Monday, November 30, 2009
The Silly Season has begun in earnest.
I refer here to the season prior to Christmas – another time when mankind seems to lose sight of the reason that we revere this time of year.
The very word ‘Christmas’ tell s us exactly what it is all about. Christmas or Christ-Mass literally means the Mass of Christ or the celebration of Christ. The scientific meaning of the word is ‘The Incarnation of God’.
According to an article by Leon James called ‘THE SCIENTIFIC MEANING OF CHRISTMAS’ ( www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/theistic/christmas/html ) - the prior conscious awareness of God was replaced by Blind Faith, but a blind faith is not the same as a rational faith based on conscious understanding of God; a blind faith enters just the Natural layer of the mind. The Spiritual layer requires that our faith be rational.
It is apparent that the only way that God saw to remedy the situation was by entering history and science. He made himself to be born as a Divine Human Child.
There is a lot more to this article and I would advise that you read it at your own convenience. I have however mentioned it in order to lend credence to the idea that Jesus the Christ is to be worshipped and adored always and forever, and specifically during this season of Advent and Christmas that – no matter how inaccurate the dates may be – commemorates His birth.
Advent is our preparation time. This is the time when we are to look within and see the areas that need to be repaired or addressed in our relationship with the Most High.
Yes, the preparation of our surroundings is important as well, but ‘putting away’ the internal is a major prerequisite to Christmas.
Unfortunately our main concerns are usually the sales, the house, the clothes, the food and the gifts.
Seriously though … what gift will you give to the Christ Child? While you’re cleaning up, are you going to clean up your act? Are you going to heed His call to return to Him?
I began this thought process by referring to this time as ‘the Silly Season’, and that is because it is the time of the year when most of us take leave of our senses and forget ourselves. We overdo everything – spending, eating, drinking, partying, etc, etc, etc.
We are offered yet again the opportunity to hit our ‘reset’ buttons – to re-prioritize our lives and refocus on what should be the most important things in our lives – our God, our Families, Friends and the Love that constantly surrounds us – even when we’re not aware.
My wish for us all is this Advent is that we learn that without God we are naught but dust – without Jesus there is no eternal life for us and without rational faith in the God who knew us before he formed us, we will continue to keep Him in abstract – which is nowhere.
We are being reminded that Jesus is the reason for the season – not Jimmy Aboud, Macys, Overstocked.com, Pathmark or Hi Lo (depending on your geography!)
Friday, November 13, 2009
It should have been a simple process … it was supposed to be in-and-out in about a half an hour. It was not to be.
Anyone who lives here, has visited here or has even had a layover in our airport has come into contact with the bureaucratic labyrinth that is the Immigration process in Trinidad and Tobago; and none of the aforementioned segments of our society have ever really fully made it out of the maze.
Well … I found myself fully ensconced in the Matrix on Wednesday. I entered the matrix that morning at approximately 9AM when I presented myself to the offices of a REPUTABLE Commissioner of Affidavits, only to find a long line of fellow hopefuls and doors that were firmly shut … AT 9AM in a notoriously 8 to 4 country … STRIKE ONE.
I took myself off to the Hall of Justice to visit with my sister-friend, who is a Clerk to Judges, where I was informed that she was not in the building, only to call her and have her appear from INSIDE the very building that she was supposedly out of … this is a building that is virtually crawling with every sort of security device, cameras a, police and security personnel. RIIIIIIIIIIIGHT! STRIKE TWO.
I went back to the offices of the reputable commissioner of affidavits to find that she was indeed on duty with an office full of people frothing at the mouth to have their wrongs righted by the goodly officer of the Public Domain. I waited, got my form signed and stamped, paid my fees and took myself off to the Immigration Department – a division of the Ministry of National Security.
I opened the doors to two serpentining, intertwining lines – one to the Receptionist … one to the Collections Counter. I had to play a game of FIND MY END to know where I should stand. While shuffling off to my own private ‘Buffalo”, I witnessed four women bedecked in key cards swinging from their necks reading the words ‘MINISTRY OF CULTURE’, sauntering in. One of them stood off to the left and the other three proceeded to the counter to be attended to. Did I mention that they went directly to the SAME counter that approximately TWENTY of us were standing IN A LINE to get to for the same service? No? Well they did. This incensed a few of my fellow shufflers and they proceeded t raise a bit of a stink, one of them even going to far as to take himself to the front of the line. That’s when the policeman on duty decided that he felt the need to act.
Here’s the hilarity … these three women walked STRAIGHT UP TO THE COUNTER and officer chupidy stood by and WATCHED, but one man moved from the ACTUAL LINE and he is angry??? WHAT THE FUCK???! STRIKE THREE.
