I’ll Be With You

It’s one of the great privileges of being a journalist to participate with people in their wedding. Last night I attended the wedding reception of the youngest daughter of Dato Sri Wong Soon Koh, the Second Finance Minister and Minister of Urban Development and Tourism Sarawak. Sharon is married to her University mate, Andrew from Sing-Land. They were married in Sydney on 18th Feb. Tonight’s reception thrown for over thousand guests saw the love of parents, siblings, community and political leaders!

Well, these people are all beside you, not in front of you or behind you, they are just walking side by side with you.

We are all familiar with this saying,

Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow.
Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead.
Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Eight members of the visionary team of Sibu (one of them is the bride’s father) sang this popular Chinese oldie, “I am beside you” (wu zai ni zuo yew). This is their “trademark” song during any function, whether it’s a political or community, and even at wedding. They have surely improved!

The bride’s mother, a very graceful woman formerly a school teacher, spoke. She spoke during all her children’s weddings offering advices to the newly wed. Besides, love, care, respect, falling in love over and over again with the spouse, and be there always meeting the spouse’s needs, Datin Sri Leong has never failed to advise her children to seek guidance from above, the Lord of their lives.

Sharon and Andrew also spoke thanking parents, relatives and friends in shaping them what they are today. I like it when Sharon said that they would not take it lightly to serve God as husband and wife!

Moses said the reason for marriage is that it is God’s work, God’s gift of a woman or man in your life, the possibility of entering into this creative work of God, of something that is unique and marvelous and that will display His character.

How wise is the bride to say that she and her significant other will not take it lightly to serve God as husband and wife!

My “journalistic observation” and knowing the parents of Sharon tell me that Sharon and Andrew are given the very good gift from God – fine parents. Children who have fine parents will learn from their parents – their honesty, humility, courage, hard work and love for God. They are to take from their parents what made them fine people and make it their own.

It’s such marvelous gift! They really have much to be thankful for.

As I was carried away by the melody of the eight politicians in “I’m by your side”, I said a little prayer for Sharon and Andrew –

Now that you are married, you don’t have the presence of God mediated to you through your parents anymore, you are in God’s presence yourself. You are not children dependent on your parents anymore, you are children of God, directly learning from your Heavenly Father. May you be united and joined investing your best emotional energy in strengthening the relationship over a lifetime. Father, draw them nearer to each other and nearer to You each day …

With the assurances of the eight politicians in “I’m by your side”, I also wish a little wish –

Let your song shines before the people of Sibu, that they may see your good deeds and as a source of hope! Let your song speaks of life lived with real honesty, life that is open, joyful, energetic, enthusiastic, fair and hopeful. Let the song be not only a description of marriage, but a description of community life!

 

A Day to Remember

Chris went to a dentist today and had one milk tooth pulled to give way to the permanent tooth that is cutting through the gum. I like to tease him that his milk teeth are jealous teeth who would not give way for the permanent ones. He reasons that because his permanent teeth learn the hard way to grow, so they are all aligned nicely.

Every time when he has a tooth extracted, we could tell stories after stories about “teeth”. Tonight he asked whether I remember when grandma (my mother) was very sick, I took the “teeth” (dentures) out of grandma’s mouth and brushed? He said he was then bewildered how grandma’s teeth could be taken out and put back. Chris was then five years old.

Talking of my mother always brings tears, and more tears. I said I could not quite remember and asked how he could remember that?

Chris said,

These are precious memories. If you choose to remember, you will remember.

We live in an era that is famous for 24-year-old self-made billionaires (this I borrow from mGf, Desi). We live in a time in which technology is outmoded six months after it is discovered. (this I hear from my significant other whenever I say I would like to buy a new gadget). Things happen very quickly. We also forget things very fast.

Perhaps, we choose not to remember.

Today I choose to remember the principle of the top management of NST for not putting the responsibility on one staff only.

