The Optimist and the Dreamer – Short fiction

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Some of us live the ordinary life..,While some of us dream and create a world within a world to live in…and that’s okay.., nobody is spared quite really.., none can escape the dreariness of life or her sordid despair.., Hanka was such a girl.., she always did what was asked of her.., she fought through the ugliness of life.., studied hard.., learned to not pay heed to the ugly stares.., learned to escape the tyranny of a toxic realm.. Did things the right way.., Followed God.., lived life with faith.., obeyed in perfection what the Bible mandated.. Hanka was the type of person who went to heaven.., Hanka was the type of person who was promoted for her hard work.. Hanka was the type of person who put food on the table for her kids even if it meant waking up early for twenty years in a row.., Hanka was the type of person who looked out for people.., she did not befriend.., she helped.., managed professional duties with ease.., looked after a family.., She lived by the book.., perfected the system and was fruitful.., blessed and hope filled. For her faith was more than just feeling.., it was something to live upto despite the struggles, the wrestles and the down falls. She knew what faith promised and she walked towards that with unswerving hope. Hanka was an emblem of hope.., She always got through whatever was bothering her.., she conformed because it was right, just and demanded from the Bible. Hanka believed in rules and did not offer grace without believing that the person would someday change. But hanka had a huge heart.., she dealt compassionately with those who were poor.., sick.., hurt and down.., Hanka was just the type of person who believed that doing things the right way meant that it was more loving.., more better and wasn’t it what the Lord desired..? Hanka always spent her money on buying stuff for her family.., she came second.., she loved it more to help others. Hanka was always forgotten.., though she went to great lengths to buy stuff for other people…, to do extravagant things for other people.., she was always treated like she was ordinary.., like the things that she was doing for other people did not change their hearts. But Hanka strived forward.., hurt but bold.., determined to do what had been required of her from the start by a mysterious God who was everywhere but appeared like he was nowhere to be found.

Saul was the type of person who wondered whose side God was on in a personal conflict. Saul was the type of person who stayed awake in order to feel inspiration.., Saul was the type of person who stayed awake because he wished to be closer to his inner voice.., to what he could remember of his deepest and most soulful longings.. Saul was the type of person who felt that the sky was an imitation of inner feelings.., Saul was the type of person who struggled with apologies since he did not wish a repeat of what had been done.., Saul was the kind who deeply understood the horrendous unpleasantness of everything.., he knew that people were homeless.., he knew that the girls who had left boyfriends married somebody different and ended up becoming more happy.., Saul also knew that he could not change anything.., He could never change people’s evil that resided deep in their hearts and cunningly deceived them much like the Serpent at Eden’s Garden.., he knew that people were always going to be poor.., he knew that chickens would be slaughtered for meat.., he knew that girls would be trafficked for prostitution.., he knew that animals in the jungle would be killed.., he knew that some were going to be abused.., raped.., molested.., hurt.., wounded.., bullied.., murdered…, hated for the color of their skin.., he knew that people were guilty of not being courageous enough to challenge the norms and moods of their time.., whatever the times were defined by people imitated and reflected.., he knew that people from the slums could never escape the cruelty of their upbringing.., he knew that people would be discriminated.. he knew these things because he could see deep into the heart of the world and see it’s lost state.., He was not just a dreamer.., he dreamt of better living conditions for everybody.., he dreamt of a world without poverty.., he dreamt of a world without hell.., He dreamt of a world without sin.., He dreamt of a world filled with meaning.., but sometimes Saul dreamt of other things.. of darkness.., He dreamt of never existing.., He dreamt sometimes of being the only conscious person in a world filled with robots.., He sometimes looked at himself in a mirror that he had a face.., a body and that people outside judged him based on how he spoke, acted and interacted with that body. Saul was the kind of person who had been hurt by love but still believed in it and attempted to control it because he did not wish to appear sappy, emotional and delusional. Saul had a soft soul.., he struggled to accept the blessings of his life because others seemed more vulnerable to the world’s beatings. Saul struggled to live.., he struggled to obey God.., He struggled to believe because each day he felt the attack of a world intent on breaking him apart.., Saul struggled with lust.., with greed.., with pride.., he struggled to commit fully to the Bible since sometimes he felt that it made a person too righteous that they forgot their weakness that made them love more deeply. Saul knew in his heart that the Bible was true.., he knew it with absolute conviction.., but he had never been a lover of rules.., he wanted to discover what made life tick.., setting the rules would mean that life became dull, uninspiring and too stable.., he wished to live in the way that he wanted to.., He wanted to be in control of his life. He was a free-spirit and he enjoyed freedom.

