Our actions are like pebbles thrown into a pond. They create ripples and they spread, affecting the whole pond. Because we are all connected somehow, what we do affects everyone around us. We need to remember that what we do, however insignificant to us, will affect someone else.
I started writing this entry at 23:23.
I am awake, sitting on my couch and in pain. I just wanted to stop crying about the pain my back was putting me through. So I climbed out of bed, walked gingerly out of the bedroom and walked to my front room. And then sobbed.
It currently hurts to breath. But it only hurts on the left side of my body. My muscles are punishing me for doing something. I’m not sure what.
So instead of focusing on the pain, I started breathing exercises to push through the pain. Then I started thinking “Ooooh maybe I can read something to take my mind of trying to forget the pain.” Because I always think engaging my brain helps me deal with whatever hurts – whether it’s a physical pain or something else.
So now, I’m blogging. Which is quite the surprise. I haven’t actually written anything spontaneously in a very long while. So in a way, I am thankful for the muscle pain that prompted me to get up. It doesn’t matter whether or not this post makes sense or is at all positive (I’m writing about pain, so I’m thinking that’s a negative). What’s important is that I’m writing again.
I’ve got a few catch up posts to write. Posts that I started whilst I was at home in the Philippines or in the weeks after I came home. I need to be a little more disciplined about writing. It is really like a muscle (hellooooo pain reference!), that needs to be exercised. The longer I leave writing, the harder it is to approach the writing inertia.
And funnily enough, the only way to fight the writing inertia is to fight against the writing inertia. What a predicament, eh?
It’s 23:34. Not bad for 11 minutes work, huh? It’s not exactly groundbreaking or profound. But at least I’ve started writing again!
“Change occurs slowly. Very often a legal change might take place but the cultural shift required to really accept its spirit lingers in the wings for decades.” ― Sara Sheridan
10 years ago I stepped off a plane at just after 6AM at Heathrow Terminal 5. 10 years ago, I was carrying a Philippine passport. In July, I received my British passport and in it, confirmation that I was a British citizen.
A lot has happened in 10 years – that equates to 520 weeks or 3,652 and half days or 85,500 hours or 5,130,000 minutes or 307,800,000 seconds. That’s a lot of moments, a lot of instances and a lot of situations. It’s been quite a ride so far: I’ve met so many people, I’ve made new friends, lost some, learned about myself and the kind of people I want to surround myself with. I’ve learned that you can’t please everyone, no matter how hard you try; that the opinions you need to focus on should be the opinions of the “right people” – the people who accept you for you, lift you up and respect your values and sensitivities. I’ve also learned that you need to take care of yourself first. Because no one else is going to do it for you, not really.
“A waiting person is a patient person. The word patience means the willingness to stay where we are and live the situation out to the full in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us.” — Henri J.M. Nouwen
Yesterday my patience was severely tested. I was waiting for something important to be delivered. A lot of things that will be happening to me in the next few days hinged on that all-important delivery.
I tried keep active and do other things to keep my mind off the fact that I was waiting. But it was hard! I had the TV on most of the day to distract me but didn’t even register that the great Roger Federer lost at Wimbledon! But what I was waiting for did finally arrive. I was just too impatient.
Note to self: when waiting allow yourself time to wait for the long haul. Your timetable isn’t the same as everyone else’s.
Faith is not the belief that God will do what you want.
It is the belief that God will do what is right.
Max Lucado, He Still Moves Stones: Everyone Needs a Miracle
You know that Old Testament Bible story where Jacob dreams that he wrestles with God? That’s how I feel at the moment. I feel like I’ve gone 11 rounds against a bigger, stronger, quicker opponent.
I’ve been stressing over the what-might-happens, the what-ifs and struggling to control my environment. And oh my goodness, do I feel exhausted! And before I bungle any more boxing related metaphors, I’ll stop.
I’ve struggled so much to hold on to the idea that I’m in control. I’m not. Not really. He is…and I surrender completely. I’ve struggled with this, with the surrender, because of what it might mean, because of what might happen if I surrender what I think I have control over. At points, I felt as if I was throwing in the towel, giving in to the inevitable. But then I realised, God is in control. He has a plan, He always had one. He allowed me to choose but inevitably, He would prefer that I hand the reins over to Him because His plan is way better than mine. Surrendering to Him isn’t really giving up the fight. It’s allowing the stronger fighter to fight your corner, to take up the reins.
