Greatest Fear

I have a greatest fear.

My greatest fear is that I will never be enough of a credit to my great God, that all people will ever see are the cracks in the broken vessel that I am and that they’ll miss the saving grace inside. My greatest fear is people missing God because of me.

That’s my greatest fear.

It’s funny, though, that although this is my greatest fear, I still forget myself. I carry myself so carelessly. When the chance comes, I can’t find the words.

Over and over again. My flaws and failures.

You don’t understand how excited I am by someone wanting to know my God. How do I even begin? I’m so excited to share this amazing person with you, so excited that you’re curious about him, that you want to know more.

Don’t you see? If you end up believing Him, you would have escaped eternal damnation and begin a new life with a purpose, with Lord and king. You would be saved. Can you understand the burden I have for you? Because you don’t know Him, we could lose you to hell. You could die. And I love you too much to want that, and can you imagine how much worse it would be for the God who did die for you.

I don’t like to pretend it doesn’t matter to me because it does. A lot. Eternity matters, to me at least. But I have to play it cool, because social etiquette sometimes. No one likes to talk about death, or the afterlife. “As long as I’m a good person right. I don’t deserve hell.” It’s not about being ‘a good person’. It’s so much more. I used to preach fire and brimstone because that was the reality for me. It still is. I don’t want people I know to not go to Heaven. I want to do everything I can to share this wonderful person I know. I don’t preach fire and brimstone now but that urgency is always there and I do want to share so much.

This is why we (or any religion for that matter, some more common than others) have street evangelism. I know people get annoyed by it sometimes and wonder why we do it, why we can’t just respect your status quo. Look at it from our perspective: imagine we’re all on a boat and only we know it’s sinking and only we know where the lifeboats are because we’re the crew. Of course we would want to tell you where it is. We can’t just leave you on the sinking ship. Whether or not you believe the ship is sinking or if the lifeboats are where we say they are or whether you want to get on the lifeboats or not, as the crew, we have to, we must tell you where the lifeboats are. That’s what any decent human being would do, not just religious people. Whether or not we are deluded into thinking something’s a lifeboat or not is a different ball game. So it may be annoying to you, but understand this, we have to at least tell you. It’s honestly our moral obligation.

And yet.

And yet I fear I’m not enough. Too afraid of people, what they might think of me. Too afraid to offend. Too afraid to come across too pushy. Afraid that I might answer questions unconvincingly, or to not be able to answer questions at all. Too afraid of everything.

I profess Christ as my Lord and Saviour and believe that we are all works-in-progress. Christians aren’t perfect. They can’t be. They’re only human. I’m only human.

But sometimes I feel that I have to be perfect for Christ to be seen. How can He deserve anything less?

I know the logic; when I’m weak, then I’m strong. God’s glory and strength and power seen through my human weakness.

But I can’t see anything. I have some better days than others, but why am I always caught out on my bad days? Does it say something about me?

There is a plan, and I know I’m part of it. It’s just too incredible sometimes to think that even though it looks dark on this end, He’s got it covered and sorted. Everything begins and ends with Him.

It’s not something I have to bear alone, this burden. I know, I know it’s a partnership. Methinks I have to lean more and not try to carry it all on my human strength.

Because God is God.

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I like grocery shopping. Even though I’d subscribed to the online grocery service, I still pop into town once in a while to get the stuff I missed out ordering online. It’s funny. When you’re online and are able to conveniently buy things at a click, you can’t think of anything you really need and you just get one or two things for the sake of shopping. And then when the groceries come, you realize you needed a lot more than what you ordered.

I usually make a second trip to the mart and end up carting home loads which was really what the grocery service. Was. For. Such is life. In my defence, when you walk down aisles and aisles of stuff, you just suddenly realize that you need a lot of things. The delivery service did save me a lot of travelling hassle, though. Next to packing my own groceries, I don’t like to carry groceries home. When Mother does grocery shopping, we raid the supermarket and get away with it because we had the car. Here, though, I have to walk something like 20 minutes carrying stuff. It’s not that much, but the handles on one of my shopping bag are too small to sling over my shoulder and the other one keeps catching the ends of my hair when I sling it on and then it slips off and I’m just like argh, can you just not.

