(1)Walk the Talk. Whatever your faith and belief, walk the talk. Angry speech and actions do not help at resolving differences at all. Someone once said about the christian faith, "You don't win anyone to Christ by winning an argument." That's right! I am tired of hearing people emphasizing on the importance of doctrines, yes I know that that is important, but more importantly is how we live.
(2)I just want to say something that has been on my mind for a long time but just haven't get around to writing it. When I was a sales consultant with a certain company promoting children's educational products, I often did rounds of cold-calling by knocking on the doors of total strangers. These are some of the memories etched in my mind. I remember the kind Indian lady who opened the door to me, listened patiently to me and then explained why she couldn't receive me; she was halfway through her Hindu prayer. I remember the Malay lady who honoured her word to complete her sale transaction with me even after a month's interval and the many kind Muslim families who had treated me as a human being when I knocked on their doors. I remember that not one single one of the foreigners who had opened their doors to me; the Cambodians, the Myanmar people, the Philippinos and one Nigerian had spoken to me in a condescending way, but treated me with such kindness. Who exhibited behaviours which are less than ... ? Mainly the local Chinese, and in one terrible instance, a chinese man with a big cross hung on his door - he let his dog barked at me knowing that I couldn't talk above the din and then waved me off with a flick of his hand as if I was a fly. As I think about all these years of relating with different people, I notice that the PRs were among the best folks I've ever met, they are polite and very positive in their outlook, we Singaporeans have so much to learn from them. What am I trying to say here? Perhaps I'm trying to say that actions speak louder than words no matter how right you think you are, that no one cares about what you say if you don't care about them. I'm saying this because I'm tired of hearing certain things said to me for the umpteen time, about doctrines, about how to live, about the PRs etc. Not all christians are angelic. Not all Singaporeans are wonderful. Learn from others. Walk the talk.
Still musing over yesterday's uncalled for comment from my colleague that I'm "unfit" for the job, this thought came into my mind this morning, "Either way, you loose". That is no matter how you're performing in your job, you will not be able to shut the mouths of people who just like to pass comment on you.
I've been working hard at my job and honestly, I've always been over-delivering in all my previous places of employment, in terms of the quality and quantity of work. All my supervisors will attest to this fact. I've my fair share of compliments about my job attitude and performance. So when some colleagues who are working in the same field but in different centers enquire about the things I've been doing in my center, I share with them, thinking that we're mutually exchanging useful info that will enhance each other's work, and for mutual support and edification, especially when such sharing is among Christians. But what I get back from some of them is this, "You're working too hard, doing too much, you've spoilt the market for us!" They feel intimidated that I've over-shadowed them. BUT that isn't my intention, I just simply apply myself fully to my job, I want to do well, to answer to myself, using my God-given abilities to do a job well that would well testify to the faith I hold. I've never aim to show anyone down, I only worry that I'm not doing well enough.
So there, when I do well, they talk, when I fall and grumble about the difficulties in my job, they talk, either way, I can't win... so to speak.
After a cup of coffee, suddenly I wise up this morning, so be it. It's my choice! I will continue to give my best to my job, and complain less (can't say for sure that I can internalise all nonsense without a sound).
So that's it. Life continues. :) Thanks for listening.
Let me see how it goes, "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me besides still waters, He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake ... " Ah, how I badly need this, lying down in green pastures, without a care in the world, walking besides still waters, ah the serenity, having my soul, my whole being from top to toe restored, being able to sleep like a log, nope, a pig rather (cos a pig breathes, a log doesn't), EVERY night. Yes, even walking in paths of righteousness, yes for His name's sake means something to me. I've tried to walk right, I tried.
I'd made bad mistakes at earlier work places and promised myself to learn from them. I would not repeat them and I really worked hard at NOT repeating them. But there are some innate tendencies within me that I would eventually respond in a certain way to certain triggers. Like when the boss tried to extend my already 'extended' work hours. I almost blasted out, but under control and I walked away quickly lest it would turn really ugly. She relented and realized my difficulties. Two awkward days' passed by and we seemed to be getting along well. She even acceded to my request to use another place to do my work when the noise level gets too high.
Seemed like everything was back to normal, but sometimes troubles just come looking for you. I trusted someone at my work place and thought I've found a new friend. I related my earlier unhappiness to her and regretted it. I should have heeded what God's Word says about grumbling. This might have given her the impression that I couldn't take the work pressure. So what happened today... I was just sharing with her that it was tough managing the behaviours of some kids. To my utter surprise, she said the most nasty thing to me! She said, "If you can't take this (children's misbehaviours), you're not fit to do this (my job)." 'NOT FIT'? These were strong words! She realized her slip of the tongue and tried to turn the situation around by saying something, but my mind just... I was just fuming beneath my breath. I told her that I was merely sharing the problems I face at work, and that if I can't take this, I would have quit. I could see her bewilderment, knowing she'd offended me.
