Me before you

Yes, do have tissues. I'm a hopeless romantic, and it's "funny", every time I say that phrase, I think of my dear friend. She passed away a few years ago from cancer and when we were young we would write novels, not just short stories but crazy novels and plays. Our teachers were so encouraging that they made a whole grade sit and watch up perform one of our plays.

This movie reminded me of our crazy adventures together. And this movie reminded me of every time she fell in love. Hopeless romantic. It's where you read the first page of a book and you dream up the rest of the story line. It's where you meet someone for the first time and can already imagine all the lovely adventures, arguments and life story you could have with them.

Sometimes I dream of meeting Mr Right. But then Mr Right would dream of meeting Mrs Right, not Miss I'mActuallyOk. And my dear friend used to dream of meeting Mr Right. And used a lot of her energy dreaming. And when her life was taken away, despite her best battles, I think she was still dreaming. After all, dreams are often better than realities.

It's funny how we have been conditioned to think that there will always be happy endings. That people would live happily ever after. But often, no always, life isn't that simple. And awakening from dreaming can cause use to feel quite shocked and out of place. There is life, there is death and there are all of the experiences in between. These experiences are all gifts.

As clique as it sounds, we should treasure each day. If we truly knew that our days under the sun were limited, how would we spend the time? Would we sit around and watch tv, hold grudges against people who cut us off in traffic, be sorry for ourselves because our own love story hasn't had a happy ending? Or would we really LIVE. Really experience all there is that life has to offer us.

What lies in the next chapter?

Just finished watching "inspector gourmet" and in it's last scene, one of the main characters says, "we don't know what the ending is, one thing is for certain, you will certainly find something new in the search". How apt the phrase. I had a chat with my ex-recently and he told me something I didn't want to hear, but was glad he said that I actually like being single. As much as I want to deny, I do enjoy this season of singleness God has given me. I like the idea of being in love, of being in a relationship and of being in a family. And perhaps one day I will have these things.

But when I smiled for no obvious reason while climbing up the stairs, I realised one thing. I can be happy without those things too. This time a few years ago, I was struggling to walk, had no permanent job, was still grieving over a lost relationship... let alone do stair climbs at work and feel completely free from relationship scars. I am thankful for the recent chapter, which was drawn to a close with a few meals with random strangers. This next chapter of my life, like all other chapters is going to be interesting, sometimes boring but nearly always epic. And the God that was with me from the beginning will surely reveal new and exciting adventures for me in the next chapter.

And it does feel good to be blogging again, a way for me to really capture what my thoughts are and document my progress and growth. I've missed this. Feels like I've found an old part of myself again, someone who is quite vulnerable and real...

Don't shoot the messenger

Sometimes God uses the funniest situations and people to teach us the things he really wants us to learn. I've had that experience over the last few weeks. A suddenly low in emotion after talking to a particular person. And then my heart became more and more confused with each interaction.

Sometimes we can get immediately annoyed at the messenger. But if we stepped back and meditate on God's word, you will find that it may have been a lesson from God for our growth all along.

It really does need a bit of a shock to step back and realise God was there all along, and that I didn't need to look for someone else to complete me, or fill this emptiness, but really really really needed to reconnect with God's people. This loneliness need not be solved by my own creativity but by God's own presence.

Thanks for the message God, received. So yes, God please help me not shoot the messenger. Over and out.

Moment of reflection

I enjoyed a nice long shower today and used it really to reflect on what has been going on in my life. I think I was taken on an automatic pilot ride without properly pausing to pray and, even when I did, I don't think I properly stopped to listen to the answer.

When I returned to my bedroom, I found out that I had forgotten to open the window so the glass had completely fogged up to a blank canvas for me to express what I felt. Yes, in that moment, all I could think about was love. But thankfully it wasn't a love of a particular man, but the creator of all men. I wrote "I love God" on the glass. Pause and think, what does that even mean. Sometimes I think I'm a lot like Peter. I would say something without properly considering the depth of what I am saying or the intention from which I am saying what I am saying. Actually, to clients I am all wise, to my own issues, I am just like every human being... sometimes I say things, and think if I say them enough, my heart will start to believe it. Or other times, I treat "love" as something that I can say but not act in accordance with. 

