the song remains

I am at a sort-of crossroads now.

There was one thing I always wanted to do as a child – I wanted to sing. Of course, the voice I hear in my head is infinitely more beautiful than what I produce, but that doesn’t stop me from doing what I love… because I don’t do it for myself alone.

I don’t sing because it aligns me to a group of people I want to be with, although my listening choices might. And I most certainly don’t do it because I think I’m spectacularly good.

I sing because I see creation unfold as the melodies swirl forth.
I sing because my world take shape as the words I utter mould it’s existence.
I sing because it’s the only way of fully expressing my heart’s song.
I sing because I was first created with a song.

Over the past year, I found myself singing less, and as my silent moments ticked away and my song grew colder… I knew I had to return to it soon. But the lack of time negated both my desire and will. Which was why I’d been looking forward to doing it again, come July. However, three weeks ago, I was asked if I could put that desire on the back-burner again, to focus on my upcoming projects.

I couldn’t find it in myself to answer that request. Because I’m not sure how much longer I can last if I live through another’s song. I need to sing again. Sure, I can rebel against the request and do it anyway… but that means being unable to give my all to the craft.

Would I do it if it was sub-standard?

As an experiment, I started singing in the bedroom, in the bathroom, in the cab, along walkways and corridors, in the office, at the grocery store, in a cafe… and found such liberation in doing that simple deed. But I missed being with a group and singing with them. There’s something special when you sing in unity with others. It’s as if the differences in personalities, beliefs and character fade away. You are just one voice.

I don’t know if I can walk away from it again.

And if I do (because there’s no other way), I’m not sure how I’ll handle it.

*

When you reach the little house, the place your journey started, you will recognize it, although it will seem much smaller than you remember. Walk up the path, and through the garden gate you never saw before but once.

And then go home.
Or make a home.
And rest.

– Neil Gaiman

What’s written on my heart is plain to understand. I guess this is one time I’ll need to trust that the Author is the only One who can conclude this story. And as I’m faithful to what’s in my hands, the Author will be faithful to make what’s in my heart come to pass.

In the meantime, I’ll learn to call this new place home.

And rest.

*

A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.

– Maya Angelou

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now. see the sky.

Thinly stretched over several planes of existence, it was only a matter of time before the snap occurred. It was inevitable really. I knew it was coming, I did my best. I tried everything, explored different methodology, I gave more, studied more, did more, sacrificed more… and honestly, went about doing life backwards.

When the tears finally hit hard, and my self could not take another step… I finally stood still.

‘There’s one last thing you haven’t tried…’ I heard Him whisper.

He was right. Slowly, I took out the heart-shaped box and unfolded the first letter I saw. I began to read – line upon line, promises upon promises – the letters He once wrote to me.

*

‘I struggle and emerge…’

With numerous deadlines looming ahead, it’s a real struggle to rest without guilt. Even when my body crashes in rebellion against late nights and long days, the first thing I do when my eyes open from slumber is to make a coffee, turn on the computer and reply emails.

Today was therefore, a real struggle.

Bleary-eyed with the remnants of sleep, I spent almost 3 hours (on my day off) answering emails and researching facts to substantiate my decisions. It’s a sad day when my coffee and breakfast are both ingested over the keyboard. Once completed, I washed up and the little girl came home. Sleep will have to wait, I told myself as I sat at the dining table and chatted with her about her day. I knew she was missing me terribly…

Two hours later, she was finally under the blankets for a nap, when the doorbell rang and the little boy came home. I repeated the entire routine with him till it was his turn for a nap.

I finally crawled into bed with a sigh, when my phone began beeping with text messages pouring in.

‘This is getting so frustrating!’ I screamed in silence. ‘I give up! I can’t do this anymore… I really need to rest. I’m literally falling apart. Can’t You do something about this?’ The tears were rolling down my face.

Ever since Mother left for Japan, the demands of life doubled, both at home and at work. The care-giver for my handicapped sister had to be replaced, the school-teacher called to highlight some problems with the little boy, the little girl grew emotional… every spare time I have left over from work is spent handling matters at home.

It’s not been easy at all.

And crafting time to relax has been the hardest thing to accomplish on my list. It’s not because I couldn’t craft out time. I could. I just couldn’t do it without feeling guilty when demands surrounded me on all sides.

