Scribblings: 小事情

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SCRIBBLINGS DATED 9 SEPTEMBER 2013

My mom has a particular slang; “小事情”. Whenever I come to her with a problem, she would always reply a “小事情” to my concerns. Perhaps sandwiched between my dad, my younger brother and myself, all of whom are more opinionated and ‘exuberant in expressing our feelings’, my dear mother adopts the ‘小事情’ approach to bring some balance in this otherwise lopsided equation-of-a-family.

After being told by mother, I calm down and see that hey, actually things may not be as bad as it seems. Taking the emotion out and viewing the issue from a third-person perspective, I am able to identify that the problem is not as serious as I thought it be after all. Much can be learnt from my mom’s mantra to life. As we take on life’s challenges, sometimes the storms that the waves of life bring may seem so menacing and overwhelming that it could sink our ship with one mighty swipe. That’s when we adopt the ‘小事情’ approach to looking at things. It’s like taking yourself out of the set of the Pirates of the Caribbean and watching it unfold on a 47′ plasma TV. When we bring our perspective to another dimension of approach, we put aside the initial garnered feelings of anxiety and worry. We are then able to be calm and collected, and from there identify a solution to the problem at hand. The stars prevail even in the most darkest of nights.

Jesus also adopted the ‘小事情’ approach in Mark 4:35-41. A freak storm that came out of nowhere was battering at the ship they were on but Jesus was totally indifferent, taking a nap (amazing He could even sleep in a storm, that shows how secure He is too anyways) at possibly the worst time. His disciples were petrified, terrified, face turned green as grass from all the rocking of the ship and, face turned white for fear of dying. They woke Him up saying, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” I can imagine Jesus saying “小事情 la” followed by a “Don’t disturb my beauty sleep, I still got a lot of preaching to do, you know?” And surely the storm was silenced and they got safely to their destination.

The best part to it is, Captain Jack Sparrow’s ship, ‘The Black Pearl’ always survives the worst of storms and firefights, emerging victorious each time to sail into the horizon.

“小事情”, your ship will make it through.

Scribblings: Spontaneously Planned

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SCRIBBLINGS DATED 30 JULY 2013

Travelers usually adopt one of two approaches; the planned approach or the spontaneous approach. In the planned approach, traveler makes ample preparations, schedules a detailed itinerary, plans the places of attraction they want to see in the country they’re traveling to. Nothing is left to chance so that he makes the best of the [fleeting] time he has in the country. In the spontaneous approach, traveler makes close-to-zero plans. He is the go-where-my-heart/feet-leads-me type of person. He dives into and embraces the unknown, knowing that an adventure awaits and that in itself is an adventure in the making.

An occasional traveler myself, I prefer to adopt a mix of both. As a planner, I study the places that I would be interested to visit prior to the trip, making space for these in my itinerary. The conservative side of me dislikes going into something blind. At the same time, the spontaneous side of me thirsts for adventures [and even mishaps]. If the skies are clear, the people beautiful to watch, and of course great coffee, a planned one-hour trip at a café could turn into two or more if I deem fit. If I like to, I could stop what I was doing [or was planning to do], make a friend out of a stranger on the streets. Three years ago in Taiwan, a whole afternoon’s itinerary was scraped off. I hooked on the internet and found a dance studio. 40 minutes later, I was in the studio dancing my heart out. Sure, spontaneity could get me into trouble sometimes, I missed a ferry ride I’d already paid for, boarded the wrong bus, got stuck in a rainstorm, got lost countless times, but it has given me an experience no planned trips could even come close to offering. It’s scary to not have any plans or to walk away from them, yet sometimes the best things life can give goes to those who dared to go with his flow. Live in the moment.

#1. Well isn’t that how we could live our lives? While we have already pre-dictate how we go about our daily routine and make plans for the future, sometimes we just got to allow the spur-of-the-moments break the monotony of it all. The spur of the moments could be anything. It’s like finding the King’s Cross Station Platform 9¾ or chancing upon a magic wardrobe in a sea of mundanity. An adventure awaits.

#2. While we have made plans for the future, we need to allow God maneuverability to make changes in our plans for He knows what’s best for you and me. It’s like running a Church service. While there is a structured order of service, God is Lord. Hence we surrender the reins over to Him to move in the service.

Unstructured within a structure. Spontaneous within a plan.

The unpredictability of life can be just as interesting as the notion of traveling.

Scribblings: Enlarge Thy Heart

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SCRIBBLINGS DATED 2 AUGUST 2013

A wise friend once said, “If you do not have the ability to change a circumstance, and the miracle you’ve been praying for doesn’t or has yet to come to pass, pray instead for the capacity to enlarge your heart to accept the things that you have no power over.”

Thank you for your wise words, my friend.

Scribblings: Lessons From The Hurricane

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SCRIBBLINGS DATED 2 AUGUST 2013

During my stint in Taiwan, I had the opportunity to witness strong winds that could potentially cause damages or even hurt people. Though by God’s grace we did not encounter a hurricane, it was still, to be honest, pretty scary to see one and its destructive might, not to mention be caught in one.

