Tag Archives: choice

Growing for Life … in the Garden


Sunrise and a new Life ... In the Garden

Sunrise and a new Life … In the Garden

There are no elephants around me these days….nor are there any giraffe. The closest I can get to any wildlife are birds, squirrels and bats. Of course the domestic animals are always there… to remind me of the fact that I am in human territory now… the goats, sheep, cows, pigs and … yes… those pesky little geckos. The bats squeak so loud I have learned the sound they make, and I can now differentiate between the geckos and the squirrels. I never thought I would ever come to know the sound of a gecko… or a bat … but there you go.

This brings me to the various perspectives we have in life. So much of our life perspective depends on the environment around us, that we become part of the surroundings without ever knowing. When the environment teaches us that something is good, we accept it… because it is the norm… or perhaps because it is more the norm (or safe?) to do what the society does in order to be accepted by it.

Yet, often, that very environment, that very society that we use as our sounding board for what is right and what is wrong, can be the source of our failure, the reason why our lives are more difficult than they need or ought to be, the reason for us to end up losing our souls.

When I was living in that little corner of the Garden with all the larger wild animals, I only saw the big ones… yes, I noticed the smaller ones and tried to learn something from them as well, but they just could not match the larger ones in stature and obviousness of their presence. I could see them clearly… they stood out in front of me large and clear, and so I took my lessons and joy of the beauty of God’s creation from them. Thankfully they had positive lessons to share.

Yet, little though they may be, the little ones have lessons to share too. I still struggle to see those lessons since they spend so much of their time running away from me or being in my way at the most inopportune moment, that I find I do not learn from them… like we often find the lessons from God to be perhaps?

As I watch the squirrels run and chase each other from tree to tree and along the fence, I realize that even though they are wont to digging up my yet-to-germinate seed from the ground in this little corner of the Garden (much to my frustration), they are still God’s beautiful creation …much loved by Him… and they know how to play.

But what does this teach us about our environment, our perspectives and the ruination of our souls? Much too often the loudest noise in our community or in society takes up our greatest attention. Much too often the loudest sound comes from that which is not rooted in the truth of God. Much too often, because the noise founded on falsehood is so loud, we think that the majority are in agreement with it, and that in order to survive, we have to conform to it. … and so begins our journey into darkness in spirit.

Yet, if we stood still for a moment to truly understand what the noise means, its implications for us, our society and our relationship with God, and whether it is teaching us a good or bad lesson. If we stood still and took the time to find out whether those closest to us really agree with the loud noise or are also silent victims of the noise … silently shaking inside and wondering when, if ever, someone will come to rescue them from this falsehood.

All I know is, that God sees, God hears, and God rescues those who turn to Him, whether in this life or in the next. And so my friends… a loud noise is sweeping the Garden today. It is loud and abrasive, and brings with it the end of life, in faith, in wisdom, in health and in the very essence of creation. I urge you to join me… choose life today…. chose life in marriage… and in the womb … as God created us and commanded us to live.

A sign of Life ... in the Garden

A sign of Life … in the Garden

Come … walk with me in the Garden.

Copyright © 2013, Ophelia Swai. All Rights Reserved.

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Reacting to the pain … in the Garden


The bear was walking through the woods in one of those places in the Garden where the people live in a fridge most of the time, and call ice from the sky ‘snow’. The bear did not know that some human beings had installed a foot trap somewhere along the route that he was using. Suddenly, the bear felt a sharp pain and found that he could not move one leg easily.  He panicked. Not knowing what had happened or how to help himself, the bear tore at the trap and eventually broke his foot free.

The pain was unbearable.  The poor bear ran for his life, believing that by running as fast as he could away from the place where he first felt the pain, he would be running away from the pain.  We all know what that meant… more pain, following him all the way, extensive blood loss … and a certain death if no one came to his rescue.

The story was in a book I read at a library as a child, and even though I cannot even faintly recall the rest of the story, the bear’s reaction to pain has remained with me, leading me to ask myself whether in fact I may at times be doing exactly the same.

How many times have I encountered a challenge and chosen to run away … leave the job … break the relationship … maybe even leave town? How many times have I found a project really tough and decided it was not worth it to continue? .. maybe not the projects… with projects I know I am like a dog to a bone, and won’t let go until is all finished and finished successfully… maybe I should be thanking God for that 🙂

But… going back to my storybook, even if the damage to the bear’s leg was not so great as to cause death through blood loss, the infection to the wound would certainly kill him in due course.  Yes, if the trappers had found the bear in the trap, they may also have killed him.  Yet, maybe the trap was not for him?

So I ask myself now… when we experience pain and run from it all the while blaming others around us, blaming fate or blaming God; are we not then doing the same thing?  Do we then not also face certain death … of zest for life… of our purpose in life … of our spirits? Can anyone live at all with a broken spirit?  Or will they just exist, half here and half on the way out of life.

