When sky is falling; facing my Mother’s death.

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We think that we build our lives on axioms. We think that there is an order to our life, that is as unshakable as laws of physics. We think that people around us and our relationships are constant.
But then, an event comes that makes our reality crumble. We face our very own, personal apocalypse.
When sky is falling, it is hard to grab the pieces and put them back together. It is impossible in fact. Tragedy strikes, just like that, it comes uninvited.
And you realize, with dread; nothing will be the same again.
Bones will heal, yet scars will remain.
When chaos comes crashing into our lives, we need to be able to perceive a deeper order. We need to find a meaning behind suffering. In such moments, doubt and faith that reside in our heart, tangle themselves in an unforgiving combat.
And which wolf will win?, asks the man in ancient parable. The one that you keep feeding…
My mother died two weeks ago.
A person that gave me life is gone. It is something hard to comprehend. She was always there, but she is not here anymore.
One of the most fundamental axioms of my reality was shattered within a couple of days. It took that one phone call from my Father,  these three words; “Mum is dead” to send me spinning out of the comfortable, careless reality I have known. I found myself somewhere else.
Instead of my Mum’s Presence, there was a void and I felt like I was drowning in an abyss.
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Memories would swarm into my mind.
I remember we would sit with my Mum in the kitchen, same spots every time, my Mum beside the window, me beside the fridge (easier to reach for a snack). We would talk about all our family, all our common friends, their lives, latest developments.
We could talk like that for hours, until we completely depleted the family/friends list.
Then I would ask “Do you have anything more interesting to say?” and she would laugh at that old joke over and over again.
I remember my Mum reading books to her grandsons, my two little boys. Them cuddling to her, as she was the base upon which they were building the fundaments of their lives. She taught them the language of love, through her Great Presence, before they knew how to speak.
I remember last Christmas, when my Mother, would look at the battlefield that our living room has become; huge Christmas tree, pieces of gift packages torn, toys scattered everywhere, every single inch of space occupied by Her loved ones; my Family, my Brothers, my Father, my Aunt, and Uncle. My Mum’s eyes had that peace in them. Although my Mum looked tired, her happy eyes were saying; the big dream of having an “Italian sized family Christmas” finally came to be.
None of this will ever come back.  It all came to a horrible, sudden stop. These colorful pictures were torn by one image that carved its way through, to reside in my memories for the rest of my life;
Me and My Father, in an empty chapel, above an opened coffin with my Mother’s body. As I made the last blessing, the sign of the cross on my Mum’s cold forehead I faced a choice.
I could focus on what would never be, and what was taken away from us.
All the plans we made, all the hopes we had, all the possibilities my Family and my Children would have if my Mum would be still around. I could focus on some relatives that hurt my Mum by their selfish actions, and possibly even contributed to her rapid decline.
I could focus on that, and become even more enraged, and eventually bitter.
Or I could focus on the Light. The Light that is the Legacy of Love, my Mother left behind.  The crowds came to pay their respects, (the Church was full, people had to stand as there were no sitting spots left) is one of the best Testimonies to that legacy.
My Mother had a good life, we had a great, healthy relationship, she taught me a lot. She taught me enough, so in such moments, I would be ready not only to stand on my feet but be a pillar for those who need my support.
So choice is simple; be bitter or be grateful.
I believe it is time for me now to set my eyes for the future and keep carrying the Torch I was given.
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We think that we build our lives on axioms.
But in truth; life is a flow. What is constant about it is the motion.
We are all running somewhere. And so we need to face the reality, that people that are close to us, get lost on the way.
But it is fine.
As long as we are heading in the same direction, we will eventually meet again.

 

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A call for prayer

I struggled if I should write this post. My Mother is fighting for her life. And I am scrambling to make sense of this. I figured, putting these words down, will help me gain the right focus.

