Marco, the Mechanic

“God will put his angels in charge of you to protect you where ever you go.” Psalm 91:11

It was last Thursday. February 13, 2014. My Dad’s birthday. He would have turned 98.

Heavy snow was predicted for Massachusetts, starting at mid-afternoon. The forecasters were slightly off, and it started to come down as of noon. Around 1.00pm, Bill, the nicest boss I’ve ever had came up to me and said, ‘Merc, finish what you are doing and try to head home’. I did just that at 1.30pm.

By 2.00pm, I’m on route 128, that well-known thoroughfare that loops around Boston, and by now, the snow is at a steady clip of 2-3 inches per hour. Visibility was reduced to next to zero. I was rolling along at a snail’s pace in the right middle lane, and suddenly my wiper blades stopped working. And I mean, completely ceased.

The snow is now piling up on my car’s all sides, my slow ride became a crawl, I simply couldn’t see an inch ahead, and I finally came to a full stop, right in the middle of one of the busiest highways in the nation. Even the side windows were caked up with the wet slush. Every few seconds, I’d roll down the windows to see the sides of the road. Each time, the interior of my ‘Camry’ would get spilled and filled with a lot of the white powder.

At this point, the obvious alternative I had was to go to the right lane, then try to exit. I couldn’t. I couldn’t tell if I was in the right lane and going into a ditch. Call me stupid, I decided the better option was to stay where I was. I put the hazard lights on, put the car into park.

I was afraid to get out and clean the blades. Again, I strategically decided getting rear-ended with me sitting in the car belted, was a slightly better option than getting hit standing on its side. You pick!

I used my cell (those who know me well, know that this is a rarity) to call 911. The dispatcher said she’d send the state police and a tow truck but needed to know my location. I couldn’t tell her, because it was virtually impossible to see the highway signs. I said, ‘somewhere past Burlington and Bedford on 128 south’.

As I was sitting there panicked and slightly out of my element, a truck stopped by to ask if I needed help. I responded, that the police were on their way, thanked him much the same.

As minutes passed, however, there was no sign of either the police or the said tow truck.
I tried the defogger at full speed/low speed, hot and then cold, up then down, none made any impression on the stubborn wiper blades. They simply wouldn’t budge.

Then: after what seemed a very long time, another truck drove by, came to a full stop right next to me, on the driver side. Its passenger side window was rolled down. ‘The driver’ asked me what was wrong. I explained.

Then: he literally got out of his car, walked over to mine. (You have to imagine this scenario, of 2 vehicles at dead stops in the middle of 128 in a raging snow storm, to get a feel for the situation). This gentleman examined my car, the blades, and gave it a ‘good clean’, asked me to restart the engine and to turn on the wipers once again.
They were now working.

As soon as he touched my car, somehow I ‘felt’ he would ‘fix’ it, and I pleaded, ‘before you go, you have to give me your name and number’. He pretended not to hear me. I appealed to him again. At my repeated insistence, he said, ‘it’s Marco’, that’s all you need to know.’ he continued, ‘I’m a mechanic, that’s how I know these things.’
I thanked him profusely, he got back into his truck, waited until I had driven a good distance, and then off he went into the mushy mess.

Meanwhile, there was a flurry of phone calls going back and forth to my husband. His reaction to the whole thing will not go out in print here.

This past December during Advent, our Seena Kochama gave a devotional message about the appearance of ‘real angels’ in our every-day lives. Subsequently in January, Reverend James did a study on a similar topic. Both messages were referencing the ‘Annunciation to Mary’, as according to the Gospel of Luke. Both times, I listened with great interest.
In the latter gathering, our friends, Monachen and Lilly, gave a testimony about one of their encounters with an ‘angel’, about a man who spotted some car trouble they were having on a highway, guided and followed them into a parking lot at an exit, proceeded to repair whatever was ailing their car with the tools in his car, and when asked what they could ‘do for him’, answered ‘just follow Jesus, that’ll be enough’.
I remember sitting in that study session, wishing an angel of the Lord would appear to me.

I was overwhelmed by my circumstantial ‘angel’, enough I was narrating the story to Alex, my co-worker, whom I call ‘the best Christian I know’, (he really is), a non-church-goer at that. I asked Alex what I could ‘do for God’ for this ‘angel visit’. Alex said, ‘Nothing. Just thank Him from the bottom of your heart, He doesn’t need anything from you, He already has everything’.
And added, ‘but maybe you can say a prayer for Marco.’

