The Magnificent Ship

I wonder, India, how are you doing in the midst of so much pain and big loss? Children who hadn’t known death, are now stabbed and crippled in pain. India, your magnificent ship is barely floating. I wish to throw you a life jacket… grab hold and hang on.

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Written during May, 2021
Sadness, grief and tears;
India Covid crisis

Is God good? Can it be? Is God love? Help me see!
People cry out; oh, God, where is your love?

People weep and grieve; oh God look down and see! Your land, India, lies wasted and in great need.

Sorrow’s flood, pools of tears turn land to swamp People cry out; oh, God where is your love? People cry out, Oh God, tell us where is love?

Your land, India, lies wasted and in great need.

Jesus came as your son, to be hope when there is none
Jesus came to be light when day dawns as dark as night;

To cast fear out of love
To free our hearts for life
Your son died to give life
He gave purpose to die
So, cry India …declare God is love!

As for grief, you’ll find it comes in waves.
When the ship is first wrecked, you’re drowning,
with wreckage all around you.
Everything floating around you reminds you of the beauty
and the magnificence of the ship that was,
and is no more.
And all you can do is float.

~the Loss Foundation~


Hope on Flower Mountain

click here for narrative

Flower mountain. That’s the name of the drawing. The mountain is big… a bit scary.

It stands in front if our house… our family…our friends… our life. God loves to shake mountains…. We can see flower mountain when we see God’s love. Is there a mountain in front of you?

There’s a mountain in my path.
Many people are hurting in India, and across the world.
It’s like, —we need big band aid.
India is hurt. People are hurting.
It’s not Corona —it’s our inability to love, to touch.
Individual circumstances cause grief and take a toll on us.
Survival —a word with a new understanding.
During this time, I’ve faced an unexpected rough stretch.
I was diagnosed with physical disability requiring immediate attention… it was serious. I found myself looking at a mountain. I didn’t see the flowers.
I asked God a lot of questions, because… circumstances created no other way…
I had to trust God. It is a good place to be forced into.
Through pain and grief, we experience that life is short….
But there’s hope. Eternity.
Our perception of what a short life means, is night and day different from God’s.
God is not hard-hearted as some think; he understands grief.
Even Jesus cried with loud cries, like we do, when he faced death.
David Crowder sings “everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die.”
We stay contentedly in our little box.
Death is kept out of the box…yes, but God understands our fears. 
We put up boundaries and fences to shield us from hurt.
We live in this world… this life.  God lives in eternity.
These are strange, and hard times. It’s a time to focus on what is not seen.
India, how are you doing in the midst of so much pain and big loss?
Your magnificent ship is barely floating.
A quote from “The Loss Foundation;”

As for grief, you’ll find it comes in waves.
When the ship is first wrecked,
you’re drowning, with wreckage all around you.
Everything floating around you reminds you of the beauty
and the magnificence of the ship that was,
and is no more.
And all you can do is float.

Can you see beauty on your mountain? It’s there.
The Spirit of the Lord comforts all who mourn;
Gives them beauty instead of ashes,
The oil of joy instead of mourning
A garment of praise instead of a heavy, burdened and failing spirit…”
Is. 61: 1-3


Touch the Feet

At the last curtain call, long applause resounded and the annual school program came to an end. Former students faithfully came to catch a glimpse of the old days, appreciating the feeling of welcome to the school where they grew up and learned life. A young man suddenly charged towards me but stopped abruptly in front of me. He pounded his clenched fist to his heart, bowed before me and touched my feet with his fingers; a greeting bursting with love, respect and honor. Of course, it’s Indian tradition, and doesn’t always carry those wonderful tones, but when it comes from the heart it’s as good as the best hug ever.

Touching feet is significant. The one who first taught touching feet did so as a lesson to his disciples. He took off his cumbersome garments as a servant would, kneeled down in front of each of them and washed their feet. In the previous story I mentioned the little girls who touched my feet; they scoured my feet like pots and pans. My little friend, Budwara, “touched my feet” whenever she looked at me; it wasn’t just physical touch; the love and respect shining from her eyes was as good as touching my feet. Washing feet only comes from a servant heart. Clearly, transparency is where love is. Why would God touch our dirty feet?

