Marilyn Friesen

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Monday, April 10, 2017

The Atman (world) Hospital


                “This is sure a junky, old hospital,” Jyoti grumbled. “As soon as I can I’ll be glad to move on to a better place. Why in the world is it called Atman hospital anyways? “
                Vivek stood behind the floor-length mirror in the staff washroom. She arranged her nurses’ cap just so on her long wavy hair that was formed in a knot at her neck. “That’s the Hindu word relating to ‘World’ or person. This huge hospital holds a cross-section of people from all walks of life. "
                “It looks like most of them are from the untouchable caste to me,”
                “Not so!” Vivek’s eyes flashed. “And besides we are not allowed to call them that!” How she wished to really tell this snobbish newcomer off. Every day since Jyoti had volunteered to work in Shalputa’s inner city hospital she had found something to complain about. If she finds it so dreadful why doesn’t she just leave?  She obviously doesn’t know a thing about the caste system and the benefits of it! Why if -----------wasn’t from the caste he is, he wouldn’t have received the assistance needed to find a bed in even this economy hospital.

                Jyoti’s voice cut through her thoughts. “Pardon me, your royal highness, and what caste are you from?”

                Vivek flushed red but didn’t deign to answer. She thinks her western ways are so superior to ours, but they aren’t, they simply aren’t. The Eastern Culture is as varied and beautiful as a rich tapestry.

While trying to keep a tight rein on her emotions, Vivek turned and sashayed out of the room.
Fifteen minutes later, while she was chatting with other caregivers at the nurses’ station, she lifted her eyes to see Jyoti strolling languidly towards them, coffee cup in hand.

                “What took you so long?” Leila, always the outspoken one, demanded. “Shift change was fifteen minutes ago, and Report is over.”

                “Oh, this and that,” Jyoti chose a chair and sipped indolently of her steaming beverage.

Vivek saw a spot on Jyoti’s uniform but Jyoti either hadn’t noticed or more likely didn’t care.
                “It looks like a long night is before us,” Jenna sighed.
                Jyoti shrugged, “The moaning and groaning doesn’t seem any worse than usual.”
                Vivek leaned back and peered down the dimly lit hall. A look of concern shadowed her features, but she kept her thoughts to herself. Will tonight be like every other night, with the staff enjoying the comforts of the brightly lighted lounge and only superficially going through the motions of making sure everyone is all right?
            Last night she had verbalized this concern, but Jyoti had responded. “They will come to us if they need to. They can ring their bell.”
                Vivek had nodded but she knew better.  How many would actually call? They are afraid that every act of service we provide will cost them something. Our ways are so strange and foreign to them that they will shrink back and think that…Vivek glanced at Jyoti and her lips curved slightly; that they are untouchables.
                Just then a bell tinkled from somewhere down the hall.
                Leila glanced pointedly at Jyoti. “That’s your patient.”
                Jyoti sighed, “I’m not quite done my coffee. It will be cold when I get back.”
                “Must you always put your own needs before others?” Leila snapped. “See there it rang again. It must be urgent.”
                Jyoti checked the number against the chart. “That only old Mrs. Farah. Probably wants to use the commode again.”

                “Well, what if you needed to use the commode, and couldn’t wait…” Feeling embarrassed, Jenna’s voice trailed off.
                “I’ll go,” Vivek said quietly.
                “Nah, I’m almost done.”
                “If that what’s Mrs. Farah wants, you’ll need help anyways.” Vivek started down the hall and Jyoti trailed after her.

                They attended to Mrs. Farah’s needs in a professional manner, but Vivek’s heart ached for the elderly woman. I almost wish I would have gone alone. Mrs. Farah is so sweet and frail. I wonder if she is afraid of the great beyond. She would never call out to ask for spiritual help, but shouldn’t we be offering it, somehow?

                The long night wore onThe girls went the rounds when it was time, and answered the bells when required to, but Vivek wished they could do more.

                Around three o’clock that night, the girls couldn’t resist the urge to slumber and sleep although they knew it was against the rules. When Jyoti was sound asleep on the couch, Jenna dozing in the rocking chair, and Leila deep in the pages of a book, Vivek took her little candle and slipped away into the darkness. She went into one room after another, the tiny light illuminating her face and a small area in front of her.  Some were sound asleep, but not everyone. She knelt beside Hanzia’s bed. The tiny child was weeping for her mother so Vivek smoothed a lock of hair off the small, delicate face and offered words of comfort.
                A little further on Gabi was muttering and tossing, sleepless. Vivek knew he must be in a lot of discomfort from the fractures suffered in a gang war earlier that week so thought of offering him a sedative.

