Wednesday, November 30, 2011

In the Dark

Just now I had a little bicker with my sister. When I retreated to my room to play the piano, she got really annoyed that I was playing past 9 o’clock. So she stormed in, pushed me, headed out, turned off the lights and slammed the door shut. For a brief moment I was left in the dark. I was very annoyed, angry, and then for some reason, afraid. It’s that sudden sinking feeling in your heart that you get when someone plays a nasty trick on you, and leaves you in the dark alone.

It is a horrible feeling. It was a small incident, but when I reflected on it, I found a metaphorical parallel to what must be the experience of countless individuals and abandoned children out there who have had the door slammed shut in their faces; who have been left in the dark – alone, cold and fearful. It is a terrible situation to be in.

I have never been abandoned, so I’ll never know. All I can imagine is that it must be a gazillion times worse than what I felt when my sister pulled that surprise on me and left me momentarily stunned in the dark.

I feel terrible and sick to the stomach thinking about the millions of kids out there who have been orphaned, betrayed by their parents, and left in the darkness to fend for themselves, whether literally or figuratively. No one likes being left in the dark. And you don’t know what to do.

Jesus told his disciples, ‘You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand so that it gives light to everyone in the house.’ Matthew 5

The world lives in darkness because man has chosen to stay in the dark and turn away from God. But those who choose to embrace the light will see the truth and find hope at once! Then again, there are those who had the doors slammed shut on them. They had no choice. They never had the chance to see the light, nor hear the truth, or receive love and hope. How can that be?

Those of us who have embraced the light (if we truly have), should not have our lamps hidden under a bowl! We should shine like a city on a hill, like a lamp on its stand, so that everyone in darkness will see by this light. Do not be afraid to shine. There are many who hate the light because it exposes the things they do in the dark. But there are plenty more who need the light, and who do not yet know it until its brilliance is revealed!

The light should never be intimidated by the darkness. Because no matter how black the darkness is, the light will still glow, even if it is a flicker. It will ignite warmth and hope in the hearts of those who have been abandoned, disillusioned, and left to rot in the dark. Do not hide your light! The world needs it. The world who does not know that it is in the darkness until it sees the light.

Distracted, Like the Rest of the World

Henri Nouwen describes our contemporary lives:

‘One of the most obvious characteristics of our daily lives is that we are busy. Our lives often seem like over-packed suitcases bursting at the seams. In fact, we are almost always aware of being behind schedule. There is a nagging sense that there are unfinished tasks, unfulfilled promises, unrealized proposals. There is always something else that we should have remembered, done or said. Thus, although we are very busy, we have a lingering feeling of never really fulfilling our obligations…

Beneath our worrying lives, however, something else is going on. While our mind and hearts are filled with many things, and we wonder how we can live up to the expectations imposed upon us by ourselves and others, we have a deep sense of unfulfillment. While busy with and worried about many things, we seldom feel truly satisfied, at peace, at home. A gnawing sense of being unfulfilled underlies our filled lives…

The great paradox of our time is that many of us are busy and bored at the same time. While running from one event to the next, we wonder in our innermost selves if anything is really happening. While we can hardly keep up with our many tasks and obligations, we are not so sure that it would make any difference if we did nothing at all. While people keep pushing us in all directions, we doubt if anyone really cares. In short, while our lives are full, we are unfulfilled.’

Now I only have two words to add, ‘TRUE THAT!’

Thursday, November 10, 2011


"God is not like a human being; it is not important for God to have visible evidence so that he can see if his cause has been victorious or not; he sees in secret just as well. Moreover, it is so far from being the case that you should help God to learn anew that it is rather he who will help you to learn anew, so that you are weaned from the worldly point of view that insists on visible evidence. A decision in the external sphere is what Christianity does not want; (...) rather it wants to test the individual’s faith."

Soren Kierkegaard

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Penchant for Words

I love writing. You can never know what epiphany emerges from a little musing, a little writing.