Click to play this song.

Touch the feet for you are made from dust and you know that the one who walked in dirt, has His thrown on holy ground, so, touch the feet.

I touch the feet I feel the flesh of him whose tears and blood are mixed to become wine for me, through his sweat I touch his feet.

Touch the feet of Christ, wipe the stain from him who died, standing up unashamed, stripped of pride it remains; to touch the feet.

Lord how can I come into your presence now? Lord how can I walk through gates of splendour now?

I by your great mercy come into your house, in reverence and adoration I bow before you now.

Touch the feet for you are made from dust.


Wednesday Changed my Life

Every dream begins with a dreamer.
Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion
to reach for the stars to change the world.
Harriet Tubman

April 1965; I was eleven and informed everyone that I was going to India to start an orphanage. Who’d believe an eleven-year-old child? Those skeptics didn’t stop me from dreaming; they only added coals to the fire.

By April, 1975, I’d been in India for six months. I reclined on my bamboo mat on the strangely comfortable cement roof and gazed at the millions of stars lighting the sky. I mused, “Lovely Moon, however did I get to this unbelievable place in my life?” Though only a sliver, the moon was brilliant, like a beating heart; nothing was around for miles to obscure any of the nightlights­­; a hundred million stars sparkling like tiles as a ceiling to the universe. Stars are riches in rural India —diamonds in the sky. Not every country has such an array. The giant Himalayas stood outlined and glowing against the northern horizon, creating a spectacular backdrop. Lying on my back on my thin, bumpy bamboo mat, left me with inexplicable peace.

Budwara was there beside me, day and night, always waiting for me to come. At night I arrived late; my mat would be rolled out for me and she’d be sitting on her mat spread next to mine. Budwara means Wednesday. Was she born on a Wednesday? So much mystery hid behind her shy giggling face… why was she left at a children’s home? What deep hurts lie buried inside, invisibly warring against her?  The children were so hungry for touch; deeply hungry for love.

There was no electricity for fans or lights. During the hot summers, the rooms were stifling hot and buzzed merrily with mosquitos —totally unbearable. Thus, I with all the girls marched to the roof, hoping to catch the draft of a cooler breeze and ride on it into sleep.  But I was mesmerized by the stars.

Daily chores became routine, as did the trip for baths. I’d herd the barefoot girls down the village road, thick with soft filmy dust. Each step brought up swirling brown clouds which slowly thickened on us as we made the two-kilometer walk.

Unfortunately, the same thing happened after our bath on the way back. Our bathtub was the village canal where buffaloes and oxen bathed; animals were washed slightly downstream while we bathed in our clothes, upstream. Even our drinking water came from downstream. The oxen were driven into the water with two large oil drums on the back of the rickety, ancient looking wooden cart with large wooden wheels. Those two drums were slowly filled by bucket and the water was used for drinking, cooking, and everything else; it served one hundred children and a dozen staff and was never enough.

Leaving the compound was a-looked-forward-to event by all. As we walked down the road, each of my fingers were grabbed (holding hands with only one child at a time just wasn’t considered fair). After reaching the canal the girls would excitedly jump in and splash. I’d sit on the edge and dangle my feet in the water. Then a water fight ensued; who would be the lucky girl to wash my toes? With a crowd of wet little girls at my feet, the scrubbing began. Roughly, thoroughly and lovingly my toes, the soles of my feet, the sides of my feet, my ankles were scoured as though I was a pot or pan. It was a heavenly massage and ridded my feet of dead, dried skin. The dirtiest part of my body was not begrudged by the girls in any way; they had no hesitation in showing kindness and love. They wanted to touch me and they wanted to be touched.

