"Oh @&%*! What are you doing?" Those were the first words out of the gentlemen that I knocked down as I lost control on the skiing slope. We (my class and I) were crossing through a very busy piste and in a flick of time while checking if I was free to go or not I had lost control. I was slipping uncontrollably backwards downhill. My efforts to stop only slowed me down a bit but didn't stop me crashing into the man and his family as they were taking a break.
All of them fell down and understandably were not happy. I was prepared for anger and frustration but the repetitive words that were spoken by the couple took me by surprise. "You stupid you, you have not place in skiing, I will have you arrested!" Between the accusations, crying and pain I tried my hardest to apologise. "I am so sorry sir, it was an accident, are you all ok?" The man continued to shout and his voice like a war siren had stopped the whole piste activity and people were watching, listening.
A French skier came close handing my ski pole and with a broken English tried to help by saying to the angry gentleman that it was an accident, that things happen and that was not need to shout because all of his family were fine and not hurt. Trembling and crying I walked out to find my class, but those words spoken had done more damage than I anticipated. Fear creeped inside me like crazy and for 3 hours on the piste I fall, lost control, cried and could not ski at all like the day before. The day before I had been fearless, fun and daring, today all that confidence castle was smashed to bits. I tried very hard to 'be that girl' you know the one, the-one-that-forgot-already-those-spoken-words-and -moved -on-with-a-brave-face... I couldn't.
How do you build confidence when all of it is knocked down and destroyed? How do you gather yourself and show up living when you are in pieces? How do you love when love betrayed you? How do you build friendships when the wounds of a 'friend' are still fresh and burning?
At the end of my lesson, tearing up and still hearing those words repeatedly banging in my head I knew I needed some help to start and put those broken pieces together. I met Nath at our ski dropping place and told him what had happened and that I was in need of a walk. He hugged me hard and let me go.
I walked slowly in the village buzzing roads and tried to understand why that episode had effected me so much. His words have not only made me feel a skiing disaster, but that I in fact sucked at all things in life altogether.
I walked around pressing snow underneath my feet and letting my mind cool. As I ascended a little hill in Val d'isere village the tower of St Bernard de Menthon church stood up in front of me and I felt safe and drawn to enter there. It was empty, the only person inside was a men playing his guitar and singing. I sat there looking at all ikons, smelling the candles burning with my eyes glued on the centrepiece. A big statue of Jesus on the cross! As I stood there wiping tears and whispering 'help' I felt my heart starting to beat slower, be less jumpy. I could not understand a word from the song the vicar ( I noticed now that the gentleman with the guitar was wearing a collar) was singing, but my soul understood every single note. Little by little that hurricane of feelings, fear and unsettling was clearing up and I was able to see and gather some of the shattered pieces and start building up again. How?
Jesus hanging on the cross in front of me spoke of my value as a person, that value before I even make or think I am a mistake.
Before people call me stupid He had called me a masterpiece. Before I was told I had no place in skiing, God has given me a place on his table, his family.
I had to lay the foundation of my confidence right there before I even was ready to start and build again. Before I added bricks and mortar I knew I had to have the right foundation to build.
I wish I can tell you that all was great after I left the church, that I felt confident and strong again after a few hours. I am sorry, that is not the truth. Those words spoken that day still came rushing after I left the church, they shout even now as I type and try to be loud in my head, try to tell me who `I am'.
They still want to convince me that I am that shaky, stupid person, but I am fighting back, I am building that confidence wall little by little on the right foundation. I have noticed that when we hear constantly what people say we loose sight of who we really are, but when we listen to what God says we find the true us.
We are never going to be brave with our lives unless our confidence is build little by little on the right bedrock. Every other building ground is shifting sand. All the 'self' help, people opinions, 'self' control, success, fame, money ....... will eventually crumple at the pressure of life. But when we have a strong foundation we can build something strong and unshakable every time when the walls of our confidence are destroyed, we can do that again and again.
So, I am back on the horse that threw me back (skiing). I am back facing that fear, and while there I am gathering pieces where my conference was shattered, I am adding new ones also so that I can build up an even stronger confidence wall!
Fat snow flakes dance in the air and exhausted land on the frosted earth. The scenery here it's breathtaking, very much like a winter wonderland. It's our first time in Val d'Isère and I am already in love with the place. Did I just say "I am in love with a place?" We use the word 'love' loosely these days, but tomorrow it's St Valentine (the day we people celebrate love!) and I have not bought a gift for Nath yet.
The first Valentine gift I ever got was when we were engaged. Nath is the first and only who has given me Valentine gifts. Before that I use to hide on the Valentine's day. The sight of red roses and small boxes tightly wrapped up use to make me feel the loneliness girl around. The day of Love was the more Unloving day indeed.
