Why this candle?
Why this cake?
The day of my birth
is not today.
I was born
when you said,
A butterfly does not return to a caterpillar after it is mature.
However, life comes in stages.
We all have different ages.
We do what we do because of our ages.
Knowingly or unknowingly,
we act because of where we have reached in life.
Although it seemed to be the young man who showed honour and obedience to the old man, to authority and dignity;
now again it was apparently the old man who was required to follow, serve, worship the figure of youth, of beginning, of mirth.
They played games.
The young and the old.
They are having fun on a stage where no actor can act.
They need a clown, so they could enjoy the applause of the crowd; which could feeds their egos, soothed their souls, and justified their filthy minds.
Is it true, that ‘kindness and cruelty’ and ‘mercy and justice’ all have secret affairs, as though they rendezvous only within certain sophisticated souls: those who hate being offensive, but love telling the truth ?!
I was once lost under the cloak of universal themes and terms such as freedom, change, and acceptance, madness ensues, being readily welcomed by those whose mind’s eye questions nothing.
Yet I’ve come to known that only grey,
you conclude that all greys are the same shade.
You mock the simplicity of the two-colour view,
yet you replace it with a one-colour view.
I am simple, but I am not a clown.
I chose to be simple that I wish the red sun reflecting the eagerness towards life.
Even when it’s setting down,
the last moment still engraved in someone’s heart forever.
Yes, I miss this land –
the ever pure and innocent souls of the people.
June 2019 – Lusaka, Zambia, Africa.
Following my previous post of Curtain Call, I’ve compiled a series of amazing footage to capture the highlights of our trip to Zambia Africa.
A few weeks before our Zambia trip,
I was in Australia.
I saw kids running fearlessly,
with their hearts carefree.
When I landed at the Musosolokwe AP,
I saw kids running wildly,
with their hearts muddied with concerns.
Plates scattered on the ground,
filthy water in their cup,
they live with flies and call them a friend.
Children are the gifts from God,
their childhood should be equally measured by a similar standard.
While going the distance,
I saw the most genuine smile reflected from their heart
– it is called the simplicity of life bring forth true fruit of happiness.
So little they have in hands,
so much they produced from heart.
Indeed, our vision for every child,
life in all its fullness,
our prayer for every heart,
the will to make it so.
Thank you, World Vision,
for being a platform for us to reach out to the underprivileged.
I am so blessed today.
June 2019 – Lusaka, Zambia, Africa.
I can see His heart in everything He’s done;
every part designed in a work of art called love.
If He gladly chose surrender, so will I.
I can see His heart eight billion different ways;
every precious one, a child He died to save.
If He gave His life to love them;
so will I.
“What’s there to find in a broken heart;
if not assembled pieces of love for a pristine start.
What’s there to see behind the curtain;
only things that you don’t know for certain.”
At the boarding gate at 48, my heart was full of uncertainty.
I looked at my toes and blank in mind:
“I will do it better, for this time …”
I promised myself.
After more than 30 hours of journey, we settled down in a delightful place in Zambia – Urban Bliss Hotel at Kabwe; welcomed by all the lovely faces.
My mind was still clobbering with 3 different time zones within a day, and full of butterflies in my stomach.
Day One, I can’t believe I missed home and wanted to go back right after I’ve landed.
Tossing and turning in bed, I woke up with the pounding in my head.
(ouch, today is gonna be a long day)
Swollen down a paracetamol, I started my day with the most adventurous task which later on I’ve discovered that this need to be repeated daily
Sarong Chitenge* wearing !
We hitched up the bumpy rides, towards the Chimwala community reading camp!
The nostalgically smiley little black faces surrounded me have finally embraced me with a sense of belonging. Yes, that’s the African sentiment I’ve tasted so long ago !
And I can’t believe I miss them very much.
Mulibwanji*? they said.
Heading towards one of the households which deeply impacted by the bad water points that bring adverse effects to the well being of the people.
