Its crazy how quickly things can change in your life. Within an instant, your life can go from stagnant to really busy. To the point where you find yourself spending less and less time at home with your family and loved ones. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. I feel like life gets busier the older I get. And because of this, the more I want so bad for time to slow down because I feel like I’m always playing catch ups with life itself. And then, something happens that snaps you out of your tunnel vision life, and you realise that there’s so much more to it. Unfortunately, sometimes, it takes something tragic for this realisation.
This morning, after waking up from much needed rest after spending the weekend barely at home or seeing my family, I got a phone call from my older sister telling me that our little sister had just gotten into a car accident and was at the hospital. She’s okay. Fortunately, the accident was minor. But had she taken a different route to work, it could have been a lot worse.
And for that, I’m thankful. I rarely think about my guardian angel. But today, I am so grateful that my sister’s was with her.
Whoever is reading this, take this time to hug your sibling, cousin, parents, friend, or workmate – someone who you haven’t talked to in a while, but want so much to have a personal relationship with. A good friend reminded me today that it’s not too late to start.
What a crazy week it’s been. I’m struggling to articulate what I’ve been through without sounding unnecessarily dramatic, so I won’t try. But can I ask you, whoever you are reading this, to please pray for me?
In an attempt to escape the last remnants of hopelessness in my mind, I want to tell you a story of a time I surrendered, and in my vulnerability, my ever faithful God answered me.
It was exactly seven months to this very day. It was a sunny morning in Zermatt, Switzerland, and eight friends excitedly embark on a journey upwards the Swiss Alps. I can’t speak for my seven other travel buddies, but from as early as I can remember, Switzerland was a country I always wanted to travel to. I remember being as young as seven and first hearing the name of the country – “Switzerland – what a fancy name, one day, I’ll go there!”. Twenty-two years later, there I was, living and breathing in it’s fresh cold air.
As we sat in the cable car, with the view of Zermatt all around us, it felt so surreal. Seriously, to this very day, I can’t find the right words to describe what we saw and how we felt. I held back my tears because I just wanted to live in the moment and not get too emotional. After 20 or so minutes, we stopped over at Trockener Steg, where we got our first mountain top glimpse of the Swiss Alps. We spent a good hour or so taking photos, and taking it all in, the atmosphere, the view, the joy, the realness of it all. The weather was perfect, it was cold, but not too cold to stop us from enjoying it. And from time to time, the sun would come out to remind us of His warm, loving embrace.
After taking advantage of this photo opportunity, we made our way to another cable car to reach a higher peak – 3,883 metres high, to be exact. During what seemed to be a long walk between Trockener Steg and the next cable car stop was when I first started feeling lightheaded, and short of breath. You hear about the physical struggles one may experience with the lack of oxygen while travelling up a mountain but it’s another thing to feel it. At the time, I didn’t want to voice my distress to my travel mates because I didn’t want to worry them. But honestly, I also selfishly didn’t want to miss out. I was having a FOMO moment, and I told my body “not here, not now!”. So I kept going.
When we got to Matterhorn Glacier Paradise, which is supposedly the highest cable car station in all of Europe, my physical struggles got worse. The air felt thin and I honestly thought I was going to faint if I didn’t control my breathing. But I kept going. When the lift door opened to a set of stairs, my excitement quickly wore off and it turned into a mental battle.
You see, this was something I wanted for so long. Maybe I had forgotten about this desire because I got distracted with, well, life! But when we started planning our European travels, Switzerland was on the top of my list and 11 months later, there we were! I wasn’t about to stop and go back down the mountain because my body couldn’t handle it. Leading up to this trip, I had been through a lot physically (a story for another day) which put me on the sidelines for months and I wasn’t going to let it make me miss out on anything again. At least not this! So I kept going.
I climbed those stairs. It was hard. I was crying. I was struggling to breathe. Then I paused and looked up. And that’s when I saw Him. With arms wide open, crucified on the Cross, He welcomed me.
I ran to Him and sang underneath what felt like the last of my breath…
“Lord I need You, oh I need You. Every hour, I need You.”
Within an instant, I felt free from my physical struggles. Believe it or not, but I immediately started breathing regularly, and my lightheadedness disappeared. I was healed. I was set free. And because I was no longer held back by my physical inabilities, I was able to fully live in the moment. I had the best time up that mountain. He knew my heart’s desires and all I had to do was cry out to Him.
Sometimes, that’s all we need to do. Take our struggles, our shortcomings, our inadequacies, our incompleteness, be human and cry about it, then lift it up to Him. This is something we need to choose to do every single day.
“Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free.” Psalm 118:5
I wanted to share this story because this week, I surrendered, so many times. I broke down while quietly drinking a cup of tea. I broke down in the shower. I broke down while messaging a friend in my state of vulnerability. I broke down while talking on the phone with a friend who is currently 16,024 kms away. I broke down in front of my laptop while feeling overwhelmed with my insecurities and my incapabilities. And each time I broke down, I surrendered.
He may literally answer me today, or tomorrow, or next month.
But He has already set me free.
