:: the story of a pencil ::

Read a story. Wished i wrote it.

A boy was watching his grandmother write a letter. At one point he asked:

‘Are you writing a story about what we’ve done? Is it a story about me?’
His grandmother stopped writing her letter and said to her grandson:
I am writing about you, actually, but more important than the words is the pencil I’m using. I hope you will be like this pencil when you grow up.’

Intrigued, the boy looked at the pencil. It didn’t seem very special.
‘But it’s just like any other pencil I’ve ever seen!’

‘That depends on how you look at things. It has five qualities which, if you manage to hang on them, will make you a person who is always at peace with the world.’

‘First quality: you are capable of great things, but you must never forget that there is a hand guiding your steps. We call that hand God, and He always guides us according to His will.’
‘Second quality: now and then, I have to stop writing and use a sharpner. That makes the pencil suffer a little, but afterwards, he’s much sharper. So you, too, must learn to bear certain pains and sorrows, because they will make you a better person.
‘Third quality: the pencil always allows us to use an eraser to rub out any mistakes. This means that correcting something we did is not necessarily a bad thing; it helps to keep us on the road to justice.’
‘Fourth quality: what really matters in a pencil is not its wooden exterior, but the graphite inside. So always pay attention to what is happening inside you.’
‘Finally, the pencil’s fifth quality: it always leaves a mark. in just the same way, you should know that everything you do in life will leave a mark, so try to be conscious of that in your every action’.

Excerpt from Like The Flowing River by Paulo Coelho.

:: the not-so-sparkly parcel ::

I’ve been wanting to write something. It was supposed to have been written in time for Valentine’s Day but of course, life happens. And WordPress waited for no woman. Heh. Was inspired by this short excerpt i read from Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage by Elizabeth Gilbert. The same author of the Eat, Pray, Love fame. One of my BBW random buys. 

“People always fall in love with the most perfect aspects of each other’s personalities. Who wouldn’t? Anybody can love the most wonderful parts of another person. But that’s not the clever trick. The really clever trick is this: Can you accept the flaws? Can you look at your partner’s faults honestly and say, ‘I can work around that. I can make something out of it.’? Because the good stuff is always going to be there, and it’s always going to pretty and sparkly, but the crap underneath can ruin you.”

I see different ones going in and out of relationships and i think to myself, “How do they do it? Is there something wrong with me that its so hard to find someone compatible enough? There really are not many choices around.”

Or worse, why is it that ‘finding someone’ no longer a primary goal? Honestly, it’s not even secondary. Being almost 27, that should..raise some eyebrows, yes? No. Not really. Not mine at least. The excerpt above was in reference to finding a ‘parcel’. A person as a whole. Not knowing what you’ll find in that parcel because you have hope and expectation that it’ll carry a few sparkly gems but mostly, not so sparkly ones. An old adage has been known to say, “Plant expectations, reap disappointments”. Depressing, indeed. But nevertheless, there is some truth to it.

And like Ms Gilbert wrote, sometimes its not just about the sparkly gems. But the not so sparkly ones and what can you do with them. I relate them to caring for my huddle. All of them to me, amazingly sparkly gems. But, like every other person, especially myself, we’ve got not so sparkly sides. And that’s the real part of being a parcel, isn’t it? You are not always going to get the things that you want. But TOGETHER, being in a bundle, a mixture of the good and not so good, you ARE that parcel. The way God has packaged you to be.

And how you as that parcel as a whole can be a gift to someone, now, that’s the miracle. That’s the truth of finding someone. That’s the truth of accepting someone. I admit i’m probably not the best person around that while i judge how someone is not compatible for me, different ones are probably deciding the very same thing with regards to me. And that’s the truth. I don’t blame them and neither do i chastise myself for having similar thoughts.

But, here’s the crutch to my thoughts: even if i CAN accept the flaws..the all in all…of someone, there’s this thought that he simply does not exist. The person i imagine being the absolutely perfect parcel, is a culmination of the few amazing men that i am proud to have known and given my heart to at one point for some duration of time.

It would be too much to hope for, wouldn’t it? Plant an expectation, you reap disappointment. 

So i trust You and hang on to the fact that You’ve never failed and You won’t start now. A short conversation with a dear friend sharing about how in moments of desperation, that’s where ‘it’ happens. ‘It’ being love. I content myself that i’m simply not there yet. I don’t need another heartbreak to fall.

I will not awaken love before its time.

:: things unseen ::

Song of the Day: Simply Nothing by Shawn McDonald

Thought of the Day: How do we return to a time before there was a ‘we’? It doesn’t matter anymore.

*****

An excerpt from Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel,

Beatrice: What a pleasant day.

