it's a new year in london!
It's a new year, and so for a change I'll be posting here.野地的花
Hope everyone, especially those so dear to my heart back home, are well.
Because I missed MAF...
I can't really choose a favourite from these school songs, which intially scared me so during orientation (cos they were all in Chinese) but which I've come to really really like now because of all they remind me of, but this is one of my favourites.
sui ran wo men xiang shi wu yan zhong
bi ci qing yi bu shen xin ling que xiang tong
you ji de wo men ceng shuo guo wo men shi yuan jin ze
wei xue yuan xue sheng fa chu guang he re
huang cheng sui ran yi bu fu liu cun
wo men que bu zai hu bu yu shi jing shen
zhi yao wo men de xin lian xi cong ci bu zai ge fen
nan dao wo men jiu bu neng wang qian ben
guo qu de jiu rang ta zhan zhuan guo qu
bu yao yi wei hui gu
shou shi qi wo men po sui de xin qing
bu zai ting xia jiao bu
rang wo men shi zhe kai tuo xin lu cheng
ba hua chu can lan de guang mang
zhao liang lu shang wu shu ci de hei an
zong ran ying mian hai you da feng lang
wo men bu zai wei ju feng yu de zu dang
sheng ming dui ni he wo lai shuo yi bu shi yi chang meng
sheng huo de mai jin yi ke bu fang song
return of the monkey
MAF was today, and I did want to go. But because the skies were too grey, the afternoon too sleepy, the evening too hot and also my monkey-induced state of trauma, I didn't make it to Hwa Chong in the end. ):
I never was an animal lover, but situations involving animals in places they're not meant to be seriously scare me. Some examples: birds crashing into sliding doors, bats in the pipe cupboards, lizard in my hair or file or shoe, chicken in the toilet at my grandma's house and... monkey in the living room. This afternoon wasn't really the first time the monkeys have visited our house.
I remember how before I left for London last year, a few monkeys invaded our balcony and killed my father's beloved orchids, and messed the other potted plants up. Then there was the time I entered my parents' room only to see a HUGE monkey squatting on the outer (fortunately, so there's still the grille between monkey and me) window sill. But those all don't beat today.
So this afternoon I settled down into the sofa in the living room to enjoy voyage of the dawn treader (yes I know Narnia is kids stuff- but it's the best it should be made compulsory!). The sliding doors to the balcony were wide open as they usually are, and so when when I sensed some movement, eyes still glued to the book, I assumed it to be the flitting shadows cast by the tree outside. And then, I caught sight of furry paws. My first thought: cat! Which was bad enough, but at least I can pick a cat up and shoo it back out. AND then I looked again and realised it was a BIG monkey sitting on the living room floor less than a metre away from me!
I screamed and screamed at it to go away, but it just sat there and bared its teeth and made faces at me, would you believe it! And refused, just plain refused to leave. I can still see it, the stubborn monkey sitting there and mocking me for not being able to get him back out among the trees!
So in the end it took my mother to come down (after many many minutes) and chase it out. For some reason the monkey obeyed her, maybe she looked more respectable. Still, the trauma was sizeable and my throat very hoarse at the end of it. But I must say that if we met under different circumstances, like maybe on a safari trip, or at the zoo, I might have thought it were quite cute, and if I were friendlier it probably would not have mocked me as well. (Thought it might then have jumped onto the sofa, horrors.)
Well, what with that and just how I've been feeling- out of sorts, I didn't leave the house. So I stayed home to bake oatmeal cookies instead. Which turned out well, despite my forgetting and tipping the bicarbonate of soda in while the pan to mix butter and sugar was still over the fire. It bubbled and frothed furiously, giving me a moment of minor panic. I can see why baking is soothing, it gives enough to occupy your mind and take it off other things- just take one thing at a time, measure, mix, stir, run back to recipe check etc. And if you end up with something edible, all the better.
to be an andrew
Andrew brought everything to his Lord: he brought his brother Simon Peter, he brought a boy with five loaves and two fish, he brought unlikely Greeks, and great things were done.
Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee.-------
Take my moments and my days; let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my hands, and let them move at the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet, and let them be swift and beautiful for Thee.
Take my voice, and let me sing always, only, for my King.
Take my lips, and let them be filled with messages from Thee.
Take my silver and my gold; not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect, and use every power as Thou shalt choose.
Take my will, and make it Thine; it shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is Thine own; it shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love, my Lord, I pour at Thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself, and I will be ever, only, all for Thee.
On another note, yuheng put what he once told me (i think) in words:
When you are close to a person, and I do not mean physical or geographical but emotional and spiritual intimacy, there tends to be this carelessness. What I am referring to is that you are quite likely to take that person for granted, be it family or a friend. You probably drop all social graces and courtesies because you are so familiar with him or her that sometimes this can be perceived as impoliteness. On the contrary, it is precisely because you and that person have this mutual understanding that both of you do not need to be careful around and with each other since both of you have known each other so well, sensitivity is deemed as a sign of alienation rather than acquaintance.
How true, but what is there to be said then of insensitivity or hurt within that closeness? Is it to be dismissed, accepted as better than that sensitivity that might alienate? I have no way of figuring this out.
I don't like these conflicting feelings of gladness and gloom and plain dread at all the packing that awaits me as the date to fly back (? to?) London approaches. Whoever it was that said that moving house is the second greatest trauma in life after the death of a loved one had good sense. (oh actually I think it was a survey done- ok then whoever interpreted the stats got it right.)