As a cultural practice in Zambia, children wake up early in the morning to help the family with chores which include fetching the water from the well.
After my first attempt at pulling up the bucket from the well, I was secretly whispering in my heart “God, I thank You for everything that You’ve given to me, I am so blessed”.
We heard the story of Cleo (pseudonym) who fell into the well and traumatized with flashback ever since the incident happened back in last year October, our hearts hovered with grief and anguish towards the people of this land.
We went back to the hotel in darkness (due to short circuit of the electrical supply) and our emotion was very much synchronized with the surrounding – a dim vastness was spreading before our souls!
God is gracious toward the softhearted, under the move of what we have seen in the morning, the trippers decided to raise funds for the built of a borehole / mechanical water pump for Cleo’s community !
By the grace of God, He multiplied our five loaves and two fishes
and made our dream comes true.
Zikomo* they said.
Indeed, no one is ever satisfied where he/she is, only the children know what they’re looking for …
I was overwhelmed by seeing Cat C. after years of sponsoring her. In my memory, she was a shy and sad little girl on the first glimpse of her picture.
To my great surprise, I was received by her spontaneous and warm hug on our first met !
That smile, I would never forget.
Every single second that I’ve spent with her, I was mindful that her well being is harmonized with mine.
As much as long conversations, laughter riots, and wild meetups are desirable, there’s still beauty and satisfaction in knowing via a simple gesture that you wish someone well and they wish you back the same – we dance triumphantly to celebrate life with the rhapsody in our hearts !
Day Five, on the last day of our stay
I can’t believe we were about to leave this place.
Wandering at the hotel front desk and looking around at all the now-familiarised faces, I was reminiscing the first night when I stepped on this ground, I was covered with fears and all the people that I do not know.
However today, new friendship has brewed and I started to miss everyone already!
We stood there, looking at each other, hardly saying anything.
But it was the kind of nothing that meant everything.
Our hugs uttered it all !
Like what Mother Theresa said:
“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today.
Let us begin.”
I brought back the smiles of everyone, full of gratitude in my heart. Noting that this moment is so precious that I would love to treasure every single minutes of today.
If I ever go looking for
my heart’s desire again,
I won’t look any further than my own back yard.
Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with.
Thank you Jesus, for everything.
Goodbye, Zambia ! I will see you soon.
June 2019 – Lusaka, Zambia, Africa.
* Please check out my post on the previous trip to Lesotho, Africa back in the year of 2013 here.
Chitenge – The chitenge(or kitenge) is an African garment similar to the sarong, often worn by women, wrapped around the chest or waist, over the head as a headscarf, or as a baby sling.
Mulibwanji – How are you
Zikomo – Thank you
Is not this a true autumn day?
Just the still melancholy that I love
– that makes life and nature harmonise.
The birds are consulting
about their migrations,
the trees are putting on
the hectic or the pallid hues of decay,
and begin to strew the ground,
that one’s very footsteps
may not disturb the repose
of earth and air,
while they give us a scent
that is a perfect anodyne
to the restless spirit.
My very soul is wedded to it,
and if I were a bird
I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.
May 2019 – Aravina Estate, Perth, Western Australia.
You and I have known each other
long enough that we are like family.
Which means we have earned the right
to hate each other from time to time
but that doesn’t mean
there’s still not love underneath!
May 2019 – Perth, Western Australia.
in a picture.
He found me,
no matter what.
You can run away from yourself so often,
and so much,
just because the broken pieces of you cut your feet too deeply if you stay around for too long.
But then what if someone were to come along;
and pick up those pieces for you?
Then you wouldn’t have to run away from yourself anymore.
You could stop running.
If someone sees you as something worth staying with
— maybe you’ll stay with yourself, too.
March 2019 – Starbucks Reserve Roastery, Tokyo, Japan.
This article is too good not to share!
“At the concert, every violin player, drummer and singer knew why they were there and what their role was. The result was harmony. The same is necessary in any organization. Each employee needs to be on the same page. And that page must be seen, understood and emotionally absorbed.”
