You said you wanted to go away because of the void in your heart; you wanted to leave the unfortunate reminiscence far behind. However, my dear, how oh how could you even begin to fill that space again, when your soul and spirit had long fled?
I urge you, therefore, stay. Take courage; take ownership. Be fully present, so that your heart would be orphaned not.
In the month of April, a bunch of us city boys and girls (or for greater age precision, ladies and gentlemen) trod on Jaco Island, a supposed sacred piece of land in the extreme east end of Timor-Leste that was a mere five-minute boat ride away from the Tutuala subdistrict. Legend had it that no one was allowed to stay overnight on the island because of its sacredness, and legend surely was right.
In the month of May, Cocoon organized our first ever Freedom Camp with much assistance of Team Fantastic Five from Kum Yan Methodist Church. Attended by thirty odd bursary students, the camp spun over Timor’s Independence Day and drove home the message of freedom and responsibility, together with our students’ virgin experience with campfire and melted marshmallows.
In the month of June, three teams of mission trippers from my church in Singapore swept across the face of Timor’s emerging almost-cosmopolitan capital and one of its neighboring districts. During my short stay with the first team in Hera, a subdistrict in the capital, I arrived at a new understanding of the power of stripes. Isaiah 53:5 (NKJV) says, “by His stripes we are healed.” My personal witness in the last ten years as a believer has proved the above-mentioned veracious statement, no doubt. Then came those little airborne ones, each a wrath explosive. By their black and yellow stripes, we were (well-nigh) stung.
After retiring into our quarters, the girls noticed a relatively significant number of honey bees trying to overpower the mesh fortress over the openings in the wall. For some reason, they looked like they were dying even before we attempted any extermination. One of them, plausibly the more wrathful one, did manage to wriggle past the mesh but not quite survive our skilful defense. Nevertheless, the defense strategists, namely Joyce and I, applauded its perseverance and proceeded to reinforce the protectiveness of the mesh with an additional layer of masking tape and Baygon. Fully satisfied, we stood observing the aftermath for one whole hour. Between the gunpoint of death and the tomb, all of them were, instead, busy releasing pheromones selflessly — their SOS distress signal that activates further defense reinforcement.
The earth gradually came to a standstill as creation hit the hay. Another day was eventually struck off the calendar. I lay in my makeshift bed completely convinced and in agreement with Marianne Williamson, that we are indeed powerful beyond measure. With every negativity — such as melancholy, disappointment, anger, hatred — accompanies a decision of stewardship to make thereafter. A pastor by the last name of Johnson (No, Bill is not his first name.) has illustrated my exact sentiments last week in church: We can choose to build a wall or a bridge with the stones we have been thrown at. If the honey bees can turn vengeance into a propelling drive that motivates them to fulfill their final call of duty despite death slowly but strongly and surely consuming their souls, the better man within our innermost being is able to irrefutably rise above the graves of gloom. “A radically renewed mind is the ultimate frustration to hell,” Lance Wallnau has splendidly put it.
Every source of negativity originates from some form of death. For example, trust upon death becomes betrayal, disappointment etc. All circumstances and/or thoughts that are held captive within the claws of death can be reversed to life and shouts of joy, if only we keep the hope on. Of course, most are born not with that innate ability, including me. We can only begin to realize how we can hope when we have caught a glimpse of what Hope looks like (after which the floodgates will open up to a fountain of non-stop hoping, yo). I stumble and fall, and stumble and fall at my stumbles and falls. Yet, these piercing fluctuations resonant with such fullness of life. By the power of grace akin to the morning dew, the earth will give birth to her dead. He will swallow up death forever and wipe away the tears from all faces (Isaiah 28:5; 26:19).
I know what my choice will be today, tomorrow and in the days to come.
Like a newborn being intimately embraced in the father’s bosom, I am in awe of the infinite wisdom and beauty of my Maker, who has meticulously engineered our body, soul and spirit to work magically the way they do in the likeness of His triune being. One must be thoroughly obsessed with what one is creating in order to render such scrupulosity from the beginning to the end. What wondrous love His is!