Wednesday, August 26, 2015

To Get It Out of Mind // To Remember Forever

She must be really hot, I thought. That dismissed her in my mind as I quickly shifted my eyes and body to face the counter. Now, what drink should I get? My tactic worked for she did not approach me and I was left in peace to choose an awesome drink that was reasonably priced yet imbibed a sense of luxury.

A pricked conscience. I pretended to check the laptop left for grabs at the backache-inducing coffee table. There she was, just standing there, extending her hand towards that Malay chap sitting diagonally from me. He shook his head and hurriedly refocused on his book? notes?

Oh, she didn't close her bag! Her wares were up for grabs like my laptop. I should tell her.

She turned. She saw me looking, so I pointed at her bag.

Now our bodies were parallel, and my mind stopped as thoughts and conditioned response skidded and collided inside. I could not turn away anymore.

Her misshapen red shirt was wet in front. Saliva trailing from her half-opened mouth joined with the large semicircle that clung to her body. I could not bear to look into her unfocused eyes for more than that moment, so I glanced down at her keychains.

Conditioned response kickstarted again. Blinked twice. No way I am going to buy the useless keychains. Hand holding purse moving up. Only $10 notes. Dug hurriedly for a $1 coin. Proffered it to her.

This memory is like a silent film. I only remember that half-opened mouth. She didn't take the coin nor did she say anything. I cannot remember if I said anything myself though my lips moved.

Then it was over. I shook my head and looked up at the menu. She shuffled to the nearest table and I could see their heads shaking in refusal. Simultaneously I caught a whiff of what I imagine the phrase uncared for would smell like when she bumped me gently and I steadied myself with the thought that at least I did not shun her for being dirty.

Yet I knew I never would have reached out to her as I struggled so hard to decide on my drink. I am still silent before her; I don't know what I could do.

Monday, August 24, 2015

A story I told 5 times already

Today was in school at the unearthly hour of 7.45am, to start the first shift of Directions booth. Think it was the lack of sleep these past few days; I had a fleeting existential crisis when my Dad announced that it was time to wake up.

So I was just there, thinking I will make the most of this long 'unproductive' time but not really expecting much. Had a pretty good time getting to know fellow VCFers and also! telling Nathene about my idea to get the whole CG to support a child through school + pray intentionally for him/her through Care Channels International.

But the highlight was really engaging this freshie who needed to get somewhere for an interview. She was sweaty from walking (I think) and seemed rather flustered. Just really thankful that we had a good conversation during our 5 minutes walk to her destination, aside from the fact that I helped her in a tangible way. I'm not sure where it will lead (if it is even in my place to see where this will lead), but was particularly rejoicing because I saw some fruits from what I did.

Realised that I want to reap versus sow because I want to see the tangible fruits (referencing 1 Corinthians 3:6 here). Yet faith is the top of my spiritual gifts. Ah, is that why God? To sow in faith?

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Pre trip

"Whoa no pre trip??"

A response that I got when I told my fellow HKU exchange kids that I will be arriving, now that I checked the semester dates properly, on the very day school officially starts (praying I don't have Monday classes).

Though I don't really like the term 'pre trip'. Makes me think of the psychedelic experience you get with LSD trips- where a distorted reality is better than the here-and-now. Just because I am in a foreign land doesn't mean that I can care less about justice, suffering, the gospel- which is the reality.

But to be honest, I think I grappled a bit with FOMO-
I must go to Mongolia I resolved, roughing it out myself no less because it will really be pretty cool. Impulsive, naive me was annoyed at the concerns of my parents and friends when I told them about Mongolia. I see pictures on Instagram of beautiful portraits in beautiful places, and compare these places to Hong Kong.

My pre trip thus far consists of meeting friends solely for the sake of meeting, whom I otherwise wouldn't have.
Of developing my perspective on how a Christian should live, as well as throwing up fresh questions on how I should live.
Of having an abundance of time to slow down, take the initiative to talk to people, reflect on my ministry.
Of jogs and appreciating the bright yellow ixoras and verdant green grass patch along the pavement.

In this 'blank space' (not a very good term either) I also realised the decisions I have to make:

  • Can I skip church service to travel on weekends?
  • How much time do I want to commit to Inner City Ministries?
  • How much effort do I want to put into my studies, given that most of my modules have a heavy group project component?
  • Can I go for a pub crawl? (Okay I have decided no and I probably will get bored after the first pub but I still want to see)
  • How should I interact with my room mates? (You know, things like cleaning duties, sharing of food etc that are telling of who you are and what you stand for)

More questions than answers.