Up until now, I have been blessed enough not to face a direct tragedy in my adult life (and that is a great blessing.).  I faced darkness, I faced evil. But I didn’t face great loss.

Not more than a month ago, a Friend, a Mentor; my Grandfather passed away. Yet, that was expected. He was 94, he was ready, we were somewhat prepared (although you never are truly prepared for the passing of a loved one).

But then, less than three weeks after my Grandpa’s funeral we got the news. Mum’s in hospital. She was struck by a ruptured aneurysm. That’s bad.
Next day she has undergone brain surgery.  There were serious problems, quoting doctor; “Surgeon’s nightmare”. Since then my Mother is in a coma.

Maybe after almost two years of caring for Granpa, her organism gave up.  Maybe if she would take better care of herself, instead of sacrificing every moment of her time for the sake of the others it would have been different. Maybe it just happened and there was no reason. Bad things happen. It is wrong. It is messed up. But it’s a reality I need to face.

I need to face this when answering my son’s questions on where is Grandma, and when is he going to see her. I have to face this, when standing next to her bed, saying words of encouragement, which she might not hear at all.

It is easy to fall into the trap in these moments. The trap of extensive thoughts, the temptation of “playing God”, of trying to foresee the future. It is easy to succumb to fear. And that fear was preventing me to have hope. Because to have hope meant to face the possibility of becoming terribly disappointed.

I wanted to be ready for anything, but I realized, I can’t. You can’t be ready for something like that. God’s plan for our lives is bigger than anything we can possibly comprehend. So you can’t plan for it. What you can do is trust.

And so I seek hope. And I pray.

Then I get to remember, that my Mum still fights. I am thankful for her every breath, for every moment, past and present that I get to spend with her and with my loved ones.
I am grateful for what I received from God, like was I never before in my entire life.

In one of the most important books,  I have read so far, I found this thought “Life is a tragedy tainted by malevolence. Yet, despite that fact, there is something about the human spirit, that thrives precisely under those conditions. As difficult as life is, our capacity to deal with and transcend suffering is more powerful than that reality”.

That is the paradox, I realized. In dark times like this, we ought to thrive, we ought to bring the best from us. It is time to look around with gratitude. To cherish and make the most of every moment. Do not waste time. Do not take anything for granted.

It sounds so trivial, yet in truth, the gravity of this becomes apparent only once we are faced with the fragility of life. I look around me. And I seek the Light. Some say it’s easiest to spot when it perpetuates the darkness.  One day can shatter the world. But our spirit can be shattered only if we let it.

So I pray. My Mum needs that prayer.

In all this, I know I am not alone. We are Family, Friends that stand together in face of the tragedy. I am thankful to have my Wife, my Children, my Brother, by my side, they are the radiant beacons of hope.  And I recognize my duty, as Son to stand by my Father, and be an encouragement to Him.

And I am thankful for every single word, of encouragement from my Friends. And I ask for more; please pray with us.  Our God is God of miracles.

Let Holy Spirit ignite us in that prayer, let Life prevail.

My Lord, Jesus, please heal my Mother.

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Back from Dubai. Autumn & Anathema

Just recently I came back from a very difficult business trip to Dubai. Only thing I enjoyed was the view from the office, as I spent in there 12 hours daily for a full week. My journey was truly epic.

I was fighting bugs, like ancient monsters, repelling requests from other departments like raids of rogue nomads, getting through the new version of the binary for the Appstore release like it was a caravan traveling through the scorched desert.

But the sun of the desert was the sun of yesterday.
Today I am looking at the European autumn, enjoying my mate tea on my terrace.  Trees flutter with their colorful leaves stroked by wind and the rhythm of their whispers seems to be synchronized with a breath of my newborn son sleeping on my chest.

I look at my son and then at these trees. Then the realization comes through.

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Autumn is a parabola of the passing of time. One thing in life never changes, – it goes on.

Our biographies are like the autumn trees, full of colorful leaves –  all the different colors, are like frames of a movie of our life.

