Remaining Days

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.
(Psalm 90:12)

Came across this Korean drama on the TV tonight. The main actress is able to see the remaining amount of time that each person has on this earth. While watching the first episode, a question that came to my mind was, “How different would we live our lives if we are able to see the amount of time that we are left with?”

For her, in her remaining 100 ish days, it was definitely different. A lot more daring, a lot more focus on giving her best shot because it would be the only shot she gets.

Well, I won’t ever know. But I definitely need to change the way I’m living. Food for thought.

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Remaining Days

Time doesn’t stop for anyone

It seems like, that chiongster in my life came to a halt when I sprained my ankle last September. The quarterly goal-setting stopped. And I haven’t done my new year resolutions either.

In fact, I feel rather lost still. I know what I want to know/learn, but I don’t know the answer to those questions. Guess, I’m not exactly working very hard to achieve them either. Quite a scary thought to think that this might just be the case for the rest of however many years I have left on this earth if I’m not intentional about setting time aside for what’s important though relatively not as urgent.

It’s March next week. A quarter of the new year, woah.

Time doesn’t stop for anyone

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.

Haste Makes Waste

“Spend more time with your family”

Visited Jolynn at her dad’s wake last night. He passed on a few nights ago, which was rather unexpected for the family.

Both Cass and I didn’t quite know what to say when we were with her, and so she went on with what seemed like a well-rehearsed narration of what happened and how her dad was like. Well-rehearsed maybe because she realised that many people didn’t know what to say, so she decided to help her guests with the conversation. Saw her rush all over the place hosting her guests in that 1 hour we were there.

She also shared with us that being at the wake helped them in a way that it occupies their thoughts. Being at home would just remind them of him. After the wake, they would take time to grieve properly.

Our hearts ached as we listened to the things she shared. I had to hold back my tears when she shared about how her dad’s like with the family.

Last night reminded me of my uncle’s wake somewhat. That was when I learnt that people’s presence meant something to the family members. That was also when I realised the importance of hearing the family members tell their stories about the deceased.

Prayed for her before we left. As we were about to leave, she said this with a very affirming touch, “Spend more time with your loved ones.” That was from the bottom of her heart, and I guess, it left an impact.

“Spend more time with your family”

Tomorrow

As the Chinese saying goes, “明日复明日,明日何其多?我生待明日,万事成蹉跎。”

Lately I find myself tending to put decisions to commit on hold, till… I don’t know, I am more able to cope? I get more free? I will study the Bible when I become more free or less tired, I will arrange to meet up with so-and-so next time, I will practise my guitar when I have more time, I will go shop for what I need soon…

I came to a realisation these two days that I’m kinda living in a illusion that everything that’s happening now is just temporal. I feel as though I’m on a short-term internship or that things are just a little off now and would resume after some time.

But hey, things are probably going to stay as they are in the near future. Rather than returning to my previous state of equilibrium, I probably have to arrive at a new state of equilibrium now that I’m in a new stage of life (i.e. the working life) and a new ministry (with hardly anyone I’m close to). Alright, I just realised how this is looking like living an almost brand new life, and it kinda feels uneasy hurhur. How this new state of equilibrium is going to look like is probably related to the decisions I make now. If I continue to put decisions on hold, my new state of equilibrium might just become a living example of ‘All work but no play makes Jack a dull boy’.

I need to realise that I’m not returning anywhere – there is nowhere for me return to. I am establishing a new equilibrium, a new routine, a new course even. The question that I need to consider is this: So when are all these ‘next time’ and ‘soon’? If I don’t start now, I might never begin.

That being said, I should perhaps start charting out plans and routines for myself. First things to be in there: Studying the Bible, exercise, practising the guitar. Simple yet necessary. Come on, let’s get this started!

Tomorrow

Farewell

Been walking around this patch for the past 9 years of my life. Was just telling my friend how I stumbled into this place, came in as a volunteer for 7 years, then an intern, back to being a volunteer, now a facilitator and a student researcher. There was once H saw me around some months after my internship and he asked what I was doing there, because he could no longer keep track of my role in the organisation.