Lying in bed, unable to sleep, I wept.

‘Are you really giving up?’ the Dream Maker asked.

‘Yes, I am.’ I whispered in reply.

‘Then I can be Your strength,’ He said. ‘Because these demands are not meant for you to meet.’

I scoffed. Easy for you to say, I thought. Who else was going to do it, if not me?

‘I am.’ He said. ‘I am your now, if you let me. I am your rest. I am your strength. I am your solution. Not your tomorrows, not your yesterdays… I am your now.’

I’m not sure when I fell asleep after that, or what transpired while I was at rest, but emerging from that moment, life seemed a little more manageable. Sure, there are deadlines I still need to meet (in fact, after this post, I’m going back to work) but the change wasn’t about the tasks. It went deeper.

It was my perspective.

I could finally see the sky.

‘Living is being happy: seeing, hearing, touching, drinking, eating, urinating, defecating, diving into the water and gazing at the sky, laughing and crying.’

– Milan Kundera

Saturated with the knowledge that the Dream Maker walks alongside me, I shall venture forth. One step at a time. And I will emerge from this journey with a smile.

Because I don’t live for my tomorrows, nor dwell in my regrets.

I live… now.

/regret/

There once was a girl who thought life would be good. She married a man she loved… and still had a boyfriend on the side. A guy who’d travel the ends of the earth for her – which he did, when she was ‘posted’ overseas for a 2-year contract. What she didn’t know was that she’d end up pregnant, lose her job and find herself saddled with her husband’s medical bills as he was admitted to the hospital for pneumonia.

Life literally fell apart in the span of one week.

And every night, she fell asleep crying.

*

There once was a lady who thought work was meant to be fulfilling. She had been offered several jobs – one with fame, one with traveling opportunities and one within the comfort of her own home. But she either turned them down or left after a year. Nothing satisfied her, till she entered her latest arena. Advertising.

Thrilling, it challenged her, pushed her to the edges… and then the floor beneath her feet fell away.

Her very own boss turned around and embarrassed her before one of her most important clients. Time and time again, he forgot all the promises he’d made. It felt like her own reputation in the industry was in danger of getting marred, not by her commitment or work, but by the man who first employed her.

Disappointed, she looked back at the doors she’d closed and wondered if there was any other path she could walk. It felt like there was no way out.

*

Regret.

Some say the word was coined between 1300-1350, originating from a Middle French term regreter, which is a mix of the Old French re (again and again) and the Germanic greter (greet). In other words, it came from the idea to re-greet, i.e. to welcome again and again… the past?

It does bear some truth, because we only ever feel tremendous remorse, loss, sorrow or dissatisfaction when we look at our history of faults – the common phrase that begins each thought, ‘If only...’

But you can’t drive a car while looking at your rear-view mirror.
And you can’t live today if all you see is yesterday.

*

‘I don’t know how you do it,’ Smiley said to me today. He’d just returned from a trip overseas and we’d finished updating each other with a brief summary of the past two weeks.

‘I don’t know either. I’m just taking it one step at a time,’ I sighed. Yes, I feel tired and worn out. Yes, life can be a serious struggle, too often than I’d like it to be.

‘There has to be reason why you’re facing so much,’ Smiley continued. ‘Maybe it’s because the Dream Maker knows you can do it. He is your supply. Maybe He thinks highly of you… and that at the end of it all, there’s something great to be gained.’

Maybe. But I haven’t even thought about what I’m gaining or learning. I’m just doing my best to keep still, and carry on. It’s going to be a big week several huge weeks ahead but I’m okay. I’ve got the Dream Maker by my side.

He wrote this story, shit, He knows how it ends and dammit, He loves me.
So I’m going to be just fine. And yes, I believe that.
Because I at the start of this year, I remember asking Him to help me become more efficient, to grow wiser, to be deeper in thought and more creative in my solutions. So this just might be my learning plan.

I asked for it.

And for that, I have no regrets.

*

‘God made my life complete when I placed all the pieces before Him.
He rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to His eyes.’

– Psalm 18:20, 24 (MSG)

with friends | shine on

‘A painter should begin every canvas with a wash of black, because all things in nature are dark except where exposed by the light.’