Jim Crupi is a management consultant with a long, brilliant resume. (Heard of CNN? He helped set the strategic stage that led to its creation.) Here, he distills some of his best leadership advice into one memorable metaphor.
Music is all-consuming. Our reaction to a great song can be so visceral that we are forever connected to it. Hearing that song can bring you back to a moment in time, and often, it binds you to a person too; every time you hear it, you are there with them again, reliving a wonderful moment. This is something every leader aspires to do with those around them as well: to inspire and move people like great music does.
In 1996, I watched a concert with singers from around the world, including Zucchero and Pavarotti. I was amazed by the performers — but beyond that, I was enthralled by the leadership lessons embedded in the music. That concert helped me frame these lessons, which pull together stories and insights from some of the great people I’ve worked with.
1. A leader is both a singer and a songwriter.
People don’t really listen unless there is an emotional impact that causes them never to forget. As a leader you have to touch people’s hearts as well as their heads. What you say, the lyrics, must tell a meaningful story — and the way you tell that story, the music, must resonate in the heart of the listener.
Many executives tend to deal more with the mind and not so much with the heart. One executive I’ve worked with is really, really good at solving for this. He’s the company’s founder and is looked at by everyone as the person in charge. Yet in every company-wide meeting, he talks about what the company has accomplished as a whole, and he calls out other people in very positive ways. He focuses on their values and their commitment to excellence. It is the music of his leadership, and it is subtle but powerful.
He pays attention to the little things. For example, he asked a nutritionist to study the snacks in the company break room and make sure all of them provided nutritional value. It’s one thing to tell people “we care about you” — it’s another thing when somebody is paying that kind of attention. Every time you go into the break room, you know you’re cared for. It’s a decision that’s been made intellectually, but it impacts you emotionally because you know it’s in your best interest. That’s the music.
Ted Turner was another leader who was really good at this. His counter-intuitive insights forced people to think in ways that touched people’s hearts beyond normal business decisions. I was asked to help frame a strategic workshop that ultimately led to the creation of CNN and headline news on a global scale. At one point in the discussion, the company’s MBA-educated executives in the room were thinking: “Okay, we need to figure out how we’re going to broadcast in German, in Chinese, etc.” And Ted Turner, as only Ted could, says, “Y’know, I know that’s what they taught you in business school, but we’re not going to do that. How many of you have ever heard of the Tower of Babel?” All these executives looked at each other as if to say: “What is he talking about?” Ted went on: “We’re going to broadcast CNN in English in order to teach the world a common language, so that people can understand each other and create peace in the world.” You could see the intellectual business argument immediately dissolve and the music take hold. Trust me, nobody has forgotten that moment in the history of that company — nobody.
2. Make sure everyone is on the same sheet of music.
At the concert, every violin player, drummer and singer knew why they were there and what their role was. The result was harmony. The same is necessary in any organization. Each employee needs to be on the same page. And that page must be seen, understood and emotionally absorbed.
When I first start working with any new company, I go onsite and talk with the key people and write a report about what I have learned. In my first conversations with one particular company, I asked 15 people: “What’s the vision of this company?” I got fifteen different answers. So I wrote my report, and recommended that the executive I was working with should take this group offsite for a workshop, to create a vision statement and set three strategic goals they could commit to. Eighteen months later, I came back and interviewed this group and a few more people, a total of thirty employees. This time when I asked them what the company vision was, everyone had the same answer. Everyone was on the same sheet of music and understood how their role and the role of others created strategic harmony.
3. Develop a simple theme — then repeat it.
Have you ever noticed how a song’s lyrics repeat themselves over and over again? They become so familiar that you sing along; you absorb them into your being. An effective vision statement does the same thing. As a leader, you need to put it in language so everybody can “see” it and understand it. And get it into everybody’s hands. Remember that company that had 15 different ideas of what the vision was? When they developed their new vision statement, the CEO held a company-wide meeting for it. He said, “Every time you make a decision within your own department, ask one question: ‘Does it line up with our objectives?’” If you go into his employees’ workspaces today, they have that vision statement on a card in their offices. What’s amazing is, they can tell you the vision and the key strategic objectives without even looking at the card. It has become part of who they are and how they do what they do.