Saul did not look at things as right and wrong.., he did not appreciate the power of being right all the time since he believed in empathy more than righteousness which was a controversial stance to take since his views and opinions were laughed at and mocked by the religious of his day. Saul also believed that nobody would catch him if he were to fall.., he knew that nobody was running behind him.., nobody would desire him and if they did.. the moment they understood him they would leave.. Saul understood too that his own inner need to prove things to people sometimes broke and he succumbed to what made life easier since he couldn’t bear the pain of loneliness and also did not wish to bring pain to himself that others would talk about. Saul did not like it when anybody told him what to do.., because he believed that they didn’t understand what he was feeling on the inside., Saul was led by an intense spirit within himself, he did not like to discover weaknesses within himself.. they made him feel dejected, wounded and sad.., he wished to burst forward like a sparkling meteor on a black, silken night. Saul felt hurt that life had expectations on him.., that he would be audited for what he had done in his life.., and he couldn’t ever talk himself out of it.., No …Saul felt trapped in a world where everything was fixed in stone and he was stuck in it.

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Late night thoughts on Faith- A few observations ( I’m going to be late for work tomorrow.. Yikes)

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What do I do with the supposedly evil portions of the Bible..? ( GOD is not evil.. but His acts of Justice violent as they be seem too difficult to grasp) How can I just accept the shedding of blood of innocent animals that served to hide the serious sinfulness of early men and women..? Am I getting a glimpse into the deeply sensitive nature of a Holy God who upon seeing the blood of an innocent animal being shed subdues His own fearsome wrath and forgives graciously large, difficult sins..? Or am I seeing a tyrant who delighted in the mindless slaughter of endless animals as most other pagan religions practised, required and demanded…? I can’t quite make up my mind.. I have run away from this passage and perplexity often.. I can’t seem to shake away the need for such an action from my limited, fallen and human perspective.. with my need for sinfulness to relax and recoup from the stresses of being made perfect in Faith.. I must accept that I don’t have the theological know hows as to why God would ask Joshua to kill entire cities, countries and inhabitations without the slightest emotion or remorse, I can’t understand the book of lamentations and I confess to have trouble with the passages where God asks Fathers to stone their daughter who sin, I can’t understand the violent demand for such an act. But I am looking at it from my perspective.., Not from the perspective of a Perfect Supernatural being.. whose every demand contains a will that covers the future and the present…But I can sense a deeper side to the story, a part that like a noble parent whose suffering is hid is reflected…, I see all of the Lord’s acts as His own wishes… I love Him even though I don’t agree with Him, but I know that He has the power and the love to make right choices that despite their impact lead to a greater glory, a greater good and greater benefit…. I once saw the writings of Paul as indigestable bitter pills, I now can see beyond their surface and understand the power and the cry of the Holy spirit to refrain from sin which captures, imprisons, torments and then assassinates. I can understand therefore the severity of the language. I despised the fact that the Lord chose the Jews as His favored race… but I understand now after a prolonged research that He wanted to redeem the world through them.., I understand because even when I pick a team of people… I almost always gravitate towards those who are weak, unpickable and lack natural talent.

