God’s Eye View

On a quarterly management meeting trip in October 2016 – my first time flying after 16 years – I took these pictures of the views from the plane. What beautiful, clean views. I call these “God’s Eye View.” 
How often do you notice the mess, dirt, and garbage on the ground as you’re walking outside? How about inside? 

I’m one of those people who feels a creepy crawly discomfort when I have to walk on grass that has muddy patches of bald spots. I don’t like bugs, reptiles, garbage or anything that looks or smells gross or dirty. Although I easily embrace change and am very tolerant, I don’t enjoy chaos, confrontation or even disruption in my routine.

I can’t be the only one.

Time and time again I’ve heard and seen others complain, stress and freak out over many things. I’ve been guilty of that myself. The thing with putting so much energy into worrying is that it literally creates stress and anxiety. One of the reasons I hadn’t flown in over decade, was out of this sort of fear. 

There were a million stages of anxiety and fear I went through before I got to this beautiful view, and majority of them had nothing to do with flying. It started with a moment at a youth homeless shelter in Toronto, two months pregnant, no one in my life and desperate get a job, get back into school and find a decent place to live. From there, it went on to being a mother at 20, completely ignorant about raising a child, followed by dropping out of school to get a job. Fears and uncertainty grew during the two years that followed as I jumped from part time job part time job, to temporary positions due to having no daycare or babysitting assistance. It got even worse when I stepped into what was probably the most painful job with the worst encounters for 5 years, because it was the only position with convenient hours available to me. With that five years came many experiences, friedships gained and more lost, changes in myself and even in what I wanted for my future and my son. Finally, to make a long story short, the long sauga of lessons ended with the craziest and most confusing relationship, leaving me completely unsure of whether anything in life would get better.

What I didn’t realize was God’s hand at work in me and around me through that decade. Though times had been tough, and there had been many times I didn’t know how I’d make all the bills, He always provided, and never left me in need. He changed my heart, disciplined me and strengthened, not only physically but also emotionally. There were many “snakes” I encountered during the last five years, particularly with gossips and conniving individuals. But having come out of those scenarios, I changed how I reacted to people who were only capable of lip service. Where I once would have cried, retaliated or psyched myself into anxiety and fear of the situation, I now turned a dead year to nay sayers and gossips while focusing on my task at hand. Craziest of all, I found myself praying for those who envied me or gossip about me. Last but not least, looking back, every lesson in my life lead me to the answered prayer that was this year. He was true to his promise that, “all things work together for the good of those who love Him.” God never allowed me to stay too long in a place of doubt or finality. He never let me give up.

At the end of 2015, after the long decade of lessons on top of lessons and a thousand experience, I’d gotten to a point where I refused to live in dissatisfaction and accept mediocrity. First things first, every idividual and activity that was neither benefiting me nor glorifying God, was pulled out of my life. At the same time my faith increased literally overnight. I believe this happened mostly because I’d come to a point where I was done trying to fix and manipulate life into my own idea of perfection and given it all up to God. 

God came through. 10 months later, after cutting lose some people, letting go of old routines, starting over at new job, I can finally see the big picture. Of course years ago, I had prayed the dangerous prayer, “God, please don’t let anyone take credit for my achievements but You.” God was not only faithful, but He ensured that only He got credit for every change and achievement since then.

As I stared out the window at the perfect lines of the grid like view of farmland, the exploding flames of the autumn woods, and the pretty blue outlines of the shadows of clouds on the water, it occurred to me, that God sees the whole painting and not just one stroke. God had a plan all along. He saw the bigger picture. When I was stressing, anxious and worried about every little thing in my life, God was strengthening me, teaching me patience, tolerance and endurance. He was focused on the victories rather than the battles. My now answered prayers were then on hold, until I developed a level of humility and audacious faith- until greatness and success no longer meant money, status, position, security or power. I’d come to a place where Rain or shine, hot or cold, rich or poor, well or ill, I’d take His way over anything or anyone. When I got to this point, God turned everything around. He blessed me “exceedingly and abundantly more than I could ever imagine or ask for.” 

God saw this all along. He sees all from beginning to the end, and He used every experience as works it out for the good of those who love Him. When the storms hit I remember every storm I had safely come out. In uncertainties I remember that He is my provider. When I see the mess and chaos around me, I smile and walk with complete peace and remember what it all looks like to Him who sees it all from beginning to end. I sink deep into HIS PEACE. 
Scripture:

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”‭‭ Philippians‬ ‭4:6-7‬ ‭NKJV‬‬


“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”‭‭Psalms‬ ‭23:4‬ ‭NKJV

Let go. Let God

R. A. Newton

Letting go is by far one of the hardest parts of life. Whether it’s a relationship, job, habit or pain from the past, we become comfortable with familiarity, sometimes to the point that it prevents us from moving forward in life or taking the next step.
I’ve been in some vicious cycles in the past. Well one, and no matter how many times I closed the door, I curiously left a window open. How many know that all it takes the enemy is a foothold?
I won’t call people the enemy. It isn’t humans we’re at war against. But if a person, object, habit or whatever else youre indulged is not God’s will or aligned with His timing, after a season of testing it/they will eventually be used by the enemy to “kill, steal and destroy.” This is also true when you idolize someone/something, and place them above God on…

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Autumn Hearts

R. A. Newton

Winds blow through leaves of yellow

Hollow pumpkins stare, eyes aglow,
and empty grins.

Long gazes towards golden horizons as the world browns and burnishes around us.

Summer has come and gone,

Autumn rolls in with thunderous storms.

In the greyness of rains, and the orange of cloudless middays,

Your hand blankets mine.

Creating a warmth in a chill of the air,

Waiting for seasons to race by,

These autumn hearts by the crackling fire.

