Monthly Archives: July 2011

Ticks and checkboxes


As I crept into my bed tonight, all my energy seemed to be completely sapped from my body. I found myself lying face down, head stuffed in my pillow…praying. And my prayer was simple: “Lord, give me rest”.

Next week I have my Visa application appointment (on Tuesday). The amount of papers I’ve had to collate for this application is ridiculous – there’s no other word for it. I swear I’ve printed enough bits of paper to equal a small rainforest (and for someone who loves trees, this is very sad). But this paper-collecting process has been straining – there are so many things to check, double-check, triple-check – and every time I do a check, there’s something I find that needs to be fixed. That was the case the evening too. Something in the back of my mind said “check the papers”. To which I replied, “Oh shuttit – I’ve checked them to death. Anymore checking and those papers will be dead!”…but still, that little something said, “Check the papers”…to which I eventually replied, “OK!…but first I want to watch some TV, so back off.”

Thank goodness that little something stuck in the back of my mind, because in the first minute of (re)checking my application papers, I found a small detail that wasn’t right and I have to try to fix it tomorrow.

But I’m so tired now of all the details – all the checkboxes, all the ticks, all the back-and-forth, all the black and white, all the bold or italicised words, all the small print, all the little asterisks. I swear – buying a house was easier than this – one document, one signature, and presto!

Dog tails and hanging heads


If I were a dog, I’d be walking around with my tail between my legs right now. My current demeanor: slightly embarrassed, head hanging.

Basically, my good old friend PMS has been hanging around, and he’s been kicking the emotional crap out of me for the past few days. Funny how I know PMS so well, yet don’t always manage to turn the tables on him and kick him where it hurts most?!

I’ve been looking forward to a trip to Namibia with Mani in August, and last night something cropped up that threatened to unsettle my plans for the trip. Instead of maintaining composure and broadening my smile (as opposed to letting it turn upside down), I let the lid off all my frustrations, worries and emotions – and what poured forth were tears, incomprehensible sentences and more tears. I’m sure PMS was loving this – sitting in the corner, laughing his head off at me – he’d gotten his way, again.

So I woke up pretty early this morning in an attempt to see the people with the answers to my problem. I waited two hours to see them, functioning on only 4 hours’ sleep and one bad cup of instant coffee. I saw the people with the answers. They didn’t give me the answer I needed. So actually, they’re the people without the answers. (At this point, the angel on my left shoulder is reminding me that only He has the answers….obviously).

I head toward the car, my dad walking beside me. I notice that he’s getting older, and he’s struggling to walk a little – it warms my heart to think that he came with me in the cold this morning and sat with me for two hours – knowing his daughter needed her Dad’s hand, even though she didn’t want to admit it (and even though the expression on her face gave it away).

I reached the car and realised – ok…so the trip to Namibia isn’t going to happen. I had two choices – scream out to the cold morning air and declare how unfair the world is, how much bureaucracy sucks (well, it does suck), how sad I am that I can’t look forward to my trip. But I decided to do the opposite – simply…accept things the way they are and choose to still be happy. I decided to tell Mani the holiday was not going to happen, and try to get his money back that he’d paid for the flights.

I got to my folks’ place, gave my mom a quick rundown of what had happened at the offices of the people with the answers, and then checked my mail. And there, in black and white, was an email containing the answer I’d wanted in the first place, from someone I hadn’t expected it from! The first words out of my mouth were, “Thank you God, thank you God.”

How…HOW….how is it possible that He could love me so much that He’d continue to be so loving….so gracious…towards me? Me with my tear-strewn face, PMS-riddled emotions, and often pessimistic look at things…how could He still come through for me?!

And that’s why I feel embarrassed. It’s not that I doubted Him, it’s just that I crossed the (risky) line from leaning on Him to leaning on myself. I’m being a typical human being, constantly running into the same wall and then being surprised when I hit my head. Changing your thinking and your personality takes time – it’s a journey that’s not complete within 1 hour or even 3. It’s a slow process, but it’s a good one. And eventually, you will reach the desired destination. God’s gracious and patient enough to continue to hold my hand as I try my utmost to change these silly parts of myself – I just pray that the people who surround me have the same patience and graciousness to bear with me as I learn a new way of living.

When I got home, all the events of last night and this morning were concluded and put to rest with the following email I’d received:

Dear Carmen

Here is your word for today:

Verse:           Psalm 103:13

As a father has compassion for his children, so the Lord has compassion for those who fear Him.

– You have a wonderful heavenly Father.
– He has a heart full of compassion for you.
– It’s like the compassion you often feel for your children.
– Just greater!

Lord, thank You for the compassion You have towards me. I receive Your compassion now. Amen.