Celebrating loss.

First post on March project on birthdays.

The title sounds antithetical, doesn’t it?

On birthdays, people celebrate the adding of numbers of their age. Like this month, in a few days, I’ll be celebrating mine, God willing. What do people usually do on their birthdays? People like to celebrate birthdays as they want to be thankful that God’s been with them along the way to that very day. The day of remembrance of their coming to this world for the very first time. People like to be with their loved ones on their birthday. I mean, who doesn’t? We always love to share the goodness of days with the ones we love the most, don’t we? We want to be surrounded by our familiar people, our family and friends. We want them to be part of it, too, as well as they want us to be part of theirs. People like to ponder and reflect on their birthdays, especially those who are in older and higher stage of life. They like to think of what they have done the past year and they like to think of what they want to do in the next.

People do things on their birthdays.

But, how many of us realize that on birthday, we actually are celebrating loss. The loss of another year of life. As a believer, I believe that God has ordained it all. A lifespan for each person. Nobody knows where it ends, nobody knows how long it will last. But from a certain lifespan we are given, on birthday, we are actually losing another year. From the only lifespan we’re given, the question is, have we done our best? Have we put our maximum efforts on living out the best of what we’ve got?

God doesn’t gift the birds in the air this capacity to think about it. They were out of their eggs yesterday and they don’t care about doing something on the given lifespan they’ve got. God also doesn’t gift the flowers in the field this capacity to celebrate the day of their bloom. They are here today and gone tomorrow. They don’t care about maximizing the lifespan they’ve got. They just don’t care if they’re blooming beautiful enough to bless the people who see them. They don’t. They don’t.

But we are more than the birds in the air and the flowers in the field. Not only God cares for us more than all other creations, God gives us the ability beyond all those other creations.

While celebrating the losing of another year, I am thinking to myself: have I done my best effort to maximize what I’ve got? One thing I want to keep in mind, I don’t know where it ends, I don’t know how long it will last, I’ve got to seize the day as long as I am alive.

Have a great day, everyone!

Love, Riska.

The long forgotten envelope.

You’re actually looking for a needle in one of your drawers at home. The drawer is a bit messy that you need to take almost everything out to find the needle you’re looking for. As you’re taking things out, you find that old forgotten purple envelope. You stare at that envelope for a moment and the memory brings you back to one moment of your life in the past. You open the envelope and you find a simple letter written by someone you used to know.

It was a letter you wrote yourself. It contains all the dreams and the things you wanted to pursue. Many years went by and many things happened that you forgot you have once written all those things you’re reading right now.
You suddenly remember all the fire that once burned you. But the busyness of this life has brought you forgetting its spark, leaving it kept for so long in the dark. The spark from who you were in the past. The spark of the spirit you’ve got within you.
The grooves of life have worn you out that you forget all the dreams of your own. The draining routines have consumed all your energy.

You freeze at where you sit.
Now you can see the silver needle you’re initially and intentionally looking for. You never plan on finding that long forgotten envelope in that drawer. It was not something you’re looking for. But now you have found both.

Many times in life, we’ve got our own plan on finding something. We started the quest. We drive off the car and go down the long road. We’ve got the destination pictured right in our head. But along the way we encounter many other things that we never actually plan to find.
You don’t forget the reason you came to the drawer, it was to find the needle. But the fact that you find that long forgotten envelope brings you something else that you can learn.
God can use many things to make us learn. And one of the many things may be found along the long road. You plan to find one thing but God can bring you to find other things you don’t.
In all processes of life you go through, God’s got something along the way. You can actually find that “something” only if you’re willing to take time to pay attention.

What would Jesus do?

I remember reading this story somewhere and this story leads up to this writing right now (forgive me of my broken memory, I am just trying to write what I remember).

One day, on a family night devotion, a mom shared about “What would Jesus do?”. At the end of her sharing she told her son to think of what Jesus would do before making any decision. The following morning, as usual, before they left for school and work, they prayed together. It was the son’s turn to lead in the prayer. To his parents’ surprise, this eleven-year-old boy ended his prayer with this: “Lord, in whatever we do today, whatever decision we are to make today, help us think of what you would do. Thank you, Lord. Amen.”

When the mom came home, she found that her son was not in a good mood. He looked unhappy. As a mother she knew something had happened to her son. So she came to him and asked what troubled him. The son stared at the floor that finally he was crying.

Mom: It’s okay son, tell mommy what happened.

Son: Mom, I remember what you shared last night, and I also remember my prayer this morning. That in whatever I do today, I would think of what Jesus would do. We had a math test today and my classmate, Nick, didn’t study for the test. He asked me for the answer. I didn’t want to give him my answer at first, but he kept begging and begging. He also told me that his mom would be very angry if he failed the math test today. I didn’t want to give him my answer but at the same time I didn’t want Nick’s mom got angry. So, I gave him my answer. It wasn’t right… I know…

Mom: Then, what happened?

