About Me

Monday, December 28, 2015

thoughts on winter wonderlands

I survived my christmas call!! Strongly suspect the prophylactic pre call carol singing of silent night had something to do with this. And also my ho who literally skipped into the ward on christmas day to help me preround (we actually cover 2 wards so the ho starts in 1 ward and i start in another). And there was nandos chicken on call. So that was nice too :) 

Thereafter had a golden weekend with fri pm off post call, and both sat & sun free for gymming, family christmas dinners, meeting up with friends  & much general slackery. 

So yeah. Maybe life really is what we make of it. Sometimes we can overcome the long dark tea times of the soul by ourselves, sometimes we can't. Sometimes we can rely on other humans and oftentimes there is only God who persists thru it all. Interesting epiphany last sun which showed me that jumping to my own conclusions based on limited pinhole vision is usually (and gladly) wrong. 

Something i am really grateful for is the gift of gymming/running. Endorphins really do make such a difference in everyday life. But i think apart from that, just the fact that one steps into the gym or just lacing up ur shoelaces and heading out for a run is like sort of a hope that tomorrow will be a happier day. Maybe a very sore muscle day haha. But i love that feeling of waking up with post run myalgia! (Assuming one doesnt go into rhabdo la). 

Saturday, December 19, 2015

epiphanies

really had to record this down before i forget

God, please help me to do the right thing no matter how difficult it sometimes may be. 
~

isn't it funny how you can be in exactly the same spot, doing the same things as always, but it feels like a great weight is lifted off you? it feels like im back on the right path now :) & i'm quite sure that i'm going to stay on the path, thanks very much. sometimes it's just this really subtle feeling that something is off, nothing is going right, all your plans are falling apart and you're doing loads of things that you dont agree with & dislike to do & dont want to do anyway & ENNUI ++  versus the christmassy feeling (time of year notwithstanding) that all is right with the world, your sins are forgiven & everything is going to be okay? 

& i know exactly what changed in between to shift the modes between the two. coz either way im just sitting here bumming on a usual weekend & watching tv anyway. haha. funny how mindsets work huh 

Thursday, December 17, 2015

necessary provisions

sometimes it really feels like i'm running without a break, without a drinks station, without my God. sometimes you just need to take a step back & see if you're running in the right direction?

it's really easy to love everyone sometimes when everything is goin' all peachy, when the nurses all know u so well and trust you and all the plugs go in so easily. when the cute kids are running around pulling at you wanting to play. like one call we were seeing an early review and t came up and was like JIE JIE FEED ME! the reg was really amused "i think the kid just asked u to feed her!" t is really so so cute, one day i overheard my ho saying "t is such a darling!" as she profferred her an apple pie from mc d's. to think i started 31 in such stressful conditions and ended it feeling like i could do anything.

i dont know when i started running off into the wrong path? i just know it feels like im running further and further into the woods. i'm in such a relatively chillax ward now it should all be like permanent golden weekends. furthermore when i did 31 i did three weekends in a row. maybe i'm reaping the general exhaustion from it all...? i don't know.

anyway. i'm kind of hanging on. it's just that during this period of hanging on i dont think i've been a very good human being. and i wish i made better choices during my last call. that's all. i have 2.5 calls more and i resolve to do my very best. after all, after this, depending on God's will, i may or may not come back to this department again, so i guess even if the reg is annoyed at my plug setting skills, it's probably okay. LOL.

2.5 more weeks and 2.5 more calls.

my resolutions are
1. be a good person. okay this is very generic but i guess even if i feel snappier than a snapper fish, i should strive to be as cheerful as if i was having a christmas holiday roasting chestnuts by the fire, for starters.
2. always do what i know is the Right thing, and ask if i do not know what is the right thing to do (and not be afraid to ask).
3. to make it for church. cos i can't do this on my own

been thinking a lot about what life Means & i think that it always comes back to the same few things, if you know what your principles are & stick to them you'll never go wrong. to chase after fame/ satisfaction/ exotic holidays - those are empty things. something i learnt years ago - how could i ever forget that? that said not to be a grinch in a daily life either. sometimes it can be very hard & you just want to eat chocolate. i think that's an allowable exchange ;p

anyway to make this a more cheerful post, i am really thankful to d for saving me from a potential crevice yet once again, my sixteen yr old self has excellent sense in choosing friends. and to m for helping me, despite everything, once again. okay maybe my 24+ self has good sense in choosing friends too ;p or maybe God just sends the right people at the right times.

THIS IS GOING TO GET BETTER.

actually, it's not. i somehow got into the middle of a rounding switcheroo tomorrow which basically favors me the least. but i trust that God will somehow bring me through, so that i can MAKE IT FOR MASS TOMORROW. yes. that is my main aim. with all my patients in the various wards safely handed over/ clerked/ seen with the reg/ plugged. ONE MORE DAY TO THE WEEKEND we can do this :)

http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/four-truths-about-god-s-provision


Sunday, December 13, 2015

random weekend musings

so i spent the last three weekends continuously being on call - no kidding.

and then i spent this weekend doing nothing but sleeping. lol. it feels like i ran a marathon.

speaking of which i requested off in jan on one day to run an actual race, of which i dont know if it is approved?! sigh.

something i very sincerely believe in is that People who walk into your life with a certain amount of Significance, do so for a Reason. sometimes reasons unknown and sometimes it's very clear why.

so this week i need to survive a call, a debate, & then i will go the next day to confess all my sins. sounds like a plan to me. and then i will be oncall on christmas eve & sing silent night to all the babies. oh wait its an mo3 call, so i think the kids will all be older than 1 month. oh well. then post call i will go for christmas day mass

i dont know this sounds like a very difficult list of things to do. i shall aim for a) all my pts to survive my calls b) to make it for christmas day mass!!

everything else will hopefully fall into place. like not having any public humiliation during the debate. i realized that the previous debates, my usual role is to sit there coming up with the lame jokes, while sanjiv/sean/joshua crack their brains to come up with the actual prongs of attack, and then they expound on it very intellectually and im just like "hey guys if i say *insert lame joke here*, will you guys kill me?" *cue polite silence* HAHA. ah good times i miss them.

