Letters From:

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I was clearing my room during the long weekends the other day and coincidentally came across a treasure trove of stuff all hidden within the confines of my little room. Amongst those treasures were letters I have collected and kept for the past eight years. Through the years, I’ve received a number of letters from friends and loved ones.

While there are many ways to express love and gratitude, it is my belief that giving letters is one of the most sincere ways to do so. Letters [may] require spending; one needs to buy a nicely designed card, letter, postcard [and possibly a nice envelope to go along with it. Senders who designed their own cards may incur overheads such as acquiring markers and card design materials from DYI art marts. Letters require effort; senders may design the cards themselves or, sender needs to pick a card or letter style that he or she believes suits the receiver of the letter, next the sender has to write [or type] the words out to fill the intentional void of the letter. Letters require thoughtfulness; you don’t scribble any-old-how on the letter face just to fill the pages. The writer often puts himself in the person’s predicament [or victorious moment] and pens something related to that and ending off with his blessings or encouragement. Letters definitely require time; the sender has to sacrifice previous time off other priorities of his life to fill in the words.

The benefits of receiving a physical letter far outweigh many other form of blessings. A letter is eternal; sure the letter might degenerate a little, the words may fade a little, but keep it stored in a cool, moist-free place and this letter can last decades. A letter is ‘evergreen’. There’s a saying by Maya Angelou, “People will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel” and letters fulfill that role just right. Even if you have moved on with life, rereading those letters again invoke a sense of warmth and closeness the reader shared with the sender. When opened, the ‘encapsulated’ heartfelt words, encouragement and blessing rises up into the air like perfume, bringing fragrance and joy to one’s soul.

I thank God that I am important enough for some to have invested time, effort and money on letters addressed to me. Letters given to me when I transferred away from my first and second cell group, letters given to me when I finally graduated from my second attempt at O levels, letters given to me when I was baptized, letters given to me during my birthdays, letters given to me by dear friends, letters given to me by my bible study students, letters given to me during festive seasons and such. I ride on the encouragement from those letters.

Though those times are now past and gone, I will never forget how important those words were to me. To those who were involved in any of these letters, thank you. Your kind words have an eternal alleviating effect on me. Even as I read them now, they never fail to put a smile on my face. I thank God for all of your letters and friendship.

See if you can spot your own letters!

P.S. I don’t normally reveal contents of letters online for obvious reasons but not doing so this time will do injustice to those who had been such a blessing to me.

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Letter from my first cell group members. I hope that I have grown since then.

 

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Thank you G for being so teachable. May you shine brighter and make a bigger impact than me in the KOG.

 

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Thanks A, I really treasured those times spent with W385.. Thank you for being a mentor to me in so many ways.

 

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Thank you V for being there with me in spirit during this important day.

 

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Thank you E for being such a blessing to me.

 

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S, I appreciate your friendship. Keep in touch.

 

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Y, glad to have played a part in your life. You have gone so far, getting a job and academic certificate, and even graduating from SOT! I am so proud of you.

Standing With A Friend

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PHOTO: Reuel Eugene Tay

When we have our backs against the wall, it’s good to know that we have each other. Shoulder to shoulder, side by side, arm in arm, cheek to jowl. I got your back, my friend.

“If you have two friends in your lifetime, you’re lucky. If you have one good friend, you’re more than lucky.” – S. E. Hinton

This weekend’s bulletin is my favorite thus far. Thank you CHC Design and Foto team for all the amazing visuals all these months. You know who you are. 🙂

Friends and Seasons

IMG_5929PHOTO: Reuel Eugene Tay

 

Had a HTHT (heart-to-heart talk) with a dear friend recently and she was sharing about how she was feeling a little sad about how some friends she was close to are no longer so lately. That set me thinking as well.

How many of us ever wondered how many friends we can make in one lifetime?

I tried googling it to find some statistics that can put a figure to this highly ambiguous subject but surprisingly, none can be found! Well, this is by far too difficult a subject to track even for the leading scientist of our time. There are after all the geographical and psychological differences that separates the countries from the conservative and the lesser, the extroverts from the introverts, and many other variables.

A blogger estimated the number of people the average Joe will meet in his or her lifetime at 100,000.

A comment taken from BBC News Magazine by Leading anthropologist Robin Dunbar who is also the person behind the term Dunbar’s number stated that an average person can maintain a stable, close relationship with 150 people approximately (The range is between 100 to 230).

Assuming that one-third (33,000) would probably be the friends we would have made in our whole life, this list of 150 could and would be changing all the time throughout our lives. Of course that’s not to stay that no one person will stay on that list, it really depends on the individual in question. Dunbar also went on to state that the number of close friends one can have and maintain is between the numbers 6 to 12.

On an unrelated topic, there is no individual who wouldn’t want another person whom he can call friend, since just by me typing friends on Google generated lots of suggestions such as ‘How many friends do you have’ ‘How many friends do you need’, ‘How to make friends’, ‘How to make friends after 30’, etc.

Thank God for friends!

From a non-statistical point of view, I would like to believe that every person goes through something I would like to call ‘seasons’ in his or her life. Much like the four seasons of the earth, the different seasons an individual is in also brings forth different people into his life; some – a familiar face, and some – strangers who are potential-best-friend material.

Friends who do not hold a place in our hearts will naturally fade away, that’s fine. Friends worth keeping will always be in our heart, and us in theirs. Sometimes, through the winds of time it may seem as though they no longer care [about this friendship], but perhaps it is just that they are also going through ‘seasonal changes’ in their life. That closely treasured relationship between the two is not lost, simply out-of-focus at the moment. And regrettably, there are also those lost friends whom we treasured a lot but whose friendship is strained, damaged, weakened due to time and distance, and lost forever.

Though painful, we must accept that this is a natural cycle of life. During Winter, many things disappear – friends who were once close are no longer around for us when we were at our lowest. But it is also during this time when enduring plants such as the beautiful Snowdrops and Camellia emerge – friends whom we never knew existed, friends who were always there for us, who will pick us up when we fall, and satisfy our weary soul. And then comes Spring, when some of these friendships blossom into a beautiful lasting relationship, many whom we will attend their 21st Birthday parties, their wedding matrimony and banquet, baby showers, arrival of grandchildren celebrations, 50th and 60th Birthday celebrations, and one whom we will fall in love and live with – friends who will always have a place in the 150.

 

P.S. I want to use this space to thank my wonderful boss Yuan Wenling for being more than a friend to me. Thank you for mentoring and caring for me during my time with City News. You may be out of sight but never out of mind. You are really missed. All the best in this new arena your family is placed in!