So here goes.
Dear and all-powerful God! Please take care of Marco and his children forever, and then in eternity.
Thank you, Papaji. I guess your job is not done yet. I’m sure you know that.

This is my testimony for 2014.

From 09.11.01 To 05.01.11 – A 10-Year-Old Quest For Justice Of The Human Kind

The second attack was just as spectacular as the first one in scope and in audacity.

The first one happened on September 11 2001, in the world’s most gleaming city, ‘the city that never sleeps’.

The cosmic, strategic, and Devine influences placed the second one on May 1 2011, in a dusty military outpost in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

The first one with 19 men in four, sleek, commercial American jetliners. (The twentieth man would be lost to a mundane and unspectacular detail, such as an overstayed or questionable U.S. visa).
The second, with 2 dozen, in four massive American military helicopters. Both symbols of America’s power and grandeur. 

The first one, etched indelibly into our nation’s collective memory circuits so that the term, ‘nine eleven’ has become part of our lexicon.

The second one, not so much. It mostly just caused a huge shared sigh of relief.
The first one, on a brilliantly crisp autumn day, when the sky over New York was a jet blue and seemed endless, with nary a cloud.

To New Yorkers that morning, sky was the limit.
The second one on a moonless spring night, that presented to the executors, the shortest window of opportunity. There wouldn’t be another one like it for another 28 days, they knew. Delaying it unduly further would be complicated with the approaching season of sandstorms this arid region is well-known for.

The first one made Manhattanites stop dead in their tracks, the roar of jet engines overhead – it felt to some as if it were right over their heads – the kind one hears only if one is on an airport tarmac. It made the startled New Yorkers - getting off the subways, on their way to pick up that routine morning java and perhaps a bagel or a yogurt, hurrying off to their work destinations - look up at the sky that seemed limitless just moments before.
The second one was eerily silent, with America’s ingenuity on brazen display, a mighty nation that commissioned some of its brightest to craft a chopper, in this case an ‘Apache’, which makes as it flies, only a soft swirling whir, one that would make it sound as though it were somewhere in the far distance and going away from the listener.

In both planning and execution, both, ’9.11′ and ’5.1′, were near ‘flawless’ missions, carried out by young men, who were convinced they were put on this earth if only to complete this one last assignment. One, to win one for their ‘God, Honour and Country’, the other one, in the name of Allah.
This is where the apparent resemblances end. 

On the previous Friday, much of the planet woke up to bear witness - on televisions, ‘i-Phones’ and ‘YouTube’ - to the unfolding of a real-life fairy tale wedding in a far-away kingdom, of a dashing prince and his fair lady, a celebration of young love, a sparkling display of meticulous pageantry the British are famous for, and centuries-old traditions of what once was an empire ‘where the sun never set’.

At about the same time, a half a world away in miles, and worlds away in every other tangible measure, 24 men were preparing to take off, in four of the most advanced flying machines the world has ever seen, from an airfield in the desolate and unforgiving mountain terrains of another distant country, Afghanistan, a country with parts that have the look of the stone ages.

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In conjunction with the above events, the parallels are there in the historic and the pre-historic, for us to draw from. 

The pilgrims who came to America’s shores almost four centuries ago, were akin to Abraham of Genesis of our Holy Book, who traveled from ‘Ur of Chaldees’ of ancient Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq) to the ‘promised land’, in complete faith in, and obedience to, his God. Abraham was plucked from among his fellow desert-dwellers and brought to a place where he was commanded to worship a single God. Thus was the start of a monotheistic religion, world’s first.

In a similar spiritual way, the pilgrims arrived along the coastline of a new world, seeking to worship their one God in full freedom. America was their ‘promised land’. To them, ‘milk and honey’ were not just figurative enticements. They were real and bountiful. All of us who have stepped foot on these shores since, are inheritors of this promise. Deuteronomy 8:10, “You will have all you want to eat and you will give thanks to the Lord your God for the fertile land that He has given you”, may have been the pilgrims’ template for celebrating the first Thanksgiving.

So that same God was with ‘us’ on this treacherous mission. Or otherwise stated, ‘we’ were on God’s side.

The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, a God, who gave these nomadic fathers of our faith, a ‘desert shield’.

A Yahweh, who saw the desperate tears of Moshe and Aharon on the banks of the Red Sea.

A God, who was with Joshua when the walls came down in Jericho.

That same God was with the navy SEAL Team 6.

He was in the ‘Apache’ and the ‘Black Hawk’ and on board the USS Carl Vinson.