It’s the job of a leader to get a team to see and feel the mission, vision or task. People tend to focus on the familiar, on their previous experience. You need to get their attention on the vision — and keep it. They have to hear and see what you are after, over and over again, until that story becomes so dominant that they commit it to memory and their focus is absolute and intuitive.
The vision should be one sentence long, simple and picture-like, or it’s worthless. When General Tommy Franks led the 2003 invasion into Iraq and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, his vision statement was simple: “Get to Baghdad as fast as you can.” Now that’s visual. He left it up to his individual commanders to figure out how to execute that vision.
4. Get the right players around you.
Playing in the concert were people from many nationalities and ethnic groups, children and senior citizens, women and men, it did not matter. All were dedicated to excellence and being in harmony with one another for a common purpose. Their cultural diversity built a harmony and strength that fed off itself to produce results. It is the same in an organization.
When I used to hire people for my organization, I was always reviewing a pile of resumes. Of course, by the time the resumes got to me they were all good — everyone was equally qualified. So I always asked these final candidates just two questions. First: Tell me about your life. I wanted to hear people talk about who they were, and what formed them. The second question: Rank, in order of importance, the five most important things in your life. Some people would say money, faith, family, etc.; others faith, family, money, etc. Everybody had a different answer. But their stories and answers gave me a clue to their character. I really listened and watched their behavioral response. Once the interview was over and they left the room, I’d ask myself one question: If I’m in a boat in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and the boat is in trouble, who do I want in that boat with me? Those are the people I’d hire. They were the people who had the character I could count on when things got tough. Every organization has tough moments. You want people working with you whom you can count on when the tough moments come. I always chose character and attitude over skill, and that insured I always had the right people in the boat.
5. Let others shine.
The concert in Modena, Italy, had three conductors, who were somehow invisible. It was the same with Zucchero and Pavarotti. One minute they were stars; the next minute, they were in the background, replaced by the voices of children or the sound of a guitar player. The focus was on the music, not the individuals. It is the same in a company. The focus should be on the message and the music.
One executive I worked with had been an Army company commander — a leader of 150 people. The military regularly takes units into the field for training, in order to grade the leader and their unit’s combat readiness. So one night this commander is about to start a graded night attack exercise. Just before the exercise starts, he turns to the evaluator and says: “Before you start, I’m telling you right now that I’m dead, one of my sergeants who is responsible for resupplying ammunition to the troops is dead, and one of my lieutenants is dead.” The evaluator says, “Are you out of your mind? Your unit is going to fail the test!” But the former company commander said: “If they can’t do this without me, then I’ve not served them well.” Guess what: His unit had the highest scores of any company evaluated. He had ensured that his team was well trained. They had the confidence to act in spite of unforeseen and compromising circumstances. He said, “I wasn’t out front, I wasn’t even there.”
6. Cultivate commitment and enthusiasm; they’re contagious.
As the music reached into the hearts of the audience, everyone began singing along and clapping their hands with the singers and the orchestra. At the end of the song, the singers and the orchestra and the 1,000 people in the audience were as one, united by purpose.
I remember once talking to some pension fund managers, and I asked one of them: “What are you here to do?” And I love what he told me: “Well, if I’m successful, I’ll be providing jobs for people.” There’s a difference between people who think “I’m investing money for this pension fund, or that university,” and others who say, “We’re making it possible for people to live their lives. Our real clients are the students who need a scholarship, the families whose livelihood is preserved by our fund.” That kind of commitment permeates the culture of the company.
It is my experience that people who commit themselves to something bigger than themselves are just different people. There’s some new research that shows that these people have a more significant impact than those who see what they do as just a job. They are so driven beyond the normal that their actions are contagious. People stand in awe of their determination and drive.