R. A. Newton 
October 9, 2013.

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The Story – Chapter 1

I try to fill my space and mind with smiles, beautiful things, places and a whole lot of comedy. This a tried and tested, fool proof remedy. It works until someone asks particular questions that lead to answers that are emotionally striking. Of course, I could try to lie, but anyone who knows me for more than five minutes could easily read that my disciplinarian mother had beaten lying out of me by the time I was six. So I’ve become, over the years, avoidant and transparent. Avoidant until I’m asked the correct questions, and then completely transparent. It sucks because ultimately, I’m not a huge fan of my story. I prefer a shallow, spoiled brat, fantasy version. But reality, though probably more entertaining to others than my wishful fantasy of ordinary family and life, is hard to think about, and harder to talk or write about. So I did what I have taught myself to do for the last ten years. Face the fear, the emotions, and write.

*********************************

HERE AND NOW

I’m 29, the mother of a nine year-old, in the middle of a law program in school and working at a corporate office. What triggered this was a question someonerecently  asked me in a kitchenette as I nearly leapt out of my skin at his entrance. 

“Why do you jump like that every time I walk in? You must be guilty of something,” he mumbled with a sarcastic, sideways smirk. It was an innocent remark-the kind an aquaintance would make during lunch hour small talk. What do I do when I’m trapped in a situation like this? I hurry, or turn in the other direction and pretend to be busy with something, not to avoid the questioner but the question. Otherwise, I’d have no choice but to mention something about my past that I don’t like to think or talk about.

I never turn my back to the exit in any room, and I’m always aware of where all windows and doors are located. When anyone walks in the room quietly and unannounced I jump. 12 years later, my heart still leaps to my throat when I am startled. 9 years later, I still feel claustrophobic in small enclosures and being in close proximity to people. The word guilty, that sent me into a whirlwind down memory lane. Guilt is an ugly word, especially when it’s felt wrongfully.

My guilt was being born in a Sri Lankan family, as the oldest grandchild and the only granddaughter for nearly two decades. The golden child turned black sheep, and I didn’t choose this path. I have never had anyone use that word towards me, but it reminded me of the thoughts that went through my mind and held me captive after the incident that stole several years of my life.

Guilty was what I felt, when I woke up in pain, with bruises and tears, completely unaware in a grimy, dirty motel at merely 16. Guilty was what I felt when I tried to convince myself that it hadn’t truly happened, and when I shut my mouth and didn’t tell a soul what was done to me. Guilty was what I believed I was when the man who took three years of my life, lied and denied, protested and then continuously abused me everyday. Guilty was written all over me when I tried forcing myself to love someone who I couldn’t bare to look at and tried to accept him as the only possible future left for me. Guilty was what I was taught believe I was for doing absolutely nothing to deserve it.

Guilty is what I felt because I am a Sri Lankan-specifically Tamil- woman, who was brought up sheltered and told that I had to stay pure for the one man I’ll someday marry, while I watched the boys I grew up with and men all around being free to live as they please and do as the please. I was guilty of being born female in the wrong culture. Guilty by birthright.

The one thing that put me on the pedestal, as the princess of the house and the golden child, being the only girl of all my siblings and cousins, was also what deemed me guilty and shunned me out of the family and community when I had a child out of wedlock. Assaulted, abused, taken advantage of, were out of the question. Tainted was a more accurate description. Once priceless, now damaged goods.

As I stood there, slightly shuddering from the impact of the word and how much I hated it, I thought to myself, perhaps it’s time I separated my past from my present and future. Perhaps it’s time to tell it as experiences rather than the story. And so I put the thoughts on paper. 

My name is Rose, and this is my story…

To be continued…

R. A. Newton

September 30, 2016.

From Shards of Glass

R. A. Newton

Scattered in the water along with the others,
A fragment of what we once were; all one.
In pieces now, separate from one another.
Glimmering, sparkling in the light that beams down.
Magnified by the water, still just a piece I am
Grounded beneath the mud, among the rocks
Surrounded by dirt and filth not glam
But solid, complacent and blocked.
Picked up by the hands, wrinkled, frail
Examined awhile; intricately, twice
Measured, weighed. from scale to scale.
Until someone could fix me a price
Though broken and scattered among shards of glass
Founded by One who had set me apart
They seated me now above copper and brass
More gleaming than silver or gold from afar.
Chiseled, carved,  polished and shaped
Molded to perfection, embedded in gold.
Displayed in a set and there I was named.
Multifaceted, luminous, precious and bold.
Rainbows of colour explode from within
As sunlight…

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Blush

A sprinkle of fairy dust,

Or some atypical nother realm aura

Spiralling focus, in and out of conscience,

I can’t help but smile,

When no one is looking 

And only I would know why

That undercover attraction.

Full of chemistry, and silence.

Perhaps I just like his smile.

Maybe it’s his beautiful eyes.

It could be his hushed voice,

Or that he brushes by like a gentle breeze

From time to time.

It’s  a beautiful distraction; an innocent 

something something. 
R. A. Newton

September 9,2016.

Bittersweet

Strumming my fingertips on top of the steering wheel

I drive, 

Winding conscientiously past the Old Markham pubs.

A drunken chorus of the song vibrates in a nostalgic memory

As I reminisced upon us, seated before the musicians,

Each one “three sheets to the wind,” and no faces to recall.

And suddenly your laughter resounds sonorously;

A delight to my ears.

Bittersweet visions of your innocent smile and your conniving smirk engulf me,

And my lips tremble in a dilemma between humming “Ra Ra Rasputin,” 

And “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.”

I smile.

Which of these did you resemble? I wonder.

Sweet you were, even in your bitterness.

R. A. Newton

July 5, 2016.