Instagram For The Win!

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And so I just came back from exile and like a prisoner too accustomed to darkness finding difficulty adjusting his eyes to the light, I am still learning how to find my way around all the social media platforms. One such platform is…. Instagram! I love it that I can post photos of what inspires me, or puts me in the crazed poet state. And so, I get to post interesting photos that caught my attention, plus write about it there, with much ease that WordPress cannot provide or compare. Plus, there’s editing properties that touches up the photos taken by the less-than-ideal camera that came with the S3. Not that I am forsaking my abode at WordPress, writing on WordPress will always be one of my joys [and hates because I devote a lot of time, energy and effort to research and find out on the subject topic I’ve picked] which I used to talk about issues that holds a place in my heart.

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Still, the truth is, I am out of time. No, I’m not dying. I have just entered a phase in my life called University life [and hopefully work life, so if you’re an employer, employ me la okay, okay, okay?] Enrolled in Murdoch’s Bachelor in Communications and Media and Public Relations double major programme, I am really hard-pressed for time. I am a firm believer that if we start on something, we should endeavor to not just complete it, but to complete it with excellence. Not a guy who’s particularly good with multitasking, I will have to sacrifice on some fronts to make up for school [and work, please God I need a job].

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So please forgive me if this space is empty for prolonged periods of time. Still, you can still see condensed versions of what goes on in my mind through my Instagram account. I was told by a friend that I write too much on Instagram though, so… not that I really care. But I was told by other friends that they love what I write. Herein lies my thoughts, musings and anecdotes about faith, hope, love, having a positive spirit, stuff like that. My last Instagram entry on THE MARRIAGE, THE VOW AND THE RING reached my highest recorded writings on Instagram with a total of 384 words.. So… sign up for an Instagram account! And follow me, walk with me and see things from my perspective. Plus I ‘write a lot’ for some Instagram posts, so you’re getting bang for buck! Kinda. It’s not all dead serious stuff. Some are just plain lame and stupid, or funny. I think you will like it.

I have some really sensitive topics I would like to address on WordPress, but that will have to wait till my term break. Be blessed and take care!

Reuel Write’s Instagram ID: reueleugene

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The Walk

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Have you ever took a jog along or stroll through say, MacRitchie reservoir park or Bukit Timah nature reserve? Walks like these usually begins with high spirits and the euphoric hype that “Hey, I’m actually taking this long stroll!” We start off on a high because we could see ourselves setting foot on the finishing line. It’s an accomplishment and it’s gonna be great.

Sometimes however, along the way the paths get narrower, steeper, darker, higher (more uphills), grimmer and, filled with potholes. All of a sudden, the euphoria dies down, pandemonium steps in, the excitement of the moment is gone, the high spirits mellowed into a sour one. Some might even wish they never embarked on that journey altogether. We hope for an easy way out, a shortcut or fast exit out of our circumstance. We tire out, tripped a couple of times, fall to the ground yet hoping somehow it will all end in an instance.

I likened this to that of the ‘Christian walk’, a term so commonly used and ‘defined’ as a set of rules and steps to living the Christian life or the life ‘God has called you to live’.

As a Christian of eight years [now], I believe that God has allowed me to see much, experience much, and sometimes those experiences may not be all that pleasant.

As a believer, for a huge part of my Christian walk I believe in the purpose and the plans [or Callings] that God has for my life. I believed I could not be shaken [in my convictions]. I truly believed that I was [called] to be blessed. If I pray, if I fast, if I gave, if I do this, if I did that, somehow everything will work out, I mean I seek God [for my portion] diligently and He said I will find it right (Mt 7:7)?

That can be further from the truth. Two years have passed, and God has led me through interesting experiences. He led me straight into valleys after valleys.

Some call it the ‘Crisis of faith’, where doubts and fears catches up to our faith, threatening to shipwreck it. First of all, through the valley experiences I’ve come to terms that I am only human (Ps 103:14-16). There were instances that I want to just quit, to end it all, to blame God. That lesson taught me that nothing is certain. We can’t say for sure that “God I will never leave or forsake you!” [Only God says that!]. Rather, we say, “God I cannot guarantee that I will never forsake You, but during times where the rubber meets the road, let me find the courage to come to You, let me find the courage to never forsake You.”

Next, sometimes we subconsciously subscribe to the belief that we have God all ‘figured out’, that we limit God to a box. If I pray and fast, I will get this end product. If I believe and speak, everything will happen as I’ve believed because God will ‘hear all my prayers’. We subconsciously limit God to a set of practices that guarantees 100% success, But God is beyond sets and patterns, measures and success formulas. Once again borrowing from C. S. Lewis’ quote, ‘He is wild but He is good’. Praying is good, fasting is good, giving [of time and finances to Kingdom cause] is also good. All is good, but the anchor of our faith is not based on any of those! Because God isn’t either! Jesus chose Mary over Martha because it is not our act[s] that qualifies and accepts us into the Beloved but our ability to just sit by His feet, and enter into His rest. To enjoy His Presence, that counts for volumes in eternity than all our works combined together.

