The Pain of Intimacy

As I write my heart has a knife in it. My lungs buckle under the strain of gasping for breath. Pain spreads over my clouded chest as both Continue reading

Advertisements

Winds of Change: 342-333 days to go

Mini-campaign

Well, the mini-campaign is done. And I give God all the glory for the role He played in making it a success. Our speaker originated from a neighbouring country. He has lived in mine for almost seven years. He made us laugh a lot. His was the kind of humour that had a whole lot of truth in it. He spoke about the Kingdom of God.

You’re most probably wondering how I dealt with the challenges I faced last week. In one short sentence, God carried me through.

At first the Conference Youth Director couldn’t make it for Saturday, 3 May because he was out of town. I contacted the substitute he organised. At first the substitute was to picked up at his domicile by us and brought to our church. But, the substitute also had to be ordained as a church elder at another church that day. He was going to lunch by me where the brothers from that church would pick him up and take him to their church where the ordination would take place. The arrangments changed many times as new information came to light. Ultimately, we agreed that the brothers from that other church would collect him at his domicile in the morning, ordain him at their church and rush him to mine so that he could preach.

However, on Friday (341 days to go) the Conference Youth Director confirmed that he would be able to preach on Saturday. With a smile on my face and a song in my heart, I informed the youth elder who did not inform the other elders as I would learn the next day.

The Conference Youth Director preached a powerful sermon on the Kingdom of God. He really made it personal. The congregation was moved.

That Saturday night the pastor who would conduct the campaign for the rest of the week delivered his first sermon. He had us cracking just like a famous comedian from my country. Being fully bilingual, and speaking to an almost fully bilingual audience, he mixed the two languages we speak pretty well. But, the message came through loud and clear.

After we did a lot of damage control on Sunday night (337 DTG) which made us start the programme 15 minutes late, we had to stall the programme the Monday night (336 DTG) because the pastor assumed that we would begin late again. As on Saturday afternoon (339 DTG), he came just as time ran out. He was on time for the rest of the week. He came a little late tonight though but not that late!

On Tuesday night, D spoke to me about the underlying tension she sensed in the group. She referred to my cousin, S. I asked her if she meant S, she said yes. Something just told me “Level with her” occurred to me. So, I did. I explained that S was upset with D because D didn’t organise a guest artist for Sunday night and that D should’ve been prepared to sing herself since she is the worship leader. I told her that I was also angry with her because of what she said to my cousin, the sensitive, temperamental pianist. It made me look bad, uninformed and incompetent as a leader (these are her words). But, because the unity of the team is more important to me, I decided not to hold it against her. I forgave her. Only then did she realise the implications of what she had said. She apologised.

Then I asked her to speak to S to clear the air. But she had reached the point where she just didn’t care anymore. D told me that she had called musicians the whole Sunday and the week preceding it, but she couldn’t secure anyone.

That night, I told S about my conversation with D explaining D’s position. I urged her to speak to D. But, S didn’t want to.

That same night (335 DTG) we had a short debriefing meeting after the programme to explain mistakes that we made and prepare the team for the next evening’s programme. Because D had to leave early, I informed the team that D had two unconfirmed artists for the next night. One of the pianists (N) and his cousin volunteered to perform while one of the other members (R) of the praise team was going to get men’s group to perform. However, I didn’t hear correctly and thought R was L (their names are similiar). L had fallen out of favour with S three years ago during the first mini-campaign we organised as a team. So, the team was shocked that D would have L secure an act for us. (The thing between S and L was really ugly since S loved L and her brother a lot. L had hurt S by misusing her name.) I was pretty shocked myself when I heard that L was going to secure an act for us. But, I’m always happy when those who left the youth start getting involved again. Quite upset S told me not to talk rubbish. I was taken aback by her outburst. She excused herself from the meeting and high tailed it out of there. We concluded the meeting and met S outside.