7. Commit yourself to a bigger cause than yourself.
The concert was not just about the music; it was dedicated to raising money for Bosnian refugees. People will follow you if they come to believe that you are about something greater than yourself.
I’ve helped build leadership development programs across 40 countries in the world as a volunteer, and all I can tell you is that you can’t compete with the heart of a volunteer. There are 62 corporate executives, some with their spouses, who volunteer to serve as facilitators and coaches in these leadership programs; they pay their own way to the Middle East, Southeast Asia or Central Eurasia and spend two weeks of their own time with no compensation. Big things happen when people see others giving of themselves with nothing expected in return. One of the participants in a two-week leadership program in the Middle East was involved with a local NGO in Oman that served the deaf. He was so inspired by the example of these volunteers that he wanted his NGO to produce the very first Braille book in Arabic — and he did it. He told me later, “This program taught me that I needed to do something bigger than myself, beyond this program, beyond my family and beyond my country. I said to myself that if these people will come 10,000 miles away from home to help me, why not expand my efforts to serve the entire Middle East?”
The key to understanding the music of leadership is to understand that really good leaders know how to manage emotions as well as direction. In effect, they are in tune with those around them. And when the time comes to sing a new song so that they can take people in a new direction, they do just that.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jim Crupi is president and founder of Strategic Leadership Solutions. He thinks about the best and smartest ways to manage business, a lot.
There are all kinds of silences and each of them means a different thing.
There is the silence that comes with morning in a forest,
and this is different from the silence of a sleeping city.
There is silence after a rainstorm,
and before a rainstorm,
and these are not the same.
There is the silence of emptiness,
the silence of fear,
the silence of doubt.
There is a certain silence that can emanate from a lifeless object as from a chair lately used,
or from a piano with old dust upon its keys,
or from anything that has answered to the need of a man,
for pleasure or for work.
This kind of silence can speak.
Its voice may be melancholy,
but it is not always so;
for the chair may have been left by a laughing child or the last notes of the piano may have been raucous and gay.
There is a silence appears like fine flakes at first,
but becoming gradually heavier;
a blue and white dazzling light on everything one sees,
the ice-covered branches of the hemlocks sparkle,
bending low and tinkling in the sharp thin breeze,
and iridescent crystals fall and crackle on the snow-crust
with the winter sun drawing cold blue shadows from the trees
Whatever the mood or the circumstance,
the essence of its quality may linger in the silence that follows.
It is a soundless echo.
March 2019 – 湯沢高原スキー場, Tokyo, Japan.
every film seemed to suggest that
‘one day’ someone would
come into her life
and love her with an intensity
and a passion she had never experienced before.
And to their credit they were right;
It all came;
and went so fast;
it really did feel
as if it were just
February 2019 – Sabah, Malaysia
We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life.
and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear
from our souls.
We are weaned from our timidity
In the flush of love’s light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free…
March 2018 – Bali, Indonesia
And she sang.
Perhaps she’d never stop,
for it was rather freeing, this blissful,
empowered place where she was nothing
– but rhythm and resonance.
She embodies all the melancholy of autumn.
She has learned to cherish;
with mournful tenderness,
a past she dares not remember …
It is the night sea journey,
the lone fisherman on a tropical sea with his nets, and let these nets down
– sometimes, something tears through them that leaves them in shreds and he just rows for shore, and put his head under his bed and pray.
Scars are but evidence of life.
Evidence of choices to be learned from…
evidence of wounds…
wounds inflicted of mistakes…
wounds they choose
to allow the healing of.
They likewise choose to see them,
that they may not make the same mistakes again.
She turns around and saw him right underneath the shadow of his own,
like a mirror reflected herself.
With the whole universe in his mind
he’s looking afar.
In the midst of the ruin, she tries to embrace the chaotic beauty of his world.
It was then, he has become …
her greatest asset.
