“This is where it all begins. Everything starts here, today.”― David Nicholls, quote from One Day. He never knew how he could ever forget the day they first met and began a strange, out-of-this-world relationship. Looking back now, he realizes how true these words have been to them, “You can live your whole life not realizing that what you’re looking for is right in front of you. Whatever happens tomorrow, we had today; and I’ll always remember it.”― David Nicholls, quote from One Day
He is back now in his own realm (which the earthlings call, planet) and has settled to his light years of taking a break after his earth assignment, an assignment which he will always remember, not only because of its colossal responsibility of a century as a guardian for the four winds, a shield for earth against external invasion, but also for the last task to complete a book/report on “the essence of love” involving emotion and feelings, the energy that drive the earthlings to make irrational decisions and actions.
He has kept a copy of the report, mainly in excerpts as the full set of research paper is too lengthy and detailed with sadness involving him, a part which stuns even a being like him, who has been programed not to feel or be emotive in the earth’s way. Yes, he has been deeply hurt and nearly ruined. And it is all because of just one earthling woman who remains a stranger to him as even now he realizes he has never known her.
While back to his realm, he continues a very disciplined life and switches back to patrolling the earth as a circling light when it is his turn, which is an annual event. He remembers his last farewell words to the strange enigmatic woman, when she was still alive and young, “when you look up the midnight sky on every February 14, no matter which time zone you are, you will see a brilliant white light that lights u the whole sky for an instant, and you will know that it is me.”
After leaving the place he names Snowland, they no longer contact each other. He carried on his assignment for several more decades, until he was allowed to leave earth. He did not know or find out (if he wanted to, he could) where she was and whether she was still alive. Sometimes it is better not to know. As he listens to the earthling’s book “One Day” today, he is stirred to remember her. And his eyes are moist and he feels liquids running down his cheeks. Yes, he has tears. They had some good days together, during the months of locked down up that 8000 ft high mountain.
He never questioned her past. And that was his mistake. She tried to tell him, disguised as narrating the story of a friend, or a project she was writing, but he preferred to stay out of her personal life. He learned too late. He discovered too late that she was not what he thought she was. When she unleashed the force of human emotion based on misguided feelings, he was totally unprepared and did not know how to respond as a human would do. He had never learned how to. It was like a powerful tidal wave with the force equal to 8000 locomotives or 25 million horses pounding against an unwavering cold stone wall. At her uncontrollable raging he continued to think and analyze, “Why does she hate so much? Why do human hurt themselves with hatred?” He could see her pain, but he could not feel. He was merely a bystander in her world.
In short, he does not know human kind of love, or any emotion called love and hate at all. He really cannot fathom how a human can love and hate at the same time, to the point that they want to destroy in the name of love.
Does he celebrate earth birthday? The question suddenly appeared as he glanced at his social network message board. He has never really thought of such matter about himself. In fact he hardly think of himself. In a day’s time it will be another chronological birthday for him on earth. After seven decades, he can hardly recall how he first remembered a special day called birthday that his earth parents celebrated for him, just like any other kids. On that day they normally made him eat one whole boiled egg by himself. In those post-war years it was considered a luxury when the kid was only one out of a brood of seven. The question is from her, the earth acquaintance for a year in Snowland.
It is a surprise to him to read her sudden message, after nearly a year of silence. Does birthday really matter? Of course most parents like to recall that day when their kid came to earth, mostly crash landing with a loud cry of disappointment at the harshness of the external zone (tearing away from their hitherto comfort zone). That is the way he observes things, somewhat different from the earthlings.
She uses a strange new name. But he knows it is her. His social network message board is restricted to a few friends only and they normally do not message or comment anything. It is a silent and dusty board. It is kept there for a purpose which the outsiders do not know. He decides not to reply her strange question. What is the point in the question? They have not established any relation, not even an acquaintance contact. His mission in Snowland has failed.
He remembers last year. She made something for him and ate her portion separately in the living room. He ate his alone at the dining table. He cannot remember what it is now. What a strange birthday party of two eating something in silence in two separate rooms. It reminds him of war.