He was with the interpreter who calmed, a couple of curious onlookers at the gate to the bin Laden compound - in Pashto - neighbours who became inquisitive as to why there was a mild hubbub on this otherwise sleepy street, in an ordinarily quiet town on a dull night.
He was with the scientist who did the rapid one-hour DNA finger-printing test on the world’s most wanted man, whom his foes hadn’t seen in years.
He was with the man who measured the height or the length of the dead man on the floor.

He was with the men who made sure the women and children in the building were dragged away to safety and from being a threat to the mission.

He was most positively with the single SEAL who came eye to eye with the planet’s most notorious criminal and in a swift second, had to decide on a course of action.

And God was with the president who said to his field commanders the previous Thursday morning, ‘it’s a go’, and retained his trademark cool exterior to an unsuspecting world, as he went off to inspect the damage caused by the latest hurricane in New Orleans, with his wife and daughters.
And God was undeniably with the other president who always said, ‘it’s a go’, whether ‘we bring justice to them or them to justice, justice will be done’, the one who sent marching orders to 30,000 courageous men and women and deployed them into harm’s way, in October of 2001, to avenge the slaughter of 3000 innocents. 

It took an Obama to bring down an Osama and a Bush to set it all in motion. Yahweh speaking to Moshe from the bush that was burning, but not consumed?

 

“The Lord said to Joshua, ‘do not be afraid of them. I have already given you the victory. Not one of them will be able to stand against you’.” Joshua 10:8

In the ‘Mahabharath’, the ancient Indian epic tale, that emerged from the Vedic era of the Indus Valley Civilization, the battle of ‘Kurukshethra’ has a substantial and central place.

The narrative goes, that there were 5 ‘Pandava’ brothers on one side and 100 ‘Kaurava’ brothers on the other. They were first cousins. Brother against brother. Most of us know who won that battle 4 millennia ago.

The Pandavas prevailed, because Sri Lord Krishna was on their side. The Lord was summoned, for his counsel, by Arjuna, the middle brother and the leader of the pack of brothers.

 

“If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31

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In the end, the 19 young men from ‘attack one’ didn’t win anything. They lost their lives.

However, the ‘empire’ struck back. America rose to the occasion. We comforted, we gave blood, we went to funerals and memorials and we watched a lot of TV.

We rebuilt and we rose from the ashes like the phoenix. And we claimed, ‘we shall never forget’ and vowed, ‘never again’.
 

 GOD BLESS AMERICA!

The Reason For The Season’s Greetings

season’s greetings!
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I will make you and the woman hate each other; her offspring and yours will always be enemies. Her offspring will crush your head, and you will bite their heel. Genesis 3:15
 
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him ‘Immanuel.’ Isaiah 7:14
 
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
 
The Lord says, “Bethlehem Ephrathah, you are one of the smallest towns in Judah, but out of you I will bring a ruler for Israel, whose family line goes back to ancient times.” Micah 5:2
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But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; God has been gracious to you. You will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High God. … The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and God’s power will rest upon you. For this reason the holy child will be called the Son of God. Luke 1:30-32; 35
 
Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and said in a loud voice, “You are the most blessed of all women, and blessed is the child you will bear!” Luke 1:41-42
 
An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, descendant of David, do not be afraid to take Mary to be your wife. For it is by the Holy Spirit that she has conceived. She will have a son, and you will name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:20-21 
 
While they were Bethlehem, the time came for her to have her baby. She gave birth to her first son. Luke 2:6-7

The angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid! I am here with good news for you, which will bring great joy to all the people. This very day in David’s town your Savior was born; he is the Messiah, the Lord!. Luke 2:10-11 

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For God loved the whole world so much that He gave His only son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not die but have eternal life. John 3:16
 
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“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending”, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
Revelation 1:8
“Listen!” says Jesus. I am coming soon! I will bring my rewards with me, to give each one according to what he has done, I am the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” Revelation 22:13

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wishing you a christmas that is merry,
a season that holds wonders, 
and a new year that is the happiest yet…

how it all started

What is a ‘biologist’ doing in a place like this, you might ask.

From the moment I began to read and write as a child, I’ve been encouraged to read and write and then read some more. In a time and a place where there was no suitable venue to expose what I scribbled, I tried my ‘verbal skills’ on my unsuspecting relatives and friends by penning them letters on whims, to anyone who would care to read the rudimentary stuff I wrote.

Fast forward to 2012. Past the ‘Age of Aquarius’. Well into the new millennium. To now. To the world of instant communication, of e-mails and the blogosphere. In this new age, I’ve been keenly persuaded by well-wishers to start a blog of my own.

