06 June 2002

Choose what is better

Wow. It's been 2 and a half months since the last journal entry.

So much has happened, I can barely catch my breath, much less pause to make sense of anything.

Where have I been? What have I learnt? What's next for me? What do I need to do? So many questions.

I'm reeling trying to orientate myself. But maybe what I need isn't more questions.. but real answers from above.

I, of all people need to hear Jesus' invitation to Martha : 'Yoke Yeow, you are worried and upset about many thing but only one thing is needed. Choose what is better, and it will not be taken away from you.'

It's OK to let go. I give myself permission. If just to sit for awhile.

At Your feet, Jesus.

23 March 2002

Living on the edge

I'm a sucker for torture. This year was supposed to be the 'honeymoon' year of my 4-year Masters' program. But I couldn't handle the honeymooning. I was growing sedentary, a little retarded mentally and knew I had to do something before I grew pressure sores. So I enrolled for external exams.

'Are you nuts?' Most people would ask. 'You are really bizarre. People study for exams, you take exams to study!''

I am insane aren't I?

So here I am, a month exactly from doomsday, wondering if my head's screwed on right. I count the reality - one hundred topics and 29 days to go. The files and books are stacked ever higher, dwarfing my shrinking confidence. Laugh. I AM mad. But hey, what's life without a little dare and madness?

The correct term for this, I am told, is brinkmanship. I have cultivated (according to Merriam-Webster's dictionary) 'the practice of pushing a dangerous situation to the limit of safety to force a desired outcome.'

And what is my desired outcome? Passing the darned exams, certainly. But I hope this race does more for me than push through a self-imposed finish line. Sharper eyes, better hands, quicker thinking, and overall a better understanding of learning.

And a little excitement on the side.

Wish me luck, guys. And don't try this at home without clearance from your personal physician.

05 February 2002

Spilling my guts

I have no doubt in my mind that confession is essential for salvation (read healing).

A biblical injunction. In Leviticus, when a guilty person goes to the priest to have his sins atoned, he must first 'confess in what way he has sinned.' John the Baptist insisted on his baptismees publicly repenting of their sins before going under. James tells us to 'confess.. that we may be healed.'

This is surgical therapy at its best.

Confession is like an incision that gives access to the surgeon to get at the vicious tumor of guilt and shame. God's scalpel of deliverance radically excises whatever bitter roots that lurk within. Before it erodes into our joy, spontaneity and freedom to be.

The simple act of spilling guts flings wide open the floodgates of God's forgiveness and acceptance, secured already by His atoning sacrifice on the Cross. I have far more to gain acknowledging my shameful deeds than live in the tragic imprisonment of false righteousness.

23 January 2002

Giving myself away

A friend confessed to me today her passion and heartfelt calling to write. She just can't start. 'Inferiority complex' was a major obstacle for her.

I understand fully.

Oh yes, I cringe every time I read my own writings. Other writers never fail to impress (and intimidate) me. I wait eagerly for responses and think I'll never write again when the mailbox is empty. But I've realized that as long as my writing is a means of proving my worth or gaining approval, I will always be paralyzed by that fear of rejection. (And then another month will pass with no updates to the Tent!)

I remain convicted that writing is primarily for me. It helps me to be fully human. After all, when we write we inadvertently express life as we have experienced, or as we hope for it to be. We explore our deepest emotions, discern the motion of our lives, and ever so often get glimpses of God's presence there.

Two writing experts. Deena Metzger says, 'Honor the process.' Nancy Aronie says, 'trust the harmony.. and believe that your own wisdom and nature will kick in when they are invited as equal partners.' So I must take time to let it grow, like the brewing of soup and all its elements.

And there's also the element of being laid bare. Being exposed for all to scorn and mock.

Dorothy Day says, 'writing... is hard because you are "giving yourself away." But if you love, you want to give yourself. You write as you are impelled to write, about man and his problems, his relation to God and his fellows. You write about yourself, his human needs of sustenance and love. Because in the long run all man's problems are the same.'

Thank you, Dorothy. For reminding me that such risks are the only way to grow. Because giving that holds back and hides is not giving at all. No one is touched. We are not brought closer together. I guess 'giving yourself away' is the only true gift. Both for the giver and the given.