So yes Lord. Yes. Whatever is Your perfect will, God. Whatever it is, I know you’ll get me through it. I don’t have to worry about being strong. Because You’re more than strong enough for the both of us. With more honesty than I’ve ever said it before, in Your perfect time, according to Your perfect will.
“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.” ― Ansel Adams
I’ve always had something to say, an opinion to express, or an argument to make. My family encouraged vocal discourse; my father’s family fostered an environment where dry, sarcastic humour was used to drive home a point; my mother’s family encouraged debate – about everything: political opinion, religious dogma, the traffic, the path of the ants on the wall, you name it, my mother’s family would happily discuss and argue about it. So naturally, I talked. A lot. It was the only logical development in my communication progression. I had to fight to be heard, so I learned how to talk.
But lately, I’ve found that quietness is good to. That thinking and not necessarily talking about the thoughts that run through your head is also a good thing. I’ve learned that sometimes chatter is just a filler. Sometimes companionable silence is a sign of true acceptance and belonging. You don’t always have to say things to be understood.
Of course, the caveat to that is that one has to talk, so that feelings can be understood and there won’t be any misunderstandings. There is that old maxim that says “actions speak louder than words.” This is true. I am also of the persuasion that things that can be said must be said. It’s never better left unsaid.
“I realized that the deepest spiritual lessons are not learned by His letting us have our way in the end, but by His making us wait, bearing with us in love and patience until we are able to honestly to pray what He taught His disciples to pray: Thy will be done.” ― Elisabeth Elliot, Passion and Purity: Learning to Bring Your Love Life Under Christ’s Control
I’ve not very been very vocal about my faith or my spirituality. Maybe because in this very secular world I didn’t want to tread on people’s toes or sensitivities. I know that we are all allowed to say what we feel, what we think and our faith is one of the most important testaments we can make. However, that being said, I think I’ve allowed myself to be more PC than I thought I would ever be. Because of that, allowed myself to not talk about how my faith gets me through each day. I’m reminded of Psalty the Singing Songbook from the Kids’ Praise series of music albums I used to listen to when I was little. I can still hear Psalty saying “God wouldn’t want you to hide your light under a bushel!” And that’s exactly what I allowed myself to do.
I am truly a church kid. I grew up getting up early on a Sunday morning, getting dressed in my Sunday best and going to church and Sunday school. I sang in the children’s choir and Christmas was always busy with children’s choir rehearsals. My summers were spent attending daily vacation church school, attending summer church camps and other church-based activities. It didn’t stop there. As I got older, i graduated to joining the chancel choir, acting as bible study leader, children’s choir conductor and summer camp cell group leader. If I were still in the Philippines, I would probably still be in church most weekends, happily involved in the various things church-related. Most of my oldest and most enduring friendships are with people I grew up with, in church. I am quite thankful that I grew up in church because I know that this has founded my faith and it is my faith that carries me through the dark days.
It is because I grew up in church that I learned to take solace in prayer and meditation. I find that the quiet times that I spend alone with my thoughts, tears, prayers and meditations ground me and steady me. It allows me to surrender everything to the higher power taking care of us. It is also because of that faith that the word surrender doesn’t feature negatively in my vocabulary. Surrender is sometimes the bravest thing to do.
Quite recently, I started listening to Oprah Winfrey’s Super Soul Conversations podcast. She had a conversation with Rev Ed Bacon about spirituality. It was such an ecumenical discussion about faith that it gave me a lightbulb moment. I had to look back on conversations about faith that I had with the friends I have here. I found that I had discussions about faith and prayer with friends who were Christian, Muslim, and others who didn’t necessarily ascribe to a particular religious doctrine. Spirituality and faith is universal. So talking about it is universal. It is funny that it’s taken me so long to realise this!
And today, as with all the most difficult days, my mantra is “In His perfect time, according to His perfect will.”