Sunday, March 06, 2011


Change does not seek my consent, nor does it challenge me. I have to get to that place where I understand change is not what I have to submit to. Change is either something I embrace or something I run from.

The reason why I am living in Canada right now has to do with one small incident on 18 February 1982. While serving the Singapore Air Forces, my older brother Sam was involved in a freak accident where he perished along with 3 other national servicemen. This led to an undisclosed amount of what my father called "dirty money" collected from the insurance company which was spent sending me to the US to study. After my studies, instead of going to Chicago for my dream job in Leo Burnett, my mother insisted I return home where I spent the best and last 2 years of her life being her best friend before she succumbed to colon cancer. While home in SGP, I met and married my husband, who excelled in Product Design and planted the wonderful notion to go to Switzerland for 3+ years. Eventually it led to my birthing our son before watching my husband lose the battle to lung cancer. Returning to the US go get away from the depression of seeing my husband's shadow in every restaurant we had visited, I chanced to meet an old friend who invited me to revisit Vancouver. Before you can say “unpack”, I’ve arrived in Canada and have since lodged here for 10 years 11 months and 6 days. I’ve not measured these occurrences according to its size of change for me, but I’ve measured them in whether I’ve 1. Embraced them or 2. Rejected them. Where I have embraced changes, I’ve lived a happier life. Where I have denied or resented those changes, I’ve wallowed in personal and prolonged grief. Not a good thing, I assure you.

Whether or not one chooses to believe in a higher power, as humans, change is inevitable. I’ve learned not to struggle as changes come, but to ask what it requires of me? What lessons are waiting to be learned? I personally believe that in my relationship with Jesus comes a benefit unparalleled and unsurpassed. I don’t care for the changes that come, but I do care for His companionship through the new and ever-foreign landscapes of my life. It is in those powerful moments of living with God at the frayed edges of my sometime insane and inscrutable life, that makes change ever so welcoming. It’s the front row seat of seeing Jesus reveal most about Himself and also about my growing understanding of me in Him.

Change is not the most fearful thing in my life. My greatest fear is going through life without God making it all worth my salt while earth-bound. And Jesus put to eternal rest, that doubt and nauseating fear, that I would never go through this life or any other life, alone.


Ervin (Your godson :)) said...

Shirley, i wonder how did you made it through all that.. I totally understand... When life comes crashing down at 300mph, so quick. Thats when we start to think what we've been living on Earth for, and who should i listen to. Without Him, theres no reason to go on... But thanks be to God, that he sent his only begotten Son, to let us know that He is the answer.

Shirl said...

Dear Ervin,
I don't wonder. I know it in the pit of my stomach that life is made up of choices of how we respond to external influences. ;-) When I understood that my eternal damnation is taken care of by Jesus on the cross, what's left of my day to day is how I choose to live it. It's what makes my life wholly livable and thoroughly hopeful.

Godma S