Let's be real. I love God. And although this love should be more important than anything, it often is not. I get consumed with my work. I get consumed by the excitement of adventure and risk. Oh, and I consume food, media, and information like a sponge. I have been feeling empty lately. Although things are going well for me, I have a lovely job, do plenty of exercise, have awesome friends and family but something was lacking. And I do feel like it's my relationship with God. There are two times in the day- morning and evening where our relationship are great. Then it's as if the rest of the day doesn't also belong to Him. I'm jealous, boastful, rude and impatient. I drive like I'm rushing to die, I get angry when storepeople treat me like a 6 year old, I am not truly listening when my friends talk to me at the end of the day. I continue to sin and try to make myself think like everything is ok. 

It's not. It hasn't been for a while. And there are several reasons for this. I have not confessed any of these sins. I am so far away from the body of God that I'm getting weak as an individual Christian. So yesterday, when I was able to spend time with people who are very close to God, I felt some completeness that I haven't felt for a while. Walking with and talking to people who are also humans (also with their own weaknesses) helped me remember the enormous power of being in fellowship with God through His people. 

I've said for the last 9 months that I would try to find a fellowship. I've even changed my work days to try to suit this... and yet, I am not in a fellowship yet. I think much more important than finding another running track, or next eatery or even next intimate friendship, I need to first get myself stronger as a Christian by being closer to the body of Christ.

Kintsugi (金継ぎ)

To repaired by Gold.

I recently had the opportunity to share a lot of my past history with a stranger. It's very rare to be on the other side of the story telling chair. Usually, I ask someone about their life history. I think it has been a blessing to be able to reflect on some of my past experiences.

In this history sharing experience, I was able to finally embrace the damage that has gone on before me, instead of hide it, and mend it with gold. The parts that were broken and worn are shown as part of who I am instead of hidden away, which is the art of kintsugi.

We had a sermon recently that pointed to this exact issue. God loves all of us, all our pain, all our flaws, and he has chosen to use His most precious gift to make us whole again, a new object who has experienced the same scars...

Behavioural activation

I've been feeling "blah" lately, as if I'm coming down with something, not a cold, almost depression. And just like the common cold, I wasn't sure what caused this bout of low mood... So I do what any therapist would do, I made sure I go out walking each day, out with friends, ringing any friend I can desperately to catch up with me.

Today I just went too far. I had a pretty "blah" day and felt flat because I forgot to bring my phone to work. So afterwork, without properly planning it, went for a 10km walk to a suburb I've never been to. Look quickly at map, that should be ok... then got lost, and more lost. When I eventually found it, it was already time for sunset.

No water, no food, just me, my phone with battery running out and a credit card. Starting to get dizzy and hips started to throb with pain, I reached out to a new friend for help. I do believe God provides people in times of need, and although these strangers may not stay in your life for a long time, I was very grateful for this stranger today, provided me with just what I needed.

And now, safely back home, I am ready for my next adventure, learning that I need to be more prepared when I go on my next epic adventure tomorrow.

When you break up with your best friend

The biggest fear is when you date your best friend and you break up, you will lose that friend all together. When you are used to talking about anything and nothing together, then suddenly you lose that, it's a big emptiness. Out of desperation, it's often easier to try to fill that void. And over the weekend, I think I did. A whole TV series in 2 days. I'm exhausted.

It's not hard to be single at age 30, especially if you have enough friends, have heaps of hobbies and am a workaholic. The hardest things is to miss your best friend.

Today's sermon talked about forgiveness within relationships. Forgiveness isn't a feeling- you don't have to remove feelings of guilt, anger, missing, sadness in order for it to be forgiveness. Forgiveness is a choice, it's an action. Forgiveness is not forgetting, it's a deliberate choice to not remember faults or how you perceive the other person to have wronged you.

Sitting here alone, and on reflection, I am very thankful for the relationship that was. I am very thankful for the things I've learned about myself and about how to be in a relationship. Would I make the same mistakes again, probably, but hopefully I'm more willing to be forgiving in my next relationship.