Virgil: So warm.

Beatrice: And sunny.

(Pause.)

Beatrice: What should we do?

Virgil: Is there anything we can do?

Beatrice: (looking up the road) We could move on.

Virgil: We’ve done that before and it didn’t get us anywhere.

Beatrice: Maybe this time it will.

Virgil: Maybe.

(They do not move.)

Virgil: We could just talk.

Beatrice: Talk won’t save us.

Virgil: But it’s better than silence.

(Silence.)

Beatrice: It is.

Virgil: I was thinking about faith.

Beatrice: Were you?

Virgil: To my mind, faith is like being in the sun. When you are in the sun, can you avoid creating a shadow? Can you shake that area of darkness that clings to you, always shaped like you, as if constantly to remind you of yourself? You can’t. This shadow is doubt. And it goes wherever you go as long as you stay in the sun. And who wouldn’t want to be in the sun?

*****

I’m glad i’m in the sun. It reminds me that i’m alive. Takes faith to believe that when i go to sleep at night, i’d wake up the next morning.

I took that leap of faith. And fell. I remind myself that it takes two to tango.

:: i wait ::

I sometimes wonder if this readiness, this expectation, prevents the miracle from happening. But i have no choice. He is coming, and I am here. – Clare Abshire, The Time Traveler’s Wife

I wonder too.

***************************************************************************************

I get too caught up in books, sometimes. C’mon, Ellie, back to the real world.

Got lost on the way to KL today, was late 5 minutes for my interview because i got lost *in* Central Plaza too…it wasn’t the best of days, i admit. But yet will i praise Thee. Who am i..who am i…who am i…

…that i should wait for Thy best. I don’t want to search. I want to be found.

One day i’ll say, ‘…i waited for you, and now you’re here.’

I’m hopeful. Still.

:: thankful ::

I’m contented =)

I thank You. For everything.

A mind lively and at ease, can do with seeing nothing, and can see nothing that does not answer. – Jane Austen

Random : Vanilla milkshake makes me happy.

:: secured ::

I’d be the first to admit tonight that i felt…jealous. And out-casted. It was not ‘right’ for me to feel that way at all. And it’s such a waste of time. Really.

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly, broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully around with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable…The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers of love is Hell.

The Four Loves-C.S.Lewis-

I’ve learnt that people will disappoint me. And i had and will most definitely disappoint others. Though i’d try not to. I’m learning every day how to be secured in the Lord. To know that my ultimate goal is to please God, and no one else. And when i can do that fully, willingly, selflessly…i am able to offer to others, be free to desire and be willing to be disappointed. These people who made me feel the way i felt…may never change. But Lord, my view and how i respond to them, can.

God, teach me…to be vulnerable enough to be used by You.

:: of offerings ::

It’s been an interesting week. Supposedly celebrating my newfound freedom, i guess i’ve yet to do what i’d USUALLY do on a holiday. Have yet to go shopping, or watch movies, or hang out till late night (not that its necessary, but its more to the fact that i CAN), or…randomly making trips to far-off places just to find food. Maybe cause my kaki’s are either working…or…overseas. Lol. Oh well, at least Aileen’s back! And yay! You’re not quarantined. *laughs* 

I’ve been feeling challenged this past week. And…all i can say is that..God had to deal with that. Sooner than later, i suppose :) And i’m..so thankful, that He did not forget me. As i worshipped after last Sunday Evening Service, on my knees…He did NOT forget me. And…once again, i needed that. He’s given me that confidence. He poured out His presence. Jesus didn’t die for me so that i can worry. I’ve repented. If any of you see me worry with regards to a particular matter, you have permission to thwap me with a bamboo shtick. 

Anyways.

I read something which i wanted to share. Something which i was challenged to do in my quiet time. Something which…i’d love to work on. 

The gift of presence is a rare and beautiful gift. To come – unguarded, undistracted – and be fully present, fully engaged with whoever we are with at the moment. Have you noticed in reading the gospels that people enjoyed being around Jesus? They wanted to be near Him – to share a meal, take a walk, have a lingering conversation. It was the gift of His presence. When you were with Him, you felt He was offering you His heart. When we offer our unguarded presence, we live like Jesus. And we invite others to do the same. 

