February, March 2017, edited July 2017
I’ve used this word-joke many times before *I can see my previous joke victims rolling their eyes* :P, but it’s true every time I use it, so here I go again 😛 In the past several years,
I’ve met a whole lot of AWE-FULL people …
Because they make me feel FULL of awe, not just some awe! 😛
This picture shows a little of how I feel. They are my shooting stars.
There is sooo much beauty in people and diversity (what I write here is overlaps with what I wrote here. I know my whole blog is similar to itself haha #Self-AwareAtLeastSomewhatBlog) – everyone has something valuable to contribute.
My shooting stars, It honestly makes my heart so FULL with appreciation, gazing at you stunning creatures sometimes. You inspire me. When I want to be a better person – a better me – I think of you (E.g. there are particular people I think of when I want to try and be kinder, more aware, curious, knowledgeable, assertive, loving etc.).
I’ve found that in different seasons of my life, God allows different people to cross my path, and I learn different things from each of you. Sometimes, the lessons I learn from the people around me become more deeply impressed upon me than those I learn from books or the internet –
Theoretical character beauties like love, passion for social justice, intelligence, critical thinking, creativity, humour ETC. morph into flesh and become ALIVE, are given personality and they breathe in all their winsome glory before me!
No wonder the God who yearns for us to know Him came down to us in human form.
Here are a few of my Shooting Stars:
NOTE I: I am only showing a few so if you are not in this and you know you have inspired me, it’s not you, it’s me. You can look at Soul Snapshots for some others.
NOTE II: I don’t want to be unrealistic in my portrayals of people –
I am only highlighting the positives in the people below –
of course we multi-faceted beings all have many imperfections and it is dangerous to be blind to them ...
but the beauty is still Very Real! Beauty and goodness exists among us!
Flowers and thorns can exist within the very same person.
It is important to celebrate the flowers ❤
The Venn Community.
Last year, I interned with the radiant Venn Foundation for around seven and a half months. One representative instance of their community I’d like to pull out: we hosted guests each week, and one night, a man named John Fox came over. We sat next to each other at the dinner table. With every word he spoke, I remember feeling like there was a concentration gradient. On one end: maturity, wisdom, knowledge, love, interesting mind …. At the other end: me! XD Haha!
You know when you are in the presence of real quality of character, and you can feel your own smallness in comparison?? … I love this feeling! =D Because being around people of such calibre really inspires me to grow, to better myself!
Afterwards, talking to fellow intern Paul, he was like, ‘Man, I feel like I should read a book. Or a few theses. Maybe even writing one.’
The overarching question of the internship was, ‘What does it mean to live a wise life?’ (Possibly one of the most important questions in the world). Their culture promoted being still and knowing God, listening and attending to Him, reflection, the love of knowledge, the pursuit of character and full personhood, being an active member of society; making the world a better place starting from their corner of the Earth, love for NZ culture and land, community, fun. I really appreciated observing people who were so rooted, holistic in living … and interesting. They were interested in so many things! They enjoyed a variety of things ranging from Fyodor Dostoevsky to going out on the water to political philosophy to being silly with their children.
This is my little big brother Chris, the reason I found out about Venn. Passionate and interested about MANY things, when he speaks, he transports me out of my own little world and into a vast universe of wonders (not to mention laughter) that I cannot reach on my own (does that make him a space ship? …. Yes. Yes it does. :P), and I am alive and in awe. #inspiring
Image courtesy of Facebook.
Added in July 2017: I’ve freshly surfaced from exams. During my study breaks, I went on Facebook a LOT (an embarrassing amount). People’s Facebook posts emerge from what’s in their hearts and minds. Over those three weeks within my hermit psychology-studying bubble, the bigness of some of my friends’ inner selves and values overflowed through my screen into my own isolated, inner world – my exam-coloured days were sprinkled through with little bubbles of inspiration in the form of tiny Facebook tidbits on social justice, feminism, theology, culture, wisdom, our human stories and issues, humour and interesting facts! Haha! (THANK YOU! =D) Here, a virtual culture composed of Facebook-vocal friends blessed me … even though they probably had no idea (apart from the numerous notifications they got saying that I liked their posts lmao :P).
Youth group. #PYCWhaaaaat!
I joined my church’s youth group leadership team in the second half of last year, and BRUHHHHH (<– Vocabulary my youth group taught me. You know you’re in the older generation when one of your youth is communicating with you, and you have to Google, ‘What does *the word they used* mean?’ xD I now know what ‘mems’ (memories!) and ‘bars’ (compliment used when one attempts a rap-rhyme :P) mean!)
These. Kids. Are. Amaaaaazing. Young, but mature in number of ways. Some are kinder, more inclusive, considerate, non-judgemental, down-to-earth, humbler etc. than many people my own age! They live a lot of values I respect. I’ve loved being with people of a different age group and similar-but-different culture to what I’m used to and enjoying the beauty of who they are. For example, I don’t think I’d interacted with a ball for extended periods of time since high school, and now I’m in an environment where we need helmets (credit to Casey for that joke)! What are these strange, spherical objects headed my way haha?! (Compare this with some music friends recently, ‘The only sports we play … is theatresports!’ XD ‘I don’t know the rules of games … if I was a commentator, I’d say the wrong thing, on purpose!’ xD). It’s incredible how much community a ball can bring.
