We may look back over our past in years but we can only look to the future one day at a time, a day that also begins the year
We go to bed every night with a single hope: that we will wake up in the morning and witness the birth of a new day. Assuming that we are healthy, the probability is that we will – but there is no certainty, and no one can give us an absolute guarantee on this score.That is why, therefore, we can only say our prayer and hold on to hope. And that is why, too, every single day is unique, as a soul-sister evoked in the opening lines of the poems that follow, aptly starting with ‘Uniqueness’:
Of the dawn
And its worship
Of the penetrating sun rays,
The light from up above.
Of the songs of birds
On the swinging branches
Of the trees green and everlasting.
The perpetual reminder
Of the essence of life.
Of the eyes that see,
The arms that cuddle
And the heart
That knows how to love.
Of prayers for forgiveness.
Every morning that that hope is fulfilled we can intone ‘Blessed is it in that dawn to be alive’ – for no one can snatch from us the joy of waking up and looking forward to live our day on our own terms. A resolve all the more important as we find ourselves tossed in a world where disruptive forces are ever present and uncertainties stalk.
Currently one of them is an apprehension, starting in the US itself, about the world’s future when President Donald Trump is installed in a week’s time. But even he, putatively the most powerful person in the world, or his local equivalents cannot deny anyone of us that ‘peace that passeth understanding’ if we have our heart and our mind in the right place. It is ours alone to relish, especially if we have faced and survived tough moments. And be grateful as each day comes to a close, for it sends a call for yet more hope –
Of the sunset
And the sinking sun.
The constant renewal
Of smooth hours
And its spontaneity.
And its condescension,
Of the glowing path
It leads to.
Of the mind
That cares for mankind.
In this way our life rolls on, and far from leaving it to fate or cursing it, it is possible to take hold of oneself and set the direction. Of course there will be ups and downs. But we must be like the river that flows on and onwards, going round obstacles: like the boulders whose jarring sharp edges are eroded by the water slowly but surely, perserverance being the winner. It does not matter even if we have to linger awhile, like the whirlpools that go round and round in one place but eventually their waters join the gushing stream that cannot be prevented from going forth to join the sea. Depth and space thus gained, we can accommodate and accept not only what has passed but what will come, for with maturity comes serenity, mellowness and for most sensible humans a warm large-heartedness. Because in our Search over a lifetime we have found that-
Time has passed and wounds have healed.
Too many rainbows have been painted,
While the desert extends its devastating claws
Would you believe in reconciliation
Years have glided by and wrinkles are here to stay.
Too many promises were made unfulfilled,
While privileges made a fashion of slavery
Would you change the world’s system.
The world doesn’t care, and so transformation must come from within, as we realize that we have ‘suffered heartbreaks. How can you not, when losing a loved one, or seeing your child suffer? But broken hearts give us strength, understanding and compassion. An unbroken heart is callous and hard, and will never feel the joy of imperfection.’ As for the wrinkles, ‘I’ve been blessed with enough years for my hair to turn grey and for the laughter of my youth to become deep lines in my face. Many never got to laugh this much, and others never got to turn grey. I am indeed fortunate.’
And so does Hope dawn afresh, again and again, for –
Never mind the unhinged gap
With you and me at each end
Never mind the roaring thunders
Let’s try again.
Never mind the tears
While they tear virtue apart
Never mind the pain of injustice
Watch for the flame of wisdomThe flame that beckons us all, though unbeknown to most of us caught in the whirl, and that allows us to affirm upon reflection that ‘even though my body is not as young as it used to be I will never change my amazing friends, my wonderful life, things I’ve seen, the lessons I’ve learnt and my loving family for less grey hair and a flatter stomach.’
It’s the wisdom that has taught us that we may look back over our past in years but we can only look to the future one day at a time, a day that also begins the year. But we know, don’t we, that days and years are but constructs of convenience in our imagination, to give some artificial order in the mundanities of existence – which are nevertheless the stuff of our lived daily realities made up of pains, fears, sadnesses but also of bursting joy when we overcome them one by one. Then a new radiance dawns, lit by smiles and warmed by deserved hugs even if they be virtual, crossing space to reach out to loved ones in distant places. What more can we ask for but such moments to cherish until our last breath?