This Life

If this life is all we’ve got, it only makes sense to give it all we’ve got. To pursue our ambitions, strive towards our goal, clear our bucket lists, play hard, work hard.

What if, this life is not all there is? What if how you live this life influences outcome in part 2 after?

Thoughts while considering how much I’m willing to give to make our innovation materialise.

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This Life

Tomorrow’s MRI

The mentee asked to come along for my MRI tomorrow. I was rather hesitant about her coming to just sit there and wait for me. But midway through the conversation on Instagram, I was reminded of this incident 2 years ago, where I learnt to love others by allowing them to serve.

It was a timely reminder, and I thought it’s also an opportune time to share this with the girl. Thankful for the spurt of inspiration too, to make use of a moment like this to impart a lesson. So yes, wrote her a letter.

Ready for my MRI tomorrow. Oh yes, and not to forget, thank God for the claims that just came in from the previous company #finally It’s just in time for the MRI, and the sum quite enough to cover the cost of the MRI. Thank God for the timeliness of the matter!

Tomorrow’s MRI

A walk in the rain

When it was time to leave work yesterday, the sky was cloudy and it was beginning to drizzle a little. Just a little. So I asked that God would hold the rain while I crutched my way to the train station. Haven’t been carrying an umbrella around these days because I figured I won’t be able to hold an umbrella unless I have a third arm anyway.

Within a few minutes after I walked out of the building, I saw from the corner of my eye someone who stopped in the middle of nowhere. He was looking around, seemingly waiting for someone. Then the person behind him caught up and I thought, he must be waiting for him/her (I wasn’t paying much attention). Unexpectedly though, he/she brushed past him as a stranger would. Then, what is he doing here in the middle of nowhere?

When I walked up and intended to walk past him, he came up to me with his umbrella over my head, offering to help. I was surprised. I figured out that he was headed towards the direction where I came from, and I’m headed towards where he came from, so I politely declined his offer.

He looked around and hesitated for a few seconds. Then he said, “But I can’t leave you like this,” and insisted on walking with me to the train station. Well, if you put it that way, I wouldn’t reject your offer. He even added, “I can also carry your bag for you.” Don’t worry, I can carry that.

So as we walked for the next 10 minutes or so, we chatted a little. That’s a polite (and to avoid the awkward silence) thing to do when someone offers to walk with you haha.

Was grateful to this stranger though. By the time we got to the train station, the drizzle wasn’t a light one anymore and I would have gotten more drenched if not for him. At the same time, that walk opened my eyes to appreciate this world, this little island and her people a little more. While it’s still a fact that many are occupied with just getting on with their lives, there are still the kind souls out there who would stop for you and go out of their way for you. Gives me hope indeed.

A walk in the rain

DISC

Just completed the test and read the profile report. Kinda doubt how accurate my profiling is given that I had some prior knowledge of the traits and how I was so intentional in not trying to identify each option to the trait – which means I was kinda aware of what certain option would lead to. But yeah, the profile report seems to have gotten half of me true, in the way I think and process information. The other half on relating with people… hmm not as well as how MBTI did for me. Maybe I really did mess up the test a bit this time.

But anyway, as I was reading the report, I began to see why a once-close-friend saw me as stubborn and unfriendly towards people if they “failed my expectations”. These are things that I have thought through and didn’t quite agree with, but I guess now I know that this is the impression that my personality type gives off.

Also saw this portion on complementing personality types. Joked with another friend maybe this is why we are friends. And then the next thought came – maybe this is why this other person and I are no longer friends. Well, not that I know this friend’s personality type though I would rule out ‘I’, which so happens to be the trait that these complementing personality types all have.

Definitely thinking too much though. Like why should a report dictate what kind of people I should mix with right? But well, 20 more days to my 2017 first quarter goal.

DISC

Differences

Witnessed an interesting conversation between two friends on Friday.

A: Are you a tip-eater (referring to the tip of chicken wings)?
B: No
A: Such a waste! We cannot be friends (in a joking tone).
B: Shouldn’t that mean we should be friends all the more? So that I can just give you all the tips. Just give me all the flesh hahaha

Perspectives on differences between friends.

Differences

Price of ‘Fairness’

Lately, a few things happened which kept bringing this word to mind. ‘Fairness’ had always remained just an idea in my head until recently. All along, I’ve made theological statements like ‘God is just, but He is not fair’, and I put forth that claim so confidently as though I knew it to be a truth. It’s only when those events took place that this notion of fairness I had long held was challenged. At the end of the day, a question posed to myself is this, is fairness that desirable?