I much prefer a personal time alone with the Lord, where I can bask within Him and find love for all my unheard cries, comfort for all my wounds with an unjust, brutal and hopeless culture and civilization and remedy for my sicknesses, fears and trials. I enjoy discovering Him throughout the dull narratives of Old testament texts which in my opinion are often un-spectacular. Not because of the Lord, but because of the lack of life in the historical texts. But reading them fills my spirit which is another unfathomable complexity. I view faith with wonder and awe, more than finding it as a rigorous self exacting discipline that makes the spirit the seat of control and not the soul. I have trouble listening to Pastors who preach Biblically , mostly because I would rather have someone explain it to me with Grace than warning me with severity. I know that my wants and demands are often done to protect my own feelings which do not like being confronted with truth and the reminders of a dire awaiting doom. I have the patience to understand myself, people from the outside take scalpels and do damage often with well intentioned sermons that bruise and wound more than heal, restore and redeem. But I know that I have to humble myself and take a good sound beating every once in a while to correct my Public persona for the sake of the Christian brethren.

I must confess that I often feel content in my state of imperfection…. Striving towards Godliness seems to imply a sensational and powerful inward wrestle…. A shocking inward battleground, far removed from prying human eyes where I have to constantly subdue my sinfulness and act upon my Christfulness.

I identify this as some repressed gleam of being driven towards those habits and acts that I have since abandoned since I took up a Cross and began to follow Christ. So many have fallen from this walk.., and I hear sincere minded preachers often speaking in severity about the fallen, and I get it.. the consequences of a life not lived for Christ leads straight to the fiery pits of Hell…, Hell is the ultimate soul killer, the final resting place for the damned, the condemned and the guilty… God throws men who have rejected Him into Hell… , and these sinners are tormented forever and ever… Their cries go up day and night.. and there will be no rest for them. I feel that this portion of the Scriptures makes men legal about God’s free Grace, and I understand… There are serious, striking passages about God in the Scriptures that make me fearful and terror filled. I guess that my dabbling in occasional sinfulness just to stave off a longing for human companionship has desensitivized me to the terrible plight rewarded to all sinners who gleefully reject a wonderful, magnificent and precious Lord. I understand the terrible punishment, Man is an eternal creature.. He cannot be extinguished much less erased.., The spiritual realities of this world seem more terrifying than the physical ones.

All my life my thoughts have been consumed by Hell. I have stayed away from a curiosity in Cults and joining one because of Hell, I have stayed away from accepting the Hindu Faith that I have always felt a great attraction towards for the fear of Hell, I have stayed away from Occultism because of a fear of Hell, for a long long period of time.. Hell has always been in my thoughts striking fear inwardly, making me weep in unconscious anguish.. I have often pictured myself suffering and burning in Hell.., I can’t even comprehend the reality of what that might imply. After I survived my suicidal attempt by the grace of God, I had a dream where I encountered Hell.., I saw demons speaking to souls whose life had ended.., they were delightful that they could finally torment these souls who had chosen deliberately to stray away from a Holy, Loving Lord.. The sickening and terrifying part was that I was there with them.., They condemned each soul and threw him into what looked like a portal through which the fiery furnace of Hell was tangible.., I could hear the tormented screams of lost souls…, I felt terrified and deeply frightened… All my life I had feared this place… I had feared two things in my life… One was ending up in this place and two was not using my talents as described in the wonderfully comforting parable of Jesus. Yes the one about the usage of talents, that one has haunted me for years.

I find little comfort or motivation to act out on all the rigorous and extremely hard calls presented in the letters of Paul… They seem too judgmental for my tastes, too critical and leave no support or strength to stare at oneself. I fear risking my personal freedoms, I fear losing my own personality that took years of painful self examination to construct much less unearth, I fear losing me and becoming a puritan who blocks out the world. I have a great need to experience the world as me, I don’t want to become a robot who completely forsakes the world. I love the world.. I have grown used to its heartlessness and apathy, I love its mountains, its hills, it’s rivers, the mighty oceans that house such life within… It is a beautiful, vast place that has decayed thanks to us humans.. The world I inhabit contains slums where ditches run into houses, where prostitutes live near a river of dirt in huts and small one room houses used by men who please themselves for reasons unknown.., I routinely see dogs reduced to a pulp on the roads, I see dogs without homes, cows slaughtered, people dying on the roads, people murdered for no discernible reason.. These seek to destroy me.