His earth parents went through a big war. They got married because of the war. The war destroyed his mom’s love, hope, and dream, that is, enrolling into the medical school like her fiancé did, but he was killed by a bomb while traveling north to the university. She had to flee the invaded country instead and ended up in a foreign land marrying another man, and had seven kids during and after the big war.
Why is he thinking of big war now? He is a guardian of the four wind on earth —an invisible shield against invasion by warlords from other planets and zones from other universes. He has failed to finish his report on earthling’s emotion, and is now serving his extended term in a different site (away from Snowland).
Perhaps he will eat a boiled egg tomorrow, to remember his own earth parents who have really shown him the essence of sacrificial love, by rationing their own food and making sure the children were fed well, particularly making each individual kid feel special on his birthday.
Looking back he can still see her face. It is not a face that can conceal or even bother to conceal the heart. She is of indeterminable chronological age. She is not young. No, there is no wrinkle and she has done a lot on up-keeping her looks and her fitness too, tall, slim, and a strict keto disciple in terms of diet.
But it is the facial expression that reveals her heart. She tried to be civil. So she started with small talk like the weather, the flight, the lodging house sharing and so on. They were in the kitchen and had to decide who used which side. Seeing she was standing near to the dining and living area, he chose the far side which was near to the garage and tool house.
She suddenly said something about her (chronological age related condition) being a dry prune and it no longer mattered how she looked. It was a shocking statement to him. They were merely fellow lodgers. They were each assigned there on Snowland for separate missions which they did not disclose to each other. They merely shared the facilities of the accommodation.
When she blurted out that statement he watched her face. It was a mirror of her heart. A once beautiful face, now twisted into a shape which only revealed a deep, heavy, and even hostile, disguised sadness that was heart wrenching. It was far more than reading any sad mysteries of earthlings. How was he going to learn about the love and hate emotion of earthlings for his report? He dreaded from the first day of their encounter.
But this is his last work station and last chance to complete the remaining half of his century long assignment on earth so that he will receive his due award, a retirement back to his home planet/realm. While spending long hours in pondering on her expression, he wondered what has made a beautiful woman grow into such sadness. He has researched this subject in many fields of study. There are many possible factors and variables. Earth has acquired the technology that prevents a person growing old physically, through constant practices of up-keeping their body and mind. But there is something that they cannot up-keep, that is, their deteriorating emotion. And it shows on their faces, and affects their behavior. Often it can cause harm to themselves and others.
That is why he has been assigned this task of studying their emotion, particularly the kind of emotion called love that can drive all other aspects in life.
The first day of encounter signified that his challenge would be tough. He tried to stay neutral and adopt the stance of a researcher. He posited that with time he would adapt to her pattern and be able to complete his report. He neglected one pertinent aspect, how did she see him that first encounter? What was her perspective and impression of him? What does he mirror?
Much later, towards the end of their separate assignments, she suddenly blurted out, “I have never liked you, even from the first day.” He did not know then whether she was telling the truth or she was just trying to convince herself that she has never invested her feeling for him. But he knows now. (to continue)
When he first arrives on this magic mountain he doesn’t think about love. His goal is to guard the four winds at this height of 8000 ft. He is one of the four guardians assigned to earth from another realm, which earthlings call planet. How little do the earthlings know the difference between a physical planet and a spiritual realm. He comes from a realm and not a planet. But it’s ok if they insist of describing a zone where they cannot figure out in their physical mind and have to use what they can explain away another existence with their limited language.
Today is another snow day on this mountain which he calls Snowland. It has become so common yet unpredictable that he is contented with the snow coming and going outside his abode which he now shares with an earth woman of indeterminable chronological age. Earthlings are particular about their ages, not that it matters to him. He always knows their true age when he meets them. True age means a spiritual age originally programmed in each seed that is planted the moment a baby is conceived. There is a clock that ticks silently inside the formation, a beginning and an end. it is designed to last much longer than an average earthling thinks they have. It is recorded in an old book, at least 120 years an average man can live. The earth is designed that way to be loved and cared for and in turned nurtures and sustains each man for that length of time.