Today I choose to remember the grace and kindness of our Prime Minister is closing the case of NST without “punishing” them for “sins not committed”.

As written in my earlier post, In the Light of His Glory and Grace, I repeat,

All the things on earth grow strangely dim in the light of the principle of NST’s top management.

All the things on earth grow strangely dim in the light of the grace and kindness of our Prime Minister….

These are precious memories that take a long, long time to come by…

There’s a Camel in My Soup

I am way behind in my daily reading of “The One Year Bible”. Going along with me is another companion, One Year Book of Praying Through The Bible”.NST greets its readers with “We Apologise. Unreservedly” today.

I thought, NST owes me no apology.

Praying Through The Bible greets me with this devotion, “There’s a Camel in My Soup”. Today, if you think NST owes you an apology, or someone owes you an apology, read on …

Picture this: We reach over to pick a gnat out of our brother’s soup only to discover a large, hairy camel sitting in our own bowl. When we lean in to get a better look, he spits in our eye. It’s a camel, all right! Jesus paints a humorous picture of a serious subject – legalism. It’s so easy to find fault with a brother or sister. After all, it’s right there where we can see it plainly. Yet as we point out the gnats – those tiny, pesky faults in others that hover and annoy us – we have shortcoming the size of camels in our own lives!

When it comes to judging, what we need to do is offer our own hearts and minds daily to God so that his grace can redeem our failures. Then we can rejoice in our victories because we know that they are gifts from him. Even when we feel as if we have “arrived” and no longer have any imperfections, we still cannot judge our brother, for now we have a new camel in our soup – pride. Take a moment today and ask God to help you take your eyes off of others’ fault and to help you examine your own heart.

When one knows oneself well, one is not desirious of looking into the faults of others.
– John Moschus

(taken from One Year Book of Praying Through The Bible, devotion for Feb 4)

Why?

Someone has said,

There are only two kinds of speakers. One is those who have something to say. The other is those who have to say something.

Very often, we are the latter kind.

Life presents some riddles to us. Different people take these riddles differently. But, most of us will ask, “Why?” first. After the “why”, some will remain silent, some will express them through words, some will express their thoughts through cartoons, some will seek advices, some will …. Just having to say something as self-defence.

Why? The child with the asking eyes… (pix inserted)

Have you ever been pestered by children with the unending “why”? My two children are “problem” children with unending “why”. When Rachel was small (reason for not using “young” is because she still is), if she was not satisfied with the answers to her “whys”, she would experiment it herself. She would mix and mess until she found the answers. Very often, she ended up in trouble. Chris would dismantle and trying to fix back. He ended up in more confusion.

I am not a wise mother as to be able to give answers to all their “whys”. But, I know there are books like encyclopedia and Bible that would answer most of their “whys”.

Rachel and Chris are “wise” children. They often readily admit they are wrong and will never do that again (but usually with a turn of head, they would start mixing, messing, dismantling to answer their “whys”). They know that any self-defense put up in their wrongdoings would end them up in more trouble and they would not be expecting any advocate to stand in for them.

Wisdom is the answer to the question, Why? What is wisdom? Someone has described wisdom as the right use of knowledge. It is how to use things in such a way as to make things work out rightly. That is what we lack. We can do all kind of things with knowledge but we do not do the right things with it. We all lack wisdom. We have lots of knowledge but have no wisdom on how to use it.

Where can you find wisdom? The Bible! Read this one,

And he said to man,
Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom;
And to depart from evil is understanding. (Job 28:28)

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom! When life presents us with troubles, the first reaction is always to defend ourselves or to find excuses, like what Job was doing. We ask, “Why should this happen to me?” What we mean is “we have not done anything wrong, we are perfectly professional, we have contributed much to the industry we are in or to human kind…..” We have learnt from the book of Job that “as long as a man is defending himself, God will not defend him”.

Jesus taught us at the Sermon of the Mount, “Blessed is the man who is poor in spirit”. When we shut up and stop defending and justifying ourselves, God will rise to take up our cause.

