Thursday, August 7, 2014

Deadlines are not Dead Ends

Going through this intense period of a summer semester programme jam packed with syllabus and curriculums usually carried over a year, I'm beginning to see reality at its harshest. How students, falter, crumble and breakdown under the weight of these assignments and weekly deadlines. It's crazy, to see them first-hand and to  hear stories of how students are sinking deeper into this myriad of "to-do's", gasping for air, in desperate need for help and attention they do not seek. Not unlike the two suicide cases of what happened earlier this year in my college. It just brings back so much unwanted memories, and coming from the similar background of fighting depression, I despise the familiarity.

It's only hours ago that I was standing face to face with another relentless deadline, hands frozen due to the lack of blood flowing  in, mind numb due to the intense focus of submitting it on time, body tired due to the lack of sleep, eyes red and swollen due to constant straining between the laptop screen and the mountain of books... who said student life was easy? Even desperate times of rushing to the toilet carried guilt along with it.

This however, did not stop me from thinking about the rest of students, similarly working through the night hoping that something will come out of their effort. Yet there are those who gives themselves too high an expectation without the room for a breather or improvement, escalating the anxiety within themselves, making the fall even harder if or when they do fall. It's never a nice thought or feeling.

You see, I actually missed my deadline this morning (it's bad and I apologized) due to a technical malfunction in the computer system while I was submitting it. Everything within me froze, it was like life was blown out of me and all I could think was "what next" or "what now". This 'zombie effect' takes over and before you can say "it's gonna be ok", guilt, fear, anxiety and every other noun that goes along with that. You pray and pray harder, think and think harder, to come up with the best reasons or excuse to tell your tutor of why the late submission. I immediately sent my tutor (who happens to be the most coolest tutor I've ever known, she's a biker/rocker chick with a whole wardrobe of black leather and red clothes with bleached hair who happens to be half Spanish, half Japanese with a 'Dr.' title due to her research on 'Music and Sexuality' while gaining awards for it, I told you she was cool!) an email to apologize, but either the internet or my blackboard was down that even sending an email took ages.

You don't know what to think or do. I walked all the way to class even though it was a classless day for me just to apologize in person, praying and debating on what the outcome may be. The best scenario, she shows grace and gives me a chance, the worst scenario, she fails me and my whole degree would be doomed, along with the money, time and mental capacity that came along with me to UK.

The former happened, and for that I'm eternally grateful. I guess we give grace because we've received it and that was what she showed me. Her respect to her students is something I've never seen before, and her honour towards people just reflects her heart of gold. It's really hard to describe. I pray that she'll continue to be who she is, because she's definitely more 'Kingdom' than most people I know.

So here I am reflecting on this day of colourful events and it's not even evening yet. I guess though my mind can wander into a whole new dangerous dimension, when fronted with a kind act, can immediately come back to rationality. That life is not just about deadlines and setbacks, but about freedom, joy and as many 'second-chances' as you need. Isn't that what grace is all about? I got to witness a glimpse of it in the most unlikely person, kicking me off guard to see that God is and will always be present in every situation...

Pulling ourselves through this myriad of deadlines
We find ourselves sinking faster than we can say 'help'
Negative thoughts subtly invades
Taking over LIFE's joy, peace and rationale

Thinking we're not good enough
Comparing ourselves to the likes of others
We push ourselves into the walls corner
Helpless with hands in surrender

Only to realize that situations are not as perceived
That the power of what negative thoughts can bring
Is the control of power unlike any other
Permitting the 'killer' called depression to come and take over

If only we looked to our Higher Power
And to Him surrender
Our doubts, fear and negative thoughts
His presence taking over our inner demons

Being dead is not the solution
Was never was and never will be
Being alive we can bring resolution
To the many questions in this world lingering

So whether it's a deadline or a failure
A lost or the lack of satisfaction
Know that time can redeem
An eternal road and not a dead end

When you pull through and keep walking
Looking back you'll see
That that moment where it seemed insurmountable
Is just but a speck in your life's timeline

There's more to life
And there's more to you
You are who you are
And not what you do

So kick back, relax and chill
Take that moment of silence
Or go shopping and have fun
Life is what you make out of it

This I learned through the grace given
Broadening my perspectives and changing my worldview
I see that deadlines are not dead ends
And my worries are just but a tiny speck in His Kingdom of liberty

PS: Not saying that we should miss deadlines, but things would never go your way 100%, do your work, be on time (something I myself need to learn), but don't forget that there's so much more in this world when you turn away from your pen, books and laptop, and bask in the glory of natural creation, just like how it was meant to be in the Garden of Eden.

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