15 March 2017

No Regrets

Talking to someone
Retracing steps in life
I realized
I’ve come a long way
I learned
I have grown
I rejoice
I have no regrets.

Though pain stabbed
My inner being
Grief almost
Maimed my soul
My heart cried
Till every tear had run dry
I survived
I lived to tell my story.

At every juncture
Every difficult phase
My heart though grieved
Had made the right decisions
I loved
I gave
I helped
I cared for others.

I thank God
Who has been
My Helper
My Counselor
My Comforter
My Guide
My Strength
My Protector.

Years of pain
Numbed my mind
Yet He kept me going
He kept me sane
His love a balm
Over every wound
His words so loving
It gave me life.

It may seem
I am a hero
But I know
The real hero
Is God, the One
Who silently shielded
Carried and held me 
Till I found myself. 

- Henrietta Decruz


06 March 2017

I AM Radio plays my song 'Follow Me'

On the 25th February 2017, I received the most wonderful news! 

Bob McKinley, the Station Director of I AM Radio wrote to me saying, "We listened to both of your songs and thought that "Follow Me" was the best fit for our Christian Contemporary station. With your permission we will add it to our featured playlist. God Bless and may the Holy Spirit inspire you to keep writing more songs!"  

It was the best news for me! 

Today, the 6th March 2017, my joy was complete as I heard my song play on air live through I AM Radio! 

What a joy! 

About I AM Radio 
I AM Radio is a non-profit commercial-free radio station located in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. We believe that music is a social medium that reaches out to believers and non-believers alike and that is also why we chose the rock and adult contemporary formats. We want to give people an alternative to the other rock and contemporary media out there which promotes hopelessness, despair, anger, and lust. Instead we want to provide a message of hope and encouragement. There are many talented and committed Christian artists creating Christian Music and we hope to promote them and their message.

A BIG Thank You to I AM Radio!! They are a big blessing to me! I hope my song will be a blessing to many people around the world!  

You can listen to I AM Radio here...

If you would like to hear the song 'Follow Me' you can hear it here...
http://henriettadecruz.com/








21 February 2017

The Everyday Hero

When your little toe hurts
It hurts so badly
It makes you think
The pain can kill you!
It does not matter then
How you look
What clothes you wear
What others think about you…
What will happen tomorrow
Or one hour later.

Trauma robs a person
Of everything enjoyable
Locks them in a dungeon
Made of grief and despair
Sorrow that cannot be shared…
A lonely desolate place
Where no one understands
No one speaks to you
No one cares
Death lingers around.

Prolonged trauma kills
Persona, dreams, desires for joy
Imagine a time when
Every breath weighs a ton
Every moment is unbearable
And you feel you just can’t go on.
Imagine living with your worst enemy
Someone who wants you dead
Someone who wished you were never born
Someone who hates who you are…

Whenever you meet a person
Dressed shabbily, looking drab
Downcast eyes, sad countenance
Covered with an invisibility cloak
Suggesting they don’t exist
Don’t write them off.
Chances are they are survivors
Fighting the greatest battle
Of their lives
Fighting just to live!

Some of such heroes
Live under cover
Different identities
Different faces
For different people or places.
They don’t want to burden you
With their sad stories
But they know their inner walls
Have a thousand trophies
Of times they made it by a whisker.

I salute these heroes

Of everyday life
Who never get a mention
In a newspaper, website or tweet
Someday as they keep fighting
They will make a better life
Someday their beacon
Will become a flame
That guides many others
Helps them find their way home!

~ Henrietta Decruz 

https://aidinrecovery.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/aid-in-recovery-alcohol-depression-treatment.jpg





17 February 2017

Healing and Restoration - Everyone Needs it!!

Hello Everyone!

For those who follow my blog closely, you must have wondered where I disappeared! Well for the truth to be told, there are times when we need to take a dive within ourselves. We need to search and ponder and bring to a sense of order to our memories, our sense of who we are and whom we belong to... and also the meaning of life and what we really want to do with it. 

I felt it was time and so I took off. I needed to come to terms with my own life story and all the life experiences I have been through in this lifetime. I'm happy to say that I have found peace and refreshing at last! 