– Leonardo Da Vinci

*

I scrolled through the text messages on my phone and pondered a while on the conversation that had just taken place. So many questions, so many statements, so many emotions underlined the simple words exchanged and I couldn’t help it. I needed to do something. Anything… that could possibly help the other person.

Have you ever been in that same place? Where you want to extend a hand but haven’t the faintest clue as to what your extended hand of friendship could possibly offer?

*

I recently found myself on the other side of the extended help.

In the centre of several productions that were beyond what I could cope, I had to pull together a storyboard, a detailed list of shots, shooting schedules and a whole new crew on my own. Then I had to fill in the director role. It was overwhelming. I probably teared once every day in silence, as I sat and stared at my computer screen. The tasks were simply beyond me. So much depended on these videos… too much depended on me.

I’d already asked Mr. Black to help with the edits and he willingly agreed, on top of his own productions. So I knew what was going to happen after. But during? With a heavy sigh and heavier heart, I picked up the phone and texted DigiBoy.

‘Hey… do you think you could help?’

I paused for a few moments before hitting send. My reluctance was largely due to the fact that he was already maxed out with work, had recently gotten married to a really good friend, and rarely had days off to relax. Calling on him was something I’d avoided as much as I could. Until the moment I knew I couldn’t go on.

And when he replied that he’d help, I teared a little again.

I can’t explain what it feels like when a friend puts aside his life to help you get on with yours. And when his wife offered to be on set too… I fumbled with the phone. Where could I start to say thank you?

*

And still the encouragement came pouring in.

Kitty baked some lemon tarts and GuitarMan’s wife bought me a box of macaroons.

‘Hope this cheers you up!’ they both said. And it did.

*

I’d been looking forward to some rest and was ready to work a little on my days off. But what I didn’t anticipate was coming home to a major family ‘situation’ where one of my full-time helpers has to leave with immediate effect. This throws a kink in my work schedule as the replacement will then need to go through several weeks of training (to care for my handicapped sister) and I cannot imagine where that time will come from.

I already have two scripts due this coming week, storyboards to complete, yet more crews to assemble, two videos to edit with Mr. Black and if that’s not enough… Both my son and I came down with the stomach flu today. Throwing up was never fun.

‘Typical story-writing technique’ I said with slight sarcasm to Kitty. ‘Just as the chapter ends, a new twist creeps in at the end and you find yourself reading on.’

‘I’d read that book,’ Kitty quipped in reply. So would I, actually. Just that I can’t as I’m too busy living it.

I was all ready to curl up in bed and whine to my pillow (a pathetic replacement to Mother) when Mrs. Couple texted me.

‘If you need me to come over at times to supervise things at your home, I can. Don’t be shy to impose okay? I’m just a drive away.’

What can I say? I could choose to complain about my work (which by the way, I love) but have decided instead to feel the comfort of my friends. Because in the past few days, I’ve been loved by some of the most amazing people on the face of this earth.

*

Shine on.

That’s what I’d tell the friend I had the earlier conversation with.

Because while it’s true that there are so many genuine factors that give you reason to sink deep in frustration and anger (I know I would if I were in your shoes), there are more reasons to lift your head up and walk proud.

Not for the work that you’ve done in the past – you aren’t defined by old accomplishments.
Not for the truth your life could tell – words are as flimsy as the people who hear or repeat it.
Not for the future you know you can shape – you aren’t the sum of your potential.

Stand tall and unafraid because like the moon, your light is a reflection of a greater power. You are untouchable because no man can rewrite your story – the past, the present, the future. How can they when the lines in your book was written before they were born? When the ink that shaped the words came from His very own veins? When the very idea of you was personally created by the Dream Maker?

No man can pull down what has been placed to shine in the sky.

Shine on.

the hurting world

15 minutes late for work, I got off the train at my usual station and joined the mob rushing towards the escalators. I had just turned my head to check my card, when a shadow at the corner of my eye made me look up.

Swish, swish, swish… He was a cleaner I hadn’t seen before.
Swish, swish, swish… Elderly, hunched and quietly doing his job, I’m not sure why but I was entranced by his lone figure.

A few minutes later, the crowd was gone but I was still standing there, hidden by the station’s signboard, watching him. My mouth was filled with words, but I was afraid to give them voice. My intellect didn’t quite know what to make of my heart’s odd behaviour.

I walked away.

*

Just as I reached the lift lobby, another cleaner walked past. He had a hole in his throat.

