Category Archives: Personal

Tears she held back

As we get ready to board the bus,
she comes to bid us farewell,
but the tears she holds back I can see.
How she wishes we could stay and not leave.
How she wishes we could have another moment together.
People frequently come and go,
so many passersby.
Who will love her?
Who will love her home?
Are we another group that comes and goes,
or will we be one that will be committed?
One that will be committed to a partnership so deep,
that it will bring forth fruit,
fruit that will last?

Quicksand

A note I wrote from 9 April 2012:

With a density greater than that of the human body, it is impossible for a person to be killed by quicksand. However, the way to get out of its trapping is sometimes counterintuitive. I think there are some analogies with temptation. As children of God, with wisdom and the Holy Spirit, we know that temptation has no (final) hold over us, and is incapable in itself to cause death. However, just like quicksand, its suction force gives it the potential to be an accomplice in murder. Toying with, or struggling with temptation is oftentimes natural, but that just strengthens the grip that it has on us.

Just like how explorers have placed warning signs in places of quicksand, the Bible and people around us forewarn us of situations of impending danger. It is foolish not to heed such warnings.

There is a sentence that I’ve found worthy of quoting: The devil tempts all other men, but that idle men tempt the devil.

From the time I received my letter of offer from Accellion, I went into cruise mode, as though I was on ecstasy, and didn’t schedule things in the upcoming (last) week, as I did previously. It was possibly the lowest week for this year. With nothing on my calendar, I had plenty of idle time, a devil’s playground. I yielded and sinned against my own body.

10 years ago on Easter, a drama scene depicting Jesus’ struggle in Hades pierced my heart and I turned away from suicide and never contemplated it again. The price he paid and the realization that this life doesn’t belong to me made me see the unfairness of giving up on myself.

This year I make the same choice again, to walk from death into life. This time, in preparation to enter society and work and get married, I choose the fullness of life. Abundant life. Just the way it is written about in the Bible, and the way I see it lived out by the many who have gone before. I choose to seize every day, for the satisfaction that that day was lived for God. Not just a good life, but a great life.

恩典之路

YouTube:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Q444bzsehU
优酷:http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMTI5ODg4Nzc2.html

你是我的主
引我走正义路
高山或低谷
都是你在保护
万人中唯独
你爱我认识我
永远不变的应许
这一生 都是祝福

一步又一步
这是恩典之路
你爱 你手
将我紧紧抓住
一步又一步
这是盼望之路
你爱 你手
牵引我走这人生路

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Markers of Time

The tenth of December last year was the start of a new chapter in my life as I took my first step into my first “proper” job. In this brief one and a half months, I’ve realized how easy it is to get sucked into work as a single adult male. It’s true. I wasn’t prepared for how addictive work can be, especially when I have no other commitments. Ok, I should rephrase that. There were other (more) important things that I needed to do too, but most of them were things I needed to find some solitude to do, e.g. writing, thinking, planning, meditating. Those things that don’t always seem fun. Or perhaps it just takes mental effort to leave work aside and make time for myself.

I’m thankful for this trip as it has given me some time away from the office. While waiting at the airport for my flight, I had an hour to sit down in BCIA’s T3 Chinese garden, and enjoy the soothing instrumental music in the background. I reflected on how the past one and a half months of work has blurred into an almost contiguous block of time as I frequently stayed late and went back to the office on weekends. With the lack of sunlight in my working space, there is lesser distinction between night and day.

Quoting from Moonwalking with Einstein (p. 75):

“I’m working on expanding subjective time so that it feels like I live longer,” Ed had mumbled to me on the sidewalk outside the Con Ed headquarters, a cigarette dangling from his mouth. “The idea is to avoid that feeling you have when you get to the end of the year and feel like, where the hell did that go?”

“And how are you going to do that?” I asked.

“By remembering more. By providing my life with more chronological landmarks. By making myself more aware of time’s passage.”