During this time I was really blessed to attend a 3 Day Workshop on Child Emotional Trauma and Trauma Informed Care organized by the Child Healing Centre, Bangalore. The trainers of the workshop were Ruby Johnston and Lynn Johnston of the LAMb International Canada and USA. George Ebenezer, the Managing Director of Child Healing Centre and Santhosa Samsara Social Charitable Trust was instrumental in organizing this workshop. 

The workshop was a great tool in helping me come to terms with my own life story. It also helped me understand how children from hard places needed to be cared for. One of the things Ruby Johnston said was that each child had a unique story and only they 'own' that story. It is the story of their life. 

I've spent years trying to grapple with my life story because I too am a child from a hard place. I find various reactions from people when I share a painful truth about my life and most of the time it would make me regret sharing as people don't understand where I am coming from or my reasons for sharing them. Some people think I am speaking ill of the 'persons' in my story but there is a difference between saying something to malign a person and speaking the truth about what happened to you. 

This workshop helped me realize that I own my story, my story is about what really happened to me. My story belongs to only me and not anyone else even in my family. No one else may understand my story or have felt what I went through. They don't have to because they have their own story! This brought me great peace and restoration because finally I could deal with all the voices and fingers that were pointing at me as though I am doing something wrong.  

I would encourage everyone to take time to go deep within and set right the doubts and questions you have about your past. Find answers and set the past free so you can live your life in a meaningful and fruitful way. Only when we own our identity completely having made peace with our past, can we live in the present in a natural and confident way.  

It is not easy for those who have not had 'normal' lives to do this. Not everyone comes from 'normal families.' Many people have had experiences of trauma at some point in their lives. Some are still facing it in their present. The workshop taught me that living with consistent pain for a number of years has a deep impact in how the brain functions and it can change the personality of the person too. 

It is sad that most of the time people living with pain are advised to not speak about it to anyone. Our society likes to behave like a monster that forces them to hide their sorrows and trauma under a carpet! This is nothing less than swallowing people alive as it inhibits them from finding their 'real self' and living a fulfilling and meaningful life! 

https://feminisminindia.com/2017/01/09/visiblizing-taboo-child-sexual-abuse-india/In some countries like the US and in Europe trauma care is very advanced and professionals assist such persons to overcome the challenges they face in life. There is no stigma attached, so those who are broken in spirit and broken-hearted can reach out and get the help they need. However, most countries have a long way to go to get there. India is one of them!

My understanding of children who have gone through trauma has increased a great deal thanks to Olga Martin, the founder of Street-Heroes Of India (SOI). SOI has been helping children from hard places who are housed in children's home find healing and restoration through various kinds of therapy including art, music, drama, dance and the like.

Thanks to George Ebenezer's efforts through Child Healing Centre, Bangalore things are beginning to change! They have planned a set of similar workshops across India! I believe this will help bring the change that India needs so much! If you are interested in participating in any of their future workshops do drop him a line!

Let us bring real change to India! Let us bring awareness in this nation so that children from hard places can find healing and restoration and live a life of peace!  

~ Henrietta Decruz 

If you would like to read more, do check these links: 
Adverse Childhood Experiences 
Can Family Secrets Make You Sick? 
The Toll of Childhood Trauma 




http://nadaindia.info/

22 October 2016

A New Blog of Stories!

Dear Friends, 

I am very happy to inform you about a new blog that I created with stories for children! 

It is called Bright Kids Corner. 

Check out the link to this blog... 
https://brightkidscorner.blogspot.in/   

I have posted two stories in it so far. 

I love making stories for children. Years ago when my younger sister and brother were very small, I used to tell them stories. There were all kinds animal characters and exciting things happening. I would make up the story as I told it to them... I don't remember most of them, but the surprising thing is that my younger sister remembers some of them! She and my brother had mentioned remembering some stories I told them... It is something that gives me great happiness that they remember!

I had even written down an adventure story once with three characters who had to decipher a poem with clues to find a treasure!! It was titled 'The Maiden's Treasure.' While I was reading out this story to them, my elder sister was sleeping nearby. The funny thing was that when she woke up she said she saw a dream and a part of that dream was from my story!!! It amuses me even today! 

I love working with children. It gives me great joy and happiness to see them grow and become better persons as they learn new things. 