Yes, the man from another realm knows this because he has been through a course on the affection, attention, interest and compassion he must have on the earthlings before he is finally considered ready to be assigned here. He knows and sees and appreciates the beauty and yet mystery of this land, including the snow and all, even the earthling woman who happens to be here in the same mountain house on a totally unrelated assignment. They never talk about their assignments or whether they are in the same camp, or not.
After an initial struggle with sharing all the common amenities except each separate room cum workplace, he has settled to getting used to this kind of life. Why this arrangement on earth? He cannot see any relevance at all. Nor will his superior back in his own realm give him any clue. So he just has to adapt and adjust with the existence of another living being.
He agrees with his favorite earth writer, Orhan Pamuk that he just has to open his eyes wide and actually see this world by attending to its colors, details and irony. The two strangers appear to share common interests in a number of things, such as, hot coffee, reading, genre of music, one painting in the common dinning place, and creatures that come out in the snow. The irony is that they do not talk to each other about such personal stuff.
There seems a commonly self-imposed code: do not get personal because that will be too close.
“The beauty and mystery of this world only emerges through affection, attention, interest and compassion . . . open your eyes wide and actually see this world by attending to its colors, details and irony.”― Orhan Pamuk (from his book “My Name Is Red”).
“Painting is the silence of thought and the music of sight.”― Orhan Pamuk,My name is Red. To the man from a distant planet, a higher realm than earth, snow falling is like painting. A gigantic hand is brushing over the land and everything else in the Snowland with white paint. Not surprising. Because the invisible hand is so huge, earthlings think that the snow just comes by itself without any deliberate action of anyone. But he knows it differently.
Where he lives they are more advanced and know a lot more stuff compared to the earthlings. For example, the thing called love. He is looking at the snow falling and the building up of the thick white blanket out there below his window sill. Why does he think of love suddenly?
Because he suddenly thinks of the music of sight. They both like music. She and he. Jazz and classical. She does not talk about her likes and dislikes at all. They are mere acquaintances stuck up there on this snowy mountain of 8000 ft. above sea level. Talking about music or painting means getting close. And they want to avoid it.
One day she listens to him singing in the bathroom at random. When he emerges she says, “you seem in a good mood, singing.”
Another day she reminds him of manner. He has taken a painting from the common dinning place and hang it in his room. He has put back another picture on the empty space. But it happens that she only likes the one he has taken.
So he apologizes and puts the original picture back to its original place behind where she sits when she does her zoom meetings. She wants that picture to be in her background. So does he. He moves it to his room for the same purpose!
Amazing how much common interests they do share without talking about them. In a way it is like watching the snow being painted outside accompanied by inaudible yet beautiful music performed up there in the great beyond. The silence of thought and the music of sight beautifully being presented to the two of them, alone in a big house.
The sharing of the color of the snowland, the serene silence in the house except for the occasional jazz played softly in separate rooms, and the unspoken understanding that each has his or her own space, and a common picture in a common room, and many other small things, all create a feeling of calm affiliation. He somehow thinks it is related to an unselfish thing called love.
He has no idea how she has felt after all these decades, 29 years in all. He once thought they would have a long long time together and be happy ever after. In real life their time does not work that way. Time is not exactly a master but it influences. Like the fashion influencer today in the digital virtual realm. It would take herculean efforts to conquer the insurmountable hurdles set in the race of time across oceans and mountains.
Unlike today’s generation, communication was costly then. They could hardly meet or even talk on the phone. He wrote a letter daily after a long day’s work and posted it the following morning through his office boy. She later told him that her postman only delivered a stack of outdated mail once in a while. He spent his daily travel allowance calling her long distance and burnt away cold cash just for a few minutes of hearing her voice. He can still recall the time after each call. He would walk to the bay beach outside his hotel, sat on a rock and watched the sunset. He would hope, as he scanned the distant horizon, to sight a seabird or two, often in vain. The city was one of the most developed in the world, and there was hardly any space or free sky left. The bay was beautiful but it was not a home for any wild creatures.