Another officer came over and spoke to the gentleman and informed him that that sort of thing happens often when OTHER GOVERNMENTAL OFFICERS come in to the office. Note to self: wear a Governmental key card around neck the NEXT time I need to be treated ‘SPECIALLY’ at a governmental office .
Having finally gained the front of the ACTUAL line, I presented my documents and was about to explain about my lost passport and form regarding same when I was told that all they needed were the ID Cards involved. I submitted same, was told that the passports were ready and that I needed to have a seat and wait for my name to be called. I complied.
I sat there observing the colourfully dressed members of staff, wondering how come they weren’t wearing the prescribed blue and grey uniform of the Division. I dismissed the thought as I continued my penance – yes my penance because it was almost three hours before I was called to the Issuance Counter. I produced the documents required only to be told THEN that I was unable to collect my passport because my LOST PASSPORT FORM was printed on the WRONG SIZED PAPER and not two sided as recommended. I am standing at the counter with a form, signed by the Police and a Commissioner of Affidavits (A signature and stamp that I had to pay for as previously stated!) and you’re going to tell me that it’s the wrong sized paper when your fuckin’ PDF files feed at lettersized???! And how exactly is this my fault???!
I am then sent to the receptionist who then proceeds to tell me that I “Cyah get a form until yuh have ah appointment.” I then inhale as DEEPLY as possible so as not to blow this little fuckwits brains out and inform the little brightly dressed OJTer that I was in fact COLLECTING MY ALREADY PROCESSED PASSPORT … that I already had my appointment and was sent to her to see if the form would be accepted. She then informs “Well I have tuh talk to my Supervisor!” I then went back to the other brightly dressed person who sent me to her in the first place to ask why I can’t get the passport on submission of the form, only to be told that they have to INVESTIGATE whether my passport is REALLY lost – as if I would go through this insipid shit all over again – because no one is to have two valid passports. I tell miss thing that my passport was expired and that all she has to do is check the form in front of her. eyes are rolled at me … “Ma’am … be that as it may we HAVE to investigate!”
Question – If I lost my passport and couldn’t find it, having traced and retraced my steps, how de arse are they going to investigate the whereabouts of my passport? Is the plan to stand on every corner in Port of Spain and shout ‘HERE PASSPORT, PASSPORT, PASSPORT!” in the hopes that it fuckin answers???
When the illusive Supervisor finally turns up forty five minutes later the woman – another TEMP – informs me that I ‘Should have KNOWN that I needed to ADJUST the PDF FEED so that it would print on Legal paper” and then proceeds to ask me in her own ‘warm’ way “YOU TINK YOU IS DE ONLY PERSON WHOEVER PRINT DIS FORM ONLINE?” I open my mouth to tell her just what I think of her fuckwitted and nasty-ass attitude but she cuts me off with “:ANYWAY WE EH ARGUIN ABOUT DE FORM. IT WRONG AN’ IS NOT OUR FAULT – START OVER!” and then she shoves a printed form at me … looks over my head and shouts “NEXT!”
Now I ask you --- what would you have done then? How would you have felt, having been so unceremoniously dismissed by a PUBLIC SERVANT WHOSE SALARY AND BENEFITS ARE PAID BY YOUR BLOOD, SWEAT, TEARS AND TAXES? In fact how would you react having been assaulted by an entire fuckin system???!
Honestly, I felt raped, taken advantage of and thrown on a heap for speedy disposal.
I know that temps and OJTers are a part of life in the government service – heck, I’ve been a temp in the service – and kudos to the powers that be for trying to train out young’uns for the world of work; but that’s just it – THESE PEOPLE ARE NOT TRAINED!
After what I and the other pilgrims went through on Wednesday – I suggest that the Ministry of National Security Passport office is NOT the place for priggish, ill-mannered temps and pregnant, impatient, short-tempered OJTers – people are already in a state of shock and annoyance when they open those doors and enter the Labyrinth of Bedlam … the Matrix of Mayhem. It would so ease the pain and frustration to be served by a PROFESSIONAL member of staff who has a clue, some manners, and proper CSR training, but I know that somewhere in the dark and cobwebbed filled corridors of the Ministerial Human Resources Department, some grey-headed clerk just had a fuckin heart attack because they can’t remember the last time they heard CSR Training and Staff in the same sentence! That shit just ain’t done!
So as a result, we are doomed to remain like Charlie One Note … dancing in our sleep and dreaming of the day when someone cracks the code and we can finally escape THE MATRIX OF BUREAUCRATIC DOOM with the simple words “Good Morning, How can I be of service to you today?”