Later part of the day I recited to myself as I returned to teach my third class. As I walked in, I recalled, "Be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger..." "He who overlooks an offence seeks love." Argh. I completed my lesson, spoke briefly with her as is my usual custom and left.
My spouse complimented me for learning how to re-establish a work relationship. But the truth is I'm still dealing with the hurt! Well, I think she didn't mean what she said, she could have meant it as a counsel, but it didn't come out right! Goodness, am I being overly sensitive or do I have a reason to be thus? My decision? Yes, I decide to overlook the offence, it was a slip of the tongue, I blunder many times thus too... Sigh, now where is that green patch of grass? I need to lie down...
In that year I'd tried loving you in Jesus' name, but when I realized how much hurt it had caused us, I'm sorry that I've just got to let you go and I did.
I'd let you go so many months back, keeping my distance from you, but you stuck on. You sensed something amiss and knew what was happening, yet you tenaciously clinged on, hoping I would change my mind. I couldn't. How I dreaded to see you, hear you, that even an sms from you would sent me into sleepless nights. I gave you time to adjust and to accept this fact, that the damage in our relationship is irreversible and I just couldn't bring myself near you again.
I'm sorry, I really have not forgotten my promise to take care of you, but I just can't do it anymore. Perhaps one day Jesus will heal the wounds in you and I, but for now, I just wish you the best in your future as you return to your homeland.
As I continue my daily chores, there is a faint lingering ache somewhere inside which I want to ignore. I know things will be better with time, for you and for me. I'm sorry I couldn't keep my promise, but it wouldn't do us any good even if I'd force myself to continue with you, there'll be more hurts and pains. But I remain your friend, and your sister-in-Christ, and I truly wish that you will live happily, grow and mature in the Lord. May the Lord bless you my young friend, do not give up on your faith in Christ, I've failed you, but God did not.
Some people think that I've been doing a good job. But I've been under-performing this year due to personal matters and ill health (nothing serious but constant infections). What I've heard throughout the training sessions just made me feel like I have not been doing my job right! I feel tired just thinking about the changes I've to make when the school term re-opens, not to say doing them. Although some colleagues may share my sentiments, they are certainly looking confident and able, which further intimidates me!
Whenever I'm caught in self-doubt, I'm tempted to just quit and walk away, but I don't think this is right. I've come such a long way in this path. Why look for something new and start all over again? A couple of my friends have been in this kind of dilemma for years, looking for the right job, finding it hard, quitting and looking for the 'right' job over and over again. It never ends.
I am very tired, not being able to fully recover from my infection. I have so much to learn and remember, assessment papers to deliver, reports and portfolios to put up and changes to implement. All these stuff literally take the joy out of my job and sometimes make me feel like a fake, that whatever I'm doing for the children are for purpose of putting up a show so that I'll get to keep my job.
But I know that God gave me this job, He answered my prayer and gave me THIS job. I am talking to myself now: I must try, must not give up. I can't meet all their requirements but I will try, step by step, day by day and if they keep me, year by year.
I need to cool down and realistically assess how much changes I can cope with and prayerfully do it with God's grace. Only may my health prevails.
God's power is at work in all our circumstances and when we're weak, His strength will manifest in us.
The younger daughter walked straight into her mother’s room as if she was still alive and called out, “Mother!” She lingered inside and called again, “Mother!” as her relatives waited outside worrying if she had gone nuts.
Yes, my two sister-in-laws are still grieving over the lost of their beloved mother, my mother-in-law who had passed away a fortnight ago.
Though not as affected, I too try to recapture some memories of her. How she'd touched my foot after I’d given birth to her first grandson. How she’d listened to my troubles and counseled me after my mom’s stroke and how she’d watched over me when I’d food poisoning (and that was immediately after she'd buried her husband).
I remember her as a loving mother. She was like forever fussing over her children and their families. Sometimes in expressing, repeating and reiterating her concerns for them, her words and actions came across as interference and weren’t appreciated, but yet, greatly missed when she’s gone.
I remember her forbearance, how she took the offences of her children in her strides and never ceased to love them and be of service to them.
