Scotch, Arguments & Birthday Candles…


Minion-Friends-1(G)Today was my birthday… no big deal as by now, I don’t pay much attention to it; except perhaps to note that it has been occurring for far too long… so faithfully my curmudgeon sliver of self-doubt observes, as it comes-up for air once every year around this time.

Still, no matter how much it moans and whinges about the uselessness of taking space and other esoteric meanderings, it manages to keep a mildly curious eye out for any acknowledgement that this day actually matters to someone beyond the expected (less than a handful) it deems to “have no choice” due to genetic and social responsibilities.

It follows that as evening descends, we settle to review the day we say… but, reality is that we know we’ll continue arguing about meaning, purpose and the very eminence of oneself over its sliver of doubt… all civilly accompanied by several double espressos with their scotch and cigar sidekicks.

We acknowledge and review the phone calls and private texts received from family and close friends; oneself smiles and deems each one of them memorable and wonderful, whilst the sliver grunts and views them as “default obligations” fulfilled and made irrelevant to any discussion due to their biases… so the argument generally begins…

Intensifying as we acknowledge the dozens of good wishes received through social media… what a fortunate man I am I say… IRRELEVANT, the sliver shouts as it dives into its monologue negating “remembrance”… on how algorithms actually instigate people to write something on these occasions so they don’t stand out as an “exception”.

It’s contrived and meaningless due to its selfish origin, it has nothing to do with you… it blasts pointing at me to emphasize its argument.

That may be so in a few instances I counter, but can’t be true of all of the good wishes uniquely worded to connect with me and share that I am on the writer’s mind; I said whilst quickly pointing to several texts, as significant evidence for my case.

Are you so naïve to not “see” the formula behind these snippets? It retorts with some disdain… when was the last time any of this folk actually picked-up the phone to call you? truly engaged with you? forgave, praised or shared something of themselves with you?

…why would they care now on this one day, if not for their own needs and devices?

I thought about this a bit whilst noticing the smugness that the sliver of doubt was beginning to manifest…
“if” there is some truth in your “exception” argument I start, why would that take away from the fact that; even if for only one minute or three, they thought of me… and such compelled each of them to express they wished me well?

How can such not be a meaningful example that at some point; perhaps even today, I touched and mattered to them enough, regardless of whatever means got them to express anything at all?

Well, not everyone you know sent you a message grumped the sliver…

As for those who didn’t express anything, if they arrived at it through their intentional decision to either hurt me or ignore me, even such would mean that I came to their mind however fleetingly… reflecting that I mattered enough for them to arrive at a conclusion regardless of whatever that was.

Is that enough for you? is that all there is? the sliver of doubt sneered looking askew…Minion-Friends-2(G)

Does it matter? I ask back… why is it so important to you to observe relevance in anyone else’s views? Is it not up to us how we choose to accept and deal with the joys and griefs that cross our paths each day?

Were each of us not designed for the greatness of being useful and whole and joyful and unoffendable? And as such is the case, doesn’t it follow that such greatness can only really be achieved through each of our individual relationships starting with our creator?

Are we not extremely grateful to be alive and lovingly thought of by ONE on such special day? …I shouted as the sliver of doubt was worming back into its tiny little box…

Copyright, Joseph Pereira 2011-2020

© Copyright, Joseph Pereira 2011-2020

I see you…


ND-Grass (Blog-7)Spanning continents and hearts with thought…
and a light touch of balanced fingers that know artistry;
flitting about… as comfortable composing equations
as bringing forth an emotion or as reviving
a dying flower back into life, hope and beauty.

But that isn’t the best of you.

You’re a foundation for life of all kinds…
air, water and earth beings all thrive by this;
some envying your strength, many taking from it…
whilst others, having overcome fears and choosing trust instead
would opt to shed their blood for you.

Even this isn’t truly awesome.

For you’re a dream; inspiring to those that hold you close,
a longing within the hearts that can only imagine
the true color of such spirit; reflected in eyes
as ever-changing as the rich light of day…

An enigma; carefully woven into the tapestry of time,
space and God itself… such is your essence.

No… to get to the best of you one would have
to remove all of the lenses that render you physically.