ok. i think i shall aim for (1) MAKE IT FOR CHRISTMAS DAY MASS

Saturday, December 5, 2015

satellite



in the beginning we may have seen too much of each other
we dont exist any longer 
the cliche words that time heals everything
the harsh words that we werent meant to be
the street looks the same as always
i move my feet finally
~

such pretty lyrics, this kpopstar 5 contestant wrote this song himself!!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

whatever you do

2nd December: A Guiding Principle

Whatever you do, in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father. Col 3:17
In this verse the apostle Paul gives us a guiding principle for life. All that we say or do should be said or done `in the name of the Lord Jesus'. Taking the patient's history, carrying out a physical examination, giving advice, prescribing and/or carrying out the treatment needed -- this should all be done in the name of the Lord Jesus, remembering that he indeed is our Lord. It follows that if there is anything which we really cannot do in his Name, we should not be doing it. Adherence to this simple yet all-inclusive principle will mean that we shall always have the highest interests of our patients at heart, just as our Lord Jesus has. We shall treat them as people for whom Christ died, not just as `patients'. We shall do our best for them, just as if the Lord Jesus were in the room supervising us -- which indeed he is, for he has promised to be with us all the days, to the very end of the age.
Lord Jesus, I ask today that all I say and do may be in your name. You are my Saviour, my Lord and my God. I acknowledge that all my abilities have come as gifts from your bountiful hands. Grant that today I might use them all in your Name, for your glory and so for the blessing of all with whom you bring me into contact. May I show something of your compassion, humbleness, kindness, gentleness, patience, forbearance, forgiveness and love to everyone I meet today, for your Name's sake.
~
it's been a good three days of leave. the first day i gymmed, the second day i literally bummed at home watching tv + played my instrument for the first time in YEARS, and the third day i spent tidying up my research + attending a really inspiring teaching session. feels productive. 

i've got 4.5 calls left + many many cases left in my various research projects, & then off i go for my second try at ce. i was really SO noob when i started. remembering when mich feli and me first wandered blurly into ce on our very first day of being baby mos hahaha almost like first day of being a ho but nearly more terrifying than that. really so grateful to them for our babymo whatsapp support group!! dont think i'll have that next posting since its all the guys and me next posting. lol. but hopefully i'll be better and wouldnt need it either!! 

speaking of being noob, three months into this posting and it is definitely getting much better. it was really a new experience to have hos to supervise and to have to check their work and to know like ALL the pts in the ward and on call to keep track of all the pts. i am grateful for my traumatising first month which at least taught me what i know should be the gold standard of knowing all the pts & the right thing to do. i've had a lot of exciting/scary experiences like my first managing status epilepticus, code blues, having to run down to ce resus, sedations, watching countless bmas, amongst others. it was really nice having some time to do my research as well. 

ANYWAY in summary, even though its all very there but for the grace of God go i, i guess at least i survived these three months. and hopefully i will survive the last month too. and hopefully my research all goes well. hopefully all goes well. i've been lucky in that i only do mo1 and mo3 calls which arent that bad. mo 2 and mo 4 calls are really really scary but since i havent done onco or hd ever (plus i am still very the baby mo), i dont have to do those. 

so even though some days it looks so hazy & i keep on driving down a road where i can't see where i'm going which can get pretty scary, i guess as long as i love what i do each day (school refusal notwithstanding) & i'm doing it for God, it should work out somehow someday. 
~
and maybe someday i'll find the words to describe how is it possible that two fleeting encounters years apart can however briefly make me see a glimpse of poetry in the wastelands. i guess if nothing it's good to know that i can believe again however briefly. first muffins then chocolate and then now embellishments on a cake, i think i should swear off sweet things for a looong time and maybe ask a genie for a personal trainer boyfriend instead, or a mma fighter? i think the lesson learnt is that not all that glitters is gold and not all that is sugary is sweet. 
but thank you for helping me to believe again, however briefly. i always do appreciate it, learning how to feel again. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father. Eph 3:14
Sometimes we can become so busy that the pressures of the needs of the moment make us blind to the greater realities.
We need to pause from time to time to reflect on the greatness of God and his love in all its breadth and length and height and depth.
The phrase `for the reason' is repeated in Ephesians 1:15, 3:1 and 3:14. To be aware in even a limited way of the magnitude and wonder of God's love can only result in heartfelt worship and provides the stimulus to living out that love in all our lives. Hence the importance of pausing to reflect on his word, to praise, to give thanks, and to pray for forgiveness and help for ourselves and others.
We need power to live like this, and the Holy Spirit can give us that power. As we trust Christ, so he lives in our hearts. As we are rooted and grounded in the love of Christ, so we can grasp something of its dimensions.
The love of Christ is wider than our limited acceptance of people. It includes all mankind, whatever our racial background, our cultural heritage, our socio-economic classification, our educational or professional achievement, our political freedom or lack of it, our age or our sex. He loves each of us as his own dear child. That colleague we find unbearable, Christ died for him. That patient who has neglected himself to the stage of degradation, God loves him too, just as much as he loves you!
The length of the love of Christ is eternal. He never stops loving, no matter what we do or what happens. There is no time when Christ does not love you or all of us.
His love is higher than any other. It ennobles and enriches us in ways beyond description. Indeed, it lifts us to heaven to the very presence of God.
And the love of Christ reaches down to the worst in all of us. No matter how you've failed of what you've done, he forgives and forgives and forgives. But of course we must accept that forgiveness, it is not automatic. Sadly, there are those who will reject the love of Christ. But they need not, indeed must not. Our calling is to demonstrate that love in our own lives in such a way that all will have every opportunity to know it for themselves.

~

Dear God, 

I am sorry for the times i've failed you. For the times I've said stupid things in interviews and taken a whole round trip round the world in consequence. For the times I failed plug setting even as the mother was saying a litany of hail marys, and yet still I couldn't do it. For the times i've struck out verbally because of anger and deep seated insecurities, and blamed others for what i know only too well were in reality my own failings. For the times I didn't prepare well enough and thus didn't manage to get things i should have had, that for all i knew you had actually planned for me, but because of my own human limitations, I didn't manage to do it. 

