Music = Mnemonic

I love music. I always have. If I’m awake, you’ll rarely find me without music, unless I’m spending some quiet time with God. I suppose this aspect of my life comes down to being a creature of culture rather than being my parents’ child, coz I don’t remember music being a feature of our household. So it’s interesting to see what a huge part it plays in my life.

Anyway, I was thinking about some of the songs and their associated memories in my own life. Here’s the few I can remember:

  • Boyz II Men, ‘4 Seasons of Loneliness’; Celine Dion, Falling into You and ‘My Heart Will Go On’: Rachel, Christine and my GCSEs; playing downball after school with Gabe; making music with Dawen.
  • Rich Mullins, Songs: summer 1997 in Melbourne.
  • Aerosmith, ‘I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing’: summer 1998; watching Lethal Weapon 4 with Phil.
  • Edwin McCain, ‘I’ll Be’; Shawn Mullins, ‘Shimmer’; Paula Cole, ‘I Don’t Want To Wait’: Dawson’s Creek, Katie Holmes, my A-levels at boarding school.
  • U2, All That You Can’t Leave Behind; David Gray, White Ladder; Coldplay: Parachutes: Emma, Katie Holmes-a-like, and my first year at UCL; drinking lots and lots of tea with Sukhi.
  • Lifehouse, No Name Face: Smallville, my second year at UCL, Katie, going to Paris.
  • Jars of Clay, The Eleventh Hour; the Bridget Jones Soundtrack: Ally, Uganda, and falling in love; lying under the stars, waking up early; making a best friend.
  • Fono, Goesaroundcomesaround: leading cell group with Tim, my final year at UCL, Rachel.
  • Switchfoot, The Beautiful Letdown: my first year at LST.
  • Duke Special, My Villain Heart: Daren and Helen.
  • Jack Johnson, In Between Dreams and A Weekend at the Greek: fall/winter 2005, lots of movies and late night chats with Danie.
  • The Fray, The Reason EP; anything by Ben Folds or Guster: Laura, summer 2006, graduation.
  • John Mayer, Continuum: fall 2006, moving to Pasadena, starting at Fuller.
  • Sufjan Stevens, Songs for Christmas: Christmas 2006, Urbana, hanging out with Jeff and the CPC gang in St Louis.
  • Lifehouse, Who We Are: Tim and Tiff’s wedding, Colorado, summer 2007.

Wisdom & Concentration

My verses for the last couple weeks:

Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body. (Eccl. 12:12b)

A person’s steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand their own way? (Prov. 20:24)

Thankfully, paper #3 is done. I just have one more paper (7-page) to do by Saturday. I’m fairly impressed with myself, thankful to God and to my study-buddies for helping me concentrate. Somehow, I managed to reel out a 4-page book report in a weekend, a 15-page research paper on inerrancy in four days, and a 10-page research paper on New Testament ethics in three days.

Maybe my multitasking (i.e. writing papers while watching baseball, movies, and taking multiple breaks) really does divide my concentration …

Nah, any correlation is surely only chance. ☺


It’s been a week full of crazy conversations about relationships and being single and DTRs*.

Sure, there are advantages to being single.

But sometimes, as one friend put it, “All I want is to know; I just want to know that in the end, something will work out …”

And when it’s a subject this close to home, just saying “Trust God and he’ll pull through” just doesn’t quite cut it.


* Abbr. for “define the relationship”, which may be described as: “‘the talk’ when a male and female who’ve been seeing each other a bit decide if they’re officially a couple.” Go here for the “Unofficial [Christian] Singleness Vocab Guide”. You’ll be enlightened. Seriously.


In some exciting news (well, it’s exciting for me), I wrote my first song for the first time in a long time; it’s called “Muse/Claire”:

You’re my muse;
this song’s for you
and all you help me do.
You lift me when I’m blue …
When I see you,
the words come crashing out,
emotions singing loud;
you’ve got me spinning round.

You’re my muse;
I may be in love too
when I stand next to you
and your eyes see right through
my hiding place.
You hold my heart in your hands,
cradled gently
coz you understand …

This song’s for you
and only you.
This song’s for you;
there’s only you.

You may never see
the effect you have on me
and how you make me be.
So what I’ll do
is keep on writing,
keep on singing,
and hope that one day you’ll hear me
and you’ll know somehow …

It’s good to be able to write again.

