marialing

Archive for February, 2011|Monthly archive page

Secrets and Memories

In Uncategorized on February 24, 2011 at 9:58 pm

Solitude is a good thing.  Being solitary is not an ideal when we have been created for community.  It’s the same difference with loneliness and aloneness.  We are complex beings and for resonance within our soul, it is good to enter a vacuum of sorts where we come face-to-face with ourselves and face-to-face with our Creator.

In my present sojourn, I have much opportunity for solitude.  So, do  I take full advantage of this solitude?  No, I do not.  But I must because it is a gift and it is also needful.  It is needful for soul work and soul care.  It is preparation for deeper things of God, almost to the point of confronting and entering mystery but not yet because full revelation is God’s prerogative.

In human relationships and friendships, we experience different degrees and levels of depth and intensity.  There is also a measure of mystery.  There is also a level of transparency and vulnerability.  There will be expectations – realistic and faulty.  There has to be willingness to compromise, to sacrifice and to not always have one’s way in the friendship or relationship.

I remember hearing this response to “Give and Take” with “Give and Give” when talking about relationships.  But in order to “Give and Give” one has to be filled in order to have an outflow.  In many dysfunctional relationships and friendships there is “Take and Take” and that’s when the ones who “Give and Give” end up dried up and shriveled because the other party is a taker only.

Having just made a a move (again) and settling down in a new place, I am well aware that new friendships can be very draining.  For me, one of the thoughts that crossed my mind was that I would have to tell my story again.  And since I am older, my story has more twists and turns and a longer path to it!  Of course, the new friends do not need to know everything but when sharing some things it is necessary to give some background and that’s where I know I may have to give a longer background (as it is I am known to be long-winded so this could take a while).

But with long-term friends, it is slightly different.  Depending on the level of intensity, the level of depth and breath, there may only be the need to touch up our stories here and there because we are in a state of constant intercourse.

I read something yesterday and it got me thinking about my present sojourn.  Interesting things have happened to me and I believe for very good reason.  I have come to this point in my life story where resolving conflicts and reconciling with estranged friends are often on my mind.  I suppose I can see the horizon and I am starting my trek down the proverbial hill of life.  I don’t want my earthly life to end with unfinished “business”.

In God’s mercy, a friend found me after about 26 years apart.  There’s a lot of catching up to do but we started slow.  We are learning to dance again, to find our pace, to listen to the music more carefully and to decide on the steps we like and enjoy.

The beauty of this renewed friendship is that we are both older now (g-older = g-olden) and have had a multitude of life lessons, some of which we wish we didn’t have to go through but we did.  What struck me was when I read this excerpt from Henri Nouwen,

“We all have our secrets: thoughts, memories, feelings that we keep to ourselves. Often we think, “If people knew what I feel or think, they would not love me.” These carefully kept secrets can do us much harm. They can make us feel guilty or ashamed and may lead us to self-rejection, depression, and even suicidal thoughts and actions.

One of the most important things we can do with our secrets is to share them in a safe place, with people we trust. When we have a good way to bring our secrets into the light and can look at them with others, we will quickly discover that we are not alone with our secrets and that our trusting friends will love us more deeply and more intimately than before. Bringing our secrets into the light creates community and inner healing. As a result of sharing secrets, not only will others love us better but we will love ourselves more fully.”

I shared this with my friend and told her I was glad she is back in my life and that I need friends and she is one of them. <she joked back “I am only one of them and not the one?>  Anyway, what I am re-learning about relationships and friendships is what Henri Nouwen wrote above.

We live in a world that is fragmented by hurt, disappointment and shame.  And this causes some of us to resist community and not realise we need inner healing.  But all the more we need protection and healing, loving and caring, nurture and care.  We start first by discerning our friends whom we can and should trust.  How do we do this?  By the Spirit who helps us discern wisely.  We listen to the voice of the Spirit.  We trust the Spirit to protect and heal us, to love and care for us, to nurture and love  us in Spirit and in community.

thank you Sue Vee for Secrets and Memories

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I love movies

In Uncategorized on February 21, 2011 at 5:28 pm

I love movies.

One-armed swordsman with my dad at Palace, Roxy and Odeon Katong. Sword-fighting and martial arts, James Bond and the like.

Small cinema in Siglap. Gone now. In town, Capitol, Cathay, etc.

Movies at school, too, Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Birds’ – what were they thinking showing young teen girls that? But what an introduction to Hitchcock!

Then videos. Lots and lots. Bought, borrowed, rented.

VCDs and DVDs. Didn’t do LDs and other discs. Nowadays streaming directly to one’s computer, game console, iTunes, etc etc. Tech savvy friends download from I don’t know where.

I love movies that leave much to the imagination. To reveal too much would be like porn.

Thank you to friends who have recommended many good movies to me.

I love movies.

Intermission

In Uncategorized on February 16, 2011 at 10:34 am

Before the next post, here are some thoughts:

My mind is very busy and active. More at thinking than translating into action. My weakness.

I’m not a go-getter in that sense. Not anymore. Maybe it’s depression maybe it is metabolism. Or if truth be told, Sloth, Laziness and Apathy.

Maybe burnout. Maybe just plain old “being fed-up”…

People say, “be the change you want to see.”

I lean towards pessimistic realist. I know others are more hopeful realists.

I am just trying to get over how one person can get away scot-free and have no conscience about something she was privy to, no, more than privy to, she was in the thick of it.

I don’t know how men don’t see through it and the women who do are deemed envious.

so while my energy has been focused on injustice, my mind says otherwise.

But my mind is just that, saying but not doing.

Navel gazing!

The Turmoil of saying “I love you.”

