Lady Godiva- Who was she?

Godiva: The Viking Sagas

David Rose

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In a small town of Coventry, a beautiful brave young girl grows up in an ideal world. She is loved and treasured. She grows up learning Christian songs and loves to be in the abbey with her friend sister Osburga. Sister Osburga though elderly is young in spirit and makes a great listener. She guides this free-spirited girl, Godiva, in doing what is right.

King Canute, the ruthless Viking, is determined to conquer England. He uses brute force and kills all who come in his path without mercy. His quest is for power:  any sign of weakness in himself or anybody else is despised. No one knows this better than his wife, who was forced into the marriage for political reasons.

One fateful day, King Canute invades England, he has allies among the English Noblemen, who join him in treason. The little town Coventry is completely destroyed, the abbey is burnt, people ruthlessly butchered. In a single day, Godiva loses her parents and all her belongings. Godiva’s life is spared when sister Osburga distracts the soldiers and is captured instead. She dies a painful death, being burnt on the stake, for defying the king’s authority and refusing to bow before him. King Canute is haunted by her peaceful countenance and the song that she sings while being burnt for many years to come.

The Earl’s son, Leofric is disillusioned and confused. His brother has joined the enemy forces as a traitor to his country, his father is advising him to keep the appearance of loyalty to the enemy king for his and the country’s safety. He is against the violence used by King Canute to gain power. He accidentally meets Godiva who is hiding from the enemy and rescues her from the attack of a soldier. He then provides a home for Godiva and her brother, making lasting friendship.

Many years later, Godiva is a beautiful young woman. The country is in disarray, the farmers suppressed and anyone speaking against the king openly executed. Leofric and Godiva are married and Leofric assumes the position of an Earl. In the meanwhile, the king seems to have changed too. He envisions a great kingdom and he has realized that force does not produce loyalty. He now wants an ally with Leofric in the making of this great kingdom. Leofric is torn between the loyalty expected from the king and his wife’s beliefs. Godiva is still bitter about the loss of her parents and her friends at the hands of this king and wants justice for the farmers. When she realizes that her hatred for the king is affecting her, she tries to forgive him.

Leofric on the other hand has to deal with riots that have broken out because of the taxes that were imposed. Leofric is forced to use the military to suppress the riot, but his wife Godiva comes in between and pays the taxes of the entire town with her family jewelry. There is a rift between them which widens when the king announces that taxes cannot be paid by an individual on behalf of a person. The news of this event spreads and riots break out all over the country.

Now the king has an offer to make to suppress the riots- If Godiva will ride on a horse naked at the peak of a pagan festival, as was the custom during the festival, the taxes would be cancelled.

He knows that doing this is against Godiva’s belief and that if she were to do so, she would be excommunicated from the church. He is sure that she would not do it.

The farmers in the country prepare themselves for battle against the military forces. Leofric realizes that loyalty to his own people is what he had promised when he assumed the post, loyalty to the king was secondary. He joins the battle on the side of the farmers.

Godiva considers her options. She has to decide between saving her people or loyalty to the church. As she ponders over it, she realizes how Jesus was unclothed on the cross, and reasons that she could do it too.

She arrives at the battle field, just on time, and does what is required, while the crowds shame her for being a Christian woman who has accepted to follow the pagan tradition. At the end of her walk, she is received by her husband and brother and the king himself. King Canute has a change of heart. He asks for the forgiveness of the people and embraces Christianity.

The country is governed with faithfulness and dignity thereafter and all live happily ever after.

The story is written in a simple style, does not require knowledge of complex vocabulary or deep reflection. Nevertheless, I enjoyed reading it as a simple read. What struck me most was Godiva’s effort to come in terms with religious beliefs versus her relationship with the one God. Reading the book also helped me understand a bit about history, the story is written true to dates. I would recommend the book to young girls who are trying to find their path in belief. Ideal as a present or a weekend read.

 

You can get the book on Amazon here.