Spent the last couple of days at home, because of the mini red-eye epidemic that has hit my family. Most of each day was spent watching TV, episode after episode of a korean drama serial actually, but even though it wasn't the best korean drama I've watched (because I tend to dislike the draggy weepy sorts, and no, not all korean dramas are draggy weepy ones!), it was probably one of the best 'viewing experiences' (cos I don't know what else to call it).
For that, I have my wonderful 外公外婆 to thank. :) They came all the way down from Kota Bahru, and it's been so long since I've seen them. And it's so so amusing to see the way my grandfather got all excited over silly dramatic twists in the plot of the korean drama, and how when the 男主角 poked fun at the 女主角 he would use that exact same jibe on my grandmother! But she's even better, she'll just stare unfazed at the screen and not respond! Or say something like, "人家在看戏剧啦..."
Funnier yet, when at the most tragic, heart-rending, tear-jerking parts, my dear grandfather starts guffawing, the really loud ha-ha-ha kind of laugh so that you can't help but laugh at it as well. And then he's always asking what will happen next and making wild guesses, like "他一定会自杀的, 一定的一定的..." To which my grandmother just goes "哎呀阿公不知道乱讲话."
And so those weepy scenes that are supposed to be so touching end up having close to zero effect on me. But I was touched by the reality of my grandparents' child-like faith, how 积极 they were in making their lives really centred on Christ. Throughout their stay with us, just little things like how my grandmother would bow her head to say grace before eating her tea and biscuits (I honestly never remember to say grace before tea.) leapt out at me, and I truly am thankful for their amazing salvation, so late but definitely not too late in their lives.
I'm not going to forget anytime soon this phrase my grandfather said over and over again during the course of our 24-episodes-in-2-days korean drama marathon. "耶稣说不能撒慌, 你信不信? 上帝的话不会错的, 你看真不真, 真不真呢?" He's still the same grandfather who talks loudly, laughs loudly, and can be quite fierce with his booming voice, but he's changed too. The joy he has when he's singing those Chinese choruses I don't pretend to fully understand, but do anyway, he makes me feel so indescribably blessed as well.
I hope that some how when I go back to Ipoh next weekend to see my other grandmother, that I can share a glimpse of this truth with her as well.
haven't posted lyrics in a long while, but sometimes it's just easier to use someone else's wordsJourneyMusic and lyrics by Corrine MayIt's a long, long journey Till I know where I'm supposed to be It's a long, long journey and I don't know if I can believe When shadows fall and block my eyes I am lost and know that I must hide It's a long, long journey Till I find my way home to you Many days I've spent Drifting on through empty shores Wondering what's my purpose Wondering how to make me strong I know I will falter I know I will cry I know you'll be standing by my side It's a long long journey And I need to be close to you Sometimes it seems no one understands I don't even know why I do the things I do When pride builds me up till I can't see my soul Will you break down these walls and pull me through? 'Cause it's a long, long journey Till I feel that I am worth the price You paid for me on calvary Beneath those stormy skies When Satan mocks and friends turn to foes It feels like everything is out to make me lose control It's a long, long journey Till I find my way home to you
like a wineskin in the smoke
Psalm 119 is beautiful.
The Matthew Henry commentary describes it so, "This is a psalm by itself, like none of the rest; it excels them all, and shines brightest in this constellation. It is much longer than any of them more than twice as long as any of them. it is not making long prayers that Christ censures, but making them for a pretence, which intimates that they are in themselves good and commendable. It seems to me to be a collection of David's pious and devout ejaculations, the short and sudden breathings and elevations of his soul to God, which he wrote down as they occurred, and, towards the latter end of his time, gathered out of his daybook where they lay scattered, added to them many like words, and digested them into this psalm, in which there is seldom any coherence between the verses, but, like Solomon's proverbs, it is a chest of gold rings, not a chain of gold links."
I don't know why its beauty only struck me last night, but I think it has something to do with the power of this verse.
"Though I am like a wineskin in the smoke, I do not forget your decrees." Psalm 119:83
I didn't know what a wineskin in the smoke really was, no clue as to its significance, only that it seemed to capture what I'm feeling like right now. A wineskin in the smoke. So anyway, this morning I decided to find out, again from Matthew Henry commentary-
"David begs God would make haste to comfort him. Lord, make haste to help me, for I have become like a bottle in the smoke
, a leathern bottle, which if it hung any while in the smoke, was not only blackened with soot, but dried, and parched, and shrivelled u
p. David was thus wasted by age, and sickness, and sorrow. "
Not really something I can identify with, though aging I'm still young, still healthy, not sorrowful. But the later lines leapt out at me. "A bottle, when it is thus wrinkled with smoke, is thrown by, and there is no more use of it. Who will put wine into such old bottles
? Thus was David, in his low estate, looked upon as a despised broken vessel
, and as a vessel in which there was no pleasure
My affliction is hardly as great but perhaps what's struck me is something like that described in this line, "Good men, when they are drooping and melancholy, sometimes think themselves more slighted than really they are". Sigh. Still David never cooled in his affection to the word of God, never let His precepts, His statues slip his mind. I shall endeavour to do the same, praying that this empty vessel may be filled again.Lord, let me set my heart and mind on things above whatever my outward condition.