The first proper consideration I gave to this idea was just a few weeks back, when my sister demanded a tablet from my dad. She did it over a group chat so I could read that. At that point in time, I thought it wasn’t necessary since she has a laptop and there was already a tablet lying idle at home, with other reasons accompanying those. Initially I thought my dad wouldn’t entertain that suggestion, since we are talking about $500 here – that’s a pretty big sum for something not-quite-needed for a family like mine. But he did. So I tried to ask questions like, do you really need it, isn’t there one at home, etc. Before long, my dad started joking about how I was jealous that my sister was getting a tablet, to which my sister replied that my dad gave me some money for my driving test. Well, “to be fair”, it seemed justifiable to him that he should just go ahead with it, out of love for his daughters.

That sparked off much thoughts on this idea of fairness. My first response to that “fairness talk” was huh, since when was this about an equation? I didn’t care whether there’s something in it for me as well, but what I was really concerned about was whether that purchase was beneficial at all in the first place. In fact, I felt that that decision would have negative repercussions.

At that moment, it just occurred to me that if God is fair in the manner of ‘if this kid gets gift ABC because it would be beneficial for his growth, then everyone else should get ABC even though they don’t need say, B’. Simply possessing “extras” is one thing, but the questions is whether those “extras” would do me more harm than good. To concretise this, I’ll use myself as an example. I’ve always wondered why is it that other people can play the piano so much easier than I can – in other words, why do they have musical talent and I don’t? If God is fair, then He should give me these. Well I guess 1, perhaps they need it more than I do in their life, for whatever purposes God has for their lives. 2, if I had this (and other random gifts) which God had deemed that I do not need, it doesn’t just not serve a purpose. I would think that there is a high chance that I will have a harder time managing my pride and I will just be showing off my skills for my own sake. That, wouldn’t be something a wise and good God would do. I mean, those are just two possibilities of why they have that talent and I don’t. There could be more – more consequences for having things I don’t need.

There was actually more than this (^) that I had wanted to write. Sadly, I didn’t have the time to properly write those thoughts down, and they slipped away day by day.

Last night though, something happened which made me lay awake with thoughts going through my mind for the next half an hour or so. What happened was approximately a year ago, my sis and I bought a gift for someone whom we love and thought this gift would be beneficial, helpful, and to some extents empowering (skills wise). We bought the gadget for her because many people were using it, and thought it would be good to let her have one too. Last night we discovered that there was a misuse of the gift, such that we felt that that misuse could possibly place her in danger. We were shocked and didn’t know how to deal with that, other than to just leave it for the moment. My sis went into her bedroom, and I could hear her sobbing in the dark. The issue was… pretty serious.

Thoughts on fairness came back to me again. So what if many people have the gadget? If giving the gift to her so that she stands on equal grounds means danger, I would rather not have given that gift. Because I love this person and wouldn’t want to see her meeting with harm. We often link loving and giving together. In this case, I felt we had given with an imperfect love that didn’t take into account possibilities such as this. We gave something to this person who didn’t know how to steward that well, and ended up causing harm to that person instead.

God, though, gave with perfect love and knowledge. Perhaps it seems unfair that He would give something to someone but not to another, yet instead chose to give something else to this other person. If God loves us all the same, why doesn’t He give us all the same gifts? I would suppose these struggles that I was taken through are some of the reasons. He gave what He knows to be good for us because He loves us. Loving us equally does not mean giving us the same things; loving us equally means giving His best for the sake of each and every of our best. 

The next time I were to make statements on whether God is fair, I would think twice about it. If fairness means an equation like how we’ve often seen it to be, then fine, God isn’t fair, and rightly so. But so be it – the price of our kind of ‘fairness’ would be too costly. If I have a choice, then I’ll redefine what I mean by fairness, to be that He loves us all and gave us the best according to His knowledge.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

Price of ‘Fairness’

Driving Lessons

Before these thoughts slip away from my mind, I shall write them here. Been getting random inspirations during my driving lessons.

It all started a few lessons ago, when I noticed that my instructor no longer place his right foot on standby near the foot brake that is located at the left passenger seat. The purpose of the foot brake is to stop the car from moving when the things that I do (or fail to do)  pose danger to myself or other road users. It started off with slamming on the foot brake on my behalf, and slowly it became more of telling me to apply brakes and sometimes affirming me by saying “yes, that’s right, that’s how you can use your brakes”. I guess this is a sign that he trusts that I have a better idea of what to do now as I learn to maneuver this vehicle.

That’s just like growing up, isn’t it? When we were kids, parents impose this and that restriction on us because they wanted to protect us. But as we grow older and along the way show that we can be trusted in the things we do, bit by bit they stop looking so much at those “foot brakes”. Instead of slamming on them, our parents become our advisors. They begin to trust that we know how to assess the situation and speak to us about them. This progression takes place when our character shows sensibility and trustworthiness.

Driving also requires one to look several metres ahead. There may be ongoing road works resulting in road blocks, or there may be reckless drivers, or careless pedestrians, or something else that requires you to be swerved off your original course. Man, I hate having those things in my way because their occurrences cause me to panic a little on the inside whenever I have to try and react to them in time. Changes need to be made in terms of my vehicle’s speed, and sometimes even to the point of stopping. Or, sometimes I’ll have to find an opportunity to change lanes – I wouldn’t say changing lane is scary, but it does take a lot of effort to check this mirror, that mirror and my blind spot and make my move in the shortest time possible.

One thing this reminds me of is to always look further ahead, so that I have sufficient time to react and make the necessary changes in my life. The idea of planning ahead. The idea of being aware of what’s going on ahead. The idea of being watchful. Because, what if it’s not just a little panic that takes place on the inside when we encounter something we have not anticipated, but that a lack of foresight results in some “road accidents” along the way?

And yes, I lack such foresight. In the recent lessons, my instructor has been talking to me about looking ahead, and telling me that driving is not just about changing up gears, stepping on my accelerator and driving as fast as possible. Remember the foot brake he has on his side of the car? He also has a mirror that allows him to watch for vehicles on my behalf. I started driving with just having to learn how to control that vehicle well and make it move while he takes care of the rest. I mean, that was what he kept telling me initially; he told me to not worry because he will watch for vehicles on my behalf, so that I could concentrate on my task at hand. However, as I “grow” and he places his foot away from the foot brake now, he is also teaching me to be watchful for my own safety and others’ safety as well. He keeps reminding me that I have to be a safe driver above all else. When we’re young, our parents would take care of this and that for us, but as we grow we got to learn to take care of these other things as well. Another lesson I can extract from this is that life is not just about rushing forward, recklessly and without consideration. It requires one to plan ahead and be on the watch out. Sometimes we will need to slow down and there may also be times when stopping is necessary.

Looking further ahead and being aware of my surrounding is something that I have to learn now. I’m currently still not quite good at that, even though I do tell myself to watch. I guess part of the difficulty comes in the form of not being familiar with the amount of reaction time I need. There were times I reacted too early and he would go “What are you doing? He’s still so far away!”, and at other times he would be like “Why didn’t you stop? You couldn’t have gone ahead when this happens!” I’m like, woah. bad judgment, WX. I’ll try to explain by going I thought, I thought, I thought. But well, I thought wrong.

Being bad at this means that I’d better be trusting my instructor when he asks me to do something. I’d better be changing my lane when he says so. I’d better be slowing down when he says so. I’d better stop when he says so. All these, even if I don’t know what’s going on and I don’t understand why I should. Because he knows better.

There were times he said, “Just do it first, I’ll explain this to you later.” And he always did the moment I passed through whatever obstacle that was in my way. He would take the opportunity to teach me how to respond to circumstances like those, and why it was important that I did what I just did a.k.a. what he told me to do.

This sounds pretty familiar, doesn’t it? This instructor-cum-advisor seems like Someone in my life – God. He definitely sees further in my life than I do, He certainly knows better. Even when I think that I know well enough, the truth is I don’t. Then I’d better be listening and obeying because not only He sees further and knows better than I do, surely He loves me and wants the best for me. So even at times when I don’t understand, I’d better obey. Many of them did – Abraham, Moses, those guys marching around the wall of Jericho, Naman, etc. Look at what happened as they obeyed!

There had been times like that in my life. Some of those times were easier to obey than others. And in some of those “other times”, there were tears and desperation. There were times that God allowed me to understand what was happening and what He was doing in my life. I’ve seen so much wisdom and experienced awe in times like that.

But, there were also times He didn’t explain. He’s definitely not anything less than my driving instructor by not explaining everything to me. Put it another way – He’s way better than my driving instructor! I can trust that the “explanation” He withholds is good for me to not know in this season or even, till the day I meet Him face to face. I can never see as far ahead as He does in my life, and even now, I may not know entirely about myself like He does. But the truth that He knows everything from the past to the future, being the Alpha and Omega, who loves me, I can trust Him. Does it mean it will always be easy to trust and obey from now on? Perhaps not, but this is a reminder.

Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet,
Or we’ll walk by His side in the way;
What He says we will do, where He sends we will go;
Never fear, only trust and obey.

Driving Lessons