‘Throat cancer,’ the Mother said to me. ‘And because of the operation, he now has to breathe through that hole.’

‘How does he speak?’ I asked.

‘He doesn’t… well, not the way you and I do. He had to learn how to articulate through that hole.’

*

Walking through the corridor towards my desk, I passed by Crazy. She was a video editor that I worked regularly with.

‘Morning!’ I chirped but was completely ignored. Something’s not right…

I saw JapGirl and immediately asked her if she’d noticed anything about Crazy.

‘She’s going through something, but I’m not sure what,’ she replied with a sad smile. I understood that look. Crazy was one of JapGirl’s best friends.

‘Should we say something? Do something?’ I asked.

‘I’m not sure. It looks like she wants to be left alone.’

So I left her alone.

*

‘I am so sorry I’m late!’ the Dancer exclaimed as we sat down at our favourite eatery for lunch. ‘Things were just mad at work and I couldn’t get away.’

She was an hour late but it was fine with me. I had work to finish too, and truthfully, I was a tad reluctant to leave the office.

‘Don’t worry about it,’ I smiled as we tucked into our beef goulash. ‘So how have you been?’

And it all came pouring out – her problems with a team that she’d worked with for years, a horrid misunderstanding still unresolved, the sleepless nights that left her tired, the frustrations with her inability to dance because of her injury…

‘i just don’t know what to do!’ she wailed.

‘Then you’re in a safe place,’ I said. ‘You’re an accomplished woman. You’re famous because of what you’ve done in the past… I mean, come on! I can google you! How many people can I do a google search for information on credentials and history? But now, you find yourself in places where you can’t be strong… and while I know it’s frustrating, maybe this time, it’s about the journey, not the end-goal. Can I ask… what was your deepest desire when you first came in to church?’

‘I once asked myself that,’ she slowly stirred her cold soup, ‘And I had no answer. So I took a pen and began to draw. For reasons I didn’t understand then, I found myself drawing trees. Big, strong trees. One after another, till they became a huge forest. And then I got it. I wanted to grow people, to see them become strong trees, to help others who can’t do whatever it is they want to do.’

‘What do you think you’re learning, from all these things that are happening around you?’ I pressed in a little more.

‘I’m not sure… I just feel so out of control.’

‘Maybe that’s what you’re supposed to be learning,’ I smiled. ‘To let go. To not be in control but to let another greater power work through you instead.’

‘I think you’re right. I’ve never felt this way before…’ she said. Then with a loud wail, ‘But noooooo… it’s so difficult!’

We laughed and then I had to run. I was 30 minutes late for my next appointment.

*

Back-to-back meetings and coping with a shoot that was scheduled at the last minute, the day passed by and before I knew it, it was 8pm. With a sigh of relief, I packed my things and turned off the lights. Walking out, I passed by Crazy again but she looked no better from the morning.

‘Love you…’ I texted her but hours later, hadn’t received a reply.

*

Hurting people with untold stories. When do you leave them alone and when do you intrude into their world?

See the woman on the train, the man driving the cab you’re riding in, the guy seated at the bus-stop, the colleague beside you… there are hurting people everywhere.

‘Is there a reason why I was placed in this precise spot on earth?’ I asked the Dream Maker. We were watching the non-existent stars in our night sky.

‘What do you think?’ He asked.

‘I think there is. But how do I help anyone?’

‘Love them.’

‘But how?’ I wrinkled my brow.

‘Smile. Look at them in the eyes. Let the love be genuine. Sometimes, that’s enough for the day.’ He said.

‘That’s enough?’ I didn’t get it.

‘Build it daily, one brick at a time. You’ll know what to do when the time comes…’

‘Easy for you to say,’ I laughed, chucking Him on the head. ‘You’re God!’

‘And you’re Mine. What makes you think you won’t know otherwise?’

*

This time, I’m writing out the plan in them, carving it on the lining of their hearts.

– Hebrews 10:16 (MSG)

 

mememe

The hardest part that I’ve had to deal with, the greatest challenge in all that has happened… is something that I didn’t want to ‘fess up to. But there it was, staring at me in the face.

Dammit.
Shucks.
Oh man… how could I possibly feel this way?

I truly thought I had it settled, especially since it was a daily prayer. God, break my pride into a million pieces. Crush it if it ever surfaces.