Poor Wayfaring Stranger

Today, I spoke to:
  1. Laura, my wonderful Wheatonite friend, who I met randomly in London over a year ago. I hadn’t spoken to her in a few months, and it was so good to talk. She’s in North Carolina, will be heading back to New York, and then on to Illinois for the start of the semester. I haven’t seen her since last summer.
  2. Tim, my best buddy, who I met at church in London almost six years ago. I hadn’t spoken to him in a few weeks, so it was good to see how he was doing in his new job, and to share how things had been going for me the last few weeks. He’s a couple weeks into being a doctor in Kent, and I saw him a month and a half ago for his wedding in Colorado.
After talking to these two, I’m missing friends. The life of a global traveler, a third culture kid, isn’t unexciting: moving around, experiencing different cultures, cities and countries, making lots of new friends, trying out new lifestyles, visiting new churches, eating different food. And, it’s true, I have friends (and/or family) all over the world: Japan, Australia, Hong Kong, China, Sri Lanka, Uganda, Nigeria, France, Germany, the UK, and the US.

But … having friends everywhere means just that: they’re everywhere. I can’t just hang out with Tim and Tiff whenever I want, or Laura, or attend Pete and Jo’s wedding (tomorrow), or see my niece and nephews in Australia, or have my mom’s home cooking. Every time I transplant, I leave behind great friends and great memories, and though, thanks to the wonders of global communication technology, I can still keep in touch with friends and family, I miss being present with them.

Perhaps this is especially brought home at this time, when so many friends are going away for the end of the summer: Liz back to MI, Chuck back to OK, Matt & Sara to Fresno and Canada, Stephen to Argentina. To be sure, I’m missing their company.

But I’m also going to have a chance to get reacquainted with old friends: I’m heading up to Seattle at the end of August, when I’ll get to see Jason (baseball in London), Hannah (church in HK), and Phil (also church in HK), people I haven’t seen in years.

As the old song goes, “This world is not my home; I’m just a-passing through …”

One day—and I can’t wait for it—I’ll see all of these people in one place, and we can hang out for a very long time.

[Could be heaven. Could be the day I get married. Take your pick.]

A Broken Romantic

After my ‘poetic’ post a few days ago, I got a few responses from friends (and family) asking if I was in love and who was she, or extolling my romanticism. Actually, the post was inspired by a woman—one of my best female friends; it was in the context of a conversation with her that we reminisced about the time I sent her a poem that I’d been studying in an A-level English Lit class, coz I loved it so much (‘Words, Wide Night’).

As for the second question … I remember the days when I was young and impetuous; whenever I thought I was ‘falling in love’, I’d let myself go all-out. In those days, I suppose I was a romantic, buying gifts and flowers, hanging out so I could open doors for whoever I happened to be ‘in love’ with at the time. It feels like an age ago …

Now … I’m a little more jaded, more cynical, more aware of my limitations and how much it really, really hurts when things don’t work out the way we hope. Now, I’m (a little) more guarded, more broken and put-back-together:

The broken clock is a comfort; it helps me sleep tonight
Maybe it can stop tomorrow from stealing all my time
I am here still waiting though I still have my doubts
I am damaged at best, like you’ve already figured out

I’m falling apart, barely breathing
With a broken heart that’s still beating
In the pain, I find healing
In your name, I find meaning
So I’m holding on, I’m holding on, I’m holding on
Barely holding on to you

The broken locks were a warning: you got inside my head
I tried my best to be guarded; I’m an open book instead
I still see your reflection inside of my eyes
That are looking for purpose; they’re still looking for life

I’m hanging on another day
Just to say what you will throw my way
And I’m hanging on to the words you say
You said that I will be okay

The broken lights on the freeway left me here alone
I may have lost my way home; haven’t forgotten my way home

I’m falling apart, barely breathing
With a broken heart that’s still beating
In the pain, I find healing
In your name, I find meaning
So I’m holding on, I’m holding on, I’m holding on
Barely holding on to you

Lifehouse, ‘Broken’

I was so sure …

“Maybe you’ll get married before you graduate,” my friend joked. I laughed, my mind going back to two years ago …


On August 7, 2005, Ally and I got back together for the last time. Of course, we thought it was the last time because we’d be getting married—that was the basis on which we got back together. We’d dated on and off for three years, we’d known each other for four; and we’d exhausted the other options, it seemed—there was no more time for ‘let’s just see what happens’.

Of course, in retrospect, this is not the best reason to get back together with a view to getting married. But retrospectively, I know that it didn’t work out. Looking back on my thoughts that week, though, I found myself alarmed at how sure I was about our decision. The conviction and confidence I had that nothing could sway my decision is shown up by the fact that we didn’t last two more months. I had a sense of peace about committing the rest of my life to this person that, two months later, became: “[we] broke up (again) tonight. It felt clear. It was right. We both knew it.”

I wasn’t in the right place at the time; I learned the hard way about the fickleness of emotions.

I’m still learning. And probably will be for many, many years …


P.S. I was reading 1 Chronicles this morning. In 26:32, it reads, “Jeriah had two thousand seven hundred relatives …” (and that’s just the men!). For those of you know how small the Christian world is, I’m employing this verse as proof that we might just be the new Israel. ☺