This is the picture that is sits on my computer and on my phone screens. It is my feel good shot and normally can bring a smile on my face under any circumstances. But for the past weeks or should I say months the magic has not worked. True the smile does appear but it is a tad jaded and laced with sadness. Recent events have brought to the fore the reality that you may make all the plans you want, and think you have the power to control your destiny, everything can change in a moment as you are a puppet and the strings are in unknown hands. My father tried to explain this to me in a spiritual way by saying that not a single leave moved without the will of God. Yet we mortals easily fall prey to hubris and defy those very Gods. When things go right, we become brazen and start making impossible dreams and with each dream or wish fulfilled we begin to believe that we are masters of our destiny. For the past decade or so my life, both personal and 'professional' - I guess that is what pwhy is - has been nothing short of wondrous, barring a few hiccups easily resolved. It was an obstacle race I managed to win with ease. From a tiny project with barely 3 persons and a small biscuit distribution programme, we morphed into one that reaches out to 1000 beneficiaries and at every stage we cleared every milestone almost effortlessly.
I discovered a whole new world and fell in love with it. My greatest gift and blessing was Popples landing in my life. True they were many lessons one had to learn and accept, some quite troubling and even distressing but that was part of the game. My own world kept pace and all those I love prospered and flourished. I became a grandmother when a little Angel landed in my heart. My life partner moved into retired life with a spring in his gait and opportunities galore. His strong shoulder was always there to lean on when things looked a little blue. Everything seemed on course and life could not have been better.
Then one day, almost a year ago, my carefully constructed and nurtured life fell apart. The one, who had always been the strongest fell, ill and this time nothing went as planned. I only could watch helplessly as he who was my strength began wasting away in front of helpless eyes. I knocked at every door from the white coat specialist to the preferred star gazer. Every test was inconclusive and every magic formula in vain. No one seemed to understand what was happening. And as days became weeks, and weeks turned into months a new lexicon stemmed out of the recesses of my mind. I started thinking almost surreptitiously about the expiry date of one's life. Alas it is not printed on the soles of our feet when we wail our way into this world. Actually the only thing we are sure about when we are born is that we will die and what comes in between is anyone's guess. So the maxim that urges us to live one day at time, and live it as if it was our last is true and believing that everything will run the way we want because we are knowledgeable and have done all the right things is pure folly.
Everything could change in a instant. Gone was the hubris. The wise thing would be to start tying loose ends as quickly as possible. Time to stop dreaming. One actually had to live every day as if were the last one and complete tasks with a yesterday deadline.
When I look at my little boys today with a somewhat despondent smile, I realise that for one of them at least my task is far from over. When you extend your hand to someone and s/he holds it tight, it is a lifelong engagement. The child can be the one you gave life to and who clings to your finger instinctively or the one that everyone gave up on except you. I would like to see my grandson grow into a young man but that can only be wishful thinking. But the one I reached out to is another story. Maybe that is the biggest loose end that needs to be tied. I know there are many who love this little fellow, but his future can only be secured if I ensure that he has a Trust Fund that would look after his further studies, and give him what he needs to begin life. At least ensure his needs, if not his wants. So from today on, this picture will be a reminder of what I still have to do and do fast. I just hope and pray many will come forward and extend their hand. It is funny that I who till now was the one reaching out to others find myself on the other side of the fence. I guess this a lesson that has to be learnt. The sad but true reality is that in the world we have created and are so proud of there is scant place for compassion and empathy. The lexicon in use is that of money. I am sure many would be willing to look after this little man provided they do not have to dip into their pockets. I may be sounding cynical but this is something I have learnt over the years. The child protection law that has declared me person deemed 'fit' to look after this child and keeps an eye on him as we have to 'produce' him in court every time he comes on a school break, washes their hands of him the day he turns 18. He would barely be out of school. And then who cares for him? The law decrees he cares for himself. Who makes these laws I wonder. I only know that I have to make sure that he has money for further studies and also mentors to guide him and love him. Not an easy task but one that has to be done.
It is also time to sift what my mind demands from what my heart yearns for. Secure my pwhy family without chasing impossible dreams; tie up the few essentials of my personal life and ensure that my children can walk into my shoes without any pinches. So need to make a sensible bucket list and fulfil it!
For the very first time in my life, I am truly out of my depth and feel I am caught in a swirling vortex of emotions and events I cannot handle. It is a first for me as till date I had always felt I was in the driver's seat. As an only child my wonderful parents always made sure that I felt that way and come to think of it, this game continued till the day they left me and even after. They had given me the skills needed to overcome obstacles and challenges without falling apart or if I did, then bouncing back before anyone knew.
After they left, my partner took over and never stood in my way and was always the wind beneath my wings and I a soaring free bird. Today I am grounded. There is no wind to propel me. I feel like Baudelaire's Albatross:
a clumsy winged voyager!
I never realised that in all my existence there was always someone to blow the wind needed to move the wings insisted on wearing. It is a reality check. Maybe God's way of seeing whether I can be a soaring winged voyager without help or just a clumsy one!