The children’s home stood on a dry riverbed; rocks and stones —and yes, “dry riverbed” aptly described me. My idyllic childhood dream of serving orphans was not quite what I’d anticipated. I understood dry riverbed for it described my spirit; it also described the children who were thirsty for love. I was no heroine. I needed the kids more than they needed me. Could I really make any difference at all? Something deep inside was persuading me to stay. I was not even close to being ready to leave. What I could achieve seemed insignificant, but I just couldn’t walk away.

In India, respect is traditionally shown by formally bowing down to touch someone’s feet. The girls touched my feet and washed them in the canal. Budwara touched my feet whenever she looked at me. I clearly saw the love and respect shining from her eyes. My childhood dream of going to India became reality; but not in the way I’d imagined it. The fluffy, dreamy visions of working with sweet orphans was now a hard, difficult reality. And not only that, the conditions, and the heat and humidity of the seasons took a heavy toll on me.

Every dream begins with a dreamer.
Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.

Harriet Tubman was right about reaching for those beautiful stars to change the world; except the world remains the same —it was I who was changed. Gazing at the stars showed me that God was in this, though I couldn’t understand where he was. God was somewhere near; I determined to find him. I’d found children —but God? Wednesday —Budwara, changed my life. Living alongside children drew me closer to truth. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me….” The closer I got to the children, the closer I was drawn to God; my dream began to have meaning.

Tears drop like stars falling from the sky.
Night closes upon the darkness I feel in my soul
My spirit yearns and cries out for God.

Tears are meaningless in the largeness of earth
It’s magnitude and enormity and terrible, fearful nature
Humble me in the vastness of galaxies upon galaxies.

I am lost and alone and seeking an answer
From God, who meets me alone;
In a quiet and secret place where rivers run dry.


Answers to some Questions & Questions for some Answers

A lizard grows its tail again when severed in the door.

Axolotl grows xerox copies of missing brain parts.

Deer grows new antlers every year (to be in style?).

Babies grow into men and women.

God makes something from nothing.

Who has the answers of the universe?

Who has the questions?

If a wolf can cry, can a rock sing?

Why can’t we be born again?

What if there were no birds?

Click here for song

Grandma’s on the Family Tree

दादी Abuela おばあちゃん Granny

My Grandma is as sweet as a pie
As calm as a lalabai
As wise as an owl
As loving as a mama bird
As soothing as a warm towel
I wish I were like you
Oh! But I am!
I am your lamb.
Take me with you ma’am
I will follow you.
—written by one sweet granddaughter—

My Dadiji


She was so pleased when we accepted her invitation to come for lunch; she couldn’t hide her pleasure and was beside herself with happiness. Now she was fussing over the dinner table, laid with her best ancient cracked china and glasses. As soon as she heard us enter, she looked up expectantly. Her bent form hurriedly shuffled forward and she stretched very long, nearly out of proportion arms upwards to wrap around us. Contrary to her child-like enthusiastic spirit, was her face; a deep well, full of years and full of memories. Each wrinkle carried a different story, and every unwrinkled story was full of wisdom that somewhere, sometime, found a platform to be shared. We loved it when she used us as her platform. Her stories were extraordinary, nearly unbelievable; full of faith. We all have amazing Grandmas, but my Dadi was one of a kind.

How many Grandmas hitch-hiked through Nazi Germany and Europe in 1938? Mine did. How many retired 60-year-old Grandmas (after becoming widowed) travelled alone by ship to India to serve the needy? Mine did. She told us, “I retired; I put on new tires to go further.” How many Grandma’s prayed continuously for the safety and protection of their children and grandchildren? Mine, yours, and nearly all. That is a grandma’s heart.

My Dadi’s appearance suggested she had reached one hundred years old, but outwardly she hadn’t changed greatly over the past ten or twenty years. Dadi loved teasing her young eighty-year-old friends, by calling them “spring chickens” and boasted to them about her many years, cleverly withholding the figures of her exact age. That was her secret. We knew assuredly that she wanted to live to one hundred and looked forward to it with childlike glee. There would have been one very old, very proud, jubilant lady… had that day arrived.