Because I don’t need it.
Don’t want it.
Have no use for it.
But wait, before you start…

Can I explain that I work hard at this? Does anyone see the hours, the days, the nights? I do it for You. For them! … for me? Oh come on, some recognition! That’s all I desire. Someone to say, it’s her! She’s the one!

that… stinks, it does.
It’s not who I am so just take it away.
You know what… I’ll be fine.

This journey, this shedding of all that flesh so craves, this breaking. Destroy it… let things fall a p a r t . Make what I think, my understanding, grow small… because   at   the   end   of   the   day,   the   truth   is . . .  it’s   really   not   about

me.

not one bit.

*

the heart of being

‘I don’t do installations anymore,’ Alan tried to explain, using his choked version of the English language. ‘The doctor said that my heart is not well. I work too hard, he say, stress you know? And… I must learn to rest.’

‘What happened?’ I asked, trying my best not to stare at his emaciated frame.

‘I collapse. Too many years, too much stress, the heart just give up. I had so much work, I go to bed and still think about work. And now, because of this,’ he tapped his heart, ‘I cannot do work like last time.’

In a span of 2 months, Alan lost 18 kilos and his livelihood. He was my main go-to guy for all things electrical in my home. I saw him about three times a year, and quite honestly, it never dawned on me to inquire about his family and personal life. Knowing that he’d just completed work on my air-conditioning unit and lights… I felt guilty.

‘But you’re one of my best customers, we been together for so many years… so for you, I do,’ he smiled.

Crap. Now I felt lower than the scum that eats scum.

‘Hey, if you can’t, it’s okay. Really. Your health is more important!’ I assured him. Or was it myself?

‘No, no. I still must earn for my family. But I tell you so you know, in case your friends ask for help too. I do for you, but not for them. And I give you discount…’ he smiled.

*

I left my house and headed to the gym with Mother.

‘Wait…’ I said to her.

‘The cab’s already here…’ she replied.

‘Just give me a minute…’ I stopped walking and closed my eyes. I was searching for something… what was it?

Opening my eyes, I didn’t see the car park. Instead, I saw all I had in life. I knew at that moment… I was never going to bed again with the cares of the world, because they didn’t care if I rose the next day. Shaking my head, I wanted to laugh. It was absurd, being so consumed by my worries, when I had breath to live.

‘Hey…’ Mother called out a little worriedly.

‘I’m coming…’ I laughed, skipping over to the waiting cab.

*

‘To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.’

– Oscar Wilde

As I write this:

… my phone is filled with to-do alarms that reach the end of March

… my deadlines are drawing closer, encasing me with their demands

… my days are filled with meetings, sometimes, over lunch

… my nights are not mine completely, as I share them with others

And yet, I know, it is all still awesome.

*

‘For in Him I live, and move, and have my being…’

– Acts 17:28

 

 

in transit

‘In the space between chaos and shape there was another chance.’

– Jeanette Winterson

There he sits, surrounded by a group of people he barely knows. Every part of his being longs to find family again but he doesn’t move. Instead, he listens, his senses alert to the new language they speak, the visions they see… He’s already moved on and is now poised to enter the new.

This is where it all begins.

*

She counts the months down to the day she’s leaving. This country was home… may still be home years later, but she doesn’t know yet. One never quite knows how much a part of family you are, till you leave its safe confines.

‘I need to do this. I don’t want to look back with regret wondering… did I miss a chance? Was I too scared to move on? I want to know that I can be on my own, to finally be defined by my present and not by my birth.’

*

He leaves the office, last, as usual. It’s dark out and he stops for a coke at the nearest convenience store, hoping to quell the hunger pangs. Mulling over the piece of work he just completed, it bothers him that it still feels… unfinished. A little like the many things he has to do before he finally moves on from the familiar.

Throwing away the now empty can, he stops thinking about the work and goes in search of someone to have tea with.

Some problems are easier to solve than others.

*

He stands at the railings, looking out over the vast ocean.

War.

What once was a dream, is now his future. He isn’t quite sure what to think but he knows he doesn’t want to be anywhere else. This is what he was made for, the reason he didn’t give up through the months of training.

He is ready.

*

Her room is in disarray. Less than three weeks to go and she hasn’t managed to pack her life into two suitcases. I enter her room and sit on the floor, pulling out random objects from her chaotic piles.