But somehow, despite all that, you turned every single painful time into my life into something that i ended up cherishing & looking fondly upon. Every single season of awkwardness, loneliness, heartbreak, was always inevitably followed by a season of outpouring of love, achievements i had not even dreamed of or dared to wish of & consolation for the future wrestling matches with life ahead. Even small scattered prayers that i had long forgotten, like how we could never make friends with debaters from other schools were answered so generously years later when i started debating for medicine. i knew then that you were listening to all the prayers i had prayed all these years. 
~

Isn't it funny, how years ago no matter how I would say "it's going to be okay", it never would be, and now suddenly when buoyed by my own experiences I could confidently advise others "God will definitely come through for you, it's the third time. He always comes through" - said with my last vestiges of innocent childish faith before I surely but certainly grew up & can no longer ascribe the world childish faith to myself now. And he really did! Thank goodness for that. 

For myself, I think that (happily), I no longer have the despondency or desperation of yesteryear. Initially when I came to this path, I only begged God to make me a doctor. I never really thought of specifying which kind, I really just only wanted to be a doctor, any kind was fine. Fastforward all these years and I finally achieved my life's goal, but you see, you can't just be any random doctor, you have to be a good and competent one. Therein lies the difficulty. 

So yes, I still don't know, and I can't say whether I've found peace in my life for sure. But I'm going to keep trying til one day, God shows me the path. It was only until I worked as a HO for more than a few months that it struck me - after all that pre med sch angst & wondering what to do with my life, He really had called me to be a doctor, that was my Answer. 

I really don't know if God will come through for me the third time. On one hand I'm really calm about it, on one hand I think I'm secretly that kid again, holding onto the cloak, hoping for another miracle no matter how slim the chances seem. 

But this I know, that no matter what it is, that He is going to turn this season into something I will remember happily. That He will give us peace in our hearts at however it turns out, that this is part of a Plan that I just can't see now. That whatever it is, it's going to be much better than I ever expected. I know this because I have marvelled countless times at the previous parts of the puzzle when they all fell into place. I just pray that between now & whenever it is that I finally find my answers to this season in life, or my miracles that I keep on holding out for, that we have peace in our hearts & never lose our God. That was my prayer then, & remains the same now.  

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

place where i need to be

three happy things abt today
1. PASSING THE EXAM whoopee
(me, who never gets anything until at least the THIRD TRY, actually passed an exam on the first go. thank you God!!!!)
2. the little kids who kept pulling me to go play when i wanted to go home (not even kidding. too cute to be true.)
3. randomly being ambushed to discuss happy things

now for call tmr. sighhh i really hope i survive tomorrow's call.

but thank you God for the halfway mark refreshment stations, MUCH MUCH appreciated.

it's a hard road ahead but i will plod on :)

Sunday, November 15, 2015

whisper

"Whisper"

Always looking for a sign
A burning bush, a flash of light
To show me what to do

A voice coming from the clouds
That'll knock me to the ground
So there's no doubt it's You

You calling my name
You pointing the way
So I don't have to choose

I'm always looking for the lightning
For the thunder crashing down
I'm always wanting easy answers
Wanna hear You speak out loud

I keep wanting something bigger
Sometimes I miss Your whisper

You'd think I would learn
To take You at Your word
And know Your still small voice

I know I should pray
I know I should wait on You

It isn't always obvious
Sometimes I gotta learn to trust
Let it go and listen up
~

"Hurricane"

You're spinning out of control again
Your life feels like a sinking ship
You're wondering how it came to this

Is it too late?
Is it too far?
For Him to reach you
And come to where you are

You're in the wreckage underneath
Your hope is buried somewhere deep
You're wondering how long it will keep?

It's never too late
Never too far

Don't back down from the fight
He'll shelter you tonight
Just hold on for the change
Call His name
He'll find you in the hurricane

There's a place, there's a place you can run
When you fall, and it's all come undone
You'll be safe in the raging storm

Step out on the edge
Don't be afraid of it
And when you feel the rain
Call His name
He'll find you in the hurricane

from here to eternity/ one day at a time

sometimes it seems like you havent run for a long time coz it's been too hazy out there
& even when you want to put on your shoes & start again, the activation energy's too much to overcome

sometimes it seems like no matter how you try, you keep sliding down this slippery slope & time keeps turning back to yrs ago. you KNOW you should be a better version of yourself but suddenly you find yourself right back where it all started.

~
"You're Not Alone"

Some days I barely hold on
When life drags me down
I wanna let go
But when my spirit is weak
You come to my aid
And strengthen my soul

I’m lost without You
I’ll never doubt You
Your grace is beyond compare
And though when it rains, it pours
You know all I have is Yours
You smile when you hear my prayer
You rescued me and I believe
That God is love and He is all I need
From this day forth for all eternity
I’ll never wander on my own
For I am Yours until you call me home
I close my eyes and I can hear You say
You’re not alone!

Some days I just can’t go on
I stumble and fall
And I hang my head
But You reach out for my hand
And You lift me up
Again and again
Oh, yes, You do
~
"Beyond Me"

Call it a reason to retreat
I got some dreams that are bigger than me
I might be outmatched, outsized, the underdog in the fight of my life
Is it so crazy to believe

That You gave me the stars, put them out of my reach
Called me to waters a little too deep
Oh, I've never been so aware of my need
You keep on making me see
It's way beyond me
Yeah, it's out of my league
It's way beyond me

Anything that I got the strength to do
In over my head keeps me countin' on You
I'm leaving the sweet spot, sure shot
Tradin' it all for the plans You got
Is it so crazy to believe
~

that there are too many times in my life when it could have gone either way, when i got things i may not have deserved all that much. one way is to think that i scraped through when i didn't deserve those things (actually true HAHA), but the other way that i know is true is that there i would have gone but for the grace of God. so it isn't so much that i am inadequate so much as... He saw something in me worth saving.

i really do not know where life is leading me. but i can see a hundred things to improve in myself between now & forever. so i'm going to work on those things. i can't change others, but i can change myself. i know that whatever happens, at the very least, i can definitely do God's work with my life. so whatever happens, it doesn't really matter, it's not going to change the Plan.
~
thank you God for saving me all those yrs ago, although i was quick to anger & thoroughly uncharitable, thank you for helping me to somehow see through the fog & make the selfless choice (was it even really a choice...). thank you for showing me that the selfless choice is always the best even if sometimes its all a bit of coercion. thank you for the small bits of happy surprises along the way. although the way ahead is so murky i can't see beyond my hand, i trust that as long as i do what is right, you will show me the way. just help me with the doing what is right part, coz sometimes that's the hardest part. i guess i am asking if you could save me again, just this one more time. remember my childish faith all those years ago? somehow i always believed you would come through this one last time as you have always done. 

