The Warm and The Icky

About two weeks ago, a pair of my friends got married, pledged their love before the Lord and all their friends and loved ones, and are now happily husband and wife. O what blissful joy!

My mum gave the exhortation at the wedding ceremony. Usually those words sound familiar because the message is often repeated, only in its various forms, at different weddings. But this time, something mum said struck me worthwhile and true. I promised to take it down.

You know how we are always talking about loving someone? We think about all the beautiful qualities the person we are in love with has, we ask romantic things like, What do you love about me?, we take complementary tests and personality tests just to affirm that a couple is a perfect match, we think about how beautiful the babies will look like with such a beautiful couple.

But romanticism aside, all these affirmations or questions are merely devised by man to affirm the love between a couple. It does not prove the love between a couple, and it definitely does not suggest that a couple will remain happily in love forever – if they are tested “99% complementary” a month before they tied the knot.

All these romantic markers we look out for in a relationship to decide whether it works or it does not, has actually caused us to forget what we truly need to focus on to make a marriage last: how to love.

We do not love someone for their golden locks, or beautiful smile, or sexy physique. Those are superficial. Neither should we love someone for their cheerful personality, amiable friendliness, and open mindedness. Those things will change over time. People change, hearts change, and minds change.

Perhaps this is why we see a lot of people divorced today – because we assume that our partners will stay the same. When life rubs their the hard way and things get rough and our partners change, we say, “I do not know you anymore”, and maybe, go on to say the wedding is void because “you are not the person I married.”

Before I heard this message at the wedding, I must say that I probably assumed my future partner to stay the same way too. I would not fall in love with his physical features, I was certain, but what is wrong with falling in love with his personality, with his heart and mind? It was wrong because thinking that caused me to forget that he will change, a decade or so down the road. What then? Do I disacknowledge the marriage vows taken before the Lord… because he is no longer the same man?

How can we love then? If Christ is the centre of a marriage, would we then learn how to love one another better? If we learn to love one another with the love that comes from God – because God first loved us – not because of another person’s good qualities, we will hopefully realise what it means when we say, “Love comes from God. God is Love.”

And I suppose when we seek to love God more wholly, rather than love our partners, the love exuded from a couple’s relationship will not be one centred around the couple – it will be instead, a love centred around God, the Creator of the Universe, the Lord who joined the two hearts as one. That will be one that is the most beautiful and pleasing and eternal, wouldn’t it?

As a sidenote, I am glad I have learned to put down. :)

That Class of Students

There is always a class of students (or two) who seems to make teaching a greater challenge than it is. After 10 weeks of lessons compromised by disruptive student behaviour and an attitude bordering on defeatism, I honestly poured out everything I wanted to say to them in fifteen minutes today. I don’t know how much of these thoughts will translate into tangible action, but I couldn’t let things go just like that anymore. It is time to take the next course(s) of action. 

But I did not quite pray for them either. I have never prayed that God inspire them and help them to pay attention in class. I have never asked that God have mercy on those students who wants to learn and grant them a greater ability to concentrate and persevere in their work. O Lord, please help me and this class of students – to be inspired to work hard, to have their minds and hearts removed from other cares of the world, to enjoy the process of learning. 

May I be inspired to love them no matter how tough it seems, to care for them as individual persons, to be concerned for their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual being. Give me a greater heart to love – it is indeed easy to love when we think someone is deserving. But give us someone difficult, someone we think is undeserving, and how many of us could say we truly want the best for them and truly can love them? 

O God, now I know why we cannot be good teachers (or good anything) without You, and without Your love. Please empower me and give me the wisdom to deal with the struggles I face in the workplace. And face each struggle and challenge squarely in the face with joy and hope knowing that with our Lord, we can overcome. 

 

Nina

Your humanity and commitment has inspired me, your struggles of being human has moved me to tears, and your courage to keep trying has empowered me. As much as the pain and suffering did not cease as we had hoped, your compassion and heart for others have certainly made me respect you more. For that, I can only pray that my God be with you, take care of you, and extend His hands of grace and mercy upon you and give you peace. Peace when you are alone at home, peace when you are fighting the demons of your mind and soul, peace when you are anxious, and peace with yourself. I believe that God is able to heal and empower you mightily; that in His time He will make things all right. I can only pray and hope that you hold on tightly until that day comes. May God continuously watch over you even as you leave us and even as our hopes and plans go awry, for He holds the masterplan in His hands. Praise be to God!

Travel

I want to take a short trip abroad in June. I want to do it alone, to enjoy the stretches of silence, to appreciate the remarkable beauty elsewhere in the world, to observe, listen and understand humanity, to sit, watch, read and pray on my own. Where is a good place? Preferably nothing too fancy, costly or elaborate, which requires a lot of planning lest I get more caught up in the details of the trip than taking a break. 

The Happy Couple

wedding

 

As we witness our dear brother and sister exchange their marriage vows this morning, O Lord, please grant them a love so deep because it is securely rooted in You. That because of their marriage, they grow even closer to You and stronger in their faith in You. As they serve You together, may their hands work together to build up Your ministry and church, that their glowing testimony of life enriched by Your love, grace and truth will inspire and touch the lives of others around them.

Amen.

Mum

Dear Lord,

Please add strength upon Mama, so she can rise up on wings as eagles and not be weary from the humongous list of things she has to do. Grant her joy and wisdom to complete the tasks efficiently while always being prayerful and humble in serving You. Please give her a greater love and wisdom to negotiate relationships in the workplace. For although there may be no one who truly understands the struggles she faces, I know You understand them all, and You know the desires of her heart.

In Jesus Christ’s victorious name, Amen.

To Break We Must

neverending to-do list!

neverending to-do list!

 

So a wise friend, teacher and mentor once said, “If you have started marking on Day 1, you are most likely to still be marking on the last day. So live your holidays to the fullest!” He is right, so I am trying to feel as little guilt as possible. Over the past three days of our holiday, I have tried my best to do things other than work. Of these I am not always proud, but I have:

  • Watched 1 TW Idol drama (and skipped many episodes in between but yeah, I ingested the gist of the story – and that counts) 
  • Had dinners with 2 groups of friends (whee!)
  • Watched a movie: The Croods (which was surprisingly good, I must say!)
  • Surfed lots of stuff online (hoho timewasterrrr)
  • Walked around shopping malls aimlessly
  • Took long walks in the park
  • Did a facial
  • Slept late (haha!)
  • Slept in!
  • Did some papercutting (for the students’ birthday gifts)

Well, I did some work too.

  • Set an examination paper partially – with a colleague
  • Had 2 meetings in school
  • Met some parents
  • Replied some emails and got things rolling (I hope!)

HAHA. Should I get glad that my “non-work” list is longer than my “work completed” list?

To break we must.