That reminds me of what Martin Luther had to say when he was called before the head of the Holy Roman Empire at the cathedral at Worms, Germany. Martin Luther was charged with heresy, on trial for his life. All the dignitaries, the nobles of the empire and the princes of the Catholic Church were there.

Martin Luther said,

 

Unless I am shown by the testimony of Scripture and by evident reasoning, unless I am overcome by means of the scriptural passages that I have cited, and unless my conscience is taken captive by the words of God, I am neither able nor willing to revoke anything, since to act against one’s conscience is neither safe nor honest. Here I stand; God help me, I cannot do otherwise, Amen!

God promises a safe landing, not a calm passage.

Wisdom has two parts
Having a lot to say
Not saying it.

May we all, especially journalists, has the wisdom that comes not from our own knowledge, but the fear of the Lord.

Posted in Soul Bond, Soul Reflections. Comments Off on Why?

Life in the Fast Lane

I boarded 7 am flight to Miri yesterday morning reaching Miri city at 8 am. I met 12 journalists, each 15 minutes. By 12:15 pm I was on the plane back to Sibu. I have to catch this flight so that I could still have a brief stop at Bintulu airport for another journalist.

Last night, little Chris had a bad nose bleeding. It was a bad one because the bleeding was profuse and lasted for quite a while. Quite a while means long enough to get mummy’s attention while she was working on the report after the day’s trip. Quite a while means long enough to turn Chris’ calm and cool to fear and tears.

In between tears and sobs, Chris said, “Mummy, I want to “burn”* my nose. I am scared one day when my nose bleed and you are not home. The nose bleed is like your work that never ends. It comes so fast and it is like you that run so fast.” (*Chris’ ENT doctor’s term in order to stop his bleeding)

I have to confess that I am addicted to speed. I have never thought that young Chris would think the pace of my life is a “frantic” one likened to his nose bleeding that comes fast. I have taken the pace of my life as nothing wrong and even biblical. Jeremiah admonishes us these words:

“If you have raced with men on foot, and they have wearied you, how will you compete with horses?”

Paul asks in the letter to the Corinthians:

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may attain it.

Paul also says,

“Let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us.”

Even the Psalmist says,

“A strong man who runs the course with joy.”

What’s wrong? Deep down, I know these are just “comforts” that I use to tell myself that “it’s okay to be fast”.

William Wordsworth writes,

“The world is too much with us;
Late and soon, getting and spending,
We lay waste our powers.
Little we see in nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon…
We are out of tune,…”

Yes, I am out of tune, I guess. I am out of touch with nature. I am out of touch with myself. I am out of touch with my loved ones. I am even out of touch of this blog!

Today, another poet William Stafford gives me an understanding of time,

Time wants to show you a different country.
It is the one that your life conceals,
the one waiting outside when curtains are drawn,
the one Grandmother hinted at in her crochet design,
the one almost found over at the edge of the music, after the sermon.

It’s the way life is, and you have it, a few years given.
You get killed now and then,
Violated in various ways. (And sometimes it’s turn about)’
You get tired of that.
Long-suffering, you wait and pray,
and maybe good things come – may be
the hurt slackens and you hardly feel it anymore.
You have a breath without pain.
It is called happiness.

It’s a balance, the taking and passing along,
The composting of where you’ve been and how people
And weather treated you.
It’s a country where you already are,
bringing where you have been.
Time offers this gift in its millions of ways,
Turning the world, moving the air, calling,
Every morning, “Here, take it, it’s yours.”

Yes, take it, it’s mine – the time. Time sitting by the river? As in the picture?

 

 

 

 

 

The Dimming of the Light

Don’t get caught by the cartoon. It has nothing to do with my posting today nor has it got anything to do with the title of the posting. It is just to tell you that I appreciate cartoons because they drive a point home in a very striking way. Now, this cartoon may not represent my point of view, but I appreciate the humour of it because it drives a point home. Perhaps, one of the points in this posting. Enjoy and be amused. I mean, the cartoon!

