Tuesday, July 31, 2007

risk taker

"Why do you have mood swings? How come you can be so enthusiastic over something and lose all interest the next moment? How come you can be so crazy over a person one minute and the waters become so mysteriously still the next?" ----Kie, 'A Heart, Treasured & Divided'

I guess by asking ourselves questions every day, we sort out our thinking and be a little more mature in our actions and behavior.

I just thought that, it's true, every one of us has something to look forward to at the end of it all: death.

No matter which primary school we came from, how much we bring in every month, whether we speak 7 different languages fluently or just one; each of us are in the same predicament.

We are all going to die.
And none of us knows WHEN.

I'm a risk taker. Planting cells when no one asked me to, not even God (Well at least I didn't hear any divine voice for the first one.)

Working in sales, selling something that is extremely difficult to sell in Singapore. But I survived. And will keep going on.

Opening my heart to someone who may not be worth it because he has so many issues of his own that I can't seem to understand.

But I've learnt, so much more about myself, that it seems that suddenly, overnight, I finally understood the meaning of being wise.

Why not take risks when you are young? Why not invest in stocks? Seem risky? So you will never invest? Why not go to church? Because you are scared that once you go, you will be changed? What's so scary about that. Why you can work overtime and not come for cell or prayer meeting? Is that little bit of extra cash so important, more important than your spiritual life?

I'm a risk taker. Although to me it seems that there are more rewards when you take risks.

If I had never took a step out and came to Trinity Church, I would have never had the chance to become a leader in my old one.

If I never planted the first cell, I would have never planted the next one. And what would happen to those people?

If I had never joined this job I would never have clients and would never been able to bring them to church.


No one can tell us the answer when we take risks. No one can predict whether the US $ will rise to 1.54 this week or drop to 1.51. If I can, hey, give me your millions and I can make your money grow.

But living life without IFs is not living a life at all. You may consider yourself a robot, not having feelings, so the possibility of loving someone and being hurt is zero. Would you like that?

A life without meaning is a life without love.

I'm a risk taker. Although to me, it makes more sense to live the life I've always wanted than to look at others', and wonder why I don't seem to have what they have.

I don't really understand the people who have worked hard for years and yet achieved nothing. I think I don't really work hard, yet I've achieved much. Being here, in this place (though most of the time I'd like to be somewhere else) in this job, in this spiritual arena, has taught me to 'be a better person'. In Chinese, they call it, how to 'zuo ren.' (Be a (real?) person.) The Chinese meaning signifies a person of integrity. Not just any other person out there in the street. But a person of influence, a person who knows how to act, how to think. Mature, intelligent, capable, and kind and compassionate.

So would you like to learn how to be a (real)person?

You begin to write your own story, chart your own course. Listen to your heart. Breathe in the goodness of life. And see people as Jesus saw them. Forget about their attire, or their skin color, or whatever irks you. Begin to focus on the right things. Begin to make friends just like you did in kindergarten. Remember then? We were friends with everyone, mainly because we felt like there was a bond, something that took place almost immediately. And these friends became a shelter for us, from the big world. We took pride in our similarities and were fascinated by our differences. Never lose your innocence in finding friends. Or forgetting who you really are, taking off the identity of your #first place in class when you were primary one, and then the identities we were made to be defined by in our society. Good at English. Not so good at Math. The arty-farty type. The rebellious type. The designer type. The top student type. The salesperson type. The cell leader type. Take it all away and all you have is... YOU. And if you want to learn more about what God can do in your life, you have to take risks. Leaving your identity is a risk. Travelling alone at 19 is a risk. Changing job industries is a risk. Investing in stocks is a risk. Yet some never do it, and some are ridiculed for stepping out, for being different by those others (sadly, the majority of our prideful, selfish world.)

So how?

You can choose to worry about the IFs or just stay there, no one needs you to step out anyway. (Except yourself.)


Pastor Bae Hyeong-gyu, kidnapped and killed, by the Taleban.
The male South Korean victim was found with 10 bullet holes in his head, chest and stomach in the Mushaki area of Qarabagh district in Ghazni Province, the region where 23 South Koreans were kidnapped last week, said Abdul Rahman, a police officer.