During this strange season of distancing, depression and aloneness, social media has found its purpose. Shower grandma with love. Even Grandmothers who refuse to be techy have smart and cunning grandkids who figure out ways to reach out to them. Marvels of the digital world never cease. We are united even in virtual suffering… May, 2021.

by the way…
Grandmas thrive on their grandchildren,
because their grandchildren are the best.

Grandmas’ Fridge

Grandma’s door


Come Away with Me

I echo a cry.
God is a romantic who yearns for our kiss
and thrives on relationship.
Take your eyes off the chaos.

Come Away with Me

Click here for song – Come Away with Me

He breaks down barriers, He crumples the walls

He makes the way open giving justice to all.

He’s the God of justice, the God who sheds tears

At crime and darkness which evil brings in.

He’s the crying Lord and with painful compassion

Keeps tears in His wineskin for healing the nations.

He repays with punishment the sins of the world,

But with hugs and embraces the sinner He kisses!

Father of love, from whom we are born,

God of creation, of wonder, of storm

Father of love, in whom I am found,

Extravagant forgiver, with love I am bound!

Kiss the Son, my love, kiss the Son, my king.

May the wine flow gently from His lips to those asleep.

I belong to my lover; His desire is for me

Come, my lover, come away with me.

Composer: Frieda McRae
With Dr. Sydney Thyle
Sonu Kumar
Dr. Michael Sethi


India Cry – May 2021

I love to write stories, but my heart is heavy and goes out to India; the lost and the suffering.
I grieve with you, India.

Our land is crying; smothered with heavy darkness.
Millions of tears create a cascading waterfall; the land becomes a swamp.
How long, you who made us, do we live in fear?
Father of love, do not turn from us as we turned from you and blamed you,
but look from heaven and see us stagger in our sorrow.

We treat our Maker disgracefully; our thoughts are darkened…
We argue and demand from you, who are God.
We admit you are God; you see our sadness,
Weeping with us as our emotions go out of control.
You allow us to be mad, but desire a sacrifice of praise.

You steadfastly remain the cohesive force we hang on to, lest we be torn apart.

You catch us if we stumble and will not fling us aside;

You separate us from our sins; as far as the east is from the west and patiently love and dearly prize the world.

You gave your own son; you know loss.  

The world rages and chaos triumphs —only briefly;

Your plan; eternal life.


Ironically Broken

He was wounded and crushed because of our sins…
What about my “bruises” …the scabs on my head from lice and my aching stomach?
It’s hard to compare one’s sufferings to Jesus… not much purpose, I guess.
by taking our punishment, he made us completely well.

(Is. 53:5 CE)

Was it a dream or was it actually happening? I’d been in India for five months, yet my stomach was still objecting. I loved working in the children’s home, but hygiene was lacking. Sickness was unavoidable. Too weak to think straight, I found relief in letting my mind wander. My ankle-length skirt was crumpled and dusty from sitting on the bathroom floor all night. The back of my shirt was smudged with creamy powder from the cheaply whitewashed wall I leaned against. My uncombed hair resembled a bird’s nest. My body had experienced a nightlong cleansing and there wasn’t an ounce of anything left in me. After hearing my pitiful cry early that morning, Bob arose and unlocked the gate of the girls’ dorm. Without waiting for his approval, I crawled into his bathroom to clean up. I was sure he could see all my little lice friends digging through my hair. An unpleasant smell seemed to be following me.

I’d achieved my life-long dream of going to India to work in a children’s home, but by the time I went, there was a selfish motive. I was running away from God and on a search for truth. (Do those two aims work together?) I arrived in India wanting to help, but now I was a new problem to go along with all the other problems we faced daily at the children’s home. New problems were really just part of the normal daily routine. So, Yip and Bob (two other volunteers) were exploring the options… would I get better or did I need a hospital? How could they look after me? How could they get me to a hospital without a vehicle? Hmmm… what would they come up with?

My body felt strangely heavy, as though it was welded to the bed (Bob’s bed) I now lay on. Unable to lift myself, my body had turned into a gigantic brick. Dazed, I caught Bob peering at me, asking me something…

“What?”, I asked.

