i never really do the "this is how my day was" sort of posts, but today was a lovely day in a simple way, so i'm just going to record it for myself.
Yesterday night's cell group meeting was transformative. The presence of God was a thick cloud. Holy, holy, and I knew I was royalty and deserved nothing less. Holy, holy, I wanted to be a strong woman for God. I wept in God's presence as soon as I paused to let the words I was singing sink in: "greater are You / over the worst of pain". All the way home I was listening to the voice recording I had taken of cell group, going back to the praise and worship session, and letting God fill my heart to the brim even in the train. His sweet song was at the tip on my lips as I walked home.
At night, cell group and its songs and the message kept playing over and over in my head, and I found myself chuckling. Laughing at the thought of "greater are You / over the worst of pain", "You dance over me / while I am unaware" and other verses that were extremely strange to laugh at. And I realised: I usually say that I cannot receive the gift of holy laughter, but that's not true. I simply receive it in a different way. When my pastor touches my churchmates with the power of God and everyone's rolling on the floor laughing, I'm just standing there like a rock. But Pastor Ming shared once that holy laughter is simply one's natural response to the joy of God. When one encounters that touch, it comes bubbling out of them and they laugh in pure holy joy. And I guess this, too, is it. Me thinking about the astounding magnitude of God, that He covers all sin and all pain, and laughing in lighthearted worship.
It took me a very long while to fall asleep, because I was still tingling with the excitement of His presence. I was singing, praying, because it was an outflow. Sleep was the last thing on my mind. I eventually fell asleep at about 4am, which worried me because I had a morning wedding to attend today, and I definitely didn't want to be late.
But God was good today. He woke me up at 7.30am, half an hour before my alarm. I was So. Awake. In a peaceful way. I couldn't believe it was 7.30, and because I refused to get up so early, I continued to laze around in bed until I was later than expected. (Tsk, taking a gift from God and throwing it aside in favour of my sleeping-in habits.)
Also, I'd been spending the past few days thinking about whether to go for PinkDot or not. I felt like going for it made a very big statement, not all of which was true of my stance. There is more nuance to my stance than the simple act of going for PinkDot can convey. Would my going be misinterpreted as condoning? Would my not going be misinterpreted as intolerance? I told Sau last night that I was still unsure, because I felt like these events tended to divide rather than unite, and while I would try to change the mindsets of the people around me within my means, putting myself in this public situation potentially made a statement about me that I wasn't willing to back. Kevin agreed; he said while he supported what PinkDot stood for, he mightn't be too keen on getting himself into this whole public political thing. Sau said it was about making a statement to the government, especially this year where foreigners are banned from participating in PinkDot, that locals, too, cared for the rights of LGBT individuals. I did see where she was coming from, but the turning point was when I was suddenly reminded of my dearest spiritual mentee this morning. As I fixed my outfit in the mirror, Serena – and the way she loves – came to my mind. Serena is such a blessing to the LGBT individuals in my school because she loves them wholeheartedly. She is wholeheartedly a lover of Jesus, and wholeheartedly a friend to many. In that instant I decided I would go. I immediately texted Sau to say I was going. To my surprise, Kevin said "me too". Guess that settled it then!
Got dressed and made up; got a GrabHitch to Ang Mo Kio Methodist Church for $14 (from PIONEER!), which was very reasonable. Arrived half an hour early, and the bridegroom himself, my former cell group leader Daniel Lee, greeted me, and we had a nice long chat with his brother Sam (who is also a very good friend). It was so lovely seeing everyone again.
It was lovely seeing Daniel finally getting married. A holy marriage between two strong persons of God is a wonderful thing. Daniel has been a very important leader in my life: as his cell group member, I spent every Friday night at his house for years, I was always able to share my heart openly with him, and I also appreciate having had the opportunity to witness him walk through various stages in his life. I remember Daniel once telling me that he feels it's very important to have children, so that we will understand our Heavenly Father's love for us. As a lady said while praying for them today, "let them walk through the rest of their lives together gazing upon You."
So it was a very lovely morning witnessing a holy event with my spiritual siblings, hearing Pastor Bobby preach and sharing my ngoh hiang with Alister and sitting with my old cell group members and seeing Auntie and Uncle so proud and also feeling so proud for Sam, and also being able to share about my new cell group and my Yale-NUS CF experience with a girl who's going to become a cell group leader soon.