NB: For those of you who don’t know, an OJTer is an On The Job Training participant.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
I recently spoke to a dear one of mine who is presently going through some things. It’s been rough for them, and I know that there are nights that remain sleepless, as well as days of black clouds, hesitance and doubt.
They have attempted to remain optimistic in the face of harrowing body blows. They smile and joke, and it’s a pattern that I have come to recognize from my own experiences with ‘days of thunder’ as I choose to call them.
Our internal soundtracks are the ‘inner voices’ that guide us, be they celestial, emotional, spiritual, ancestral or voices from our past. These are the voices that are with us at our highest and lowest moments.
At our pinnacles, they constantly pat us on the back … remind us of how wonderful we are and can even press on to cause us to become quite selfish, and mindless of the people or circumstances that have gotten us to this particular peak.
In our pits of despair, these same voices can be the ones that jeer and sneer at us, while reminding us of every single failure in our lives … from kindergarten to that time at the office when we fell flat on our faces in the middle of a presentation.
They are the soundtracks of our lives, and I don’t know about you, but I would rather have a nice balanced play list that shows me where I’ve gone wrong and cheers me on while I attempt to repair the problem.
The worst thing is when WE are the voice that we hear … the voice of our own insecurity…
I told my dear one this morning that they needed to remain thankful and that they needed to find something at the end of each day to be thankful and grateful for – be it a parking space or a butterfly that came their way. The response was “I am thankful and I start my prayers off with thanksgiving but … it’s hard…”
The word BUT is a bitch of a word and here’s why … are you aware that EVERYTIME you say BUT you have effectively negated everything that went before it?
Here’s a prime example – I LOVE YOU WITH ALL MY HEART BUT I CAN’T STAY WITH YOU…
I love you with all my heart … I can’t stay with you … BUT in the middle. You’ve just told someone that you don’t love them and goodbye.
The ‘supposed’ love that you feel for that person is just a plaster to try to make them feel better as you walk away.
Let’s look at my dear one’s statement … “I am thankful and I start my prayers off with thanksgiving but it’s hard some days…”
I am thankful and I start by prayers off with thanks giving … it’s hard some days … BUT in the middle. Stay with me class … they’ve just said he isn’t thankful and life is hard.
Now before you pick up your soap box and turn it over in an attempt to tell me what a cold hearted bitch I am, lemme just explain what I mean.
Yes I know that there is absolutely NOBODY on this earth who wakes up everyday all peachy keen and in the pink of great humor. Yes I know that we all have our battles to fight. I also know that WE are the ones who allow others to hold us back … we are the ones who allow the seeds of doubt and sometimes ultimate failure to permeate our souls on our good and bad days. The word BUT is a word that inspires doubt … e.g. YES I KNOW HE CAN DO IT BUT LEMME JUST HELP HIM. Again … Yes I know he can do it … Lemme just help him … BUT in the middle. This works out to be ‘I don’t trust him to be able to do this so I’ma stick my foot in it.’
When we start adding BUT to our vocabulary when it concerns ourselves, we are giving life to self-doubt, insecurity, and mistrust of self. How could that be a good thing? If we don’t love, trust, respect and believe in ourselves … who’s gonna do it for us?
So you’ve been told all your life that ‘little black boys and girls will NEVER amount to anything in this world” and you have a setback … do you wallow in the mud and slime and doubt yourself while giving life to what OTHERS have said to you? NO! You change your internal soundtrack and you keep telling yourself “I am going to make it DESPITE what has been said to me and about me!”
You realize that it’s not going to work and you end a relationship or the relationship is ended by your partner. You’ve been told since the age of reason that “people in your family NEVER stay together anyway so why bother … your relationship skills are jinxed.” Are you going to let someone else speak into your life and tell you that you’re never going to find relationship happiness? NO! you change your soundtrack and tell yourself that “I will find with God’s help the one who is made for me. He/She is coming and soon!”
I guess what I’m trying to say is that positivity is so much more effective than her evil twin negativity. Someone pointed out to me the other day that when life gives you lemons you ask for sugar, because the water is free. That sounds like wonderful advice to me.
No I’m not sending you out there to be the voice of constant cheerleading … that would just be annoying. What I am saying dear ones is that life is hard, days can be tough, BUT with the right attitude … we will all get to where we are destined to be!
Monday, November 2, 2009
That's right luvvies! AT LAST by Donna Mae Greaves is now available for purchase on www.amazon.com.
Here's the link:
AT LAST by Donna Mae Greaves
And PLEASE feel free to pass this on to EVERYBODY you know who loves a good love story!
Here's a reminder of the review received.