God’s Gift - C.K.Mathew, C.S. Rajasthan


Zaara is home. Our little granddaughter is all of a year and a half; she is a tiny, bubbly little powerhouse of energy, and our world turns around her. She giggles and chortles, she babbles words that mean nothing. And when she cries for some small grievance, our hearts twist painfully within us. My wife and I, we are completely, absolutely, undoubtedly sure she is God’s gift to us. Those who have read my blogs would know how she struggled through a premature birth and pneumonia and blood transfusion and fought like a tigress to make it through. We could feel it in our heart that she was cradled in God’s arms as we wrestled though those tremulous days. And now she brings us ineffable joy that lifts our spirits and makes us glad to be alive in the glow of her presence.

She was God’s gift to us: His act of kindness.

An act of kindness. It makes one feel good. It generates a personal joy, but it lingers in the mind for long, a warm glow for a deed done well. And if it is done in a random fashion, with no plan or programme or schedule in mind, it is all the more wonderful for being so. Emily Dickinson, no stranger to the kind act, the likes of which she showered on friends and cousins, said it best in one of her prose fragments:

To do a magnanimous thing and take oneself by surprise, if one is not in the habit of it, is precisely the finest of joys.

I have a funny story in my head: I know it is foolish and probably sacrilegious! And certainly naive. For whatever it is worth, here it is: As supreme master of this vast and largely unknown Universe, Almighty God picked out at random the third planet spinning around Sol, and decided to amuse himself. Life he created and then scattered his genius in so many forms and sizes and shapes that even now, despite the horrific damage we have done to Him, abound in such many splendoured glory around us. They are all for us, for our wonder and our amazement; for the enjoyment of his favourite of all species. Our planet, our forests and trees, our mountains and valleys, the animals and birds that flourish around us, the fishes and whales that swim in the seas: all of them God’s act of kindness, God’s gift to us. I would like to think that He was pleased and happy as He considered His handiwork. Now that is a thought, isn’t it?

He has left to us the manner and the method of how we use this magnanimous gift. We have the choice: to do good to it or to destroy it. To learn to live with each other or to slaughter each other. If we are fools we can destroy this gift: if we are wise and careful, we can nurture it and cherish it and make life for us all that much richer and beautiful. And it is only we who can to do it. Jon Muir said it:

God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand tempests and floods. But he cannot save them from fools.

The fact is that we blame all the people around us for the degradation we see everywhere, when the truth is that there is but one person to blame and that is ourselves.

The wonder of it all is that each part of the gift is interconnected and interwoven with every other part of it. It is a magnificent, complicated and mysterious planet we live on, some organic cauldron where life is fashioned, where the plants and animals are sparked into life. Where what I do today will certainly touch your life tomorrow. Past and present and future, all mixing and turning and tumbling and rising like in a giant merry go round spinning endlessly.
Remember the quote, again by John Muir:

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.

Even when we die, do not doubt it, we continue to live, in the earth and the air and the water. Jacob Bronowski said it well:

You will die but the carbon will not; its career does not end with you. It will return to the soil, and there a plant may take it up again in time, sending it once more on a cycle of plant and animal life.

And finally, also think of life itself, the breath you hold in your lungs, as a gift given to you by the Almighty himself. Consider it as an incomparable gift, the real value of which you cannot even guess. Suspend your disbelief for the moment and let yourself fly free in the complete and encompassing truth of it. Life is a gift. Repeat it and let it be a part of your psyche. How do you treat a gift from a loved one? Do you throw it away in disdain or do you cherish it and treasure it with all your heart? Do you respect it for the beauty and the wonder of it, or do you take it for granted and not give it a second thought. And realise too that the living breath in each of the members of the human race you are a part of, is a gift too. And then see and understand and wonder in the knowledge that we are all part of a great and grand fabric of life, falling and rising and swirling and burgeoning and waxing and waning and growing and dying. But dying only to restart the cycle of life and death, to live again in the air and the water and the soil of our planet.

Life is a gift that you live each day. When you wake in the morning, be thankful you have been allotted yet another day to live and do good. When you eat your breakfast, be thankful that you have food to sustain you in your efforts. Be thankful you have a family and children to give you solace and to ground you. Be thankful you spend the day in honest labour. When you get home, thank God for having brought you back safely despite the hurtling traffic. That you are strong and healthy and not laid low by disease or vengeful enemy. Be grateful.

And that it why, while we thank God for the gift of Zaara, my wife and I know we are blessed in the living of each day, in the munificence of His blessings, in the knowledge that this gift must be treasured with all the fervour of our hearts. How wonderful if we could all understand this truth, this principle that governs the planet we live on. Life as a gift of God, and the living of it a daily blessing. We need no other rule to guide us through each day.
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