Yes, she chooses to stay,
only if he’s willing.
Hymn to a Good Wife
A good woman is hard to find,
and worth far more than diamonds.
Her husband trusts her without reserve,
and never has reason to regret it.
Never spiteful, she treats him generously all her life long.
She shops around for the
best yarns and cottons,
and enjoys knitting and sewing.
She’s like a trading ship
that sails to faraway places
and brings back exotic surprises.
She’s up before dawn,
preparing breakfast for her family and organizing her day.
She looks over a field and buys it,
then, with money she’s put aside, plants a garden.
First thing in the morning,
she dresses for work,
rolls up her sleeves, eager to get started.
She senses the worth of her work,
is in no hurry to call it quits for the day.
She’s skilled in the crafts of home and hearth, diligent in homemaking.
She’s quick to assist anyone in need,
reaches out to help the poor.
She doesn’t worry about her family when it snows;
their winter clothes are all mended and ready to wear.
She makes her own clothing,
and dresses in colorful linens and silks.
Her husband is greatly respected when he deliberates with the city fathers.
She designs gowns and sells them, brings the sweaters she knits to the dress shops.
Her clothes are well-made and elegant,
and she always faces tomorrow with a smile.
When she speaks she has something worthwhile to say,
and she always says it kindly.
She keeps an eye on everyone in her household,and keeps them all busy and productive.
Her children respect and bless her;
her husband joins in with words of praise: “Many women have done wonderful things,but you’ve outclassed them all!”
Charm can mislead
and beauty soon fades.
The woman to be admired and praised
is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God.
Give her everything she deserves!
Festoon her life with praises!
They don’t see the part of you
Don’t let their doubting drown out
the sound of your own heartbeat.
You are the first drop of rain in a hurricane.
Your bravery builds beyond you.
You are needed by all the little girls
still living in secret,
writing oceans made of monsters,
and throwing like lightning.
You don’t need to grow up
to find greatness.
You are so much stronger
than the world
has ever believed you could be.
The world is waiting for you
to set it on fire.
Trust in yourself;
Raindrops and teardrops
have two things in common.
Both fall freely,
and yield abundance.
The former leads to abundant harvest
and the latter,
… of 2019, I woke up with this view from my balcony;
It’s the shine that waken me up from my sick bed.
I love sky,
I believe every beautiful thing comes from above.
On the last service of the year,
He promised that this will be my year.
Looking at the beautiful canvas He painted above,
Isn’t that He still keeping His promises?
Would you, believe with me?
January 2019 – Singapore
Another milestone unlocked !
Big thanks to all of you,
who willing to spend a second
to know me, listen to me,
share my struggles and joys.
this raging voice has no way to run.
It might be soft,
but it is real.
She had blue skin,
and so did he.
He kept it hid,
and so did she.
They searched for blue
their whole life through;
then passed right by –
and never knew.
March 2014 – Bali, Indonesia.
Do you feel the world is broken?
Do you feel the shadows deepen?
But do you know that all the dark won’t stop the light from getting through?
Do you wish that you could see it all made new?
Is anyone worthy? Is anyone whole?
Is anyone able to break the seal and open the scroll?
The Lion of Judah who conquered the grave
He is David’s root and the Lamb who died to ransom the slave …
– Andrew Peterson
Slow down, take time
He’d reveal what’s to come
The thoughts in His mind
Always higher than mine
He’ll reveal all to come
Take courage my heart
Stay steadfast my soul
He’s in the waiting;
Hold onto your hope
As your triumph unfolds
He’s never failing;
Sing praise my soul
Find strength in joy
Let His Words lead you on
Do not forget His great faithfulness
He’ll finish all He’s begun …
March 2018 – Tokyo, Japan.
So much grace needed today …
You liberate me from my own noise and my own chaos
From the chains of a lesser law You set me free
In the silence of the heart You speak
And it is there that I will know You
And You will know me
In the silence of the heart
You speak, You speak
You satisfy me till I am quiet and confident
In the work of the Spirit I cannot see
In the silence of the heart You speak
I was a dandelion puff…
Some saw the beauty in me and stooped quietly to admire my innocence.