One question came to mind as I ponder over her life and deeds. Were all her aspirations for her children met and fulfilled? Like a seed fallen into the ground and died, and then it’ll germinate and grow to bear fruits, I feel that though she couldn’t see her hopes materializing in her lifetime, some of what she’d hoped for may take place after her death. But then... some of what she’d hoped for may never happen... Still all things should work together for good as God is in control.
Another thought came to my mind too. She had led an exemplary life in terms of her deeds, love, kindness and forbearance towards her family and some others etc. Yet she'd seldom received the kind of attention she deserved in her life's time. And in her last days, she didn't get the kind of attention that she herself had showered upon her ailing spouse before his death. I felt that she'd been short-changed in life, even if this had been what she would have accepted 'cos she had always downplay her own welfare and asked us not to fuss over her if she should go...
I try to see her death in perspective but sometimes I can’t help but feel sad about life itself. Life seems so futile. You labored all your life over your loved ones. How much do they perceive of your work? They’ll miss you when you’re gone, for a while and you’ll be forgotten. The only comforting thought in the midst of all these is the fact that Jesus has saved us and death is a release from life’s labors.
So these are my just random thoughts... at least we have God.
Some days' back I whispered in her ears, 'Mother-in-law, how are you? I'm ST." She had no response. I continued, "Jesus is with you, every moment..." She nodded in acknowledgement. I stroke her shoulder a little and momentarily she seemed to recognise who I was, but that split-second of recognition subsided just as quickly as it arose and she slipped back into her dazed state.
A few days' before this she was asking her daughter who isn't a Christian what heaven is like and she couldn't answer. So I whispered to her, "You will see Jesus in heaven, father-in-law will be there for you, that is a place with no sickness, pain nor tears..." She didn't respond, her memory has certainly fled. But this I'm sure, God will remember her.
We are doing all we can to make her last days as comfortable as possible.
Anyway, this incident reminded me of the importance of forgetting things.
We have always lauded the merits of remembering things but God has actually given us the blessing of forgetting things. There was a man who had a gigantic memory and he could recall even the most insignificance of things. He worked in a circus showing off his skills in identifying what everyone in the audience did just before entering into the tent. His exceptional gift amazed everybody. However no one knew his agony; how sleep eluded him because he just couldn't switch off his mind.
I can feel his pain to some extent because I have a good memory of past events; things said and done and even the facial expressions. Now, because of what had happened these past few years, I wish I can thoroughly forget about the past.
A few nights' back, a character from a tv drama put it aptly, "I am a happier person now that I'm suffering from Alzheimer's because no matter how bad the news about me or my family and how much my company's stocks have fallen, I forget my unhappiness quickly. I am not at all troubled now."
There is some truth there, some wisdom too. Forgive and forget. It is easier to forgive, but to forget? How often a scene or a word will replay itself in your most unguarded moments or even in your dreams? How often a similar place or familiar scent brings back memories and regrets?
I am going to pray for the ability to forget so that I can live a happier life. Live and let live, let go and I think many of you need this too.
May the Lord be gracious to all of you out there, those who are hurting, that you may forget more bad things and remember more of the goodness of our Lord.
I was reading this book 3 days' back and learnt a new thing or two about forgiveness. Among the interesting lessons taught are these:
- Just because you're hurt doesn't mean that the other party needs to repent because repentance deals with sins and the other party may not have sinned against you. You can be hurt for various reasons, you could be jealous or annoyed etc. but what the other person has done does not tantamount to a sin. In this case, you'll just have to deal with it yourself, not so much as forgiving the other party but forbearing the other party.
- Jesus was quoted in Luke 17, "If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, 'I repent,' forgive him." So after ascertaining that indeed the other party has sinned against you, the first biblical thing to do is to 'rebuke' him, meaning confront him with his offense, and if he repents, then forgive him.
- When I read the 'IF he repents', you know, the IF, I was like, yay, so there's a loop-hole, you mean I can choose not to forgive? No, that wasn't what the book teaches, it emphasized that God would want us to forgive no matter what. It also cautions about the type of attitude we should adopt when we 'confront' the other party about his offence. I'm glad it also recognises the fact that usually people won't admit their mistakes and draws references from the Old Testament Proverbs about the consequences of rebuking a wise man and a fool.
- A very interesting thought here is that God's Word says that if someone sins against you seven times and comes back to you to repent, you're supposed to forgive him again and again. The interesting part is about the possiblility for someone to sin against you and repenting again and again, I mean really recognising his mistake again and again and yet sinning again and again. The author points out that God knows our nature and deal with us in the same way too, forgiving us again and again...
Anyway, I've a better understanding on this topic now and wish to share my blessing with you, come on read it up! Click on the link above! :)