As a fail safe we asked a housemate of one of the team members to go on standby for us. We would confirm it on Wednesday morning. D had to let me know if the two acts confirmed by 10 am. I called her at 11:15am to find out. None had gotten back yet. D’s sister had been scheduled to sing for one of the two “special item” slots but due to her illness she couldn’t make it. That’s why we were looking for a replacement act. D asked me to ask the stand-in to prepare one item only. I, in my wisdom, asked the stand-in to sing two items. After D confirmed that the pianist and his cousin would perform, I informed D and the housemate of the stand-in about my error in judgment. I also gave D the housemate’s number telling her to communicate with him directly. (I panicked there for a bit, but I asked God to give me wisdom to handle the situation correctly.)

That Wednesday night everything went smoothly. It was then that I told about my conversation with D and asked her to speak to D. S refused out of fear of saying something she would later regret.

Everything went well Thursday night too (333 DTG). We had refreshments to which everyone on the team contributed. S supplied cocktail bread with various toppings, tea, milk and sugar while the rest of us supplied biscuits. D brought juice. Su and Sh arranged the refreshments. The pastor was really glad about this opportunity to meet the people. It rained cats and dogs so not many of the attendees stayed for refreshments.

Tonight (332 DTG) we had a small hiccup. The pastor ran late, the team mate who saw to the slide show ran very late, the head of family ministries in our church didn’t get a chance to speak since it was not included in the slide show, and the guest artist for tonight only sang one song when he was supposed to sing two. The congregation sang Heart of Worship in the open slot.

One member of the praise tried to convice D that she should sing in that slot even if it was only Amazing Grace but D refused. Seeing that D’s mind was made up, I told him that no amount of asking or begging would persuade D to sing. She is one of those people that rigidly obey Newton’s Third Law of Motion which says,

“For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” –from The Physics Classroom

D agreed. But her point was not that she was stubborn. She was not prepared to sing. She kept saying that voice was the same as any other musical instrument. You need to practice before a performance. It isn’t just a matter of going on stage and singing your heart out. It became clear that D and S would never reconcile on this point while the team mate understood D better.

I had to say thank you to everyone who participated in the programme. I prayed earnestly that God would help me do say thank you to the people. I don’t usually do the thanks at events. When I do, I try to finish as quickly as possible. This makes it seem cold and unemotional. But tonight was different. God answered my prayers. A warmth characterised my voice as I thanked the contributors and participants from my heart. I even blessed the pastor and mothers (since it’s Mothers Day weekend). Blessing the mothers was unplanned.

I’m grateful that God helped me and my team safely through this week. I’m grateful that God blessed this mini-campaign and kept the team together even though it seemed as if Satan would have the upper hand. I’m grateful that He blessed those who attended and that He guided the pastor in the presentation and preparation of the messages. I am grateful for His patience and for the work He performed on my character–a work that is very important to me.

And I thank you for your patience as my posts have become irregular.

Winds of Change: Day 197

A rondevouz with fate

This afternoon we had a mini family gathering at my aunt’s place. Some of my cousins were there. Now, I always had trouble with them accepting me which I spoke about before [will add link later]. But what happened this afternoon truly revealed their feelings towards me.

We sat in our aunt’s lounge while the aunts and uncles sat in the dining room. There were five or six of us, including my aunt’s husband. They spoke about restaurants they had visited while I literally sat in my corner looking at pictures of Christian sculptures and reading sculptors’ biographies. I did participate in the conversation, often cracking jokes with them. In the course of the conversation they mentioned a restaurant they would like to visit. Now I had gone to the restaurant with my parents last year and shared that information with them–twice. They, however, didn’t pay me any attention. They just continued their conversation as if I hadn’t said anything. My uncle heard though and inquired about the place.

I felt bad as anyone in my position would. As I analysed the situation I realised that it’s not that my cousins didn’t accept me; they were just not interested in me. Period. I would never be good enough for them because they didn’t care whether I was good enough or not.

As I said, I felt bad, but I am also free. I have since cut them out of my life. They don’t add value to me in anyway and they clearly don’t want me to add value to them. So, I won’t care about being in their company anymore. Of course, I will still care about them, we’re family. But more than that I refuse to give because they are simply not interested. Simply not interested. (I sense a poem there.)