But I struggle to attend Church regularly, I hate going to office on time, I despise judgmental counsel offered critically, I struggle to control my former bad habits that were rooted in my brain and heart for many many years, I can’t accept everything about Faith.. I can’t digest it much less comprehend and sincerely speaking live it.. It seems impossible, too hard.. too demanding.. and requires complete submission… I feel like everyday I have blown off my chances to ever reach Heaven which seems like more of a mirage than a reality to me. I have not thought of heaven at all for years, Hell has always had my fears, my worries and my anxieties.

I also realize that Christ is not magically going to save me at the last moment… As much as I glow and love to speak about His wondrous mercies.. I know all too seriously the stricter side of things… I realize that I have to walk this path…, I have to live a life that pleases Him and not one that pleases me… and that is where the difficult part is…. Having an invisible friend who is a mixture of Mercy and Justice is hard to understand much less follow at all costs…, I constantly find myself comparing Him to individuals in my life.. Is He like my Boss at work…? Who seldom listens to who I am, much less knowing me but gives me all the strictest tasks in the world with the strictest words…? Or is He like my dad who finds comfort in knowing a God of Grace who has mercifully upheld him during periods of trials, temptations, failures and discouragements…? I would much prefer God to be like my Dad who loves and tolerates the difficult parts of me and takes great pains to understand my heart even though he wants to speak about his glory all the time. I would gladly choose the great terrors of Hell if God were like my Boss, who rarely appreciates me and always tries to correct me without hearing my side. I know that this is a blasphemous statement, but I am just letting you know that I need more than just a strict guardian.. I want God to listen to me… to hear my side.. to love me at all times… even if I bring shame and disgrace to Him which I am quite an expert at.. I want Him most of all to just enjoy me.., Most people just pass me by and rarely if ever acknowledge me, much less stay interested in me. I no longer care if I am being rejected by 7 billion people, I just don’t want to be rejected by Him… I am not in love with Him because He could save me from Hell…, I love Him because He loves me as I am.

I know the grand benefits of serving Him… I experienced a few just this afternoon… Prayer for a child admitted to the ICU … who hours later was transferred to a general ward… Heavy rains stopped so that my team could play Cricket…, a lack of courage changed after a prayer which led to fierce strikes all over the ground and a passionate fielding and bowling effort. God routinely changes the odds into my Favor that I have stopped calling them miracles and freaky coincidences, I call them natural and expected.. My Faith grows with every answered prayer… My House is protected during the night.. The Health of my parents is ensured.. My Sister’s future is ensured…, Angels protect my family and my doggy throughout the day, round the clock.., I find stoic doors being opened for me… I find unexpected friendships.. I find favor.. I see God’s handiwork in all these acts.

The temptations of this world often call out to me…, and it is extremely difficult to constantly battle them chiefly since I find that I have no sound moral urges within my heart. I connect more profoundly with sinners dealing with their sins than Saints preaching Heaven… But I do it because I love Jesus.. I enjoy making God Happy.., He is my Chief passion in this life.. I want to make Him happy, I go out of my way to talk Jesus to people from my town, who stare at me strangely through disinterested eyes, I see a guarded heart emerge when I speak to my cricket friends about Him. My old friends listen out of respect and then go on about their life, I guess nobody really has the time for Him… I remember that I too was this way not so long ago.. But I have always loved Him and tried to make Him happy for a little while.., and then followed my own urges…, but now I joyfully serve Him full time in a place of hardened hearts and stone faced masks rejoicing in the opportunity to do so.