 

The lights of many eating places were dimmed last night. Lovers were enjoying dinner with dimmed light, or over candlelight. You know with the dimming of the light, we do not see clearly with physical eyes. I hope each and every lovers who had dined under dimmed light had a new understanding of their mates today. It is logical that when physical eyes are not functioning well, the eyes of the heart perform better!

My significant other suggested to dine out too. But, I have an appointment with God every Tuesday – leading a Bible Study Group. My members have not indicated that they are having candlelight dinner. The light was not dimmed during the study. As always, we all came with expectations. Yesterday, I went with a heavy heart, eyes blurred, ears unclear. The only thing I had was a teachable spirit.

Since the ear squat incident in the country, I have been associated with “ear”. First, it’s Chris’ ear infection. Then, it’s Rachel’s mild hearing loss. I have been seeing the one and only Ear, Nose and Throat doctor here for the past three months, spending hefty thousand ringgit for consultation and medication.

Yet, the matters have not come to a rest. Chris still complains of ear pain. He is still on allergy treatment. Rachel’s case is new and I have to wait for another two weeks for hearing test or audiogram.

Ear, ear, ear! It no doubt loaded my mind with many small voices, some from the shepherd, some from the wolf.

“He who has an ear, let him hear ….” As I led in the opening prayer last night, I heard many words bubbled from my months having an ear in them. Those words are –

Heart – Learn
Hear – Clear
Fear – Bear

I remember when I studied Chinese or English Literature during the secondary school days, the eyes and the ears are often used as metaphors for an inner comprehension of the mind.

We all know the physical functions of eyes and ears. They are designed to see and to hear. Sometimes when they malfunction we provide aids for them, as glasses for the eyes and hearing aids for the ears.

But the souls has organs of sight and of hearing as well. When we said “we have understood what have been said” or when we heeded an advice or we respond to a request, we are actually hearing and seeing with our mind and emotions, the soul.

I do not know how much you grasp what I am trying to say about hearing and seeing with our soul due to my limitation in expression. If you don’t get this, or you don’t know quite what it is, you may like to say, “It does not sound right to me,”

There are many things happening around us that we do not understand. Certain words are said with hidden meanings. We are involved in a situation that we do not understand.

That is when you hear but you do not hear.
You see when you do not see.

There are times when we gain flashes of insight and thus have a full understanding of a truth in relationship to other truths.

This is when the eyes and ears of your spirit are working.

There are three levels here –

Seeing (with their physical eyes) they do not see (with their mental eyes).
hearing (with their physical ears) they do nto hear (with their mental ears),
nor do they understand (it does not reach the level of the spirit where they grasp the full meaning of the truth in relationship to themselves and the world around them)

When the light dimmed, use the ears and eyes of the soul to understand. You do not have to fear or bear the burden – for the Lord bears it all!

Yes, I am leaving the “ear” problems to the Lord. That’s the new understanding I gained as the light dimmed last night.

 

 

Be My V.A.L.E.N.T.I.N.E – all year long!

The first time I “celebrated” Valentine’s Day was when Rachel suggested that daddy and mummy went for a Valentine Candle Light dinner while she looked after Chris. She was then 6 and Chris, 1.

We did not go for a candle light dinner. My significant other bought some chocolates. Chocolates has never been my favourite, so the father-daughter team finished all. For that thoughtful suggestion of a romantic night for daddy and mummy, Rachel was rewarded with chocolates. And from that day on, she receives chocolate surprises now and then from daddy.

Over the years, my significant other would buy some gifts to show his love and affection.

One year, he went to England and came back with two skirts and two blouses from St. Michael. It was the first time he bought clothes for me. It turned out to be disastrous. He bought three sizes bigger. While I was shocked, I also thought that he would not mind me growing another three sizes bigger even when I am already over-sized. That warmed my heart. I still keep the clothes. Perhaps one day, I would be able to wear that!

