The church I currently attend, NCLC (Sunday Services are at The Hub, 10.30AM every week!) will be embarking on a 40 day season of fasting and praying for various needs within the community and we're all challenged to fast in some way or another.
I think this challenge to fast comes at a timely season for me, as I've lately been feeling really restless with the way I've been doing life in the UK so far - with just wanting to stick to what I know and what's comfortable - like my comfortable routines, like friends I feel comfortable around, to just maintaining the status quo, getting good grades, and going home knowing I fulfilled expectations. I've been doing more or less that for the past five months, telling myself not to get too attached to people and ways of doing things here because I'm going to have to uproot myself all over again when I return to KL and get used to different personalities, cultures, and styles of doing things, in just over three months time.
But truth be told, it's a boring and pathetic way to live. And even though I have 'only' three months left, heck, I'm going to make the most of it. There's plenty of things to do here - I just didn't want to do them because I didn't want to get used to them and then miss them later. Same thing with people to meet here - I just didn't want to get close to them because missing people really SUCKS. But what's life without the downtimes, the missing people, and the ebb and flow?
Sure you can protect yourself from those unpleasant, sometimes downright painful feelings. But in doing so you shut your heart to people, places, and experiences and miss out the beauty in all of that. And I'm so sick of doing that with the UK. This week on, I swear (and you readers can hold me accountable) that I will stop Tweeting about how I hate the weather (even though I flippin' do :P), how bored I am, how different things are in the UK, I will stop cooping myself up in my room trying to do things, talk to people, and eat food that reminds me of home (because it doesn't flippin' work; I'll still miss home anyways) and actually GET OUT more, meet people, do fun stuff, make unforgettable memories.
Sometimes I think my memory bank will run out; I'm so scared to make new ones! I've been so stingy with what experiences I let make a mark on me here; so stingy with how much of my heart I wear on my sleeve with the people I meet on a daily or weekly basis. But I won't run out of space to store memories; I won't run out of space in my heart to care about new people.
So this fast will be a timely reminder for me. For those of you who know me, there are several things that are sort of my 'security blankets' or 'bantal busuk' (Malay term meaning the same as 'security blanket' - but literal translation means 'smelly bolster' - because it's been kept so long:P) and that I use as distractions to 'escape' when I find life a little tough here.
But instead of being balms to soothe those pangs of homesickness they have often become crutches that hold me back from living to the fullest here. So for 40 days, there will be a progressive stripping down of these 'bantal busuks' - not that any of them are bad; just that I sometimes am too dependent on them to make my WHOLE DAY better when really, I should have so much more to look forward to every day than just a darn cup of coffee (butbutbut it's my aromatic hazelnut flavored Malaysian Ipoh white coffeeeeee!! :S).
And while I'm at this 'training wheel-removal' stage, there's also a whole bunch of issues I am all too well aware of that I hope to work on as well. Since I'm all geared up and semangat, I might as well go the whole mile yeah?
So here it is - the battle plan. For the next 40 days beginning Tuesday. It's going to be exciting times ahead! (And by the end of it I'll have less than 2 months left in the UK! How time flies!)
Fasting is so much more than a religious ritual. In fact I think even if you're not a religious person, self-denial, going back to basics, and stripping excess from your life every now and then can be a very, very healthy, balanced way to live. But it's THAT much more motivating when you have an extra drive and a reason to do it.
So, why am I giving up my favorite things for the next 40 days? Because I believe there are better things than them waiting to be experienced here in the UK, and I fully intend to discover those things! Because I'm tired of surviving - I want to LIVE, I'm done with defending - I want to FIGHT, I've had enough of coping - I want to THRIVE.
Even if it means giving up my aromatic hazelnut flavored Malaysian Ipoh white coffee (oh Lord help me).