Saturday, March 20, 2010

A New Season

Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come away,
For behold, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone,
The flowers have appeared in the land,
The time has come for pruning the vines,
And the voice of the turtledove has been heard in our land.

The fig tree has ripened its figs,
And the vines in blossom have given forth their fragrance,
Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come away!

(Song of Songs 2:10 - 13)

It is time to move on. It had been a season of waiting and learning for me, but now I feel to press on. We hold on to things for a season, then we let go. And now, it is time to leave the old things behind. This blog, the memories that have been inscribed in it, will remain as perhaps reminders, fragments, and perhaps figments of one season of my life. But that season is now over, and a new chapter has begun.

And now, my beloved calls for me. I must move on with Him. It is time to go. 

Hurry, my beloved, and lead me on... our secret place...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

By Faith

Experience takes us from A point to B where we have been, but it is faith that takes us to C beyond.

We were made for a faith-filled life. We were made to dream outside the box, to uncover hidden truths, to chart unknown territories, to craft and to contrive new ideas and innovations, to dare ourselves to peer into the black box and take the plunge into the unseen realm. 

In truth, we were never made to be confined to mental boxes or social frameworks. We were never meant to just rationalize and helplessly accept the seemingly 'inevitable'. 

We were never meant to just be passive observers of an atomic structure, or mere infants bewildered by the glory of the sun and the stars. We were never made to live oblivious towards the dandelions or the honey bees, or fearful of the mountain heights or the ocean depths.

No, we were made to interact and actively engage with each and every part of creation, unlimited and unbound by the fetters of our rationales or the chains of our fears and doubts, not held back by what our senses dictate, not restrained by what our mind prescribes.

No, we have always had the capacity to manipulate molecules and atoms, controlling the electron spin and density, phasing through lattice structures and covalent bonds, changing and challenging physical laws and properties of matter and mass, in essence, walking through walls, shifting across distances in the blink of an eye, shrinking ourselves down to the size of a pinhead, or stretching our bodies to the heights to towering redwood.

We marvel at the glory at the celestial bodies, yes, but even beyond mere marvel, we were meant to rule and to master them. We have always had the capacity for space travel, zooming past galaxies beyond the speed of light, defying even Einstein's theory of special relativity, viewing our solar system from the Alpha Centauri, planting our feet on the rings of Saturn, introducing a fresh breath of life in the lifeless Milky Way.

We were made to engage fully with all our senses, fully attuned to the rhythm of creation, to savour and indulge every piece and detail, every big picture and minutiae of creation with the fullest complements of all our sense organs and sense cortices. Imagine if, the sight of the flowers, every shade of pink and blue, triggers a rich fusion of tantalising aromas and fragrances. Or the sound of the honeybees in the field, humming their melodies of joy, setting off an appreciation of the intricate visual detail of the anatomy of each joint and sinew, each segment and component of humble creature, or the texture of their surfaces, with their waxy exoskeletons and their furry thoraces. Imagine the whole symphony of creation - the soothing rumble of the wind, the shrill rustles of the savannah grass, the low-pitched croaking of the jumpy marsh frogs, the triumphant bellows of the lofty elephants - an orchestra of multiple layers of sounds, of a complex blend and mixture of tones and voices, all meeting and intertwining to form a glorious proclamation of the beauty and majesty of our Maker.

We were never meant to be afraid of the natural world. The natural world might have been designed to function according to the set laws of physics and chemistry, but we were never meant to be bound and constrained by these set laws. We were meant to be creative in the way we interact with creation, to play with and experiment with nature. What would it look like if we took the step and flew up to the heavens, or if we explored into the deepest sea trenches and still be breathing as though on land, or scaled the highest peaks without fear of death from hypothermia, or reached into the core of the earth without worry of being incinerated?

All of these sound like grandiose fantasies and wild imaginations of a childhood long past. But what if these childhood dreams and 'irrational' reveries are the way we were meant to live in the first place? What if these insane ideas and fanciful 'delusions' are very much part of our destinies and calling as human beings - to be rulers over creation? 

After all, what is stopping us from embracing our calling and destiny? What is stopping us from believing in the impossible? What is limiting us to be content to just submitting to the laws of nature and physics? What is putting the lid on our dreams and visions that yearn to be set free and venture?

Perhaps that is why we are called to live by faith rather than experience. After all, experience can only take you as far as you have been. It is faith that takes you that one step beyond what you have experienced, beyond the mundaneness of our rational thinking, beyond the limitations of our mortal selves. 

Friday, October 2, 2009

My Dreams of Psychiatry

I enjoy studying the brain and the mind. I am really keen on topics related to neuro- or psych-.

I think of myself becoming a psychiatrist or a neuropsychiatrist one day. I know, interacting with patients with mental disabilities, cognitive impairments, disturbances of their psychological wellbeing may not sound like the most glamorous job around.