I love watching how our kids interact – so much genuine care and real friendship (one of them once shared that at school, the older are protective of the other), part of each others’ lives (one called another to come hang out at 3 am in the morning, and the receiver was like, ‘Whaaaaaaat’ hahaha!), enjoying the specific flavours of each other that comes from knowing – I wrote in my diary from feeling the family vibes, ‘This is what church is meant to be like.’ We call each other, ‘Fam.’ Also, they’re flippin’ badass. I remember seeing some of them walk, the way they carry themselves with confidence, dignity, respect; one of the girls reminds me of an Amazonian princess. Some of them play sport outside of youth group, and I remember being on the opposite team of two of them during a night-time capture-the-flag … I was thinking how man this must be what the French felt like when facing the All Blacks at the 2011 Rubgy World Cup 😛 … and the HILARITY. The fascinating way they interact with each other and objects brings me so much JOY. We went on a boat ride recently, and the boys began taking pictures of each of themselves in the same pose, joking about how they should all make it their profile pictures, or making up a game (they do this a lot) of how to bounce the ball and not get it into the water, and it escalated quickly (‘Has to be higher than head!’ ‘With your eyes closed!’) (Jokingly of course).
They know how to have fuuuun and how to love and beeee together, and isn’t that part of what makes life worth living? #Inspiring
I love the meaningful conversations during small group time.
I love the wisdom-based discussions during youth group in general. The words that come out of my fellow youth leaders are like ‘goads’ or ‘firmly embedded nails’ #Ecclesiastes.
My fellow youth leaders are sooooo quality #SooooAwwwwwe-full 😉 On the inside and out. Compassionate, intelligent, wise, deep, fun, humorous, genuine – who really care about people and the youth. Diverse, but one in Christ. #TeamworkMakesTheDreamWork I have a lot of aroha and respeKt in my heart for you guys ❤ It’s an honour serving along people like you.
But I will speak of youth leaders in general below because I’d like to mention …
… Ponui Junior Camp!
Ponui Island Camps are a special place and time in the hearts of many all around New Zealand. This was my first time as a leader … and BRUHHH. I was only there for about a week, so this is the shortest of all Shooting Stars featured, but I found it beautiful enough to want to include.
I actually hardly got to know the leaders as we were focused on the kids, but this was my experience based on approximately one week: These people were genuinely great leaders. In terms of leadership, in some ways I am more naturally a person in the background, so to be surrounded by so many people with such leadership ability and mana, married with beauty of character and maturity that especially comes with being a leader and the responsibility of that (people rely on you. You have less wiggle room to mess up), who genuinely care about kids, was inspiring. People so different to me; sporty, assertive, physical, fun with kids – I loved it. One can learn theories of how to lead, but seeing it in the flesh is its own kind of education. The culture of the camp (and youth groups in general, when done right).
It’s an island physically, but it’s also an island of culture, space and time, where certain values are upheld and these help to set us free to be more of who we were made to be. It’s amazing what you can grow as in community – in both articulatable ways and osmosis, when the culture is so centred around Christ’s values; a culture of love, wisdom and integrity. I wrote in my diary, ‘I can see part of why we were made to live in community – iron sharpens iron. We are all a piece of something bigger – a movement bigger than ourselves, we’re just a little piece of it. That aspect of teamwork, and together each doing our part a greater mission is accomplished. And also the way – unity in diversity.’
And the kids ❤ Getting to know them (I’m hanging out with some of them soon! :D), hearing their stories, how can this not soften your heart towards youth?
People Who Care About Important Things …
Recently, a bunch of us got together to make music … No music was made, but instead we (read: they. I am currently bad at articulating things in person, especially without preparation; I am working on improving) had super-hilarious, super-stimulating conversation about things that matter. Not only are they mature in character (understanding, thoughtful, all that good stuff), but they are inspiring in (found this in my diary:) WHAT THEY CARE ABOUT (which is such a large part of who they are), how they interact with the world and each other, their Voice (intelligent, informed opinions), (and they also happen to be socially awesome and emotionally intelligent) etc. etc. … together it was just a beautiful time of people knowing how to BE WITH each other, to enjoy each others’ presence … and to speak of things ranging all the way from Harry Potter and TV shows to politics/the education system/social issues (and these things even bridging when we decided that Jacinta Ardern was in all the harry Potter houses and that’s how you get to be the perfect human being (or something like that hahaha)). One of them was, at that time, part of a documentary on the homeless youth in our country for her Masters of Human Rights. (Added in July – two of them are studying to be clinical psychologists, with a third trying for it next year, because they genuinely want to help people. Given the fact that NZ was recently reported by UNICEF as having the highest youth suicide rate in the developed world, I am glad that people such as this exist).