it's ok if it's not in your plan for me, i totally understand. i learnt a lot about life, responsibility & medicine from the last few months. i lived out the jobs of my dreams quite literally. although i wasn't always very good at it, at least i was doing something i loved doing & thought you called me to do. and the parts where people told me i was good at it & had a knack for it and sought me out to help them with their projects, i think i thought i was dreaming it. i also really liked running to resus. i really loved it although i am soooo slow at dealing with resus cases. 

i understand that this goes way beyond simply a child's request; this is now real life & no longer child's play. if it's not within my capability, then i think i dont want the great responsibility either. but if you think i can do it, then i'm up for it :) 

ps: thank you for the gift of improving my plug setting. very very much appreciated. like my last call when they called me in the middle of the day to set a plug for a baby's dmsa scan coz the sister couldnt get it -_- i got it on my last try and hence escaped having to call the reg. literally thank you God. 

"All You've Ever Wanted" - casting crowns

I just looked up today
And realized how far away I am from where You are
Lord, I know I let You down
But somehow, I will make You proud
I'll turn this sinking ship around
And make it back to You

Saturday, November 7, 2015

still doin' one starfish at a time

some snippets from my past self, on What I Want to Be When I Grow Up:

"now...... i don't know. cute is cute but i need to get there. and if by the time i reach the finish line, what if i'm totally pooped and i cant do the amazing things that i always planned to do, when i got there?"

~
"our life decisions need to be made this week.

i didnt make it to church this weekend so since i need to consult the consultant up there, i cant decide right now yet"
~

LOL.
this may be a semi-answer but i am already in the midst of planning aforementioned 'amazing things'. i dont need to wait to reach the finish line before i start doing amazing things with this life yeah :)

i guess we are all equipped to do some things & altho its good to go out of our comfort zones, there are many things to consider. like i read drs without borders blogs with such a longing heart but i really dont think i am at all equipped to fly to the middle of a warzone tmr to do trauma surgery or neurosurgery on anyone, on many counts. not least because... WAR, but also because i am not trained as a surgeon, not even as a surg mopex mo. and quite a few traumatic medical sch postings have made me quite certain that im not meant to do surgery. for the record, after o&g, I CAN DO HANDTIES. and i have t&s-ed quite a few people ;p most exciting doing scalp t&s yo. and eyelid t&s on a 2yo boy. (bravery ++. both us and the boy)

BUT there are still some things that i can do, and i plan to do what i can :)

some things are really definitely too latte, no question about that, but some things aren't. i guess, you win some, you lose some..?

(i guess if that cup of coffee was really meant to be, the timings would have matched up by now. maybe the fact that the timing was well & truly off meant that it was truly not meant to be after all. not that it was wrong, cos i always suscribe to the belief that people walk in & out of our lives for a reason. like my fav analogy of ships passing in the night. x wasnt just a ship passing in the night as i used to think, it was more like a fighterjet bombing a yellow submarine & being reminded of it eternally whenever the song played on the radio. for ____, i really think it was like a lighthouse that a ship passes in the night. the ship needs the lighthouse so that it doesnt crash into the rocks & cos to see the light at the end of the seemingly endless dark night is really such a relief, but the ship can't land either, because... ROCKS. so the cafe-hopping, looking for the perfect cup of coffee continues...)

all that matters

the usual random interlude on a weekend. usually its on weekends cos on weekdays everything goes by so fast there is no time to think at all

some things get easier but some things really don't

sometimes you get random bits of encouragement but along with that carries the weight of new responsibilities & stresses

i have NO idea why God suddenly chose to give me this opportunity. i was most surprised when it popped up cheerily in the middle of the 75mo room and snowballed into something which has the most exciting prospects. but then again

so here's the plan
sat:
1. apply for the (planned leave) on prosoft
2. try to work on papers
3. long run to botanics later! :) since the haze has -temporarily- abated (OR gym since sadly it looks like it's going to rain)
4. continue bumming coz the first 3 days of the week have been reaally crazy (solo in nursery + outside), to the point that the reg felt sorry for me and actually did one septic workup herself (oh well. it was nice of her. i cant believe i survived those three crazy days. really amazed.) 
5. email the lovely secretary with further casenotes to trace. 
6. email my supervisors with qns 

sun
1. church
2. researchhh (old - aim to do 50 cases + a bit of the new one)
3. gym!

mon
1. hopefully the case notes wld have arrived and i can do the first 4 cases

tues - HOLIDAY 
1. GYM
2. old researchh - aim to do 50 at least (so then it will be like 460 cases. and it wouldnt be soo bad) 

wed 
1. do the rest of the cases for the new project (my part) finish (haha. hopefully)
2. update my supervisor that im done and will start tracing the other cases (shared part) + email secretary to kindly help 

thurs
CALL

Fri
POSTCALL
hopefully start on the new cases! if not, come back on sat/ sun to do

aim to finish by end of nov so they can send off the data 
aim to go to hk next year, with God's grace :) 

i remember a few yrs ago, it was on the day of the feast of the epiphany where i was asking God whether i should go ahead with this elective or not & i came out of it with a very strong conviction that i should. literally a life-changing decision that has led to this entire rigamarole of going round in circles lol. at first, i felt that i couldnt understand at it at all.  it was just completely beyond my comprehension & it just seemed so illogical. esp since i really had such an unwavering hunch. after that i stopped bothering to demystify it or to try and use hindsight on a situation that hasnt even come to its conclusion yet.  but it's been an enjoyable time overall, i really learned alot! 

anyway, i'm now literally spending my life doing something i absolutely love, for the forseable (near) future. so i'll enjoy however long of that that life wants to grant me. there are enough daily challenges that there isnt much bandwidth to think of the future (although practically speaking i should scrape together enough gigabytes to go for the mandatory teas and things. haha). & truly if God really did intend for me to go down this route, & if the last minute birthday present out of the blue was truly meant to encourage me two days before an interview which i felt admittedly a little resigned about, then maybe i'll get it this time. if not, i'll think again then about what i'm truly meant to do. in the meantime there are SO many things in life (& so many faults & flaws i wouldnt know where to start...) to do, i'll take it one thing at a time :) 

also: dear God, thank you for the (belated) birthday present, as i sat there in the meeting & my role in this project slowly dawned upon me, i realized that this good & perfect gift could only have come from you :) i'll make sure that this one is the best yet! 