 

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Steadfast love

Today I woke up to this incredible reminder of God’s  love.
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This morning I remember that in the midst of deep pain, unquenchable sorrow, sleepless nights and a blurry future, there is hope for today.

I am never alone.

 

“Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” Psalm 30:5
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Risking your reputation

“But the phenomenon of reputation is a delicate thing. A person rises on a word and falls on a syllable.” –Don Delillo

A young highly qualified physiotherapist is being accused of sexually harassing a client. The case has been highlighted in social media and there has been a call for action and canceling of his license to practice. You have worked with this PT and you know him to be a helpful individual who is also a good father to his 2 children. You suspect that this allegation has been created due to work place difficulties. Your friend has asked you to refer her to a physiotherapist for a problem that this person is specialized in.

Would you refer her to this person?

 

The head of a famous firm got involved in a scandal related to a case, which he was not directly responsible for. The case, however, was portrayed in a negative light in the media and there was a lot of character assassination. Now the firm is almost in a position of bankruptcy, and public trust is broken. You are the head of another firm who has the chance to make a contract with this head which would prove mutually beneficial. But you hesitate- because of the other firm’s reputation. Would cooperating with this firm place you in a position of condemnation from the public, thinking you were supporting the wrong action?

What would you do?

 

You find this woman at the workplace in an empty room crying. You were just passing by, and this made you stop. The rest of the office is bitching about her. She got her promotion just because she was dating the boss. She didn’t really care about her family or her little daughter. There were whispers that she got thrown out of the previous company because of interpersonal issues. Your office clique avoided her like the plaque. Being seen with her would mean you would have to explain yourself.

Would you go to her?

 

The Cambridge English Dictionary defines reputation as “the opinion that people, in general, have about someone or something, or how much respect or admiration someone or something receives, based on past behavior or character.”

We go through life creating images of how we want people to see us.

We act in ways that we think are appropriate for our standing in society.

Sometimes this may be in accordance with our inner beliefs and sometimes we compromise to blend in with what the majority agrees with.

We create a reputation for ourselves.

After all:

“A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favour is better than silver or gold.“ Proverbs 22:1

Isn’t it?

Most people are eager to create a good reputation.

Being Hardworking

Easygoing

Punctual

Reliable

Approachable

Tough

Pious

Open-minded

Sometimes we may not be aware of our efforts at creating a reputation.

We may not even be aware it exits, till we have to make a decision.

A decision that could make the tower of bricks, which were carefully laid out tumble.

But what if it is to help others?

What if it is to stand up for what is right?

What if doing it, makes a point?

Coming to the point of- How secure is your reputation anyway?

Since it is built on the perception of people, how do you know when the tides would turn?

Have you not done anything wrong that when or if exposed would ruin your reputation?

Do we judge a person, shouldn’t we all be judged?

I’m not sure I have many answers, in fact I have none.

But I know a person who risked his reputation a lot.

He dined in the house of a person whose profession was so despised no one would talk to him. Luke 19: 1-10

He talked to a woman who was so rejected that she dared only come to get water for her house at midday and promised her life. John 4: 1-42

He stays with a woman who was caught in adultery till all her accusers have gone and she is safe. John 8: 1-11

He notices a blind man who others consider a nuisance and calls that person to himself. Mark 10: 46-52

He allows a woman who is called a prostitute to anoint him with oil and wash his feet. Luke 7: 36- 50

And if he could do it, why shouldn’t I?

What is the worse thing that could possibly happen?- It can’t be losing your reputation.

 

“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8

 

What do you all think?

 

 

Picture credit: http://wunc.org/

 

 

 

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Those memories

I will treasure our memories

Like feathers- tucked away

Between book pages.

Like precious shells, colored

Glass pieces, marbles, and 3 D cards,

In a tiny cardboard box.

Like balloons, from the exhibition,

Tied to the gate,

For fear, they would fly away.

They may some day.

If I don’t hold them tight enough,

Or metamorphose them

To words. To scars.

That you learn to rub unconsciously,

On rainy days and freezing nights.

They may vanish.

I need them. For myself.