Some will float away carried by the wind.

I listen to Anathema now. The band’s tone is like a voice of autumn.
Weather systems. Somehow I cannot break the connection that this band has evolved with me. The brutal anger of the Dying Wish. The desolate music of Kingdom. Terrifying
dark, Alternative 4.

These were the tunes of my early twenties. When I was seeking my spiritual path. And I was roaming through some dark woods. This was not surprisingly a time when I wrote some of my best-received horror stories. But at what cost?

Grim music of early Anathema albums was my soundtrack. I managed to scratch the surface of the abyss back then. And these dark melodies were the beacon…
Yet I managed to find my way back into the light.
And so it seems with Anathema.

If you pick their latest albums, you realize that how much they changed. There is hope now in their music.  There is a reflection upon life and its purpose.

There is peace in words of such ballads as “Lightning song”.

“I found my place
In time and space
In hope and faith”

Quite a leap from the depressing lyrics of Alternative 4… ”Come and hide me from this terrible reality”. Don’t you think?
And guess what is the title of their latest album – The Optimist.

It is a hopeful feeling to see that one of your favorite bands seems to be evolving in synchronization with the development of your life.

Maybe you have to go through the darkness to find the light?

Here comes the calming voice off Lee Douglas from Anathema.

“Your world is everything you ever dreamed of
If only you can open up your mind and see

The beauty that is here”

I look at the face of my sleeping son.

So true.

—Post from “Sword in the woods” archive—

Warrior’s Religion

People in every religion are the same, but not every religion is the same

Religion is a filter through which people perceive the Truth, or as one might call it the Ultimate Reality. The filter comes from the boundaries of our human mind, the Truth comes from the Divine.

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Joshua Earle

Warriors life is ought to be based on Truth. Because the Truth shapes our Codex, the principles we follow and the masters that we serve.
And don’t be fooled, by thinking you can serve no one. You are just human, you will always have master. Even it will be just the needs of your own body.

Choice of religion in warriors life is paramount. One might say – I don’t need religion, I just need spirituality. You will be a fooled again.
Spirituality is a vague term for transcendent experience, and that is anchored in the Ultimate Reality. If you will try to embrace it, your mind will make an attempt to grasp the meaning of it. Hence it will apply the filter of your own convictions and your own limitations. You will follow religion. Even if that will be just the one of your own.

So I chose to follow the footsteps of people greater than me.

To benefit from their learnings, to avoid their mistakes, to take their advice and to consciously apply on how will I perceive That what is Transcendent.
I choose my religion conciously.
I embrace it, with all the faults and corruption of the organization that stands behind it. I decide to apply the filter, the belief structure developed through centuries by an imperfect organisation, because I know for a fact that even a poor author can create a masterpiece in a moments of great inspiration.

I chose to be Roman Catholic. Against the world, against the enemies internal and external and sometimes even against myself.

I chose this, because I attempt to see beyond the people that represent the organization, and see what it meant to represent. I chose to see the whole battlefield not just the corruption and disruption in the ranks of my own army.

And that choice, step by step leads me closer to the Ultimate Reality, and reveals the the universe for what it truly is. It reveals the true scale of the celestial war we are part of.

It shows me the true, malignant face of my Enemy.
But it also shows me that I we have Powerful Allies next to me. And a sword and a shield in my hands. We are the Ecclesia militans.

But that is another story.

As my second son was born, he reminded me of what it truly means to be a father.

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Danielle MacInnes

My son took me by surprise. I thought I knew everything by now, he was second after all, but first look into his eyes changed everything in an instant.

It was like gazing into infinity.

Here I was again, looking at the world through the eyes of a newborn, in an absolute awe and with an absolute love.

I remember now, that to be a father means to have a heart beating in someone else’s chest.

To be a father means to love so much that it hurts.

To be a father means to live your life, as if you are in a constant spotlight – and the audience are those who you love the most.

