Re-knowing Friends

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I remember the times of my primary school till junior college days, and in particular, something I noticed.

I remember some teachers that I really liked and somehow, after they got married, things changed. For one, they changed. They become…different. How different? I can’t really put down in words. For some, they seem less caring or loving as they formerly used to be. In fact, I remember noting that same change when my aunt got married as well. Maybe it was a change in her priorities, and I was no longer the apple of her eyes.

We all evolve in some ways; we all change.

When I got married, sometimes I wondered if people around me start to feel the same way. Do I become more preoccupied with the things of the household and my husband? Do I become a better/worse friend? For starters, I no longer hang out with my girlfriends for as long as I like without being accountable to W. I don’t stay on for friends’ engagements while W is struggling to stay awake after a long week and in bad need of rest. But who can completely understand, and how do I expect my single friends to?

More so, given that we are currently based in Melbourne and home in Singapore only for the summer break meant that we have to do a series of crash catch-ups within those few weeks. Friendships that I treasure do take precendence over others, given the limited time and energy we have.

It is in these instances that my own confusions set in as I come to realise that even my friends are changing, and that I have to re-know them. Also, being joined at the hip to W meant that in my heart of hearts, I’d like my friends to be able to relate to him the way they do to me. Sometimes that isn’t the case. Sometimes, keeping those friendships seem impossible. Or maybe I have changed, having spent married life away from my former communities. Or more possibly, we have both changed and wonder how we can find a place to connect once again. And we’re (just me or them too) thinking how we can re-know one another all over again.

Marriage does not exist in a vacuum – it exists and is affirmed (or worn down) by the communities it is surrounded by. It isn’t just about the love of two people but a love that exists because of God’s initiating love for us. It can be about two people growing together, shaped by the communities that they are surrounded by, and become conjoiners in this journey alongside them.

The Commonality of Humanity

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I took the day off after a morning appointment at the doctor’s and just wanted some time to myself. Trying to deal with the mass of emotions that I feel, I thought a swim would help clear my head up a bit.

At the pool, while settling aside my keys, goggles and stuff, I noticed a boy much younger than me, awkwardly moving towards the pool. He was looking all around, and waving at people. I thought he waved at me. I stared back blankly. Do I know him? I had enough to deal with for the day already, without having to wonder what this guy is up to.

I turned to look around and could see no one. I could see him trying to get the attention of other people around – neighbours passing by, cleaners, road sweepers. He waved at them all.

Deciding to just mind my own business, I turned to the pool, and got started on my 20 laps. He too got into the pool and commenced his strokes.

Closing in on Lap 18, I saw the boy standing at the shallower end of the pool, and waving to the security guard. As the guard started walking over to the pool, the boy dived into the water and swam away. Seriously, I thought, this boy is getting weirder and weirder by the minute.

Then it dawned me on how much common point humanity really has. Even though different strokes work for different folks, he was really trying, in his own awkward (in my eyes) way to reach out to others, acknowledging the age-old human need for friendship, assurance and comfort from a fellow human being. Aside from God.

If a person comes to you with a need, do you tell that person you’ll pray for him/her and take no further action? If a person needs an encouraging word, a word of assurance, do you simply tell him/her to pray about his/her situation? He put us here on earth in communities because we all need God with skin on.

So he really was waving at me. Next time if I see him again, I’ll be sure to wave back.