—–

Our lives are structured by our memories of events. Event X happened just before the big Paris vacation. I was doing Y in the first summer after I learned to drive. Z happened the weekend after I landed my first job. We remember events by positioning them in time relative to other events. Just as we accumulate memories of facts by integrating them into a network, we accumulate life experiences by integrating them into a web of other chronological memories. The denser the web, the denser the experience of time. (p. 76)

—–

Monotony collapses time; novelty unfolds it. You can exercise daily and eat healthily and live a long life, while experiencing a short one. If you spend your life sitting in a cubicle and passing papers, one day is bound to blend unmemorably into the next—and disappear. That’s why it’s important to change routines regularly, and take vacations to exotic locales, and have as many new experiences as possible that can serve to anchor our memories. Creating new memories stretches out psychological time, and lengthens our perception of our lives.

May each day be well lived and meaningful :)

The Best Investment

Every day, we have 24 hours given to us to choose how we want to live the day. Some days, we may be on a mission. Other days, questions about our existence may run through our head. An investor always looks for the investment that gives the best ROI. This ROI is not necessarily financial, possibly including emotional paybacks such as personal satisfaction, or gratification from doing something good.

Every morning, we wake up with a set of resources available to us. Our time, our money, our energy; and a whole host of things that place a demand on our time—work, family, friends, personal problems, etc. Bills to be paid, fires to be put out. Yet the urgent always seems to draw attention away from the truly important.

Over the first month of my first proper job, I’ve seen how easy it is to get consumed in one’s work, especially when it’s something that one enjoys. That’s not to say that work is evil. Rather, there are usually more important things to be done.

I haven’t heard of anyone who on his deathbed wished that he had worked harder, earned more money, or spent more time at work. Usually it’s about spending more time with family, or done something more meaningful.

This year, I choose to live the best I can. By that, I will give myself to the people around me, especially those who mean the most to me, and those to whom I’m called. We are relational beings and it is core to our reason for existence. I will strive to spend more time with people and less time hiding behind the screen, and I will strive to leave a smile on everyone I come in contact with.

Have you considered what is the best investment of YOUR time, energy, and resources? What kind of life will you look back on with no regrets at all?

If the world ended last week

If the world ended last week and all that I knew ceased to exist,
I would never again be able to soak myself in the beauty of snowfall
Everything I have done would be meaningless
I would never have the chance to enjoy the blissfulness of marriage
All the pain in the world would be in vain
and all the blessings experienced would amount to nought

But the world did not end, and I’m glad it didn’t, because it means that I can look forward to standing in an open square and allow snowflakes to flutter down all around me
because I may look forward to one day entering into the blessedness of marriage
because what I know to be true still holds true: that life is meaningful and everything we go through is part of an overarching plan.

Merry Christmas and have a blessed 2013.

The Steps We Take

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. – 1 Corinthians 13:11

It wasn’t too many years ago that I lived as though I had all the time in the world and that the future was wide open to me. The steps I took didn’t seem to matter, and many around me affirmed my youth and opportunity to experience the world and make mistakes. But now here I stand, and flashbacks of great experiences and big mistakes fill my mind. Some around me still try to tell me that I’m young. I do not dispute that, but we should also realize that young is a relative term.

Do I regret the life I’ve lived? Some parts yes, some parts no. There are things I wish I didn’t do, places I wish I didn’t go, friendships I wish I didn’t make. Yet in all things I know that it has been a rich journey, and that the vicissitudes of the the seasons will only serve to prepare me for what is to come.

However as I enter my late twenties, I am reminded that every step I take can either limit my future or be a stepping stone to the road ahead, and this can happen both in terms of actions I take and actions I do not take. If I decide to do A instead of B, the opportunity cost in the long term can be potentially huge, and with a limited lifespan, every endeavor should be considered.

The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, And He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; For the Lord upholds him with His hand. – Psalm 37:23-24

Amen.

如何面对挫折?

最近在新加坡申请工作签证被拒了三次,心里有点难受。我昨天收到公司的通知时还面无表情,但过了一天一夜的时间,我开始意识到这件事的沉重。如果一家公司拒绝我,我可以接受。可我真没想过会被一个政府部门拦住,尽管我曾经在这里长大,在这里过了十多年的青春。几个星期前,我对我周围的朋友说我对新加坡工作的斗志力有百分之八十。我不想一直跟新加坡政府为这件事争。毕竟我很清楚我的未来、我的命运不属于这个岛国的。

我一直以来觉得自己是个比较内向的人,不是很善于跟别人沟通。这段时间看到很多周围甚至没见过面的朋友鼓励我,我十分感恩。

这挫折让我再次考虑我生命的根基。男性对自己的价值判断很多时候是与事业表现有关。在此刻,我该如何面对自己,往前走?我还有力量往前走吗?