Sunday, November 1, 2015

if you

today's sermon was quite nice :) "if you put God first & rely on him, everything will fall into place" its the kinda thing one usually says in one's head as a virtual cheerleader, like "IT'S GOING TO BE OK", and "IF IT'S NOT OK IT ISN'T THE END" and "TRUST GOD, HE IS GOING TO SAVE YOU", so it was nice to hear it from someone other than myself for once. kind of an affirmation that im not just talking to myself huh. 

been uncharacteristically reflective these few days or so. i think it isnt really the right time to be honest. when will it be the right time? or the right person? 

the second part of the sentence after 'everything will fall into place' was "not in your timing, but in God's timing". 

i guess i just feel really very stretched & stressed everyday. i dont know how these pple do it all the time coz i sure can't. when the weekend comes, it's such a relief to unwind & go gymming & put everything aside, or go eat yummy food w good company. thank goodness i actually have weekends off. and last month was in such a chillax ward too!! 

so no. probably not the best time. 

more wise words "you dont need to be perfect to be loved" yes i am not making this up. best sermon ever. i think after all these yrs something i have discovered is that emotional equilibrium is very very impt. it is one thing to have the most impt thing in your to do list be pbl and totally another thing to feel responsible for half a ward (&sometimes like the whole ward when the other side mo is busy). there really isnt any time (personally) to think abt other stuff. the other day when i discovered my ho hadnt taken bld transfusion consent -_- then i realized that really have to check all the ho's work sigh. & the one person that has been there thru everything & will be there whether you do good or bad, that will be there despite of the timezones, etc, is God. it's cheesy but its really true. although he does send some angels like d, a, etc for me to send whatsapp sos-es. (yes its hard for a person to change COMPLETELY. wahah). 

so my resolutions for the new month ahead
1. go very early everyday
2. check all the drips and antibiotics doses
3. plot everyone's height and weight
4. know all my pts and flip thru all the old notes **** sounds so easy but yknow in the morning gold rush... 
5. check and double check all the hos work (including the home prescriptions)
6. do all my research like my life depends on it (it actually does. plus it is the inspiration for the life i am choosing & sth i love to do anyway. its just that sometimes after a loooong day u just want to go home and chillax. oh well. IT'S WORTH IT.)

& maybe one day, finally the pieces will all fall into place. i dont know when that day will come if ever. sometimes in the middle of all the slogging it doesnt feel like it. sometimes the mirth in the middle more than makes up for it. or an unexpected gift that keeps me going :) 

one thing at a time, i shall pray very hard that i survive the next 2 days...

Saturday, October 31, 2015

before the morning

1st November 2015: On God's Guidance

Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Psalm 37:3-4 (AV)
One of the most perplexing problems that Christians have to face is to know which way to go, which door to enter, which choice to make out of several possibilities.
It may concern the big decisions in life, personal or professional, such as marriage, or the next job, or the next exam, or it may be one of the more ordinary and humdrum routine matters. We want to do the right thing, and choose the right course... but how to find it -- that's the question.
Start with God. Commit your way honestly to him, and you can be absolutely certain that he will bring `it' to pass, whatever your 'it' may be.
Then, consider all the circumstance in the light of what you know about God -- his character, his supreme knowledge, his love and concern for you personally. Bring the possible choices to this touchstone. Our own desires and personal preferences may be helpful, or they can be positively misleading. Be open and honest.
Then, try to discover if there is any test in scripture, and passage or incident that throws light on the pathway.
Listen to experienced Christian friends, who can proffer helpful advice, if they are understanding and honest, and are not afraid to tell you the truth.
Then pray in words like these --
O my God, I gladly confess that you know everything, and that you
have a plan for me and my life. I now deliberately ask for your
guidance in respect of... I honestly want to do your will, and I
acknowledge that your will for me is best and is what I ought to
do. Help me to choose, for your sake and the sake of others.
And when later on you look back on the increasingly numerous experiences of his guidance, all the `coincidences' that have happened to you, you will be able to say `I being in the way, the Lord led me' (Gn 24:27 AV).
~
maybe, just maybe, God actually does have a plan for me. 

three years ago i really did believe that with all my heart. that no matter the odds, somehow God would work a miracle for me. i dont know why & how i had such a strong conviction. three years on, i DO know, quite well actually, what being a doctor actually entails. comms stations are often actually less scary than the actual situation. my junior d was regaling us of tales of her post call real life comms nightmares which literally made us nearly fall off the chair with laughter. its the kinda thing you dont know if you shld laugh or cry so you just end up laughing. 

i think i still do believe that there is A plan, even if i have no idea what it is. i guess you could call it childish conviction tempered very significantly with ennui and world-wearyness. 

was walking up the steps to the interview, remembering all the times i had walked these stairs, up & down, before debates feeling i was going to be lynched or egged (and furthermore in a white dress...), and after in our triumph. all the times i had gone for this very same interview before. i guess you could say i felt a bit sian like the dude who keeps rolling the stone up the hill daily and then the stone rolls down again at nightfall

then i suddenly remembered that just a few days before, we had been all bumming in the mo room when completely out of the blue, my mentor had popped in to discuss future research prospects with me. it was really almost like the day with m when we were walking in the dark and suddenly we saw the campfire light at the end of the pathway

ive been running this marathon for the longest time, ive hit the wall more times than i can count. everytime i start a new posting with all its attendant new quirks & systems to relearn, it really feels like even tho my signature is that i never stop running, i just can't go on anymore. but somehow day by day, i am becoming a better doctor, which for me is really half the battle. a neverending battle, the true one fought daily. 