And go to the place before the warmth of your mother’s
embrace ever graced your velvetic physicality…
before the miraculous “x” and “y” mix burst forth
a universe of micro-matter that established life and form
so creatively. To where truth and light and love springs;
a heaven so expansive yet intimately inconceivable.

There… one will find the best of you.

Eternal and brilliant; a joyful being transcending
the concept of any one known bit… there,
in the intimate boundlessness of all nascent energy
the concept of this one YOU came to be.

Exquisitely singular, unique in all ways.

I see you…

Copyright, Joseph Pereira 2011-2020

© Copyright, Joseph Pereira 2011-2020

My Little Garden…


irina's letter (sml)My dear José,

From my first step on Portuguese land I felt so excited… me, in your homeland, walking same streets and smelling the same air.

I know that without you it won’t be the same.

But I am an explorer. Just like you. And I feel so peaceful here.

No excitement of Paris or Rome, no crazy crowds of Hong Kong.

Just peacefully at home…

It was about nine months ago; during the terrible experience of giving away and discarding the bulk of the contents of a home Irina and I so lovingly created and nurtured into the wonderful stage-set of our lives, that I came across this note… written with her usual flair and careless cursive style seven months earlier, during her short visit to the city of Porto ias portoon the way back to Hong Kong from her Camino de Santiago pilgrimage and, roughly two weeks before her untimely passing to God’s side.

Irina often wrote her thoughts on little notes she would mail or place in books or travel bags for me to discover but this one “felt” different; it read as an expressed wish and I have no idea why she did not give it to me when she came home… maybe because she too felt equally drawn to our warm and comfortable place at the foot of the mountains edging the South China Sea in the wonderful Three Fathoms Cove Bay.

Finding and holding this note; as people walked through our home looking at all of our things that I could not take to the little “cave” that was to become my next place, broke my heart all over again…

I felt the crush of her thoughts and very presence as I stood in the middle of the living room barely aware of all the strangers peeking and poking everywhere within our 3-storey Cantonese village house which had become a shrine to her memory; a place where neither our dog Max or me could make a turn without tripping on the fingerprints of her bigger than life self… her scent still prevailing and actively holding all of our spirits together… painfully, dreamily, peacefully.

I have treasured this one note closer than all of the others not only because it was her last, but perhaps because I sense it wasn’t finished… that there was more to her thought-flow which was left open; maybe as a sixth-sense over our unthinkable journey ahead, or maybe for me to influence its completion.

And so, when all the people, moving trucks and trash collectors left and all was done, when Max and I were finally alone; he in the very large backyard and me; as his “tenant”, in the sliver of a flat that sat within the walled-in compound, we sat together looking at the mountains and our new surroundings with a mix of hope and not small trepidation over the task ahead to heal our souls and rebuild our lives as I knew she would want us to do.

To that point, I had seven long months of getting intimate with pain and a terrible first Christmas/New Year season behind me but… I also knew we were being showered with prayer constantly as I felt a remarkable peace and clarity of purpose even with the absence of a considered script to follow.

That is when; as I placed the remaining “stuff” in its new places within the flat, that I felt Jesus’ presence guiding my thoughts, inciting me to transform Max’s yard into a garden where all of God’s life sustaining elements would be represented and celebrated, as a means of acknowledgment and gratitude for His loving gifts of pairing Irina’s short life with mine and of remaining side-by-side with me through the ensuing redemptive fire of her departure.

It begun with building a fountain with all of the elements that were so dear to Irina; the coolness and sound of crystal-clear waters cascading down rocks, the presence of plants and flowers and, the ethereal night reflection of living waters… strangely (for me who had never built a fountain before), I begun without drawing any plans beyond the image Jesus had placed and kept in my heart, as well as; for the next two plus months of long days, His constant “whispering” informing every decision on quantities, materials, plumbing, under-water electrics, and every cut and action as together, we slowly brought it to life without mistakes, electrocutions, material excess or shortages of any kind… He provided the know-how, I provided the labour.

It is perfect beyond my expectations and remains, as living proof of one of the many miracles I have had the good fortune to witness throughout my life… a healing thing of beauty filled with meaning, reflective of His Grace and Love.

