A CONVERSATION ABOUT FACING CHALLENGES!
I went to a local store in my town, the storekeeper and I have been friends for a long time. That particular day she looked sad and I asked her if everything was alright and she burst into tears. I just hugged her and said, “this shall pass too.” She looked up to me and says, “God talks to you.” I asked her why does she say that and she said that in my book Autism: Our journey and Finding Happiness, I have written that I sent Parag to a local center to evaluate and see if he can be trained for any job and the evaluation that came back was “…Parag could not be trained for any job at this point in time. After reading the evaluation I was heartbroken and started crying and praying to God for guidance. The Lord has mysterious ways! While I was crying and praying a voice spoke in my head, “It is October (2012), Christmas is around the corner, why don’t you teach Parag to make candles, people love candles (page:183).”
POWER OF PRAYER!
I said everyone has a guiding voice inside them, but they don’t listen to it. She started wailing and said that she goes to the church regularly, but THE VOICE never speaks to her. I said “to listen to the voice, going to church is not a requirement but PRAYING with a genuine heart is!” when I prayed in that state of desperation, it was a pure plea for help!
I told her that when Parag got diagnosed with autism, I started praying regularly and incessantly and in that state of mind, one day, the voice spoke, “are you going to sulk, cry and mope or do something about it.” In that moment in time, the realization dawned that Parag has autism and it is my choice how I was going to deal with it. Was I going to face it and do something about it? I did not know what I was going to do but I knew that I was not going to sulk, mope and cry! This voice gave me the courage to move forward. All of us face challenges through our own ailments or the ailments of our near and dears or death of our loved ones. This brings us to a WHY ME PHASE? In this phase we are angry, hurt and in pain, this is natural but many a times something happens that is not healthy. We are STUCK in that phase for EVER. I am thankful to my belief in the POWER OF PRAYER that helped me to come out of this phase faster. I know that one common denominator that binds every religion into ONE IS-POWER OF PRAYER!
I said to her, that God may not always guide us as a voice directly speaking to us but sometimes he conveys the message or guidance through another person’s voice! I said after Parag’s diagnosis “…I was at the brink of emotional and physical break down. I called Parag’s pediatrician and to this day I believe God spoke to me through him. He said “Mamta, autism is not like a fever that after a while it goes away. Autism is a disorder for life, so you need to change your mindset.” He said “whatever is not good for Ankur is not good for Parag. For example- too much sugar is not good for Ankur and that is true for Parag too. To deal with autism the best course is to make your household as normal as possible (Page: 21).” This advice made me rethink my approach to deal with autism. I pondered what did he mean “as normal as possible” and the answer that came back to me was SIMPLIFY. How can I do that? By trying to “STRIKE A BALANCE.” Very hard thing to do because nothing can be in a state of equilibrium for a long period of time. The second law of thermodynamics states that the universe tends towards high entropy. What is entropy? It is disorder or randomness. I thought if the natural inclination of the universe is towards disorder and randomness then how can I save my family, my household and myself from this. The answer was through-LOVE, DISCIPLINE AND PATIENCE! I am facing my extraordinary challenge through Parag’s Autism, but I sincerely believe that everyone needs to adhere to LOVE, DISCIPLINE AND PATIENCE to face their challenges.
I related an incident to the shopkeeper. I said that I light candles in every cathedral that I visit. After lighting the candle at the cathedral of Norte dam in Paris, I was praying very intently to Mother Mary and during this time my wallet was stolen from my purse. I was heartbroken; I called my husband, my damage control guy, and told him “why did this happen while I was praying”. He started laughing to my utmost surprise, I said, “are you gone crazy, why you are laughing at my predicament.” He controlled his laughter and said, “You are so naïve, in India maximum number of shoes and sandals are stolen at the temple”. (People have to take off the shoes in front of the temple and then go inside to pray). Now I understand his humor and I can smile. However, this incident haunted me and before going to sleep that night, while praying, I said to Mother Mary “You could not even protect your Son, no wonder you couldn’t save my wallet.” That night I had this dream; Mother Mary came in my dream and said, “My Son sacrificed his life for all. Resurrection of my Son has a symbolic significance, He lived for others and gave up his life, so that we can live with LOVE FOR ALL. “LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR” is not just for your next-door neighbor but neighborhood of the WORLD. I remember waking up with a vivid remembrance of this dream and a heart from which the DOUBT had vanished. That morning, I really understood the Sanskrit sloka that I had heard from my childhood — VASUDEVA KUTUMBAKAM, that means- WORLD IS ONE FAMILY!
The shopkeeper told me thank you for sharing my personal experience of spiritualism and that she felt calm and not sad anymore. I said, “ God did that to you with my voice today.” We started laughing! I said do you want to hear something funny and she said “what?” I said that I am a very bad singer and whenever I try to sing to Parag he says, “Be quiet please.” She laughed and then I said that the surprising part is when I sing one song in praise of God, he not only listens intently but wants me to sing again. She asked me what song was that? My third-grade teacher taught me this song, the song goes like this-
Gods love is so wonderful, so wonderful is His love.
So high you can’t get over it,
So deep you can’t get under it,
So wide you can’t get around it,
So wonderful is his Love,
God’s love is so wonderful!
While bidding her bye, I folded my hand and said Namaste that means “I bow to the divine in you!” Yes, good and evil cohabit and GOOD/DIVINE is always a matter of recognition and celebration!
THOUGHTS: I believe all of us can deal with our individual challenges if we believe in the POWER OF PRAYER; it creates positive energy! We need to have LOVE, DESCIPLINE AND PATIENCE to deal with our challenges! Recently someone asked me, you are a Hindu, but you celebrate Christmas with such fervor. I told her that to me BIRTH of God is always a matter of celebration. Whether it is Janmasthami, birth of Krishna or Christmas, birth of Jesus. After all LOVE and AHIMSA (nonviolence/non injury) is needed to make WORLD INTO ONE FAMILY!