                Gabi looked like he was going to lunge at her with his fists and hurled a few choice expletives her way, so she backed out hurriedly.
                Gabi stared at her in dismay. Why did I ever act like that? She looked like a ministering angel. I am so used to having to protect myself, but what if, just what if she had intended to show mercy? Vivek didn’t know how he felt in his heart and avoided him next time she passed by.
                Eventually, Vivek reached Mrs. Farah’s room supposing she would be fast asleep by now. The round orbs that were the old woman’s eyes were wide and staring as Vivek crept closer. Vivek placed the candle on the bedside table and knelt beside her. She placed the wrinkled, claw-like hand between her own, and stroked it gently.
                “Oh, Vivek, thank you for coming.” Mrs. Farah murmured. Vivek saw that her cheeks were damp where a tear or two had coursed down it.
                “Would you care to talk?”
                In the silence that followed Vivek dimly heard a bell tinkle, and the sound of passing feet.
                “What is beyond this life?” Mrs. Farah asked hesitantly.
                As Vivek quietly shared her hope of eternal life with God, Mrs. Farah listened eagerly.
"If we confess that we have sinned to Jesus," Vivek continued, "He will take them all away. Jesus has prepared a place in Heaven for them that love and serve Him."
                Eventually, Mrs. Farah fell into a deep and peaceful sleep, so Vivek let herself out of the room.
                Far down the hall, she saw the brightly lighted nurses’ station with the staff all dressed in white.

They were enjoying each other’s fellowship, which was pleasant, yet here in the dark and gloomy corridors, only the occasional beam of light was searching out the needs of a suffering society. Some cautioned against penetrating the darkness with all its dangers, and reminded her that they can come to us but once again Vivek wondered how many would actually dare.

          She slipped into a comfortable recliner and had nearly dozed off when Jenna’s words floated into her consciousness.

Friday, April 7, 2017

What Happened to the Newborn Twins?

With bombs destroying nearby streets, air raid sirens screaming, and blackout curtains compulsory, Birmingham, England is a fearful place to be, but for a pregnant teenage war bride fleeing to Canada to be with her husband is a frightening option. 

Sailing on a ship with submarines lurking nearby makes her uneasy, but so do more personal fears. Does Randall still love her in spite of the fact she's already pregnant? Will her parents ever forgive her for marrying him? Will he be furious to find out she is expecting twins? Will it help if she gave one up for adoption since he doesn't know she is carrying two? 

Later she discovers that he had been deported from the army for a reason no one is talking about and soon after arriving home ends up in jail also for a mystifying reason! 

Grace has big problems but there is hope.

 Two Mothers, Twin Daughters is the first in a series called Grace's Delima.  It will be available on Amazon very soon. For more books by this author go to www.marilynshistoricalnovels.com

Thursday, April 6, 2017

The Call Across the Ocean

I woke up abruptly at 4:28 one morning. Someone said “Mom, hey, Mom “clear enough to get me up and look out our bedroom door. We have a daughter who had moved back home so I thought it might be her, but no, no one was at the door. I even checked where she sleeps, but all was quiet and dark in her bedroom, and she later told me it wasn’t her.
Was it you? Did you call out last night? Did you need something or someone? Was/ is your heart aching, or sadder yet, breaking, perhaps because of some terrible turn of events in your life?
Something nudged me awake. Someone called out in anguish, perhaps unknowingly, but God let me hear the message. I just want to let you know you have been in my heart and prayers ever since.
Call if you need someone to talk to.
Or hangouts.

P.S. There is a remarkable, but sad ending to this story. After I posted it someone from half a world away read it and messaged me on hangouts. Yes, it was she who had called out to me. She was in the throes of childbirth, and I walked her through the process. After a bit, she said there was a huge pool of blood on the floor, and she was all alone.When she said "I see God's light and you are in it" I figured she would soon die.Later she said she had a boy, the next two texts were gibberish, then nothing.  I was later informed by someone that she had died and I hope the baby did too because the males are used for sacrifices or trained to become 'masters' themselves.
 P.S. She was eleven years old and in a sex slave commune that I had been in contact with only through Google.  These girls are often in my prayers, but how can we help them? I found out the HARD way that the local police are in cahoots with the 'slave masters'.  This postscript was added months later and I still feel deeply, and pray for 'my' girls. Unfortunately, the contact has been broken.

Sevta Collapsed

  Mary rested her hand protectively on her rounded abdomen as she gazed apprehensively to the top of the mudbrick house. Joseph was up there somewhere, hard at work mending the roof before the latter rains descended. She wanted to talk to him. She tested her weight on the first rung of the ladder, then stepped higher. And higher. Soon her gentle brown eyes were peering over the top of the balustrade.

      Joseph straightened when he saw her, and his own eyes widened. "Mary," he exclaimed, "be careful!"