Then I changed from my white dress to a pink one (there was a dress code for the wedding, but I wouldn't be caught dead wearing white on PinkDot day), and left for Adlin's Hari Raya lunch thingy. I arrived pretty late, but the rendang was still great (and not spicy!), and the Yale-NUS people were chilling out and chatting. It was so lovely to be among all these people I was close to and /or were generally comfortable with, Kevin Rachel Abel etc., because I generally feel quite awkward at gatherings but this one was really comfortable and natural, and I enjoyed being in the presence of these people and just chatting about jobs and Orientation at Yale (still?!) and things. I was also pleasantly surprised and grateful to see Nat there. It was wonderful that she was there, and that she appeared very much at ease. (Unfortunately no pictures of the afternoon, just an instastory video that doesn't really do anything.)
We left Adlin's place at about 4.30, and the bunch of us who were going for PinkDot walked over to Nat's house, getting a corrugated board and vanguard sheet from a stationery shop along the way. Abel and I picked out all the pink things in the shop (party hats, paper bags, ribbons, balloons) and tried to think of ways to cover Kevin's stupid green tee. (He declared that he'd wear green to PinkDot and I still don't understand why.) In Nat's pretty room we used cheap nail polish to cover the vanguard sheet in glitter – a terrible idea, because the fumes were crazy and her room didn't have a fan – and cut the corrugated board to form a sign that said "LOCAL & VOCAL". (no foreigners allowed? no problem!) As we left Nat's house we were discussing the perplexing question of why people pee in HDB lifts (don't you live in the same block??? can't you just pee at home??? or find a secluded tree????), and at one point one of us made a casual comment that perhaps we are all actually passed out from the fumes in Nat's room and just lying on the floor, and only hallucinating that we're walking to the MRT station. And Kevin was like, well in that case that'd be a pretty well-coordinated hallucination. And Abel was like, no Kevin, maybe you're the only one that's passed out, and you're just imagining the rest of us here when we're actually all in Nat's room trying to wake you up right now.
I'm going to miss YNC chatter heh.
Reached Hong Lim Park at 6.30pm and walked right into the Class of 2017 Yale-NUS crowd, because they'd camped themselves right at the MRT exit. The premise within the boundaries had reached full capacity, so we just hung around beyond the barricades. I mean, not much happened in particular. Sam Rui sang; Nathan Hartono sang; we ate our snacks and Abel and I casually talked about how our presence at PinkDot wasn't actually making a difference at all, since we weren't even being officially counted with the crowd within the barricades, and who was actually going to care about a bunch of people gathering once a year anyway? Policymakers? Psh. Perhaps we were just all trying to feel better about ourselves, feeling like we were doing our part to make a change, but actually just wanting to be a part of the collective effervescence. Perhaps the government is happy to let us make our way to this crowded Speakers' Corner, feel like we're participating in politics and being active in voicing our stand, but not actually making so much as a dent in the policymaking arena. Well we stayed anyway. After all, for me it wasn't about the politics but about the LGBT individuals that I know, and the message I want to send across to LGBT individuals as a Christian.
We couldn't really see what was happening beyond the barricades, so we just chilled out. Our time there wasn't terribly special or exciting, but it was nice nontheless (it's always nice chilling with YNC people, and the great thing about it is that we don't need to be doing anything at all). I bumped into my brother and his girlfriend, which was amusing considering the number of people there. Mark was wearing Kat's shirt, and Kat was wearing my mum's top.
Went for dinner with some of them at the hawker centre, chatted about whatever, went home. I don't know why I typed this last sentence, but I want to remember it. Yale-NUS has become such a comfortable space, such a family, that even just hanging out is a time of peace that is well-cherished. Nothing ra-ra about it, just one another's company. I mean, today was pretty chill. I wasn't always super engaged in the conversation; I was just around people that I've missed and am comfortable with. Maybe that alone made it such a great day, so lovely that I'm writing this long blog post that's taken me a couple of hours. Tomorrow's going to be another lovely chill day with my new cell group: after service we're going to stay back for Malcolm's singing competition finals, and go watch a movie. Thank you, God, for community.