Sometimes, we just need to breathe in God, into our soul.

And from there, you got to understand that God may work differently from how you have planned for Him to; He is wild, remember? But He is good. He has other plans. And sometimes, those plans may require Him to step aside and watch you pick yourself up from the fall. It hurts Him just as much as it hurts you. And during those moments, that’s the tough part for us to understand; in our natural minds. Sometimes, to be blessed, it comes in forms very different from how we imagined it to be; some to remind us and some to mold us right, some to teach us a lesson and some to straighten our backs.

To breathe in God is to infuse Him into your inner self, to invite the Chief Peace and Rest into your soul. And those moments don’t always come from just praying and fasting alone. It could come from an image that reminds of Him (see Of Lights And Skylines), while jogging on busy streets, while painting on a canvas, while dancing to a routine, etc. Because He created all things, He exists out of an activity, yet He could be found in all activities.

Today, i still believe that I am [called to be] blessed. But I also accept and give God full control and maneuverability in how He does so. Coming to that stage in our faith, I believe that is when our faith has been refined, having arrived at a purer level, more so than before because the initial excitement [of being a believer] has evaporated away. It’s no longer “God, I can do this for You!” or “God I will live [or die] for You!”. It’s not that I am no longer excited [for the things of God], no not at all. I guess that is what it means to mature in love, to simply come before God and say, “God, I just.. want to love You.” What’s left is an old soul, well acquainted with the Creator like that of decade-old friends.

And so, continuing from where we left off about the story of the walk, we fall from the walk and the hike, hoping that someone [like God] will pick us up and tell us everything is going to be alright. But when no one does, what we need to do is simply to get back up on our own two feet, lift our bruised left heel up, plunge it down in front, lift the bruised right heel up, plunge that down in front too, and walk. The Christian walk is a walk after all.

I know that the walk is going to be tough, our calling may be entirely different from what we’d expect, but I also know that as long as I’m within His plans, I am good. God is at the end of the journey together with the Saints, cheering me on. I will make it, I will step across the line, embrace Him and hear His whispering “Well done, My good and faithful servant. Enter into My joy.”

This is what the walk is all about, this is what our walk is all about.

May the same Hands that move the hands of time, move and have Your way in me. Soli Deo Gloria.

Of Lights And Skylines

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Do you see what I see?
Dusk is ushered off,
Retreated beyond the horizons.
Dawn makes its grand appearance.
We wake up with the city,
Coffee queues lined up,
Traveling cars and busy streets.
We move to the beat,
In rhythm to the music within our soul.
We make for our dreams,
All is possible,
All is achievable.

Do you see what I see?
A long day has been gone,
A hard battle has been fought,
The skies make a dance,
From blue to yellow,
From crimson red to jet black,
The sea turns crystal black,
The lights within the malls snub off,
One after another,
Going into a deep slumber.

But don’t be mistaken,
She is still breathing,
The skylines lit up to paint the night’s canvas,
Herein lies all her aspirations for tomorrow,
Her dreams, hopes and future.
Tomorrow will be another day,
The city lights extinguished,
The mall lights turned back on.
Tomorrow will be another day,
Where we wake the dawn,
And chase our dreams.
Do you see what I see?

I see dreams,
I see visions,
I see aspirations,
I see futures,
I see hope.
What do you see?

Recognizing Beauty

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Above one of the gates in the ancient city wall is a lantern, and Samil explains its significance to us.
This is the origin of one of the most famous Arabic proverbs: “The light falls only on the stranger”.’
The proverb, he says is very apt for the situation we’re in now. Samil wants to be a writer and is fighting to gain recognition in his own country, whereas I, a Brazilian author, am already known here.
I tell him that we have a similar saying: “No one is a prophet in his own land.’ We always tend to value what comes from afar, never recognizing the beauty around us.
‘Although sometimes,’ I go on, ‘we need to be strangers to ourselves. Then the hidden light in our soul will illuminate what we need to see.’

An abstract from Brazilian author Paulo Coelho’s novel, Aleph (p42)

Sometimes familiarity may cause us to take what we already have [access to] for granted. Our family who showers us with love, our job, our religious family, our close friends, our spouses and loved ones. They say it breeds contempt. We want that which we don’t have, we want that which others have and suddenly the grass becomes greener on the other side.

