(a lot has happened this month… so i apologize in advance for this book. oooops)
dear november —
i. lies… and feelings. thoughts. they all mix into a myriad of a tight heaviness – none of which i should be experiencing right now. he was pushing me in a corner, making me feel smaller than the thin five-foot frame that i really was. and he was succeeding. the events all still rolled out before my eyes as if on instant replay — their eyes searching, pleading at me, giving me a stare down on my performance. and all i did was shrink back. i feel small. insignificant. incapable. and alone.
i. memories… my mind goes too, to the closing of the twelve, not too long ago. her embrace, then seeing her eyes look deep into mine and glistening with tears. she said an i’m sorry to which i managed a slight half a smile and mustered a reply. and then, as everything comes tumbling down, that i’m sorry taunts me and brings more to surface. no’s and whys stir up from within me all over again; not accepting the past and dear God, why did this have to happen
i. dizzy and faint… i stood there in the kitchen, hacking at the pineapples and feeling their prickliness pierce into the walls of my soul but i resolved to grit my teeth and bear it. and next thing i know, it is as if the knife is whisked away and they insist i lie down. so there i am — lying horizontal in bed as the world whirs and tosses me around, while my head and my heart screams for a halt.
i. serve and not be served… the verse comes to mind and i wrestle with my place in this. i came to serve – not be served. and here i am, weak. needy. and being served.
i. babe… i remember gazing faintly into your eyes, weakly reaching for your hand, then asking you the question. and you said you cared for me too much. then i felt bad and pushed you away, to go join the rest. and you replied, saying no — it’s okay; i will stay. knees drawn to my chin, i sat there on the floor. you wrapped your arm around me and wiped my tears away. your presence was a treasure – though words were few.
i. yam seng… my head tremors and shakes, but my cheeks are spread broad in a smile and pride and joy make my heart swell. grateful for the gift of media, for hearty toasts of good cheer, words breathed with gusto and crafted with intentionality, and prayer huddles in the hallway.
ii. when thank yous don’t sit right… you came over to my corner at the couch and with your usual way of deliberate speaking, you tell me thank you. it was one of those slight smile moments again, and inside i shake my head in wonder. i guess i am not understanding? later on i regret all the sharing, for i merely received adulting advice and a firm suggestion that i couldn’t question. i’m still shrinking. shriveling. shaking.
ii. the human bobbly head… i stumble into the building, shaking until i could hear my teeth chattering with it. i try to stop it, but no – i just keep trembling. the oilers, they come to my aid. she raises it to my nose, another rubs my feet. and they pray. someone tells me to look, and i lift my head to see them all – encircled in prayer.
ii. team checkin… the whole team assembles around the dinner tables. i sit there, gripping the table, as not to sway. she brings soup, another spoons it. blessed souls. claim a promise, she says. i sit there, searching for one that sticks. the ones that go before me, their promises resound and i nod in my heart. my turn comes, and with a wavering flicker of hope, i proclaim, all things work together for the good…
ii. i’m fine… but my claims are met by hesitant doubts. soon enough she and he come to meet me. i jabber and talk, happy to see them. we’re brought in, and he looks me up and down. drugs? neurological illness? my head shakes furiously, and it takes a good bit of effort to stifle my laughter. no — when medical professionals have no answer, i know it’s because these forces that we’re up against are stronger than any ones professionals can diagnose.
ii. you don’t have to feel bad… thank you so so much for obeying the voice of God and reaching out over seas to tell me that. thank you for validation and encouragement; for swiveling my head back towards the eyes of Christ and kicking the enemy in the shins.
iii. sl reception… discouragement over the role robbed from my lap was met with joy from the sound of music. dancing, and singing – turning wilderness to wonder
iii. dead… you slide the computer to my lap and i am able to release all the achy heaviness onto an outlet – even if it was via a pixelated screen. we exchange i’m sorrys and i love yous, and we allowed ourselves to just be held. you remind me again that i’m more than a conqueror. you show me there’s sunshine beyond. and there, from those moments, monsters were born. ❤
iii-iv. truly alive… thankful for hand-written notes, for hugs, for family. that night, i felt truly alive – more alive than i had felt in a long while. and it felt good. the night passed, and i awoke feeling anew. i devoted the day to giving back – giving promises, gifts from afar, hugs. and ah yes, it felt good. my heart will sing Your praise again.
iv-v. time together… we laughed lightheartedly, talked about life and the future, then our conversation plunged into the long awaited topic. the topic i had anticipated after all these months, separated by oceans and miles. grateful for words of wisdom, encouragement, the gift of music, and most of all- honesty. thank you, too, for being my shield when deceitful eyes pierced me.