I think that makes for a very good pre trip.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Table for One

It started with this: Table for one please. 

Picture taken while waiting for a smaller table- I nearly walked out when I saw how bustling it was and there was no cosy loner corner for me. But by now I am wiser- it really doesn't matter how many social norms I break if I am doing what is right and good for me.

So I sat alone, taking in all the beautiful things in this beautiful social enterprise cafe. Crossings Cafe employs at-risk youth and students with special needs from Assumption Pathway School. 

Lunch Special: Coriander Fish Fillet with Spicy Tomato Sauce// with salad and mashed potato 

Was 90% full nearing the last 2 bites of my fish but decided to order dessert anyway heh. 

Panna Cotta of the Day: Teh tarik panna cotta

You can see how I feel about it.

Part 2: Tolma the Explorer

Supreme Court library which is what I imagine the Hogwarts library will feel like- a lot of ancient incomprehensible books.

At some point I was literally tired of taking photos because that meant raising my arms for some extended period. Just meandering along, taking in sights, not really thinking about anything.

I am lost, an inner voice said. It is fine, it answered itself. And so it was :)

Sunday, July 12, 2015

One tab closed

(After I blog this I shall disconnect, and try to process things with God.)

Perhaps I am burnt out, I tell myself. But it's okay not to think about it now. I do want to be fruitful for God and perhaps being burnt out is a natural consequence- there is so much to do.

I am glad these questions about toil, salvation, pain, brokenness, human relationships came as they do now. They put things in perspective when I see the world as it truly is- neither with rose-tinted glasses nor despair- because Jesus, the light of the world has come.

In any case, I feel like there are so many tabs opened in my mind these few weeks. So I am glad that one tab has been closed. Thanks bro. For the grace shown, for speaking words not in haste (unlike the impatient me), for sharing.

Yes, one tab closed. I wouldn't have it another way. But God, bring me through whatever lies ahead.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Really Cannot Tank

What I keep thinking this past week. Yet God keeps pushing me to it.

Feel feel feel. I don't want to do anything anymore.


I still do feel like crap. Another question throughout this day is: How can I be authentic without affecting people with my feelings? Like, if people ask me if I'm okay, what do I say?

'I feel like shit and I don't want to talk?' --- No answers/still processing.

I need Jesus. He knows what I am going through and He has been broken for others too.

"In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33b

There is grace to help in time of need, just like in The Deathly Hallows when Harry decides to lay down his life to save his Hogwarts comrades (Hebrews 4:16).

So like how the ghosts of Harry's loved ones gave him comfort at this time of need, I was buoyed by different forms of encouragement throughout today. 

Saturday, June 27, 2015

(Wong, 2015)

"Not to be so preoccupied with Why and What God is doing in my life? but rather to just trust in Him to lead us in the right path, walking moment by moment in God's grace and in the fear of the Lord. 
This calls for walking by faith, and not by sight. This calls for a very moment-by-moment living, with God and for God. This I believe will eventually unfold, as we look back, into a beautiful picture of God's handiwork in our lives." (Wong, 2015)
Typed this on my phone this Wednesday; inspired by a friend's wedding video where they traced their grace-filled lives-

So many decisions I made without a clear sign from God. Yet His grace, love and sovereign power worked so beautifully so that I stand today- a child of God.  

 The very pivotal decision to ultimately chose Social Work. It was kind of a no-brainer then, and now. But I have asked myself (and still do sometimes), can I love this much, can I see the deepest hurts and still say that God is good, can I hope against hope, can I can I. God can.

Then Sidewalk because of XH who pulled me to explore starting a social enterprise with her.

Then BLESS cos I was persuaded by the very persuasive & passionate Francesca. 

Then many things happened in between, of which I think the very defining one is CASA. I really gave my 100% to this ministry (which is why it hurts a bit to have so little of my friends walking with me in this but to each He calls I guess). 

Realised I really enjoy children too after joining Sunday School about the same time.

Then it was during Y internship which brought me places and cause me to grow so much in these short 7 weeks. To be more open in saying what I feel, to lead as a servant, to want to pray for healing in relationships. 
I proudly (but also a bit abashedly) admit that my decisions to go Shang Hai, to intern at the Y, was motivated by my romantic fancies. LOL I really am INFJ but I'm too beautifully made to be boxed cos I can be an extrovert sometimes too.

Grace even in reckless moments- was drinking illegally at the carpark near Zouk. An experience I will hold close, even though I probably will never do it again.

"And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge- that you may be filled to the measure of the fullness of God."
(Ephesians 4:17b- 19, NIV)