Reason? I love the people here. It’s true, and I love them more than I love the animals here. Other than in church, I’ve hardly come across a bunch of people so different (in a good way) that makes me feel like I’m part of the family.

Come this June, though, it might be my time to leave. Secured an employment elsewhere and I don’t know how things can work out if I want to hold on to my part-time job here. Not to mention that I might not even be allowed to hold on to it unless my new employer grants permission. The only other way I can think of to continue being a part of this place is to sign on and volunteer my time as a docent. Place – not space – has a meaning attached to it in our hearts.

Never thought, intended, planned for things to turn out this way, like staying here for almost a decade and still wanting to be here. That’s why nowadays I can identify with those who talk about how we sometimes stumble into things that shapes our lives.

I believe though, while it may seem like I’ve stumbled upon this place, it is You, God, who brought me here.

Farewell

Old friends

Just read an old friend’s Facebook post. Great to see how God has been faithful in growing him to be a fervent man of God. Can’t really describe this feeling, but it’s… interesting (?) to see how this playful little boy I used to know has now become one who’s maturing in his thoughts, cherishing the things of God with all seriousness. Totally unashamed of Christ, and letting his world know about His God! It’s pretty amazing!

Was then reminded of another mutual friend, whom I haven’t had a proper conversation with in the past 7 years. Or at least “proper” in the sense of finding out about her life. Went to her FB profile to see if there’s any updates on what she’s been up to, but when I got there, what I saw only told me one thing – she’s still very much the same person who doesn’t utilise social media functions. Haha that means, I didn’t find much; it looks pretty much the same as what I saw months ago.

The last photo of her that was uploaded dated 2013. I guess she can’t possibly be looking very much different now, but that still makes me feel like I’m beginning to not know how this friend looks like anymore. And definitely, I’ve probably lost track of how she is, what she’s doing, who she is.

My thoughts concerning this friendship has been evolving over the years, though rather slowly. In these 2 years, the question I have for myself is this, why am I so insistent on restoring this friendship? I know it’s close to impossible to restore it to where it was. And so what if we do meet up? What are we to talk about? I mean it’s been so many years and our paths never crossed. Though I actually do think it will be interesting if we do, and see how much each other has changed. But really, what am I really trying to get out of this insistence?

Each time this is brought back to mind though, I will dream of that one day that we meet again. Well. I hope so. If God wills, we shall meet again.

Interestingly, I bumped into another old friend yesterday morning. I was on my way to school and was just walking down the train to see if there’s any vacant seat. I found one and sat down. But just as I did, I guessed my mind processed a familiar image and my head just turned to look at this guy beside me, very intently, and suddenly I just went “Oi!”. That didn’t seem like I was in total control, and yeah it did feel somewhat like a stimuli-response-kind-of-reflex-reaction, which after that my brain processed the information (just like what happens in a reflex action), and I half-regretted not having executed a more decent “hi”.

That did start us off on a conversation though. He stopped his game and we spent the next 20 mins catching up on each other’s lives as we travelled to our destination. I guess he’s one of those friends I was rather comfortable interacting with, which perhaps explains why that “oi” came out so naturally. I’m also glad that we didn’t have to restart our conversation with formalities like with some other long-time-no-see-friends. We still text each other every now and then, so maybe that helped. Picked up our conversation where we left off. Only difference is that because we were so used to chatting and talking nonsense online (text, video, call), the first and only time we met up in a non-group setting was totally awkward cos we had nothing sensible to talk about. But yesterday, our second time meeting in a non-group setting, there was much less awkwardness and a much more sensible conversation.

Glad to see him where he is, pursuing his passion. Should have expected to hear that he’s doing this, just as how he’s been pursuing this track ever since I got to know him. One impression he’s always left me with is his loyalty. To people and to his passion. A person like this is a rare find these days.

Feeling like an old person now reminiscing about good old friends. But yeah, some things feel a little different as time goes by and this difference is rather interesting.

Old friends