When you think of the story how St Valentine came to be you soon understand that love is sacrificial before it's romantic and that love starts as a decision before is expressed in feelings. Yes, receiving roses, chocolate and jewellery is beautiful but things given on that day only will not maintain love. So, a couple of years back I decided that before running to find a gift for Nath I must walk slowly deep down inside my heart and look for this one thing to give.
'Am I prepared this year to not give up on us?' I ask this question on Valentine season because I know the answer can be the best gift I can offer to Nath. I know that every year our love will have a chance to grow and as result get tested, I just want my heart to be prepare for that. Before running to find the right gift I have to slow down and find my will to love deeper. I want Nath to see the promise 'I won't give up on us' before he sees the material gift. I know that any gift wrapped up with that kind of promise will make a beautiful Valentine day. So, that is what I have been doing this early morning on February the 13th, preparing my heart again. I want intentionally to think and be willing of ways how our love can grow deeper and better than has ever been.
Tomorrow morning though when all family is a sleep and dreaming I will sneak to the near by boulangerie and see what I can find to lavish Nath's stomach with. The saying 'the way to a man's heart is through his stomach' has proved many times to be true and helpful too .
Happy Valentine friends, the day to promise to not give up on Love, never!
One day Thomas Edison came home and gave a paper to his mother. He told her, “My teacher gave this paper to me and told me to only give it to my mother.”
His mother’s eyes were tearful as she read the letter out loud to her child: Your son is a genius. This school is too small for him and doesn’t have enough good teachers for training him.
Please teach him yourself.
After many, many years, after Edison’s mother died and he was now one of the greatest inventors of the century, one day he was looking through old family things. Suddenly he saw a folded paper in the corner of a drawer in a desk. He took it and opened it up. On the paper was written: Your son is addled [mentally ill]. We won’t let him come to school any more.
Edison cried for hours and then he wrote in his diary: “Thomas Alva Edison was an addled child that, by a hero mother, became the genius of the century.”
Like Edison, but with fewer tears I cried too as I read this story which has circulates largely on the web lately. But most of all I thought deep and hard about what it takes to be called a hero.
A real hero of our days is the one that knows and sees clearly the performance, but is brave enough to choose to speak to the potential instead. It takes no effort at all to speak what we see in our children, husband, friend or colleague. Words like "you are weak, you don't have a backbone, you are not like Sussie or John, you never going to learn that, you are a loser.......etc escape our mouths fluently, but can we see and voice the unseen?
Performance is easily seen, potential on the other hand stays hidden within us waiting for the right eyes and lips to unlock it.
Yes, words are there to be spoken, but the choice of words we decide to speak is definitely on us. I wonder how our daily lives and conversations will look if we spoke and encouraged people's potential rather than their practice? That's what vision is right? Championing, pointing out in people who they can become?
I know for sure that speaking to the potential in people rather than the behavior would increase the "Thomas Edison's" in our world. We will have more genius and fulfilled spouses, children, friends and colleagues. I know for definite also that the world would be a place less insecure to live in and much more generous in making room for each other's gifting.
“Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them to become what they are capable of being.” Goethe
I pray because I feel so small and unable inside this vast world that I need to know I am seen, I am noticed, I am not alone.
I pray because I can't follow my children to school, protect them and care for them always.
I pray because more often than not I have this jealousy feeling and fear that my husband might fall for someone else, the better looking type, the more established kind of women.
I pray because there is a storm inside of my heart that will not calm down unless I utter the name - Jesus.
I pray because empty words alone will not mend relationships, broken hearts and damaged souls.
I cry out the word 'help' hundreds of times a day because I need it big doses of it, in big matters and little ones alike.
"Help" is a prayer that is always answered. It doesn't matter how you pray--with your head bowed in silence, or crying out in grief, or dancing. Churches are good for prayer, but so are garages and cars and mountains and showers and dance floors. Years ago I wrote an essay that began, "Some people think that God is in the details, but I have come to believe that God is in the bathroom.”
― Anne Lamott, Further Thoughts on Faith
I pray because I miss family and friends living afar, I know that I can't be there in person, but prayer can and give me peace.
I pray because the world is a mess and a beautiful place and I don't want to ignore ether of them.
I pray because prayer like a lit arrow pierces ahead into the dark and my unknown directing me where to go.
I pray because million of you pray too and that is miraculous. Like a multicoloured chorus our voices sing along a heartfelt song, a symphony which converses with our maker. I'm convinced, I have seen and witnessed that prayer works.
Prayer is that one conversation I can't do without, it's the oxygen that maintains my earthy lungs, so I will pray till I don't need it any longer. I will continue to breathe.