“I have been one acquainted with the night.”

My headache is either caused by too little coffee or too much coffee. I drink more coffee now than during the revision period, because now I have a lot of free time to myself. I imposed a no-snacks rule two days ago because I really need to fit into my jeans ): No snacks meaning no chocolates, potato chips, or biscuits. I still drink milo and eat things like beancurd and sweets. But the amount of chocolate consumed went from two packs of kinderbueno (not two sticks) and a lot of lindt balls every day, to nothing at all. Hopefully I will lose that extra layer of blubber soon.

In January when I first started slotherious, I wanted it to be a record of my thoughts, something like what I did on blogger and tumblr. I thought my life was settled- okay, writing, and lots of work, and I will spend all my free time just walking around finding food. I want to eat bak kuh teh again.

What I didn’t expect was to return to church, and now commit to another four years of children’s church (toddlers, aged 18 months to 3 years old). I approached the leader after service and she did a very short explanation of the commitment required and the work that I would be doing. I was intending to join the nursery section where they have kids aged 3-4, because at least they will be able to understand what I say, but hey, why stress myself out. I am just going to toddle around helping with arts and crafts and dish out froot loops when they are restless.

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Okay I miss froot loops. I used to eat them as a kid!! Sugary breakfasts.

Yesterday, the pastor was talking about how we can forget that gifts are all from God, and we can become complacent in using them. The priority is to not focus on the gift, but focus on the God behind it, and not let our gifts take us away from God. Like being talented at singing, or lawyer-ing, or teaching. We are all treated in a different way by the world, and we come with a mix of skillsets that might not seem very useful to us. Like I am extraordinarily good at sitting still for long hours. But I guess that only comes in useful if I am trying to avoid rampaging zombies.

There was a sharing session from the BASK outreach program where people go to share the gospel in prisons, and the lady said a sentence at the very end that made me understand why do people continue volunteering. “We thought that we would be the ones to deliver blessings but instead it is ourselves who have been blessed.” 

When I was being briefed in the room by one of the teachers, I noticed that there was a girl sitting by herself drinking a packet of milo. Slightly dark-skinned, she didn’t seem particularly happy or talkative. And then there was this fair-skinned and happy chinese boy who kept coming to poke the teacher and getting poked in return. I guess after my experience with my foster brothers, the ones who need more love and attention are really not the good-looking and loud ones, it is the quiet ones who need more adult-time. But I wonder if they will take to me.

There are many other ways to live and to learn obedience. Perhaps church is the wrong thing to choose, to use it as a testing ground for how much I can learn and how much I can contribute to a community. But I don’t know of any other option that allows me to learn for free, connect to other people (older than me, and also much younger than me), contribute to people around me, and also decide on whether or not I want to live my life according to a set of rules given thousands of years ago.

Church, and religion, and God (and all three are different things to me), answers important questions such as “should I be doing this” or “which should I pick?” I don’t mean my mother’s method of flipping open the bible and reading whatever page she lands on as an answer to her question. Because that completely removes her independence of decision and anyway she doesn’t use very biblical interpretations, she kind of picks and chooses which paragraphs are relevant based on her emotions and the question that she was asking. The only answer is usually- is what you want to do, Christ-like, or which choice will bring more holiness to you? Not as in proving your worth but which choice will be more difficult to do and hence test your faith more. Church is an institution, it is a place I go to every week. Religion is what other people see me as belonging to or believing in. God is the pinnacle which everyone revolves around, trying to get to but always failing and being uncomfortable because we are still on earth.

I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rain—and back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light.

-Robert Frost, Acquainted with the Night

Anyway, that’s probably for July. Today I am just going to try and reserve seats on the Taipei-Hualien express train. And I am going to try and finish reading all the commentaries that Daniel sent because well…I am a bit slow when it comes to theological literature. Life is slow now. I don’t need to do anything, except deal with the weight of my own self-expectations. I expect my hair to grow faster. And things like disappointing bean curd from the hawker centre this morning, and dealing with my over-inflated ego.

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The choices we make define who we are. Not our abilities, but our choices. Every morning I choose to snooze and not go for a morning run, and I choose to practically eat my weight in chocolate every week. I choose to not go for driving classes, I choose to buy new books every month. I just received my fulton sheen ones! It’s autobiograpical. I choose to sleep in, and then uber to my destination. I choose to not work for SB after I graduate. I choose to ignore people, and to remember others.

I could give up everything now and start over again, being a complete bitch about things and complain every day. So could everyone else. But I would like to think that while other people are naturally kind, I am naturally spiteful and antagonistic and I have to work harder at things because there really are days where I want to set fire to everything. I am who I am today, because of the choices I made yesterday. Of what I did, and how I responded.

‘Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,’ said the Cat.
‘- so long as I get SOMEWHERE,’ Alice added as an explanation.
‘Oh, you’re sure to do that,’ said the Cat, ‘if you only walk long enough.”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland