Haste Makes Waste

I remember there was this year during a church conference, God gave me a vision as I was worshipping Him. It was a vision of me busy figuring how out to capture the scenery before me. I was so busy with my camera that I neglected to enjoy what was before me. I was then told to take a pause and enjoy it for what it is; don’t miss the moment.

I guess this vision kinda became quite literal and apparent to me during one of my trips last year. I was in Taiwan with a friend and we had a pair of mushrooms that glow in the dark. The minsu owner very kindly lent me his tripod because he saw that I had a DSLR in my hands and figured that I’m into photography. My friend and I brought the mushrooms back to our room. While she watched videos on her phone, there I was trying to figure out the settings on the camera to get the best shot. Switched on the lights, switched off the lights, got the torch, hit that button, rearrange my set-up, google for photography tips – put these on repeat. When I was finally satisfied, I asked her what time it was and was surprised to find out that 2 hours had gone past. Sorry heh.

That, though, made me realise there is some truth to that vision.

Fast forward to the recent episode of the ankle injury. Other than forcing me to take a break, it certainly taught me to slow down. 

Initially, I treated it as a joke when I thought to myself that I learnt that not all things can be rushed, such as buses and trains. So many times I’ve watched them pass me by right before my eyes. Yet there’s nothing I could do unless I don’t mind falling flat on my face. And even if I wanted to run for them, I could only afford to limp further with each step.

And these few days, when I put my phone down to spend time with God, I would be close to close off in prayer and pick up my phone again in less than 15 minutes. Quite a few times I thought I heard God saying to me, can’t you just wait? Okay, I can… (less than a minute later) So what am I supposed to think about or do right now? You know my mind will drift right?

And then back to my activities. If I couldn’t slow down last time, I think it has gotten worse.

I got off crutches lately, over the time I spent with my grandparents in Ipoh. Slightly before that, I started practising walking without aid and without limping. The extended (because I need not travel on my own and hence not need a crutch) practice in Ipoh helped me to be more confident and comfortable in walking. 

After the Ipoh trip, I began to pick up pace. December – I have just a month and a half left to have my ankle ready for long hikes and swims in the sea in Thailand. I got to recover as quickly as I can. It hurts less in the day and as much as I can, I try to walk without limping and quickly. My ankle often ended up hurting at night after walking too much by the end of the day.

Just this afternoon, I stood up and felt a sharp pain on my knee when I placed my weight on that injured foot. I thought it would go away after some time – you know like how sometimes our body has random but temporary pains? But it didn’t after an hour, and it got me worried. I googled and found out that apparently, a bad ankle injury can lead to injuries on the knee as it tries to compensate for what the ankle cannot do. This is not funny anymore man. And this has to happen just 4 days after my appointment with the specialist that I’ve waited 2 months for.

But yes, once again, it’s another reminder to slow down. Feel the pain, take time to nurse that injury.

Also coincided with the (recent) constant reminder to take time to feel the heartache, to acknowledge it, and take time to nurse it.

It seems like learning to slow down has been a long journey for me. Time and again, I’m reminded to slow down and take time. Physically, emotionally, spiritually. I just keep feeling the need to be doing something, to be occupied. Slow down, yes I will try. Tried walking real slow from church to the train station just now.

O God, I pray that the pains in the ankle and in the knee will not stay with me. I love and I cherish my active lifestyle and I want to get back to it. Heal me, I pray! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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Haste Makes Waste

First Conversation

One thing that I’m thankful that I have is a curious mind. In particular, curiosity towards people. What makes them, them. I used to think it’s a petty “girl-thing” that my friends from Crescent found it awkward to initiate a conversation with someone whom they hadn’t talked to for a long time, because I had no qualms with doing that. But maybe, that’s just me.

Tonight’s one of those nights. It’s not so much of occupying my schedule – in fact I was looking forward to some exercise time after work – and definitely not for networking purposes. Simply, curious about how this person is. At the same time, a little nervous because I never had a one-on-one time with this acquaintance. Besides, she “has an accent” (pardon that ignorant phrase, but you get it), which makes me all the more nervous at the thought of meeting up tonight.

It started off with a random realisation some 5 years ago that she’s doing Environmental Science in UCLA, and I was like heyyy you’re doing that too. So I dropped a Facebook message to say that hey that’s interesting, tell me more about your programme. And then realised she’s a Christian and praises God through her photographs of nature. So I got in touch again by leaving comments on her photos. Randomly, last year or something, I asked her how she’s been keeping her faith because you know our course of study isn’t the easiest to deal with as a Christian. So it’s just been random dropping of messages here and there. It was not until December last year that she came to support a Human Library event I organised and I said, let’s meet up! I don’t say that for fun. For the past few months, it’s something that’s been on my mind but both of us couldn’t make it. Finally, it came to past tonight.