Perhaps the pasture may really be greener on the other side of the fence, otherwise we need to re-position ourselves, to be a stranger to ourselves so that we can recognize how blessed we are, to recognize what we have, to recognize the beauty that exists all around us in the form of a loving family, awesome friends, the best spouse [or boyfriend/girlfriend] one could ever ask for, a great job, a [pretty comfortable] roof over our head, blankets to keep us warm on windy nights, a loved one whom we can pour out our woes to, etc. Actually, our lawn isn’t that bad at all.

A note to the future me and the you who will walk beside me: I will cherish you and the days that we have together.

Walk a mile in my shoes and I in yours, and we will realize, actually we are quite blessed after all.

I Want Happy

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Here I am, sitting at the steps a short distance away from MBS, overlooking the Marina Bay. The sign says ‘Deep Waters’ ahead. Two more steps and into the waters I go together with the Merlion. Sort of like a Reuel time for me to space out, I walked from Promenade to get here. The water is fine, the breeze welcoming, the view soothing to the eyes.

Plugged onto my Blackberry blasting Hillsong’s Oceans into my ear drums on repeat, the walk and the view is healing to my soul. Its been a while since i took my ‘own sweet time’, getting to where I am now at one-third thy normal pace. On the way, I saw a bridal shoot taking place. The couple and their photographers were immortalizing their moment with the Marina bay for backdrop. Walking along the highway, I could see families, young and old, couples and friends strolling along the Helix bridge. I stopped, took a deep breath, and snapped a picture. Helix Bridge on my right, cars zooming past on my left. A stone in the middle of a flowing river, standing in the middle as life passed by me.

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Further on, I walked right into a packed outdoor lights show. It was a installation put in place in conjunction to this year’s Night Festival. Using spurs of water as canvas to project images, the 15-minute lighting show boasts of how Singapore has blossomed into a society that has a place for all; young and old. Bubbles and fountains were beautiful to look at when they encapsulate the lights; purple, green, blue and yellow within their bodies. The show was viewed by people of all ages, religion and nationality. A show for the people, about the people, watched by the people. Nice. It was beautiful to watch, together with the people of the world.

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There and then, I thought to myself, everyone here just wants to be happy.

The people zooming past me in their cars, they could be rushing to go home to see their loved ones, they could be meeting friends for supper, they could be buying love, they could be doing anything, to be happy. The people that strolled past me and the people who witnessed the show, despite their busy schedules in the day, stopped to admire the lights show. It was like the hands of time stopped for them as they put down busy to be happy. Because really, all we really want is to be happy. We work so hard [albeit some employ the wrong methods to do so] so that we and our loved ones can be happy, we fall in love [with the wrong people] because we thought we could be happy. we succumb to the life’s simple [or sensual] pleasures because we want to be happy. So that one day, we could just stop, put down all that we have been doing to make a life, and just observe the beauties life has to offer. So that we can be happy.

The pigeon holes in the building overlooking the Marina Bay with their lights still on, probably some hardworking employee still slotting their guts out for their work, all for happy.

Before going further, say aloud to yourself, [Insert your name] want to be happy!”

Criminals and legit, crooks and hawkers, Buddhists and Christians, escorts and socialites, students and retirees, we all have one common goal in mind. In a sense we are not so different after all.

As I sit down here, backs against the steps, heads facing the lights of Marina Bay, legs hanging down, watching the waves past by me; calm, peaceful, repetitive and unconcerned about the things of the world, I become one with the scenery befalling me.

The bible says ‘Happy are those whose God is the Lord!’ (Psalm 144:15b) I begin to understand this verse in a wider spectrum. Here I am, sitting here wanting to know the secrets to pursuing and enslaving that illusive thing called ‘Happiness’ along with billions of people in the world right now, be it awake or in dream land. But the thing is, we can’t buy happy. The things we do can’t give us happy, the things we possess can’t retain happy, the photographs we take can’t preserve happy, the money we earn can’t make a happy. That which is superficial can only retain the temporal. There are many sources which happiness can flow from; a happy family, friends that bring joy to one’s heart, etc. Yet there can only be one true source of happiness, that which is God. He just happens to be the source of everything else too; Peace, Hope, Faith, Healing, Abundance, Joy and Love.

When we truly understand what it means to have The Lord in our hearts, to fill the void in the shape of the alphabet ‘H’, even a moment of stillness can be a happy moment. I could have all the possessions of the world but never felt more miserable, I could possess nothing in the world but feel like the happiest man in the world.

Do not say,
“Why were the former days better than these?”
For you do not inquire wisely concerning this.
– Ecclesiastes 7:10

Stop, be still, observe, give thanks, receive. Happiness, peace and joy can be found in even a second of a moment.

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!