Taliban say they have killed second South Korean hostage
-31 July 2007 0049 hrs, CNA.

The militia killed one of the Koreans named Sung Sin with AK-47 gunshots at 1:00 a.m. in Korean time, the spokesman said.
The victim is believed to be Sim Sung-min, 28. The spokesman said the militia dumped the body in the Qarabagh district of the Ghazni province.
He is the second victim after the leader of the 23 church volunteers, Pastor Hyung-kyu, 42, was shot dead last Wednesday. Bae's body arrived in Seoul late Monday.


Make your life here on earth count for the things that matter.
And please stop criticizing people who are risk takers.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

articles on relationships

recommended reading

I read a short article about relationships/dating almost daily - to improve my EQ and communication skills both in work and interpersonally, also, to learn how to write humorously.

These articles, from award winning writers will prove to be an entertaining read with nuggets for thought, too.

So while Spiritedly takes a break from writing and focuses on more spiritual matters, here goes. (Erm, have to 'cut and paste' in new browser, arh...)

Where I want to go on a date
By Lori Gottlieb and Kevin Bleyer

10 bad first-date moves…By Bill Keith

Dating tall women… (hilarious!!!!!!!!)
By Kevin Bleyer

Surviving your first big fight
By Kimberly Dawn Neumann

Dating a younger woman
By Michael Kramer

When your date has bad manners
By Orlando Lima

Christian advice...

Dealing with loneliness

By Margot Carmichael Lester

How to be a good catch
By Jennifer Derryberry Mann

Let’s talk about sex
By Margot Carmichael Lester

Celebrating your celibacy

By Margot Carmichael Lester

And some on health/workout/exercise:

Shrink Yourself: Say Goodbye to Emotional Eating

Exercising in Segments Helps Burn Fat

Lifting Weights to Lose Weight?

8 Healthier Food Picks

5 Food Fixes for Flat Abs

Happy reading... =)

Monday, July 23, 2007

Allegra: Mark's return

Thanks Jelly for the advice today. And the beautiful night out. Same situation, different plans. All I can say is that I'm glad you're strong enough to make it happen.

Thanks Grant for the listening ear. One day I want to be like you.

And C.Puff, we are so alike in thinking that it amazes me. I love the way we laugh. Let's not let our past bad experiences dampen our innocence and joy in finding new experiences to share. I'm glad I met you.


'You've lost some weight', was all Allegra could say when she looked at him. He was with her. Chatting over tea till she innocently walked past their table, not realizing Mark was there. Allegra was the other woman, someone his parents liked very much when they had not - did not - realise the subtle nuances that was between - had been - their friendship, of sorts.

It seemed like she had been here for too long. She barely thought of him now, not ever, even, at times. So it was strange when about a week ago, she had a sudden thought of him. "I came back last week." Mark was talking to her, her mind was in a whirl. What could she say? 'Yeah, I somehow sensed you were back.' And with a sudden realisation that she could not say anything to him - choked up, suddenly mindful of the deep memories they shared - she just looked into his eyes and saw the same expression that was there all the while, those same eyes that she had looked into for three whole months when they saw each other everyday. And could not get enough of talking to each other, spending time with each other, just being in each other's presence. Allegra saw Mark as a tree, always constant. Not boring, but stable. Just there for support. She needed support. She really needed support.

Before he left, he bought her a lime green icecream scooper. She just mentioned that her house was lacking in one. And he got her one the next day, as a little reminder he heard, and he knew. Allegra couldn't bear to use that lime green icecream scooper. It was just a sweet reminder of his presence in her life.

And when he left, when he was in that country, the country which could accept her post-college application, because her degree was from that country too, and she had graduated with top honours from that programme, just that she felt that studying the Masters' was too expensive... When he was in that country, he had to walk past 'her school'. The school of her dreams. Where studying there had been a dream for years, a distant distant dream, and now, with her grades, she was able to make it there, just that she did not want to pursue this path now, that she had 'given up' on this dream, just for this moment.