She made a comment tonight, we’ve never really talked, and it’s been 6 years since we last met – sort of. Ya so I guess if any of my friends hear this, they would probably think it’s awkward for me to reach out to her with such randomness. But well, I do such things. So what?

There were plenty we could talk about. Partly because we share some similarities (e.g. our faith, our interests), and I guess a large part of it was because we hardly knew anything about each other. Went as far back to our teenage years to tell our stories, went as far ahead to 5 years down the road where we see ourselves, talked about our families, where we are now, and many many more.

Time flew by just like that. I thought it was 9ish but no, it was 11pm by the time we said we should go. 

Quite an enjoyable night :)

First Conversation

一拍即合

Met up for SE on the eve of New Year’s eve for a time of catching up after 4 months of not doing so. In between we did meet each other but that was in a group setting, so we couldn’t really talk properly. Was pretty surprised when she asked if we could meet on Friday, “[so that] we can meet longer”. Wow because she’s someone who loves staying home alone.

We started off with talking about her job, which I haven’t got to hear about since she started in August. Also talked about mine, family, marriage and eventually about our personalities.

We realised how similar we are, in particular our introversion. Our introversion makes us tremble at small talks and at the thought of talking to certain kinds of personalities. Not that we want to shun them but it just makes us very nervous. Shared with her truthfully that the confidence that people around us see in me is just a facade. There was also this part where we burst out laughing because she felt a burn when I pointed out how similar we are. It was when we were talking about the traits of an INTJ (which I am one) and how this personality has difficulties in handling relationships, so she was like, “Does that mean it’s going to be hard for me to get into a relationship too?!” Well, well…

Went pretty deep that night. We didn’t want to leave, if not for the last train that was departing. Even after we tapped into the train gantry, we stood there for another 10 minutes or so just to talk. And when I got home, she texted to say that she had fun. The texts made me smile that night:

SE: You reach home already hor? Anyway had fun talking to you today. Hope we meet again soon.
WX: Ya reach home alr :) Haha I had fun talking to you too. Don’t be too sad about being similar to me, cos that makes talking to me fun HAHAHA
SE: HAHAHA That’s true. Well 难得找得到一拍即合的人 so I’m not complaining.

It’s a friendship that I enjoy and I’m glad she does too. One of the things that we have in common is the difficulty in having friends that we are comfortable with. That’s what makes each and every of a friend like that precious to me – and that’s why it hurts when they leave.

This is a friend that I’ve always loved talking to, even though I can’t quite find a reason to it and even though we hardly had time together in the 4 years of uni life. In one semester, we probably only had 1 or 2 opportunities to even bump into each other. I remember one time we didn’t meet for the entire semester and we only managed to talk in a 1-hour ferry ride to an island somewhere. Perhaps it’s the quality time that makes each meeting enjoyable.

I feel blessed to have ended 2016 with a friend like this :) You know you had a good time when the night’s not long enough even after spending 5 hours together.

一拍即合

Lunch conversation

Quite happy about today. Other than having had a good time serving with the band in the children’s ministry, there was also the part on going deep into conversations. I guess I just wanted to have lunch together, not because I was hungry but… maybe just wanted to spend time with people. 

Found out things about each other that we never knew before even though certain things in our lives have already been the way they are for months and even years. I understand the feeling of having something on our minds and yet not having a close friend to confide in. We realise that we are both quite similar too – the way we consider friendships, how we process a situation, and the loneliness felt since graduation. 

There were things that I had never talked much about, especially not to an acquaintance like she… was? There were topics that I never heard anyone talking about – kinda like everyone seems to be having a good life and I’m the only one struggling – but finally heard it for the first time today. Like, the sadly seasonal friendships within a certain context, loneliness, and not being in the best spiritual state.

I guess I shared my part on my spiritual state because it seemed like she was afraid of stumbling me or afraid that I would be troubled by it. I wanted her to know that all of us go through that, and I understand it. Nobody’s judging. I know how tough it is, especially when I feel like I have no one to talk to about it and I just have to put up a strong front so that others will not panic at what they see.

I miss conversations like this. Maybe we’ll meet again after work so that these two lonely people will get some company haha.

At the same time, decision affirmed. Time to go, I guess.

Lunch conversation

Companions

Screenshot

This girl is making me miss her and my days with them haha it’s a bittersweet feeling. The sweet part comes from having shared those moments together, and the bitter part comes from the realisation that we will never be able to turn back time.

