Right now, I'm not sure what I'm feeling. I should feel angry but amazingly, I feel rather alright. I should have slammed the phone down in anger having not been able to get through the call after multiple tries, but instead I took it in a rather good stride. I should be extremely upset but I think perhaps to summon up the emotions would have been more tiring/painful than to just let things be, at least for now.
This has been/will be a busy week and the tight schedule will overflow all the way till next thursday and I hope it ends there. Sunday, I went, for the first time, to Boon Lay to do some assurance of salvation materials with new converts who are mostly foreign workers from a nearby site. I wasn't feeling too up to it that day but I went anyway, since I promised to. As usual, God has His special way of perking people up whenever the Word is brought in and His Spirit in around. Indeed, His Word is alive. Yet, with the same mouth that confessed His faithfulness and sovereignty, it also, especially this week, uttered accusations at God, for not answering a prayer as simple as keeping them away. Yesterday, I was left with just a little more than 4 bucks in my bank account and when I wanted to buy food, I realized I couldn't. This might sound a tad too pitiful but when I stared at the ATM screen, I was quite sure I took longer than usual, staring at that meagre amount. But I know God will provide. In a timely manner, today is pay day. However, it must have just taken a flick of God's fingers to keep those people at bay, yet that did not happen time and again. Anger and exasperation crept in, even after I had fully experienced God's provision and faithfulness all these years - He never once failed to be my help in my times of need. So it was a confused mind I had up there these couple of days. As if to remind me my folly and distrust, just this morning, God reminded me that, indeed, I had forgotten what He had done for me in the past and had allowed a huge chasm of doubt to separate Him and I this time round. I felt guilty, yet I still could not dispel the helplessness I felt within.
Back to my week. So Monday morning I brought students down to Dunman High, which is now located far away at Mount Sinai. The reward for the morning was, however, a nice and cosy breakfast at Starbucks, tucked away in idyllic Holland Village on a rainy, misty and perhaps a little blue Monday morning. I enjoyed every bit of it, imbibing my food and beverage slowly and reading my book and Bible. Reality and monotony revisited when I had to go back to school do clock my hours. Then I went for my usual 15km run and end up preparing work for the deadlines littered all over the rest of this week and next.
Tuesday morning I went to school to clock in more hours and work, only to have to bring students down to Dunman High again in the afternoon. I spent the afternoon there preparing the emcee script for Saturday's concert. And mind you, I have 2 emcee-ing jobs to do on Saturday - one for my university friend's wedding and the other is to prepare the student emcees for the concert on Saturday. In fact, I actually have 2 weddings to attend on Saturday, but by the look of it, I don't think I can attend the other one. Had it not been for a helpful colleague, I would have to split myself up between emcee-ing at a wedding and helping out at the rehearsals at Victoria Concert Hall. So I feel its quite a lot of work done here for the concert. Yet just today, I felt like I was suddenly made to buy 80 tickets and before I could say 'What?!', the phone rang again and the voice on the other end already wanted to send the tickets down to me! And all I did was to say I'll try to get more students to buy but I did not say I'll grab all 80! As to how I will deal with this, I shall not write it here, lest the people involved get angry. Anyhow, I was not too pleased tickets were just shoved down my throat like this. The rest of Tuesday night was spent swimming and doing up the scripts. And though I was feeling down already, I met up with my ex-tuition kid and listened to him talk about army woes. I thought to myself 'Woah, I'm up to my neck in sh*t and here I am listening to another's problems.' But thankfully, God used that fellowship to cheer me up a little.
Wednesday morning - showed up in school for a meeting and was arrowed more work. But I'm already feeling the strain from all that's happening at home and having to deal with it incessantly, plus the camp this whole week and concert at the end of the week. But I did not voice out, for I did not want people to think I was shirking my responsibility. But the truth is, I think they do not know I do have legitimate commitments outside school - the camp, that is. Not my personal problems. This line I still know how to draw. So anyway, the rest of today was spent rather fruitfully, thank God. I coughed out some scheme of work for next year. Then I went for my run and had dinner with my brother - a rather sumptuous one in a while. I even bought some tidbits home, thinking I could relax a little tonight and watch some television while chewing on cuttlefish.
Little did I realize that I was to be squatting and cleaning my neighbour's floor because the paint that tainted the ceremaic was meant for my house. Yes, you heard it right - paint on my neighbour's floor. And this was not the first time. Naturally, you could expect them to be angry. But they were very nice and I remember thanking God for such understanding neighbours and the thankful thing is so far, the paint has only been splashed on the doors of neighbours whom we are quite close to, so they offered us their sympathy while trying to hide their anger. As I squatted there scrubbing, turpentine and paint on my hand, my mind went 'What am I doing here..?'. It was a humbling experience, no doubt, to have to be a cleaner and if others scorn you or scold you, you can't retaliate, because they have every right to do so. It kinda hurts until my tears can't come out. And that's not the worse. One night, they came to chain our neighbour's door. We lodged a police complaint but all they could do was to take down our statement and then remind us of a fact we had already knew - pay up.
The biggest concern now is not really the paint or chain or threats. I think I've spoken to enough of those sharks to not fear them. The biggest concern is how my neighbours are suffering the brunt of our misdeeds. Truth be told, some days, I walked out of my door more quickly than usual, hoping not to see any neighbours so I don't have to look them in the eye and yet have no more consolation/compensation for than remorse and sorry. But alas, on Tuesday night and tonight, I had to face them and really, all I could say was 'Sorry' and all they could offer was also 'Why like that..?', short of hurling vulgarities at us.
I just needed to get this off my chest. Now, I need to get the turpentine smell off my hands.