again, a stream of consciousness

i really should be doing more preparatory work for my next class right now, but i feel a sudden urge to let it go and let my words flow from the innermost crevices of my mind and being.

i write this post with an outward sense of calm, confident in my abilities to grapple with most things that get tossed into my path without forewarning or caution. how people still believe in me during times i doubt myself the most. the happy surprise when i manage to get the things i don’t deserve.

the things i don’t deserve.

i feel, for the most part, i have always gotten the things i never quite deserved. things include: the friends i make, my college decision, the things i give my heart to. of course, the more devout of my friends would attribute it to the grace of God and nudge at me gently, prodding me to give praise and thanks when it’s due, and i guess it is through this omnipotent being from which i draw strength when i am lacking. however, why is it that it is only when i get them only then i realise… it really isn’t what i need, at all?

what can i say to that? i don’t even know what i need. i do know what i want — at least at this singular point in time — but how do we quantify what we need when we are frankly infinitely minute in the grander scheme of the universe? i feel that this is my greatest conundrum with my faith. we always have to attribute something — good or bad — to God’s plan. when things don’t go well — oh, we’re meant for better things, and He knows best. when things go well — oh, thank God. is it possible (and i ask this without moral judgement or a heavy heart) to let things just be?

this quandary truly frustrates me, and makes me ache with every fibre of my being, top down and bottom up. how do we know? i know, faith is putting (un)suspended belief in places you’re unsure of, in the things you don’t see. but to what extent, and to what end?

once someone told me i was stronger than i thought i was. how do you know? frankly, i think it’s amazing people can see the goodness in the self that we so sadly miss. how do i know i’m missing the things i’m missing?

the pragmatic side of myself would tell me to chill, and go with the flow. what does that even mean – do i let the good things pass me by, and just take where the tide takes me? i find that difficult to do. i want to grasp at the things i know will make me happy and make my life better. i want to do the best i can and be bold at knowing what’s good for me, and running for that relentlessly.

speaking of running, i should do it more often. i always run alone now, and i like it that way. my happiest tuesday & wednesday night combination would be the immense sense of relief after ending classes, having dinner, light reading / class prep, then going for a long run, and supper with a friend afterwards.

i feel like i’ve finally reached a new state in my college life where i do feel better with being alone and… independent, i guess. previously someone was always looking out for me, and i found that i depended a lot of that goodness. of course, as circumstances are always in a Herculean flux, i have to adapt myself along to the best of my abilities. funnily enough, i feel happier and more secure in this new freedom, the flexible schedule, the freed-up emotional well i found myself trapped in all too often initially, and i found myself better at being there for others. i find that i like being alone. this is quite strange, because throughout my schooling / brief interning life i was perpetually surrounded by my closest friends, and i guess that is a subtle dependency is a way… hm. i’ll get round to thinking about this.

which is one of the reasons why i’m slightly scared of being in Beijing. the loneliness. the knowledge that everyone precious to me is back here in Singapore. but ah, we’ll cross the bridge when we get there. working out accommodations is already quite troublesome, hahaha. but i look forward to it. :-)

end

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Faith once more

It’s rather funny how the return of old friends can lead to a quiet self-revelation of one’s own. A couple of days ago, a friend I’ve known since I was thirteen but haven’t met up with since last year texted me. We caught up via text briefly before he told me there was something he really wanted to share –

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I guess he found me a relevant person to tell these to because I’ve been an acquiescent Christian for awhile now, and even more so this year. I’ve been thinking about it, and I’ve figured that my breezy attitude towards my faith didn’t hit me quite as hard as it did previously because of my social environment, at least for this year. I’ve been incredibly busy because of my post A levels internship at a startup company — it has a massively social environment with really long working hours and it deals primarily with the milking of consumerism… I think I may be giving myself an excuse for my lack of cohesive thought of depth, but I think it has played a considerable part for myself not diving headfirst into this hugely complex web of entangled thoughts of a constant God-searching quandary.

Now that the tide has turned and time has allowed me to pause and reflect on what I place value on in my life, I find myself running on (near) empty despite the amazing place I’ve been lucky enough to be. I’ve been running and writing a lot in attempt to fulfill this seemingly irrational and illogical emptiness, and once again I find it to be the lack of faith in my life. I don’t and won’t deny the huge fundamental irrationality of my faith, and I’m not going to nullify how my religion has become, increasingly, politicized in our society. With megachurches hitting the headlines with regard to financial fraudulence and homophobia, it is difficult to find rooted ground on which to place one’s faith.