v. dancing in the shadows… cherishing fanciful lights, friends, and turkish ice cream.
vi. mama is very happy… so i am very happy too. seeing her face light up and hearing her exclaim brought such joy to my soul. then she says it hurts… mama hurts. i walk over and put my hand in hers, whispering prayers of comfort. what a gift, Lord, for me to be here with her. oh, how time is a vapor – a mist in the air. thank you for precious moments like these when i think back and remember. remember the life you gave, and the life you give.
vi. quirks of family… grand-uncle, grand-aunt, aunts, and cousin. trying new foods, running in the rain, discussing o levels, and trudging around with blistered feet and food coma. taking things with a fistful of salt and laughing it all away.
viii. sad movies bring waves of sadness… all the emotions crash and hit, as i journey farther and farther from what become my family and my home.
ix. welcomed back as if long lost friends… yes, it’s good to be back. these people – they’re my people. their greetings and hugs drown out the presence of the one i love and hold still dear. the thought of remembrance mixed in with uncertainty crosses my mind, then fades. time changes things.
x. jet lagged and congested… three four-twelves, three different countries. perhaps this was a crazy idea to get myself into, after all i had gone through? what would you like me to lead, i ask her. but they didn’t need me. discouragement and frustration started to seep in. not needed, Lord? there i was, lying on the couch with my nose exploding and my lips red from blowing, and feeling again like just an extra body.
xi. His grace covers all… i fumbled through and slipped each of the four times on stage that day. failure was my self-label yet again. but you came to me as we exchanged goodbyes, admiring my confidence and poise. grateful for reminders that He is faithful and still speaking even through my times of weakness.
xii. breathe, call these bones to live… gaining new meaning in lyrics. home after a month. raising hands, singing praise, and wiping tears of emotion away as the thought of what has passed since the last time i was standing in this room come tumulting. saying hi to anyone and everyone, and eating up my little sunshines.
xii. fifteen became ninety minutes… sharing stories of the Lord’s goodness and faithfulness and learning from each other over steamy delights.
xiii. heartmelts… it is a joy to stand by you, to show you Truth, and remind you of your beauty. grateful for bubbly moments of grinning like a Cheshire cat in the dark together
xv. who is the Sean in your life? it was the topic of the night. it pained me, but i knew i needed it. then, moments later, the little notification appears. no, not again. yes, yes again?
xv. i made sure to do it for you… my heart bursted. i wanted to find you and throw myself on you in a hug for your thoughtfulness but i knew you were gone. thank you for making my day.
xxi. grateful for the presence of kaya…
xvii. in the fight… thankful for words sewn together with melodies that help my heart to mend. and the fun joys of jinxes. no one can steal our joy
xviii. time is ticking… in all the frustrations, You bind my wandering heart to thee. You remind me, love is patient, love is kind…
xxii-xxiii. strolling around the city… in the blister cold, sipping hot mocha. dumplings, curry puffs, pumpkin sesame balls, mashed potatoes, and cheesecake — my heart is happy
xxv. dates with sis… and smiling and crying over the wonder and beauty of choosing kind.
xxvi. perfect love casts out fear… grateful for times of sharing and daily conquering.
xxvi. so incredibly loved… watching the sunrise, getting surprised by cherished friends – not once but twice, lovely time of catching up over hot cocoa, and text messages that make me smile.
xxix. annoyances and frustrations… somehow it will all come together.
xxx. what does love look like? we hadn’t talked for months, but we talked as if it was yesterday. thank you for joys over words, for reminding me to love, and being there to listen.
breathe, call these bones to live, call these lungs to sing. once again, i will praise. Jesus, Jesus, You make the darkness tremble. Jesus, Jesus, You silence fear
is. 43.4 / is. 43.10_12 / ps. 77.11_12 / 2 cor. 10.5 / 2 cor. 3.1_3,5_6 / phil. 4.12_13 / romans 4.20_21 / luke 18.27 / job 11.13_18 / is. 40.28_31 / john 15.4_5 / john 15.16 / romans 8.28_30 / romans 8.31_39 / jer. 1.6_9 / 1 john 4.18 / ps. 34.4_10 / ps. 31.20_22 / ps. 20.7_8 / romans 6.5_11 / ps. 119.50 / gal. 4.6_7 / col. 3.4 / heb. 12.3 / is. 55.8_13 / ps. 118.13_17 / eph. 6.10 / lam. 3.19_23