Anyway, I went down to town that day to get more stuff. Homey things. Food. Stuff. By the time I made my way round the mall, I was laden with two bagfuls of goodness. I was on the way back to the flat, struggling with the shopping, alternating hands and bags and shoulders when the thought hit me and I saw shoes.

His shoes. Smart, shiny, black leather boots, proud and handsome, standing neatly, gleaming a smug smile at me from the pavement.

I heard him before I saw him. I never really liked looking at him directly. It was too odd to look at the perfect face I had fashioned for him. I might forget myself. May have overdone it some.

“Need help?” he quipped with his knowing, eager grin. He liked to play innocent, the ever-compliant servant who knew that his mistress would never do without him and yet, feared that he would no longer be needed.

I didn’t bother to pretend I had it all together. I tossed him my shopping, glad to be rid of the troublesome bags and straps. I watched him adjust the shopping over his beautiful black coat, almost as long as a cape, with shiny zippers and a fine belt buckle. They matched his shoes perfectly, the whole ensemble oozing ridiculously of luxury. He had exquisite taste. He did so take after me.

The bright, green leafy-patterned tropical shopping bag clashed terribly against his entire, carefully put together image, as did the other purple one but he didn’t complain. If anything, he looked pleased that the garish bags clashed. It reflected his dedication to his service.

It also got him attention. He liked attention. He was already being paid a great deal, looking just a tad out of place in his fancy get up, strolling down these humble streets. Now he indulged in playing his role of the handsome young foreigner helping the struggling exchange student with her shopping. He pretended not to notice the curious, admiring glances thrown our way, everyone wondering who this fellow was and thinking me lucky to be acquainted with such a person.

He was so like me.

“What are you doing here?” I asked as we walked.

“Exploring.” he returned, in a quiet, half singsong voice. I could hear the ripple of excitement on the fringes of his voice.

“Exploring where?”

He gave me a smug, sidelong glance. “Everywhere, everywhere you’d like to go, but can’t.”

“Like where?”

He listed a list of everywhere I’d wanted to go but couldn’t.

“That’s not fair.” I sulk. “I have school.”

“I would go to school with you but you won’t let me.” He reminded me matter-of-factly.

I knew what he was thinking of and steered the conversation to a different direction.

“Have you found a place to practice?”

“I’ve been looking but I haven’t found a place I’m at home yet.” He replied airily.

I snort. “I’m sure they have large enough practice spaces in school. Rehearsal rooms and things like that. Use those.”

He turned away, pretending to lookout for the traffic. “I don’t like those.”

“They’re places to practice. What’s it matter?”

We cross the road and wait for the second set of lights to change.

“I want to practice in a nice place, the kind professionals train in.” He elaborated, his eyes shining at the thought.

“Professionals train in crummy places too, I’m sure. Only the stage is beautiful.” I say, knowing that both of us didn’t fully buy it. We minded. We liked lovely places, theatrically romantic places. We did so believe in the glammed up versions of everything. We did hope in such a reality.

He gave me a sly smile. “I’m going to find a space to practise in the grand theatre. Do you reckon they have practice rooms there?”

I stopped. “The grand theatre?” I repeated. “No way.”

He grinned, pleased at my reaction. “Yes way. I’m going. I have it all planned. I’m going to practise in the grand theatre.” Then, “You want to come?”

I resume walking. We’re going downhill now, my flat at the foot of the hill.

“You are a horrible, horrible person.” I intone. “You know I can’t.” He chuckles while I sulk. “It’s not fair how you can do everything and anything while I can’t.” I grumble.

A short silence elapses before he speaks.

“…That’s because you matter.” He says quietly, thoughtful now. His voice floats somewhere above my head, the laughter gone from it. “And I don’t.”

I don’t reply. I don’t reply because he’s right and I don’t want to do this now.

We stop, the last crossing before I reach my flat. It’s the first time he’s walked me, but we both know that we had to part here.

“I’ll take it from here.” I raised my arm awkwardly to relieve him of my shopping.

“Let me walk you to the gate!” He wrests the shopping away from me. “Just to the gate.” He pleads.

“No.” I say firmly. “I can’t risk you meeting the others. You know that.” He lets me take the shopping from him, deflated.

