2 Jan 2015

Newness: new friends and a soul story

{2015 NewNess Series}

2014 has been quite a year. I came to know many new people, a lot in the creative community.These folks amaze me with their talents, gifts, and commitment to craft and Christ. I feel so enlivened by them. I am so grateful for their lives and the difference they want to make to the soul-scape of Singapore.

But a problem surfaced as it does with new stuff; such as new, talented people. You wish you were like them. I did! I am sure I will continue to! Look at what will be called A-Listers: a lawyer who is a poet. A lecturer with his own ukulele band, a young writer who gets featured at the Singapore Writer's festival, a young mother and musician who provides amazing leadership, a young man who can play the old pipe organ!  Yes, Wow! I wished to have opportunities, training, pedigree...they do. I wished I had their gumption, discipline, energy.

My wishing is not mere fancy. There is something about creativity and craftsmanship that really draws me and feeds my soul. This group has a homecoming feel to it. It reminds me of the time I switched from a being Science student (a semi one really as my grades weren't sterling) to the Humanities. I began to enjoy and thrive; in fact I shone. I came home!

But - sometimes you can come home and find that you're a lil old for everyone and everything. You can come home and feel like it's humming so well along, you cannot bring anything more to it.

When a damsel is in distress, she calls for her prince. But an old dame had better have it together and not be in distress! I will be told by popular wisdom not to be so silly, to whip up my self-confidence, remind myself of how far I have come and assume somewhat cocksure that I am a gift to these folks! Other smart options would be to get inspired and take up the painting, photography and drumming I never did earlier.

Interestingly a setback in architecture means : a steplike recession in the profile of a high-rise building, usually dictated by building codes to allow sunlight to reach streets and lower floors...

Looks like some light is trying to get to the lower floors.

The giving bit. Aren't gifts offered and presented by a Giver? And isn't the value of a gift a matter of the depth of relationship? (which is why my son's art means so much to me). I may or may not be a gift; that is for others to tell me, which is nice if they do; but may peace remain if they don't.

The gung-ho bit? Yes, there are things I'd like to do, like learning to draw birds. But on a scale of importance, that may have to wait for now. Also, the past few years as I see my life more as an unfolding of Life, I know that the artist of my life is not me and my clumsy brushstrokes rarely make up the defining lines.

But, there is one thing that I need to . really . watch.

The feeling of not quite fitting in or making a difference can and does at times cause my soul to pull back. When it starts to do so, the heart gets somewhat crumpled and things get lost among the folds and layers: like generosity, authenticity, and love. A protective layer can form that encrusts the heart so its tenderness is no longer accessible.

A good thing can turn out quite differently, even wrong.

We are familiar when this happens with sad, traumatic events. But mere carelessness, over time, can also change a heart.

So Kindness sat with me and bid me look at this heart trying to fold and hide its beat.

In our days of self-fulfillment, we devour every bit of suggestion, colour, excitement possible for daily life is too humdrum and reality too dreary. We reach for the unreachable: our actualized selves, our perfect spouses, our brilliant children, our incredible portfolios....every one of them increasing the contrast between life-as-is with life-as-it-should-be that is showcased on facebook, soundcloud, youtube, instagram et al.

I confess to Kindness that I have been party to this and I am reminded that this is not the air that I am meant to breathe. Indeed while intoxicating, it  is actually toxic in the end. The highs it promises will not last and I will come crashing down when my views and followers decline! Kindness points me to the Great  One who in wisdom set me in time and place. I wasn't born too late or in the wrong hemisphere.

Our capacity to love and appreciate more than what we know or have experienced before, like when one visits a foreign land and feels at home, is a gift of expansion. It is the toxic grasping of modern culture that turns the wondrous discovery into a pouting and whining.

Goodness comes quietly by and I am warmed by her as I think how surprising this journey of new friends has been. It hasn't the been stuff of school-girl angst about liking and being liked, but a slow gathering of hearts and minds, like finding more seashells along the shore!

I recognised that the sins of Envy are Discontent could have been the fruit I eat if I had not watched what I am sowing in my heart. I see too that the enemy's favourite weapon of Deception with its armada of Accusation, Confusion, Exaggeration were set for my heart's co-ordinates. So I moved my heart from its spot to a place it is always safe: under the Light.

Don't let the toxic fumes of this world's values and the shadows the enemy casts distort and destroy God's good gifts!

"Don't be deceived... Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." ~ James 1v16f

Here's to a new year and more fun with more friends who are always so good for the soul.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and heart here, and helping to to build a real, faith-full community together!