When my niece hears the slightest bit of a ‘scolding voice’, she shuts down. Her face becomes sullen and she refuses to look you in the eye. She listens to every word of advice I say thereafter but her heart refuses to show it.
Sometimes it really annoys me when she does that because it’s just rude, “When I’m talking to you, you better listen to me!”. But having the luxury of being an aunt (my impression is that mothers are just so strapped for time, responses are usually more reactive), I get to ponder why she reacts the way she does.
I react like that with God too. When he is about to scold me for doing 8 hours of nonsense a day, I talk over him and justify my actions. I don’t look God in the eye and say “oh, can you teach me?” I’m sure God would oblige as much as I would for my niece if she took that tone with me. After all, I am just trying to help her, it’s not like I don’t want her to have any fun.
I’ve been binge watching a whole lot of survivor. Yes, the reality show that is still going on and has like 30 over seasons. I started watching it for the puzzles and enjoyed how simple yet testing they were. My favourite challenge is the one where you just cling to a pole. (Mostly because it has not so much to do with physical strength, so guys are not so immediately at an advantage)
After a while, I started to watch it to observe the politics. Survivors strategically talked to specific people and kept alliances, they made sure they had alternative options, they occasionally got themselves in tight spots and hustled to keep themselves in the game. I started to wonder what kind of game play I would have gone with, would I rely on challenges to survive? Would I be everyone’s friend? Would I try to lie to save my skin? (who am I kidding? I’m a terrible liar/actor )
Watching survivor was my heart’s way of saying that I was confused with my strategy in life or perhaps who I am trying to be. I could survive but I’m not sure how I am navigating through life. I lost sight of my end goal because my game play is a mess at this moment. I don’t know what God wants me to do and as I sit in that tension I begin to shut down like my niece does and look for any form of distraction so I don’t have to listen.
As I come back to home ground and become overwhelmed with my various choice of ‘gameplays’ in real life survivor, I’m reminded to listen to my father and reminded to stay true to who I was made to be. How tedious it is to navigate this space! It felt like quite a chore so God comforted me in the best way:
I’ve always enjoyed looking out plane windows in the night. There is something magical about it because you think it’s just black outside but when you block out all the cabin light reflections and stare out long enough, you’ll see a wide array of stars that stretch as far as your eyes can see. Sometimes even a shooting star or floating boat lights.
It takes me to a moment where my dad gave me a book about constellations. I knew he gave it to me because that’s what he looked at as he piloted planes. I would suppose the front of the plane has the best view.
Tonight, as I looked out the plane window I was consoled that God sees all the little stars of my life, and it almost doesn’t matter if they join to become constellations that looked like a bear or a belt, but what matters is that the God who created the beautiful stars has a real and mysterious relationship with me. He is my father.
So onward to the next season, a time of rediscovering the stirrings of my heart and to being a lot more polite to God. :O
– Written/drawn on the way home from Japan while having no inflight