Others saw the potential of what I could do for them,
so they uprooted me, seeking to shape me around their needs.
They blew at my head, scattering my hair from the roots,
changing me to suit them.
Yet still others saw me as something that was unworthy and needed to be erased.
Lucy:“They serve the purpose of changing hydrogen into breathable oxygen,and they’re as necessary here as the air is, on Earth.”
Ray:“But I still say……they’re flowers.”
Lucy:“If you like.”
Ray:“Do you sell them?”
Lucy:“I’m afraid not.”
Ray:“But, maybe we can make a deal.”
Lucy:“What do you mean?”
Ray:“Oh, you see, you won’t have to send them anywhere. I’ll pay for them, and then, I’ll leave them here, for you.”
“Your mercies are new;
Your mercies are new;
New every morning…”
The sand in the hourglass runs from one compartment to the other, marking the passage of moments with something constant and tangible.
If you watch the flowing sand, you might see time itself riding the granules.
Contrary to popular opinion, time is not an old white-haired man, but a laughing child.
And time sings.
May 2018 – Sabah, Malaysia.
Another round of self battle left me with the swollen eyes and pounding head.
Indeed, the words came beforehand so that my heart could sustained ….
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
Who can accept us wholeheartedly?! – only Jesus does.
A kite is a victim you are sure of.
You love it because it pulls
gentle enough to call you master,
strong enough to call you fool;
because it lives
like a desperate trained falcon
in the high sweet air,
and you can always haul it down
to tame it in your drawer.
A kite is a fish you have already caught
in a pool where no fish come,
so you play him carefully and long,
and hope he won’t give up,
or the wind die down.
A kite is the last poem you’ve written
so you give it to the wind,
but you don’t let it go
until someone finds you
something else to do.
July 2017 – Sabah, Malaysia.
… a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand
Peru is a dream;
beneath the clear blue sky veiled the most untainted people;
with the very little on their hands breed the greatest smile I ever seen.
At this moment, I recalled what He said:
“Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them;
Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”
All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.
4am alone and on my way.
These are my finest moments.
I scrub my skin to rid me from you
and I still don’t know why I cried.
It was just something in the way you took my heart
and rearranged my insides
and I couldn’t recognise the emptiness you left me with when you were done.
Maybe you thought my insides would fit better this way,
look better this way,
to you and us and all the rest.
But then you must have changed your mind or made a wrong
because why did you leave?
6 months, 2 weeks, 4 days,
and I still don’t know which month it was then
or what day it is now.
I replace cafés with crowded bars
and empty roads with broken bottles
and this town is healing me slowly
but still not slow or fast enough
because there’s no right way to do this.
There is no right way to do this.
“What do you see?”
I shared yesterday about what I heard, and here’s a confirmation right after my previous post.
For thus has the Lord said to me: “Go, set a watchman, let him declare what he sees.”
– Isaiah 21:6
Today’s text says, “. . . set a watchman and let him declare what he sees”.
We need to be that watchman in our life.
In days of old the watchman would be positioned on the walls, or in a tower of the city, to look and see what was coming in the distance.
That’s what God wants us to do in our life and the life of others – He wants us to be looking and listening at what is coming.
Not with our natural eyes and ears, but our spiritual ones, the ones that came alive again at new birth.
The truth is we won’t ever fully see what God has for us with our eyes open – we will only see these things with our eyes closed.
It is when we are reading His word and spending time with Him in prayer that we see the things He has planned for us.
We are the watchman of our life. It’s not our Pastor’s job – it’s ours!
If we’re not seeing much that excites us, the trouble has probably been that we have been looking at the horizon,
or what seems to be happening next with our life, with mere natural eyes.
With our eyes open all we see is this present reality and very real circumstance.