I hope these stories will be a blessing to many children in different places. 

I have learned a lot of things in life through stories. Stories I read, stories of movies, characters and what happened to them. I have also learned about life, love, values, principles and why it is good to be good... all from stories! I want to pass on the blessing to others... 

Please do share these stories with others. Perhaps children or those who work with children and of course, parents and relatives who love children, I am sure everyone can relate to these stories. 

If you need stories to read to children, feel free to read these!!

I have read some of the stories I wrote for the children in a Children's Home in Hyderabad and it made a difference for them. These stories are relevant to our times and there is something every child can learn or take from it. 

Thank you in advance for reading and sharing!

Let's get on this new journey with stories! 

Cheers!!! 

~ Henrietta   








   

20 October 2016

The Invitation



The lush green
Inviting smell of the earth
Sounds of birds singing...
My heart nudges me
Let's go for long walks
Lovely long walks
And forget the rest of the world!


~ Henrietta Decruz

15 October 2016

Butterfly

Be all that you were born to be!
It is a journey.
The ugly will pass away
Fade into the past
Beautiful times will come
And walk with you into the sunset.
Do not grieve over what couldn't be
Be excited about all that is coming
Spread your wings and fly away
Spread your wings and fly....
Your story is not over yet! 

~ Henrietta D

09 October 2016

There Comes a Time...


There comes a time
In each of our lives
When we decide
That everything superficial
Must go!
The moment when
The truth becomes more dearer
Than every lie
We allowed
To masquerade us.

Wisdom becomes valuable
More than its weight in gold
And folly become unbearable.
We decide to do away with
The pretender
The false faced ones
Because our life
And our time on earth
Are too precious for us
To let pretenders steal them from us.

Goodbye is no longer a bad word
It is a door to let someone go through
And never return.
We realize that truth and folly
Cannot be bedfellows
The twain shall never meet
So why linger on
Hoping for the impossible?
We learn to surrender to Divine wisdom
Cos God knew what He was doing.

Suddenly being alone is not a bad thing
It is enjoying a moment in solitude
Taking in its uniqueness
Enjoying the shades and colors it brings
It is nourishing our soul
Accepting our own uniqueness
And celebrating the specialness
Of others around us
Far away from the din of crowds
Listening to the lapping of waves.

No more compromise
On everything that matters
Yet tolerance is needed
For we will need to wait
Till others understand
What we have understood
And arrive at the same place
Willingly
Until then it just a journey 
Of learning, unlearning and arriving. 

~ Henrietta Decruz




26 September 2016

Looking Forward with Enthusiasm



Can you go back in time and retrieve a minute or even a second?
Can a dead person come back to life? Those who died years ago will not come back... Let go...

Let the past go into the 'Past'. Embrace this moment.
Enjoy 'Today'!

I think about the people in our life who didn't make it till today. I remember their dreams, their visions... all that they did with their 'Time' while they were alive and how much is left of what they achieved. How I wish they could come back and complete what they started!! But it is not to be. It makes me think about what I am doing now in a different way.

Does what I do really make a difference? Will it last? Will it change things for the better - for me, for my loved ones, for others, for the time we live in, for the time to come? How do we evaluate the work we do?

I am grateful for the lessons I learned in the last few years. I was able to look into our family tree and see the persons who made a positive difference in our lives and also realize that there were some who did more harm than good! There were some who were entrusted huge legacies and lost them! I was appalled. I realized that we could be making the same mistakes in our lives now... and not even realize it because we are not thinking about the time to come, about the impact we are making in our family, in the lives of people around us.

Do you want to make an impact with your life? Do you want your life to count? There are many who came lived and went... and remained just a statistic... a figure in the population count!

I am sure I do NOT want to be a statistic!! I want to live my life fully, wholly and completely in a meaningful and fulfilling way. I want to do all the good I can... I don't want to waste and fritter away the legacy, the good, the skills, the talents I have been given in 'having fun,' 'doing the in-things' or following the blind crowd that has no head or heart!!!

I'm sure I am not a trend follower... I would like to 'agree' with what I 'follow', 'do,' use my time for or engage my person in!! If they don't fall in with the values I espouse... they don't warrant my attention! They are not important! So if something has to engage me and my time - it had better be good, useful, purposeful and lasting! I guess that will filter out a lot of time-wasters from now on!

