I hear the whirr of the tile cutter. I’m crouched on a very short plastic stool giving myself a sponge bath. This has been the norm for the past five months, using about one gallon of water and bathing over a bucket. We’ve had a combination of different incidents affecting our water supply, the most recent being that the water pump broke, and given that my husband was away for a while, we drew the water from the well with a small bucket and a long rope. Recently, five helpers, including two or three seasoned well diggers came to deepen our well. They opened up the small spring that the water diviner had promised us was there. A few more stones removed, and a couple of feet later, we have clear drinking water—with enough to share once in a while with our neighbors.
The man cutting tile for our house is also self-trained in masonry, welding, electrical, mechanics, and painting. Well, we feel fortunate to have found him for the varying tasks that are still needed around the house. Yes, one and a half years later, we are still making our home habitable. This year, we focus on making our home water-tight. With the monsoon rains last year leaving damp watermarks on our walls, and fungus blooming in some corners of the rooms after 55 consecutive days of rain, buckets and drops of water dripping from the ceiling and seeping in at the wall seams—we gave this our focus and resources—to rectify this basic need.
Some of you reading this might wonder why I hadn’t spoken about this before—and why I hadn’t written about it in a blog until now. One of you, a dear cousin, asked why I hadn’t written my blog for “some time,” which has turned out to be longer than a year. Yes, I was touched that my cousin had asked me about my blog—that even if one person noticed, it would give me enough impetus that I’d write soon again. This was three months ago.
When “adverse” things are happening in my life, I don’t talk about them. I don’t dare breathe a word about it to anybody. Sometimes not even to my husband. Maybe I might tell a few well-wishers who are strong enough not to “worry” about it, but to give “burden” away God. This is my spiritual practice. I focus on the positive and give the rest over for God and a strong spiritual helper to resolve for me. And when the incident is finished, or I am healed from a burden, then I am at liberty to speak about it. Hence, the silence for 1 year. Last year was a year of great learning and growth, for which I am thankful and much stronger. Complaints and those kinds of thoughts do no good to spread around—especially in a blog—to the rest of the world. Why would I want to dish out that kind of spiritual food? It’s not healthy. No. I prefer to leave my readers with something positive that they can take on their way with them, something that will be useful for their lives, and something that they might unpack and take in when they most need it.
Recently I joined a cooking club. Oh yes, it’s the highlight of my week. Wednesdays. We get together at a wonderful home, about 15 of us, and learn to cook something new. And then, we get to eat it. It’s relaxed, light, and fun. This week it’s my turn to teach something to cook. I’m going to show how to cook Sambol and coconut chapathi—a dish that a friend from the Maldive Islands taught me a couple of years ago.
Recently I heard a wonderful story about a 7 year old who overcame difficulties in her classroom with a classmate. She and her classmate were assigned to share a desk. When the other girl had taken to harassing her by throwing her pencils and pens, pinching her, and messing her hair up, etc. she was human—understandably—and got angry. And then something lovely happened. Her mother asked her to rise above the situation and to take in a healing power for the girl and the situation. A short while later, the little girl didn’t respond to the antagonisms of her classmate; the classmate requested a seat change. Maybe these two girls can be friends one day. The moral of the story is that when we rise above adversity—it goes away. We become masters of our emotions, masters of “difficult” situations. We have greater tolerance. Forgiveness happens. Joy is nurtured in our hearts. Our neighbors become our friends. And then we can love them as much as we love ourselves. Doesn’t this feel like a good way to live, to focus only on the Good?
Posted by Susan Rena Rajkumar.