the exact details, i leave it to God. but i thank him for the last minute spurt of encouragement which i had not anticipated at all, it could only have come from Him :) 

now for a new and busier ward after a month of chilling. oh dear. i hope we all survive this. 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

a gleam of light

24th October 2015: Be Blessed

God made us alive together with Christ and raised us up with him in the heavenly places that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness towards us. Ephesians 2:5-7
As Christians, we are the recipients of God's tremendous blessing. When we were dead in our sin, Paul told the church at Ephesus, God made us alive, raised us up and placed us with him in a heavenly position. Why? Why should God be so generous with us? God has done this, Ephesians 2 tells us, `in order that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace toward us'. God is blessing us now so he can bless us more later: God is in the business of blessing. He wants to bless us.
God has arranged the universe to make his blessing available to us. Having saved us, he has `given us everything we need for life and godliness'. He has also prepared for us good works to be done, for it is in doing good that we experience his blessing. Finally, he has set before us, as Moses explained to Israel, life and prosperity. The abundance of God's kindness is available and is accessible to us.
How, then, shall we make God's blessing ours? Moses and Joshua were each instructed to live according to God's word. It is in obedience to God that we reap his blessing. Yet it is not in our own strength that we obey, for having been crucified with Christ, it is now Christ who lives in us. Obedient to his word, we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.
Interestingly, however, God's blessings often come to us in disguise. Even the `trials of many kind' and the `painful trial' or `fiery ordeal' referred to by New Testament writers will lead to deepened faith and a revelation of God's glory. God's blessing will far surpass the difficulties of the present age. Amid the sleep deprivation, pressured circumstances and stressful situations incumbent upon those in the medical profession, God offers a remedy. To the weary, he offers a light yoke. To the workers, he offers the promise of a harvest. We need not succumb to `burnout'. We can take on his yoke and look beyond burnout to blessing.
It is overwhelming to meditate on the vastness of God's kindness to us. He is blessing us now so he can bless us more in the future. Accepting his provision, even through difficult times, we can obediently choose to live his life with his prosperity.
Thank you, Lord, for the graciousness of these words of
assurance: `I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord,
`plans for welfare and not for evil,
to give you a future and a hope' (Je 29:11).
~
so apt. thank you God for the past 26 years (finally i can tell pts i am 26 when they ask HAHA. last time abit malu... "how old are you?" "wah 24, so young ah".) 

there's no question that if the sixteen year old me knew that i would actually be a doctor AND able to do plugs/ lumbar punctures/ episiotomies/ T&S/ assist C sections and supervise hos, i may not have believed it... haha. really amazed that i managed to get this far, unquestionably with God's grace. there is a never-ending hill to climb still, there are so many ways i still need to improve.  

let's hope the next 26 years will be spent walking in God's way :) 

Monday, October 12, 2015

coffee& tea/ there must be something in the water



just plugging away, one plug at a time
been philosophizing a lot abt what it means to be a good doctor & unfortunately it just takes time & practice & experience. it does get a little easier bearing the slight increase in responsibility.
camaraderie is really such a nice thing i must say. something that i always worried abt but has never been in short supply in the 1.5 yrs ive been working. something to be thankful for :) i remember back then vaguely worrying that i wouldnt know what to do on my first day of being a doctor and not knowing anyone hence compounding the blurness. well 1.5 yrs ago (and now) i'm still blur and noob but luckily i have always felt pretty much in my comfort zone thanks to all the sip and everything. maybe the least comfort zone was in ce when i just started my mo-ship HAHA. but even then there was feli and mich for the new noob mos support group heh. so thank God for that, at least. 
taking the exam was actually something really nice, except when i stared at the qns for 1b. everything else was fun. maybe becos for a week, i thoroughly entertained the thought that i might possibly be allowed to study this for life, that finally i could do what i really love. who knows if i'll pass. as time passes by, my levels of ennui and zen-ness increase exponentially. ok maybe those are mutually exclusive things. it's just so HARD to do the right thing all the time & be a thousand places all at once. im a marathon runner not a sprinter sadly. 
but this ocd training is really doing me good. nowadays when i clerk pts, even if its just a kid coming in for an infusion, i find myself going thru the old notes to trace back how they were diagnosed, etc. automatically pulling up the bristol stool chart for every kid with abdo pain people had previously put down to 'constipation colic', charting heights & weights and bp 99th centiles. recalculating all antibiotic doses. good habits :) 

i think i just need to trust. that God isn't leading me down a rabbit hole into wonderland. that if he put this dream into my heart, that it's for a reason. a lot of it sometimes comes from confidence. yeah misplaced confidence isnt good either (but we all have to learn & i am learning from all this!). i really like it when the reg discusses with us the mx, or makes us defend our decisions or list out the pros and cons. coz sometimes it really can go either way like to culture & cover? or to wait it out? but some things really involve a thought process & discussing it makes it more sensible & defensible. 

~

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Saturday, October 3, 2015

strong enough to save

4th October 2015: Work Out: God is at Work

... work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Philippians 2:12-13
We know that nothing we do or do not do can earn us salvation -- it is a free gift from God. Sometimes we almost get the feeling when he hear Christians speak that our spiritual growth is also a gift from God for which we can do nothing.
In these verses Paul shows us that the Christian life is, in fact, a partnership between God and ourselves. We do something -- `work out' says Paul; and God does something -- `God is at work'. This should not be too difficult for us to understand for there are parallels in everyday life. You help your patients by providing them with a cure, but they on their part must co-operate actively. To borrow from Paul, they have to `work out' their healing even as you are `at work' in (surgeons literally!) them.
As William Barclay puts it so wisely: `There can be no salvation without God, but what God offers, man must take. It is never God who withholds salvation; it is always man who deprives himself of it'.
Finally, what about `fear and trembling'? Again, Barclay says: `It is not the fear and trembling which drives us to hide from God, but rather the fear and trembling which drives us to seek God in the certainty that without his help we cannot effectively face life'.
O Lord, never suffer us to think that we can stand by ourselves,
and not need thee.
A prayer attributed to John Donne
~
there's too many things
that i dont understand
so it's into Your will
& it's out of my hands
~
2 days more, i can do this :)

then its back to the daily grind. on the bright side, the calls im doing are with quite nice regs. and 3 calls have passed, so i can no longer technically say im noob. funny that an exam is looming & residency is awaiting and all i can think of is GOD HELP ME SURVIVE ALL MY CALLS. its like nothing else really matters except that all my patients survive the night (plus i can now no longer call my mo....). also im getting better at blood taking and plug setting. few times ive been called by the hos and successfully got in difficult plugs ;p the other day a baby had ga through the foot plug i set (!!) amazed. 