‘Don’t move anything ok? There’s a system… ‘ she warns.

‘System?’ I raise my eyebrows. It hardly looks like any form of organization I’ve seen.

‘You’re looking at a work in progress. Don’t comment now, save them till later,’ Mother smiles.

And inside, I weep.

*

Transitions.

The passage from one form, state, style, or place to another.

It exists in the very words I write on this post. It brings music to a higher state. It’s a problem, a challenge or a creative slant in productions. It’s the moment a team playing defense chooses to play offense.

I used to love transitions. I loved the passage of travel – getting from one place to another, cherishing the time I was left on my own to think. But like my friends whose stories I wrote earlier on, it was always a choice on my part to enter the transition. This time though, I find myself pushed onto a train that’s already gathering momentum too quickly. A train, which destination, I’m not sure of.

And it’s unsettling.

*

I look out the window and all I can see is the past, flashing by. With a deep ache inside, I begin to sniffle. I’m not ready to say goodbye to Mother. I feel small. Insecure.

And that’s when I see His reflection.

‘You’re here!’ I gasp, turning around to look at Him. I stare at His face, drinking in the comfort of His scent. It’s almost unimaginable, the falling away of all pretense at strength. ‘You’re here…’ I begin to cry.

He holds me close.

‘I’m always here.’ He says. ‘Always.’

 

 

living | now

She lies there on her bed, in a room where all is quiet. It’s been two hours since she opened her eyes but she hasn’t moved, save to clumsily stretch out towards the bedside table, hunger propelling her hands to pick up a biscuit. It takes her ten minutes to finish her little meal. Thirsty, she ponders on her ability to get some water but she knows it’s not something she can do, not now.

Closing her eyes, sleep escapes her. She isn’t tired. Her ears perk up whenever someone shuffles past her apartment, but it will be another hour before someone walks through her front door with lunch. It’s interesting how the body becomes sensitive to the slightest pressure, when forced to keep to one position for long periods of time…

She thinks about the pain. It’s a welcome relief from the tormenting thoughts that demand entrance into her mind. Not much longer… she tells herself. I can wait. I can do this.

*

‘I’m flying back to Japan tonight,’ Mother said to me.

‘What time’s your flight?’ I didn’t need to ask why. I already knew. Still, this was a departure grossly accelerated.

‘10.45pm. Enough time to head home after work, pack, and reach the airport for check-in.’

Earlier that morning, Mother told me that an email had arrived from Obachan’s care manager. Obachan lives in an elderly care estate and while it’s stipulated in their contract that all occupants must be able-bodied, Obachan was completely immobile. Two weeks ago, she hurt her back and since then, had been confined to her bed.

‘Why won’t she hire a full-time nurse?’ I asked.

‘She’d rather be alone than to have a stranger in her apartment the whole day. She’s obstinate that way.’

Obachan did have a full-time helper for a while, but a week ago, fired her. They had been quarreling and she was tired of being told what to do.

‘She’s only comfortable with a nurse coming in at lunch and dinner, for an hour each visit. That’s barely enough time to feed her, clean her and tidy things up.’ Mother sighed. ‘And this morning, the care manager wrote to me saying that it seems she’s starting to become a little delusional. Can you imagine lying there for the whole day? Unable to do anything but think? Anyone in her position would start having weird thoughts. And she’s talking about darkness and oppression, being unable to breathe at night…’

‘When will you be back?’ I asked.

‘A week later. I’m just hoping to help get her eating again and well enough to manage things on her own… at least till I return to take care of her for good.’

I nodded, refusing to let the tears fall.

But after Mother left, I did cry.

For my grandmother who’s fighting for her life.
For my mother who’s trying to stay strong and positive.
And for me who’s trying to say goodbye.

*

‘I’m not ready for this,’ I marched up to the Dream Maker. ‘Seriously, this is all too rushed!’

I had plans to visit Obachan, to take her stories and document them down in a book for our future generations. These were stories that needed to be told – stories of her courage and commitment, of living through the war and raising up a family amidst poverty, of a life that today, doesn’t exist anymore – there is still so much to learn from her. And I wanted her to see that.

I didn’t have the chance to celebrate Mother’s birthday either. We were planning on taking her out with the family to do everything that she wanted to do…

‘What is going on?’ I sobbed angrily.

