Don’t Postpone Joy!

My uncle passed away on this day a few years back. He was fair skinned with snowy hair, a complete gentleman, polite and loving. He loved to collect knowledge and share his blessings and experiences with all of us. His home was a library of books which would elevate our soul. He worked till his last breath, answering calls and assisting his colleagues and when he was gone he left on his side table an ever buzzing mobile phone with many missed calls and messages from friends and folks, his favorite branded watch, his pair of plain spectacles and a Waterman pen gifted by his younger brother.

Under his pillow was a journal in which he scribbled with his shaky hands till the words were no longer legible. In it, I could read hopes of recovery and a prayer for another chance to experience life, after all, he had waited and saved up for the retirement time to live his dreams. He had promised his spouse walks on the beach and climbs of the serene & challenging mounts, once office was done and kids were settled. They both indeed were ascending the testing mountain of troubles ever since his medical reports twisted his perfect tale and mortality started clawing away the leftover time.

He had cancer in the liver and in his last stages also he cared more about others. He never left expressing his love for his people, he never stopped smiling. I sat beside him massaging his back in one of my visits and he was constantly chanting, turning rosary beads with his fingers, a plain framed picture of Jesus clad in white robes resting at his bedside.

My mind was assessing his pain and the importance of these symbolic defenses. Does it really work in the excruciating pain caused by his fatal disease?

As if reading my mind he turned towards me and said, “The chant alleviates my pain. It makes me feel myself beyond matter.” I wasn’t sure if I understood him completely then but I did believe him as there was a deep conviction in his eyes.

He was looking forward to the monsoon blooms, he loved the smell and unpredictability of New York showers. “The monsoon reaches its peak in July,” he would say with a smile, “I am waiting for the brilliant flowers, and the coolness that follows the rain. He would watch the pigeon sitting on his windowsill drying its feathers for hours. He missed his folks who were far from him and with whom he hadn’t connected for a long time. Perhaps in his mind, he was visiting them over and over again. He kept talking about them and to them on his phone, with a promise to catch up soon.

I had got a Chicken Soup for Survivors’ Soul, which I bought for him at the airport. He asked me to read it for him and I read my favorite passage from it and even though I had rehearsed reading to him throughout the journey, my voice still gave away and my throat choked as I read.

“Come to the edge,” he said.
“We can’t, we’re afraid!” they responded.
“Come to the edge,” he said.
“We can’t, We will fall!” they responded.
“Come to the edge,” he said.
And so they came.
And he pushed them.
And they flew.”

Guillaume Apollinaire

He smiled at me. I swallowed pain and nostalgia which gripped me whenever I looked at him, my uncle who always loved me dearly, who always had kind words of appreciation for me, who was always concerned about me, who always told me to make friends with God first.

His voice still resonates inside of me, “You will never need to lean on anything else. God will take care of every pain and every trouble. He will come if you call. He will.

I called him with all my heart, with my eyes pouring and my voice shaking. I prayed to God to free him from this pain soon. I prayed for him to get better.

Next morning I got a call. He had passed away peacefully in his sleep. It was the 30th day of June. He couldn’t wait to see the July flowers I thought to myself.

I wondered, was my prayer answered? Did God really come?

I still wonder.

Today when I reflect on what I learned from our exchange in his last days, I realize that we must never postpone joy. Live in the here and now. It is all that we’ve got. Prioritize what’s important and above all replace fears with faith.

Cheer Up! Just be the happiness that you wait for.

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June 21 – Sep 22, 2017
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July Flowers,
July, 2017
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Cheer Up Day,
July 11, 2017
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