As I observed them, I saw that they won’t understand my desire to sculpt or make a living from writing. Those aren’t things they are interested in doing so they can’t conceive of others doing it.

About lying low

I also feel bad about lying low with the youth leadership. It feels as if I’m hardening my heart and reject Christ. But I have to step back for the next four months to finish my thesis so that I can graduate at the end of this year. Maybe I should resign as youth leader? If I do, no one else will want to be because that’s exactly the reason I am the youth leader this year.

Stupid crazy dream

I didn’t have a wet dream this morning–a hatrick is more than good enough for me! Thank God! But I did have one crazy weird dream.

I dreamt that my sister and I were driving our car: she was driving, I wasn’t. It was one of those cars driving schools use that have two sets of pedals: one on the driving instructor’s side and one on the learner driver’s side.

It was a busy day in town. The roads were narrow due to the road works, trucks delivering their cargo, garbage trucks loading their cargo, milk trucks and a hot blistering wind. Traffic flowed well even though pedestrians were everywhere.

All of a sudden I took the wheel out of my sister’s hands, who had been speaking on her phone when the light turned green. I can’t remember our destination. But that’s when the trouble started. The more I tried to steer the car, the less control over it I had.

My sister grabbed the wheel and righted the car just as we headed for a milk truck. This happened quite a number of times. But I just took it from her again and tried to steer the car while sitting in the passenger (or in this instance the driving instructor’s seat). How I managed to change gears God alone knows because it was a manual car.

We were heading uphill by then and the danger of rolling back and colliding with another car was very real. The road painters had to vacate their posts while the on-coming cars veered out. All this happened while the truck in front of us tried to parallel parked. We weren’t responsible for it, but it sure felt like it.

When we reached the robot midway up the hill, I decided to give up and let my sister take the wheel.

Waking up from my dream, I had a strong impression that it applied to my life. The more I tried to manage my life, the more out of control it became. I also saw that my sister actually represented my mom who told me that I shouldn’t be the youth leader this year because my studies would suffer. And she was right. In fact, I now that that had I not been as actively involved in church leadership, I would have been done with my master’s degree a long time ago.

That said, the dream still left me confused. What was I supposed to do now? How do I handle my situation? What course of action should I take? Confused I went on my knees, apologised and asked the Lord to direct my steps. The sermon I listened to today was a reminder that we are God’s witnesses, chosen by Him to proclaim and live the Gospel. So, my prayer is that He will guide me. Yet I have to finish my degree this year.

Winds of Change: Day 95

Tired

Right now I am tired! I’m tired of frequently checking my e-mail accounts for messages from friends and Yahoo! Answers alerts. I’m tired of checking Yahoo! Answers for interesting questions. I’m tired of searching for pictures of things I want to do. I’m tired of searching for pictures of places I’d like to go to. I’m tired of trying to read other people’s minds. I’m tired of being tired.

Another look at the reluctant leader

Today I realised that the reason why I’m so reluctant to lead is because I’m afraid that I will hurt people. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a people pleaser and a conformist. So, being in a leadership position where I have make unpopular decisions from time to time is difficult for me. In addition to this is the expectation that leaders shouldn’t apologise much. I apologise when I’ve wronged someone whether or not it’s popular to do so.

Family Ties

My thoughts today have largely been centred on how I will bond with my children, when I have them one day. And my experience has been that nudity plays an important role in the bonding process. So, I basically revisited the question with a strong emphasis on adolescence, father-daughter and father-son bonding as well as the role of nudity.

Nudity, I realised as I had done before, is only a part of the equation. There are other factors that have to be taken into account and practised daily for the bond to be strong.

I look forward to the day when I become a dad. The day I really look forward to though is when my son(s) and I make box cars or build something else together. That’ll be awesome.

However, I have to get over the first hurdle. No it’s not getting a girlfriend or mustering the courage to ask her hand in marriage. It’s putting everything on the line by telling her everything about my sexual history. Will she accept me? Will she still love me the same? If she chooses to end the relationship, will she keep those things to herself?

I long to be the father of a close-knit family. That would be wonderful.