An emotional tribute is in order at this juncture, to my Papaji, for spotting in me at an early age, this fondness of language and for his unfailing support towards its enhancement.

I vividly recall him bringing home a Malayalam ‘novel’, ‘Bible Rani’, written by one Kanam EJ (a pen name that might tickle the memories of some of you from a certain bygone era) and published by the Malayala Manorama Press Kottayam. It was a relatively small book by today’s standards, and capsuled the story of Esther, a substantial female figure from the Old Testament. I wasn’t concerned if the language was not urbane or that the novel didn’t reveal any universal truths. It must be said that in our Holy Scripture, the book of Esther does hold eternal lessons. Be that as it may, it was enchantingly fun for me as a youngster, and I finished it in one sitting. I was seven and asked my father for more. Promptly and soon enough, I earned the nick name ‘book worm’, in familiar circles.

As I entered college in the Kerala of the sixties, when most of my peers selected Hindi or French as their second language, I chose Malayalam, precisely for its literature. I simply had a zeal for reading and material was generally only available to me in that language. I took delight in the poetry of ‘Kumaran Ashan’s ‘Chandala Bhikshuki’, and ‘Vallathol Narayana Menon’s ‘Magdalana Mariyam’. Shakespeare and Dickens and Twain hadn’t entered my imagination, yet.

Well, not exactly.

My dad also made available to my sister and me, a monthly publication, ‘Bala Mithram’ put out by the CMS Press Kottayam, which printed Malayalam translations of selected western classics. Thus, as implausible as it may sound, I have read William Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’, ‘Macbeth’, and ‘King Lear’, Charles Dickens’ ‘David Copperfireld’, and Mark Twain’s ‘The Adventures of Tom Sawyer’, in Malayalam!

This passion has led me to this spot. Here I am, decades behind, attempting my hand at becoming a self-anointed ‘wordsmith’ or in more modern lexicon, a ‘blogger’. Hope you’ll pardon the flaws of a novice, I promise to keep refining my posts. Your input will be of paramount value to me.

The blog, ‘mercy’s musings’, is the culmination of a great journey.It is deeply indebted to the ‘village’, that unwittingly contributed to this adventure, and it consists of:

the above-mentioned Kanam EJ,

the editors of the daily the ‘Malayala Manorama’ and the ‘bala mithram’,

the innumerable family and friends who have cheered me along, whose names are carried in my thankful heart,

and first and last and most infinitely My Dad, who placed me on this magical path of loving the written word.

This is dedicated to my husband who is my rock and to my daughters who are my heart and my inspiration.

Hello world!

Welcome to Mercy’s Musings!

I was encouraged to start a blog by many of the people I email with regularly, so here it is. I hope that you enjoy my musings.

In peace and happy readings.

-mercy

Once in a Blue Moon

yesterday, as i’m sure you were aware, was Neil Armstrong’s funeral. as part of his farewell from this earth, his family asked the mourners that:
whenever we see a full moon, take a good look at it and give Neil a wink.

so don’t laugh when i say this, in the late evening, when the moon had fully emerged, right above our driveway, we went out to gaze at it, to say goodbye to Neil.

yesterday also happened to be a ‘blue moon’ night, (when a second full moon happens in the same month of the western calendar), a cosmic event that happens only once every 2-3 years (hence the expression ‘once in a blue moon’).
so, as i looked at this resplendent object high up in the night sky, this is what came to me:
the One who ‘hung the moon’ called the humblest among all His creation, back ‘home’ and He also winked and said, ‘job well done, son!’.

a little-known fact about the Apollo 11 moon mission is, that Buzz Aldrin, the second man on the moon, had carried consecrated Eucharist to this celestial body’s surface (there was some brouhaha over this at the time, ‘separation of church and state’, and all that, but to me, it was more like a fusion of the most acute intellect and the deepest of faith).
buzz observed it in remembrance of the ‘Prince of Peace’. these astronauts celebrating this solemn act, came bringing peace for all mankind and to the heavens.
they left a plaque on the lunar base, ‘the sea of tranquility’, that simply states, ‘we came in peace for all mankind’.
i presume it’s still there. along with the american flag.

peace onto earth. peace back to the heavens.

this kind of colliding of the divine and the earthly, has taken place since the beginning of time. since the beginning of creation. always at the right time and at the right place.
One holding the moon in His hand and the one who was chosen to set foot on it, face to face. up close and personal.

i got goosebumps thinking of all this and i had to share it. don’t laugh.

“When I look at the sky, which you have made, at the moon and the stars, which you set in their places” – Psalm 8:3

in peace…