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!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Rant on Relationship

Relationships has got to be one of the hardest things, ever! Just when you think you've got it, you discover that you've lost it.

I know that to be true for myself. While I truly do love her, there are just so many things that get in the way of me really expressing that kind of love and grace to her.

One of the things that for me is really annoying is my ego. I sometimes have this pride inside of me that says, "I'm right, you're wrong!" There is this part of me that insists on getting things done my way, and that I have to somehow convince her of what I believe is true. 

I really detest this arrogance, because it seems to imply that I've got her figured out and somehow I can control her and make her behave in a certain way that I want. The trouble with getting things done my way is that I miss out on all the richness and beauty of the things that she has discovered personally in her life. By trying so hard to convince her to take my viewpoint, I have failed to be present to the creativity, freshness and newness that she can possibly bring into my world.

But to really live free from my ego means that I have to kill it, every single day. Each time a tinge of pride starts springing out from my heart, I have to be clear that this will not bring life into the situation (although it does feel good) and I have to make that conscious choice to crucify my pride before it grows and spreads and takes over my entire being.

The second thing that really torments me a lot of the time is the feeling of missing her and just wanting to be with her. It's kind of like taking a drug such as cocaine - you just can't let it go!

Of course, that in itself is not a bad thing. It is definitely a delightful feeling to like somebody, when that warm, fuzzy feeling starts suffuses you with joy, anticipation, romance, and you suddenly see beauty all around you.

Again, trouble comes when I allow my own expectations to rule over me, when I'm in that zone of missing her. I have this expectation that she would show that she cared for me, by calling or at least drop me an SMS!

"Agh! She didn't reply my message! How selfish of her!"

"Why doesn't she call! Doesn't she care about our friendship (which is kind of a funny way to think about things, 'cuz even friends don't call one another every day!)!"

"Agh! Why do I have to keep doing all the calling and SMS-ing! Why can't she initiate, for once!"

I know this might sound stupid or silly, but these are the issues, trivial as they may seem, that I am faced with almost every single day of my life! Sometimes, these seemingly harmless problems can escalate into full-blown jealousy, resentment, etc. and it just consumes me. Sounds horrendous doesn't it?

Working through relationships is definitely a struggle. But there is definitely something wonderful and delightful when, despite knowing the fears, insecurities, expectations, ego that I have, that she still chooses to trust and love me just the way I am. And I am learning each day to embrace her and to love her the way she is, regardless of her imperfections and insecurities.

And there is something amazing, even a miracle, when two people, with their own problems, issues, hurts, fears and major differences, still learn to love one another and embrace each other as they are, learning to trust and to hold faith for the dreams and visions that are being birthed in each person's heart, learning to uphold each other in his/her struggles and to encourage him/her towards good deeds, learning to join with one another in Spirit to see life and goodness overflow to the people around them.

It is a pain, but a blessing at the same time. Some might say that it's just not worth the trouble. Some might say let's just focus on the good bits and ignore the bad bits.

As for me, I want to treasure each struggle as a battle that I fight because she is just worth that effort. And I want to savour the good times, when I can enjoy each moment with her for who she is, one whom I trust and truly care for.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Still a Kid

Soon, I shall no longer be in my teens. I never thought that this day would come so quickly. I know that I should be wiser, more mature, able to handle the world and its complexities, prepared to take on the challenges of life.

Yet, I know that deep down, I'm still a kid, learning his way around the world, struggling to get up and walk, training to run the race of endurance. I'm still a kid, wanting to see more of the beauty of this world, still desiring to peer into the mystery of existence with the eyes of awe and wonder. I'm still a kid, wanting to just be free to live each day as it comes, not being anxious or worried about the days ahead, what I will eat, or wear, or the people whom I will cross paths with.

But biology and society say that it's time to grow up, to leave behind my childhood games and learn to be part of the 'real' world. Perhaps they're right. Perhaps it is time.

Perhaps it is time to put away my looking glass and my crystal globe. Perhaps it is time to take a walk down the streets into this larger world called 'earth'. Perhaps it is time to get up and run. Perhaps it is time to grow up...

In the Rain

I love walking in the rain. There is this invigorating sense of refreshing and newness of being drenched in the life-giving waters from heaven. It is the source of fresh growth and fruitfulness on the earth, nourishing, rehydrating, rejuvenating the parched, arid, sparse landscape, and turning it into wellsprings of life, luscious greenery and vibrant gardens.

In the rain, I just feel so alive and free. Each time it rains, and I happen to have raindrops falling on my head, the song rings in my head:

Let the rain fall down, and wake my dreams,
Let it wash away, my sanity,
'Cause I wanna feel the thunder, I wanna scream,
Let the rain fall down, I'm coming clean.

Truly, I just feel like screaming my lungs out, singing to my heart's content. I just feel like having my dreams awakened and my sanity, logic, reasoning washed away for that moment, drowned out in the freedom to do whatever I want - to run, to jump, to dance with delight, to twirl around, and just be me!

I just want to be free to dream, to feel the largeness of the infinite skies, to experience the awesomeness of a thunder roll, to feel the wind beating against my face, as I tread, as I run, down the city streets, down the green grass, down the gravel pavements, down the dirt roads.

In the rain. I am alive and free!