To be a father means to willingly step down from a main role in life’s journey, handle it to your children.

To be father means to carry a sweet yoke for the rest of your life – as you will never cease to care for your children.

To be father means to have black coffee and white nights.

To be a father means, letting your children fall and guide them to learn from their mistakes, because as much as it hurts watching their knees get bruised, you know you it is the only way to get them ready for what’s up ahead.

Because to be a father, means also realisation that you raise your children not for yourself but for the world.

After all, nothing sums better the essence of parenthood as the poem of Kahlil Gibran.

These words ring in my soul, over an over as I stroke my son’s forehead and I dive deep into the depth of his eyes;

On Children
 Kahlil Gibran

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

There is no such thing as talent.

Here is the paradox.

Having both a lot of talent for something or not having it at all can be both equal obstacles in achieving anything, if you let it get to you.

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Joshua Earle

All my life I was told I am talented in many things. And guess what?

I wasted many opportunities because I thought I don’t need to do shit to be good.

I was so wrong.

All my life I was told I have no talent for many other things.  And guess what?

I wasted equally many opportunities because I gave up right from the start.  If I suck at something anyways, why even bother?

I was so wrong.

And I would have gone like that, all the way.  Wasting chance by chance, missing out on an lifelong opportunity to improve myself.

My teenage years have passed, with myself not being particularly good at anything.

I had big dreams and ambition, you see, like any other idealistic young guy,  but I was lacking all the means to make the change. And it was consuming me.

Why? Because of that talent myth.  And the fact that I was believing in that myth, instead of believing in myself.

Until a time would come when I told myself to wake **the fuck** up.

It is only then, when I discovered that good things in life such as skills and achievements do not rain from the sky but are forged in fire.  And what fuels that fire is focus, discipline and determination.

So is ability to chose and decide, as if there were no boundaries. Because in reality there are none.

And then it happened.

In the past my novellas got butchered by the editors, people questioning my writing talent & my big dreams of becoming a writer.

Today I am a published author,  having won several national literature contests and with a portfolio of short stories printed by major publishing houses.

In the past I was told I had no talent at mathematics & computer science, merely a curious case of wanna be writer, “humanist” born into family of engineers.

Today I am managing team of IT engineers across 3 continents, in a successful, tech company.

In the past I would be a hopeless loser, when it came to the courting game, hopelessly drifting from one failed attempt of getting attention to the other. I sucked at romance so much, that compared to me Howard Wolfowitz from early episodes of Big Bang Theory would seem like reasonable dating choice.

Today I am married to my Sweetheart, a girl who in my earlier years would not even give me a second look (and trust me, I was not the only one trying to win her heart).

I there a secret to it all? There is none, and never was.

Do not wait for the ray of light piercing the sky,  magical sparkle of inspiration, self enlightenment mumbo jumbo.
Just go out there. Chose what is important for you. Decide and focus.

Be annoying and consistent. Do the shit.

Be brutally honest to yourself, so you see clearly mistakes you make on the way. And adjust. Try over and over again. Take the different angle if needed. But keep going.

And remember: There is no such thing as talent.

There is only blood, sweat and tears.

/Post from my archived blog “Sword in the woods”/

Becoming mature

I was always wondering…
When is it that we guys become truly mature?
When is it that a boy becomes a man?
The border moves, for sure. We are pushing it forward towards new milestones that we set up subconsciously in our minds. This elusive steps that define maturity keep moving.
Taking responsibility for something – check.
Getting first job – check.
Settling down on your own – check.
Getting married – check.
Becoming parent – stop.
That would be it. Final frontier.
The greatest adventure ever.
Fatherhood, as a journey in which we willingly step down to give a place of a main hero to someone else.
Biggest step to full maturity.
Why?
Because that’s the one, which teaches us most about the humility.
In the end: what makes us truly mature are the events that make us truly humble.