Allegra told herself that one day, she would build a city, with her husband, building another one. She would buy a car for her husband. And she would set up a global retail chain. And buy a carpark. It was her lifetime goals. And she felt, with a tinge of pain in her heart, that it would also be one of her lifetime regrets that she never studied in the school of her dreams - Central St Martins. And Mark, privileged Mark, whose Mom was heading an insurance company; had it set. He was there to study law. While Allegra was here to eke out a living.

These years passed by, just too fast.

Allegra never forgot that Mark told her he prayed for her every single day he walked past St Martins.

Every single day.

And she still kept that lime green icecream scooper like a silly little girl hoping for a childhood fantasy to come true, just holding on to that icecream scooper as though it held more significance that what it was meant to be.

She thought that she had forgotten about him. His notes to her tucked away in a metal cupboard with her God journals. So was the icecream scooper. No photos, she hated the way she looked like during that time. That awkward phase of a girl turning into a woman. Sometimes she wore her arty farty clothes. And her hair was always in a mess. It's neater now. Much neater. She knew against her better judgement to keep in contact with him. So after a few lengthy emails, she asked him to stop. Just stop. Don't ask me why. I would like it this way. Like a sturdy tree, Mark never sensed the turmoil in her heart. Or at least, if he did, he showed no indication. He was able to withstand the storm. But not her. She wished intensely that it had been different, that they had met each other earlier. Allegra knew he had no love for her. He never mentioned her until later, later, after Allegra had inexplicably fallen for him. It was said that the notion of 'marrying for love' only came about in this century or so. But it seemed horrid to Allegra that today, people marry out of loyalty to their families, already inextricably entwined by their union and their wealth.

And it seemed to Allegra that life wasn't meant to be that way.

After those years, she realised many things.
And she thought that she had forgotten about his existence, too.

It rained later that night. It hadn't rained for days. But that night, there was a violent squall. The wind was piercing cold and the raindrops felt like ice on her cold hands. Allegra knew it would rain. Because God always sent rain when she was sad.

Friday, July 20, 2007

the wishing tree

Wish. I want to grow a wishing tree.

One of my earliest childhood memories is walking along a rough pavement, shaded by leafy trees; picking saga seeds to put on my playdoh, walking somewhere along Sentosa. I guess that is why I still have an afinity to beaches and parks and open spaces, for there is where I spent my happy times in my childhood.

I remember playing super-soaker with my male neighbours. We formed a gang, meeting up to play at the open space in the middle of our block. Flats aren't built like that anymore. I lived in a time where neighbors all left their doors open and we could borrow each other's kids' company to play in each other's houses. Fortunately for me, my Mom did not discriminate against me playing with little boys, and the boys in my neighborhood were quite well behaved, almost too geeky actually. Maybe it was the water but I only had one girl friend to play with, the rest of the babies were boys. So I learnt, from an early age, how to communicate with little boys, how to play with action figures (just throw them at each other) liking teenage mutant ninja turtles (My Barbie's first husband, sadly for her...)My childhood was a happy one. Filled with little snacks - I could eat what I liked because I remained thin; lots of ice-cream, I could choose what I liked all the time... the smells of swimming pools, linoleum floors and playdoh and the gum we used for art and craft; happy times communicating with my neighbors even though their English was limited and so was my Chinese; hanging out at the playground that had a tiled pelican we can climb up on and imagine that we are flying in its beak.

It seems an awful thought to me that childhood for most people is not like that. And knowing how Singapore is like today, I wonder, if the best for my future generations means having to live somewhere else. We are not careless about our environment, we just don't know how to speak up. We use plastic bags for everything just because we are used to it, and are unaware of a more friendly alternative. And some childhoods are distorted, fragmented, something happened to theirs to make it seem less happy.

When I look back, each day seems happy.
When I look forward, the future seems bright. Never mind that I am not saving enough for my age profile for my retirement right now. Never mind that at 19, when I imagine what myself would be like 5 years later, it is a far cry. My room still looks like a kids' room. I still cannot afford the things I thought I would. But I am happy with my life. It gives me space to think. It gives me time to sleep as much as I need. Yes, sometimes I get panic attacks. I wonder what my life would turn out to be like if I had married early, or chosen a different path to study, if my parents had chosen to stay in Oz instead of heading back. Their generation has accomplished much. It seems like there is not much my generation can. But I am happy, because I realise that I can choose to be. Even though there is emotional, financial, work stress, it is only for this moment and does not define my life.

