It is finished

He cried out.

They pulled His hair. And pushed Him ahead.

But He fell down, next to me. The gravel aggravating His pain. While the dust enveloped His wounds. Women wailed around us. Others hurled insults and spat.

He was panting. Blood drenched His robe. And marked the path behind us.

I had never seen Him before. But I saw Him now.

He looked toward me. His sweat mingled with Blood. Bathing His face.

His eyes were swollen, and bruised. Almost unrecognizable. Yet, He held mine unflinchingly.

A drop of blood oozed out of the thorny crown they placed on Him and ran down His eye. Running through the open wound on His cheek.

I’ve heard them call Him, Rabbi. Healer. Messiah, our Savior.

I reached out to touch His Face. Shaking at the thought of touching Him. Which meant, I stood on Holy Ground, alongside the Holy One. Unworthily.

The sudden lash of the whip made me cry out in shock and pain. It cut through my back, pulling at my flesh. He didn’t flinch when they flogged Him, though. He continued to looked at me. Compassion. Love. Grace. Mercy. Pain. Grief. All stirring in His eyes.

In His pain, He whispered to me, A few more steps and it is finished. His voice was beautifully torn.

My unworthy heart knew, that history was being rewritten. Life was being restored. And eternity, sealed. And I was part of His Story, somewhere. Somehow.

I wept openly. Suddenly realizing the grandeur of this broken Man. This Holy Man. This Tortured Love.

We moved further. Closer to death.

They ripped apart my garment. But they divided His. Casting lots.

They pushed Him roughly. Carelessly. Onto the Cross. Already stained with His blood.

Holding onto His Hands, they fastened it in place with nails. They nailed His legs without flinching. Without remorse.

His cry of pain filled the air. Convicting His accusers. Confirming His Grace. But they continued on, hoisting the Cross.

The Holy One was crucified. Alongside me. A sinner.

From across me, the other laughed and mocked, Save yourself, and usAren’t you Messiah?

Bile rose in my throat. I spoke, We deserved this. But He did nothing worthy of this punishment. I turned to Him, sadness overwhelming me, Remember me, Lord. That’s all I ask. And desire.

Tortured Love looked back and replied, You’ll be with me in Paradise.

The Sun hid that moment. And darkness covered the earth. Like twilight.

He looked toward heaven, tears pouring and blood covering every inch of His face. He cried, FatherI commit My Spirit to You. I have completed my work here, as You directed. And it is finished!

The One Who gave me life, and hope, died. In front of me. For me. For my sins.

And nothing else mattered.

Who put a depressing book in the Bible?

The younger me would religiously skip two books in the OT Bible. Song of Solomon and Ecclesiastes.

S of S, well, you know why 😉

As for Ecclesiastes, I found it…um…depressing(?).

Don’t get me wrong, the Bible is a hopeful book. But Ecclesiastes kinda stands out like a rebel misfit. Case in point  (and this is how it begins),

“Meaningless! Everything is meaningless!” says the Teacher. 
“Everything is completely meaningless! Nothing has any meaning."

Get what I mean?

I’ve always wondered how this rebel book made it to the Bible in the first place. It’s most likely that Solomon wrote it on one of his low down-and-out moments. At least, it feels like that.

Ecclesiastes is a brutal book.

No fluff.

No feel-good elements.

Just a brutal take on life, love, work, wealth, pleasure, wisdom: MEANINGLESS.

I don’t think it ends there though.

I think I now understand what made Solomon a prominent figure in history. And what made him the wisest, as well.

In Ecclesiastes, I see his vulnerability, as he pursues the meaning of life. And I see his frustration at having everything and still struggling for meaning.

Like us. Like me.

The truth is that there are moments the voices within deafeningly shout out, “Useless”. Or when we think that nothing we do or achieve really matters. ’em crappy days. Solomon was familiar with it. In fact, he journaled it. That’s how we got Ecclesiastes.

In all this, I really appreciate his brutally honest approach to faith. No fluff, again. No feel-good elements. Just this: Fear (read: love, respect, honor) God through it.

I don’t know why, but it’s awfully comforting to know that the wisest man on Earth struggled for meaning as well. Like me.

It’s like a balm to my spirit. And he offers his best advice then,

Fear God. When you feel invincible.

Fear God. When you feel purposeless.

Solomon wasn’t your typical positive thinker. Not at all. He was a realist. Who had the guts to pen a honest book on life. Yes, his struggle may seem ugly and his conclusion of the matter may not satisfy you fully. I think that’s point though.

Reasoning can fail us in matters of faith. In life. Answers may not satisfy us on days that we struggle. But at least, we’re not alone. We just need to keep following Jesus. And maybe, just maybe, that’s all we need to know right then. 