So what is your future going to be like? Are you going to allow a rerun of your past to take over the rest of your life? Would you like to open your heart and your mind for something 'New,' 'Fresh' and 'Valuable'? If you do, then the first step is to make a decision about it... Prepare yourself to walk the path ahead of you with confidence and joy. Know that life is a journey and there are many lessons on the way... Take it one day at a time but don't forget to have your long term plans ready too. It is good to have focus and vision. You can make it! Believe!

God made you for a purpose... if you don't know it - ask HIM! If you don't know Him yet, ask Him to reveal Himself to you. You don't have to depend on any person to tell you who God is when He Himself can! So go ahead and ask Him! It is all between you and your Creator!

I want to wish you all the very best for your future!! I am filled with joy and enthusiasm as I begin this part of my life because I have left the past behind and embraced the 'Present' that God has given me!


25 September 2016

My Short Story - The Clue

This is a story I recently wrote as my entry to the All Kerala Story Writing Competition 2016 organized by the Rama Varma Club in Kochi, Kerala. I am very happy to know that they selected my entry for a special Consolation Prize! Here is the story I submitted.

SHORT STORY – THE CLUE
By Henrietta Decruz

Nayantara sat still. The sun put on a final display of its splendor, its golden light shining over the waves of the sea. Birds were flying home, their graceful forms dotting the sky. The sea was lazy, waves moving silently towards the shores. People walked on the beach, some chatting and others lost in their own world.

No one noticed this lone woman sitting by herself. Lines of worry imprinted on her forehead, the lone witness of her travails.

She took a deep breath and looked up at the sky. A wry smile curled her lips. She had made her decision. The plan was on. Getting through this would decide life and death for her. She got up, slowly picked her belongings and made her way home.

Before she went to sleep that night, Nayantara picked up the old box that had her favorite things. There were paintings, poems, photographs, doodles and tiny things that wouldn’t mean anything to anyone else. These things represented a part of her life. They reminded her of the girl she used to be… happy, curious, full of wonder and trusting. She wanted to pick that girl and hug her… if only she could find her again.

The next morning was like all mornings, hurrying to work, the rush on the bus and the traffic. She worked in a huge campus surrounded by hundreds like her. Yet there was no connection with anyone. She felt like an island in the ocean.

Time at work was dry and dead. The hours flew by, work pressure to meet deadlines, lunchtime with some colleagues who tried to make conversation, waiting for the day to end, the bus ride home.

On the bus she noticed young girls conversing with abandon. An old woman sat gracefully. Her white hair reflecting peace and tranquility. She looked longingly at the woman, trying to find the secret behind the poise and peace of mind.

‘Peace…’ she thought to herself, ‘When will I find peace? How can I make peace with myself and my life… after knowing what I know?’ Her eyes revealed the pain she felt but no one noticed it.

She made herself a cup of tea. The steaming cup welcomed her to relax. She perched herself in her favorite corner, hugged a pillow and picked her cup. She decided it was time to work on her plan.

She pulled out her journal and started a fresh section.

ONE.  The girl in the yellow dress admiring the flowers. She described her memory and relived every bit of it. At the end of it, she could see herself as a little girl with short straight hair smiling at her through the page.

TWO. The adventurer. She smiled as the recalled the trip to the mountains when she was a teen. She and her friends were walking up the stream, singing songs and enjoying the clear sweet air. Up on the top of the mountain they found an old abandoned church. The walls of the church had cracked open after an earthquake centuries ago.  

She peered through the glass windows, wanting to see more. “Let’s go inside,’ she told her friends. No one liked the idea. She took a round of the place and found a way to go inside the church. Her friends decided to come along. What a treasure they found! There were old newspapers of World War II, ancient looking candlesticks, wooden stools, jewelry holders and things of an era gone by. She and her friends carried mementos home to remember this adventurous trip. Her heart bubbled with joy. It was a great discovery.

Nayantara smiled remembering how free she felt that day. She had so much zest to live. Tears formed in her eyes as she sensed the change that came over her. ‘No! She is not dead. She is alive!’ she reminded herself and wiped those tears away.

