.

The whole scene was cleared in 45 mins with the car being towed away, few wires that were pulled off by the crash were taken care of and the yellow ‘do not cross’  tape was removed and everything was back to normal.

I took some pictures (as usual) . Later, as I was going through them, I realized, that anybody who could have been standing at the sidewalk at that moment would have died. If not, at least had a near death experience. And this is a side walk that I walk on, pretty often. It is right in front of my apartment where most of my friends live. And somehow, that thought sent a shiver down my spine.I thank God for making sure nobody was standing there at that moment.

Isn’t this life? Unexpected things happen in the blink of an eye.You can never be sure that you will wake up tomorrow morning. The wind can kill you. The rain can kill you. The earth can kill you.Anything can kill you. But the question is, are you ready? Are you ready with your answer to questions like ‘what will happen after I die?, where will I go after I die?, What if, God was true?.  Are you ready to meet Him?’ .

From where I come from, thinking or talking about death is considered bad luck. I don’t believe it to be. Cause, if it were true, I would have died a million times already 🙂 . But the thought here is, ARE YOU READY FOR THE INEVITABLE?