In fact, the thought of it scares me and puts me off sometimes. Compared to going out an engaging with patients with mental disabilities, I would feel very much more comfortable in an imaging laboratory or administrative office, dealing with fMRI scans and paperwork rather than coming face to face with real, living people who might not appreciate my efforts to help them.

Yet, I know that at the end of the day, the greatest investment that one can make is in the lives of other human beings. The kind of work that stirs and inspires people for generations to come is the work that is geared towards acts of service to people. The kind of work that is life-changing and moving is the work that is built on a certain kind of hope for human beings in future generations.

I am called to prepare now for the work that is ahead of me. I am called to equip myself with the knowledge and skills necessary to complete and carry out my task skilfully and competently.

But more importantly, I am called to train myself in the kind of faith, hope and love that is necessary to channel all my skills, expertise, knowledge and learning into a kind of service that is based upon genuine love for these people and a faith and hope for something greater in their lives.

I pray that my work will be one where I can learn to pour out the love of the Creator into the lives of the people that I care for.

I pray that my work will be one where I dare to believe in something larger for the lives of my patients even when the world around them has given up on them.

I pray that my work will be one where I can usher in the newness of life and the grace of the Spirit that will cast out all spirits of oppression and demonic bondages in their psyche, and fill it with the fruits of love, joy and peace.

And perhaps, there might even come a time when I shall have to lay down my life for someone that I love and believe in. Who knows, I might get killed in the line of duty. Yet, I consider it a worthwhile investment to be able to stand as a representative of a God who wants to bring psychiatry back into submission to the authority of His rapidly advancing Kingdom.

Monday, September 28, 2009

To Die and Rise Again

Today, I got to witness and celebrate the death and resurrection of a sister. It was an amazing moment to see her choose to let go of her tightrope and allow herself to fall into the great abyss beneath her, and to trust that a faithful God will catch her and lift her up again.

During worship, the words "many witnesses" kept resounding in my mind. Many witnesses - all of God's people, my brothers and sisters in Christ, all of creation - testifying to the faithfulness and holiness of our Creator God. It was later that I realised that my sister was about to undergo her baptism, where she would be plunged into the pool and to rise up again out of the waters. It was then I realised the words were spoken to me. We were all about to bear witness to the death and resurrection of our dear sister.

It was a heartwarming moment, truly, to see her make her choice to follow the Lord Jesus and to serve Him wholeheartedly all the days of her life, to say that she has been crucified with the Lord, that it is no longer she who lives but Christ who lives in her, and that the life that she lives now in the body she lives for the Son of God who loved her and gave himself for her.

I was praying and seeking God for myself later in the evening.

I was seeking wisdom and vision for my relationship. I was seeking guidance for choices of faith that I have to make. I was seeking re-affirmation and re-dedication of all the choices that I have made.

As I was opening up my heart to the Lord, I came to this point where I wanted to just let go and sink into the waters, where I hoped to die in the ocean depths, where I wished to release my grip on my tightrope and fall into the darkness beneath.

In a sense, I wanted the Lord to kill me - to kill my pride, idolatry, anger, hatred, bitterness, jealousy, cynicism. I wanted him to crucify my flesh - my eyes that tell me what is and what is not possible, my stomach with its insatiable appetite, and my mind that thinks it can control everything and pull all the strings together.

So, I let go...

I could hear the loud splash and then it was just silence. I could hear only the hum of the waters and the gentle whispers of the ocean. I chose not to struggle, breathing my last breath, I die...

I sink to the bottom of the ocean. Deeper and deeper. Letting go of all the things that I have been hanging on to. Releasing the chains and fetters, all the idols that have bound me. Choosing to be free from the demons that have whispered to me, in whom I have previously found my security in.

Deeper and deeper...into the darkness beneath...

Gentle waves rolled over the surface of the water. Greyish, wispy clouds hovered above. A mild sea breeze swept across the seas.

The oceans rippled and seemed to quiver. The fluidity of the sea waters was broken and shattered. Bursts of light seemed to emanate from the hidden depths. 

I rose out of the water renewed and refreshed, the grace and fire within me refilled and rekindled. The peace and love now abounding and abiding once more. The faith and hope revived and restored.

Now, this light must go into the world, into the land that the Creator has sworn to all humanity, into the place where His Majesty wants to establish His rule and His reign forever and ever, across the entire plane of existence where His promises are sure and His word is steadfast.

Into the land that He will give to me. Into the land that is my inheritance. Into the land where I shall take, settle in, and build for generations to come...

Friday, September 25, 2009

Crying in the Rain

Crying in the rain, under the silent oak trees,
Cool drops from heaven, meeting warm streaks down her face,
Soaking wet, from an afternoon drizzle,
Still, unmoving, in her contemplative posture.

I came upon her, as the shower ceased,
Cheeks flushed, eyes red, an expression betraying her sadness,
She flashed a faint smile, masking her tears,
But still, a look of misery was painted all over her complexion.

"My gosh, dear. What happened to you?"
Her reply was a polite smile and a simple "Nothing..."
I sat next to hear, on the dew-covered bench,
No words came, a lingering silence hovered.