“If we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing of what makes life free, beautiful, and great. No! Only in this friendship are the doors of life opened wide. Only in this friendship is the great potential of human existence truly revealed.” — Pope Benedict XVI
“You can ask the universe all signs you want but ultimately we only see what we want to see when we’re ready to see it.” – Ted, HIMYM.
(Bonus points for anyone who knows exactly when Ted says this in the HIMYM series – without googling it.)
Thanks to Netflix, HIMYM is my go-to tv show that’s always running in the background when I’m getting ready for bed, or to go out, or whenever I just need something playing at the back. So it’s safe to say that I’ve watched the whole series more than enough times. Honestly, it would be FRIENDS if it was on the Australian Netflix (get it together mate!).
And there’s something about this quote that always stuck to me. I was reminded of it tonight, as I spent a quiet night in at home. I’m feeling a bit under the weather, and with a full weekend ahead of me, I wanted to get some rest in first. Already tucked under my doona at 7pm (an introvert’s dream!), I was flipping through Netflix for a movie to put me to sleep. Hmmm, maybe something in the romance category, they’re always (sometimes) a snooze-fest. I found the 2012 movie, The Lucky One, with the handsome Zac Efron in it. I remember falling asleep when I tried to watch it when it first came out, so I thought it would have the same effect.
Boy was I wrong. I watched the whole thing and I was completely captivated by their love story. For those that don’t know, it’s based off a novel by Nicholas Sparks, about a US Marine who finds a photograph of a young woman in the battlefield. This photograph serves as a lucky charm for the US Marine. During battle, he narrowly escapes death and comes back home. He then decides to track down this woman in the photograph (stalker much?) to say thank you and that’s where their story begins. It seems really simple, and I can understand why I fell asleep the first time I tried to watch it. It’s a bit slow paced, hardly any suspense and there are only a handful of characters that you get to know. But the main theme I got from it was fate.
Anyway, this isn’t a review on the movie. Lol. But what intrigued me was that I had received the movie in two completely different ways. It was the same sort of reaction I have when people tell me that they didn’t enjoy the movie, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Surprisingly, a few people found it boring and weird. Where as for me, I found it enthralling, exciting, encouraging and really inviting. It made me really want to pursue my hopes and dreams, especially travelling.
“We only see what we want to see when we’re ready to see it.”
When I first watched The Secret Life of Walter Mitty in 2013/2014, I was at a crossroads in my career, or life, you could say. I really wasn’t happy with the direction I was going. Although I had moved out of home, steadily making my way up the ranks in my career, and earning decent money, I knew I wasn’t fulfilling my purpose in life. I wanted to seek more. I wanted more. This movie made me realise that I wanted more. So I went and sought! And now I’m in the career that I want to be in for maybe the rest of my life.. or at least a really long time. (Oh my gosh, this movie is so good! Go watch it!)
“…when we’re ready to see it.”
When I first watched The Lucky One in 2012, I was 25, and felt so pressured to be in a relationship. But I knew I wasn’t ready. After watching it five years later, I don’t know, maybe I am now.
Is there something (or someone) you see differently now than you did before? What would you do?
A mate of mine who is a talented writer/blogger recently asked me to type up a piece for her blog about a particular experience I had. I don’t want to ruin any surprises so I wont reveal too much about it. However, I will say that it was about an experience I have subconsciously tried to suppress deep in my mind and wish to never relive ever again.
Why you ask? Because it was about a boy. Hahaha.
But, as tough as it was to recall, I have no regrets. Feeling quite honoured for the opportunity, I also found it a blessing in disguise. It had brought up a lot of hurtful memories but also a lot of really fun ones. It may have even brought some butterflies to my stomach. 🙂
Anyway, it was a blessing because while writing this requested piece, it reminded me of the joy and the fruits of writing.
While I was travelling through Europe last year with some good mates, a lot of them tried to find time to journal. Whether it was during transit, or before bed time, or while inside a church/landmark, or any spare time we had, I often saw my travel mates busily scribbling down on their journals. It was an important part of their journey as it helped them digest and process all the different experiences they were going through. I, however, really struggled with journaling. I even bought a tiny notebook to help me get started but I still couldn’t bring myself to put my thoughts and experiences unto paper. At the end of it all, photo journaling through an instagram account is what I settled for. Still though, I often wondered what they wrote, and what motivated them to write.
I guess there are a lot different reasons why people write. To practice, to remember, to recall, to learn, to be a witness, to capture a moment, to go back in time.
Honestly, I never really thought of myself as a writer. I can be a bit of a grammar and spelling critic/nazi, so I had unrealistic standards on myself to be able to write well enough to post my writing in public. Obviously, with the new year turning, I’m trying to prove my harshest critic, myself, wrong. And it’s actually been quite fruitful. Mostly, it has made me realise that everyone is a writer, because everyone has a beautiful story to tell.
Why do you write? Whatever the reason is. Don’t stop, keep going. Write on, friend! As long as it comes from a beautiful place, you never know what kind of positive impact it will have on other people. And especially, on yourself.
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” – Maya Angelou