In Uncategorized on February 14, 2011 at 2:31 pm

I heard recently that he stopped saying “I love you” to his wife because of what it had meant before. Early in their marriage, saying “I love you” was to garner affirmation from his wife. Her reply of “I love you, too” was sought because he needed to be affirmed. He was needy of hearing those three little words. Then later in their marriage, he found himself not needing her affirmation of loving him. He grew numb because she did not always respond the way he had hoped. He then found his own worth. But in finding his own worth, he blocked out his wife’s desire to be told, “I love you.” Her need for affirmation in later life was distasteful to him because he had overcome his neediness and he believed she should do the same. But life passages are different for men and women. As age set in, wife was questioning her worth after years of childcare and housework. Hearing “I love you” from her husband was what she needed most of all but it was what her husband wanted most not to say. Why? Because of his past experience, he will not show his need for affirmation in case it revealed weakness. He is also not prepared to say it to his wife in her neediness because he cannot see her need, he can only see his need to appear strong.

It doesn’t matter what the authors say if men are from Mars and women are from Venus or men are from some biblical town in Israel and women from a neighbouring town. It doesn’t matter that men are like waffles and women are like spaghetti. What matters to both these individuals is the freedom from the fear of rejection, the strength to be vulnerable to each other and to be able to fearlessly say “I love you” or to humbly hear “I love you” and move from the hurt and the pain of the past and the fear of the present. Waiting for the future is too late.

Henri Nouwen spoke to this and I want to share it with this man and his wife,

When we talk to one another, we often talk about what happened, what we are doing, or what we plan to do. Often we say, “What’s up?” and we encourage one another to share the details of our daily lives. But often we want to hear something else. We want to hear, “I’ve been thinking of you today,” or “I missed you,” or “I wish you were here,” or “I really love you.” It is not always easy to say these words, but such words can deepen our bonds with one another.

Telling someone “I love you” in whatever way is always delivering good news. Nobody will respond by saying, “Well, I knew that already, you don’t have to say it again”! Words of love and affirmation are like bread. We need them each day, over and over. They keep us alive inside.

“Words that Feed Us” as per Nouwen’s reflection above is what we need to find God’s grace to speak. We need to hear these words but until someone says them to us, let us be bold in the strength of God to say it to others, especially those we take for granted, especially those we decided long ago do not need to hear life-giving words.

God may say to us, “You are my Beloved” or “You are the Apple of My Eye.” And those of us who know God need to own these words but it’s the saying it to each other which is the crucial act we need to participate in as often as we can. Many of us think we act out our love and that’s enough. But acting out our love can be commonplace so much so that those closest to us – a spouse, a partner, a child, a sibling, a parent, …miss on hearing “I love you” because we think we do so much for them out of love for them.

I, myself, remember telling a family member that I show my love by doing stuff for them. But lately, I have not wanted to do stuff for them. Then what? It takes the kids who want nothing in return to come up and say, “Can I give you a hug?” or “I love you, Mum.”

Do not let fear rule because it is indeed true that the perfect Love of God casts out fear.

Choose today and everyday to say “I love you.” Choose to also receive “I love you.”
Are your words feeding the life of another or are they killing someone softly?

I chose “I AM”

In Uncategorized on February 11, 2011 at 7:35 pm

For some reason when I was choosing videos from Netflix to add to my queue, I chose this DVD “I AM”

I did not watch it as soon as it arrived but waited a few days. Well, I finally watched it today. Right away my antenna went up. “Who is behind this movie?” “Is this Christian or Jewish?” I tried to size it up as it played. It was engaging me but at the same time I wanted to see if it was New Age or put out by the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Maybe Mormon?

No Jesus in the movie. Just “X” who at the end of the movie says that he is “I AM.” I don’t have a problem with “I AM” being a black man. Neither would I have had a problem if “I AM” was played by a woman.

The emphasis was on God. Not the Trinitarian God. Just “GOD” just “I AM.”

The film was about choices and interconnectedness. The music and lyrics were well chosen to fit the scenes – probably composed for the movie.

I must admit that I read all the credits to “check it out”. Could it be because I was moved by the premise of the movie and before I declared openly that I liked it, I wanted to make sure I backed something that was “safe and acceptable”? I think that was there somewhere! I am tired of making explanations after the fact. I still have a tinge of “I want no drama.” But I decided to let go and enjoy the movie (minus the interruptions and having to hit the space bar on my MacBook Pro) and the music was good, really good to my ears. At the end of the movie Ezekiel 37 was stated. In the Acknowledgments, Mariners Church, Irvine, CA. was mentioned. Katherine McPhee sang “Say Goodbye” and this was the description under the Youtube video trailer of the movie “Trailer/preview for the faith-based feature film, I AM. I AM offers an insight into the true nature of our God, and fights the damaging stereotypes of His character through a gritty, non-linear drama with a plot weaving around average people violating the Ten Commandments — one by one. We see that these commandments were not edicts from a jealous God, but a love letter to humanity — a warning to those who don’t understand the massive consequences of even the smallest sins upon ourselves and the world around us.”

People make choices and with the right guidance, can make good decisions. The guidance in this case comes from this character called X. Immediately after the film ends, Psalm 130 is quoted on the screen.

(What is the “Institute for Maximizing Human Potential”? I can’t seem to find any information about it.)

If we know what consequences would come as a result of breaking the Ten Commandments, we might think more carefully before we break any one of them.

But the point of the movie for me is that we can choose what choices and decisions we will make. That is grace because it is the gift of free will BUT the strong underlying message is that it’s “not all about me.”

A modern take on “The Ten Commandments” and a God who is not punitive or retributive but if we face dire consequences, they are the result of the selfish decisions we make.

“Endless” and “Infinity” are God’s prerogative.