A goal in the midst of challenges
A goal in the midst of challenges
i’m back from Cambodia after 3 weeks and something within me has shifted.
i want to live my life with purpose while being fully present in the here and now.
i want to look around and take everything in—even if i’m just standing at the bus stop waiting for my ride home. to take notice of the faces around me. of the condominium just across the road. to breathe deep and exhale slowly.
i want to begin writing and taking note of these moments again. these life moments that i used to hold carefully in my hands. in a note tucked away somewhere.
i want to create boldly and with abandon.
i don’t want to wait for the future, as if my life will only begin once i reach a certain milestone or age. i want to live my life now.
I am gifted with the unique gift of perspective during these few months. Where I see the struggles of a loved one in adjusting to the use of crutches. Maybe one might think that the humbling is just confined to the one with the injury / handicap. And this applies to anyone who has no full use of his bodily functions. But in caring and looking out for this person whom I love very much, in always making sure he is safe and not overstraining himself, in taking care of every detail and addressing every discomfort, I am acutely aware of the energy that a caregiver expends in pouring into a loved one’s life, if this loved one is living with a handicap. As I type this I am boarding the bus, and the bus captain is making sure to wheel an old Malay man in his wheelchair off the bus. I’m glad Jonathan is healing, that the use of his crutches is temporary. That he has the resources to heal, that he had an innovative surgery to correct what was broken. That he has a bunch of people concerned for him and that desire the best for him. I have only begun to grasp the weight and gravity of physical handicaps – both the people involved and the caregivers. Especially if this handicap is lifelong.
“Every single heart is waiting for a love
Is looking for someone who will not let go
In the deepest part of everything we are
We want to be enough, want our worth to show
Jesus help me believe, ‘cause You have done what we could never
And still in my disbelief, for all my questions You the answer
More and more I see You are the only one who makes us whole”
An old man in a hospital bed. Wheezing and groaning as he takes his laboured breaths. A father and his daughters stand by his bedside, attempting to cling onto a comfortable handle, to make sense of the awkwardness of a life diminishing by the minute, hanging by an already frayed thread. The lady, the old man’s daughter, pulls these two girls to the other side in prayer. A small gesture. Words uttered in Mandarin, of thanksgiving of who God is. The oldest girl closes her eyes, tears slowly welling up.
Closed eyes and bowed heads. Something small. But a testimony to the fathers who have yet to believe.
I decided to pick up my camera and start taking pictures of what I’m doing with my life. I realised how much I miss expressing myself here. And it’s peculiar that it is just so much easier and somewhat cathartic to post an image and a semi-ambiguous caption on any kind of social media outlet. I am a product of my generation I guess.
In some states of mind, it is hard to see the light. I think I’ve written about how clouded my mind gets sometimes, because it bombards itself with questions and thoughts that dig a hole deep into the ground. On Sunday night I was confronting the areas of my life I have nonchalantly brushed aside, and came to the conclusion that it’s just easier to put on a veneer of maturity and prim-proper-niceness as a Christian. But I am learning, and relearning what it means to live this life and to be who I am. Sunday night was an existential crisis of sorts – but I don’t like to go as far as to say that it was, because that’s a little too dramatic for me. A more concise word was: confused. I was kind of confused. So the first thing that came to mind after journalling my thoughts, being honest with my struggles and no longer pretending [which is possible even in my journal where no one sees except God], was to create. To paint.
I was reading Psalm 27. I assumed, before reading it through, that my heart and mind would dwell on the parts that talked about being with God as the one thing my heart seeks after. But no. The parts of the chapter that stood out most, that made me choke back tears were verses 7-9. I wanted God to hear my cries. I knew something was wrong and my heart told me to be honest with God and myself, that’s why I sought after Him. The ‘do not’s are another cry to Him. My soul begging. These words echoing how I wanted less of what I was going through and more of knowing God and knowing what that would look like.
And after I lettered those verses. It wasn’t enough. My fingers itched to paint. To really paint. And I haven’t done that in months.
What started out as a vague idea of a mish-mash of colours turned into a raging fire. Then I streaked it with silver, with gold-silver, with gold, with bronze-gold.
This is the fire I attribute to God. The passion that comes from Him and is Him. The power that comes from Him and is Him. It’s a small representation of the brilliance that He exudes if I were to see Him full-on face to face. But it was enough for me to ponder.
I felt a greater peace after I spent the night painting and I wondered to myself, even asking God, why is it easier for me to use art to connect to You? What’s so special about this skill that I somehow possess?
Two things came to mind – beauty, and creating.
Beauty exists and I’m able to appreciate that.
The art of creating exists and I take so much delight in that.
Is beauty and the creation of it random? Is creating random? Is the beauty in creation random? Purposeless? I really don’t think so.
I take so much delight in the creation process. And my heart swells when I know that I’ve come across something that has taken my breath away. I wonder if that’s how God sees me and sees us as well. I think He does. That’s pretty amazing to me.