Sometimes I know, you don't feel like trying. Just chill out, space out. And I am like that too. But it haunts me that I am not able to do what I know is in my capability to.

I cannot say that because of my happy childhood, I am a happier person. I also cannot say for sure whose life will be better just because (fill in the reason).

Sometimes I wish I didn't care so much.
Other times, I wish I could care more.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Through our likes and loves; we realise...sometimes, how superficial we are. Sometimes, how we have a deep capacity in our hearts to care for someone.

I've realised I've learnt about a lot of things over the past few months. I know I keep saying that. Mostly, I've realised how to be a better person. How not to let money (or the lack of) affect my happiness quotient. How, by giving parts of yourself away, you realise you become less selfish, and hopefully, more selfless. How, human conflict taken positively only makes you better. It's no longer "What Would Jesus Do", but maybe "Do What Jesus Did", now. And that is quite fun as well, putting plans to action and seeing people become your friends faster than you've imagined, sharing a connection between two souls, you've never imagined how you can become so close to someone or let someone get so close to your soul, knowing the good parts and the bad parts, knowing too much that it incriminates you, yet frees you with the vulnerability of 'Hey, I've got my flaws too. But I choose to share them with you."

As we grow older, we realise that friends are not just about having someone to watch a movie with, or someone you can call out when you need to go shopping.

You feel that bond, the same bond that you have with the place you grew up in, the house you once lived at. The bond which lets you know that you are in a 'safety zone'.

You realise that not every meeting has to be about deep stuffs,or introspective thoughts. Some can be just to take a breather from work, looking at the bumboats passing by The Office, sipping your cappucino.

And you worry that this bond might be lost ONE DAY TOO SOON, and you worry sometimes that your friend will leave you because you have said something overboard, or seemed to not show concern in the area he needs.

Or you wonder if you seem to be too boring to him and if this friendship will lose its appeal ONE DAY TOO SOON, heading nowhere, it would have sort of dissipated, just like the numerous ones you've had. Some you wished had lasted longer. Some, once friends, now acquaintances that you wave goodbye too, knowing that waving goodbye doesn't mean anything to the both of you, because both of you are so busy, caught up in your own stuff that you hardly make eye contact anyway.

And then some friends just step into your life and you know that they will be friends. Maybe it's an instant connection. Maybe it's something deeper. But it all starts out, with an introduction, and you slowly make time for this friendship in your life. Some friendships just start out for a while and suddenly disappear. But these are the ones you know that you treasure, almost immediately. You value their perspective on life.

You feel glad that they choose to share with you even though it tires you out.

More importantly, you value the stories both share.

Stuff about learning to break up with exes and sharing a relationship with another person. Sharing how we move on, how we cope with stress, how we enjoy life. What we hope to do and want to get when we are rich. Sharing of values, ideals, and experiences. That's how the bond is formed.

Sometimes, we think we choose friends, but often, it's them who chose us.

I've realised I've learnt about a lot of things over the past few months.

Most importantly, I've learnt how to be a better friend.

Friday, July 13, 2007

folie a deux

Folie à deux

It's been said that highly intelligent people are often unhappy.

I'm sure dealing with people of a lower intelligence can be frustrating. =P

Actually through understanding your world, I am in a better position to understand my own. Even if it's only on the basis of the fact that we come from totally different worlds, hence the presumption that it would be one of the main factors why we disagree, so much, so often, and about almost everything. Spiritual agendas aside, our thought processes and the way we view life is perhaps entirely different.

Everybody has certain rules they set in their life to make sense of the world. Some are unacceptable by others, some are deemed irrational and insensible by many.

That is why maybe I don't seem to understand the seriousness of it all, I never take things that can be taken lightly seriously. I don't understand serious people because why take the humor off when a smile and a laugh is just so much better. I don't understand why you care about what people think about you or about me, spiritual aspect aside; because in my world, I never did care; and why should it be a matter of great importance, to you? To a certain extent I can never understand because I can never be you.

