About a year and a half ago, it rained so hard that the front of my school was flooded with water. I gauged it to be about 12 inches above the ground. This wasn’t unusual but this was the first time I actually had to cross it. Now, I saw my school mates hitching rides in cars and paying the bike drivers to carry them across. But why would I enter a stranger’s car or pay anyone money to cross such a short length of water (because it was literally like 11 feet from my school). I mean, I could cross it. What was in it? It was water. Greenish-black, garbage-filled water but still just water all the same. And I was wearing trousers so at least, I would have no direct contact with it. I was set to go. I would cross this water on my own without asking for help or spending a kobo. And I would get to the end unscathed.
Sometime towards the end of last year, I was scrolling through my pinterest, my all-time favourite app and I came across this beautiful paper turtle and as always when I come across beautiful things, I was possessed by this very deep longing. It’s like when you’re watching a romantic movie and you just wish you were in the heroine’s place. It’s like suddenly being aware of a gaping hole in my life, the hole that’s supposed to fill whenever we express our creativity. At those points, all the creativity that I’ve stiffled under the routine of med school comes to the surface and threatens to spill over. Often, it does spillover, as tears. Silly, I know.
Today, I’m thinking about life, my life. Past, Present, Future. I’m thinking a lot about my future. Yesterday, a friend of mine told me about a seminar she attended where the speaker said to write a letter to yourself 15 years into the future. That thought fixated on my mind. What will I be like in 15 years? Will I have left behind my sometimes childish and naïve optimism? Will I have finally donned that cape of cynicism that this world is constantly trying to throw over me? Will I have grown into myself, into my dreams? Will I have made some of my dreams reality and still be chasing more? Or will I have left those ‘impossible’ dreams behind for good and faced monotonous reality? Who will I be? Where will I be?
Everyone who knows me knows that Disney was and is a large part of my life. Disney has made me who I am today. Well, God did and is doing that but with a big help from Disney. In fact, Disney is probably the reason I was so receptive to the notion of a higher power out there. Through it, I learnt to believe in something greater than myself. I learnt that all things are possible through faith, hope and a little pixie dust (which I equal to prayer). The way I see it, Disney set the tone…sort of primed me to believe in God. And now I do and I’ve experienced him and there’s no turning back for me. Disney taught me to be strong, to be brave, to never give up; that believing in impossible things and chasing after them like they’re possible makes them possible. It taught me that if you lie, your nose grows a mile long (Pinocchio), that beneath the most hideous, hardened beast could beat a heart of gold (beauty and the beast), that sometimes you stand out because you’re meant to (Tarzan, jungle book), that sometimes to find your purpose in life, you must venture out of the known into the unknown, even if it means turning a tail into legs (Little mermaid), that gender doesn’t limit your possibilities (Mulan), that growing up doesn’t necessarily mean letting our imagination die (peter pan), that ‘Ohana means family and family means no one gets left behind or forgotten’ (Lilo and stitch), that girls can be the heroes too (Mulan, Frozen, Brave etc.), that you must pursue your dreams even if you hit a detour like say, getting turned into a frog (princess and the frog).
Lately, all I’ve been seeing everywhere is ‘conquer your fears’ or ‘follow your dreams’. And each time, I quickly scroll down or flip to another page, ignoring the ugly burning in my chest that feels a lot like guilt. Then this last time, I saw it. Those two blasted sentences put into one long guilt wracking line.
The love test…this was a phrase repeated to me by two friends who were talking to me about God late Friday night. They said a GB of other things but my mind kept focusing on this phrase.
What does this mean? What is love anyways? We hear it all the time in churches, mosques; it’s in the Bible, the Quran and probably every religious book out there but do we actually understand it. I thought I understood it until I got thinking on Friday. It seems I had been living by an outdated version of love. I thought It was easy to love. I mean I love my friends. That’s easy. Hardly worth testing. However, showing love to people you don’t even like is…not so easy. This is what the love test is all about.
They are ordinary opportunities to show extra-ordinary love. Extra-ordinary because it is about as easy as eating custard (or your equivalent of the worst food ever).
So, it’s times like this that I’m grateful for my friends. When one of them says something I really need to hear and in a clever way too, I’m like ‘wow, I’m so glad I met you.’ I’ve always wondered at the similarity of my friends, how a large percentage are usually Christians, most of them writers and all of them very clever, capable of thinking outside the box and saying the weirdest things in ways that make complete sense to me. From now on, I will no longer wonder. I will just be grateful for all of them.
Anyways, the particular pixel of wisdom that inspired this post came sometime yesterday afternoon. I was feeling a little overwhelmed about the enormous amounts of information I have to get into my head in time for exams (such is med school), and a friend of mine was dealing with some other issues. So there we were, sitting side by side, trying to console each other, while putting on our poker faces (you know, the one you give everyone so they don’t guess that you’re screaming inside), not even aware that we were being watched.