THREE. A challenge. Nayantara loved to play badminton. She would play with her sister and father. She won most of the time. One day at school, she saw her PT teacher play badminton with some students. He beat them all one by one. She stood in line and waited for her turn. Soon it was her turn to play.

She surprised her teacher by winning the game. The teacher didn’t give in, he wanted another game. She won it too. One more game later, he lost again. ‘Ok! You are selected for the team!’ he said and quietly left. She was happy and surprised. She had played effortlessly and won!

Nayantara looked out of her window. Her eyes caught the sight of leaves dancing in the breeze. If only she could live her life with such abandon and joy.

FOUR. The self-learned rider. She longed to learn to ride a cycle. She had watched her father teach her elder sister how to ride. He had not offered to teach her so she decided she would learn herself. Her best friend in school was excited about the idea. They decided to learn to ride the cycle after writing their exam when no one was around. They checked to see which cycles were unlocked and borrowed them for riding. They fumbled and fell and almost got hurt too but soon learned to ride the cycle.

She decided to take it a step further and took the cycle for a ride on the main road. Since it was near school’s closing time, the main gates were open. She had an exhilarating ride on the road that afternoon. It was victory over fear. Her best friend and she celebrated that moment secretly. They returned the cycles to their places and went home.     

Nayantara hugged her pillow tightly. She now knew why her father had not offered to teach her cycling. Her mother told her that he had rejected her at birth because he wanted a boy. Memories played hide and seek with her. Some memories were unpleasant and painful. She tried to come to terms with them but her pain persisted.

She remembered a session she had with a therapist a few months earlier. It was then the truth reluctantly revealed itself. Tucked away in her psyche was the memory of something terrible that robbed her of her innocence. It was something that she could not come to terms with at the tender age of six. Her mind put it away to protect her.

Tears flowed down her cheeks and a cry tore through her being. She shrieked, ‘I hate my father!’ ‘What happened?’ enquired the therapist. She described the pieces of the memory she had found. The act that her father committed that desecrated her personhood, robbed her of herself and her purity.

‘Now it makes sense to me,’ she thought to herself. ‘Now I know why I felt odd and out of place in my family. Unlike her sisters’ she always felt odd around her father. She could never feel free with him.  

The sparks of who she really was could be seen only when she was with her best friend. She could be silly and laugh like crazy at mindless things. She could be curious, adventurous and naughty too.

FIVE. Fearless Nayantara. One day she and her best friend were wandering through the school when they heard the sound of flapping of wings coming from the top of the stairs. She realized some bird was trapped there. They rushed up and found an owl struggling to get out. The huge windows were closed so it couldn’t fly away. The owl was frightened. “How can we take this bird out of this place?’ she wondered. Just then a helper passed by and they asked him to help them catch the bird. He got a cloth and caught the owl with it. He gave the owl to her. She was excited as she held the bird.

As they wondered what to do they spotted the Vice-Principal coming that way. He was shocked to see her holding an owl! She said, ‘Father, we found this owl trapped upstairs, what should we do with it?’ ‘Take it to the mini-zoo’, he said. She and her friend went to the mini zoo and handed over the bird to the caretaker there. Both of them laughed a lot as they remembered the look of fear on the VP’s face when he saw the owl.

Nayantara kept the paper down. What would have happened if she had a normal life like others? All her life she tried so much to fit in and be accepted without knowing why she felt out of place. She even tried to give up things that made her ‘different’ so she would be acceptable. It only made things worse for her. She could not remember herself any more. In all the years, she did not feel at home even within herself. She took a deep breath. A sigh escaped her lips and she closed her eyes.

SIX. The class monitor. Some boys in her class liked to cause commotion. The Discipline In-charge had already given a warning. Nayantara was the monitor, minding her class in the absence of the teacher. The boys refused to listen to her.

The Discipline In-charge was soon at the door. He was angry. He asked her to name the boys who were making noise. She knew that he would give the boys the spanking of their lives if she told him their names. She kept quiet. She hoped that the boys would understand that she was saving them and would not make noise any more.  

The Discipline In-charge wouldn’t budge. ‘If you will not tell me their names then you will have to take the beating yourself! Put out your hand!’ Trying to keep herself calm as much as possible, she slowly brought her hand out. Swish! The sound of the flying cane followed and in seconds, she was in terrible pain. It was a sacrifice but that excruciating pain was worth it because the boys didn’t cross the line after that incident.