“I know. Because I don’t matter.” He says, defeated and defiant at the same time. “And if I meet them, I might begin to matter. And that might ruin everything.” He spells out mechanically.

He’s hurt, the way he says it. He means for me to see that this hurts him, but I brush past him emotionlessly. “Right. If they associate you with me, you might begin to matter.” I look straight at him. “You can’t matter to anyone.”

Something softens in him and he manages a faint smile. “Except you.” His smile tightens. “I do matter to you, don’t I?”

I lower my eyes. His gaze is difficult to bear. “Yes.” I say at last. “Yes, you matter to me. That’s why you can’t matter to anyone else.” I didn’t really want to leave him but I made to move.

He tries to follow me, his eyes a pleading question.

“I will call on you when I can.” I find myself promising. “When I go out to mail the letters, or shop. I’ll call you.”

“Can I watch you cook?” He asks hopefully. He knows that there mayn’t be anyone in the kitchen when I cook. Of course he knows.

“No. There are always people moving in and out of the kitchen.”

“If there’s no one in the kitchen, can I come to watch you?” He asks, as if he hadn’t heard me.

I make an exasperated sound. “No.”

“Call me if there’s no one when you go up.” He says as I retreat from him.

I know why he’s trying so hard. Of course I know. Because I did want him to come up with me, to accompany me. But I knew I couldn’t.

He might begin to matter.

For The Record

Heyyy friends~ So. It’s been exactly one month since I came to the UK! Milestone! The month actually turned out pretty well so, much pleased. ^.^ Need to update y’all and share my joys huehue. Maaay be a bit of a long-ish, touch-and-go post because there are just so many things to update onnn. So yeah. Ok leggo.

Flat Family

As of today, there are six of us in all, all present and correct. There’s Ryan and Vicki and Shawn and then Krystal and Ruth came to join us later. Krystal’s from Hong Kong so she’s a fab cook haha. Ruth is from Singapore (yay fellow Singaporean!) and she was so relieved to have met me because she was so tired of speaking in proper sentences all the time (Singlish ftw). We’re teaching Ryan and Shawn bits of Singlish because they think it’s cool lol. So far, we have imparted walao and aiyah and sian but they’re tone’s all wrong so win some, lose some.

Our flat is seriously the cutest flat ever and honestly such a godsend. We were pretty tight from the start and we’re already pretty much a (flat) family (awww). We subscribed to our local supermart’s online grocery delivery service to have food sent to our residence every week and I don’t know why but getting groceries together and sharing food gives me much family feels. Legit family yo.

It was Vicki’s birthday the first week and the flat sprung a surprise for her. We pretended we forgot/didn’t know it was her birthday and we didn’t wish her at all the whole day, then we went and baked her a cake in the evening. We even hung up a ‘happy birthday’ banner and got her a card but we didn’t get her a present because we didn’t really know her very well yet. Shawn wanted to get her a heart-shaped ‘I love you’ balloon because “won’t you be happy getting a ‘I love you’ balloon?” Ryan and I stopped him though, because we were grocery shopping (manually before we got our delivery service) and we weren’t going to carry a balloon around. The cake turned out to be super flat but since it was from the flat. Flat cake flatcake. Yay.

Then we headed to York for a day trip the second weekend! It was loads of fun because it was a free and easy kind of thing so we didn’t have to rush to places. We just moseyed around and took touristy shots. We went on tour around York Minster which was gorgeous and I got some really pretty postcards there. Then we went to the York Castle Museum and then Ryan and I went up to the Clifford Tower. The view is amazing. So much medieval feels. Weather was something else though. It would drizzle and then the sun would come out for photo taking and the wind just blew us around the whole day. Wind ruined my hair, ruined my photos. Why wind why. Cold.

Currently, only five of us are present in the flat because Krystal is out frolicking in Bath and Exeter with another flat family friend and being a proper tourist. The rest of us went for the volleyball open day last week just to try out. We all had basic volleyball skills so that’s good. Ruth, Shawn and I called quits after the first hour. We came back with bruised wrists. Ryan was fine though. He had been playing about 6 months back. The last I played was probably 12.

Continue reading “For The Record”