Saturday, July 28, 2012

Unsent letters

Visa application matters pour in these few days, right after I came back from KL. This imminently means I have book tickets to fly to KL again, just to get the biometrics done. 2 weeks after the flight scheduled on mid-August, I'm supposed to fly over again to collect my visa and attend the fresher's camp. As I am caught in this dilemma of flying back to attend the camp and collection of visa (option available: visa can be courier back home so I don't have to travel there), I am also at the same time, caught in the web of having to draft so many letters to the sponsor, to the university, to the seniors, to the juniors, to my secondary school and a few more close friends of mine, whom I have yet to meet even though I'm free for a year.

Letters. As I realise that lately I tend to organise my thoughts and feelings better through words, instead of speaking to the person face to face, though my language still sucks.  (But I still hold on to the 'belief' that photography is my paramount and favourite method of  expression. The colours, the lightings!) At least it gives me space and time to think properly before I pen down each word, to give each thought a proper judgement before 'voicing' it out so as to not hurt others as much, especially when those words were meant to be confrontational. Constructive confrontations. I've written many letters before, but many were unsent, just because I lack the courage to do the last step - click Send. What a coward. 

Back to the trail of procrastinating from writing the official letters and doing other presumably more important stuffs, I went through the unsent letters in my mail instead. Memories from near-past swarmed my mind, the good and the bad ones, then there came pangs of remorse. Those words which once were flowing directly, true from my heart seem so distant now. I don't feel like the writer of those letters any more. I felt so embarrassed and stupid for writing those words that I feel relieve for not sending those letters. But who knows what those letters might have brought? The pure honesty? They could, in some serendipitous way, heal some relationships that were broken. But then again, I didn't send them. 
Perhaps, it's of the character and personality change God has blessed me with throughout this year. It's not a drastic, 180 degree change like the one I've been through when I first left home to college. This time, it is more subtle. It may be due to the stress, the bamboozles I've been whirled in for the past year or maybe I've been reading so much and talking so much lesser for the past 8 months compared to the college days. Lately, my buddies have commented that I am, strangely, radiating a very different aura: A much more quiet person who seems to have something in mind all the time. 

It's true that I am always thinking of something else while simultaneously carrying on the topic we are talking about most of the time. (I believe most people do that too) My mind just has that wondrous propensity to wander. Then I'll pen it down when I get back home, having the urge, the illusion that I have the guts to send it out, solve the problem once and for all, but resolved to coddling myself by saving those drafts in the inbox, evading all those 'soon-to-be-uprising' awkwardness and anger all together - the aftermaths of unnecessary necessary confrontations. 

I don't think it'll ever be too late to send those letters out. Better late than never. At least, you are giving the supposed-to-be recipient the right to choose, right?

Argh, where are my guts?!?! *pulls hair* 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

A reflection on Psalms 84

How lovely is your dwelling place,
LORD Almighty!

How great is God's temple? No, this is not a rhetoric question. Let me ask again: How great is God's temple, really? I have tried to imagine many times, based on the descriptions in Revelation 21 on the Kingdom of God, the Lord's revealed glory in its full measure, the one that shines like the precious jewels but I still could not fathom His blinding glory. Maybe for a moment I am able to do so due to the circumstance that I am writing directly under the sun, but I believe He is more than our Sun!

My soul yearns, even faints,
for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.
Even the sparrow has found a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself, 
where she may have her young-
a place near your altar,
LORD Almighty, my King and my God. 

Indeed, the longing to witness His full glory, just as the psalmist who yearns to see God's Temples is unbearable! It's like holding myself back from the ultimate suspense of the story of our God's Kingdom, yet I can't even handle the reality unfolding so impeccably in front of me right now. It's like suppressing the impulse to rush to the street and grab any passer-by, asking ever so eagerly: Do you know when is the second coming of the Lord? When?

Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
they are ever pleasing to you.
Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. 

I want to draw near to God. Andre Gide once said: Man cannot discover new oceans until he has the courage to lose the sight of shore. I need to give up the shore, my comfort zone. Whenever I study God's words, I have this tendency to beat around the bush. I rather read all sorts of Christianity books and find excuses to not read the Bible itself. It's like eat supplements without taking the real foods.

As they pass through the Valley of Baca,
they make it a place of springs; 
the autumn rains also cover it with pools.

Temptations are everywhere. Do pray for me, my dear brothers and sisters, that as I journey through this valley of dryness, I will be able to transform the surroundings as well as my core of life to His likelihood. May my chains be broken and more than that, may I learn to fully understand God one day, by His grace, through His words and of the work of the Holy Spirit, that I am able to see His Kingdom's glory in its full measure.

Hear my prayer, LORD God Almighty;
listen to me, God of Jacob.

And I, from the apex of my heart, from the deepest corner of my soul, trust that the Lord will guide and empower us to reach His temple, our final destination.

They go from strength to strength,
till each appears before God in Zion.

LORD Almighty,
blessed is the one who trusts in you. 

I'm back!

Oh wow, look at that, last post was about 2 months ago. Sorry for disappearing for such a long duration but...I am finally back from a great adventure! :D
Latest additions to my camp tags collection 
Life has been treating me extremely well for the past 2 months, or I ought to put it in another way - The Lord has been generously pouring blessings after blessings. I'm back from the Biro Tata Negara (BTN) camp for government-sponsored scholars, which was a week long and Camp Cameron 2012 by FES for 3 weeks! Imagine that...1 week by the beach and 3 weeks on Cameron Highlands, with great time catching-up sessions with my collegemates and SUFES campers & staffs as the prologue, interlude and a fine epilogue to my adventure. I was working before flying off to West Malaysia for the camps and work will resume tomorrow, before I officially resign to prepare myself for university next month.

I have been writing and drawing quite a bit during these camps - essays, poems, sketches and haikus all lined up and prepared to be posted once I resign from my first ever, proper work. It's amazing how the Lord guided me through things, brought me to the paradises on earth like Chefoo, Cameron Highlands then allowed the Spirit to prompt me to express in words and drawings. My language has never been sharp and good before, same goes to my awful drawing skills, but somehow, which I believe were the works of the Spirit, I was able to channel my experiences through those mediums, quite precisely during those few weeks. I really doubt such works of art would come from me any time soon. 
Boh Tea Plantation, Cameron Highlands

Boh Tea Plantation, Cameron Highlands
 Nevertheless, thank God, really, this year has been a fruitful year, albeit lacking the lustre of academic achievements. It has been a year of growth, an unfathomable expand of the width of perspective. (Plenty of work needed to be done on the 'depth') I was broken, healed, broken and am still in the process of healing, but I am no longer afraid because some things are just not meant to be, some people are just there to teach you stuffs and leave your life forever. All that is left to be done is surrendering these broken relationships for God to be redeemed. I shall fight for myself no more. 
Academic wise: everything seems so surreal at first, but at least, the confirmation from my university today has brought something down to earth - I have finally received the unconditional offer from University of Cambridge for Medicine at Gonville and Caius College. And so it is to Cambridge I will be heading to no less than 2 months time! I'm in the process of sorting out visa applications, warming up my rusty brain to study, packing, lots of reflections to be done, and schedule for farewells. Mixed feelings I will talk more about this when I finish posting up all my works from Camp Cameron.
Enjoying the afternoon at The Lord's Cafe, Cameron Highlands

Jehovah Jireh...God who provides. He is indeed my God who has provided me with everything more than I could ever imagine. All praises to Him, to God be the glory! 

Till then.