Bloganuary Day 6

Daily Prompt: January 6, 2022 — Bloganuary

He’s an introvert and wouldn’t want any attention. It’s rare that an introvert would rise to the top of the hierarchy, but — there you are. God works in wondrous ways.

He was a servant-leader — he said so, and he demonstrated it. He would quietly evaluate who needed help and who could stand on their own; and then demonstrated patience and compassion to those who were learning and gave leeway for them to develop.  As a newbie to the organization, I benefited much from his approach.

Once, I made a big mistake. He confronted me with it. I said, quite crestfallen, that the report was true. Then came the corporate meeting where the matter was brought up. My enemies had their knives out. I said nothing, waiting to be eviscerated. My boss looked at me, then stepped in and defended me. I was over-awed. It was a healing moment.

You see, I had spineless leaders who allowed me to be mistreated because they were intimidated by the seniority or social status of my accusers, or because they were friends with them, or because they just couldn’t be bothered. This boss was different. He had a set of principles and moral values he believed in and lived by. He was kind. And he believed in me.

However, there were those who read his kindness as weakness, and disrespected him to his face and behind his back. But it wasn’t really weakness. No doubt, he was pressed down by all the negativity directed towards him — who wouldn’t be? But he was giving them the benefit of the doubt while evaluating them over the years and then, he made his move — reluctantly, may I add. Again, I was impressed. Most bosses would have fired them in six months.

Some years later, with much more experience under my belt, another mess happened involving someone of higher rank. Let’s call him Fred.

I was in charge of the project and was working together with two colleagues and Fred. They were expecting the boss to decide in favor of Fred because the both of them frequently hung out.

The boss called all four of us together and asked me to describe the scenario. I did, in a few sentences. He resolved the matter without blame-shifting.  Then I asked him, “What about this person who complained about Fred?” He turned to Fred: “Apologise to her.” Fred immediately said Yes, and did so sometime later.

My colleagues were in awe. They were so used to seeing favoritism and cronyism that they expected him to exonerate Fred and blame us. But by that time, I knew better.

I knew my boss walked according to a different drummer and to this day, I honor him for it.

Bloganuary Day 5

Daily Prompt: January 5, 2022 — Bloganuary

Sewing, knitting, crocheting — everything classified under the “textile arts”.

My first attempt was when I was 7 or 8, when our class was given a knitting assignment. We were to craft a pair of baby booties and these were to be displayed outside our classroom on Exhibition Day. Easy enough, right?

I came home, told mother I was supposed to get a pair of knitting needles from her, and mother gave me a pair of giant ones. “That will do,” she said. Mum is always right, right?

So I took the pair of giant needles, and the wool — and for those who know the craft, you know what happened. Giant needles make for giant baby booties with huge gaps in-between the loops. Who would guess that I would invent a pair of booties for giant babies, with natural aeration to boot?

The teacher looked at my pair with some trepidation, but decided I couldn’t be left out. So my big baby booties were exhibited with my classmates’ normal-sized, delicately crafted ones and immediately, everybody couldn’t help but notice them. The enormous BBs elicited giggles, smiles and comments like, “Why are they so big?”

At 8 years old, I already had my 15 minutes of fame.

Bloganuary Day 3

Daily Prompt: January 3, 2022 — Bloganuary

Dressed in the same plain garb, the women were scanning me from head to toe as the sunlight washed through the barred windows into the meeting room. I was to speak hope to them, 20 women incarcerated for stealing, cheating, bank robbery and what not.

Their complexions were pale from months with little sunlight but surprisingly smooth, the result I was told, from a mainly vegetarian diet. Prison food had little meat as apparently it increased aggression.

Our team had put up a little mime: a young girl looking for love, meeting a sophisticated older man (actually a woman dressed up in trousers and her husband’s shirt as men weren’t allowed into women’s prisons) who wins her heart, plays with it, tossing it up and down until it crashes onto the ground. The girl is devastated.

The watching women knew that scene only too well.

In a few seconds, it would be my turn. Heart thumping, I took the mike. I was to share about my own particular devastation in life — that just like them, I had my dreams dashed to the ground by people who ignored their own conscience. This was my first prison sermon. Would they listen?

My mentor had told me to speak from the heart; don’t speak vague theories, they’ve enough of those; they who have had to face the harsh consequences of their decisions, want reality. Not fables.

So I spoke about my particular devastation, my subsequent search for meaning in life and encountering a series of dead ends until ultimately God intruded. His abrupt, miraculous interruption marked the beginning of a long walk from a cold, dark place into warm sunshine. And they listened, some of their eyes glistening. At the end, not knowing how they would react, and being told by my mentor to not expect much, I asked: “Would you like to receive Hope?”

They rose from their seats so fast I was bowled over. The team saw, came in, and started praying for each one.

I had stepped out of my comfort zone. Great was the reward.

Bloganuary Day 2

Daily Prompt: January 2, 2022 — Bloganuary

It’s more like a long hike rather than a road trip. But what has been in the back of my mind is to walk the Ignatian way in Spain, from Loyola to Montserrat, 600 km in all.

What would it be like, to take the route that pilgrims from over the centuries and all over the world, have taken? To arrive, weary from a journey half-way round the world and be greeted by a friendly guide who would take us to a wayfarer’s hostel;

to wake up in the morning to a hearty breakfast, breaking bread with friends and with strangers who will soon become friends;

to set out with renewed energy, prepared to hike an ancient trail;

to rest our eyes on green fields spotted with red poppies and to gaze on friendly cows gazing back at us;

to climb the peaks and find ourselves surrounded by a sea of clouds in the morning;

to enter cautiously and reverently into ancient churches and imbibe the centuries-old reverence for God emanating from stone walls and wooden pews;

and to know that we are not alone, but that we are joined in spirit to thousands of generations seeking the One True God for meaning, purpose and direction in life.


All pictures courtesy of Charmaine Lim, who walked the Ignatian Way in 2018

Bloganuary Day 1

Daily Prompt: January 1, 2022 — Bloganuary

Dear Teenage Self,

There are just two things to remember:

  1. This too, shall pass.
  2. It will get better as you get older.

You’ll get past your roller-coast emotions; you will figure out what’s really going on with family, friends and the culture. Because you’re going to meet Someone who’s going to make a huge difference in your life; His Word is going to clear your brain, you’re going to think faster and and better; you’ll find out who you are and learn to speak up for yourself — and as you do, the bullies will leave you — and you will walk in the fulfillment you’ve been longing for, for a long time.

It’s a tough walk, because you’ll have to gradually sift out the Truth from all the lies you’ve been led to believe about yourself and others.

But you know what? God has given you the ability to think clearly, not just blindly accept what has been foisted on you. He has trained you to be aware of your own feelings — they are the warning sign that something is wrong, and you’ll need to spend time figuring out what the issue is. But when you do figure it out, you’ll know what to do.

Don’t sell yourself short. God has given you a good mind, a good spirit and the faithful friends you’ve been looking for will come to you. And the fulfillment you’re desiring? No worries. He has already planned out your path; all you need to do is to walk in it.

Life will become rich, full and satisfying — just as He has promised (John 10:10). So hang in there.