Son: At the end of the test Ms. Rogers asked us to submit our test sheet. After that she asked us if there was anyone being dishonest during the test. I was scared. I knew I did something bad. I didn’t want to raise my hand. But deep in my heart I knew I had to tell her that I had been dishonest during the test. She asked one more time. I looked at Nick and he gave the signal to stay quiet. I was scared. Ms. Rogers then asked for the third time and I couldn’t hold it anymore. I raised my hand and everybody was surprised. We got called to the principal’s office afterwards. Ms. Rogers gave us zero for the test. I knew Nick was unhappy with that. I think that Nick would hate me. I knew, if Jesus were me, he would not give Nick the answer in the first place. But as I was given the second chance to be honest, I knew I had to take it.

I suddenly remember this story out of nowhere this afternoon and there is actually a huge urge within me to write about this.

Now, let’s question ourselves:

In many situations, have we been asking the same question before we make any decisions? Know what, I think that what the son did is a daring action. He dared himself praying like that and that prayer guards his heart and guides his heart to do the right thing. In my case, no, I have not. Too many times I lean only on my own understanding and you bet I ended up regretting my decisions. But, as I realized that Jesus has been so merciful to me that he gave me more than just second chance. He gave me new hopes and chances every brand new day. As I learned about this, I know, I have to take it.

what_would_jesus_do

An ending is actually a new beginning.

I used to ask myself why people call it commencement when it’s actually a graduation ceremony. According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word commencement is defined as the time when something begins. However, the word commencement is also used to refer to a ceremony during which degrees or diplomas are given to students who have graduated from a school or college (source).

Well, according to its position in the timeline, graduation is actually at the end of your study. It’s the point where you have finished the process of study and you graduate. You’re done with the set of learning goals of that level of education. I am not saying that you’re done with the learning, because learning is a lifelong process. You’re still learning even though you’re not at school anymore. So, it’s kinda funny to realize that graduation is both an ending and a new beginning.

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Yes, graduation is an ending to your study but at the same time it’s actually e new beginning of a new stage of life. You’re gonna go out there and ready to apply what you’ve got along the process of education. Even though, I must say, all the theory you’ve gotten ARE NOT ALL APPLICABLE. You may have built your own idealism, that you think things should be like this or like that. Trust me, you’re gonna need to tear down everything because you’ll find that everything doesn’t seem to be exactly the same as it is portrayed in the textbooks. I’m not here to scare you, this is just a reminder for you so you won’t get too surprised.

However, for a little while, well, for today, enjoy the end of your study. Enjoy the celebration that you’ve come this far. Be grateful that God’s been with you along the way and just ENJOY THE DAY. Because the moments on the mountaintop will be your strength for the moments in the deepest valley.

Congratulations to you all, cohort 2011! 🙂

God bless.

The reason.

The word “why” may be my favorite word. This is because I actually believe that there are reasons behind all things. And asking why could help me satisfy my curiosity. There are quite some things better left unsaid, people say. I believe in that, too. We need to be able to tell when to find out and when to keep silent. And surely it takes wisdom, for sure.

I got asked this question some days ago,

Why do you think God placed you where you are right now? Have you got the answer?

The question made me think. And I actually came up with an answer. I said yes, I think I have found the answer to that question. Yes, I have found the reasons and God’s actually revealing more and more to me.

God’s actually been changing me into a different person I knew I was. I am fully aware that I am a totally different person by now. I was actually that high mountain who always looked down to others, I was actually that cocky lady who always thought that I was better than others. I only made friends with the ones I thought were good enough. Such a shame on me. I realized by now that I am nothing but a flower, here today and gone tomorrow. I thought I was good enough. I thought my achievements were definition of who I was. I thought I was superior and others were inferior.

Damn! I deserved nothing but to be condemned.

God’s been revealing this bleakest part of me and I believe that he is still at work. I couldn’t believe that I was such a person!!

Well, I actually could have ended up somewhere else instead of here. Somewhere better, somewhere more comfortable, and somewhere with easier challenges. But God has something better in store. According to his mercy, he has brought me here. He has been peeling layer by layer all my bad and change it with the new one.

I’ve got to admit that there was that denial deep in my heart. I actually pretended to be happy having to go here back then. I was so good at pretending. I was real good at wearing masks. But God has unmasked me and nothing is hidden before him. I am naked and there is nothing that he doesn’t know about me.

Today, almost two years passed. I have found the reasons why God brought me this far. And I believe that there’s more. God’s got something more in his head.

