We’re a quick-fix generation. Two-minute noodles, ten-minute haircuts, shorter waiting times for public transport are welcome. Get a rare moment to breathe and we are happy to pack it to the rafters, or slow down and take a breath. By ourselves. Before getting distracted by that blinking notification on our mobile phones.
I’m guilty of that, too.
All the more so when I found myself collapsed on the bathroom floor over the past weekend.
The last couple of months have seen lots of change. After living in Melbourne for seven years and nine months, I moved back to Singapore. I started a brand new job – which I love with all my heart – pretty much the day after I landed. I got my heart broken just about as quickly as I fell in love (with a person, by the way, not my job).
And stubbornly, I looked ahead. I looked up, almost willing God to give me strength for each day. Pressing forward without taking stock.
It’s a busy season, and in my line of work it probably is always going to be a busy season. I thrive on busyness, but also failed to see that I am not invincible. All of us have a breaking point, and I was soon reaching mine. Long hours, weekends at the office – they’ve all taken a toll, as much as I refused to admit it.
Looking back, the series of events leading up to me blacking out are hazy. I remember taking a bath, going to grab something, and feeling woozy. Wanting to take a seat, I hurried to the nearest chair… And the next thing I knew, mum was calling out to me and I was on the floor.
My ankle was throbbing and it took me awhile to regain consciousness. It felt like I was in a very, very deep sleep.
In total, I was out for the count for about ten minutes. When I told the neurologist this later, he pursed his lips like it was bad news. It felt like much, much longer than that.
Visibly shaken, mum fussed over me the entire night. I tried not to worry her too much by reassuring her that everything was fine, that I was just tired. But I knew that I’d probably pushed myself to the breaking point.
There are certain things we aren’t meant to carry, and other things that we have to carry for periods of time to understand their significance in a particular season. A broken heart belongs to the latter, I think.
People can come around you to help pick up the pieces, but the pain you feel is entirely your own.
In case you’re wondering, this is not a blame game. It is no one’s fault that things ended and people got hurt.
Being forced to rest means I’ve had some time to think. And breathe. And let it go. Because some burdens become too heavy to carry.
Darkness can be a gift, and there is beauty in brokenness.
2014 has been a hell of a year, and it isn’t over yet. There are chapters yet to be written.
Rebuilding life piece by piece is fun. It involves trips to Ikea (with me hobbling thanks to my injured ankle), looking up decorating ideas on Pinterest, exploring parts of Singapore I haven’t been, and meeting up with friends – both old and new.
I am reminded, each and every day, that what I have been given is a gift. It shouldn’t be squandered or be taken for granted.
When you come to the end of yourself, you realise the people the very people who are there are family. That it’s worth putting yourself first sometimes. And last but not least: the darkness doesn’t last forever.
After all, we love to complicate life. In the wise words of Lee Brice, though:
Be a best friend, tell the truth
And overuse “I love you”
Go to work, do your best
Don’t outsmart your common sense
Never let your prayin’ knees get lazy
And love like crazy
That’s what this life is about.
Faith, hope, love – and the greatest of these is love. In the words of Alexandra Nelson, hope is not cliche. It is a heavy love, it is super fcking brave, and to love in spite of it all – that’s what I want to do. x