I was from one of these megachurches, and my parents still go there… religiously (ha ha ha). I found myself at a crossroads while I was there — a dilemma that felt had to be stretched across dichotomies and I wasn’t sure if I could recouncile it while being in a place I found disagreed with the values I personally identified with. So, I left about two years ago. It happens slowly at first, with you saying you’re busy, you’re tired, you have other things to attend to. Then the excuses gradually extends itself to a nuanced conviction, and before you know it you’re gone. I can’t say I haven’t looked back, because every time I happen to be in Marine Parade I always make it a point to walk past the church that has taught me many things and wonder why I couldn’t be one of them – those happy, cheery, smiley people huddled cosily in their cell groups with a faith that was stronger than mine. I know it isn’t easy for them to constantly stay rooted in their beliefs, and I admire their staunchness so, so much.

And here I sit, still yet moving, confused and wanting.

on the premise of faith.

i can never write more than half a sentence before deleting it, re-editing it, crossing it out line by line, paraphrasing, soaking it in curious ambiguity — for fear of being offensive, too open-minded, too liberal, and it goes on & on.

saw this bit in a post from Humans of New York,  —

“What’s the biggest crime you’ve ever committed?”
“I’ve never been a constant in anyone’s life.”

i just hope that this will never happen to me in this trajectory. what we need in life are hugely cyclical human constants (and i am truly lucky to have them) and for me.. i have to work on my constancy in faith. but it can be really hard with all the white noise trumpeting over the quiet whisper of this sacred cardinal relationship. it’s so easy to quote choice bits from the book of poetry and write it off as being (sorry, kurt vonnegut, your axiomatic line has been abused) everything was beautiful and nothing hurt but i don’t believe we can discount instances where certain things just have to be called into question.

if anything, i believe it is always truly possible to work around it, work for it, and be your own light so it shines so inexorably, so mellow yet undeniable — and project your faith through your this light. i don’t like forcefulness, i don’t appreciate powerful rhetoric — no matter how intricately poetic it is — when it comes to personal matters of the mind, heart, soul. it’s gentleness. it’s selfless action. it’s being grateful, being happy with what you do have.. that draws people into your light.

for me, it’s weird because i’ve always been spiralling in dichotomous oscillations with regard to issues like that. i realised even though i have been callously keeping it far apart and only calling to it when i need it for a long time, the constancy staunchly stays quietly by my side — in the form of my wonderful family, both nuclear & extended, my friends who put up with so much, the niceness & goodness i see in so many people. that’s just.. to say the least, heartwarming. it just fuels me, and fills me with so much hope & love.

i know many people say the world’s getting worse, and honestly i don’t know how i feel about that. but i do know we, for ourselves and for everyone else, have to try to be better for it. yeah.

[just thoughts on a chilly saturday evening, when i should be prepping for economics instead. fun times.]

Measure for Measure

I’m losing so many things and I have only my pride to blame (but why can’t you make the effort as well?), I’m yearning for the other side of paradise where consequential events happen just slightly beyond the realm of conscious control (but this side is so irrevocably safe, secure, and is the shortest way to the sea), I do know I desire the things that will kill me in the end (why am I still consciously still chasing after it?), I don’t know where to draw the line of contentment (is there ever, where I’m not even settling for anything now?)

I know where I want to go (but I have to realise there isn’t always tomorrow), I really want to strike the fine balance between everything I know, everything that I really want (why do you seem to do it so easy?), and I have this thing where I want to be different (but yet I do know I am always the same, unchanged, stagnant), and why is it so fast when I know it’s not going to ever last?

Where I know I want a God to lean on (but how is that probable when I disagree with so many things on so many different fundamental levels?), where I keep questioning but I never actually get a satisfactory answer, where self-exploration sounds terribly vain and contrived and entitled, where I’m struck between two separate things that are actually in essence the same. Sometimes I wish I could just shut up and accept the things as they are, measure for measure. Where I can learn to see past the intricacies of the cardinal poetry, cease to read between the lines and look at the bigger picture instead. I do see the blessings in everyday things — be in the ochre dusky sunset of faint yellows and twiny oranges, the paleness of the blue sky reflected upon the musky surface of the sea, the pelt of raindrops against skin, the briny breeze that sweeps my hair off its ends and into my side.

These discussions are kept going with different people who offer different opinions and different lifestyles and different eyes and I don’t know (for the longest time) how to ever decide for myself.