‘Are you crying for yourself or for them?’ He asked.

‘For all of us! We had plans… but now, it feels as though we’re barely able stay above the tidal waves, there’s no chance to breathe in deep nor think clearly…’

‘There is only now.’ He replied. I glared at Him in frustration. What kind of one-liner was that?

‘You are angry because the future doesn’t line up with your plans. You feel guilty because you know you could have done more in the past. But both don’t exist. And that’s why you’re frustrated. You aren’t where you’re supposed to be.’ He continued.

‘Now? And what can I do with now?’ I shot back.

‘What would you do, if that’s all you have?’ He asked.

I kept quiet. I thought about the Mother… perhaps she’d appreciate it if I sent her an encouraging email. And grandmother? I could do a video recording of the family telling her she was in our prayers… that we loved her and were looking forward to seeing her get better.

‘The future is for Me to handle…’ the Dream Maker said. ‘It’s what I’m here for. And I am faithful.’

For a split-second, I thought I saw a fiery glint in His eyes. Then bowing my head, I nodded.

*

‘And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.

But the greatest of these… is love.’

– 1 Corinthians 13:13

 

the struggle

He was so excited. The box held such potential.

Just before dinner, he unpacked the model kit and began building the boat, piece by piece. It was a little too complex for someone his age but he didn’t care what the label said. It was all tremendously intriguing. Half an hour later, the enthusiasm waned and he was struggling. Crying out in frustration, he tore pieces of tape and threw them into the bin.

‘They don’t work!’ He sobbed. His eyes were tearing but it never occurred to him to ask for help.

I sat there watching him in silence.

‘Have you read the instruction manual?’ I prodded.

The little boy picked up the booklet, stared at it for a while, then threw it aside. I didn’t know then that the instructions were all in French. Five minutes later, the boy was banging the table and throwing the pieces that didn’t fit on to the floor. Quietly, I watched him although my heart ached. When was he going to ask for help?

‘Mommy… can you help me?’ He finally looked up, tears streaming down his face. I didn’t want to hurt his already broken pride, so I showed him how the tape worked and where he could attach it to fix the sails. The boy’s little fingers began its work again. And then… the boat materialized.

‘Look! It works!’ He shouted, ‘Look! Watch me!’

I watched. And saw my life and its perpetual struggles.

How many times have I found myself trying to make sense of life with the logic that I acquired over the years? How many times did my pride break when the best of plans, efforts and commitment yielded no results? How many times did I push myself to tipping over before I turned to the Dream Maker and said, ‘Help me, please?’

Too many, too often.

Oddly, watching the boy struggle made me love him so much more. All I wanted to do was wrap him up in my arms and absorb the angst. Did the Dream Maker feel the same way, watching me struggle to make sense of a world that is too complex to understand?

*

Hope.

I fear that word.

Images of failures, frustration and disappointment cloud my mind whenever I find myself in the place where – as a dreamer – I long for something to happen but am scared that it wouldn’t pull through. I don’t want to be disappointed. But that was because I was trying to do it all on my own.

I’d hold the instruction manual to my goals in my hand, its rules and guidelines memorized. I’d make sacrifices, in hope… but I was depending on the wrong person to make it all happen.

You see, my dreams were birthed in the supernatural realm – the spirit. And what’s birthed in that realm is made flesh there too. Natural progression can only bring you to the point where you almost break, you can’t go on. Nothing works anymore.

‘It doesn’t make sense!’ I’d throw my plans to the ground. The worst bit was the shame that came with my failure.

Just like the little boy.

That’s why I’m making a change from this minute on.

I’m giving up.

I’m letting go of my plans and I’m going to recognize the weakness in me.

‘Can you help me, please?’ I turn to the Dream Maker. And I know… this is my beautiful moment. It’s the tipping point, if you’d please. This is the place where it all changes for the better.

‘Here,’ the Dream Maker’s finger points my next step ahead. He doesn’t intrude because He wants the plans to be fulfilled in my hands. He wants to see me glow with pride at what I did.

Except… I didn’t do it. He did.

*

The greatest struggle in living the impossible life is NOT the impossibility of every challenge, every mountain, every problem.

The hardest thing is giving up on yourself, and giving it all to Him.

Hope.

It sings to me.