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.