Thus we; our Triune God, Max and I, officially completed and dedicated the works on the first anniversary of Irina’s passing… in the midst of a beautiful sun-filled day and clear evening with heartfelt scripture readings and the appropriate amount of Vodka toasting Irina’s bright spirit, my new lighter heart and my closer personal relationship with our Triune God… the renaissance of our “Great Dance” together as C. Baxter Kruger would refer to it.

Since then, Jesus and I have continued to evolve the garden to what it is today; all elements now present… water, fire, earth and air which, albeit still a work in-progress, has become a peaceful place filled with natural beauty, where we read, talk, laugh and cry with joy together… with Max always nearby, following with his beautiful brown eyes every reverend moment.

By our Triune God’s Holy Grace, this little complex Max and I know as “home” was transformed to become a place of peace and deep healing, a sanctuary where our hearts meet and where both her and I found ourselves “Just peacefully at home…” as our beloved Irina desired; Max and I here, and she on the other side of the stars.

Copyright, Joseph Pereira 2017-2020

© Copyright, Joseph Pereira 2011-2020

Remembering…


remembering

When you remember me, it means you have carried something of who I am with you, that I have left some mark of who I am on who you are.

It means that if we meet again, you will know me.

It means that even after I die, you can still see my face and hear my voice and speak to me in your heart.

Your remembering is my consolation and helps remind me that I actually exist.

Frederick Buechner

My Father (upper left), My Grandmother (below my father), My Beloved Irisha (center), My Mother (lower right), Two of my Aunts (next to mother and father)

Copyright, Joseph Pereira 2018-2020

To my Daughters…


The Girls (small)Dearest Emily and Nina…

It’s 2 o’clock in the morning in Hong Kong and probably not the “normal” time to be writing you a letter but in-truth, I’ve been writing it in my mind and heart for a long time now so… it feels appropriate to do so whilst all is quiet; whilst the distance between us diminishes to only a memorial sliver without distractions.

The memory is sharp and clear still of that 2nd day of November in 1995 when my sight first kissed your perfect newly born tiny selves… Nina’s voice no more than a tentative “meow” (a brand-new kitten’s voice is what it reminded me of), whilst you Emily already carried a stronger timber as a prelude to the operatic and melodic quality it became shortly thereafter.

I held you both individually only for a little while before surrendering you to an incubator, but even then, I remained close and mesmerized by the perfection and the miracle of your lives. Supposedly all babies are beautiful each in his or her own way, but you two were beyond beautiful… you were perfectly formed; delicate, velvety, elegant; not just as far as I was concerned, but as an intricate part of my reality; in-truth, all that is sacred and matters to me.

From that point on and each year thereafter I saw you grow, form and evolve into the gorgeous, intelligent women you two are, in what feels now to have been, a lightning fast time warp continuum… a mere squiggle of life/light within God’s wondrous universe, which one can’t possibly grasp in the moment(s) until it’s past… until we are able to observe and digest those life moments backward. For each life leaves its unique imprint; a signature if you will, that is indelible… that never fades nor ever disappears.

I well remember and still marvel at the detail of your lives as seen from my soul… from the scissor haircut on the 2nd floor of Amy’s house, to you at the wheel of a white van rolling from one steep driveway through a street and into a house across that street with all of us adults chasing after you, to the braided corn-rows of your hair in Bali, to the feel and comfort of your arms as you hugged me, through the tears at several pet-funerals, to feeling your pain during all of your illnesses and hospital stays, to the pride of seeing you perform in plays and compete in track & field, to the softness of helping Emily arrange blue-blue and all of her sleep buddies whilst tucking her in at night, to the conversations with Nina in Chianti’s balcony in the middle of the quiet night, through the joy of finally seeing you ride a bike and jump into the South China Sea from the top of tall junks, to the pride of seeing your work on display at West Island and your graduation with honors from your Universities… and the “movie” goes on, frame by frame, detailed, crisp, compelling and clearly etched forever-more in my heart.

I have loved you steady… not always perfectly but always truly and, I love you still. Without doubts or reservations, perhaps now better than before if I were able to compare it.

I am grateful to God for you and your Mom that so ably raised you – nearly single-handed – to be all that is best in the world to be, all that you are. And, I am grateful to you and to God, that such received love bore fruit… that you picked-up the ball when it was passed to you, and you’re running with it boldly through the many scuffles and touch-downs already achieved and ahead of each of you.
Proving to yourselves and all that care to see, that Love is all that is needed and never wasted.