What’s respect got to do with it?

So, yeah. Time matters. Yours. And theirs.

It’s absolutely okay to be filled with fervor for our time. After all, there’s much to do. Much to accomplish. Much to be intentional about.

But it’s not okay to not respect someone else’s. Because respect involves having a mindset that’s bent towards consideration for that someone else as well.

Fervor for intentionally using time rests within us. But respect for time matters equally. Both yours, and theirs.

Why you should stop the music and talk

Back in 2000, Robert Putnam brought out his book “Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of the American Community”. It was about the declining social capital, as he called it, in the American society. He focused on the increasing decline of social organizational participation in the democratic process, through the decline of traditional social interactions.

Though highly debatable, I found it insightful. Particularly because he used bowling as an example. He describes how the bowling scenario displays a strange sort of fragmentation or individualization, in that, though there is a significant growth in the number of bowlers, those who bowl in leagues have decreased.

A juxtaposition, if you think about it. Without going into the deeper political issue he addresses or the validity of his argument, let’s just focus on the social issue that stands outs here.

PC: aei.org

PC: aei.org

Loneliness has become a common feature. And a part of our lifestyle.

In spite of being part of an increasingly global and populated world (there’d be 9 billion of us in 2050), loneliness has become a common feature. And a part of our lifestyle.

I live in a city. A very big, noisy, over-populated one. Yet my conversations are limited to a handful of people – the bus conductor, the clerk at the railway station and/or the confused passenger who needs directions. That’s probably because I’m plugged in to my music with my headphones on all the time. So, I’ve decided to turn off my music. To tune in to the noise around me. To strike up a conversation with people I travel with, whom I probably may never meet again. I’ve decided to strike a healthy balance between the need for “me” time and the need to engage with the world.

Because?

Because it’s healthy, for our physical, emotional and mental well being. In fact, Putnam would also include civic health here.

Because community matters, it’s an integral part of our existence. Because technology shouldn’t alienate us and it certainly shouldn’t replace human interaction. Because loneliness isn’t a choice (unlike being alone is), it’s largely the outcome of an individualized push-everyone-away and in-my-own-little-world lifestyle. Because it’s healthy, for our physical, emotional and mental well being. In fact, Putnam would also include civic health here.

I think living in a big world with so many people and hardly interacting with them makes for a very bleak and depressing scenario. It’s time to reverse what’s been written about the state of our world today.

Stop the music. Drop the headphones. And talk!

What you shouldn’t let go of

A few months ago, I wrote a post on letting go. Between then and now, life happened.

This is not to say that I was wrong then. But my perspective certainly has changed.

There are things you must let go of. There are things you must hold on to.

There’s one thing you should never EVER let go of — your failures.

Vincy, say what?

Hear me out for a sec.

Have you noticed that much of your learning comes through your failures?

See, for e.g., for every time I’ve spelt a word wrong, I tend to remember it better. For every wrong turn I’ve taken when heading somewhere, I’ve learnt that route better. In the same way, every failure in life, made me stronger. Better. Determined. And a lot more…um…successful.

Failure isn’t all that negative actually. It’s what redefines success for us.

So, hold your failures near. And revisit them, often. Because that’s the best teacher you’ll ever have. It’ll teach you humility. It’ll teach you to treasure and value things. It’ll teach you about yourself. It’ll show you how leaders and change makers are made.

And if failure’s all that good, why let go of it then?

One way to know if you’re stingy, two words to overcome it

Social media is the cool new hangout spot. You know that. I know that. You use it. I use it.

But did you know that you can actually check your “stingy” quotient here? I kid you not.

It’s super easy. Just check your reaction to someone else’s big news. Especially, that someone you’re not-so-in-touch with, or that someone you don’t really get along well with. Chances are that you’ll be:

1. Not bothered by it aka you care less, and you play cool.

2. Too bothered by it aka you care so much, but you play cool.

Most times, the only reaction those posts ever solicit is to have your finger hit the scroll down button.

But wait a minute. Did you notice something there?

You’re stingy about celebrating or comforting, my friend. And before you say anything – yes, I do that too. Scratch that. I used to do that.

If there are two words that changed my outlook on life and how I use social media, it’s community and sincerity.

When we start approaching social media as an extension of the community, the “I” becomes the “we”. Soon, the successes and the not-so-great moments don’t become individualized isolated events, but a reason for all of us to join in and huddle for comfort, or to celebrate. And if we allow for sincerity to guide our every word of encouragement, what a world of a difference it would make!

Sounds a bit heavy? Here’s what you need to remember whenever you’re tempted to be stingy on social media:

Celebrate life with people on social media.

Just BE there for someone.

And leave a sincere thoughtful comment, before you scroll down.