What was on his mind? He cannot remember now. Perhaps he was imagining that somehow a strong courageous sea bird had flown to her window, perched there in the warm sunshine, at the other end of the ocean, and now came to him with a touch of her fresh air, carrying a slice of her vibrant life for him in that cold, misty, gloomy city of the lonely. Yet, today he suddenly remembers a quote about a higher kind of love. “There is no justice in love, no proportion in it, and there need not be, because in any specific instance it is only a glimpse or parable of an embracing, incomprehensible reality. It makes no sense at all because it is the eternal breaking in on the temporal. So how could it subordinate itself to cause or consequence?”― Marilynne Robinson, Gilead.
All in all, he has no regret. Whatever they have spent together and held on in time for each other. Today is an ordinary Sunday. He stands in his garden and thinks of the time that he still has. The garden is fresh and sparkling in life after a Spring rain. Yes, Spring is here. And the day is February 14. So he decided to write this missive and like old time, post it by snail mail. She likes to hear the ring of the postman. He remembers.
“How much can we ever know about the love and pain in another heart?” (Orhan Pamuk) He gave her a poem on her birthday, Rudyard Kipling’s “the power of a dog”. And she burst into tears while reading it and seeing a portrait of her dog that passed on prior to their strange meeting, the first time, on the snow mountain. He merely sat quietly and waited for her to compose herself. She never asks him why he decided to give her such a gift. After all they hardly know each other.
After that she drinks up her coffee and returns to her room. They never talk about that fateful morning when they sat down across the coffee table and she read the poem in tears.
The snow does not give notice. It just comes and goes on that mountain. The sound of the wind and the arrival of the lone young buck one day breaks the monotony of the lodge. The buck is limping. He is very young and has one single tiny budding antler. Has he encountered an accident? Why is he limping? She asks, not expecting any answer and he remains silent.
The wind sometimes howls at night, when he stays up all night to complete his earth assignment. He hears how they wind talk to the trees and the trees answer back through their branches and their leaves. They only talk after midnight when the wind visits his window trees. Sometimes they talk all night as he operates the four wind shield to protect earth.
One day she decides to name the buck Blessed. And they never saw him again after that.
She remains silent when they note that Blessed doesn’t turn up anymore. He sees sadness in her eyes. He knows she must have loved and felt pain in her heart. But they do not talk about heart issues. After all, they hardly know each other. He is merely writing a six minutes story about a strange kind of love.
Without the weekly-Photo-challenge some of us are feeling a bit lost regarding where to hang out and what to take a photo of. Admittedly many of us have lots of photos in our stock so we are not exactly all dry up and out of ideas. I have discovered that the world is not all that big and soon one traveler just runs out of a new place to go. Maybe I am just not motivated to move…(LOL) Of course I have the excuse that I have been busy with a practically round the clock project during the interval between the end of the daily/weekly prompt and now when I realize that my project is over and I do have an empty space in time into which I may slot a photo or two. Alas, the photo is just nowhere to be found.
So here I am looking at my old stocks. In my farewell post (weekly photo challenge “all times favorites) I inadvertently titled it “don’t look back, she says, I am not there.” A love story in suspense. Yet, here I am, looking back a bit. Maybe a picture and a poem to continue…a story.
doesn’t ever glance backward
yet i stand here gazing forward
as if she may chime
no matter the distance
i shall keep my stance
in case this station
will be called to mail
The goodbye is too harsh and I can’t resist another post of more of my All-Time Favorites of some of the pictures I am sentimental about (which original stories/poems you may find in this blog by clicking on the caption below each picture).
An interesting list of the above original captions (from my earlier weekly-photo-challenge posts):
the only way is up
this is a letter I will not send
this morning I fly alone: a haiku
another shore beyond
Don’t look back, she says, I am not there
how fleeting is evanescence?
alas, the waiting was too long: for all that jazz
Because the sky is so blue, the trees are so green and the clouds are marching pass, he just has to write to his Beloved. So here comes the poem someone hands to me in a dream about this old love of a beloved and a poet.