~
its like no matter how you try
perfection is just too far away
so lift them up to Me
all the broken pieces of your life

Monday, September 28, 2015

what ifs

31st October 2015: What if...?

When he noticed the strong wind he was afraid and started to sink. Matthew 14:30 (GNB)
Some doubts are healthy. They show that we recognise our own fallibility and inexperience. As housejobs progress the doubts do not alter in frequency, merely in nature. I no longer worry about how to arrange a special investigation, or whether I shall sleep through my bleep! The doubts which assail me now when I am tired, perhaps after a weekend on call, are far from healthy; rather they disturb my peace of mind and wear down my defences against self-pity. If I succumb to these doubts, they only breed more.
There are the `what its...?' that are always related to my career or capabilities: what if I don't get that rotation? what it I fail this exam? what if I have to go on moving every six months or so? what if I never get married?
Since I have no way of knowing or influencing what the future holds, such worries and doubts are fruitless. At the very least I could adopt a fatalistic point of view. But the Christian serves a Master who is deeply interested in his people, and who has the power to guide and control the lives of men.
Peter did not falter when his thoughts were taken up with Jesus and with the task in hand. But when he noticed the strong wind, his trust in Jesus' ability to sustain what he had begun wavered, and Peter began to sink. Unless worries, the `what ifs' of life, have this characteristic, they assail me when I stop concentrating on the job in hand, my current post for which I have been called and equipped, and start to look around.
Recognising a `what if?' is halfway to dealing with it, and saves expending energy on it. I am learning when to expect them and so am beginning to dismiss them. Anyway, I can seldom remember in the morning what I spent wakeful hours worrying about the previous night. 

~
received a lovely email this morning. i do love ce so much. its funny how when i first started i was so blur and slow and so depressed that after the night shifts with strict consultants or after being (rightly) rebuked for my slowness that i sort of gave up all thoughts of really specializing in paeds for the first time, in fact i thought if i could pass the posting that would be more than enough. and indeed i survived the posting! 

after that i figured if i could survive ce, i could survive anything. 

fast foward to a wholee new challenge in the wards. sigh. but ANYWAY i'm survivin. kind of. and learning a lot! and i love meeting the ce nurses in the wards when they handover pts to the ward nurses. ce nurse "so this is a x yo boy, coming for... OH! you're here in the wards!! when are you coming back to ce??" 

as time goes by, i'm gradually realizing what God is calling me to do. and i'm gaining experience that will ultimately help me to do that, bit by bit :) hint, it doesnt involve loads of gleaming titles or awards or pandering to private pts with urtis. it involves what i came to med sch to do in the first place (no not paeds neurosurgery...), why i was so willing to give up what seemed like everything and fly on a plane by myself (well with jay) to a faraway land. and also a bookstore which i loved which has now closed forever. God willing, with acceptance of the relevant people and if one day i somehow accquire the skills and capabilities, i know i will go where He calls me. til then, just gotta continue with the urtis & jump thru these neverending hoops of fire. 

~
"You're Not Alone"
(feat. Britt Nicole)
[Adam:]
Some days I barely hold on
When life drags me down
I wanna let go
But when my spirit is weak
You come to my aid
And strengthen my soul


I’m lost without You
I’ll never doubt You
Your grace is beyond compare
And though when it rains, it pours
You know all I have is Yours
You smile when you hear my prayer
You rescued me and I believe
That God is love and He is all I need
From this day forth for all eternity
I’ll never wander on my own

For I am Yours until you call me home
I close my eyes and I can hear You say
You’re not alone!
You’re not alone!

[Britt:]
Some days I just can’t go on
I stumble and fall
And I hang my head
But You reach out for my hand
And You lift me up
Again and again
Oh, yes, You do


[Both:]
My fire burns ‘til He returns
And takes me home beyond the galaxy


[Britt:]
You’re not
You’re not alone
Never alone...

Sunday, September 27, 2015

to have what it takes/ now the haze has lifted

18th October 2015: To Have what it Takes

It is by grace you have been saved through faith -- and this not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. Ephesians 2:8 (NIV)
It is 3am and your `bleep' has gone off for the second time in half and hour. You could weep with fatigue, frustration and misery. The human frame is just not designed to cope with the circumstances of a junior hospital doctor. As you mechanically carry out the required task, longing for your bed and sleep, you wonder how you are supposed to survive -- as a person, as a member of a family, and as a Christian.
At times like this, we need to let the living and active word of God speak to our hearts, as it is given to do. This verse can help us. Our salvation does not depend one fraction of 1% on ourselves. It is totally, 100%, the work of God. Planned in eternity by the Father, accomplished completely on the Cross by the Son, who as our representative and substitute died bearing the just punishment for our sins, it is applied to our hearts by the Holy Spirit. Even the faith we exercise is the gift of God; we cannot produce it for ourselves.
So when our spiritual survival seems at stake because we are too tired to pray, too busy to study the scriptures, and too tied to the hospital to attend church meetings and worship, it is good to be reminded that we are saved by grace. Temporary interruptions in our co-operation in God's sanctifying work makes no difference to our justification. That is his work alone, and Christ has done it all for us. A man as well as God, he understands our fatigue and frustration, and says, `My grace is sufficient for you' (2 Cor 12:9). So in the midst of physical and mental exhaustion, let us rest in him and his never failing promises.
~

post a much too exciting call, not even having time to shake in my boots but having to round STAT, in the middle of gently deflecting the usual harried nurses (thank God for the o&g nurses who made me quite used to being called HO AH HO! from across the ward), the senior nurse suddenly asks me "what church do you go to?" stunned, i answer and ask how she knows im catholic... she pulls out a miraculous mary from under her uniform "same as yours! this always helps me, it never fails"... i nearly slumped to the floor in shock & gratitude.... indeed in the middle of the early morning code, God was there, protecting me.... but of course the round just continued as per normal. i realized that even though the nurse was making us feel a bit harried, whatever she said was probably something i should take seriously cos she was just trying to help us & highlight things we might have missed in the middle of our quick weekend round. and not least that God was speaking through her in some way or other to tell me something. 

