Archive for August, 2005

Pilgrim’s Progress

A conversation with Mark Tay today reminded me of a very important part in the book “Pilgrim’s Progress” that we tend to not notice.

At the end of his journey, before he steps into the city, Christian has to walk through this dark river…i can’t remember what the name of the river was, but i do remember that he nearly drowned in it and cried out to God for help and an angel pulled him out.

What was brought to my attention was that when he walked through the river, he had no one to walk with him through it. No friends, no guardians, nobody. It was purely between the pilgrim and God. And he had to keep his eyes on what was ahead in order for him to cross the river.

It seems that way sometimes in our life, doesn’t it? Looks like we have to face a dark murky river all alone and have almost no hope of crossing it.

At times like that it takes a tremendous effort for me to realise that i’m really not alone, though i sure feel that way. God is always there – omnipresent, omnipotent God. My God.

I still struggle with that, with the face that i’m really not alone, sometimes. It’s just so easy for me to feel out of place and left alone because i’ve been that way for the vast majority of my life. It’s even easier to feel alone when you don’t have the energy to deal with it, due to lack of sleep or stress from school and whatnot. Too easy to forget God is there. Too easy not to trust God. Too easy to forget what it really means to keep our eyes on God.

The progress is hard. Many hardships line the road and it’s an uphill road. You will be alone, abandoned and deserted. You will be pressured, torn, stressed, contorted, bruised and beaten. You will cry, mourn, grieve, fear, anger, rage, and feel a host of unbearable emotions. But you must keep going. You must hold on to the hope. Sometimes it’s the eyes set on the distant bank that’s just out of sight that keeps us going. Sometimes it’s all we have.

But at least we know it’s there.

Regret

Never in my entire life have i said such things so hurting that i regret as deeply.

Forgive me.

…the saga of school that is. Episode Sem3 if you will.

Yes, school as begun, and as usual i’m not really thrilled to be here. It beats working, yet i know i still wanna go work instead (it’s one of my dreams). But i must admit the first two days of school have been…well i wouldn’t go so far as to say disgusting, but at least it’s un-like-y. Looking at this sem and what it entails, i guess me and jo both feel that it’s going to be rather yucky.

Yet i know that my Father will not let me fall. My family, my Family, and my Father. And so with each step i try to wear a smile, reminding myself that i will not be put to more than i can bear.

Life is beautiful – but only because God is good. I know there are arguments that state that if God is good then He cannot be all-powerful, and if God is all-powerful He cannot be good. But i know that’s wrong, for He is good and all-powerful. Forever.

Forever God is faithful
Forever God is strong
Forever God is with us
Forever
Forever

Ever wonder how an obelisk feels like? The tall pointed structure outside things like the pryamids that some artists/filmmakers so obviously leave out?

Would it feel out of place, standing there all along on the horizon (if there were no pyramid behind it)? As bing put it, a foreign object, strangely misplaced and sluggishly distant?

Or would it feel like it belonged there, that this was the place for it, where it was home and be completely comfortable with where he was?

Would it actually feel majestic, being able to stand out from everything else, quite literally looking down on all other physical structures from its pointy top?

Or would it feel lonely, having standing alone to weather the heat and cold and the other elements of nature on it’s own, not having anyone to share each sunrise and sunset with?

Sometimes i wish
I knew the thoughts
Of people that are in my life
It counts for less
Of having to guess
And misunderstandings and strife
If i knew what was going
On in the minds
Of the people i see through the day
Life would be
A much easier task
Guess life wasn’t meant to be this way

On a separate note, today’s National Day. Happy Birthday Singapore, though i must admit i’m not exactly patriotic. I like the parades and the performances and the fireworks (though the fireworks here pale in comparision to what i’ve seen in America), but i seriously think that the national day songs could be less publicised – i can’t even take a bus ride without hearing Taufik and RuiEn sing that song, and as a result it’s gotten rather old quite fast. Evidently i’m also not a supporter of National Service the way that the government puts it, with all their advertisements on the Army and Navy and Air Force, but i will say this about the SAF – i really think it helps people to grow up. Of course there are people who don’t grow up, but the environment definitely provides you with the opportunity – then again, every environment provides you with the opportunity to grow up, it’s just whether you want to use it or now.

But as usual, National Day is going to be spent at home. No plans for today, just lazing around. As if i haven’t done enough of that already during the hols – was hoping to get the momentum going a bit. Had a few thoughts of doing something out-of-tradition (i.e. not lazing around), but nope.

Hmm – notice that this blog has transformed from a source of writings to a list of ramblings. Oh well – it’s my blog after all.

I think too much. Make it stop.

Inability

I suddenly realised that i’m not able to say something that i don’t truly believe in. I thought it was something good – that i’ll never be able to deceive myself and thus not likely to coax anyone into believing something that i don’t. At least that way if the boat i send that person to is sinking, i’m in it as well.

Yet there are times where i think…perhaps i’d like to be able to convince myself otherwise on occasion. I realise that these times do exist in my life. But up to now i’ve still been inherently unable to tell myself to believe something i do not believe in. Perhaps it’s because i need a great deal of convincing to get me to a particular viewpoint. Whatever the case, i don’t really know.

I do know, however, that i wasn’t always like this. There was a time where glib words could flow, where the influences of words that i’ve read and deceptions conjured would easily be formed from my mouth. Where i could just as easily deceive as i could flatter, both without meaning what i said. Those days are gone – i have no idea why.