Life is meant to be enjoyed, the sweet simple times of just walking, or talking or a combination of daily activities which makes it nice. I enjoy walking by myself past The Bridge to The Office. I enjoy eating crab mayo wholemeal panini every week. Routines can be enjoyable and once it becomes you, it's hard to break them, or separate ourselves from them. Just the way Your Car is Your Car, in our hearts we have an infinite attachment to people, places and things and it does get us upset if we learn suddenly that that's not to be, anymore. When we get to Heaven, we would no longer have such feelings, of negativity, of suffering, of a life that is filled with worry, filled with frustration because we are made too good and too highly intelligent to make sense of the world so much that it tortures our minds and we have to form certain rules to make our Life have a semblance of normality.

No one is normal.

All my life, I've tried to fit in socially, and I can say that although I am quite adept at it, sometimes I feel like I don't understand it at all.

That is why I understand the torment you go through mentally. Though I cannot say I understand it perfectly. Understanding means living the life, walking in the footprints, relating to the psyche. How do you know I don't feel what you feel.

The curse of highly intelligent people.

If people like me sometimes wish for a simpler life, for people to just know what they are thinking and say it, what they are feeling and not psyche themselves otherwise, then maybe people like you would not wish for others to be highly intelligent - because honestly in this fallen world, looks, status(prestige that comes with money) and social standing(sportsmen) are more valued than brains and Nobel prize winners. So intelligence counts for nothing. It's a curse because people will despise you anyways. Even if you are a success, you will feel like a failure, because each time you set a top score, there will be someone smarter beating you in an instant.

I am jaded, so I ask "Why bother?" But you care, so you ask, "What did I do wrong?"

There is no wrong feelings or right feelings, just positive or negative ones. Sometimes through the disagreements, I become a better person. Because I am able to be unselfish, to put my negative feelings aside, and help both of us become stronger, wiser, and less irritating to each other. It's a blessing in itself to realise that.

To do it, that takes BRAVERY.

Folie á deux, a condition in which symptoms of a mental disorder occur simultaneously in two individuals who share a close relationship or association.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Hmmm... Muffin is going to attract so many women.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

"When US sneezes, the rest of Asia catches a cold."

There is a catalyst effect, something like a butterfly effect, in the things we do. Sometimes we do not realise it, but our words, actions, yes even feelings and thoughts have the capacity to effect certain things far greater than we've ever imagined. Without even thinking about it. Such is the power of one human being over another. If you let another person influence you so greatly, you'd either be the next success, or the next failure. Depending on who's the influencer, of course. Huntley has friends(male) who were in long-term relationships and now, recently, they have all broken up. One was in a 4-year one. The other, in a 10-year one. Seems like a really long time to me. I do wonder if they broke up out of boredom or otherwise. Well, it's been said that familiarity breeds contempt. How true. But the feelings of belonging and having someone to call your own, is a treasure in itself. I think deep down inside, everyone longs for that even though they don't want to get entangled in affairs of the heart.

Inevitably, when we are hurt by someone, we often turn to someone else for comfort. Our pets sometimes. But it doesn't talk back, it only listens. I don't want my friends to only turn to me when they need some comforting, but at the same time, I'm glad he can turn to me, rather than someone else.

Sometimes it takes that extra effort to get the catalyst effect in motion. Maybe just a few more minutes of listening, instead of worrying about your own things. Maybe just a little less sleep, and the person will be impacted for life. We all need someone to sacrifice for us. But are we also sacrificing? I think it's tiring to just take and take. Giving makes you only want to give more, and more. And if we adults cannot even learn to listen, learn to stop and value above all, human kindness and compassion, how can we learn to be adults at all? Sometimes we can learn from the way kids try to get our attention and tell us enthusiatically about their latest toys, or their day's happenings. We want to catch in the magical moment which reminds us that we once were like them - innocent, not jaded, not cynical about life, just wondering happily about every new chapter.

And I want to be like that too. If some human is too busy to cultivate a real relationship with me, it's pointless to carry on. I think somewhere along the line during their 4 years, their 10 years together, the relationship sort of stopped. When one party stops listening, he stops connecting, he stops communicating, the relationship is gone.

