Thursday, January 19, 2012

Faith. Hope. Love: Chapter Six

I do not mind being alone, really. I do not feel there is anything wrong with one eating unaccompanied, having a drink by oneself, watching a movie, reading a book, living, or even traveling solo. “One” is not always “the loneliest number”.

I have yet to find anything quite as exhilarating and (in a sense) death defying as a cab ride in New York City…though I feel traffic in Paris (and Italy at World Cup time) is a close second. (I have gone skydiving but that is a different kind of thrilling and risky!) Aside from the Singapore subway (SMRT/ MRT) and the “Air Con”/ “No Air Con” buses, taxis were abundant (and the most common form of transportation I used).

I suppose you never know what to expect when you climb into a taxicab for the first time in a new place. (I am certainly not brave enough to rent a vehicle and drive myself around!) Though an adventure in itself, riding in a car-for-hire in Singapore is tame compared to the swerving, high-energy, heart-stopping, near miss, madness that is New York’s idea of public transportation. Sometimes, the drivers would even practice their English on me.

In the United States I can be found moseying around a bookstore and café by myself but here in Singapore it is the floors and stores of Takashimaya or along the stretch of Orchard Road. I am especially fond of the small section that contains two American fast food joints. Now, I would not frequent these places in the States but here is a different story.

I order my value meal then sit outside in the warming sun. All of a sudden home seems so much closer. I look around and admire the beauty that is Singapore. The skyline is breathtaking as the modernized buildings reach to the heights. The delicate, orchid looking flowers bob their heads in the humidity. Some have centers painted by yellow and framed by pure white petals. Others boast of lavender with a sunshine middle. Their cheerful faces greet all who walk passed.

December and January are upon me and with them come an invitation to a Christmas dinner with some members of my work family and a two week vacation (though admittedly I am still undecided on where I want to go). Before my relationship with my “boyfriend” was severed I was going to visit with him in England but now I am thinking somewhere a little more tropical might be the way to go. With Stella still fresh on my mind, how can I resist?

I am finding even though I make plans for myself, it is actually God who directs my steps (Proverbs 16:9 & 19:21). And although I learned of God as I grew up in the church, I do not truly know Him or his Son. But, God has started a good work in me. One I know He will continue until completion (Philippians 1:6). One day He will give me eyes to “see” and ears to “hear” so I may receive grace from faith alone (Ephesians 2:8). It is a narrow path and I have a lot to learn…first of all being: God is sovereign. This concept is foreign to me yet I feel it is truth.

In high school I was a member of my church youth group. Between the ages of ten and eighteen are the years I believe I matured the most in my love for God and His Son Christ Jesus. I used to sit on top of the trunk of my mother’s Mercury Marquis and stare at the heavens. I watched as the clouds meandered past. Their wispy, light bodies sailed gently and slowly through the sky. They appeared friendly and inviting not scary and threatening like the storm clouds that rolled through at least once a day. I offered up prayers of petitions and thankfulness to God while light outlined the clouds and illuminated their edges. They pressed together and squeezed the sunlight into streams that broke through and cascaded to the earth. It is at these times I think God is looking down on someone. “Shine your light on me, Lord,” I would say. “Please let me be favored in your sight.”

My peers and chaperones at “youth group” created a perfect storm, if you will. It was such a mix of personalities and individuals that complemented each member. We laughed together, cried collectively (Romans 12:15), were challenged, stretched, and developed as one body…a young “body of Christ” with many parts (1 Corinthians 12:12-31). Some of my strongest memories of and ties to other people are from that crowd and it will always hold a special place in my heart.

So how is it I stumbled and fell so far away from God during my very short attempt at a University before traveling? I had the head knowledge. I strived so hard as a teenager to apply the bible to my life. But it would not be until grace that the scriptures would become my life. This heart of mine was still made of stone (Ezekiel 36:26).

Faith Hope Love: Chapter Six
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