I sometimes sit in my little garden, think of you and feel sad that I’m still thousands of miles away from being able to look into your eyes and/or hold your hand on a walk and share these thoughts with each of you through touches, hugs, kisses and words. Although, as our hearts and spirits are linked – therefore – all between us is known deep within ourselves in real-time and always.
There is much comfort in that for me.

Now, at the end of another unexpected year; on this Holy Christmas time, I am at-peace with you and with all that is important for me to be at-peace with. I have tried to live my life without regrets, I have loved well; at-least as well as I have been able to, I have been loved back and granted more blessings than most people are able to experience in several life times and… I desire nothing, other than what God will have planned and in-store for me.

And so my dear daughters, my dearest and closest friends, I wish you both well on this Christmas of 2018.
I know that God is with you and will continue to guide you and protect you so much better than I was ever able to do.

I know that God loves you and knows every single hair on your beautiful bodies. I know that you will never ever be alone… that all you will need to do is think of Jesus for Him to manifest His Godself to you and let you feel his loving arms around you. This is the only true gift and the greatest gift of all; that you and Him know and love each other intimately.

For this and you, I am eternally grateful.

With much love always… your loving Father and Best Friend King Daddy-O.

Copyright, Joseph Pereira 2018-2020

Grief…


BonhoefferIn his book “The question that never goes away”, Philip Yancey wrote; “Grief is the place where LOVE and PAIN converge…

Theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer penned some of his thoughts about the death of those he will always miss, he stated…

Nothing can make up for the absence of someone we love, and it would be wrong for us to try to find a substitute… we must simply hold-on and see it through. This sounds very hard at first, but at the same time it is a great consolation. As it leaves the gap unfilled and thus, preserves the bonds between us. It isn’t useful to say that God fills such gap. God does not fill it… on the contrary, He keeps it empty and through this, leads us to keep alive our former communion with each other, even at the cost of pain.

…I’m still stumping through this as one may imagine but, I do think Mr. Bonhoeffer ended his statement too abruptly. For to me, our awesome God does a lot more than letting us keep “the gap” open and memorable… He INVITES US to meet Him there – in the gap – and by this find healing and refreshment in His loving arms.

This I Believe…

Copyright, Joseph Pereira 2006-2016

Merry Christmas


JP-Max-1BThe holiday season is here bringing to us all renewed hopes and desires to feel, receive and offer Love. But what is this Love we continually crave yet find so hard to hold on to?

Makes one wonder if it is actually Love we seek or if we are content settling for quick pain-relief from our fears and emotional baggage.

Love isn’t an object we can acquire, it is both; always here and born continually. It comes in moments when we are open to receive it… when we’ve placed the obsession with ourselves aside. Then, Love may suddenly flash on our awareness and remind us that it has been within us all along…

That it wasn’t Love that vanished, but rather our old habits and polluted ways of thinking and feeling that returned.

Unwittingly, many of us end up choosing suffering and pain over the joy of Love, mostly because pain and suffering have become familiar and thus, comfortable to handle… They ask nothing of us. Whilst LOVE asks for everything, it insists we remove our masks, so that it can shine through.

This holiday celebrates a birth; a transformation into human form of the greatest Love of all. A Love that came only to serve truth and be available to all, unconditionally.

It gave all that it had and took whatever it was given.

This Love… a priceless Comfort and Joy that is within us all and will never disappear.

Adapted from “THE BIRTH OF LOVE” by Brenda Shoshanna
Copyright, Joseph Pereira 2006-2016

No Point To It…


Droplets rolling down the span of glass between me and Namsan
race each other to the bottom edge
only to drop again onto the next span below.

Compelled by gravity…
No other cause nor point to it.
Sort of like this day…

on auto-pilot.
Passing because time does
with no cause nor point to it.

I had imagined something
quite different from this but
that’s just what minds do…

They are fluid and virtually give form
to impossible things from bits
of meaningless present conditions.

But hearts beat with fulfillment and ache
because they have been touched and…
that is how hearts react to touch.

Copyright, Joseph Pereira 2006-2016

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