Another year, he went to England again and came back with shoes also two sizes bigger. It took me quite a while to find the Cinderella to fit the shoes and gave them away. It was not cheap. I could not keep the leather shoes hoping that one day my feet would grow bigger! I jokingly told him that it was lucky that I could not wear or I would have “walked out of his life”!

Other years, he bought pearl necklace, chocolates, candies …. but no roses yet. Other times if he did not pick up any present, he would give a hug. Then the two children would always go, “Yeah! Me next!”

Such were the fun of Valentine’s Day. However, I am romantically impaired. All the roses around the feet are transparent. I have never been attracted to them. All the candlelight set dinners are too expensive to waste money during valentine day. My gifts are limited to books, cards, CDs, cross-stitches I made and home-cook food. I am more a practical person.

I do not like to stick to routine. Or perhaps, I always do the opposite. When everyone is having new clothes for new year, I wear the usual clothes. When everyone is going for new hairstyle, there has never been a time that I change to a new hairstyle for new year. So, giving gifts on Valentine’s Day is definitely out of question.

What’s so special about Valentine’s Day this year then?

Yeah, it’s my blog’s anniversary!

It was last year I started this blog. I remember writing about a young charming journalist believing that the young bud in a vase on her table would blossom. Even when her colleague laughed at her that no beautiful flower would come from the bud, she insisted that within every bud there is a rose.

I do not know whether the young bud on her table blossomed later. But, over the year, this young journalist blossoms! She has won many prizes over the past year. She has written many delightful and touching articles that bring out the good in everything she has explored. The rose within her has blossomed many times over.

There is this journalist who suffers from insomnia for many years. For several years, he could never attend my morning meeting. Over the year, with much coaching and encouragement, he has been making presence at my morning meeting regularly and contributing ideas. He has made tremendous improvement in his work winning many prizes.

Yes, within every soul there is a rose … there is always something good in store in someone. It only takes love and living to nurture that good and bring it out.

Valentine’s Day is about living together in the Lord in a loving marriage relationship for husbands and wives. It is about a loving lifestyle of intentional, sacrificial commitment to each other, whether lovers, husbands and wives, friends and community members. It is also about loving oneself, nurturing the good in oneself.

C.S. Lewis talks about the event of falling in love in his book, The Four Loves. He says,

In one high bound it has overleaped the massive all of our selfhood; it has made appetite itself altruistic, tossed personal happiness aside as a triviality and planted the interests of another in the centre of our being.

That really means love another person. It’s more than roses, chocolates, cakes, candlelight dinner, diamonds ….. It’s more than the ability to accept the oversized dresses and shoes with a laugh.

We live in days of tremendous personal isolation, insulation and little tolerance. Demonstrations of affection are sadly lacking. The danger most of us face is showing too little rather than too much affection and have no commitment in any relationship.

Loving involves much more than making them happy on Valentine’s Day, it involves a commitment that can surmount any hurdle, a commitment that can survive any sorrow, a commitment that will last forever. Husbands and wives who give gifts to each on Valentine’s Day but are untrue to one another would not be people who know what love is all about. Husband and wives who are good at bringing momentary happiness but fail to stay committed over the long term would not be people who know what love is really all about.

Remember how C.S. Lewis defined what it means to fall in love? It is relationship marked by the kind of selflessness, altruism and concern for others. Such relationships are all humanly impossible.

Yes, it is humanly impossible apart from the grace of God at work among us, changing us.

Be my V. A. L. E. T. I. N. E, all year long.

V for my venture into the blogging world trying to make some sense in

every day’s life issues

A for the abundance of blessings from above and from friends

in this blogging world

L for the laughter, love and labour

E for the encouragement throughout the year

N for the nurture

T for the time spent exchanging conversations

I for making me feel important

N for meeting my every needs

E for empathizing with me in many situations

From your Valentine!