"Do you wanna go somewhere?"
"Sure, where do you wanna go?"
"Let's take a walk around the city."
"Okay, let's..."

A long, slow walk around the city,
Lumbering past the mundane streets, shuffling along the fresh, green grass,
Trudging past children in their playful wonder, past teens in their game of catch,
Shoes scraping the humid soil, pushing against the dry asphalt.

In a warm-cosy room, facing the dull yellow sunset,
The plush, cushioned seats, the large, fluffy pillows,
Reclining to rest, closing my eyes,
Whispering muffled prayers, my mind spacing out.

Awaking to find her staring out through the invisible glass, peering into the tranquil cityscape,
Tearing through my mental veil, chasing away the sleepy haze,
I gazed, too, on the pallid portrait of this peaceful part of Melbourne,
Turning to her, I ventured an observation.

"You know, this is the first time I've seen you cry."
"You saw nothing, okay?"
"Alright, alright, sure...I saw nothing..."

The clock ticked on, amidst the silence once more,
As I pensively looked on at the miniature squares tracing smoothly down the empty streets,
The clock ticked on, I finally broke the stillness,
"It's alright to cry, you know..."
"Life can be really difficult sometimes..."

This time she did not hold back, 
The tears she fought hard to suppress came streaming down her features,
Her face sank into the warm, fluffy pillow,
Her sadness finally free to find expression in the tenderness of the moment.

Holding her gently on her shoulders,
My face pressed against the cold, hard, table in front of me,
My heart whispering softly to her,
"It okay to cry,'s okay to cry..."

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A Few Simple Words

Today the Spirit dropped a thought in my heart as I was praying for Ivena. She (Spirit) prompted me with this question, "When was the last time you told your dad how much you loved him?"

I decided to follow the leading of the Spirit to convey this message to Ivy. In the process, this spoke to me as well. It made me question, "When was the last time I actually told my mom that I loved her?"

Honestly, I could not remember ever telling my parents how much I truly loved them.

So, I felt that the words spoke and challenged me as well to do the same for my parents. So, alright, I am gonna call them and tell them how much I loved them.

Of course, I had to kill my arrogant and egoistic self that just wanted to do all it could to stop me saying those words.

So then, 12.30 a.m., I finally called home. Had a good talk with mom. Suddenly, the line went dead because she ran out of credit.

Not wanting to leave the conversation hanging, I decided to dial home, though I knew it would cost heaps. After a few more moments of talking, I could feel things building up to this climactic point, where near the end of the conversation, I quickly grabbed the opportunity to slip in the words "I love you, mom" before my rationalisation and pride kicked in.

It was very liberating for me to have finally spoken these words, words that I thought I'd never say. And I could tell how that touched my mom - she was in tears at the end of it. 

As for me personally, truly, I still can't believe I said it...but I did...and it feels so amazing. A few simple words can be so difficult to utter sometimes, but when you do, it really does set you free, free to love and to believe.

I love you mom and dad, dearly.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Ironies of Life

I've come to realise that God loves to indulge in ironies sometimes. He likes to take something that humans dislike or despise and work it out for an outcome that shocks and surprises everyone.

As I reflect, I can think of two major instances in my life where God has challenged and confronted my beliefs about the world, where He has taken something that I utterly despised or had no regard for and turned it into something I would have never expected.

The first is this. When I was younger, I was quite the high achiever, the top scorer. So I thought to myself, "Yeah, I'm my own god. I can do anything and go anywhere in life. Who needs religion anyway when I can do everything on my own?" Little do I realise that years later, God would crush and break me to the point where I was so desperate for security that the only one that I could turn to was Him. And so, despite my puffy and arrogant proclamation, God still found a way to turn this stubborn kid into His faithful servant. Back then, I would never have imagined that I would be a Christian. Little did I thought that I would be serving this day the One whom I boldly rejected.

The second one is a tad stranger, yet more interesting at the same time. When I was still in Malaysia, we had to undergo these Patriotism camps, where they immersed and brainwashed you into being more patriotic and loyal towards your country. Now, I have no real major issue with camps like these, though I do think that they are rather a waste of time at times. In these camps, they'd always use the example of Indonesia as the "poor neighbour" and they'd emphasise how Malaysia is far more superior economically and politically to Indonesia. And of course, having heard so many bad reports and sayings about Indonesia, I'd grown up being cynical and disdainful of the "poor neighbour". 

So, here's the twist. Little did I know that years later, I'd end up liking an Indonesian girl. If anything, this has got to be the biggest slap in my face ever. It's like God saying to me, "So, you see nothing but bad things in Indonesia? Well, how about that Indonesian girl that you like so much now, huh? *chuckles*" I guess that's true. In reality, I never thought God would turn the tables on me like that. This has got to be one of life's greatest ironies ever! Yet, I am thankful for it, because this Indonesian girl has helped me see so many of the good things in life, and she's definitely one of the most gracious and loving people I've ever met, contrary to what I've been taught as a kid!