His ever-polite proper English accent (usually attractive to me) was annoying because I felt so revolting. And I was the casual, sloppy, down-dressed American whose English was far from proper. Now, his disapproval of my completely dishevelled state bore down on me, but I knew Bob’s soft, caring heart was forefront.

“Frieda,” he said with finality, “I’m just going to give you a little injection to stop you up”.

My mind quickly began to work and I came to my senses with a bit of dread. “Bob,” I asked wearily, “have you ever given an injection before?”

Wedged in the middle of all my dreams and aspirations; I felt like a little boat in a big storm. There was silence. No answer. “Great!” I thought to myself, unable physically mentally to rise to the challenge or of stopping him. Closing my eyes, I surrendered. Stretched out like a corpse on the wooden rope-strung bed in a tiny Indian village, I waited for “it” to happen. My little boat was far from home across a vast ocean.
Helpless? Yes! Unhappy? Not at all! Life hung in limbo, perched precariously somewhere between dreams and truth. Life was picking up speed and taking me with it. Sickness was definitely not a setback along the way, merely one of the many events leading me from dream to reality.

“Ouch!” Suddenly I was back in the reality of Bob’s little bedroom; he was pulling a needle from my arm and pressing a wad of cotton on the targeted spot. “That should take effect shortly,” he announced with a professional nod of the head.

I was excited, not scared… no doubt all the setbacks were part of a larger plan. What an odd way to get there? Yet, I was 100% willing to be part of whatever roadblocks came. Fully committed in my search for truth, I was ready to wrestle whatever got in the way. God had put the desire in me to come to India when I was a child. What I didn’t realize was that I had not chosen God. And I couldn’t go to the biblical extreme of counting my sufferings as joy. I really couldn’t do that; but upon reflection, if a “night-long cleansing session” could have the same effect on our souls, I’d be in luck; my search for truth would be shorter. Why does God insist on examining our heart in such a round-about way? And why do I keep including God when I’m running away from him? It makes no sense.

It took the Israelites 430 years before they were ready to follow God out of Egypt. I suppose a “night-long cleansing session,” if it gets me nearer to the truth, is not too much to ask. Considering how disgusting I looked that night, it’s good the bible says God doesn’t look at our appearance, but at our heart…. something about making blind eyes see. The irony of brokenness!

The Ironic Truth:

We are experiencing all kinds of trouble, but we aren’t crushed.
We are confused, but we aren’t depressed.
We are harassed, but we aren’t abandoned.
We are knocked down, but we aren’t knocked out.

We always carry Jesus’ death around in our bodies
so that Jesus’ life can also be seen in our bodies.
(II Cor. 4:8-10)

*That’s worth pondering; perhaps it can get my little boat out of the storm.


The Depth of Humble

*This is a story of a girl I grew up with.
It is what happened.
Its humbling to realize that such people exist.

Anna was unpretentious, never dramatic, not a show-off, and not amazingly smart or pretty. She was simply Anna; always the sweet, nice, Anna. You could count on her to be your friend. Unfortunately, Anna made the headlines one day, and because of that, I had the opportunity to peek into who the girl inside Anna actually was.

Anna married at 34; athletic, fit and full of vitality, deeply happy to have found Mark; someone she loved, who loved her back. They bought a house in the country where they enjoyed a quiet life and dreamed of a family.

After three short months of marriage, Anna drove along the long, lonely country roads on her way to work. As she approached a four-way intersection, a heavy truck came hurtling down the road and ignored the stop-sign. It plowed straight into Anna, hitting directly where she sat. For Anna, the world stopped… but she lived.

She lay in a coma for months and was in four different hospitals over the year. Doctors discouraged hope for recovery; but Anna slowly began to emerge. Her family talked to her, read her books, played music —totally unaware that she couldn’t hear. They hoped she would wake up, but there was no response for months.

