“Much as we wish, not one of us can bring back yesterday or shape tomorrow. Only today is ours, and it will not be ours for long, and once it is gone it will never in all time be ours again. Thou only knowest what it holds in store for us, yet even we know something of what it will hold. The chance to speak the truth, to show mercy, to ease another’s burden. The chance to resist evil, to remember all the good times and good people of our past, to be brave, to be strong, to be glad.” (Frederick Buechner. Hungering Dark, San Francisco, CA: HarperSanFrancisco, 1985.)
Early this week, I was back in a setting from 2 years ago. Back then, I journalled under the title “Love Always Prevails“. Re-read the entries, and have so many thoughts and feelings. Flashbacks while re-reading, and flashbacks when I was in the room this week.
Has it really been 2 years?
It is strange – a lot feels the same, in that the memories come back and there’s a sense of deja vu. Yet, there is this unease that people know but don’t speak often of. A tiredness, a sadness, a certain discouragement. In some faces, I still see hope. In all of them, I still see honest intent to do good. I hope the future will be kind to them, and that there will always be people willing to do what they do, with integrity – regardless of the reception they receive. The days ahead will only get more confusing, and I pray that God will grant them courage to stand firm and uphold what is right and good.
For me, a lot more things have happened/changed since the last time I was scribing in this setting. I’ve had more time and experiences to help me sort out what and who are unimportant – and set them aside. I’ve seen God continue to show up in ways I didn’t expect. I’ve witnessed Him answer prayers sincerely lifted but clumsily uttered – in my life and those whom I walk with. I’ve met a handful of people whom I’m ready to trust more.
At the same time, I recognise that it’s been a real challenge to live out my priorities with discernment, kindness, and peace.
I slept more and better 2 years ago. I cannot remember when it started, but it feels like almost all of the last 2 years, I’ve been sleeping only at 2-3am in the morning, and getting not more than 6-7 hours of rest. Not only that. On many days, I have felt burdened, harassed, seized, rushed – squeezed to ‘do’ when I much rather ‘be’. The slowness and quiet of spirit (obvious to me in those Love Always Prevails entries) has gone somewhere – where? 😦
For each person I’ve met whom I’m ready to trust, I’ve met 2 more who make me wonder what is the right way to live. It’s a crazy world! For some – we read the same Bible and pray to the same God… so is it me, am I wrong? If what they are doing is indeed right, then is my feeling awful simply due to my own fallenness? 😦 On the other hand, I’ve met people who humble me with their humanity – 做人的道理 – exemplifying the compassion of Christ and grace of God even if they know nothing about the Lord! 🙂
I have become more and more weary and wary of platforms like Facebook. Maybe the things that appeared used to be less self-centred and more observant; less down-putting and more edifying; less arrogant and more humble; less staged and more authentic. These days, every time I log in, I come out a little sad (if it’s already a good day), and mildly depressed (if it’s already not such a good day). I’ve kept away for stretches – and my overall health improves I believe 🙂
Am thankful that God has answered my heart’s desire, and helped me to set aside and protect time with people who matter, more deliberately this year. Just ‘being’, and being honest in conversation – which gladdens the soul. But also creating special memories together: a little excursion, an unusual meal, being silly over funny stories. 🙂
In 4 weeks’ time, it will be Advent again.
How have I made room for Him this year?