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Dare to Dream
               Are dreams worth pursuing?  Can they be pursued? One of my favorite poems as a teenager had the line “Don’t be distracted by less worthy deeds.”
               Okay, maybe you’ve guessed by now that I love to write. Writing to me is like painting was to someone like Norman Rockwell. It gives the mundane, the obscure a new shot of life. Writing can and should give new insight and vitality to commonly held conceptions.
               And so I write. The problem is there is a whole tidal wave of other aspiring writers struggling to the top, seeking to be noticed. We have challenges that weren’t faced back in the 1950’s. When To Kill A Mocking Bird was written the editor ended up having more faith in Harper Lee’s book than she had herself. Apparently, in frustration, she threw the manuscript out the open window, but the editor encouraged her to gather up those fluttering pages and try, try again.
Who helps us? Self-Publishing has gotten a bad rap from people, ya, like me, who read their manuscripts a ‘thousand’ times and become blind to the ‘million’ little typos that glare at them after the book is off the press. UHH! Who wants to read that? Not even me.
BUT we put a tremendous amount of work into it. BUT we are sure are ideas are great: if the reader can see past those awful typos: if there was a way to struggle against the human tide of other writers who are also flooding the market. Ever feel that way? Unless you are smugly holding the key to success that I haven’t found yet, of course, you do.
And so fellow writers what are we going to do?  I know for a fact I will continue to write because I love to, and those earlier disgraces haven’t thrown me into despair. Fact is I redid Mary’s Diary, Jesus through His Mother’s Eyes because I believe in it, and now the present copy is far better than the first.
I’m doing the same with Two Mothers and Twin Daughters. I can’t believe how enriching an experience it is to rewrite a favorite story after the earlier (humiliating) publication several years ago.
Okay, I admit I’m just a little old oyster polishing, polishing that pearl inside me, but maybe someday you and I can, like Anna Pavlova, the famous dancer, learn the true meaning of success. Do you know what she said? Here is my paraphrase:

Success is having people loving what you do.

Just so you don’t forget my name, I’ll sign it. : )
Marilyn Friesen
P.S. I’ve started a new series called Grace’s Dilemma. The first book is Two Mothers, Twin Daughters. It should be out soon.

Have you read any of my other books yet? Check them out on my website. www.marilynshistoricalnovels.com

Monday, March 20, 2017

Don't Come into my heart, Lord Jesus

Faced a difficult situation last night. You know what that's like.Someone we love dearly had gotten offended at us and I felt helpless to heal the breach. What, oh what could be done to remedy the situation? With tears and a breaking heart I told my husband it felt like love just wasn't enough when you're raising children. Then they asked us over. It was a tentative step forward on their part, and oh I hated the thought of messing things up by saying or doing the wrong thing. That's when it came to me that I didn't want Jesus in my heart because it was so scrawny and mean and narrow but I wanted to be in His heart so that His love could flow uninhibited right through me.
Please pray for me, for us. 

Monday, March 13, 2017

Surely He Escaped Such Treatment!

Surely Not!

“He’s such a no-it-all!”
“He’s always thought he was better than us.”
As Jesus walked towards His childhood home he had been hungry, enthused to lay aside his tools for the day and enjoy a good supper. The aromas had assailed him as he strode towards the house. Now his appetite left Him. Jesus instinctively knew they were talking about him again.
Jesus thought briefly of turning back and not eating, but no, that would be cowardly, and His mother would get upset.
With a barely suppressed sigh, he entered the cottage.
James glowered at Him. “Well, you took long enough. The lentils are getting cold, why do we always have to wait for you?”
               “Ya,” Simon chimed in, “You think you are so important that we all can wait.”
               Jesus could have told them that wizened, old Aaron ben Yosef, who was getting forgetful, had wandered away from his home and was frightened. Jesus had taken him back to his son’s place even though it was across town.  It had taken much longer than expected because Aaron was distracted so easily.
Why tell them? They weren’t interested anyway.
               Even Mary looked unhappy as she thumped His bowl of lentil soup on the table in front of Him.
It was his duty as the eldest Son to lead n prayer now that their father had passed on.
He paused, trying to corral his troubled thoughts.
               Simon's head jerked up. “Well?”
               Jesus smiled gently at his brothers then turned to the next in age.
               “James, why don’t you pray today?”
               James’ eyes widened then he quickly mumbled a, a something, they assumed it was a prayer before reaching across the table for the bread.
               Only his little sister, Lydia, looked at him with loving concern. Jesus knew she still adored him, but when the meal was over, he didn’t have the heart to play with her when the others were so unhappy with him.

               Instead of sitting in the house after the meal and reading the Torah as Jesus had originally planned, Jesus took a long walk through the arid countryside and poured out his heart to His Heavenly Father.