But, with our eyes closed, God enables us to see what we have not yet experienced or not yet seen;
He reveals to us the plans He has for us.
If He is the author of the image of what we see when our eyes are closed and heart is focused on Him,
then He will be the finisher that makes it a reality in our life.
“I have come to accept the feeling of not knowing where I am going.
And I have trained myself to love it.
Because it is only when we are suspended in mid-air with no landing in sight,
that we force our wings to unravel and alas begin our flight.
And as we fly, we still may not know where we are going to.
But the miracle is in the unfolding of the wings.
You may not know where you’re going,
but you know that so long as you spread your wings,
the winds will carry you.”
Before I lay me down to rest
I ask the Lord one small request
I know I have all I could need
But this prayer is not for me
Too many people on this day
Don’t have a peaceful place to stay
Let all fighting cease that your children may see peace
Wipe their tears of sorrow away
To believe in a day
When hunger and war will pass away
To have the hope amidst despair
That every sparrow’s counted
That you hear each cry and listen to each prayer
Let me try always to believe
That we can hear the hearts that grieve
Please help us not ignore
The anguished cries of the poor
Or their pain will never leave
Help us do Your will oh Father
In the name of all that’s true
And we’ll see in one another
The loving image of You
Mother Teresa once said: “I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.
By way of background, I started my child sponsorship with World Vision in the year 2010. And this was my first trip and never could it be the last.
Did I regret? I did not, definitely!
I do believe that God has His own plan of making things happened suddenly for a cause.
However, looking back at what was holding me to consider for so long is another simple yet unbearable word – “Commitment”
Almost four years ago, I decided to build my calling on the foundation of these phrases.
“Africa”. Is a word from Him.
I still remember vividly that the day I stood before the altar, with my eyes-brimmed, all of the African kids flashed through my mind.
That night, I couldn’t sleep … until I got a word from Him
— “Feed my people!”
We welcomed by a sunny sky with the breeze gently touching us.
And we’ve been told that it wasn’t raining for nearly seven months.
The moment I landed my feet on this foreign place, I couldn’t help but goosebump and wondering what was the force that brought me all the way here.
Looking at all the African World Vision staffs, their friendly smile indeed warmed and chased away the butterflies in my tummy.
From day one onwards, I’ve been overwhelmed by all new experiences that I’ve never encountered before.
It is always convincing when all the seeds you sowed came alive before your own eyes.
After more than 3 years of sponsorship, this was the first time I got to see what effort we have made.
Together, we are strong!
For all the projects, be it completed or on-going, I am glad to know that it does help the communities and making their lives better.
I couldn’t be more grateful to God for pampering my life after hearing all the stories and the difficulties of their living life out there.
This made me even more convicted that I should make this journey my forever calling.
Without meeting up my child, this whole journey could be meaningless.
After correspondences through letters for the past three years, finally I met my child.
I can’t forget the little shyness on his face when he grinned during our first met.
To me personally, this moment is so promising.
He is indeed the fruit of my obedience.
In return of what I’ve done in his life, he has no idea what he has contributed to mine as well.
We had a little chat with slight communication barriers, and I am grateful to know that he’s indeed a bright boy at school.
That moment, I believe each of my prayers is answered.
Victor Hugo is right – “You can give without loving, but you can never love without giving.”
The great acts of love are done by those who are habitually performing small acts of kindness. This whole journey couldn’t be completed without showing some acts of kindness.
I enjoyed every moment when we hit the groceries to look out for goodies to be distributed. And also the moment I saw the happy faces when I handed out the goodies to my child and his family, then I realised how little action I did can be made such a great impact in their lives.
I would not see my visitation as a final one, and I would really love to see our paths will cross again in the not so distant future.
A week before I head to the trip, I start to realised that too much in my life has been drained.
But the oxymoron of life is this, you start to regain after you gave out so much.
I came back with a heart full of contentment and truly convinced that love grows by giving.
The only way to retain love is to give it away…
October 2013 – Lesotho, Maseru, South Africa.