Lessons of today

Uniting Church Missions at King Street
Had the urge to attend a church today. Walked past the Missions church today along King Street. Saw a signboard outside which states that they have a service at 6pm. Went for it. Sat by myself. Shortly after, a man came over and introduced himself to me – Sam. Lives in Darlington with his wife and 2 kids. Had a small talk about yogurt in the neighbourhood. The service started. We watched a short clip of a Christian movie showing Moses parting the red sea. It is so much more enjoyable when words in the bible comes to life. My takeaways from the movie are:

  • God brought you/us here / to this situation in life
  • He is with us. Emmanuel.
  • Trust him. He will make a way even when there seem to be no way.

Shortly after, Sam the guy who introduced himself to me went up and gave the sermon of the evening.  There were some homeless guys who attended the service. They had a pungent smell about them. But that’s of course besides the point. I like it that the church is a safe haven for them. There is a man with tattoo all over his body, even on his face. A man was crying behind me, saying that his wife left him, etc. Another person got up and sat next to him on the floor, praying for him. A woman was on clutches and stood up during worship time. I like this church. It feels real and genuine. It’s not phony.

Lessons from my friend
Went out with my best friend in Sydney today. She messaged me that “inspired to invite you” We headed to her favourite spot in Sydney. Which overlooks the Opera House and the harbour. She looked greater than life today (and on most days).

Lesson 0: If you truly want something, you have give everything of yourself to it. Burn your bridges.

Lesson 1: To renovate a house, you need to tear down walls and stuff before you can rebuild. It’s messy business.

Lesson 2: Roadblocks. Everyone experiences road blocks. The rich, the poor, smart, famous, commoner, everyone. Some stop in front of it and do not ever try to climb over it. Some tried, reached the top and died. But they had a glimpse of what laid ahead before they pass away. Some try to go to the ends to take shortcuts but realised that there are simply none. Yet there are a few who managed to make it over the roadblock.

Lesson 3: Some choose to go through the tunnel. It’s dark and scary and can only fit one person. Only one can walk the path / tunnel alone. Her housemate walked halfway and turned back to the entrance. Others, picnic-ed at the entrance, never venturing into the tunnel. If I choose to go into the tunnel, my friend will be at the other end, waiting for me and whistling at me for me to discern the direction. Only if I choose to go into the tunnel.

I was mulling over her words. Her usage of the tunnel reminds me of Susan’s favourite quote “The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek”. Incidentally, when searching for the quote which is generally attributed to Joseph Campbell, I came across one of his writings (note 1):

It is by going down into the abyss
that we recover the treasures of life.

Where you stumble,
there lies your treasure.

The very cave you are afraid to enter
turns out to be the source of
what you are looking for.
The damned thing in the cave
that was so dreaded
has become the center.

You find the jewel,
and it draws you off.

In loving the spiritual,
you cannot despise the earthly.

My friend’s words also brought to my mind the image of the rising phoenix. Before the rebirth of the phoenix, it has to be engulfed by flames to undergo cartharsis of its soul, its very being before it can be reborned. Presumably it is a painful process.

Whatsapp message from my sister
Today’s sermon – When Paul and Silas were imprisoned in prison cells. They sang praises and hymns. God created an earthquake and all the prison doors flew open. The guard men thought that all the prisoners took this opportunity to escape but they did not. The guard men were converted to believe in God.

Lesson: when we are faced with adversity in life, do not blame God for it. Continue to give him praises and thanks and God will deliver us. In each situation God will turn it around to our favour. Life is 10% the situations that we face and 90% is on how we respond to them.

Note 1: 1991, Reflections on the Art of Living: A Joseph Campbell Companion, Selected and edited by Diane K. Osbon, Quote Page 8 and 24, HarperCollins, New York, New York

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