I remember how Michelle and I would aim to be the first in the youth camp to wake up, just so that we would be able to have our quiet time without much distraction. Gave ourselves about 30 minutes to do our qt. When we were done with reading and reflecting, we would share with each other what we’ve learnt. Well, it wasn’t that easy at the start when I didn’t know what reflection meant (I guess this was how I learnt to reflect?) That was scary for me that time because our youth pastor would appoint anyone to share with the group of 30 to 40 what we had learnt from our qt during breakfast. There was once I stood there for a good 5-10 minutes with everyone waiting in silence because I didn’t know what to say – like I couldn’t even come up with a single sentence. So during our qt, Michelle and I would help each other to think of what we could share about. 

Like what she said in her post, those mornings were a representation of our dedication to God. Those mornings were also reminders of how we spurred each other on in our faith journey. In those years, we were shy in expressing ourselves in worship, much less to say jumping during the fast songs. Both of us wanted to have a breakthrough in this area, so there were a few times during praise and worship, we would look at each other and count 1, 2, 3 and start jumping in praise of God.

I love our dedication as well. So glad and thankful that I had someone to grow with. It always, always, blesses my heart when I find people who share the same heartbeat for God. Ever since I received Christ, I lost my independence – independence in the form of not needing a single soul in my life. It’s a good thing that I lost that kind of independence (even though this means suffering disappointment and some other negative emotions from time to time when the friendship boat is rocked.)

Looking forward to find more people along the way in this faith journey to share the journey with! :) Friends to do crazy things with like this one here haha waking up at “unearthly hours” to do qt. It doesn’t only have to be pioneering, it doesn’t only have to be loud and bold, it can just be small little moments like doing qt, praying, where we spur each other on towards God.

Companions

Quality time

“You go talk to him leh, he respects you the most.”

And for some reason, what I would usually find awkward to do (i.e. going up to someone and be full-on serious right from the beginning) was actually pretty easy to execute this time round. Walked out of the columbarium to find my nephew who, by the way, is just 4 years younger than me.

I used to dote on him a lot. I loved having him hang around me, and I’ll always remember those times when I would take out a random book and sit with him to read it together. We were probably 8 years old and 4 years old then? Come to think of it,  that was probably the most “family thing” I had experienced as a kid. As time went by though, I got busy and I stopped visiting every week, and we drifted apart.

I guess I was glad that we had that 15 minutes or so this evening. What happened before I went out of the columbarium to look for him was that his eyes seemed uneasy, and not long later, he blasted at a few youths for running around in the columbarium which made my relatives run up to him.

Dived deep into the conversation from the beginning, asking him what’s going on. He shared about what led to that outrage, how he’s feeling and how he felt that God didn’t care. Feeling hopeless and yet able to identify and acknowledge blessings in his life. God ah God, what are You doing in my nephew here?

To be honest, I had no idea how to make sense of the situation he’s facing. All I told myself was to show him that he’s loved and cared for, rather than just being preached to. Was glad to hear his thoughts, and even saw him teared up. For some reason, it didn’t require any paving but we could just jump straight into a heavy topic. FYI, I don’t like being “paved” so I guess that explains why I just jumped in like that, and it seems to work for him as well.

Found that moment interesting while we were in it. The kids who read fairytales together grew up and are now sitting down, talking about the struggles and reality of life. Really enjoyed that moment with him.

And I guess, I do miss having such conversations with people, in the middle of nowhere, unplanned, and real.

Quality time

Core team of my life

I guess I’m not afraid to admit that I’m one of those that they call “high maintenance” friends. And each time I hear about this high and low maintenance thing, I struggle to understand how friendships work with a quarterly meet-up or sometimes less frequent than that. In fact I’ve been seeing captioned-photos of people with their “low maintenance” friends. And I went, really, are there really people who only have “low maintenance” friendships?

This topic was brought up again yesterday when I met up with a bunch that hadn’t met for 3 years. Pretty low maintenance eh? While one of them was talking about low maintenance friendships, it suddenly dawned upon me that the reason for my “high maintenance” (with some people) is that when things happen, I do hope to be able to find someone right beside me (I meant it figuratively). This seemed to resonate with Patrice, and she added on that one of the last things she would want to do when things happen is to catch someone up on the past few months of her life. By the time she’s done updating, she probably doesn’t feel like dealing with the issue anymore – probably not as fortunate a thing as it sounds.

I should clarify that “low-maintenance” friendships are not bad at all, but it’s just that I think that we need one or some “high-maintenance” ones as well. All of us have limited time and energy, so like what Patrice said, there are those few that you’ve decided to give much of yourself to since we can’t possibly meet up with all our Facebook friends on a regular basis.

By the end of that conversation, we concluded that we need a core team in each of our lives. Used the phrase ‘core team’ because they were all church friends, either a leader or supporting their leaders in one way or another. We need someone or some people who have been with us in our journey, know what’s been going on, and speak into our lives.

Think again before we undermine the importance of presence.

Core team of my life