-an excerpt from Captivating-John & Stasi Eldredge-

I’d love to do that. I was challenged…to truly share myself and be totally at ease, NOT thinking about other things when i’m with people, especially with people who…need me to be ALL there. I guess i should be honest to say that i’m naturally a private person (yeah, for a person who BLOGS, i know). And i only share stuff with…a small group of people. However, i was made to realise that…i ain’t gonna glorify God when i don’t speak about what He’s doing in my life. My testimonies are not testimonies until i testify. And…relationships can’t be built…until there’s a foundation of…trust, a little bit of give and take. Thus, i solemnly promise that i will try to give my unguarded presence to whoever it is i am with at that moment. Be it my family, pastors, leaders, friends. There’s a need to focus on people. And God helping me, i’d like to share a meal, take a walk and have lingering conversations with you :) 

God’s challenging me…to offer me.

I’d add a disclaimer…but…i’m gonna assume that this post will be interpreted wisely ;)

:: wake up, you ::

Hello, good morning, how’d you do? What makes your rising sun so new?

There are people, who the more you do for them, the less they will do for themselves. – Emma, Jane Austen

Bravo, Ms Austen. It takes the idiom, “familiarity breeds contempt” to a whole new level, doesn’t it? Well, here’s to wake up calls for all of us.

On a random note, i’m so inspired by Susan Boyle. ‘I Dreamed A Dream’ from Les Miserables couldn’t have been sung better. It totally awakened this dream of wanting to watch some of the most renowned musicals in some opera house in London.

Oh, and the look on Simon’s face when Susan sang? Ahbsolutely priceless.

****************************************************************

What i’d love to see being performed in front of my very eyes this lifetime :

  1. Les Miserables
  2. Phantom Of The Opera
  3. Sunset Boulevard
  4. Miss Saigon
  5. West Side Story

…the city goes to bed, and i can live inside my head. – On My Own, Les Miserables

Ahh…dreams can be sweet indeed :)

:: no reason ::

I read an interesting excerpt from Paulo Coelho’s “Veronika Decides To Die”. Sounds so morbid, doesn’t it? Morbidity has been capturing my interest lately. Heh. Anyways, here goes the excerpt :

“Yes, you asked me if i knew what being crazy meant.”

“Exactly. This time i’m not going to tell you a story. I’ll just say that insanity is the inability to communicate your ideas. It’s as if you’re in a foreign country, able to see and understand everything that’s going on around you but incapable of explaining what you need to know or of being helped, because  you don’t understand the language they speak there.”

“We’ve all felt that.”

“And all of us, one way or another, are insane.”

I found that interesting, for some reason. Kinda reminded me of the time when i was stuck in Macau International Airport on my way back from HK and i found out my flight was gonna be delayed by 3 hours. I couldn’t find a public phone to let my parents know i’d be late and i couldn’t ask because i couldn’t speak the language. Or rather, i DID ask (in English), and all i got was blank faces. In the end, i just sat back down, contemplating lashing my fury at a neighbouring aunty who was yakking away in Mandarin (who so obviously was in Macau for only one reason) or just stamping my foot and swallowing my anger. I also concluded that Chinese people can be really proud of their mother tongue.

But no, i’m not insane. Though, i must say that i’ve “felt” insane. We all do. At one point or another. I thank God for His grace.

Anyways, I spent the first 3 days of my Easter break, feeling very sick. Was down with fever and ‘the works’. My nose was runny, my head was heavy, my ears were/are blocked that everything sounds echoey. Have you ever felt that fear of having a sore throat and thinking that you’d lose your voice forever? I do. Or rather, did. It worried me much when i was croaking to my mom that i’d willingly eat porridge if that’s what it takes to get my voice back. (I hate porridge, see).

But being sick had its perks. The being able to lie in my bed all day and no one would disturb you cause you’re ‘resting’. The ‘don’t-want-to-think-about-assignments-which-i’m-supposed-to-be-catching-up-on-because-i’m-having-a-raging-headache’ excuse kinda felt nice too. It’ll prolly sink in later that i only have tomorrow to do ‘something’ about it since i’ll be leaving for Taiping on Friday till early Sunday morning. And then it’s a whole day of church. And THEN, it’s back to school again.

Ta-da. It’s a vicious cycle indeed. I think there was a reason why i got sick.

And that reason would’ve defeated the very purpose of what i’m doing right now. Which is…taking ‘rest’ time..to do something as unprofitable as blogging in the wee hours of the morning.

Oh well, maybe tomorrow.

**********************************************************

I have this sinking feeling, something’s weighing me down…

I know i shouldn’t hold on. Especially to something as temporal as this.

Have Your way here, keep me afloat coz i know i’ll sink without You…

It seems that i’ve become a stiff-necked person. Clinging to things that are not of fundamental importance. Maybe realising that i’m not in control of everything…has made me fragile in Your hands again. I’m really afraid of sinking. What if…? I really shouldn’t be caught up with the what-if’s of life.

Sigh. Throw me a lifeline.