Should the bear survive the experience, he should certainly learn from it and not walk around the same area any more, or at least be more observant and careful when walking about in the woods.  But maybe roaring for help may have brought others (even helpful humans) to his aid. 

So maybe, seeking help to overcome the challenge rather than running away from it … maybe getting others involved in the challenge will bring us to a place of healing that allows the experience to strengthen us, rather than break us … to a place of success, rather than failure … to a place of faith and hope rather than fear?

Running away? ... in the Garden

Running away? … in the Garden

It is your choice to make.  Are you experiencing pain?  What are you doing about it? Have you cried out to God for help?  Then what else are you doing about it? From my experience, God answers through your prayer and your positive action to try and overcome the challenge. You are certainly not likely to hear His voice from above saying: ‘Go ye now and do …’

How are you going to react to the pain in your life today?

Come … walk with me in the Garden.

Copyright © 2012, Ophelia Swai. All Rights Reserved.

Like a chameleon … in the Garden


When I was a child, I lived in abject fear of having a chameleon anywhere near my hair.  It started because I did not like the whole exercise of eating.  After a couple of mouthfuls I was no longer hungry and could not understand why I had to eat the whole entire meal!  So I kept giving my caregiver a truly onerous task of sitting with me and coaxing me to eat just one more spoonful for hours and hours every day at every meal except breakfast, as I got bored half to death by this onerous task of chewing and swallowing and chewing and swallowing and chewing….  Then one day she decided to use fear tactics to make me eat my meals quickly.

“If you don’t eat your food I will get a chameleon and put it on your head!”, she said forcefully.  At first I did not care since I did not really get what that meant.  What was a chameleon anyway?!

Realizing that the statement was not making any difference, she proceeded to say: “Heh!  You just continue playing with your food.  When the chameleon gets on your hair it will never let go of it! The only way to get it out will be to cut off all your hair!”

Now, that got my ears all perked up, my heart thumping with fright, and my mouth chewing.  I loved my hair (and she knew this), and could not imagine anyone cutting any part of it, much less all of it!  That was enough to change my perspective regarding whether I should eat my food with or without coaxing.

Of course the story about chameleons grabbing hair and never letting go was not real, but I took interest in chameleons since then.  I learned that a chameleon has the ability to change to the same color as its surroundings even as it moves.  I would sometimes watch one for hours as it moved across the branch of a tree in the garden to see what color it would be next… making sure it never got anywhere near me of course…

Now, I see how positive a characteristic this is for its self protection… and how closely we as human beings mimic this same characteristic … just as involuntarily as the chameleon changes… for self preservation?

The chameleon is defined by its surroundings … and so are we.

We naturally adapt to our surroundings and begin to take on the behavior and culture, as well as perspective of the world based upon the circumstances and people we are surrounded by.  Even more intense is the effect of the people we have closest to us daily … and just like the chameleon, this happens involuntarily.

And so, when our surroundings are filled with good things to lift up our spirits, and positive attitudes and God fearing friends, colleagues and relatives, we tend to pick up those characteristics and attitudes and find our spirits free.  But when our surroundings are filled with negativity that brings our spirits down … negative attitudes towards anything and everything, theft and plunder, jealousy, corruption and every kind of vice, we begin to see these as normal and slowly our conscience is killed.  We begin to see the world from a different perspective, and our hearts are filled with ideas and plans that draw us further and further away from God … involuntarily…

Changing colors ... in the Garden

Changing colors ... in the Garden

… Or is it?  The spiral into negativity is very appealing, because often, with it comes the feeling of a loss of responsibility toward God and humanity, as the burden of life is lifted off our shoulders … ‘It is not our fault’, we say… ‘life is the way it has to be… that is just how it is … things just work that way around here .. this is just the way people are so we have to live with it .. it is because of the media, our leaders, my friends, my family…’.  These are the excuses we give ourselves, deferring the blame to our surroundings, as if we did not have a choice to make to take ourselves out of that negativity.

A chameleon changes involuntarily, but I believe that as a human being I have a choice to make.  I have a choice to change and live positively or to allow myself to change negatively… and simply blame my environment for the character that it enforces on me… ‘Hey! Don’t  blame me! This is for self defense!’, I hear you say.

I am making a choice to walk steadfastly in God’s light and love in the Garden no matter what my surroundings present to me.  I am making a choice to portray a bright and beautiful color from within me, which I pray will shine so brightly as to illuminate positively into my surroundings and make this world a better place to live.  Will you join me?

A beautiful light illuminating the Garden

A beautiful light illuminating the Garden

Come … walk with me in the Garden.

Copyright © 2012. Ophelia Swai.  All Rights Reserved.

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