I'm actually excited for my last Literature exam tomorrow! Right, I haven't 'studied' much for it at all. But I've written a lot and I've thought a lot about the views and values within the texts. I really enjoy all that. Sometimes I dislike the fact that we've to analyse and try to give meaning to a mere man's words. Sometimes it's terribly pointless. Why the heck am I studying the words of someone who probably wrote it out of a whim and without giving it much thought? I myself do the same thing. Why am I scrutinizing something when I can just enjoy it, think about it, muse over it? Why am I trying to pluck out meaning from the air?

Of all things, sometimes I really dislike studying these novels and plays. Yes, some of them do have good values and views and philosophy interwoven in them. But through many classes I sit there thinking if only I spent this much time studying GOD'S WORD. God's word is very much more worth studying. The times when I do meditate on the Word, when I do ponder over the Truth and write about it, my spirit feels nourished. Why the heck am I filling myself with mindless words, words of mere men? Yes, some of it is good, but I've got to remember first things first.

First things first. God, help me to remember You and to abide in Your truth.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Joy of Improvisation!

Wooooo, had a very fun teaching session today! :D

It's the best thing ever teaching someone to improvise because it's like a whole new world's opened up to them that they never thought they could venture into before! I felt the same when I started to improvise and make my own melodies. And even more recently this year when I delved into the wonderful world of jazz music.

Improvising has gotta be the best thing ever about music! It's so much fun I don't even notice how much time has passed and I don't even feel like I'm teaching. It's more like I'm just sharing my music and my student is responding to it by listening and playing it back to me in his or her own way. It's such a fun thing to do. I wish I was taught to improvise from the very beginning instead of having to figure it out blindly on my own for those few years!!!

Again, listening is the core of improvising. It's being still on the inside and focusing your creative vibes to create meaningful melodies on the piano itself (or whatever instrument you play). It's hard when you first start. You don't know what fits where. And sometimes it strikes me by surprise when I play something terribly dissonant even though I had thought of something wonderful in my mind. But the trick is to make the change as quickly as you made the dissonant mistake, by hearing, internally responding, and then producing something more accurate to what you initially created in your mind's ear.

The wonderful culmination of your 'jam sessions' is the moment when you can do all that and make all those internal responses almost immediately and without hesitation or doubt that the next thing you play will sound just like you 'heard' it inside you! That's the best feeling ever because you're then unstoppable. Your creative vibes are limitless. All the wonderful, beautiful things you make up in your mind can then be smoothly translated into audible tones in the atmosphere. It is one of the most exciting and exhilirating things I have felt and will continue to feel if I keep LISTENING ACTIVELY! 

The Eleventh Hour

by Janielle Beh on Wednesday, November 2, 2011 at 12:14am.

Time is perpetually passing us by. It is a running stream we're all flowing along to. Some of us just go with it, never pausing to reflect where we're headed. But friends, this is one thing we must do!

We can't just 'let live'. There must be something we're aspiring to. Without vision, without a clear sense of direction, we've just drifting aimlessly with the current of time. How do we make sure what we're doing now is helping us stay in the right direction?

'Be very careful, then, how you live - not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity and REDEEMING THE TIME, because the days are evil.' Ephesians 5:15-16

Someone said, life is what happens when you're not making plans. True, to some extent. But it depends what kind of a life your planning to live. You really don't want to live haphazardly, waiting for the next thing to come round and in the mean time just drifting along!

Redeem the time.

Time WILL pass you by if you never harness every moment for the right things. To pursue the right things. If you don't make the effort to 'redeem' the time, you'll miss a lot of precious one-off opportunities just because you weren't paying attention to life. Don't just drift along waiting for something to catch your fancy! You've got to step out and do what you have to do as well.
It's always the 'eleventh hour' if you think about it. Well, time's always running short. You really don't have all the time in the world. Maybe except when you're on holidays.. But still!

We're on the verge of something. It's closer. We're all tempted to live our own lives and do what we'd like to do. But give life a pause, and think, if its really the eleventh hour, and time is truly short, what am I gonna do with the today God has given me?

Sometimes I don't know what and I don't know how. But you know guess what, it begins here. It begins NOW.

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