Monday, August 01, 2005

Eighteen


montage birthday
Originally uploaded by mincaye.
I was born in the year of U2's The Joshua Tree, sometime around the famed Operasi Lalang (I forgot if it was in '87 or '88), and on the exact date of the 101st anniversary of Franz Liszt's death.

OK, so I turned 18 yesterday, about 14 hours ago to be precise. And my, what a birthday it turned out to be!


Spent most of the day with Tee Ming. She joined my family for service at Glad Tidings PJ, and Dr Larry Keefauver's message hit us hard in some places; the following are some things he asked the congregation to say to one another:

"I love you in spite of who you are."
"Your future is in my hands."
"My opinion doesn't matter."
"There's nothing you can do that will make me stop loving you."

Each of the above went deeper for us than they probably would for most people. Maybe it's because of the unique bond we share.

(Oh yes, he also said 'DNA' and 'be fruitful and multiply' in the same breath, when talking about blessings being passed down through generations. Fellow Stage 2 d'NAers, you get the reference!)

After that, it was lunch at this dim sum place in town called the Marco Polo Restaurant, before heading off to the Istana Budaya to watch Wild Zebra. Mum accompanied us.

Eventually, Tee Ming stayed on for dinner and the 'cake-cutting ceremony.' No prizes for guessing who's who in the bottom left picture; Dad, Mum, Kevin, Sara, Tee Ming and my grandparents are in it.

Mum and Sara made a house cake for me, because our house number is 18, and I'm turning 18; it was covered in gummies and Smarties. Indeed, a very childish cake, but perfectly suitable since I really feel younger this year than I have in a long, long time!


Received as presents, the following:

-From my aunt, a towel and handkerchiefs (perfect reminder of the servanthood of Christ at the Last Supper)
-From Kevin, a Kenny G duets album
-From Sara, an Alain D'Lious (Germany) roller ball pen
-From Li-Shia, a montage of birthday cakes (on her blog!)
-From Mum and Dad, a denim trenchcoat-like jacket

Gave Tee Ming a number of things today. Namely:

-sheet music of Michael W. Smith's Friends
-sheet music of the Mulan theme song, Reflection
-a watercolour hibiscus painting I did in February 2004
-a card with the Chinese characters for 'friend' on the cover (the presence of the 'yuet' reminds me of our last names, 'Ming')
-the Wild Zebra ticket and programme booklet
-photographs of us and the d'NA reunions this year


Alright, now comes the part that is hardest to write. Tee Ming and I have decided to share in a 'person fast,' in accordance with August being the National Prayer Month.

We have decided not to communicate with one another until 30th August, with the exception of letters in the direst of circumstances. We have decided to spend this time in concentrated and consistent prayer, seeking God wholeheartedly.

This is very difficult, because we are very close, and we've been sharing each other's burdens and encouraging one another so much, that the thought of spending a whole month devoid of the other's immediate presence, is almost unbearable.

But Tee Ming is strongly convicted that she must do this, and I cannot disagree, from some things I read in Richard Foster's Celebration of Discipline, which I consulted for guidance on this matter when she first suggested it.

We consider the following as signs that this is where our journey is taking us:

1. something written in the introduction of the 40-day NECF prayer booklet
2. conviction through prayer
3. the fact that Jesus spent 30+ years 'away from the Father'
4. Richard Foster
5. the seed analogy; that unless a seed dies, it remains just one seed
6. the idea that this might be like a refiner's fire, a time of testing
7. absence makes the heart grow fonder
8. God is God, and we are not
9. if 'me', 'you' and 'God' are three points of a triangle, then we draw nearer to one another by drawing near to God
10. yearning for a deeper communion, and looking forward into the next phase in our lives (see Eliot's East Coker)

Romans 8:28 is our key verse; it was my favourite verse for a very long time, and I remember it goes something like this:

"For we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose."

So we sealed this commitment in prayer before dinner, and co-wrote a little poem that sums up our hopes and fears in making this plunge. Due to space constraints, I shall post it up some other time.

For now, she has Friends and my painting to remember me by, and I have Across the Stars (John Williams' soaring love theme from Star Wars: Episode II), also on sheet music.

Indeed it would seem that we are separated by millions of stars without the usual avenues of communication. But it's great to grow old together. And it's been an amazing eighteen years.

"For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things!"

6 comments:

*why, yarn?* said...

congratulations on your 18th birthday!

Sivin Kit said...

Happy Belated Birthday! :-)

mich said...

happy belated birthday ben!
2o (dua dekad) is the nxt thing to look forward to i suppose..:P

silentsoliloquy said...

Person fast sounds very interesting..

jedibaba said...

I think the idea of a people fast is interesting. It is in the love of a special someone that we better understand the love of God.
Yet we must not confuse any special person with God.
Blessed birthday!
You are special!
Grace@Work

Joan-Lynn said...

Blessed Belated Birthday. Sorry it was late. I thought the idea of you and Tee Ming stuff is difficult. But challenging, definitely.