Brave girl! No one told her that. She had done something for someone else’s sake and borne the suffering and pain silently. Some of her classmates would surely have thought she was a fool but she didn’t think so. She remembered passing a corridor where the Discipline In-charge was punishing some boys. It was unbearable to watch it. She didn’t want her classmates to go through that pain. She cared.

SEVEN. The little birds twittered away happily as they ate the bajra grain she spread on the wall. She loved watching these tiny sparrows. Every day she would feed them and relish their company. It wasn’t just the birds, she had other friends too. They included dogs, cats, a squirrel, a parrot, a few turtledoves, pigeons, a colorful bird and any creature who needed help.

As long as she could remember, her family always seemed to have pets. She remembered the time when she would feel alone and cry on her own. Her pet dog would come and sit by her side during those moments of sadness.

Nayantara stood before the mirror. Her eyes asked her a question, ‘Who are you?’ She kept staring at herself and then quietly went to bed. As she lay on her bed, a thought crossed her mind. If she died this night, would anyone know about her life and who she was? Would anyone miss her? Her eyes were fixed on the ceiling. A blank wall stared back on her.

Her days were empty, there were no voices or smiles. There was hardly any difference between days. She began to detest the mind numbing routine. She craved for some distraction, something different to prove to herself that she was alive.

The next morning, she received a call. It was an unknown number. She felt skeptical. The phone rang and she didn’t move. Just as it was about to stop ringing she picked it up.

‘Hello! Is it you Nayantara?’ the voice of a man asked. ‘Who is it? What do you want?’ her voice was impatient. She was in no mood for anyone playing a prank.

‘Oh You seem to be angry! Madam… please cool down! I am your friend, your classmate. Don’t you remember me?’ ‘Which friend? What is your name?’ she asked irritated.

“You won’t know by my voice, we were in school together. The one way you can possibly remember who I am is – just one thing – I am the boy who punched you on the nose! We were in the 8th standard then…’

‘Punched me?’ she thought. Oh yes! There was only boy who had done that to her. Yes, how could she forget?

‘Well, all that is fine, but you still have to tell me your name!’ she said smiling.

‘It’s me… Viraaj! I’m sorry I actually forgot you were a girl when I punched your nose. You were my buddy! I just got your number and wanted to find out how you are doing,’ he said eagerly.

Nayantara was beaming. ‘Oh Viraaj! It is really you! I am so happy to hear your voice!’ she said. 

‘What are you doing these days?’ he asked. ‘I’m…. I’m on a project, a personal project,’ she replied. ‘What kind of project is it?’ he asked.

‘A search for a missing person,’ she said.
‘That sounds interesting! Can I help?’ he asked.

‘You already did Viraaj,’ she thought to herself. That would be EIGHT.
‘Yes. Of course! You can help,’ she said.

‘Let’s meet! Priya is also with me. If you are free we could have coffee together,’ he said.
‘Sure. That would be great! Let’s plan something…’ she was excited.

The next evening they sat at a table reminiscing their school days. ‘You were good in studies but I was better than you in some subjects,’ Viraaj said smiling. ‘Do you remember the time when we both were selected to represent the school at an elocution competition?’

‘Oh yes! I remember….’ She mentally made a note. NINE.

‘I wanted to ask you something… if it is not a problem,’ Priya said.    
‘It’s okay… you can ask me,’ Nayantara said.

‘After sometime you became very quiet and reserved. It felt like something had gone wrong. I missed my old friend… the way you used to be. I always wondered what had happened to her,’ she said looking at her intensely.

Nayantara’s eyes were wet. She could feel a lump in her throat. She said, ‘Someone robbed her from me… I am searching for her. I feel lost without her… as though I am not me.’ Her tears streamed down.

Priya bent forward and held her hands. Nayantara felt comforted.

Viraaj looked at her with concern. ‘Is that the search for the missing person you’re on?’ Viraaj asked. She nodded.

‘Then I am sure we can help… You see, we used to know this girl… many years ago,’ he said with a smile.

She smiled through her tears of gratitude. 

(Copyright Henrietta Decruz 2016)