Thursday, June 16, 2011
Desolation / Entanglement / Finding my way back to God
Hello all faithful readers of my blog - it has been that long since I last updated! This in part to my finishing up the LLM over at NUS. Commencement is on 5th July, Deo Gratias as He had truly given me the grace to complete the journey, especially during the last few rough weeks.
Looking back in order for me to look ahead, I've chosen the image of a spiral staircase (this photo was taken at the National Museum of Singapore which I visited a week after my last exam paper) to illustrate my journey thus far.
The time in Singapore has been much more of desolation rather than consolation, and I have often felt painfully lonely rather than blissfully solitary, missing all the things and the life I knew before back home and experiencing difficulty fitting into the community here, Catholic or otherwise.
At other times, I just remember working working working as I was wont to do to forget the sorrow as well as being fuelled by a competitive Type A streak which I had thought was long dormant within me. I am not descending into a self-pitying rant here, only chronicling these struggles helps me understand why I made these mistakes and why I did what I did. The answer is always in the pain.
So one thing led to another, and I found myself in an emotional entanglement, placing divine hopes on a very human person. Disappointment ensued from sins of omission, sins of commission. I learned that the only way to forgiveness is to pray for the person(s) involved and I did so, allowing me to let go and even laugh a little at the absurdity of it all.
As the initial flame burst of wounded emotions and a sense of betrayal died down, I stared at the embers and realised that my soul-deep loneliness had led me there, causing me to see what was never there, and to try and create an enclave of happiness to shield myself from the gaping empty hole I felt inside me. But it couldn't work, because I was frantically doing this without listening to God's gentle warnings against it - whether in my heart deep down, or my family or friends.
The embers are fast becoming ashes now, and I am finding my way back to God. Where once I was a shivering soul trying to warm myself by the light of a candle (pretty impossible!), I will now seek the fire of His love to warm my heart, my soul, my mind. It's not disdaining human company, but learning to move from loneliness to solitude, from hostility to hospitality, from illusion to prayer (as Henri Nouwen put in his absolutely stirring and lovely book, 'Reaching Out'). He must come first and from Him, all goodness and wholeness flows.
Why then the spiral staircase? Because it's me ascending towards God, as I go higher up the staircase, I am looking down at my life, the same old issues and problems but it all gets so much clearer with this renewed understanding. :)