 Marilyn Friesen

Monday, February 27, 2017

Have You Been to Jericho Lately?

The crowds were immense, but then when weren’t they? In seemed like everywhere that Jesus went the people followed. One man couldn’t though, he was too little. I don’t know if he was a pygmy, exactly, but he was having a hard time getting close to Jesus or even spotting him so what did he do? He hurried ahead of the mob entering into Jericho and scrambled up into a sycamore tree. Possibly, in order to keep his dignity intact, he concealed himself among the leaves. Most of the crowd wouldn’t have paid much attention to him, if they noticed him at all, but not Jesus, He is keenly aware of those that are seeking Him.
Are we? When we as Christians hurry down the streets of life, do we notice those up a tree, possibly in more ways than one, who are observing us, wondering if we can help?
Do we have a warm word of encouragement for them, an invitation to come down because we want to be their friend?
Jesus’ words: “love thy neighbour as thyself” is full of deep meaning.
Luke 19:1-10

Friday, February 17, 2017

Do You Want to Ride a Cheetah?

Have you ever wondered why God planted a tree in the Garden of Eden and then told Adam and Eve not to eat of it? Did He really expect them to obey Him, and if not why did He test them like that? 
Let's picture that garden for a moment. It must have been vast, really huge to hold all the vegetation and animals known to man and many others that have since gone extinct. We come across pictures from time to time of some artist's lovely concept of what Eden may have been like but at the best, they are such a tiny glimpse. 
Hey, all those majestic animals and happy-go-lucky creatures needed plenty of room to roam, for example, they certainly weren't fenced in. If someone would have been wandering around for a week, or a month even making a movie of all the splendid sights and showing us how marvelously, intelligently and yes, playfully the various creatures got along then we would begin to understand what an incredible gift that first earthly home was.  
So why did He plant one tree with forbidden fruit? I wonder how long it took them to find it, or if they would have even bothered if that Serpent hadn't whispered the suggestion to them. I don't think we can begin to imagine how interesting, and yes fun it could have been in that garden, then at the end of the day they would run to their Father-God and tell Him about another new discovery they had made while He smiled benevolently at them and explain, oh this that and the other thing, or maybe they would just chat. 
So why did He plant that tree? Well, why shouldn't He have? He delighted to see them make choices: "What shall we do today, Adam, race across the meadow on the back of a cheetah or see if any more of those striped eggs have hatched?" Have you ever noticed how good it feels to make the right choices? For example 'I'm glad I took the time to listen, really listen to the children today and read an extra story or two when they asked.'  
  He did not make it easy for them to eat of the ‘apple’ by starving them or plunking them in a dry and barren environment. He gave them plenty of alternatives to chose from but He loved them too much to just create them as robots so after a warning not to do one, and only one forbidden thing, He let them loose to enjoy His beautiful gift which included happiness, beauty, fun, fellowship and an opportunity to bond with Him forever.

It was their choice. We all suffer the consequences of our decisions but He still tries to draw us back into that beautiful fellowship with Himself.

There's a cool deal going on right now. The twenty-fifth person to purchase any one of my books gets to stay at Hollyhock Haven Bed and Breakfast free for one night. Hollyhock Haven is in a serene country setting in northern Alberta and can be found on Air BnB. 
There is one hitch though: the offer closes in December and that's coming up faster than you may think. www.marilynshistoricalnovels.com

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Shaking, Slipping or Cursing?

Some of us are safe, but sure don’t feel like it at times. The night is dark and the storm rages all around, white, frothing waves are lashing against the rock where we have found shelter and some of the spray hits me, causing me to tremble. I am afraid; the storm is terrible will it sweep me off the rock? I hope not, but I see others clinging onto little jutting out areas and wonder how they will ever manage to hang on.
               Those up higher have found a sheltering cleft. No, it doesn’t keep us completely dry and although the wind reaches us, we needn’t fear being swept off the rock, but what about the others lower down? Why didn’t they get as close to the top of the rock and find a hiding place?
               The answer is sad: they found it too boring, it had been exciting, before the storm came, to be as close to the waves as possible, some even leaped in and swam around for a short while. But what about now? They are hanging on for dear life.  Someone is calling to them but the voice faint, tossed around by the mighty gale. Some of them looked up and reached for the rope offered and found safety, but I knew once the storm died down they would be soon dabbling in the ripples once again.
               As a shout came across the waves, I braced myself and leaned forward: was it a shout for help? No, someone, no, a whole boatful of passengers were cursing and shaking their fist at the rock. They were blaming the rock for the trouble they were in!
               The rock is Jesus, the sea is the world; there are many storms all around us. Where are you?