So, wherever you are, whatever situation you are in right now, God’s got a plan for you. Too many times God speaks to us but we hear nothing, because we’re too busy and in fact, we’re living in a noisy world. Pause for a little while, take a look around you, and listen. God’s got something for you to learn. God’s actually working in you now, you’ve got to take some time to realize.

take time

*photo was photographed and edited by superriska*

Life Lesson A-Z: Failure.

failure quote

At times, we are just too coward of making mistakes. We are just too afraid of being looked down due to failing. We want things to turn out perfect, flawless and just you know perfect. Failures are just too hurtful that we avoid them so much.

But there are many great people who stood up from failure after failure and made a difference by what they have overcome. I believe that they were devastated at first, but they woke up, they got up from their failures and tried again, over and over again. They took risks of either failing again or succeeding. They took that opportunity to begin again, starting things all over again and overcoming their failures. They did not stop there as they found themselves failing, they kept trying until they are who they are right now. The most important thing, they did not only wake up and try again, they learned and they tried again better. They learned from their past, they learned from their failures. They did not let their failures knock them down, but they used them as the steppingstones to stand up taller and run faster.

Ludwig-van-Beethoven-Famous-Failure Steve-Jobs_Famous_Failure Walt-Disney-Famous-Failure1

and the list goes on… and on…

are they not enough examples?

Life Lesson A-Z: Dancing in the rain.

dance in the rain

Lesson of the day: there are those rainy days in our life. When it is just to heavy to smile. When it is just too hard to see the silver lining. When the problems seem to have no way out. When those works are just too many while it seems like there is too little time to finish them all.

Stay faithful to what you’re trusted with. Endure. Curve a smile. Keep praying and just do something. Waiting for the storm to pass is not an option. You learn something. And after all, you’re alive!

Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass; it’s about learning to dance in the rain.  —Vivian Greene

Have a great day, people!

-superriska

Life Lesson A-Z: Chance.

time2

I remember one scene of the movie 13 going on 30, when Jenna Rink (portrayed by Jennifer Garner) asked her mom (portrayed by Kathy Baker),

If you were given one do-over, anything in your life, what would it be?

We have past. We have things in our life we regret doing. We make mistakes. We are simply human with all limitations. But there are those fatal mistakes and big stupid decisions or actions that we did in the past that we would like to erase or fix. Question like this is just too hard to answer because there are just too many things we would like to fix. There are too many mistakes we would like to redo. There are just too many things we would like to change.

Lesson of the day: there is no such thing as going back to the past. There is no such possibility to get back to the time that we can redo all the mistakes. It’s all too imaginary to think of any chance to ever get that. Now what? Stand up tall today. Nobody’s perfect, we all know that. Take your commitment to never repeat all the same mistakes ever again. There is nothing we can do about the past. But there is surely something you can do today. Forgive yourself. Seek forgiveness from those you have wronged. That’s your chance.

Be thankful of being awoken from your good sleep this morning. It’s another chance to do better. It’s another chance to be better. Get away from the shadow of the past. All the mistakes you’ve done in the past will have to teach you something and help you learn to be who you are right now. This is a new day, a new chance is given to you. Are you gonna take it?

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. –Psalm 90:12

-superriska

2014: a hello from me.

First of all, happy new year everyone! I am all glad that actually the Mayans were wrong about the end of the world. Haha.
Anyways.. new year means new hopes, new dreams, new chapter of life. We’re opening a new beginning again.
Whatever happened in the past year belongs to the account of the past, we can never get it back. So here we are now, standing straight in the first day of the new year. Have you got some sort of things you wanna do or achieve in this coming year? Oh well, before going too far about the resolutions for the new year, let us stop for a little while and ask ourselves this one question: what lessons did you get from last year’s experiences?
There were 365 days last year, and I believe there’s got to be lots of things we happened to experience. Some were good, nice and you just dont want to forget. Maybe something very memorable and unforgettable like the great time you spent with your loved ones, great opportunities to be exposed to many kinds of blessings and many others. Some were bad, very bad that you think that they are better to be erased from the account of your life forever.
Whether good or bad, you know they belong to the past. They are just here no more, they are nothing but memories written in your book. They will be there forever, they are part of you ever since you got them. Not a single miracle could ever get you back, not a single chance you could ever take them back to your hand.
But here you are now, a new day, a new start.
Looking back should never get you down. Instead, looking back should help you stand taller, and start to be thankful as you look around. Because at the very core, you learned after all.
We all, ordinary people, should learn this one thing better every day: letting go off the things we have no power to change. Of the past, we no longer have any power to fix. But you take the lessons with you for the rest of your life.
It is freaking hard to let go. It really is. How do I know? I am actually in the middle of it.
Life is a journey that has to be walked forward, not backwards. And after all, we all need to die to one life to enter another, said Anatole France.

Forgive and keep moving forward.
Happy new year 2014.
Bye, 2013. I learned a lot.
Hello, 2014. Bring it on, I am all yours.
-superriska