Intelligent, informed, compassionate, passionate about the issues facing our country and world, and want to get involved. #Inspiring
These are a couple of other people who inspire me in a similar way:
There are women that I think of when I want to be a better person. These women have shown me what it means to be a Real Woman. Women of love, light, laughter … real beauty. Some are deep soul sistas, some are stars I watched ignite my sky for a little while. They all have unique personalities and different strengths (#DIVERSITY) – beauty does not have a single face. I am not saying a person should have all these qualities at all; these are different things I admire about different people. I won’t name names because I won’t be able to name all, but I will simply use the word ‘she’ or ‘her’ to describe some of the various things I admire about them. #Proverbs31 xD
She radiates depth. When you are with her, you can feel the rich, quality substance that she is made of.
When she is with you, she is really with you. She is present. Although she herself is a butterfly, she draws other people out of themselves. Whether it be by deep listening, attentive to you in your wholeness, or by sassy, delighted giggling at your jokes, she makes people feel like they are valued – because she is genuinely interested in them; she genuinely values people.
As a friend described her (the gist), she knows more than the entire table, and yet she was so gracious, humble, down-to-earth and interested in everyone.
A lioness who is fiercely intelligent, informed, a deep critical thinker – she is on fire for things that matter.
Her passionate curiosity, broadness and depth of mind, soul and heart, intelligence and well-readness brings me on mind-adventures! Her interestedness make her SO DANG INTERESTING! She makes this world come alive. She contributes to the lives of others.
Her Voice is valuable, her thoughts are solid. When she speaks, she doesn’t take away; she adds and multiplies.
Her understanding and thoughtfulness is as refreshing as water on the rocks (:P) (that was a drink reference not a nature reference …. :P).
Her gentleness and considerateness are a warm glow.
She dives deeply into the pool of life, she swims closely with others.
She couldn’t complete her sentences with me because her heart was breaking for the pain of another.
It’s not simply that her heart is angered by injustice, that her tears fall for others’ suffering – it’s that she acts on it. Her deeds reflect her words.
Her words and deep reflectiveness make others reflect.
Her wisdom sheds light.
She makes me see things differently. Often betterly.
Her authenticity shares life.
She shares her weakness to strengthen others.
Her humility highlights her beauty.
Her deep love is more precious than gold; priceless.
Her intentionality makes her values visible.
Her observant-ness, perceptiveness, reflectiveness – bears fruit of insight.
Her mouth is a poem.
Her arms embrace and welcome diversity.
Her courage and compassion brings her to places not many dare to go.
She is courageous, but not foolish. Careful, but seizes the day. (Part of carefulness is to seize the day – it would be a careless waste not to!)
She delves into darkness because she wants to be with those who are snowed under by it.
She doesn’t care what people think when it doesn’t matter, and she does when it does matter.
She knows how to enjoy the little things, and she shares this with others.
She knows how to enjoy the big things, and she shares this with others.
She is flawed, but she is real, and she tries.
She is a good friend, daughter, sister – she values and puts effort in her relationships.
A hard-worker, she is faithful in all she does.
It’s not just what she does – it’s how she does it – strong in integrity, laced in love.
When she falls, she picks herself back up, or asks others to help her get back up – she is Hashtag Resilience and Perseverance.
She stands up for what it’s right, remains faithful, even when it’s hard.
She stands up for others and for herself.
She keeps her eyes fixed on what is important.
She is competent and responsible.
She is a leader, who leads by serving others.
Confident, but not about glorifying herself; she is the embodiment of C. S. Lewis’,
‘Don’t shine so others can see you. Shine so that through you, others can see Him.’
The girl knows how to have fun.
Her smile is pure and selfless, a genuine delight.
She IS an adventure.
She is. Frikkin’. HILARIOUS!!!! Hahaa! (Even thinking of her makes my heart chortle). Her humour is a machete to cut out darkness and in its place plants trees of life, light, love and relationship.
There is more passion in her little finger than in than a hundred people without passion (… lol. xD #MetaphorFail #YouGetTheDrift #IAdmirePassion :P).
She has honed her gifts through learning, hard work, and practice, and these precious gifts are a gift to others.
Her generosity has blessed many lives.
A softness gentles within her, a radiating light. This softness is amongst the strongest substances I know.
She dances like a tree blown around in the wind … It’s pretty darnededly awesome to behold haha.
She loves God. She loves people.
Her integrity runs deep; she beholds herself to God, not human. She is defined in all her inner being by Christ, and this permeates her.
When she leaves, it is as if the air is lighter, the fragrance is sweeter, and the world is a better place simply because she is in it.
ETCETERA, ETCETERA, ETCETERA.
You may have noticed that I use the word ‘watch.’ The absolute last thing I want to do is to leave anyone with the false impression that I have a billion friends, or anything like that – these are my shooting stars; many of them shoot by. Although I’ve had the privilege of basking in their radiance, and my heart appreciates it soo much … many friendships have been seasonal. Not because of conflict or anything like that, but life. And often my deep appreciation is one-sided, but that doesn’t lesson my appreciation at all.
‘… Because I knew you, I have been changed for good.’