But He has touched me to see people differently, thanks to Him I no longer hate those who hurt and wound me without realizing. I love offering people unmerited kindness even though I can be graciously stingy about it and lament about it to Him telling Him all about how it would go unnoticed, much less appreciated. I love helping people having a hard time, I love listening to those whose lives have become broken and need mending, fixing and mostly needs a whole lot of Grace… And I have no problem offering it because I know how much Grace I received in my life.. I know that I don’t deserve anything. At work I find the conservative Christians terribly upset and sensitive about every misdeed of others, often times cutting them down and sermonizing to them about their fallen acts… I find peace and understanding instead knowing that only a sinner could truly understand what Grace really means for a spirit discovering Christ. Christ to me is more than just God.. He is my place where I go to realign myself, to rework on secret faults.. to grieve for the losses of this world…, to find out who I can be and to learn who I should be.

A young shy, inhibited and socially awkward kid once saw basketball as his sole refuge. Unable to understand a world that clearly did not need me, I grew connected in soul to a sport that taught me to develop personal mastery and competitiveness… That kid now knows Christ as His ALL. Christ is now my refuge, my BFF and my only strength even though I fail spectacularly in most attempts. I remember a recent incident where I almost blew my image, and avoided a major embarrassment to myself… at a recent testimony witness at a small church in a forsaken, lost part of town…I was passionately into my testimony.., I had gotten over the drug use parts.. past the failed relationship parts…past the alcohol, occult use, suicidal parts… and suddenly I forgot what I had to say… I just stared at the crowd with confusion and bewilderment before thankfully finding another completely disconnected word and finishing off 27 years of my life within a time span of 15 minutes.. In the views of my over hyped organizer I had taken too much time talking about my testimony.., a godly mistake in his eyes. Another incident completely unrelated, but one that I wish to vent about In the views of my horrifically perfection bound and seeking Employer, I seem to misguide his employees and spend too much time listening to their grumblings and rants, a procedure he finds amusing to his industrial mindset. A counselor at heart, my patience knows no boundaries when it comes to listening.. My employer who wishes to create immediate stalwards of honor and integrity rarely seems to know how to reach their heart.. something that I have no problems with.. be it with a stranger or with the chronically reserved.

Christ did offer me new urges. He did. I have changed for the better by no longer being controlled by my former life and its sinfulness.. But that does not mean that I don’t want to occasionally give drugs a try, or have an affair for the fun of it, or engage in casual relationships, or just do as I please and not be bothered about the consequences…, The Christian life asks me to become incredibly consumed about my personal actions, I have to act cordially even though my work colleague cut me off rudely and began a major rant about his personal wounded feelings without understanding the impact that he has one me…, I have to be patient with the young kid who is having his first experience at work and sees everybody as an enemy when corrected and perceives it to be a sign of exceptional courage to speak against the so called system, I have to listen as he voices out complaints against everybody for hours and sees himself as having no effect on anybody. He rarely understands the power of his hurtful language, his tone or his bitterness against everybody. I have to listen and understand the grief of a young heart experiencing the harrowing world of hospitals, busy doctors and long queues as he and his family hospitalizes his young relative who has a swollen heart and boils in her tummy, I have to extend grace to a former roommate who once joyfully tormented me with His knowledge of the world and with His instincts towards control and bitterness. I have to be courteous towards a former friend who once cut down my intelligence and exalted his own while he belittled every inch of my faith, my values and mocked the Holy Spirit as a phony and spoke about speaking in tongues as an exaggeration. I must not only accept Him, but I must love Him even though by my human standards I want nothing more to do than ignore, hurt and throw him away. My anger has to be controlled, my wandering eyes must be reigned in, my passionate responses to a sight of the female form have to be understood and quickly deflated, my bitterness has to be dealt with in Prayer.. My heart’s longings have to be discarded and seen in the light of what God wishes for me. In short, I am controlled by instincts that build a healthy, deep and wonderful me, and in this painful reconstruction I can see glimpses of the Only Perfect being in all of history.. My Master Jesus Christ and that gives me hope to continue and press on.