Friday, September 29, 2006

Luke 9:23

"If any man will follow me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily, then follow me."
The words of Jesus were often controversial to those who heard them for the first time. We are blessed that so much has been written about what was said 2,000 years ago. We are able to assimilate better what Jesus said. Learned men and those who have walked the walk have explained the 'true' meaning of what jesus said. But, unless you take it personal, the words remain philosophical. The personal element is about following Jesus. It is an open invitation. What is interesting is that Jesus does not hide the conditions of following him. There is a cost to following him. The cost is self denial and taking up your cross daily. Simply put, it is about putting aside your old self and seeking help from Jesus every day about your failures. I can live with this stuff and so can you!


There lived a woman and her son in one village. The son’s name was Fue. The woman lost her husband in a fierce war which people claimed brought hardships in the land. Fue never knew his father because he was born at the time that his father went to fight in the war. The war brought a lot of bitterness because no one knew why the men were conscripted to fight.

As Fue grew older, he desperately wanted to know his father’s background and whether he had brothers or not. There was none. Since he could not find any role model on his father’s side, he became very close to his mother. He copied everything his mother did including plating his hair and applying make up on his face. The boys of his age thought Fue was very strange, especially that he never played with the other boys other than his mother. Fue’s mother was quite happy to see how close she was with her son. She told Fue that she would buy him a special present one day. Fue was quite excited and looked forward to the day that he would get his present. Being a good mannered boy, he never bothered asking his mother when his present would come. He knew in his heart that his mother would honour her word one day and that was enough to keep Fue happy.

One day, Fue’s mother became extremely ill. She knew in her heart that she would die. Fue was very troubled that he would have no where to go if his mother died. After all, he had no living relative. He decided to ask his mother what would become of him if she died. She smiled at him and told him that she was really looking forward to dying since she would be joining her husband who died in the war. She told Fue that there was nothing to be scared about since God looks after everyone. Still, Fue thought she needed an adult to run the house, cook food and look after the maize gardens and the animals. He didn’t think he could do all that by himself. His mother just smiled and told Fue that if ever anything happened to her, Fue should open the old trunk and get whatever was inside. That same evening, Fue’s mother died and Fue was devastated. He could not eat for weeks and he did not even think about the old box that his mother had mentioned. The pain was too much and he had no one to turn to. He was indeed a pauper.

Fue lived on by doing odd jobs for other people in the village in exchange for food. His clothes became worn out and people started shunning him. He could not understand why his mother passed on. Couldn’t she have taken him along? Was there any fairness in this world? One day Fue remembered his mother’s last words about his present. He quickly dashed into the old house and pulled out the trunk which was almost rusting. He thought he would find money and with it, he would buy some decent clothes and probably move away from the village. He badly wanted to start a new life. Disappointment greeted him. There was nothing of value in the trunk except a small clay flowery plate. He nearly threw it to the ground but changed his mind that he would keep it since his mother had looked after it so carefully for a long time. He didn’t know what to do with a plate.

Convinced that there was nothing left for him in the village, Fue decided to go on a journey to some distant country to look for opportunities and probably find a wife to marry. He gathered his few belongings including the clay plate and set off towards the east. He travelled for hours under the tropical scorching heat and around mid day, he decided to take a rest. He took out his clay plate and scooped some water from the stream with it. As he scooped the water from the stream, he saw an image of a very beautiful woman in the plate who looked just like his late mother. Was it some joke? He thought he was getting mad. He stood still and the picture was still there. Since he was so thirsty he decided to drink the water from the plate anyway but the image disappeared. He wasn’t sure whether to be angry or sad. He chose to be happy and so he began to sing a song:

Iyi nsani ehe
Iyi nsani yamaluba
Tekumona apo yikele kwati ni mayo wa mfyele yamaluba
Oh yamaluba, Oh yamaluba

(This plate sure
This flowery plate sure
It looks just like my mother
Beautiful and Flowerly
Beautiful and Flowery)

As Fue finished singing the song, something strange happened. A beautiful princess came out of the plate wearing the most glamorous gown ever imaginable. She also brought wonderful clothes for Fue as well as the choicest food. She told Fue that she wanted him to marry her. They shared the food and the princess told Fue that she wanted him to go with him to her palace. She asked him to jump into the tiny plate with her. They did so and found themselves in a beautiful castle. They lived happily thereafter.

Note: Most probably, this story’s moral is that misfortune can also be a source of happiness. The story comes from northern Zambia.

Monday, September 11, 2006


As I approached the check in counter at Regina Airport on my way to Montreal, two ladies from Calgary were spotting their QCM (Queen City Marathon) medals around their necks. I was doing the same. They were so proud to see me wearing my 42km medal. We shook hands and chatted a bit on the nice running weather. Over 3,000 participants took part in the QCM. For my part, I was just thrilled to finish the QCM in my PF (Personal First of 4 hr and 16 minutes). I trained for 4hr but a strange headache threw my runnin intentions out of whack.It was great to visit with running friends from Winnipeg, Saskatoon and elsewhere.
A running race always has some memorable highlights. My headache is one. Then the finish line! It was great to see friends from work, my wife and collegues giving that last 100m encouragement to cross the line with a big smile. The pictures are their to prove it! A 75 year old man finished the marathon to a round of deafening applause. That was really great!! When I get his name, I will send him a note of encouragement. The 2.5km Friensship Run from the Running Room to the Leg and back, a day befre the QCM was equally memorable. needless to say that for the first time, I won something. I span the wheel and myspin landed on a free stringed bag.

The bottom line is that people run to achieve a goal and hey, life in general is about setting goals and realizing them. The QCM was one great experience towards achieving my life long goals. I talked about 'retiring' from running but we will see..