All this said is not in boast or pride – i find nothing glamorous or spectacular in only being honest to myself. Note also that this doesn’t mean i’m right – just that i say what i believe, and if it’s wrong, then i’m wrong with you if i’ve managed to convince you on my stand. But what i say is now no more than what i believe from my heart. I’ve forgotten how to cast clouds of pretence and deception. I’ve lost the skill of weaving words of fantasy, of making people see what i want them to see.

I have yet to determine whether this is something good. Yes, what is spoken should be the truth, but tact will have to come into play – what is the truth need not necessarily be spoken. In which case i shall have to learn to keep my mouth shut. But back to the point – i don’t know if this is good.

Suffice to say, whatever i say, question me if you will – but believe me when i say it.

2 more days…

…Till school starts. Can’t say i’m too happy about it. Not exactly elated, but would prefer it pushed back a week or two more before it starts (and not any more than that – i do want it to start sometime, else i’ll never get working).

With the thought of school starting, my mind is starting to kick in again and beginning to think as much as it used to. Perhaps that’s why i’ve had a headache the past few days. But aside from that, more important thoughts have popped into my mind.

Thoughts on importance. I’ve said some of this before, but the entire reason why i’m blogging this is so that i can say it again. I remember some coach telling me before that you can have all the skill in the world, all the brains and all the brawn, but what really matters is when you can deliver it when it counts. Inadvertedly this would remind you (or at least it reminds me) of exams, but i was also thinking a bit beyond that. When it counts…when is that, academics aside? What is it that counts? Grades matter to me, i won’t deny, but only in the sense when i know i could have done better than i did due to my not putting in my best. People matter to me, everyone from Jo to my close friends and to my not-so-close friends. Achievements matter to me, and i’d definitely like to rake up a few points on my resume as a student here. But what’s key? I know the textbook answer – can i claim it as my own?

Thoughts on questions. Those who know me will know that i tend to question everything that is presented before me. Works pretty well with academics, but unfortunately doesn’t work so well with faith and people. There’s a scene in Unleashed where Morgan Freeman says something along the lines about not asking certain questions because when the time is right, the answers will present itself. To my delight he also mentioned later in the show that at time certain questions need to be asked as well – which honestly is more of what i tend to do. I must say that i’ve learnt a bit more than i used to know about asking things at the right time, yet i know i have much much more to learn. Asking questions sometimes takes you to another level where you desire and possibly even demand to know the answer. There’s a chinese saying that goes 信者?知,知者?信, or for those of us who need english translation, “one who knows need not faith, one who has faith need not know”…or something like that. Suffice to say, often things simply require you not to ask so many questions and have so many concrete solutions, but simply to have faith and move on one step at a time. Yet there are still things where questions must be asked in order to draw anything from it…i tend to think life would be so much easier with perfect information so that we can draw conclusion with minimal margin of error, even possibly none at all. Perhaps that’s a wrong stand to take – life might actually be easier, not on the extreme of not knowing anything, but rather knowing what we must and then trusting God with what we don’t.

Thoughts on time. One of the commodities that we can’t buy. I’m going to have to manage my time carefully…i realise that being a good steward of time isn’t easy, as all of us would have discovered at one point of time in our lives. This links to my above talk on importance and priorities, definitely things of greater importance would have more time spent on it/higher priority over our time. It wouldn’t begin to do Him justice if we decided to put God on the bottom of that list – yet we do that all the time, giving other things the greater say in our decision…or at least i do. With all the commitments we face, some of us schoolwork, others their careers, it’s just so easy to shift aside God “just for a while” and put these things first.

Among these thoughts, i’ve had my peaceful moments – times where i can sit and watch the sunset/sunrise, and remember that God make everything, and it was good. At times it can be so hard to believe that it is and was good, that God has control over everything and He plans out our lives so that we may achieve our purpose that He has for us. Sometimes I struggle with that. I dare say we all do – we want our plans, not His. But that’s ’cause we’re only 3-D and He’s 4-D…He sees into time. Surrender is a journey, not an event. Life, likewise, is also a journey.

P.S. I’ve taken an extremely long time writing this post – not because it’s one of my longer ones, but because i ‘ve actually had to think about a lot of things as i was writing. It’s taken a whole hour, but here it is. It’s not really organised, but that’s because it wasn’t meant to be – this post was just my thoughts at the moment. At this time i must declare that i’m unusually tired and i’m going to sleep soon, even though it’s only 10 pm at the time i’m typing this sentence. More thoughts will be on the way as they get figured out.

How it works…

Went to look, out of sheer curiousity, why we get headaches….most of the stuff i already know, but that still doesn’t answer the question:

Why does my head still hurt (albeit mildly and intermittantly)?

I haven’t been drinking coffee that much.

Ow.

Colours fade to black and white
My skull feels a little too tight
Can’t even think coherently
Even to my lowest ability
Not making any sense in what i do
Doesn’t help that i’m drowsy too
Yet my mind won’t let me sleep just yet
It wants to think before i go to bed
But thinking makes the pain grow more…

My head hurts.

Read this post by fong and was reminded of how language, especially Old English, used to be so beautiful without all the modern interpretations – and sadly how things have degenerated to the way they are now…

On a side note – this is why personally i prefer the KJV Bible compared to the rest…the words are so much more beautiful to me.