I have to write to my beloved
before this song of spring kisses my heart
like countless encounters shoved
mercilessly repeating its depart
I can hear your distant song
clear as bells from yonder hill
here is my heart please don’t stay too long
though you must go, rest awhile, for all your dreams refill
You sing of life
you sing of hope
you sing of every dream I claim I am
I have to write to you my beloved
but I cannot say
what I have prepared for perchance
my head starts snowing
and frights away last year’s wee birds nesting
pulling out my roots from rooting
yet my lamp is still burning
my heart is never quenching
to dream the dream of immortalizing
The spirit-mind man realizes he does not know many things about love and God. Love ties with pain. Here is a word that God uses to describe Himself. Love. What is love? Let us read about love again.
This is what he attempted in this blog before: (with 2017 up to date mind man’s deliberations in human terms and thoughts in brackets)
A dictionary for navigators on spiritual rough waters: chapter ten -how to define love? 07/22/2013 (Quoted below in excerpts)
“the most difficult word: love”
Today we read the most difficult word in the whole Bible, ‘Love’. (Most difficult outside the Bible too)
Love: This is not a shallow, superficial common word as the mind man had thought in his reckless days. There is richness, depth, breadth, width, height here. …
If he attempts to define this word with his human mind, emotion and senses, he knows he would be insulting the word.
The only way to give love justice is to define this word in the Spirit (spirit).
The next question is who is qualified (in terms of supreme authority) to define love?
Not this mind man, however spiritual he (thinks he) has turned into. The only thing he can do is to find his definition in the word of God, and let each reader find his own.
__________Here the definition goes:
The plumb-line of love: sacrificial. For example: God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, Jesus, so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. God should be receiving man’s sacrifices, but He gave His own Son as a sacrifice! John 3:16 and Romans 5:8. This is how God views love and has demonstrated (unconditional) love to us. God has freely given so we need not try to earn it.
(God’s kind of love warrants one-sided sacrificial giving without the other party favorably responding or wanting to receive your love. A person in love may think he or she can give that kind of love without regret. But believe me, when human love fades, regret becomes a glaring color in your black and white life.)
Here is one verse that has persuaded the mind man (and impacted his personal decision) about love:
“Love does not demand its own way.” This is what the mind man received from the Lord (1 Corinthians 13:5) when he was on the verge of making a real big decision…
What more can he do but to let go? …Indeed, the heart has its reason that reason cannot comprehend. But, God’s way (of love) can convince and convict one’s heart…
Can one become whole again when one chooses to love in God’s way? The answer is definitely ‘yes’! …Abraham…David…Jesus’ giving Himself was the supreme example.
What motivated them? The mind man could not think of better reason than ‘love’. Love of God…O yes, love of your loved ones too!
‘Love’ indeed is the most difficult word in this spiritual dictionary, and it is also the best word anyone can lay hold of.
October 28, 2017 spirit-mind-man’s update: This was written four years and three months ago. The human pain felt then can still be felt though much less in intensity and frequency today. Giving up/letting go is the hardest thing to do for anyone. Yet the supreme power of the supernatural love of God gives all the strength one needs to overcome a feeling called pain which ties closely to love. Does anyone lose out because of the love described in 1 Corinthians 13:5? No. Nobody loses out when God’s love becomes the uttermost plumb line in your life. No loss but gain. I pray all who want to encounter God’s kind of love find the peace and security only His love can give. Love means you do no harm to others or to yourself. Love others in the way God loves you. This is the best ever commandment to keep.
I always find Bridges fascinating. Each one encompasses three main phases of life: beginning, ending and in-between. Some bridges we cross for a temporary purpose and we cross back after we have fulfilled that purpose. Some bridges we cross but never intend to return. Some we cross at predictable regular intervals like the crossing is an extended part of one’s being. Some we just never cross. Perhaps we do not have the opportunity to do so in this life. Is there a bridge I must cross but with great reluctance and a sense of immense loss? Yes. I believe the bridge is called “Goodbye, my love.” (Somehow I suspect everyone who loves has a bridge by this name)
My Resilient love for you. I find it hard not to say I love you, and harder not to love you even in silence, with my heart saying I love you over 8000 days and nights. A thousand days seems a long time for some love. But my love for you, not even eight thousands days can be too long.