我的心哪,你为何忧闷?为何在我里面烦躁?应当仰望神,因我还要称赞他。他是我脸上的光荣,是我的神。--诗篇 42:11

我昨晚问了我自己三个问题:
一、我还相信我生活在一个充满机会的世界吗?这让我想起昨晚一位朋友教了我“天涯何处无芳草”这句话。不知道在这情况下适合用不。
二、我还相信神具有主权吗?
三、我还相信神向我所怀的意念是赐平安的意念,不是降灾祸的意念,而要叫我末后有指望吗?
我对这三道问题的答案是个很明确的“是”。跟神走了这十多年,经历了这么多,我怎么可以不认他呢?即使路有多坎坷,我知道他的话语还是正确的,有他与我同行,明天总是亮的。

我心里发昏的时候,我要从地极求告你。求你领我到那比我更高的磐石!--诗篇 61:2

我会如何面对这次的挫折?就像我之前面对挫折一样,不绝望,不断一步一步往前走。

我不知道明天会带来什么,但我知道谁掌管一切。

Making Sense of Pain

Pain is not something I’ve written about before. In many ways life has treated me fairly well, and I have been pretty blessed never having to worry about much. However I’m also well aware that life is not all smooth sailing. After looking for work for about a year, I finally got my first job offer three weeks ago, only to have my work visa application rejected because of changes in immigration policies.

When I first heard news of that, I was nonchalant about it. It’s not that I’m immune to setbacks, but in a way I was mentally prepared for such a result. As I ruminated over the matter and talked it over with friends, my state of mind swung between the positive and the negative. My family and friends are here, and I believed that I had the necessary competency to add to this society. This is where I call home, if only temporarily.

After being worn out looking for work for over a year, I was tired, and didn’t want to fight further. This is not my long term home, and I can always go to less restrictive markets. That’s a beauty of open markets. Those who want a more competitive lifestyle can choose it, whereas those who prefer a slower pace of life can choose accordingly. And that was my position till a friend “scolded” me for my lack of fighting spirit. My view was that there are things that I will fight for, there are people I will fight with, but this wasn’t something that I would give my whole life for.

Then I had an epiphany. While this is not something I would kill myself over, why not make use of it and treat is as training for something that I may need to fight for in the future? Maybe there is some use for the pain that has come through no choice of my own, for me to learn to fight.

I’m thankful for my circle of friends who have been supporting me all this way, and for my boss who’s shown me much favor. The best is yet to come. Amen.

黎明时节2

  前晚在凌晨两点打了《黎明时节》,今天就被我的中文老师批评说文章的逻辑不通、语言有时用的比较生硬。我今天重读了我的文章,同意我老师说的话,所以今天希望重写这篇文章,让你们更清楚地理解我为什么会说这个词。
  生命中的每一个季节都带来不同的特征。如果我们学会看清生命的季节,我们就会知道今天该如何行为。在2009年,我做了很多遗憾和后悔的事,甚至越了我自己的境界。2010年,我觉得我就在狂野里绕来绕去,什么进展都没有。那两年,生活在黑暗中,我心里不知那黑暗的时期会不会过去?我很感恩,回头望,那就是黎明前的黑暗。我熬过了那段时间,终于开始走向有阳光的日子。
  我相信当下是我生命中的黎明时节,而接下去的几年会越来越光亮。在这几个月的时间,我很感恩神通过我领袖把我带向今天。过了这么多年,我觉得我终于学会珍惜生命,学会珍惜每一天。在学校学习计划时间是一件事,但领悟到时间的价值是另一件事。领悟到我生命的短暂性和生命的价值改变了我每天起床的思维。我相信这让我在很多方面有了突破。
  我今晚就先把话说到这里,改天再继续写这个题目。