One day, the family noticed her eyes were beginning to track objects. She occasionally moved an arm or leg. Mark and her family were still unsure whether Anna recognized them, but they pursued to seek responses from her. Anna displayed a kind-of smile when Mark was there. Anna’s sister wrote:

“The day I think of as Anna’s “waking up” was on my birthday —exactly six months and one day after her accident. I brought some children’s alphabet blocks and began to arrange them. She astounded me by finishing them! Then I started spelling her name and she finished it! I began writing questions and she’d point to the answer! She didn’t remember her husband’s name, but when I wrote it, she wrote shakily in pencil, “I want to go home with Mark.” It felt like a miracle to me! I was astonished when Anna actually grabbed the pencil right out of my hand to write. She suddenly realized she didn’t have to wait for me to ask her the questions —she could communicate to me herself! It was a true Helen Keller moment! Anna realized she could communicate and she did it! It was momentous! A huge sign of hope!”

Anna was back, even though she could neither talk, walk, or hear —her left side was paralyzed and she had limited movement on her right side; but Anna was back. To keep fit, she’d pull herself in her wheelchair using one leg. Anna had no memory of the year before her accident —no memory of Mark or marriage. Mark had spent countless hours with her as she gained back some strength and was there for therapies and surgeries. A strong bond developed.

Mark stuck close to Anna when she didn’t remember him; he cared for her with faithful love.  He showered her with the attention she needed. Anna fell in love with him all over again. He ceremoniously returned her wedding ring, which had been kept by the paramedics. Eventually, Mark took Anna home and made it handicap accessible, meeting her every need.

Over time medical problems arose and Anna needed access to doctors. The option of using a nursing home would make them bankrupt. A lawyer advised Mark to divorce Anna to avoid complete bankruptcy. Medicaid could benefit Anna and her family would willingly become her guardian and provide the rest of her needs. Anna’s family kept close watch over her; they were always there to support her. If Mark divorced Anna, she would get the nursing home and medical attention needed. Her family encouraged him to do it, knowing divorce wouldn’t change his heart for Anna.

Mark cared for her twelve years in their home and remained her faithful companion when she entered the nursing home. He was the highlight of her day.  Communicating with someone who doesn’t hear and painstakingly types with one finger, takes much patience and time; but Mark let Anna know the situation and told her the truth. Anna’s dreams of family life were thrown out the window, that is, until she thought of a way to make their dreams come true.

My peephole into Anna made me understand humility. Anna WAS Humble! She realized there were many nice, young nurses and pretty aides at the nursing home where Mark visited every day. She was determined to make a match for him and took the job seriously. She soon introduced Mark to her favorite nurse and a relationship developed. Anna was a success; she achieved her goal. Mark married and had children.

He brought Anna photos of his kids and continued visiting. She took pride in his children as though they were her own. That was Anna —the depth of HUMBLE. She was selfless; she loved Mark so much that she was willing to see her dream carried on by another. By helping Mark and remarry, Anna lost Mark as her lifetime companion… Mark, the highlight of her long days disappeared; but her intense satisfaction was in knowing she had helped Mark get the family he and she had dreamed of; that was enough for her. It came at her own expense and without recognition from others. He made an incredible sacrifice for her and she wanted to give something back. Anna was a highly committed and determined person; she never gave into her everyday trials, or despair and purposelessness, but instead chose to make a positive impact on someone’s life. She never gave up.

She emerged like a jubilant bride from that crushed car and took on a new character to survive. Mark helped Anna through some of the hardest times of her life; she helped him to move on.

Anna was proud of Mark’s new family. She never walked again, nor talked, or even heard the voice of a child; but she loved Mark. Her greatest joy was seeing him with the family she couldn’t provide. Anna WAS HUMBLE. Like an unusual desert flower which no one sees, but blooms in the night, Anna blossomed through pain and suffering.

Anna died a few years ago. Whenever I think of her, I think of what God saw in Anna and how highly God valued her. She never sought for attention; but like Hagar said in Genesis 16:13 (NIV), “You are the God who sees me”, she wasn’t alone. It’s always the humble who humble us; the desert flowers.