So each time you tell someone you are too busy to listen to him, too tired out to spend some time chatting about the day, you are losing a bit of the magic in your relationship.

You are losing the childlike capacity you have for Life's excitements. Don't forget to share with me. No matter how tired I am, I still want to be there. And I will.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Living with the Muff

You Say it's easy
But who's to say,
That we'd be able to keep it this way.

- Bryan Adams, Straight from the Heart.

Some deep lines. Paradoxical, actually. The "but who's to say" actually refers to "whether we are able to keep it this way", rather than referring to "you saying it's easy."

A moody post.

But anyways, thought this line meaningful especially in light of me and Muffin's recent 'lowdowns'. Or showdowns. I've been perfectly upset. Honestly. And it's not often someone can make cheery me feel that way. After all, it's just a friendship between two people and friendships are supposed to make you feel good (not all the time, ya) but I mean, who is so sadist to keep going out with a friend who is... 'not nice at all'?

I guess at certain junctures, a platonic (I hate that word) friendship between a man and a woman has gotta question itself, just because it's generally not accepted, either in the minds of those around them, or in their own minds. We are close it's true. But in my opinion, not close enough to warrant alarm bells going off. Maybe, as I told him, that he is closer to me than I him. You can have a close physical relationship but maybe not so much, in thoughts. I suppose because of my previous experiences, I find it hard to connect totally and share what's on my mind. Really, this is something I've been working on but I do share almost everything with Muffin.

It takes a lifetime to know me, and the past week has been pretty trying because of the supposedly appropriate boundaries we are supposed to have. That's where me and Muffin are on diverse tangents. I always tell him, 'to be yourself with me, what's the point of having a friendship if we are not ourselves?' And just to do what he likes, and be happy. Generally, I am very content to be in places of non-conflict. That is why I am perturbed that each time we meet, within minutes, a disagreement will take place. And I was sad about that, too. I guess it's his way of guarding me and him, and in light of certain explanations, I'm thankful for that, for having a friend who really cares about what people think if they see us walking slowly in a picturesque place like One Fullerton, gazing at the stars together. Either way, I don't really care what people think. Maybe my attitude is wrong, and we should have a bit of both, but this way, I'm totally open, limitless, free, and this helps me to be the leader I am today.

I don't understand his reasoning, really. For making me walk faster because it's too couple-y to walk slowly in picturesque places. I'm tired out from a day's worth of walking, going to sales calls and the last thing I want to do after work is to rush from place to place. (He apologized after I brought it up, which was sweet.) But I really really don't understand! I mean, I won't like him just because we are walking slowly. Conjecturally, if I like him, I would like him whether or not we are walking fast or slow...and erm, I just don't understand. (Anyways we have agreed to walk slowly from now on, whether or not it seems couple-y. Because if he's going to tell me 'can you walk faster?' in a domineering and mean voice again, his head will meet my shoe.)

One of the strongest reasons why people like each other anyways is because they see themselves in each other, and they also see a part of the other person that complements them. I'm talking about mature people here, not emotional wrecks who seem to like people every other two weeks or so. There are many people I like in this world because of certain qualities they have, but definitely not because of setting the appropriate boundaries, either way. When I realised that Muffin was being mean to me intentionally in case I get emotionally attached to him... sigh. I really don't know what to say. That I'm already emotionally attached, anyways? Or why are you afraid of it? Why not embrace it?

After all, other people cherish deep friendships and look at ours and wish they could have what we have.

I wanted to give up a little and actually not continue meeting Muffin because he is so 'not nice' the last week. It's too trying for me, having to deal with all sorts of people daily and then another one when you are off-work. Sometimes when we disagree I just 'drift off' and remain silent. It's my withdrawal survival mode. I feel sad when we argue. So I keep quiet and actually my mind drifts off to a faraway place. It's wrong, I know. I should be fully present. Not going on space trips like this. But he should also not just jump at me at the smallest detail I am misinformed about.

In the first place, you like each other, that is why you are friends. Right?
And if you are scared that your friend will like you, why don't you pray for her not to?


Sunday, July 01, 2007

Put down your stones (continued)

Put down your stones, continued. Please read previous post.

She made a thousand choices that led, inevitably, inexorably to a moment like this.