To remember, That I was happy once,

That I was loved,

That there was a someone,

Whose face would brighten,

On seeing mine.

That feelings would lessen pain,

That simple things could brighten a day.

And joy could be complete.

I need to remember,

That happiness

Was a touch of a finger,

A shoulder to rest your head on,

And making up after a fight.

So I’m going to catch those memories,

And tie them with little strings to the moon.

Engrave them on my skin, like tattoos.

I’m going to transform them into poetry,

Paint them into pictures,

Hide them in the nerve connections,

In the labyrinth of my brain cells.

Till I become one with them,

and they become part of me.

 

 

Picture credit: https://pixabay.com

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What makes a home

And then I stood for the last time in that room.
The key was in my hand. I held my ground,
and listened to the quiet that was like a sound,
and saw how the long sun of winter afternoon
fell slantwise on the floorboards, making bloom
the grain in the blond wood. (All that they owned
was once contained here.) At the window moaned
a splinter of wind. I would be going soon.

“On closing the apartment of my grandparents of blessed memory”- Robyn Sarah

 

What makes a home

 

Wooden walls and thresholds,

Do, more than you credit them,

So do, Slamming doors,

In sounds of a particular timbre.

So does the way voice resonates,

Should you yell across the house.

The clanging of footsteps,

On the wooden staircase,

Draped with a particular carpet,

That children ran into and stumbled.

The feel of curtains that swish around you,

The bumping into susceptible walls.

The memories of TV serials and cricket matches,

The atmosphere of the room when it is all quite.

The smell of fried coconut dishes,

Splatters of mustard seeds.

The way the lines hang when wet with clothes,

The drip of water on the cement floor.

The sound of rain on the rooftop,

The trickle, that flows on the window pane.

The memories of the many people, who lived before,

In this house, of stone bricks and wooden gate. 

 

My parents have moved out of their home of 18 years. While I stayed with them only for 4 years, it was their longest stay in one house.

Through childhood, changing schools, neighbourhoods, and houses was common. Having been in 7 schools in 13 years was not a joke.

Something is different this time though, and I know that a part of me will remain in this house.

It may be refurbished, and painted, it will smell and feel different.

There will be new people, new flavours and voices.

A different style of decoration.

But I believe that if I ever enter the house again, there will be familiarity, a part of the house will call me back, like an old friend. The day they demolish it, I will cry, because that which was constant will be no more.

I will have a new home to go “home to”, But it will take time to become “home”.

 

Picture credit: http://artcentre.fi, My home, 2010 – Anatoli Todorov, 7v, Bulgaria

 

 

 

 

 

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And they fought.

And his words were hard and cutting,

When once they were romantic and flattering.

And his smile froze in derision and discomfort,

Where once it was loving and devoted.

And his eyes were cold and frightening,

Where once they were adoring and affectionate.

 

And the changed man saw his countenance,

Black tears like tar, filled his eyes,

But froze. Self righteousness took hold,

Of conscience and feelings.

And the ego, fought against justice,

Evil prevailed and did for now? Or evermore.

 

 

Photo credit: http://www.christianitymalaysia.com

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The Photograph

One day,

I’ll be a picture on the wall too.

Probably a smiling one,

Cos that’s what we tend to do,

When they click.

Unlike the ones which,

Decorate or deface,

The walls of our grandparents.

From those days,

When photographs were occasions,

To appear austere and sober.

One day,

All this will pass,

And all I leave behind,

Will be memories.

Of a life lived,

Of smiles, laugher and tears.

Or wait,

Aren’t our memories skewed,

To remember only the details,

We want to?

Therefore,

The tears may be forgotten,

The laugh lines may remain,

Unless someone philosophical,

May try to decipher the marred lines,

Of sorrow and depression,

Unmasked and irreversible

Even by olay…

But whatever it may be,

One day,

Wooden, golden or embellished,

I will be surrounded by just a frame,

Of the fashion of that day,

All I leave behind,

Are memories.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo credit: http://www.inspirefirst.com

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