September 18, 2005

Formalities Eclipsed

There are times in life where you look back and wistfully imagine the younger years. Years where things were carefree and innocent and when dreams were allowed to flourish in the cerebral. I think everyone in some way or another, gives thought to the day they'd be married. So to say, it's actually a myth that only girls imagine such things; because I'm betting that even guys replay in their minds the setting, the bride and the vows, things which would change their lives (and commitment levels, mind you!) forever.

Thursday night was a simply magical experience. The Singapore Students' Association of Victoria annual ball at the Melbourne Aquarium was well organised and perfectly executed. Although I did find the surroundings at Melbourne Aquarium a tad bit dingy, it provided ample view of a very special place just across the Yarra. We had fun that night, we chatted, posed for pictures and basked in each other's company for the entire night. But it wasn't the ball itself which touched my heart, it was the time where KL walked out from her apartment lobby.

They say that epiphanys are solely exclusive to religion, that they're meant to describe divine will. Perhaps then, it could be said that I realised how divine will really works. As I saw her beautiful self all dolled up and looking so elegant, I had a 'flash-forward' to the day when we'd be married. And I smiled deep in my heart, knowing that instance would be captured forever in my mind. But I think it's in such bliss that I realise the whole formality of the night was never the point, it was the point that we were together and enjoyed each other's company. We could be eating at a hawker centre or at the Westin, and it still wouldn't matter.

Love eclipses formalities, truly. And I think I'm in love.

Traveller fell apart at 9:59 PM

September 12, 2005

Happiness Redefined

People change as they grow older. Perspectives become different, we see things in different lights and we take one more step forward in the path that life has mapped out. As a child, some of us may have seen only black and white, good and evil. But as we grow, we realise that adulthood is all about seeing the grey in between. What we may constitute as 'unkind behaviour' may simply be a lack of maturity to see the underlying good. And it is something I begin to learn how to see as days go by.

I used to see happiness as merely having my needs and wants fulfilled. It was all about me and my comfort, my security, my perspectives. A very self-centred approach you may say, but it isn't quite uncommon amongst people. Sigmund Freud theorised an inner 'ego' amongst us, an entity which exists within from birth and which we slowly suppress and learn how to stifle through childhood. And you could say that for the past twenty years, I haven't quite acquired a mastery of that skill; that suppression of selfishness for selflessness.

Although life is about learning and growing, instantaneous change isn't an impossibility either. When things suddenly come into light, when perspectives change, when you know what you're doing is for the good of the people you care about, you pressure a change within yourself which reaches far beyond just simple actions. It touches the very core of your being. It's this revelation I've come to see. That happiness stems from appreciating the little things that are done for you and not focusing on the things that aren't.

But revelations like these don't occur by accident, they happen through love, patience and guidance.

Traveller fell apart at 10:35 PM

September 11, 2005

Faith By Sight

And the saying goes, that Christians should live only by faith, and not by sight. It's something that I believe everyone struggles with, from the newest of converts to the Pastor himself. Faith alone entails placing trust in something intangible, whether it be even remotely realistic in the future or merely an illusion we feel will never come true. Thus, the battle between the spirit and the flesh rages on, forever illuminating the struggles we will face everyday in this fallen world.

Why'd I end the last paragraph on a seemingly unrelated note, you may inquire? As I've always argued, life is essentially an epic campaign of flesh versus spirit. Human beings are primarily made up of two parts, our physical body and ethereal soul. Our body withers away and is a subject of time, but not our spirit. It is eternal, an entity which lives on and goes far beyond human comprehension. Faith is food to the spirit, just as food nourishes our bodies. Without faith, there can be no building up, no strengthening within. Faith is currency in heaven just as notes and coins are on Earth.

Many, however, over-emphasise the role faith should play in our physical lives. A measure of it must always be found, but we must also be careful to utilise what God has given us. Our eyes. It is all good and well to trust in God for all our needs, but at the same time, we must also rely on our own intelligence and observations because these are God's gifts to the human race. God would not bestow something on us that He did not intend us to put to use. And yet, church leaders and ministers continue harping on the point that if we at any point 'place our faith' in our own understanding, we essentially fail.

But what they don't understand is that if we rely on faith purely, we lose sight of the reality which God has tangibly placed us in.

Traveller fell apart at 1:25 PM

September 04, 2005

Optimism Devalued

It was like any other Sunday. The Pastor had just finished giving his sermon and made a call to the congregation. The Pastor spoke of dedication, of love for Christ, of burdens and worries, of every conceivable problem Christians might face. The sermon itself was long and tiresome, lacking in real energy and spark. The cutting edge that God's Word constantly brings to people's hearts was missing and the people's eyes were glazed with weariness. The air in the room was still, and so was the spirit.

The altar call. The all-too-familiar part of the service where they attempt to instil feelings of guilt and penance within the congregation utilising a quiet, peaceful keyboard piece whilst soul-searching statements are being pronounced. And it was then, that the hand came up. A wavering, slow movement which declared distinctiveness due to its solitude. The footsteps to the pulpit he took were so familiar. And as he walked towards the front, I saw glimpses of myself a year ago in that very same position. The very same uncertain footsteps, the serious sincerity and that same tentative smile on the face. Even the congratulations that went round were similar, and so were the people.

I think people nowadays are too quick to declare undying love and faith to God. The recent wave of mass conversions I've seen only serve to remind me of the susceptibility of human beings to good techniques of persuasion. All it takes is some nice music, a charismatic preacher and seemingly caring people and wham, there goes your declaration of undying praise. New converts today fail to truly absorb the message of Christianity into their hearts, resulting in a quick-fire declaration followed by an equally quick slide downhill. That is why I am cynical about most people being overly expressive in too short a span of time.

And that is why I hid in the corner and smiled wryly as the group surrounded him and showered him in attention.

Traveller fell apart at 1:20 PM

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