How did I first start to love you? Can I really remember? A young man asked today. Of course, I answered. I remember very well. I never forget. How can I ever forget that fateful evening when I stepped into a packed hall and saw you standing on stage and speaking, with your velvety black eyes so dark and yet so full of light? How can I ever forget the passionate love you spoke to my heart through your heart? I remember so well the jet black long hair blown under the ceiling fan, the lightly stirred white dress with tiny blue flowers you wore that day. I remember the voice. Your voice. I was a stranger, standing at the back, watching like a bystander. But your words of true passion and love touched my soul. Your words of kindness and compassion reached my core. I fell in love from that moment on and remain in love for eight thousands days.
No, I never forget.
The young man of 22 is facing a crisis. His loved one has gone faraway to study. His frequent short social media chat messages are becoming stale to her eyes. What is he going to do? He asks. He says that it’s futile to ask anyway because I probably have forgotten how to love when young at his age. LOL, how can I ever forget? We don’t forget. Not in a mere eight thousand days. Not even in eight thousand years.
How do I maintain and sustain my love for you? He asks. Well, I do one thing which few did then and even fewer do today. I write a letter a day to my love. Sometimes you received a weeks’ letters at one go when the postman went on leave. I became a resilient love letter writer. In those days we used typewriter and posted our letters through snail mail. Yes we managed, across oceans we wrote to each other. We did not have smart cell phone or email or any of the social media message channels then. We merely wrote in long hand or type with a manual Olivetti typewriter. The simplicity of our tools did not hinder us one bit.
How do I know you read my letters and not ignore them? He asks. Well, I persisted. I wrote by faith and not by sight. I wrote like you enjoyed reading them and indeed looked forward to receiving them. Somehow one day it all came true. What did I write about? I wrote about the you in my heart, the dreams and hopes for a future together, and my thankfulness for your life crossing mine as two stars meeting at the appointed time and space, even if only momentarily painting the dark night sky with brilliance of eight thousand sparks.
I tell him our 8000 days’ love story. He is the first person I tell. After listening he seems subdued and finally breaks his long silence and says he will start writing a letter to his faraway loved one.
That is why I am writing to you now, this letter of resilient love. 8000 days and still counting. Does old love not fade or perhaps die? This last question the young man thinks but does not ask. Well, I might as well answer his unuttered question. No, eight thousand days is but eight days young. Like the stars, our love is a young love.
See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him. 2 Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is. 3 And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure.
4 Everyone who sins is breaking God’s law, for all sin is contrary to the law of God. 5 And you know that Jesus came to take away our sins, and there is no sin in him. 6 Anyone who continues to live in him will not sin. But anyone who keeps on sinning does not know him or understand who he is.
7 Dear children, don’t let anyone deceive you about this: When people do what is right, it shows that they are righteous, even as Christ is righteous. 8 But when people keep on sinning, it shows that they belong to the devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil. 9 Those who have been born into God’s family do not make a practice of sinning, because God’s life[a] is in them. So they can’t keep on sinning, because they are children of God. 10 So now we can tell who are children of God and who are children of the devil. Anyone who does not live righteously and does not love other believers[b] does not belong to God.
Love One Another
11 This is the message you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another. 12 We must not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and killed his brother. And why did he kill him? Because Cain had been doing what was evil, and his brother had been doing what was righteous. 13 So don’t be surprised, dear brothers and sisters,[c] if the world hates you.
14 If we love our Christian brothers and sisters,[d] it proves that we have passed from death to life. But a person who has no love is still dead. 15 Anyone who hates another brother or sister[e] is really a murderer at heart. And you know that murderers don’t have eternal life within them.
16 We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister[f] in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person?
18 Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. 19 Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God. 20 Even if we feel guilty, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything.
21 Dear friends, if we don’t feel guilty, we can come to God with bold confidence. 22 And we will receive from him whatever we ask because we obey him and do the things that please him.
23 And this is his commandment: We must believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as he commanded us. 24 Those who obey God’s commandments remain in fellowship with him, and he with them. And we know he lives in us because the Spirit he gave us lives in us.