It starts off normally on a Friday. With exams on the next day, perhaps I could have opted not to go for camp meeting. Not wanting to sacrifice what I saw was important (camp) for examinations, I decided that I would take a trip to a cafe we were meeting at the study there. That would achieve two effects, (1) that there would be less distractions that are associated with studying at home, and (2) I wouldn't be able to back out last minute if I felt that I wasn't ready for the exams.
As it turns out, (2) became very relevant. At the cafe, I spent 2x the amount of time that was allocated for the paper on a practice paper, and scored 68%. Now a 68% is a damning score for most subjects in biz. I often say that biz modules aren't very hard compared to some other modules like engine, but they are highly competitive. 80% is probably the average most of the time. To take two times the amount of time to still get that miserable score, it felt like I was heading into a disaster the next day.
Stress creeps in, I was getting worried and angsty. I felt like there wasn't enough time. Yet I still had camp meeting. I quickly decided that I was not going to compromise on that and instead...I suppose I would have to accept that I wouldn't do as well.
It was worrying no doubt. The weight doesn't get lifted off our shoulders the moment we make a decision we believe to be right, instead more often that not we are acutely reminded each moment that our decisions are costing us something.
Before we knew it, it was past 10pm. I went home that night feeling a sense of resignation, telling myself that it's alright, that grades don't matter, that I can stand proud knowing I made the right call. It is what I have been thinking about after all, not trading our birthright for bowls of pottage. Perhaps it is God reminding me of that, humbling my pride which causes me to sometimes focus on my achievements in the form of my CAP score. After all, the final score I am aiming for can accept a couple of small blows like this so its fine. Perhaps if I don't do well a couple of times, I may not be too obsessed with trying to maintain my high scores. Why should I anyway, it's often quite ironic that I work so hard despite the fact that I don't actually think of grades as a very important part of my life.
So I said to myself, this is a lesson of priorities. And I will choose rightly. So even after I got home, I decided that there were a other things too which were at the end of the day far more important to me than grades, and decided to not neglect those as well.
Eventually I settled down and started work. I revised some of the things I didn't get right and then started on a second practice paper. By then it was close to midnight. I did so much better for this paper, getting a 82% and most importantly, within the time limit. It's not an A, but it's at least average and that's good enough.
I packed up and went to sleep, the paper was at 8am.
All in all, I think I did pretty well for the paper. Possibly 90%. As it turns out, the stuff I didn't know didn't come out and on a whole the paper wasn't hard.
The main thing I felt wasn't a joy that came from being able to do much better than expected, especially given what had happened the previous day. It was more of a peace, knowing that my life is in God's hands. A satisfaction that came from knowing that my previous decisions were ultimately right. I'll say that sometimes things don't turn out well so quickly. Sometimes we wait for years before we see how God has moved in our lives. I suppose this was just a quick lesson/reminder. It does make me think though, would I be able to have this same peace even if the results eventually did not turn out so well? Our treasures are not on earth but in heaven.
With that done, I had to move straight into a project meeting. My schedule is packed, and I don't have much time. No celebrations post paper, it's straight to work (I still am busy, writing this despite the time it takes because it is important to reflect and I don't want to let it slide). Having not rested very well the past night, I just went ahead and worked.
I think more often than not though, the thing that gets me more is not physical lethargy but emotional. I wasn't even that physically tired, I still had quite a couple of hours of sleep. Between all the work and sleepiness though, I started to just feel like I wanted to be left alone. Having to go to youth ministry in the afternoon to serve, it was tiring. Again, it's not something I would compromise on, but I don't pretend that it's all fun and games or that it is always enjoyable. I would say yesterday was one of those less enjoyable days.
I suppose my physical and especially emotional lethargy got me angsty at people when things didn't go smoothly. Some of the things I still need to work on in my life.
Here's something honest. Sometimes, I feel like I do a fair bit of babysitting, and I don't particularly enjoy it. It appears that I am the kind of person who attracts the attentions of a particular kind of people. The way I engage with some of these people apparently makes me likable to them and have them stick around me quite often. Which is great in that, I am thankful to have the opportunities to engage these people and make a difference in their lives.
I am however very much an introvert who doesn't gain energy from all these things. Instead, it saps my energy. I am perfectly fine with having fun with these chaps when I'm up for it. When I am already physically and emotionally tired though, it really drives me nuts when my peace is constantly being disturbed. As such, I felt really drained and come dinner time I really just wanted to go home instead.
Eventually I found an alternative which was considerably more peaceful.
A little something about me for those of you who read this. Many times honestly, I crave for more of these moments, just a quiet dinner. It's something simple but re-energising. Unfortunately however, it seems that I have inevitably adopted a role which quite often prevents me from the luxury of being able to do so. I am the de facto babysitter. I will do it because I must, I will do it because I do genuinely care for these people. However, I don't particularly like it really, it's often too tiring for me. So, help me out here sometimes, especially when I don't feel particularly up for it. Whether it be through assistance in doing it, or through a way to allow me to have my quiet dinner with people who don't drain my energy away. That would be very much appreciated.
I spent the rest of the night not doing much. Wasn't really feeling up to doing more work despite the fact that they are piling up. I guess I watched a webcast, though I wasn't even paying attention all the time.
That was the past two days. Today was a flux of emotions all on its own, some of it very personal and thus not things I want to talk about here. Ironically, I suspect it was this which made me enter a really reflective mood and wanted to write out my thoughts, but in the end I'm not talking about them.
I have penned those down elsewhere. Pondering about life, about genuine love, about the things I wrote about in the 'Eight things I am not' post (I have become increasingly aware day by day of the moments which reveal these things that I am not, and unfortunately most of the time after they happen rather than before), about even more things that I am not,
Two things I am thinking about that I can share at least. One, that I need to learn to be less harsh on everyone, including myself. Two, much of who we are today are shaped by our past experiences.
There are moments where I feel the crushing weight of this life. I understand full well what it means when people say that life is meaningless without God. It's complicated, it's messy, it's not easy.
Sometimes I feel bad about feeling bad. There are so many people who are going through really difficult times in life, struggling to stay afloat. Here I am, living a pretty well, no serious concerns facing me beyond the usual workload which everyone faces. Yet I can feel like this. Feels like I need some encouragement (for what exactly I don't even know) to carry on.
Don't worry, I'll hang on. I'll keep hanging on.