after everything settled down, as i stood there feeling very shellshocked, the reg told me "you did the right thing". actually, there was a lot more i could have done better. but i think what he meant is my instantaneous escalation was the right choice. i was thinking abt it the whole of that day... even after all the ce codes, im not immune to it & its my first ever time activating it myself. but thank God for the ce experience that enables me to act fast. 

our salvation does not depend even a fraction of 1% on ourselves, it is 100% the work of God.

thankful also for the people in my life, both new and old. its funny that the first 2 people i told abt this too exciting call were people who i had wondered multiple times why they ever had come into my life in the first place. i guess it only goes to show that people come into your life for a reason. well sometimes they go out of it forever too, but not without leaving an indelible mark on it. no matter how i trace the start of my obssession with this specialty, it always goes back to a winter day walking through the woods & coming out starry eyed after feeling fireworks going off as i walked thru the wards with the bright cartoon festooned walls, after sitting through hours of discussion with the prof. i mean i liked it before (ha childhood dream of being a peds neurosurgeon), but i dont think i ever went to the extent of deciding to dedicate my whole life & youth to pursuing this dream until i felt those fireworks. but feelings are something verY iffy so, just saying, that's where it all started. & for m and d, despite everything, they're still there in my life, & have respectively been there through many of the major life events & have been responsible for my survival til this day. i don't really think i did anything majorly right or great to get to know them in the first place, or to deserve their encouragement and cheering on (save that of being entertaining, but as x showed me clearly, that obviously isnt enough to sustain even the best friendship). so thanks guys for being placed in my life by God, for staying even though time and events have tested our friendship. i promise to be a good friend :) 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

on cake

'I have had enough, Lord' he said. 1 Kings 19:4 (NIV)
He lay down under the tree and fell asleep. Suddenly an angel touched him and said, “Wake up and eat.” He looked around and saw a loaf of bread and a jar of water near his head. He ate and drank, and lay down again. The Lord's angel returned and woke him up a second time, saying, “Get up and eat, or the trip will be too much for you.” Elijah got up, ate and drank, and the food gave him enough strength to walk forty days to Sinai, the holy mountain. There he went into a cave to spend the night.
Suddenly the Lord spoke to him, “Elijah, what are you doing here?”
10 He answered, “Lord God Almighty, I have always served you—you alone. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed all your prophets. I am the only one left—and they are trying to kill me!”
11 “Go out and stand before me on top of the mountain,” the Lord said to him. Then the Lord passed by and sent a furious wind that split the hills and shattered the rocks—but the Lord was not in the wind. The wind stopped blowing, and then there was an earthquake—but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake there was a fire—but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the soft whisper of a voice.
13 When Elijah heard it, he covered his face with his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. A voice said to him, “Elijah, what are you doing here?”
14 He answered, “Lord God Almighty, I have always served you—you alone. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed all your prophets. I am the only one left—and they are trying to kill me.”
15 The Lord said, “Return to the wilderness near Damascus, then enter the city and anoint Hazael as king of Syria; 16 anoint Jehu son of Nimshi as king of Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. 17 Anyone who escapes being put to death by Hazael will be killed by Jehu, and anyone who escapes Jehu will be killed by Elisha. 18 Yet I will leave seven thousand people alive in Israel—all those who are loyal to me and have not bowed to Baal or kissed his idol.”
~
Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day's journey into the desert. He came to a broom tree, and sat down under it and prayed that he might die. 'I have had enough, Lord', he said, 'Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors'. Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep.
This was just the culminating event in a life for God that had been physically, mentally and spiritually demanding almost to the limit of human endurance. Elijah had had enough, as he said, and God treated him gently. There were some tasks still to be done, but God's resources were at hand. Food and water strengthened Elijah' body. A vision of the Lord himself renewed his spirit. He learnt that Elisha was to take over his work as prophet. So he was encouraged and enabled to do the rest of what God had for him to do. And he was taken up to heaven in a blaze of glory.
The experience of this great man of God was not unique. It would scarcely be said that his depression was any more than a natural reaction to a prolonged stressful experience. But it did get him down. And God gave him the help that he needed -- just as our Lord found strength from his Father after the temptation in the wilderness and when he agonised in Gethsemane. The same Lord is with us to understand and help when things get us down, when we have had enough.

'... and after the fire a still small voice. 1 Kings 19:12
Does life ever overwhelm you? So many things can happen -- good things, bad things, all kinds of things -- that they knock you flat. Do you wonder when they will stop -- when the tumult will cease? Can medicine never be the quiet life?
Elijah was one of the great men of God, but things got him down sometimes. When Jezebel put him on her death list he packed up completely. Rather paradoxically he asked God to let him die. God treated him gently and strengthened him. He wandered off, but was obviously still unhappy. He came to Horeb, the mount of God, took refuge in a cave and had another attack of the miseries, pouring out his heart to the Lord in a stream of self-pity.
This time God was not so gentle. Elijah really got the treatment: 'And behold the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake and, after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire...'
God was showing his power. Elijah apparently needed to be made aware of it. The demonstration must have been terrifying, but Elijah had to learn the hard way. The demonstration had, however, been made, and the message was getting through. Elijah was ready for something different, and something different came: 'after the fire a still small voice'. Another translation says: 'a voice of stillness'. And in the stillness he was again able to tell his troubles.
Somehow the atmosphere is now different. Perhaps in the stillness Elijah is now listening, really listening. God shows him the way ahead. Communication is restored. Confidence is restored.
The story is worth pondering. Sometimes we think we have had enough, whether it is sheer physical exhaustion, deadness of heart, discouragement, even a sense of spiritual abandonment. God may then treat us gently, and we at least pretend to take the healing with gratitude. But we may not be really listening. Self-pity can cause severe deafness. And God may have to give us the treatment, as he did to Elijah.
The experience can be rough and tough and tumultuous.
'Where is the god of love?' we then ask, unheeding of the fact that Love is shouting at us. When we are ready to listen, then -- only then -- comes the still small voice, the voice of stillness. And in the stillness God reaches us.