All throughout the world, hurricanes [or more commonly known as typhoons in Asia] wreck havoc, uproot buildings, blow away possessions, takes away lives. Race, language and religion; the hurricane creates a rift in the lives of all who stands in its [her] way. The hurricane is no respecter of man.

The hurricane in itself is not [as] deadly [as we think]. The hurricane is strong winds moving in a circular motion at high speeds. It is the cumulative amount of  stuff that it sucks in and swirls within its axis that makes it deadly. The uprooted roof, expensive cars and such, things which crashes into properties, metal to metal, wood to wood, and occasionally into human beings.

What isn’t secure or tired down is blown away, added into that vortex of deadly litter. Physical hurricanes may be deadly and take a lot of lives, the hurricane of dysfunctional relationships: unresolved conflicts can prove just as destructive.

Divorce rates are increasing at an incremental rate all throughout the world, decades-old friendships are lost, children are disowning parents and vice versa.

We think we are making things right when we sweep unresolved conflicts and issues under the carpet. Like a hurricane, when crisis hits, everything that is not tied down, every issue that is not resolved, is drawn out by the hurricane, causing an exchange of hurtful words and actions. Acting based on the feelings we’ve drawn from past grievances, We say that which we do not mean, we act out what we hope we could take back.

Those words and actions, like debris in a hurricane sweep up and go airborne, hurting the people that we love and want to protect. Tears and painful breakups lie in its destructive aftermath.

If I was smart, I did tie down all my possessions; make right with the people whom I treasure and need to be right with. That way, I can sleep well when the wind blows.

Writer’s note: Holler all, I’m starting a new weekly series entitled Scribblings. There’s a lot going in this head of mine as with yours. New entries every Tuesday. Do feel free to check out this page for more updates or subscribe to my blog. Invite your friends along if you deem this to be worth a second look. God bless!

Scribblings: Within & Without

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SCRIBBLINGS DATED 11 AUGUST 2013

Through the years, I’ve traveled quite a bit, be it holiday vacations with friends, mission trips and backpacking trips. For the latter two, most of which I signed up alone.

Some were inspired to follow suit, some asked “Isn’t travelling alone boring? Won’t you feel lonely?” Well, I would be lying if I said I never felt lonely at all through all my travels. I remembered one time I was stranded under a pitch black bridge at Fisherman’s Wharf, Taipei. There was a couple on my left, another on my right, hugging and probably whispering sweet-nothings to each other while rain-watching [sounds romantic but more like waiting for the rain to stop la]. That was the *shittest (pardon the expletives) experience from all my travels so far. But other than that, no other experience has even come close. Traveling alone is fun, fun, fun! You get to … wait this is not what this story is about. I’ll save it for a future entry.

What’s scarier is being a room jam-packed with people but one never felt lonelier in all his life. The reverse could also occur; being alone in a foreign place, with foreign entities all around but never alone in mind and spirit. For he is lifted by the presence of G, family, friends and loved ones lingering all around him. You see, we gather our sense of belonging, self-worth and everything else from within, not without. Highs of all sorts, you may get the kick at the start, but eventually the loneliness comes back at you, and you need more of that high [in substance or activity] to get back the same high. You see, it is what’s going on in the heart that matters.

So the question is, what’s going on within?

Scribblings: Words

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SCRIBBLINGS DATED 30 JULY 2013

Words. A word of praise can take the listener-recipient to cloud nine and a word of encouragement elevates a wounded soul. On the flip side, a hurtful remark bruises the soul and a regrettable statement stings more than any physical punch could ever hurt. Like spilled milk, one can’t just say something nasty and have it retracted back no matter how apologetic one may be. No, the spoken word doesn’t work like an automated teller machine.

Words and wounded [broken] souls. We live in a broken-down world where so many people all around us live with the scars from the hurtful words of verbal abuse directed at them when they were young. Married couples who struggled through nights of verbal diarrhea targeted by the very ones who have previously took an oath to love and cherish them, employees who are paid by their employers in a form of salary and abusive words that seek to bring them down for every mistake they make. How much can a soul take? How much can one’s spirit endure?

Yet there can be a relief from all this; an oasis in the middle of the valley of dry bones. As much as we cannot control what other may think or say about us, we could control and limit how much impact those words can have on us. If a mistake has been committed, take responsibility, apologize, yes. But don’t accept personal criticisms that degrades self. Don’t drink that verbal concoction of poison into your soul. Reject those negative words, replace them with encouraging words. Self-talk if you need to. Our words frame our world, hence let only the constructive ones in.

Lastly, play the Trump card; the Jesus card. Know, understand and focus on what Jesus says about you [through the Word of God], mediate and rehearse those words in your mind, and finally verbally confess them out daily.

You are the Apple of God’s eye – Zechariah 2:8
You were fearfully and wonderfully made – Psalm 139:14
You’re worth the Son of God – John 3:16
You are the child of God – 1 John 4:4
You are God’s chosen elect – 1 Peter 2:9
You have a great inheritance waiting for you – Ephesians 1:14
You could do the impossible – Philippians 4:13
You have a great future – Jeremiah 29:11
You eat giants for breakfast – 1 Samuel 17:45-50

You don’t need to feel lousy about yourself. Bring forth words of spring and healing into your soul.