Let's pause for a moment.

The point that the author(John)of the biblical text where this story was written is actually not about the adulterous woman, but more about the 'righteous men' trying to ensnare Jesus in a sort of inescapable situation. Frankly, they were looking for something to accuse him of.

The Law says she should be stoned. The Roman authorities had forbidden the Jewish authorities from executing anyone. It's a Catch-22 situation. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

So the Jewish leaders, much like the church leaders of today, just stand there, all looking smartly dressed in their black suits and expensive ties and shoes, just formal enough to be recognized as 'leaders'. They don't make a decision. They just stand there, with the awful words they have just spoken, ringing in the woman's head. "This woman... was caught in the act..."

Let's pause for a moment before you judge them too quickly. Are you holding a stone in your hand right now? We are most 'scandalized' by sins of the flesh. Jesus was most scandalized by sins of the spirit. It's not possible to love God and to despise people. A heart enslaved by coldness does not even notice how insidious the sins of the spirit can be. You just walk through life with a stone in your hand. Judgemental thoughts. A superior attitude. Impatient words. Bitter resentments. One thing the community of stone-throwers enjoyed: passing judgement on the spiritual inferiority of others. They looked forward to it. A woman is caught in adultery. Other people/leaders in the church talk about it. "Did you hear? What a shame. The poor children. How could she?" They shake their heads, disapprovingly. The stones will kill. What might our community look like if nobody in it were to pick up a stone?

So there they stand. Imagine with me. A woman, shivering, waiting to die. Her judges, with stones in their hands; and Jesus. The stone throwers ask him: "What do you say?"

Jesus does a curious thing. He bends down and starts writing on the sand. It bothers them, this act. He doesn't seem to be paying any attention to them. He writes, on and on. The Bible doesn't say what he was writing, so we have to guess. Maybe Jesus was a 'doodler', scribbling on the sand. Maybe he was writing the Ten Commandments.

Jesus stands up and speaks:"Go ahead and stone her. That's what the Law says. Just one rule: Let the man without sin go first."

One intruguing idea (dating back to the fifth century) was that Jesus was writing down the names of the sins of the leaders in the group. For instance: "Standing at the window watching adultery take place a lot longer than was necessary to gather evidence..." Whatever he is writing, he confronts these men with a decision. Throw stones if you want. It's your call. Condemn her. Pass judgement. But make sure you are sinless yourself. Just remember that sinful people are in no position to throw stones.

Then an amazing thing happens. Somebody lets go of his stone. Then another. And yet another. Maybe their hearts melt a little and they become more human. Maybe they remember when they first started out as leaders, young, and passionate, and in the life-saving business. Maybe they remember how it is like to stand in the need for forgiveness. None of the stones get thrown in anger. There is no room in Jesus' community for throwing stones. All of us are too broken.

You know the end of the story. No stones get thrown. It's a happy ending for the woman, whose sins lead to other inevitable sins. Deceit. Betrayal. Finally, despair.

Go and sin no more. Said Jesus. He was the only one who had the right to throw a stone. But he did not. Instead, he accepted her. Acceptance is not the same as tolerance. He did not fail to confront and to speak the truth in love. He helped her, by showing her how to heal. For the woman to fully examine her acceptance will require entering into a new way of life. The same grace that liberates her from past sin calls her to walk FREE of them in the future.

Radical acceptance.
Imagine being known as one who will never pick up a stone.

For me, it was a happy ending too. I learnt that there was truly no condemnation in The Church. After a six month period of healing, I still became a leader. Just that I was a very different one. Sometimes I wonder why do I have to go through these experiences. I guess it makes me a better leader. More importantly, I won't pick up any stones to throw at anyone.

Though my story is different, in essence it is the same.

Will my future husband throw a stone at me? I learnt how to be faithful to my husband, before even meeting him, in anticipation of the 'forever' we must learn to cherish.

No matter what.

Gratefully taken from the chapter "Put down your stones: Acceptance" from John Ortberg's "Everybody's normal until you get to know them." I've used lots of liberties and added my own personal touch so it's not my thoughts, but I'm just deeply inspired to share these chapters in my life right now. There is no better time, anyway.